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Posts Tagged ‘Washington County’

  1. County Cleanup Ordinance Passes


    April 17, 2012 by Jack Suntrup

    Abandoned trailers in a junkyard a mile south of West Fork on scenic Highway 71 (Photo by Steve Winkler)

    The Quorum Court on Thursday passed an ordinance that will allow the county to clean up properties deemed “unsightly and unsanitary” by a county judge. According to the ordinance, if a complaint is made, the landowner will be given 30 days to clean the land. If the property is not cleaned within that time period, the county will do the job, billing the landowner. Though rules and ordinances have been made in the past, this will give the county the power to go in and clean up the property, county attorney George Butler said. The 30-day grace period was designed to give landowners notice, Butler said. “[Going onto a property], the intention is for that to be the last resort,” he said. The ordinance passed unanimously, but JP Tom Lundstrum had reservations about the bill only affecting land not zoned for agriculture. Butler said that wording was already state law, according to the City Wire. With cities like Fayetteville and Springdale already enforcing similar laws, giving the county an enforcement mechanism was necessary, JP Barbara Fitzpatrick said in an interview before the vote. “For the benefit of the entire community there are laws that say if it’s visible from the …


  2. Three’s a Crowd: Third parties still vying for recognition in 2012 election cycle


    March 26, 2012 by Jack Suntrup


    If you’re not a Democrat or Republican, this election cycle is going to be hard to take — no matter who wins. To say third-party voters are “disenchanted”  is a misuse of the word. It gives the impression that the bloc was exiled from some Washington D.C.-Disney-fantasy land, when in reality the plane never left Arkansas. “Every election season the group of bottom feeders is scummier and dirtier than the last,” said John Gray, the 2010 Green Party senate candidate and former mayor of Greenland. State law dictates that in order to appear on the ballot as a recognized party, leaders must collect signatures from 3 percent of qualified electors, or 10,000 signatures. Predictably, with historically low approval of the congress, third parties want the chance to make their case. Their request: automatic ballot access. The ACLU filed suit after the Green Party won 20 percent of the vote in the 2008 senate election. Success did not transfer in 2010, however, and the 11th Circuit Court in St. Louis ruled the law was not unreasonable. Nevertheless, the Libertarians and the Green Party met the signature requirement this year. “We are an official political party in Arkansas,” said Casey Copeland, a …


  3. Democrats Preparing for Another Tea Party Uprising


    February 28, 2012 by Jack Suntrup

    Screen Shot 2012-02-28 at 10.43.17 AM

    While the Tea Party seemed like a surprise guest during the 2010 election, this time around, local Democrats are ready for a fight. “We had no clue the tidal wave of GOP and Tea Party that would take us out,” said Tyler Clark, Washington County Democratic Committee chairman. With help from local and national Tea Party groups, Republicans made historic gains from the County level to the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2010 election. But, as the 2012 election draws near, the question is whether or not the Tea Party can duplicate the successes it had two years ago. Issue after issue, the uncompromising Tea Party is what will drive the Democratic base in 2012, Clark said. Clark believes that a “number of people are pissed off, so we are coming back with a vengeance. We spent the last couple of years getting really organized.” Part of the county party’s strategy is preparing earlier this year. Typically, the election office headquarters does not open until July; this year it will open next month. Event fundraising, too, is starting earlier, he said. Clark also wants to be more efficient in explaining his party’s platform. Coordinating closer with the state party …


  4. Library Innovations Shine with Polaris


    February 2, 2012 by wcobserver


    WASHINGTON COUNTY  — Remember the library catalogue when it consisted of long, narrow drawers with index cards? Well, to paraphrase, “We’ve come a long way, Baby.” After the wood and paper system there was the Computerized Library System. But earlier this month, the Washington County Library System (WCLS) took a bigger step by introducing an integrated library system called Polaris to its members. “It is a system that is geared to libraries of our size. It is just going to get better and better,” said Steve Thomas, Washington County Library System Assistant Director. Thomas said that the main reason for the change is cost, but it also provides services that will free up staff to help patrons and will provide more information about library materials available to the public. Before purchasing Polaris all costs were analyzed and it was realized that $300,000-$400,000 could be saved over 10 years. That savings can be used for books, materials and other products and services. The WCLS saved $120,000 over the last two years through other cost saving changes and is supported by a millage tax voted in place last fall throughout Washington County. Additionally, the cities mentioned above provide monies for their libraries. …


  5. Towns See Increase in Tax Revenue


    December 10, 2011 by wcobserver


    Prairie Grove and Greenland Up, West Fork Down By Jeff Winkler WASHINGTON COUNTY — Like their bigger city counterparts, some towns in south Washington County – such as Greenland and Prairie Grove — saw an increase in property and sales tax revenue this year. Prairie Grove had 10 percent increase in sales tax collection compared to 2010, with a total of $682,000. Not even finished with the year, “it looks likely that the total yearly collections will surpass the previous year-high set in 2008,” according to the city’s recent newsletter.


  6. Judicial candidate campaigning in every county nook and cranny


    December 2, 2011 by wcobserver

    Beaumont photo

      WASHINGTON COUNTY — If you’ve been to any public event in the past few months, chances are you’ve seen Cristi Beaumont. She’s the quick-paced blonde smiling, shaking hands and generally moving through the crowd like she’s running for office — which, of course, she is. Beaumont is looking to replace former Washington and Madison County Circuit Judge Mary Ann Gunn, who left the bench in May, as the area’s primary arbitrator for Drug Court and the newly established Veterans Court.


  7. PREPARED TO PLOW: County Road team prepared for winter conditions


    November 24, 2011 by wcobserver

    road plow

    WASHINGTON COUNTY – Folklore has numerous ways of predicting the harshness of the oncoming winter; the shovel-shaped seed of a persimmon, for instance, or the thick growth of hair on a cow’s nap. These days, however, there’s a surer sign of the approaching winter conditions – piles of limestone chips along the road. But they don’t spring up magically. It’s the work of the Washington County Road Department, which has been begun preparing for the area’s infamous and icy conditions in the past few weeks. So what’s the overall strategy for winter road crew? It’s fairly simple, actually.