Monday, December 8, 2008

Law and Order in the Ozarks (Part XIII): Another crime-free week in Newton County

All the news on the front page of the November 27, 2008, issue of the Newton County Times is basically good news. Reading it caused me to reflect on some of the really terrific things about how rural places work.

The top story is "Educational focus set by extension office in 2009." The lede is:
Forages, food and nutrition head the list of subjects the Newton County Cooperative Extension Service will focus on next year, according to a report delivered by office staff to members of a community council Thursday, Nov. 20.
Although I grew up hearing about the extension agent and being a member of 4-H for a time, I never knew what extension agents did until I got involved in rural studies. Now I read reports like this with great interest -- and a greater appreciation for the role of this agency.

Other front-page stories include:
  • "Food drive filing county's pantry." The story reports that the Newton County Christian Food Room expects to distribute over 6,000 pounds of food over the holidays. Most of that food will come from individual donations. This is accompanied by two photos, one of volunteers at the food room and the other of Ritter Communications employees. Ritter is offering an incentive for customers to participate in the food drive by giving them a discount commensurate with the amount of the donation. This is an especially heartening story in my eyes because the county had no such institution when I was growing up there.
  • The other story is about the opening of a new bank building. What was formerly the Newton County Bank and is now the Bank of the Ozarks will have some competition from the Jasper branch of the First National Bank of Green Forest. A new 4,080 square foot building sits overlooking the Little Buffalo River to house the branch, which opened in a temporary facility two years ago. Green Forest, population 2,717, is in neighboring Carroll County.
  • Photos from the annual meeting of the Jasper Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has 170 members.

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