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Council hears of new female youth program

Tara Shephard spoke to the Lonoke City Council on Monday night about a new girls mentoring program for Lonoke County.

Shephard, who is a 1993 graduate of Lonoke High School, is looking to start a weekend enrichment program for girls in her former hometown. She said she has applied for a Department of Youth Services grant to help fund the program. Shephard is a board director for the Little Rock School Board and a consultant with the National Girls Institute (NGI).

According to Shepard, more than 500 female youth in Lonoke are considered to be “at risk girls.” She said young females are the fastest growing group in the justice system today. Shephard said people would be amazed by the number of underage girls with felony conventions to date.

With a platform for women and girls, Shephard said her goals for the mentoring program is to offer and expose these girls to colleges, volunteer community service, and teaching gender base prevention and response tactic classes. She said the program will address social and emotion issues in girls’ lives that negatively impact their ability to become educated, economically independent, future professional women of Arkansas.

“I’m trying to come back and give back to the community that raised me,” Shephard said.

Shephard said the Lonoke based program will focus on 12 girls in Lonoke County ages 11-18. She said she is need of a small space to use for four hours one Saturday each month. The program is scheduled to start by June 1.

No action was taken by the council, but Mayor Wayne McGee told Shephard he would find a location for her to meet before the program is up and running.

In other city business, Public Works superintendent Ron Gosnell said the back tires on the John Deere tractor are in need of replacing. He said he received two identical quotes of $1,294 from both Proctor Tire and Lonoke Tire of Lonoke. Gosnell said since the front tires were previously purchased from Lonoke Tire and Lube, to support both local businesses, it is his recommendation that the back tires be purchased from Proctor Tire. Aldermen Janie Durning, Wendell Walker, Efrem Jones, Raymond Hatton, Michael Florence and Koy Butler accepted Gosnell’s recommendation to purchase two tires from Proctor Tire of Lonoke for $1,294. Pat Howell opposed the vote.

Gosnell also presented material on an asphalt rejuvenator option for some city streets. He said he would like to try the rejuvenation sealer on some of the city streets in need of the least amount of repairs.

An analogy of the rejuvenator, according to an email by Brian Becker at Time Striping, Inc of Van Buren is, “if your hands are dry and cracked you apply location to put oils back in, to soften and protect them,” the email said. “You couldn’t put make-up on them to hide the problem. Rejuvenator is like lotion and seal coat is like makeup just painted on. On the better pavements, I believe this option gets you the most for the money.”

Gosnell said if the rejuvenator works, it would be financially beneficial when the city begins looking into repaving streets.

Aldermen Pat Howell, Janie Durning, Wendell Walker, Efrem Jones, Michael Florence and Koy Butler approved to spend $14,500 to have rejuvenator applied to 100,000 square feet of city streets. Raymond Hatton opposed.

Lonoke Police Chief Mike Wilson said equipment from the old police cars, which was to be installed into the new Impalas, does not fit. He said the although the current equipment does not fit, it will be kept for installation in other vehicles at a later date. The council unanimously voted to purchase equipment for the cars in the amount of $11,215.69 from Fleet Safety Equipment in North Little Rock.

The council agreed to have the equipment cost included in a loan for the vehicle purchases. The total loan cost will be $59,609.69. By unanimous vote, the council approved by ordinance the purchase and securing of the five year loan through Lonoke Banking Center. Monthly payments will be $1077.71.

Also for police department business, the council also unanimously voted to spend $1.987 with Western Waterproofing Company of Mabelvale to make necessary repair to the dispatch window at the police department.

In other business, the council unanimously voted to:

-Purchase 300 foot of chain link fencing for the water plant in the amount of $1,200.

-Purchase piping and supplies for $5,150 from WPS Wholesale Pump and Supply of Hot Springs.

- Accept the bid of $14,175 from Pinnacle Structures of Cabot for a the new animal shelter.

- Accept the lowest bid from Augustine Concrete in the amount of $18,000 for concrete work at the new animal shelter.

- Spend $2,000 to raise the weir at the waste water plant

- Spend $2,600 for a check valve at the water plant.

- Spend $19,525 for the purchase of fire department equipment

- Accept the bid of $3,050 from Construction Management and Maintenance Company of North Little Rock for stop light repair.

- Put the home of Doyle and Shannon Bridges, located at 120 Sharon St on the condemnation list.

- Adopt and enact, by ordinance, a new code of ordinances for the city to provide for the repeal of certain ordinances not included, except as expressly provided. (codification)

Danny Whitehurst was absent from the meeting. The next Lonoke City Council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on May 12 in the courtroom at city hall.

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