Faulkner County is strong. And what's more impressive, is that its residents prove it every day. But no amount of strength and togetherness can keep the Arkansas River's waters from rising.
It's going to be bad for some of our neighbors. Luckily, we have received several days' notice for those along the river to know they will need to leave their homes for the weekend.
One woman likely will come home to nothing.
In August 2016, I had the opportunity to learn about a woman who has already lost much of her property due to a whirlpool pulling away chunks of her land.
This kind woman lives on Jones Lane, which is located off Easterwood Point Road and about seven miles out of Mayflower. Her beautiful home sits along the Arkansas River, and through the years, she has watched her backyard disappear.
When she leaves for the weekend to stay safe, this woman most likely will return to find the rest of her home has been swept away by the rising waters. Hopefully, she won't have to undergo such a traumatic incident. However, when I visited with the Faulkner County woman in 2016, a large portion of the woman's property had already vanished.
As of Saturday, only about 10 feet of land remained between her property and the river.
Back in 2016, County Judge Jim Baker brought Congressman French Hill to the Faulkner County property, stating the resident was "in dire need of help."
About 60 feet of the property, which sits along the Arkansas River, was washed away during the flooding in December 2015 and January 2016 due to erosion caused by a whirlpool. The whirlpool next to the property was caused by poor bank stabilization after the Army Corps of Engineers installed dikes in the river about 30 years ago. Overtime, issues in the area increased.
As the county judge, he said there wasn't much he could do.
"I'm just looking at what I can do to help," he said at the time.
The Soil Conversation Service (SCS) said it would fund 75% of the project, but that would mean the Faulkner County woman, who already had lost her husband, would be forced to come up with the remaining 25% of costs.
The project would have included installing a rock and concrete barrier to keep the waters from creating a whirlpool that would damage the property as well as laying dirt to replace the lost land. The county offered to pay the landowner's side of the deal by improving and widening the road, but it appears the SCS did not accept the plea.
Here we are years later, and this woman's plea for help has not yet been fulfilled. Now, she has to face the harsh reality that she may soon be homeless. That's heartbreaking.
It's encouraging to see so many residents have stepped up to the plate to help fill sandbags for those in need. Many of the individuals have never met, but they have come together to do goon in a time of need.
Know of a local resident who deserves recognition, have a question regarding a Faulkner County issue or want to provide a news tip? Contact Log Cabin Democrat reporter Marisa Hicks via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 501-505-1277. Hicks has served on the LCD’s team for three years as the local crime reporter.