Things don’t ever stay the same. The world is always changing, and most of the time it is for the better.

One of the largest challenges we have faced this year is the 2020 Census. I have never been as involved in a census before. The census occurs every 10 years, and an accurate count benefits all of us in turn-back money from the federal government. Thanks to all that have been involved in this effort, especially the mayors and the various committees. The Faulkner County Census Committee was led by Lori Case Melton of 1st Community Bank of Conway, and this committee’s efforts kept Faulkner County number one in the state of Arkansas for the self-response rate all year long. This will prove to be beneficial to our county over the next 10 years. Sept. 30 is the last day to be counted, unless Congress extends this date. By law, everyone is responsible for answering the census. Do your part. An undercount of a thousand people will result in a loss of $20 million in the next 10 years for Faulkner County.

We are still dealing with the aftermath of the 2019 flood. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is working with the levee board to rebuild the Lollie Levee. We are proud that the levee held during the 2019 flood, but it needs a lot of permanent repairs. The Corp has taken on this cost and should have it completed before the end of the year. There were less than 2 feet of the original levee that held the Arkansas River from flooding several thousand acres. This 2 feet of ground is sacred, and will be memorialized. I hope I never see another 2019 flood. Also, my advice to all, “Don’t build in the flood plain!” It will happen again, even if it took over 90 years since the last big one.

As of this writing, we have 321 COVID-19 active cases in Faulkner County. Please don’t let your guard down. We are all in this together, with no end in sight. We have had over 2,300 cases total in our county. It is present. Please wear your mask, social distance and wash your hands. We can get through this. Please check on others during this time. Just offer to pick up something or even fix something for them. A good meal would be great.

October is “Clean Up Faulkner County Month” in honor of Stanley Russ. He believed that trash speaks for us when no one is around. Mr. Russ told me keeping our community clean was the best exercise he could get and it made a difference. We hope that the public will use this month to help the county get rid of trash and items that need to be disposed of. On Oct. 9, at the fairgrounds, electronics (E-waste) can be dropped off at no cost. This service is paid for by Faulkner County Solid Waste District. Please take advantage of this opportunity.

This Saturday, Sept. 26, the Faulkner County Premium Sale will be held at the Fairgrounds at 10 a.m. We were able to have the Junior Livestock Show, but no County Fair. To help reward kids, their projects will be on display at this auction. It may be the Eighth Wonder of the World to see a young person get premium money for their efforts in a tough year. You can come and support these young people, bid, or just see big smiles on display. It does benefit 4-H and FFA youth with costs, next year’s projects and helps them go to college. They are the future. Show your support to them and give something back to help young people.

Finally, please commit to go and vote on Nov. 3. Your vote counts. Please don’t be passive. There is a lot to be proud of in Faulkner County. That’s why I am proud to live here.

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