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Quorum court approves budget

A proposed ordinance to adopt Heber Spring’s agreement with Survival Flight for ambulance service, was withdrawn and will be presented next month as a resolution.

“We don’t make statements with ordinances, we make statements with resolutions,” said Pearson.

During the discussion, justices of the peace emphasized the move was not to be coercive or litigious. Rather the resolution will be to send a message that the county understands the agreement between the city and the company. Additionally, it will urge the company to make their own decisions and not “take orders from the city,” as one justice of the peace put it bluntly.

During the discussion, justice of the peace Jacque Martin presented a bevy of paperwork showing that, historically, at the time the city entered into the agreement with Survival Flight, the understanding of everyone involved was that the company thought they would be able provide countywide coverage.

In other county business, all ordinances pertaining to county budget passed.

One item of note was: no funding was allotted for the Heber Springs Humane Society. When justice of the peace Sam Malone asked why, members of the budget committee told him the organization did not ask for any funding. A proposed ordinance brought up to go ahead and add $8,000 for the Heber Springs Humane Society did not pass. Budget committee members said the society was welcome to ask the county for funding at a future date.

Justice of the peace Rob Owens raises his hand during a discussion at the Cleburne County Quorum Court meeting.

Thanking Arkansas Farmers

When most of us will gather around a table with family and friends and think about the things we are most thankful for. This year, we encourage you to think about the men and women who helped bring your meal to the table.

Arkansas farmers made not only your meal but countless meals across the country possible.

In 2020, Arkansas poultry producers raised 31 million turkeys. We rank 2nd in the nation for turkeys raised, accounting for 14 percent of all turkeys raised in the United States.

The industry is responsible for approximately $4.3 billion in total economic activity throughout the state and supports more than 17,500 Arkansas jobs.

When it comes to sweet potatoes, Arkansas farmers harvest more than 4,000 acres every year. Arkansas is the 4th largest producer of sweet potatoes.

Arkansas ranks 18th for corn production in the United States, with Arkansas, Lee, and Craighead counties being the top three producing counties. Over 111 million bushels of corn were produced last year in Arkansas on 830 thousand acres.

On the surface, soybeans may seem unrelated to your thanksgiving feast. But soybean meal, oil, and soy foods are key to making some of your favorite family traditions possible. Soybean oil is used to make hundreds of foods, including mayonnaise, peanut butter, and ranch dressing. These special ingredients may be the secret to pulling off the perfect pumpkin pie, casserole, and stuffing.

Soybeans are Arkansas’ largest row crop accounting for more acres than rice, corn, sorghum, and wheat combined. Arkansas currently ranks 11th in the nation in soybean production, producing more than 139 million bushels annually valued at more than $1.5 billion.

Arkansas farmers may have contributed to your dessert menu as well, especially when it comes to the pies. Arkansas has more than 15,736 acres of pecan trees. Arkansas’ commercial pecan production contributes an average of $11 million to the state’s economy every year. The 87th General Assembly designated the pecan as the official nut of Arkansas.

Agriculture is Arkansas’ largest industry, providing more than $21 billion in value to Arkansas’ economy annually. We thank our farmers for the meal this Thanksgiving and for providing for our dinner tables every day of the year.

You can help show your appreciation to our Arkansas farmers and food service workers by looking for the “Arkansas Grown” label at your local supermarket.

Nate Allen

Thanksgiving week travel outlook mixed

GasBuddy announced in it’s 2021 Annual Thanksgiving Travel Survey that 32 percent of Americans plan to travel for Thanksgiving this year, a decline from 35 percent last year and a dramatic drop from the 65 percent that planned to hit the road for Thanksgiving 2019. Recently AAA 53.4 million people to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13 percent from 2020. This brings travel volumes within 5 percent of pre-pandemic levels in 2019, with air travel almost completely recovering from its dramatic fall during the pandemic, up 80 percent over last year.

Again, both of these predictions are based on consumers’ responses to surveys, but it also shows a telling difference between those who are financially comfortable enough to travel, and those who may not travel due to high gas prices.

GasBuddy states the national average price of gasoline is projected to decline to $3.35 per gallon on Thanksgiving Day, still amongst the highest drivers seen in over seven years. It adds there remains a remote chance that should oil suddenly surge, gas prices could quickly follow and potentially beat 2012’s record for most expensive national average ever for the date: $3.44 per gallon.

Those who are traveling are opting for shorter trips, with most (13 percent) expecting to spend 1-3 hours in the car. When it comes to making a rest stop, decent gas prices remained of most importance to those selecting, though location and convenience rose above the rest stop’s cleanliness in 2021’s results.

AAAs forecast marks the highest single-year increase in Thanksgiving travelers since 2005, bringing travel volumes close to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Despite gas costing over a dollar more per gallon than this time last year, 90 percent of people plan to travel by car as their preferred mode of travel. Although the car is still the most popular choice for travelers, a greater share will opt to travel by air and other modes such as bus, train or cruise this year.

Testing encouraged as Hepatitis C cases increase

Arkansas is currently experiencing an increase of hepatitis C cases. The Arkansas Department of Health is encouraging those who feel they may have been exposed to get tested.

Symptoms of hepatitis C include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, light-colored stool, loss of appetite, fever, abdominal pain, fatigue, joint pain, dark urine and/or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Some people do not experience any symptoms at all. Hepatitis C is contagious through contact with an infected person’s blood or instruments contaminated with an infected person’s blood. Hepatitis C is spread mostly through injection drug use and rarely from sexual contact or mother to child in the womb.

A blood test called an HCV antibody test is used to determine if someone has ever been infected with the illness. Those who test positive are given a follow-up HCV RNA test to determine if they are infectious and have chronic hepatitis C disease.

Hepatitis C can be cured with medications that are effective in 95 percent of cases. Treatment is available in the form of oral medication that is usually taken for eight to 12 weeks and may be covered by private insurance, federal insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. In addition, those who have no insurance and/or financial hardships can receive assistance with medication treatments through application with pharmaceutical companies.

Please contact your doctor to make an appointment or seek appropriate medical care if you suspect you have hepatitis C. Testing is also available through your local county health unit.

For more information about Hepatitis C, visit www.healthyarkansas.gov.