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Council rezones, condemns, attaches liens

Property matters were a major part of this week’s meeting of the Paragould City Council.

In one action, the council passed an ordinance to rezone two adjacent tracts totaling 0.56 acres, at 705 Country Club Road, from Residential R-2 to Commercial C-3. Owners Chris and Denise Middleton plan to use the property to sell produce.

The council also adopted a resolution to condemn three pieces of property:

713 S. Fifth Ave., owned by Robert and Sheila Booth

609 Bradburn St., owned by Denise Davis

1107 Oakdale, owned by Tammy Deboard

As usual in condemnations, if the owner does not demolish a condemned structure or otherwise abate the nuisance it poses within 30 days, the city is to demolish the structures, selling the debris to cover the demolition costs. If the sale prices do not cover the costs, the city attaches liens to the properties in the amount of the unreimbursed costs.

In the same vein, the council adopted a resolution to attach liens to 10 properties, which the city had cleaned up, to reimburse it for costs incurred. Here are the properties, with listed owners, locations and lien amounts:

McGee & Meredith Investments LLC 1303 Royal St., for $123

Jamm LLC 308 S. 10th Ave., $123.14

Bennie Weatherford (Estate) and Jay Henderson, 709 E. Court St., for $131.14

Brittany Cox 503 W. Highland St., for $165.14

Larry & Ruth Ann Johnson 712 E. Court St., for $74.14

Jerry Dean Watson 508 W. Highland St., for $141.14

Jamm LLC 501 E. Main St., for $141.14

Logan Arnold Bettis 2811 Brookside Circle, for $120.28

Greater Swiss 902 S. 3rd Ave., for $79.94

Joan Case, B Street empty lot, for $74.28

The council adopted a resolution to close the 100 block of South Pruett Street on Oct. 18 from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. to permit the Leadership Paragould alumni to host its Plates on Paragould fundraising event.

“The Leadership Paragould Alumni Committee has applied for a $150,000 Blue and You grant,” said Paragould Mayor Josh Agee in explaining the need for the resolution. “If they get it, they will use it to provide amenities for the Eight Mile Trail.”

The committee is to provide a $25,000 match, Agee said, and the Plates for Paragould event is aimed to secure a portion of that amount.

The council also adopted a resolution to vacate and close an unused alley between two vacant lots just south of Hamburger Station. The lots are both owned by Justin Bryant, who petitioned the city to abandon the alley, which runs from South Second Avenue to the Union Pacific railroad track.

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Firefighters get water bomber training

What if a forest fire broke out in a nearby rural area?

Firefighters from nearly a dozen fire departments got some hands-on training on how to assist airborne firefighters to fight such fires at the Paragould Municipal Airport on Tuesday.

Trainers from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry provided training to 50 firefighters to upload up to 700 gallons of water into each of two Single-Engine Aircraft Tankers (SEATs) on the airport ramp. Upon completion of each of the two water uploads, the two Air Tractor aircraft took off, and made practice water drops on the airport between the runway and the taxiway.

“We work with volunteer fire departments and paid fire departments to do this periodically,” said Chris Pfeifer of the division. Pilots of the SEATs, operating under contract through Arkansas-based Henry’s Aerial Service, were Johnny Broome and Joe Jett.

Jett, also state representative for District 56 (including most of Greene County) has been flying for years. “I just took a couple of days off from the Legislature to do this,” he said.

Jett explained the SEAT can carry up to 800 gallons of water, plus 15 gallons of fire-suppressing surfactant. “But we do water mainly,” he said, “And if we have more than 700 gallons we have to take off with less fuel.”

The two aircraft received one water load with the engine off and one with the engine running, to simulate actual firefighting conditions when time is critical.

Members of the fire departments of Paragould, Marmaduke, Oak Grove Heights, Western Greene County, Peach Orchard, Sedgwick, Hoxie, Walnut Ridge, Brookland, Philadelphia, Lake City and Higginson, as well as the Greene County Rescue Squad, were on hand for the training.

Probation visit produces felony drug arrest

A Beech Grove man is in jail after a probation visit to his home.

Greene County sheriff’s deputies arrested Sheldon Craig Nix, 61, on charges of one count each of possession of less than two grams of a Schedule I/II controlled substance (methamphetamine or cocaine) and possession of drug paraphernalia to ingest, etc. both Class D felonies. Nix also faces misdemeanor charges.

According to a probable cause affidavit sworn by Deputy Sgt. Zakkery Crocker, the arrest took place Oct. 10 in the course of the visit. When deputies contacted Nix at his home to conduct the visit, he fled from the deputies, and resisted their attempts to arrest him according to the affidavit.

Once they restrained him, the deputies that they conducted a probation search of the residence. At that time they reportedly discovered suspected methamphetamine and related paraphernalia within the property belonging to Nix.

He remains in the Greene County Detention Center on a $15,000 bond.

Several fatal crashes reported in NEA this month

A Harrisburg man died after wheels from a trailer came loose and struck him while he stood in his front yard.

Michael C. Hamrick, 60, was pronounced deceased at the scene in rural Poinsett County at 2:15 p.m. on Oct. 9.

According to Arkansas State Police, Hamrick was standing in his yard when the right rear tires and wheels separated from a trailer on a 2009 Peterbilt, traveling east on Highway 14. Hamrick was hit by a wheel and tire, the preliminary report states.

Two separate accidents claimed the lives of two Black Rock residents according to the fatal crash summaries released by the Arkansas State Police.

Curtis Humes, 22, of Black Rock died in a two-vehicle accident on Oct. 7, and Bobby Lee McCormick, 37, of Black Rock died as the result of a one-vehicle accident on Oct. 5.

McCormick was traveling westbound on Highway 90 in Randolph County, near the intersection with Hepler Road, on a 2005 Honda X 13 motorcycle. At approximately 12:24 p.m., the vehicle failed to negotiate a left-hand curve and left the roadway on the right side.

The Honda entered the ditch and overturned, causing the driver to be thrown from the motorcycle, according to ASP Cpl. Nicholas Poulsen.

Humes was traveling southbound on Highway 115 in Lawrence County at 8:06 p.m. on a 2000 Honda V3W when a northbound 2016 Ford F-150 attempted to turn into a private driveway pulling into the path of the motorcycle.

The front of the Honda collided with the passenger side or the Ford, according to ASP Trooper Brady Bates.

A crash at State Highway 384 and Jackson 258 in Newport claimed the life of Steven Poole, 25, of Bradford, on Oct. 5. State police report that Poole, driving a 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche, was traveling behind a 2011 Ford F-450, eastbound on Highway 384, when the Ford attempted to make a left turn onto Jackson 258. The Chevrolet swerved to the left to avoid hitting the Ford, but left roadway, and overturned.

Danyelle R. Bassham, 49, of Wynne, died after the 2019 Toyota 4Runner she was driving left the roadway and rolled six times according to state police. Bassham was traveling on Highway 284 in Forrest City when the crash occurred at 1:10 a.m. on Oct. 4.