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State snuffs big burn


Winter mornings in the Ozarks means stoking the wood stove to warm up the house. Columns of smoke climb from neighboring chimneys, mingling and filling the surrounding mountain hollows with a thin layer haze.

On Wednesday, Dec. 9, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of Air Quality employee responded to a complaint in Heber Springs.

The city decided to stop leaf collection for a few weeks and Mayor Jimmy Clark said the city is looking for another place to take collected leaves and limbs.

The practice of burning excess leaves hadn’t been a problem in years past.

Heber Springs Fire Chief Jason Robitaille explained the fire department had a brush truck at the scene on standby.

“It became a bigger nuisance than what was anticipated,” Robitaille said.

The ADEQ report reads in part: “Upon arriving in Heber Springs I observed a substantial cloud of smoke originating near the downtown area and extending to the northeast past the Hwy. 25 bypass. After arriving at the city’s maintenance shop on 4th St. I found a pile of ground up leaves on fire. The fire was being attended to by Scott Habbley, Public Works Director, and members of the Heber Springs Fire Department. After introducing myself, I informed Mr. Habbley that the fire was in violation of Regulation 18.602 and instructed them to put the fire out, the fire department immediately began extinguishing the fire. Later that afternoon Mr. Jason Robitaille, Fire Chief, contacted me and stated they were having trouble putting the fire out; fire fighting efforts extended into the next day 12/10/20 before the fire was put out.”

The Arkansas Air Pollution Control Code contains Regulation 18.602 which reads simply: General Prohibition No person shall cause or permit the open burning of refuse, garbage, trade waste, or other waste material, or shall conduct a salvage operation by open burning.

Andy Chisum named new superintendent at Mayflower

Mayflower School District has named Andy Chisum as its new superintendent, retiring district superintendent John Gray confirmed to the Log Cabin on Monday morning.

Chisum, the current superintendent of West Side School District in Greers Ferry, has more than seven-and-a-half years of superintendent experience at West Side. Before that, he spent three years as assistant and lead principals in both the Danville and Western Yell County School Districts.

A graduate of Arkansas Tech University with a Master’s Degree and Education Specialist degree from Harding University, Chisum will take over for the retiring John Gray after the end of the current school year.

Gray, a native of Australia, has been superintendent at Mayflower since 2007. A graduate with an Education Specialist degree from the University of Central Arkansas, Gray has also worked as an assistant superintendent at Searcy and superintendent of the Leslie School District, as well as at multiple schools in his native Australia.

In his time at Mayflower, Gray has guided the district through a period of financial difficulties when he was first hired and renovated multiple school buildings.

Other candidates the district considered include Bryce Bennett, principal of Greenbrier Middle School and Freddy Bowen, the director of maintenance, transportation and athletics for the Westside Consolidated School District in Jonesboro.

Lyon Player

The Lyon College Scots fell to the #17 ranked Talladega Tornadoes 74-70 Saturday afternoon. This was the Scots first contest of the season.

Virus cases rise in county

The Arkansas Department of Health reports 31 active cases of COVID-19 among residents at Somerset Senior Living at Seven Springs. Since testing was conducted in the facility on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 22 residents tested positive and 20 staff tested positive, for a total of 24 active cases among staff. The report lists facilities that have had a new or additional positive case in the past 14 days.

During a briefing last week, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said of the 31,700 Moderna dosages initially allocated for long-term care facilities in Arkansas, only 1,680 doses had been distributed. Pharmacies are coordinating distributing the vaccines to long-term care facilities. Federal partners such as CVS and Walgreens commercial pharmacies are getting the vaccine out to some of the long-term care facilities, however many locally-owned pharmacies closed for one to four days to observe the Christmas holidays.

Additionally, there is a lengthy guardian consent-process the 300 long-term care facilities in the state have to go through to vaccinate residents, explained Rachael Bunch with the Arkansas Health Care Association. She estimated Jan. 16 as the date when all the long-term care facilities in the state will have been offered a vaccination clinic from a pharmacy.

Statewide, 1,501 long-term care residents and 11 long term care facility employees have died since the pandemic began.

The ADH reported Monday there were 156 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cleburne County and 59 probable cases. There have been a total of 1,008 cases in the county with 324 probable cases, and 1,079 recoveries. There have been 35 deaths linked to the virus and three probable.

In a report dated Dec. 31, the ADH listed 10 active cases in the Heber Springs School District, comparatively low compared to other schools in the area. The report listed 29 cases at Greenbrier, 16 at Pangburn, and seven at Quitman

Updates may be found at healthy.arkansas.gov, ACHI.net/covid19 and the independent arkansas covid.com web sites.


After more than two years of being closed, the newly remodeled L&M Bowling, formerly known as Alley Cat Lanes, located at 114 Taluka in Heber Springs is now open to the public. Hours are Wed-Sat 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sun. 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

New owner Tommy Fleming said leagues are now forming and the bowling center is open to the public. The center also offers refreshments and an arcade.