A Look Around The Tri-Lakes Area: February 8, 2016

BAXTER COUNTY, Ark. – A district judge has ordered Baxter County, Arkansas to pay roughly 52-thousand dollars to cover attorney fees in the nativity scene lawsuit.
Last year, a district judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs – The American Humanist Association and local resident, Dessa Blackthorn – who claimed the nativity scene on the Baxter County lawn was unconstitutional.
County officials said they would only allow items deemed secular by the court to be placed on the courthouse lawn, going forward.
Baxter County Judge, Mickey Pendergrass says the attorney fees will be covered by the Arkansas Association of Counties Risk Management Fund.
In other words, Pendergrass says, the taxpayers of Baxter County will not be responsible for the attorney costs.
NEWTON COUNTY, Ark. – The Newton County Sheriff’s Department says a man has been arrested for attempting to sell stolen livestock.
Investigators says Ronald Shaver, 44, of Compton, Arkansas recently attempted to sell cattle that were stolen out of Boone County.
Shaver was arrested for “theft by receiving,” and deputies say stolen cattle were also found on his property.
No word on if investigators believe his arrest is connected to the string of thefts in northern Arkansas last year.
BULL SHOALS, Ark. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be increasing its release from Bull Shoals Dam, opening all 17 spillways roughly one foot.
The total release is expect to be around 30-thousand cubic feet per second, or similar to the release back in January following the Ozark’s most recent flooding event.
The USACE says the increase in water downstream could put strain on boat docks and could disrupt some property owners.
Hydraulic Engineer, Steve Bays, says the USACE needs to regain flood storage in Bull Shoals Lake ahead of the spring rains.
“We’re trying to get the lake down 14 feet,” says Bays. “It has been falling at a rate of over three-quarters of a foot a day.”
“We want to try and get it back to conservation pool,” he says, “so we have the full amount of flood control storage available to us.”
Bays says, weather permitting, the release from the spillways could be reduced around the first of March.

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