Mayor Jimmy Clark approved a request from Heber Springs Police Chief Brian Haile to purchase 16 AR-15 rifles at $800 each Haile cited “the current political environment” as part of his reasoning for the request in a letter to the city.
Heber Springs city council members also approved Haile’s request for three new, fully outfitted Dodge Durangos for four payments of $30,773 annually over four years. These units would replace three vehicles in the department’s aging fleet. Every patrol car has dual mounts for shotguns and the AR-15 rifles. The shotguns the department currently uses are 30 years old, and are on loan from the Department of Defense, Haile told the council.
Additionally Haile told the city council that during the course of the large drug bust recently at a Heber Springs hotel, the suspects admitted to selling 5-6 pounds of meth per week in the area.
The Heber Springs Police Department was busy during March, dealing with a total of 243 incidents including 39 felony arrests, 25 juvenile arrests, and 130 tickets issued. There were two stolen vehicle calls this month, including one that involved a ten-car pursuit that ended just north of El Paso in White County, with aid from the Arkansas State Police and the White County Sheriff’s Department. The suspect was a parolee with outstanding warrants. He was air-lifted to hospitals in Little Rock where he was released the following morning. The SWAT team is being equipped with tear-gas and a 37 mm launcher, masks, and flash-bang grenades to use this summer during a training session in June.
Due to new federal regulations, the Heber Springs Municipal Airport has to extend it’s overrun area from 100 feet to 300 feet. Overruns are unpaved areas beyond the paved runway if pilots need it to completely stop the aircraft. Fifty-three years ago 100 feet of overrun was the standard, but now the Federal Aviation Administration wants to see 300 feet of overrun.
Charlie Evans, manager of the airport, explained overruns are like the runaway truck lane seen on some mountain roadways. The Heber Springs city council approved that project along with one that would improve runway safety lighting. Currently, no fixed wing aircraft can land at the airport at night on the 4,000 foot runway.
The city council approved a resolution to allow the mayor to apply for a USDA grant of $50,000 to help with the cost of acquiring, constructing, enlarging, improving, and or extending it’s municipal fire department, fire/rescue vehicles, and equipment.
In March the street department resumed with leaf and limb pickup. To clarify, residents of Heber Springs can burn limbs and leaf piles generated from the property.
Animal control had a busy month also. Of 127 actions taken, 28 were for animals at large. Five wild animals were captured, 15 animals were taken to the shelter, seven were returned to their owners. Six court summons and 11 warnings were issued.
The Heber Springs Fire Department reported 144 calls during March, with 120 being rescue and emergency medical service. There were six service calls, six good intent calls, and six false alarms. There were four fires.
In other business, Heber Springs will be getting three new businesses soon.
Burke’s Outlet which sells clothing and decor on Hwy. 25, Golden Anchor Storage, located at 35 Park Road and Old Town Espresso, at 1220 Hwy. 25 B. North.
The council approved having an urban deer hunt (archery only) within the city limits, during the normal Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Bow Season which is scheduled for Sept. 1, 2021 through Feb. 28, 2022.
Hunters will have to have a valid Arkansas hunting license and hunter education card (for those born after 1968), and only compound or crossbows may be used. Hunters must have written permission to hunt anywhere. They must shoot from a stand at least 10 feet above the ground, the first deer must be a doe, and the first deer goes to feed the hungry in Arkansas. Deer must be covered with a poly tarp before and after school hours.
No cleaning station will be provided by the city and additional tags can be purchased five at a time with a driver’s license and certificate of completion of hunter education class, at the Public Works Office, 725 S, 4th Street from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information call (501) 362-5554.
Last year approximately 30 deer were harvested in the city limits last year.
In closing the meeting, the mayor reminded everyone to keep alderman Paul Muse in their prayers. He is in a Little Rock hospital following heart surgery.