Today’s headline news in Arkansas includes the following:
• According to the Associated Press, the Arkansas Forestry Commission says burn bans remain in force in seven counties in southern Arkansas. The state’s southern tier of counties has been hit hard by drought this year, and the Forestry Commission says all but one of the counties with burn bans are in the southwest. Chicot County in far southeastern Arkansas is the exception. The other counties under burn bans are Columbia, Hempstead, Lafayette, Little River, Miller and Nevada.
• A state agriculture center in Hope is being honored by the National Weather Service for providing climate observations for 75 years, the AP reports. The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture’s Southwest Research and Extension Center is being honored in a Monday ceremony for its weather-related work. The weather service says having observers on the ground is critical to the collection of weather data and analysis. The station records rainfall, snow depth, soil temperature and evaporation for the weather service.
• The AP reports that Newton County Sheriff Keith Slape says budget cuts have left his department strapped for cash and him asking the public for donations to buy equipment for two new patrol cars. Slape’s “Adopt a Car” program asks businesses, organizations and individuals for donations. Slape declined to say how much has been raised — but two businesses have given $1,500 each and an anonymous donor provided $1,000. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that one of the patrol cars has been fully equipped and the second is in the process of being outfitted. Slape says the donations have also bought reflective vests and rain slickers for deputies, flashlights, and tires for patrol cars. Slape says budget cuts have reduced the sheriff’s office budget from about $310,000 in 2007 to about $205,000 last year.