Politics

Hempstead County Quorum Court Hears from Sheriff on Positive COVID-19 Case, County Judge Gives Update on New Courthouse at May Meeting

The Hempstead County Quorum Court met for a short meeting last Thursday. Justice James Griffin suggested that the Court table the handbook until the June meeting since it won’t be enforced until the first of the year. He stated that there are a few things that still need to be done and it would be better if all Justices were present and at the table to go over them. Griffin made the motion and the Justices voted to table the handbook until June.

Peggy Lloyd spoke to the Court, asking them to consider using grants from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program to take care of issues at the existing courthouse when the new courthouse is completed. She stated that she is an experienced grant writer and offered her assistance to help write the grants. She urged the court to consider this, as it is free money and as long as the building is owned by the county, they would be eligible for the grants. The old courthouse could provide additional storage for records, as well as preserve the history of the building. Judge Jerry Crane stated that they would consider her request.

Judge Jerry Crane shared that they have started moving everything out of the new courthouse, adding that some things will be sold and some will be used. He said that everything is going good and they are moving forward. Crane said he appreciates everyone that has assisted in this process and is glad to see things moving forward.  

Sheriff James Singleton notified the court that he has 5 deputies out at this time due to COVID-19. He stated that the Rural Health Clinic and the Bobcat Clinic provided tests to employees earlier in the week and the results came back with one positive. Then earlier on Thursday, 4 deputies responded to a call in Saratoga and were exposed to an individual who had tested positive for COVID-19. Singleton stated that the deputy that has tested positive has been sent home for 14 days and that the deputies who were exposed are in quarantine for 14 days or until the test results are received. He said that they will continue to take precautions. The lobby and the jail has been locked down and they are regularly sanitizing the jail and offices. Justice Jesse Henry asked if they would be able to receive assistance from other forces since the Sheriff’s office was short and Singleton stated that the City and State Police as well as the task force and several others would be available to assist them, but made the court aware that the Sheriff Office overtime would go up.

Judge Jerry Crane stated that the courthouse is still locked down and they plan to give it another week or so before they open it back up. Crane said they they don’t want to rush back into things and will not let down their guard when they open back up.

The meeting was adjourned and the Court will meet again the last week of June.

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