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WASHINGTON COUNTY'S TERRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD WEEK

Updated: Mar 31



  • 🚩County Judge Deakins announced permanent closure of our Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU). UAMS, the current director of the CSU, notified the county it was terminating its contract as of 6/30/24.  This is a tragedy and the community must step in and find solutions and do all we can to keep the CSU open and operating.  The decision to close this facility hurts our most vulnerable community members.  I will have more on this next week after we receive documents and communications through the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act which were submitted Friday.

  • 🎌Washington County was sued (AGAIN) for alleged violations of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (AFOIA).  Want to know more about the case?  Here’s the complaint: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jIqJFgZ7iDl_3-JKrhB6VBDqPbn7Hrs8/view?usp=sharing.  The plaintiff is represented by attorney Joey McCutcheon of Fort Smith.  Are we ever going to learn?  Your tax dollars are paying for these lawsuits.

  • 🚩County Judge Deakins sent a letter to the Arkansas Department of Corrections notifying them he was exercising an option to cancel the lease with the state for the Women’s Community Correctional Center located on College Avenue.  Again, this would be very harmful to our community.  Here are my thoughts on this and some issues to consider.  Read his letter hereHere’s where the Quorum Court was notified.


JP COGER’S WEEKLY WINDOW



UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS THIS WEEK IN WASHINGTON COUNTY GOVERNMENT:

🌟County Services Committee of the Washington County Quorum Court meets Monday 4/1/24 at 6:00 pm, Quorum Court Room, WC Courthouse.  In person only.  The meeting will be livestreamed on the county’s YouTube channel here:   https://www.youtube.com/user/washcoar.


We’ll be considering for the first time a new ordinance updating zoning rules and regulations for unincorporated areas of the county.   Zoning ordinances are important tools for our local government to manage land use, promote orderly development, public safety, and enhance and/or preserve quality of life in communities. You can read more here


 AGENDA FOR COUNTY SERVICES. (ALSO INCLUDES CHANGES TO DRUG FREE WORKPLACE POLICY)

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THINGS TO KNOW AND THINGS TO DO:


  The WC Planning Board met last Thursday.  Watch the video of the meeting and learn what decisions the PB made and which developments were approved:  https://www.youtube.com/live/p3wJg0bpsO0?si=UNb9a6O9KaBjKPsr

These decisions may impact you and your neighborhood.


  The Washington County Library Board met Friday.  Here’s a link to the meeting:  https://www.youtube.com/live/7FnRd8lfhp0?si=UebQxXSac6iIi-GQ

Among other things, we learned that former Senator Jason Rapart has sent the Library Board a letter asking if we have specific books in our library which could be a preliminary move to cut funding.      







 Do you want to help us save the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (AFOIA)?  I will be collecting signatures each Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and each Thursday, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, in the parking lot at 224 N East Avenue, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fayetteville.  IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SIGNED, PLEASE DO AND PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS TO SIGN.    Want to know more?  WE ALSO NEED VOLUNTEERS TO HELP GATHER SIGNATURES. LET ME KNOW IF YOU WANT TO HELP. ejcoger@gmail.com



  PLEASE go to YouTube and sign up for Washington County’s YouTube channel.  Subscribe and be informed.  You can do that here: https://www.youtube.com/@washcoar

  • Go back and watch meetings at your leisure and make notes.  If you have questions, ask me.

  • We must grow our audience. Government always works better when its citizens are informed and involved. You can do that from the comfort of your own home (although we'd love to have you attend meetings in person if you're able).

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   As of 3/30/24, there are at least 748 people incarcerated in the WC Detention Center.  There may be more as this likely does not include what the sheriff calls “restricted bookings” and they can average 100+.   Wanna know more?

Here’s a link to my google spreadsheet where you can click on columns and play around with the data:   


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COUNTY BIDS/REQUESTS FOR PROPOSALS and COUNTY JOB OPENINGS

  Bid 2024-07 for a 2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 for the Assessor’s office.  BIDS are due by 4:00 PM, Monday, April 1, 2024.  Bids will be opened 4/2/24 at 9:30 am in the Fifth Floor Conference Room, WC Courthouse. Here’s the bid packet if anyone is interested:  https://www.washingtoncountyar.gov/Home/Components/RFP/RFP/314/1117

  Here’s a link to current job openings in Washington County government.  You can always check the county’s website under “Human Resources” https://www.washingtoncountyar.gov/government/departments-f-z/human-resources/job-postings

You can fill out an online application, see salary ranges and more.   






 

WANT TO BECOME INVOLVED?

  • ATTEND AS MANY MEETINGS OF THE QUORUM COURT AS YOU CAN.  CHECK MY WEBSITE WWW.BETHCOGER.COM FOR DATES AND TIMES.   COUNTY SERVICES COMMITTEE MEETS MONDAY, APRIL 1, 2024 6:00 PM.

  • CONTACT JUDGE DEAKINS AND TELL HIM YOU WANT OUR CRISIS STABILIZATION UNIT TO REMAIN OPEN AND ASK HIM TO GET TO WORK ON FINDING ANOTHER VENDOR BECAUSE WE CAN DO HARD THINGS.

  •  Continue to ask Judge Deakins to appoint members to the CJCC and get that group up and running! This is too important. If you haven’t called, please do so, or send email, or go by the courthouse and speak to the judge in person.  THE MAJORITY ON THE COURT VOTED AGAINST MY ORDINANCE TO EXPAND THE BASE FOR CJCC MEMBERSHIP.  WHAT’S NEXT?  WHY WON’T JUDGE DEAKINS APPOINT MEMBERS AND ACTIVATE THIS COMMITTEE AND LET IT GET TO WORK?  ASK HIM.

  • Contact your JP and set up a time to meet them for coffee or just to get together.  Become a regular voice in their ear and urge them to support criminal justice reform and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.  That’s how I got started advocating to the court back in 2019. CAN YOU TAKE AN HOUR OR TWO AND MEET WITH YOUR JP AND SHARE YOUR CONCERNS OR COMMENTS, OR WHATEVER YOUR THOUGHTS ARE.

  • Share this Newsletter with your friends and neighbors!

  • Write letters to the editor.  letters@nwadg.com

  • Do you have a court date in Benton or Washington County? Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition (AJRC)  has a program to train volunteers to offer practical, procedural, and emotional support during your court hearing. From a reassuring check-in before your court date, to standing by your side on the day of court. Everyone deserves to be heard, supported, and understood.

  • To request a Court Support Volunteer, please fill out the Courtside Support Request Form. Questions? Concerns? Reach out to us at arkansasjusticereform@gmail.org.

  • To become a volunteer, contact AJRC at 479-345-1150 or the above email.  They provide training that will help make you a great Court Support Volunteer.

  • Here's link to contact your elected representatives and other county officials: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1tx_nJbsWcStPPtVIzPjzZxd5CBLC06BOUaNuG09JF0c/edit?usp=sharing

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