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Howard County moving toward solar energy


By Louie Graves

News-Leader staff

Howard County Quorum Court members approved an ordinance allowing financing of an extensive energy performance project, and the county judge said that the project was already underway.

Judge Kevin Smith told the JPs that the construction firm had begin work on the grounds of the old Howard Memorial Hospital campus on Leslie Street where a solar farm will be built.

The solar panels are expected to generate enough electricity so that the county is able to sell energy back to the electric utility.

In a brief update at the end of Monday’s regular meeting for September, Sheriff Bryan McJunkins said that work to rebound from the July flood was continuing at the jail. 

It is slower because re-construction takes longer than removal of damaged materials. 

In response to a question he said that because some new patrol vehicles were being outfitted with radio equipment there weren’t currently enough available vehicles for the department. Several older backup vehicles parked near the jail were totally damaged by the flood.

Judge Smith gave an update on work to restore bridges either damaged or partially closed due to the flood. 

He said that the total damage in the five affected Arkansas counties was apparently not enough to reach FEMA’s disaster threshold for aid, but that efforts were continuing to secure financial help from the agency.

Bill Craig, chief financial officer for Howard Memorial Hospital, gave a report on the hospital.

Present for the regular meeting for September were JPs Dick Wakefield, Jerry Harwell, Don Marks, Kerry Strasner, Bobby Don Turner, Andy Hogg, Martha Hobbs, Brent Pinkerton and Janice Huffman. Also, Judge Smith, Sheriff McJunkins, treasurer Sheri Mixon, Circuit Clerk Angie Lewis, county clerk Keri Teague, and tax assessor deputy Cindy Butler.

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