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Concord woman hits brother with baseball bat

A Cleburne County woman is charged in a felony battery case after reportedly hitting and injuring her brother with a baseball bat in early-December.

Cynthia Meshell Haskett, 33, of Concord is charged with second-degree domestic battery, a Class C felony, and second-degree interference with emergency communication, a Class B misdemeanor, following an incident that reportedly happened at her home on Peels Lane on Dec. 2.

According to a probable cause affidavit, deputies were called to a residence on Delta Street in Concord on the day in question regarding an injury the woman’s brother suffered.

The man fled his sister’s Peels Lane home to the Delta Street residence seeking help, noting his sister had taken away his phone and that he could not call for help while at her house, the report states.

According to the man’s statement, he was out with a friend getting snacks and cigarettes before he was dropped off at his sister’s home. Soon after he was dropped off, the man told police his sister, her boyfriend and another man cornered him in a room and demanded to know why he recently lost his job.

Haskett’s brother told a Cleburne County deputy he felt scared when his sister blocked him from leaving the room.

“At that time, [the man] stated that Cynthia then had a metal baseball bat threatening to hit him,” the affidavit reads in part. “[The man] then stated that he took his radio and slung it off to the entertainment center, breaking it. After that happened, Cynthia then swung the baseball bat, striking [him] in the left elbow.”

The man told authorities he fell to the ground as his sister hit me before he ultimately fled to another residence to seek help. The man was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Batesville.

Authorities later questioned the man’s sister about the incident. Haskett told police her brother had been throwing things in the home before she hit him but that she “did not mean to hit him that hard.”

Online records show that Haskett was arrested and taken to the Cleburne County Detention Center following the incident and that she has since posted a $5,000 bond.

Woman caught with drugs, paraphernalia in jail

A 30-year-old woman was charged with furnishing prohibited articles after authorities found out she had five syringes and a bag of meth with her when she was booked into the county jail, according to court documents.

Leah Jade Ray, 30, of Heber Springs was arrested on Dec. 3 following a traffic stop. According to a probable cause affidavit, the woman was arrested after police found a loaded syringe in her purse.

Patrick Cook, who was driving the vehicle officer Eric Moore pulled over, was also arrested after police found a glass pipe in one of his pockets.

Ray was ultimately charged with furnishing, possessing, using or delivering prohibited articles, a Class B felony; possession of a controlled substance, a Class D felony; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class D felony; after authorities found out she had additional contraband with her during the detention center booking process.

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Bank could become new home to city offices

First Arkansas Bank and Trust wants to donate their building at 806 W. Main Street to the city for use as a new location for administration offices and the central fire department, but only if the voters of Heber Springs vote in favor of refunding and reissuing bonds in March.

In a Tuesday, Dec. 8 letter, First Arkansas Bank and Trust Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Larry T. Wilson extended the offer to Heber Springs Mayor Jimmy Clark.

“My hope is that the voters of Heber Springs will see that accepting this donation and properly funding the remodeling of this facility will benefit all of Heber Springs for years to come,” Wilson wrote.

Clark estimated the donated building across the street from 1001 E. Main Street would save the city at least $1 million.

“It’s a wonderful gift for the city. We’re humbled that Mr. Wilson and the board of First Arkansas Bank and Trust are thinking about us,” Clark said.

City administration offices and the fire department would make the move to the other side of Main Street if voters decide to refund and refinance bonds during a special election slated for March. The police department will stay in the municipal building.

On Tuesday, Dec. 11 the Heber Springs City Council voted in favor of bringing the special election to voters on March 9. It will let voters decide on whether or not to refund and refinance existing bond to generate an estimated $11 million for city infrastructure repairs. The ballot will also contain options of what to fund with that revenue. If voters decide not to refund and refinance the existing bond issue, then nothing happens. The 5/8ths bonds will expire in a few years. If the refinancing of the bond passes, citizens results as soon as 90 days, when the weather moderates for construction. A series of public town halls at the community center to educate voters about the bond issues in the referendum in the weeks before the election.

Fire Chief Jason Rotiballlie calls the building at 806 W. Main Street: The Arkansas Building, a short version of the bank’s name, along with the blueprint of the building which looks quite a bit like the state.

The new fire station part of the building is estimated to cost $1.25 million for bays and round-the-clock living quarters for firefighters to be at the facility 24/7. The new facilities would also let the department hire and house women firefighters and first responders. A bay addition will also provide space for the city’s fire engines, brush trucks, rescue boats, and other equipment which are now packed top-to-tail in the municipal building bay. Diesel fumes from the fire engines float up into the shared attic space of the current municipal building

Wilson wrote he had been authorized to offer the building and property as a donation to the city for the purpose of a new fire station and city hall facilities to the city.

The letter reads: “This donation is contingent upon the favorable vote of the citizens of Heber Springs to borrow (in the form of a bond issue) the necessary funds to remodel and repurpose the building for use by the city. It is my understanding that the ballot referendum to approve of the funding for this project will be held in March of 2021. If that ballot referendum results in a positive vote, we will work together to get the appropriate documentation prepared, executed, and filed to transfer the ownership to the city. First Arkansas Bank and Trust and its predecessors, First Team Bank and Cleburne County Bank, have a long history of community support. This donation is further evidence of our commitment to the prosperity of Heber Springs. We are happy to assist the city in its efforts to grow the economy of the area and feel that a new City Hall and Fire Station on Main Street will contribute to that growth. A new facility will present a new and progressive image of your great city.”

Flash flooding risk looms later this week

The Little Rock office of the National Weather Service (NWS) released a hazardous weather outlook Monday which highlighted potential flash flooding concerns for Conway, Faulkner County and large portions of the state on Wednesday and Thursday.

The NWS forecasts heavy rain beginning Wednesday and continuing through Thursday night. While the severe weather threat is low, strong storms on Wednesday could dump some two to four inches of rain over the region.

With portions of the state experiencing drought and the lack of vegetation due to the cold winter months, flash flooding is a significant concern, especially in Conway, a city that has been prone to it in the past. Bobby Kelly III, a spokesman for the city, said the city transportation department has been working for the past three years to prepare for flood events like the one Conway might face later this week.

“[The city] has been working on [its] main storage creeks for some time, [including] Tucker, Stone Dam and Spring creeks,” Kelly said.

Additionally, Kelly said the city has employed a remote control device to clear out underground blockages in problem flooding areas around the city.

Other precautions the city have taken in the past will be used later this week, including barricades in Conway’s downtown area and on South German Lane, Kelly said. He also said that other problem flooding areas in the past, namely Nutter’s Chapel Road and the downtown area will likely be a concern again on Wednesday and Thursday.

Kelly reiterated the dangers of driving through flood waters and encouraged Conway drivers to avoid driving through them. He also said that if citizens see any areas flooding that normally don’t, call the Conway Transportation Department at (501)-450-6165, as there could be blockages.