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JPs hear update on crime, hospital

The Van Buren County Quorum Court heard about hospital expansion and crime in the county at its regular meeting last week.

Donnie Collins, chairman of the County Hospital Board of Governors, updated the board on construction. He said the project “is moving along better.” The dry weather has helped builders make headway at the south end of the building and bricks are going up and utilities lines are going in, he said.

Collins reminded the Quorum Court that there is a reception set for 2-4 p.m. Thursday, June 28, to welcome new CEO for Ozark Health Medical Center, David Deaton. The reception is open to the public.

Also at the June 21 meeting, Sheriff Scott Bradley issued a caution to county residents to “lock up your stuff.” He said the county has seen more thefts recently than in a long time. Bradley said his three investigators can’t keep up.

“It’s hard times right now and people are desperate,” Bradley said. Currently, said, there are about 40 people in jail.

JPs also heard from audience member Robert Reed, who said he had been looking into the county’s Code Red emergency warning system. He said the county has a good system but no one knows about it. Reed said 70 percent of the county is not signed up to receive the weather warnings.

Justice of the Peace John Harmon noted that the newspaper and radio station had carried stories on Code Red, and said, “You can’t make people take care of themselves.”

County Judge Roger Hooper said the county would make an effort to spread word of the system.

Hooper also told the JPs that the county has received a grant of $89,600 for work on the historic County Courthouse. The grant is from the state Department of Heritage.

The next meeting of the Quorum Court is set for 7 p.m. July 19 at the County Courthouse Annex. The meeting is open to the public.

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