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By Martin Couch
Campaign sign vandalism has become quite a political weapon this election year. In Faulkner County where[more] there have been reports of signs being burned, stolen or dug up and tossed away.
Add Bryant to the list of places in Arkansas where such vandalism has taken place, after Ward 3 alderman Adrian Henley reported 14 of his campaign signs were spray-painted.
"It's just wrong," Henley said. "They were spray-painted on the front and back so this means they had to go in the backyards of some of these houses."
With potential criminal trespassing and vandalism charges, no one has been caught.
"We have increased patrol in those areas," Bryant mayor Jill Dabbs said. "It's sad to see this happen in any campaign, but unfortunately campaign sign vandalism is not uncommon. If the vandals are caught they will be charged."
Henley's opponent in the upcoming election, Lee Crow, stated he had not noticed any of his signs being damaged.
"At this time I have no leads on who might have done this," Henley said. "I have no doubt that this was a politically motivated person, because no other signs were vandalized."
Henley said he spoke to residents where his signs were spray-painted.
"They are just frightened that whoever did this might do it again," he said. "Most of the people in this neighborhood are elderly and are very disappointed in the unprofessionalism of whomever did this."
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Crow was pleased with his performance at the debate held on Tuesday at the Royal Theater in Benton.
Crow, who is running for Ward 3, Position 1, debated against Bryant Alderman Adrian Henley.
"I was asked about Raymar Road south and I told them, while I think it's important to the future growth of Bryant, we need to focus on existing projects," Crow said.
He referred to street department and planning commission projects at Raymar Road north, Woodland Park Drive and Prickett Road, and Springhill Road.
"Because of the dynamics, those projects would add to the city," Crow said.
Crow was also asked about special needs children and their families.
"I mentioned my desire to see us get 100 percent accessible playground equipment for disabled or special needs children," he said.
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Ward 1 Alderman Scott Curtis thinks the AMI meter project is just what Bryant needs.
"The meters cost less themselves than the current ones, which saves customers money," Curtis said.
He made three other points about the "smart-meters."
"They will pay for themselves in two to three years," Curtis said. "There is lost revenue now due to the inaccuracy of the meters we have."
Curtis also said the AMI meters would save on labor costs by reducing the number of employees from three to one.
"Meters will not be individually read each month," he said. "Instead, they will be read each day at midnight. You won't have to wait 30 days to determine if you have a leak. You get accurate, instant data."
Curtis also said that he believed customer complaints would be reduced.
He also has heard discussions from the street committee and recommendations for the Raymar north and Raymar south street projects.
"Raymar runs east and west and Raymar overpass runs north and south," Curtis said.
The Raymar south project was the subject of discussions at a debate forum recently held for Bryant candidates for City Council. The project north of the interstate has been under advisement from the city planning commission and the street committee for the past year and development of that area could be nearing a starting point.