As we enter 2022 we are still dealing with Covid 19 and its variants. The surge in infections has increased the demand on our health providers. Continuing personal safe practices regarding our individual health is extremely important. Mask wearing, social distancing, and vaccinations are advisable. When reviewing the Arkansas Department of Health website; I found that the percentage of fully vaccinated individuals in the surrounding counties were as follows: Fulton—31%, Independence—43%, Izard—37%, Lawrence—47%, Randolph—42%, and Sharp—35%.
Thanks to all the homeowners and businesses who took the time and effort to light up their property during the holiday season. Such display of Christmas spirit was definitely enjoyable for the viewing public. Also, congratulations to the winners in lighting contest. Those displays were extra special. I realize the stormy weather prior to Christmas presented a problem for some displays but the commitment to do the best you could under the circumstances was much appreciated.
Although the weather was unusual for this time of year, we enjoyed a sunny and warm Christmas day. However, the New Year promises more of the normal for this time of year. Hopefully, we will not experience significant snowfall or issues with freezing weather. Our Street Department is prepared to deal with snow removal. Under normal operations access from first responder locations are plowed first, then main roadways, with residential streets being the last to be plowed. The city is divided into four quadrants for snow plow operations. For new residents, Iroquois Dr (Hwy 175) is maintained by ARDOT crews throughout the year and the same holds true for snowplowing.
At the December City Council meeting, discussion occurred on a one-cent sales tax proposal which will be voted upon by the council at their February meeting. If the proposal is adopted then the issue will be presented to the voters during the May election. Also, at that meeting the retirement of four firefighters was announced. These four plus a police officer, who dutifully served our community, were later honored at the employee Christmas luncheon hosted by the Mayor the following week. All these men have combined to serve this community for a very long time. However, I wish to single out our retiring Fire Chief, Johnny Pendarvis who was a firefighter for 34 years. He is the only employee, who has the longest period of employment of any employee before and after we became an incorporated city. We wish them all the best for the future. The new Fire Chief will be Kal Dienst who is currently a Captain in the department plus training officer and Sharp County Fire Marshal.
As we progress through 2022, all of us must work together to meet the challenges ahead and continue to make the City of Cherokee Village a community and a place we enjoy.