Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Law and Order in the Ozarks (Part C): Rabies cases reported in county

Each of the last several issues of the Newton County Times has reported on the number of rabies cases in the county.  As of the most recent issue, Newton County is up to nine cases, all involving skunks.  Neighboring Boone County reports 12 cases, 10 skunks, one bull and one bat. Meanwhile a special rabies clinic is being offered at Western Grove, in the area of the county where many of the confirmed cases have been found.  Anyone can bring their animal to the clinic to have it vaccinated for just $10.  The Newton and Searcy County 4-H programs will receive a portion of the proceeds.

In other headlines:
  • "Communities seek to keep identities" reports on the efforts by some residents of eastern Newton County to "strengthen and sustain our community."  They are seeking "ideas of economic development, education opportunities, or celebrating the area's heritage."  The effort includes the communities of Bass, Cave Creek, Mt. Judea, Piercetown and Vendor.  I last reported on these communities' efforts to save their post offices here.  
  • The Newton County Resource Council has seven new members:  Patricia McInnis, Bobby Keeton, Ron Ferguson, Regina Tkachuk, Betty Stivers, Chad Watkins, and Garland Matlock.  Three alternates were also elected.  Currently, the Resource Council's programs include Roundtop Park and assisting the Newton County Food Room with FEMA funding.  Areas of concern are:  youth activities, a community center, transportation, road improvements, an animal shelter, healthy lifestyles, education, and tourism development including trails, music and ecotours.   Linda Chappell of the Newton County Extension Service Office and Mary Olson volunteered to investigate reinitiating a summer youth program.  The NCRC, which was founded more than 20 years ago and  is also responsible for Bradley Park, local internet service, self-help housing and low income housing in Western Grove.  
  • The Christian Food Room have received a used trailer that they can use to "bring much needed food from distant depots and pantries to Jasper."  The trailer was a gift from a group of local Civil War reenters who ha previously used the trailer to store their equipment.  Most of the Food  Room's inventory comes from distributors such as the Arkansas Rice Depot in Little Rock and a regional pantry located several counties away in Norfork.  The Food Room is serving a growing number of families, presumably because of the ongoing economic downturn.  The Food Room has recently received a $2800 grant from the Emergency Food and Shelter Program. The Newton County Resource Center administers the grant.    
  • Newton County Special Services celebrated its 40th anniversary.
  • A new state law passed in March, 2011, requires all water systems serving more than 5,000 people to fluoridate their water.  This will add "hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of water and raise customers' water bills," according to local water officials.  Officials from various water districts met with state lawmakers to discuss the issue.  The Mockingbird Hill Water Association is on record as opposing the fluoridation.  The president of that water association's board wrote in a letter to the Newton County Times:  "Besides the environmental consequences of introducing a deadly chemical into our drinking water, we object strongly to the potential cost."  (Jan. 25, 2012 issue) 
  • Oark School patrons have asked the Jasper School Board not to tear down the school's old gym, which was build during the Works Project Administration era.  It has been used for classroom space since 1987, when the new gymnasium was built.  The building still has its original hardwood floor, with the hornet mascot painted at center court.  The Jasper School Board, which governs the Oark campus, is considering tearing down the gymnasium once a new six-classroom facility is built.  
  • Newton County's Solid Waste Department received a $3800 grant from the State General Improvement Fund for its recycling program.  

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