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County Considers Emergency Alert System

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August 2, 2011 by wcobserver

By Jamie Smith

FAYETTEVILLE – Work is still going on behind the scenes for Washington County to have an emergency notification system, members of the Washington County Quorum Court learned during their July 14 meeting.

Justice of the Peace Eva Madison broached the subject, saying it’s an issue several constituents have asked her about.
“I don’t want to go into another storm season and not have one,” she said.

Fellow JP Candy Clark, who has been part of the discussions with county personnel working on the project, said that research is being done to find the right company to offer the services that the county needs.

County Judge Marilyn Edwards said after the meeting that there is no concrete deadline for having a decision made on a countywide emergency alert system. She did say that it is vital for the system to be fully automated because otherwise the system would rely on a human always activating the system.

“In this day and age, everything is automated and that’s what we need for this,” she said.

A growing number of entities including several cities in Northwest Arkansas and Benton County offer an emergency alert system that is designed to either call or send a text message to subscribers when severe weather is threatening their area. Several local television stations offer similar services.

The Quorum Court also accepted the resignation from one of its own Thursday. Gary Carnahan from Springdale is moving to Hot Springs to be closer to family. He accepted a position with the city of Hot Springs.

Each of the justices of the peace spoke their appreciation for his service, many noting his reputation for asking tough, detailed and numerous questions of fellow court members and county staff. Gov. Mike Beebe is expected to appoint someone to Carnahan’s position now that his resignation is official.

In other county-related news, Edwards said that county road crews are finally able to get back to the county’s original road repair and maintenance plan after spring rains wreaked havoc on many county-maintained roads.

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