A1 A1
COVID-19 continues to impact county

As President Donald Trump extended social distancing guidelines to April 30, Lawrence County continues to adapt to the changes put in place because of the pandemic.

County Judge John Thomison said the Pandemic Committee is continuing to meet daily with an update to all mayors in the county given every Friday.

“We are doing all we can to ensure the safety of our residents,” Thomison said.

As of Monday, Lawrence County still had just one confirmed case of COVID-19, while the state was nearing 500 positive test results.

Updated information is available on the Arkansas Department of Health website at www.healthy.arkansas.gov.

A federal stimulus package that was passed and signed into law on Friday offers economic relief. The package provides for individuals who make less than $75,000 to receive $1,200 and couples who make less than $150,000 to receive $2,400.

Unemployment benefits are also supplemented through the federal stimulus package. Individuals who are self-employed and have lost their ability to make their livelihood due to the Coronavirus will be able to file for unemployment. In addition, those who are approved for state benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic will also qualify for an additional $600 a week federal payout.

Judge Thomison said small businesses that have been impacted can also get some relief through the Small Business Administration.

“We can get them connected with the federal offices in Jonesboro to get them information on how to apply,” he said.

All mandates previously announced by Gov. Asa Hutchinson remain in effect including the closure of public schools, restaurant dining rooms, gyms, hair salons, barber shops, massage therapists and nail salons.

Hoxie implements new garbage pickup

The city of Hoxie has received its new garbage truck and distributed new garbage cans to residents, according to Mayor Dennis Coggins.

The new truck has a rear lift that will dump the cans, which are the rolling-cart style.

According to Coggins, the city’s sanitation department will continue to pick up trash in old trash cans, as well, until May 1. After that time, the ordinance outlining the rules and regulations regarding the new cans will be in full effect.

For those who need a second trash can, they are available for a $9 monthly fee plus a $75 deposit.

Copies of the ordinance are available at Hoxie City Hall and can be picked up through the drive-through window. Residents can also call City Hall at 870-886-2742 with questions or to request a copy of the ordinance.

Stephanie Nichols (left) of Walnut Ridge and her son, Taylor, enjoy a ride through Stewart Park on Friday afternoon. While most events have been canceled because of restrictions in place as part of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents are encouraged to bike or hike as long as they practice social distancing.

Enjoying the outdoors

Mini grants available for COVID-19 relief

Arkansas Community Foundation is accepting proposals for $1,000 mini-grants for organizations responding to the immediate needs of vulnerable populations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

These grants will help organizations maintain their operations and respond to increased demand from clients during this first phase of pandemic relief. Nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) status, churches, hospitals, schools or government entities based anywhere in Arkansas are eligible to apply. Priority will be given to organizations that:

provide human services and emergency assistance (for example, food, shelter, transportation, living expenses, rent/utility assistance, etc.).

primarily serve vulnerable populations, including children who are out of school and families without childcare, people who have lost a source of income due to the pandemic, people who are at high risk medically, people who are homeless or incarcerated and individuals who lack paid sick leave or health insurance.

disseminate factual safety and response information to vulnerable communities such as non-English speaking residents, rural residents, senior citizens, etc.

Organizations may use funding to:

support clients’ basic needs.

cover costs associated with decreased staffing or remote-working due to quarantine/social distancing.

provide mental health programming for clients or staff.

coordinate/facilitate in-kind donations to sites and organizations that provide human services and serve vulnerable populations.

This is not an exhaustive list, and other needs will be considered. Businesses and individuals are not eligible to apply; however, the Community Foundation will consider grants to nonprofit organizations that provide direct financial assistance to individuals.

Visit www.arcf.org/COVID19 to apply online. Mini-grant applications will be accepted and grants will be awarded on a rolling basis until available grant funds are expended. All grants will be awarded in the form of a $1,000 award for general operating support. Organizations may receive only one mini-grant at this time.

Chamber plans event to honor essential workers

The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce is inviting community members to help thank those who are working on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “Applaud our Essential Community Personnel” event is a virtual gathering to be held throughout the county.

The Chamber invites residents to participate on Thursday at 7 p.m. by stepping out in their yard and applauding people who have to continue working to keep the community going.

Among those the Chamber lists are those “taking calls, taking care of patients, doing the testing, preparing meals, taking care of the loved ones you are keeping your distance from and all stores working hard to make sure we have food, gas and other essential items.”

Individuals are asked to take pictures or videos and share them on the Lawrence County Chamber Facebook page.