Flooding due to heavy March rains caused the closure of the Jenkins’ Ferry Gallery at the Grant County Museum while repairs were done, which included the removal of soaked carpet and repairs to the exterior walls. New carpet was also laid throughout the gallery, and the walls were repainted. The gallery will be reopened Saturday, April 30 during Heritage Day.
After heavy rains in March, the Grant County Museum fell victim to flooding issues in the Jenkins’ Ferry Gallery where many Civil War artifacts are showcased, but the gallery will be reopened on April 30 after repairs and redecorating are completed.
The Jenkins’ Ferry Gallery was constructed around 2000 to display artifacts collected from the Civil War battle site by the museum’s founder, Elwin Goolsby, and other area residents and donated to the Grant County Museum.
The artifacts stored in the gallery include a medical saddle bag and surgical instruments; a house dress made in 1865; unearthed artifacts such as artillery shells and assorted iron projectiles; a musket and minnie balls; rifles; cooking and dining utensils, square nails, horseshoes, bayonets and knives and scissors, axe heads, canteens, and much more.
After excessive heavy rains in March these artifacts were threatened when the gallery floor flooded. Museum employees were tasked with removing all artifacts from the gallery, which then received several repairs after drying out.
Museum Director Lindsey Stanton said: “To protect them from the elements, we temporarily extracted hundreds of artifacts from the then damp and barren gallery. Coincidentally, heavy rains fell for 18 hours leading up to the battle.”
The accident-plagued south interchange of the Sheridan/U.S. 167 Bypass has been targeted for further improvement by the Arkansas Highway Commission.
Sheridan Mayor Joe Wise received a copy of a minute order approved by the commission on March 2 authorizing the project with the goal of eliminating rollovers by northbound semi-tractor trailer trucks attempting to turn right onto U.S. 167B.
Four of these type accidents have occurred at the location since the bypass opened on April 3, 2014.
Accident investigations reveal truck drivers fail to negotiate the turn because of the left-leaning bank of the curve as they turn right while heavily loaded.
The order authorizes Highway Commission director Scott Bennett to proceed with plans to construct a channelized right turn lane at the northbound exit from Section 10 into Section 10B of Highway 167B to provide substantial safety benefits for large commercial vehicles.
The project is eligible for Federal-aid Safety funds and up to $500,000 is available for the badly needed improvement. The commission’s decision was supported by a study of the intersection’s accident history.
Stress, workload and low pay are the top reasons that one out of three teachers are leaving the profession after only three years on the job, according to a report submitted to state legislators April 12.
The findings were compiled from the results of a survey conducted by the Bureau of Legislative Research and presented to members of the Joint House-Senate Education Committee as part of its biennial review of education adequacy in Arkansas.
The committee also learned from a separate report there is a shortage of specialized teachers, particularly for special education classes because of excessively burdensome paperwork. Districts suffering a serious lack of special-ed teachers during the 2014-15 school-year filed over 440 requests for waivers with the state education department seeking relaxation of requirements in order to fill vacant special-ed teaching positions.
Grant County Sheriff Ray Vance received approval from the Quorum Court on April 18 to establish a special fund to accumulate fees charged for fingerprint services.
The ordinance authorizes the sheriff’s department to assess a fee of not more than $10 to people needing a fingerprint scan required as part of a criminal background check and allows the sheriff, at his discretion, to waive the fee for certain applicants.
Vance said his department is receiving an increasing number of requests for fingerprinting, mostly from people applying for concealed weapons permits.
The Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) is the process of matching one or many unknown fingerprints against a database of known and unknown prints. They are used primarily by law enforcement agencies for criminal identification initiatives, the most important of which include identifying a person suspected of committing a crime or linking a suspect to other unsolved crimes.
It is often said that trends always come back around from generation to generation in the fashion world, but that same theory is not normally referred to where drugs are concerned.
Heroin, however, has become the exception with a strong reappearance across the country, state and even locally. The twist is now heroin producers have added a new “style” to their closet with a pill form, making heroin even more convenient for users.
Heroin is an opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. It has no acceptable medical use, and is classified as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substance Act. Original forms of heroin can be injected, smoked, or inhaled by snorting or sniffing, but now it can be ingested in a pill form as well.
Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin.” The pill form is a combination of the powder heroin and an over-the-counter drug such as Tylenol PM, which can be crushed then mixed with the heroin powder and pressed back into a pill. Heroin is an addictive drug, and it is estimated that about 23 percent of individuals who use heroin become dependent on it.
Heroin had lost much of its popularity in past decades, and has not been a drug of choice in most areas in many years including Arkansas and Grant County. However, the downward trend in popularity has changed. Law enforcement officials across the state have noted an increase in heroin cases including Grant County and surrounding areas.
Fires are not unusual for any area and Grant County is no exception. However seven unrelated structure fires in a span of two months could very easily be thought of as odd. The evening of April 7 brought the county’s seventh structure fire; the majority were total losses and one sustaining enough damage to cause the family to temporarily have to move while repairs are made.
The latest fire started around 6 p.m. at a mobile home on South Rock Street behind the iPhone Guys store in Sheridan.
In the wee hours of the morning on April 30, 1864, Civil War Union General Frederick Steele assembled his command staff to formulate a battle plan to stave off pursuing Confederate forces while his army frantically crossed a swollen Saline River near Jenkins Ferry.
Steel and his staff commandeered the home of Jane McWhorter Jenkins, who operated the ferry, but could only watch helplessly as enemy soldiers ransacked her farm.
Exactly 152 years later, Jenkins’ descendants will gather near that home site to dedicate a marker commemorating “Granny” Jenkins and her family’s sacrifice during those awful two days known as the Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry.
Sheridan Mayor Joe Wise gave his annual “State-of-the City” address to the City Council during the April 5 meeting at city hall. For the benefit of the city’s residents, the address is reproduced here:
“State Statute 14-14-504 states in part, “that the mayor shall report, within the first 90 days of each year and at such times as he or she shall deem expedient, to the council the municipal affairs of the city and recommend such measures as may seem advisable”.
“This is the law we must follow, since Sheridan is now deemed a ‘City of the First Class’, following the 2010 Census, which gave us a total of 4,603 residents and we did not opt to revert to a city of the second class.
“Over the last several years, the City of Sheridan has sustained an approximate three percent growth in population per year. By my calculations, our city population is currently approximately five thousand, three hundred (5,300) residents.
“I have stated before that this annual report is somewhat difficult to prepare for the Sheridan City Council without feeling redundant. I feel that the Sheridan City Council is informed each month, and most likely, more than most councils, of the activities of each department and especially the financial condition of each and every account.
Bus driver shortages is not unusual for most any district, but this year the shortage has been especially hard for Sheridan School District with a regular driver opening currently and few substitute drivers available to fill in when others are out or for the open route. The shortage has even caused delays of up to an hour getting kids to school and back home from school.
Lauren Goins, SSD director of communications, when asked how long the shortage had been going said, “Several years, but the shortage has been especially bad this year. Many districts are having difficulty finding enough bus drivers to cover their routes.”
The Sheridan School District has 43 bus routes that run every day and transport more than 2,000 students to and from school. The district needs an equivalent of 43 regularly scheduled drivers and five to 10 substitute drivers available to adequately run all routes and run them in a timely manner.
According to Goins, the district currently only has 42 regularly scheduled and contracted drivers and two substitute drivers to cover all 43 routes. With one route already open and without a regular driver, any drivers out due to illness, vacation, etc. leaves the district with even more of a shortage problem.
This leaves the district in need of one regular driver and three to eight substitute drivers that can be available to drive when a regular driver is out. Every substitute driver may not be available every time, and some days the district requires multiple subs to drive so a good number of substitute drivers are needed.
So, why are there not enough drivers? There appears not to be one specific and correct answer to that question, but rather many factors at play.
“Yes, it seems there are not enough drivers to meet the demand, but I would not say people do not want to be drivers,” Goins explained. “Although we do not have enough drivers to meet our needs, we do currently employ more than 40 drivers. For a community of our size, that's quite a few people out of our applicant pool.”
Bus driver positions are considered part-time positions, which may decrease the employee’s options when it comes to benefits. For instance, insurance is no longer offered to part-time employees due to state legislation that passed in 2014.