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Storm systems leave LawCo. drenched

Starting with the remnants of Hurricane Laura on Thursday, Lawrence County saw several waves of rain and wind over the weekend and into the beginning of the week.

Heavy rain falling on Tuesday morning led to the issuance of a flood warning by the National Weather Service.

County Judge John Thomison said with all the rain, there is some road damage with displaced material.

“We only had one pipe wash out, and that was at Powhatan,” he said. “We were able to put it back in on Monday.”

The rest of the repairs will have to wait for the weather to clear.

“We want to get in there and fix it, but have to wait for the rain to subside,” Thomison said of the roads that have had damage. “We know we have some rough spots, as soon as weather will let us we will address those needs.”

Thomison said with the heavy winds, there were also quite a few trees down, though he said they were surprised to have more down over the weekend than they had down on Thursday when the remnants of Laura moved through.

“We moved a tree or two on Thursday,” he said, “But we had quite a few down on Saturday.”

He said the county had no reports of structural damage.

“Now we’re watching this rain here and what it’s going to do to us,” he said on Tuesday morning.

Crops not hit as hard as expected

Lawrence County Extension Agent Bryce Baldridge said Lawrence County’s harvest will be delayed, but the damage farmers were preparing for from Laura was not nearly as bad as anticipated.

“We got lucky with Laura that it didn’t blow more rice down,” he said. “As long as we don’t get any heavy winds, I’m hoping this is just a delay for harvest.”

He said harvest is a little early this year, so the timing for all this rain is bad.

“Some had got a little corn out,” he said. “That early rice, needs to get out of the field. We don’t want to have losses due to shattering.”

He said farmers now are hoping for the rain to move out and there to be no heavy winds or major storms.

“We were expecting a lot more damage from Laura than we actually got,” he said. “So we are smelling like a rose right now. We just need it to dry up.”

Case count remains low; S-H, LHHR report cases

Lawrence County saw an increase in only four cases of COVID-19 over the past week, according to information posted on the Arkansas Department of Health website.

The total cumulative positive case count increased from 245 cases to 249 cases. The active case count dropped from 19 to 15, and the total deaths remains at 10.

The total number of individuals who have recovered increased from 216 to 224.

County Judge John Thomison said he thinks the low case counts compared to what some surrounding counties are facing is because residents are trying to follow the guidelines.

“I see some compliance, and I think its paying off,” he said. “I hope our people continue to do what they’re doing because I think its helping. We need to keep it up.”

S-H reports two cases

On Monday morning, Sloan-Hendrix School announced on its Facebook page that the district had been notified of a high school student who had tested positive.

Later in the day, a second announcement was made that an elementary student had also tested positive.

It was reported that both students were following Arkansas Department of Health guidelines regarding isolation.

In addition, close contacts of the students have been identified and asked to quarantine per ADH guidelines.

“‘Close contact’ means within six feet for more than 15 minutes cumulative within a 24 hour period,” the Facebook post stated. “The Sloan-Hendrix School District will continue to communicate with and follow the guidelines provided by ADH and DESE (Arkansas Department of Elementary and Secondary Education).”

Lawrence Hall residents, staff test positive

Lawrence Hall Health and Rehabilitation also made a post to its Facebook on Friday reporting that two employees and two residents at the facility had tested positive for COVID-19.

“Lawrence Hall is working closely with the Arkansas Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control to ensure that we reduce any possible risks for a resident in our care and our entire team,” the letter shared by the center stated. “We have enacted policies to reduce the spread of the disease within our walls and work every day to protect the health and well-being of the residents.”

Guidelines put out by the state prevent in-person visitation at long-term care facilities that have positive COVID-19 cases, as well as for a period of time after the facility becomes COVID-free.

“We understand that you are anxious to see your loved one in-person, until that time, we will continue to do everything we can to keep you connected with your love done via phone calls, video calls or from a safe distance separated by window glass,” the letter stated. “We will continue to keep you updated on this ever-evolving situation.”

Closings reported for Labor Day

The Labor Day holiday will be observed on Monday with all local, county, state and federal government offices being closed.

Banks and the U.S. Postal Service will also be closed, as will many businesses.

Walnut Ridge and Hoxie residential sanitation routes will not be affected, as neither have Monday routes.

TD adjusts deadlines

The Times Dispatch will be closed on Monday, resulting in an adjustment in deadlines.

The deadline for display advertising, as well as public notices, will be Thursday at 2 p.m.

The classified advertising deadline will be Friday at 3 p.m.

Those submitting news are also asked to do so by Thursday if possible.

Deadline for Census nearing

The deadline for the 2020 Census is nearing, and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service continues to play an active role in ensuring communities across Arkansas can thrive over the next decade.

Arkansas has achieved a response rate of 64.6 percent but many counties have response rates well below our state and national averages. Currently, Lawrence County has a response rate of 58.1 percent.

To help increase community participation in the 2020 Census, the Lawrence County Extension Office is participating in the 2020 Response Rate Challenge. Periodically, the Lawrence County Extension Office will post the county’s 2020 Census response rate on social media to track response rate progress and to motivate community members to participate in the 2020 Census.

To track the progress of the state and each county or to see how Lawrence County measures up against up against other counties in Arkansas visit https://2020census .gov/en/response-rates.html.

Anyone who has not received 2020 Census information via mail or at their door should complete the survey online at my2020 census.gov or by calling 844-330-2020.

Individuals may also encounter a Census Taker at their door if they have not completed the 2020 Census. They will wear masks and follow local public health guidelines when they visit. All census takers complete a virtual COVID-19 training on social distancing and other health and safety protocols before beginning their work in neighborhoods.

A complete count of Arkansas is crucial. Data gathered by the census provides statistics on how much the country has grown and provides a snapshot of just who lives in America: age, race, gender. The statistics collected by the 2020 Census decide how over $675 billion is dispersed to states through programs like the National School Lunch Program and other programs integral to rural development.

Census data also impacts everything from the boundaries of congressional seats to funding for public safety, education and housing programs. Census data is used for emergency preparedness and disaster response. Businesses also use Census data to make decisions about whether to invest in a community.

Learn more about the 2020 Census by visiting https://www.uaex.edu/ business-communities/census/ default.aspx.

The deadline to complete the 2020 census is Sept. 30. For more information, contact the Lawrence County Extension Office at 886-3741.

County sees increase in school enrollment

The Times Dispatch typically compares each year’s first-day enrollment figures for the county and for each individual school district.

With school delayed and districts allowed to start on different days, this year’s enrollment figures reflect the total number of students enrolled at the end of the first week of school.

Countywide, as of Aug. 28, there were 2,936 students enrolled, compared to 2,929 enrolled on the first day of school in 2019.

The Hoxie School District, Sloan-Hendrix School District and Lawrence County School Districts all showed increases in enrollment.

Hoxie saw an increase from 839 students in 2019 to 841 students in 2020.

Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County School District) had an end-of-week enrollment of 939 up from 909 in 2019.

Sloan-Hendrix increased from 691 students in 2019 to 698 students in 2020.

Hillcrest was the only K-12 district to show a decrease, dropping from 430 students in 2019 to 406 students in 2020.

Imboden Area Charter School also saw a decrease, declining from 60 students in 2019 to 52 students in 2020.

Other totals for the first day since 2008 are as follows:

2018 – 2,854

2017 – 2,938

2016 – 2,921

2015 – 2,972

2014 – 3,011

2013 – 3,027

2012 – 3,068

2011 – 3,140

2010 – 3,193

2009 – 3,102

2008 – 3,112