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DeWitt Era-Enterprise
DeWitt , Arkansas
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September 14, 2011
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Small Town Papers 217 W CoLa St i tt 1  aw flt he l n ,p.wA 98584 ][S Volume 129, Number29 DeWitt, Arkansas, September 15, 2011 2 Sections, 18 Pages Single Copy 50 Work on DeWitt streets begins More than two years after DeWitt residents passed a one- cent sales tax to repair the city's crumbling streets, work has finally begun. DeWitt Mayor Ralph Relyea (left) and Bruce Patti son of McClellan Engi neer- ing watch as Ed Norwood of Redstone Construction Group of Little Rock uses an asphalt cutter to cut a trench on South Main Street Monday afternoon. Redstone was scheduled to start digging up a portion of South Main Street Tuesday. Once the road bed has been upgraded, pav- ing will begin in earnest. After that, construction will begin on the other two roads in the first phase of the project, the DeWitt Park Road from Highway 1 to the park and Washington Street from Second Street to Maxwell Street. I am so happy to finally get this started," Relyea said Monday. "It's been a long time." iii!ii!iiiiiiiiii!:iiiiii! Around II the [00nty Blood drives in county The American Red Cross has scheduled two blood drives in Arkansas County in September: Sept. 20 -- Harmony Baptist Church, 910 E. 19th St., Stuttgart, noon-6 p.m. Sept. 21 -- Phillips Commu- nity College, 2807 Highway 165 South, Stuttgart, l0 a.m.-3 p.m. ACRTA meets Sept. 21 The Arkansas County Retired Teachers Association will meet at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 21 at Stuttgart Baptist Health Hospital. Everyone is encofiraged to attend. Poultry chain auction The 2011 4-H Poultry Chain silent auction will be held in the barn area at the Arkansas County Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. Sept. 15 until 4 p.m. Sept. 16. Bid sheets will be attached near the cages. The Poultry Chain teaches 4-Hers how to grow chickens and busi- ness management skills. Each participating 4-H member gets 25 Bovan BrownxYr/e-day old chicks to care fooatid keep records. 4-H'ers agree46 return four of the chicks to tile county during the County Fair. Chicks are judged and then auctioned off by Arkan-. sas County 4-H. This funding is then used to implement the next year's program. For more information, call the Cooperative Extension Serv, ice at (870) 946-3231 or (870) 673- 2346. Gillett Salad Supper The Gillett PTA is holding its annual Salad Supper & Bazaar on Sunday, September 25th, be- ginning at 5:00 pm in the Gillett School Cafeteria, The bazaar will be held in the school auditorium. Tickets are $7 and can be pur- chased at Planters & Merchants Bank, Gillett City Hall or from a VIA member. For more informa- tion, call Christy Murphy at (870) 509-0576. i Index Calendar .......... 2A Lifestyles ......... IB Classifieds ........ 6B Police ............... 3A Editorial .......... 4A Obituaries .......5B Education ........ 5A Religion ........... 4B Ethel ................ 2B Sports .............. 8A Gillett ............... 3B Board adopts budget, talks of enrollment By Christina Verderosa "We're like a turtle," DeWitt School District superintendent Gary Wayman said about the 2011-12 budget, slowly heading in the right direction. The DeWitt School Board ap- proved a budget Tuesday night that contains $108,219 more in projected revenue than expenses. The district's biggest expense, the salary fund is $5,117,294, down $652,287,74 from two years ago. The decreases come from retire- ments and not tilting open posi- tions, Wayman explained. The budget also includes $102,622 for facilities projects that. has accumulated in the district's building fund, from refinancing the district's bonds last year. That money can only be used for academic facilities. The budget also includes money for employee bonuses, two buses and $40,000 for vehicles that has been in the budget for the .last few years. The vehicle money sparked a discussion of the condition of the district's current fleet. Many of them are in poor condition, and often teachers have been taking their own vehicles and filing for mileage instead. Wayman sug- gested, "We may warit t 9 get out of the vehicle business," and pay mileage at the State Department of Education rate of 42 per mile instead, Board member Johnny I,ockley cautioned that paying mileage "coul d get out of hand," and added, "If we need a vehicle, let's buy one." Wayman said he would study the issue and bring some figures to the Board for consideration. Athletic funding will be about the same as it has been for the last two to three years. Board member Mike Dodson asked what effect the possible changes to funding the technical and career education centers at PC- CUA could have. "We don't know See SCHOOLS, page 10A " pl ,00,aurt em oyees get raise from city By Frank Scott pays part of the two employees' The South Arkansas District Court :lerk,mad deputy clerk will get a raise from the City of DeWitt after all. The DeWitt City Council Mon- day n ght approved a recommen- dation from the Council's Finance Committee to raise clerk Lynn Archambeau's salary $422 for 201 i and deputy clerk Kim Nutt's salary $293. The raises are al ready included in the city's 2011 budget. The Council had approved the raises last year, setting the clerk's salary at the state-mandated maxi- mum of $22,500, and the deputy clerk's salary at $20,500, also at the state-mandated cap. However,,a problem arose when the Arkansas County Quorum Court al so gave the two employees a raise. (Arkansas County also salaries.) To keep the salaries un- der the state- mandated rnax i m u m, the city reduced its part of the salaries. (Because of, economic vagaries in the 12 years since the agreement was made, the city pays more than the agreed-upon 50 percent of the salaries.) TheArkansas Legislature earlier this year raised those salary caps. Last month, District Court Judge Park Eldridge told the Council that the employees should receive the raise, since it was now legal for them to do so. Mayor Ralph Relyea referred the matter to the Finance Committee. At last Friday's committee, Eldridge asked that !'the salaries be*restored. , "1 think that if Ithe salary levelsl See CITY, page 3A C 00unty to get giant leap in technology By Christina Verderosa The Arkansas County Quorum Court approved a giant leap in technology for the Arkansas County Treasurer's and County Clerk's offices: The justices voted TJaesday to approve tttg acquisition and instal- l ation of new corn puter syste ms for both offices. These will allow the offices to communicate with each other and implement better checks and balances, avoiding some of the errors such as the one reported last month, where the collecior's office was overpaid over $20,000. One of the biggest leaps.forward however, will be the eli ruination of the county's "19th-century" war- rant system and allow the county to write actual checks. County treasurer Horton explained that the warrants the county issues now are "basically IOUs. They have no bank informa- tion."This makes it impossible to track payments in real time, since the bank where they are turn;ed in has to send them back to the See COUNTY, page 2A Allison Stone Miss Arkansas County Chad Stowell of Future Tek Inc., demonstrates his company's solar energy training equipment. Arkansas Fair pageant queens !:i! ? Cori Keller Jr. Miss Arkansas County Molly Maynard Princess Bluebonnet Jordan Menard Petite Miss Arkansas County Carrington Hollimon Little Miss Arkansas County School election set Sept. 20 By Christina Verderosa In a wide-ranging forum last Thursday, the three candidates for the Zone 1 seat on the DeWitt School Board gave their views on subjects ranging from finances and curriculum to uniforms and Facebook. In May Sam Counce, who had held the seat, which represents mostly the old Gillett School Dis- By Christina Verderosa ..... :: "Some smart people are doing some smart things." Phillips Community College Chancellor Dr. Steven Murray introduced a lot of those smart things Friday morning at the opening of the Green Expo at the PCCUA Grand Prairie Center in Stuttgart. Speakers, displays and breakout sessions covered more than the usual soy diesel and solar panels. Instead attendees could take their pick of learning about home energy makeovers, building new businesses, and even market- ing on social media. trict, resigned. Three candidates, Mike Dodson, Kevin Murphy and Scott Patterson applied for the seat. Dodson was appointed, mostly because of hi s prior ex pe ri- ence on the Gillett School Board. The three are facing off again in the general election, which ,vill be held Sept. 20. The forum, sponsored by the DeWitt Era-Enterprise, was held Thursday in the old Gillett High School auditorium. Several of the questions lbcused on one ol the most pressing issues facing most school districts, finances. Last spring, the DeWitt School District narrowly avoided a RIF (Reduction In Force). Candidates were asked what must be done to avoid a similar crisis or if there See DEBATE, page 5A Expo shows lots of ways to go green Keynote speaker William Shroy- er, owner of Splash Superpools in Little Rock, started things off with advice for budding en- t[epreneurs. Starting your own business is "relatively easy and fun," but keeping it going is the hard part. "Even well-funded, well-organized companies can fail," he said. He used his own experiences moving from producing roofing to pools to biogas equipment to illustrate the pitfalls that even well-established companies could encounter. By 2005 Splash Super- pools began to show a downturn in business. The company's besl market was in California, and th state was beginning to experi- ence a steep economic decline. By 2008, Splash Superpools was "deeply in the red." So Shroyer turned to so/nething new--biogas. He began talking with an Italian company that made . biogas technology. Biogas is produced by capturin CH4 (methane) and convertin it to energy. Animal, human an plant decomposition, anima waste and tood processing waslt all produce methane, "an envi See GREEN, page 3A