I think a hearty congratulations needs to go out to all those who worked during the General Election cycle, from early voting to counting absentee ballots to working at one of Madison County’s voting centers.

From Madison County Clerk Tamitha Blocker to a few “rookie” poll workers, to the poll workers who came back for this election during a pandemic, and to the employees of the clerk’s office, I say good job by all.

The times I went to the courthouse during early voting, it was clear that Blocker and her team had things under control. Doing everything that needed to be done, and during a pandemic, no doubt, was not easy.

A total of 3,765 people voted early in Madison County this year. In 2016, the last presidential election, a total of 2,334 people voted early. In addition, more than 500 people had voted in person in the first two hours on Tuesday.

I thought Dena Lois James said it best on Facebook:

“Thank you, thank you, early voter volunteers and county clerk’s office. It was a painless and safe experience. You guys are amazing. Did I say thank you, thank you? I’m so thankful to live in a small town, especially during election time.”

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Did you see the amazing news out of western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma last week?

A new whitewater park is being built inside Oklahoma, just west of Siloam Springs, with about 95 percent of the $33 million project being funded by the Walton Family Foundation.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held last Thursday for the WOKA Whitewater Park. WOKA stands for Water, Oklahoma, Arkansas. It will be built at the old spillway of Lake Frances on the Upper Illinois River.

The park will include a “1200-foot long, 100-foot wide side channel off the river with eight drop-features to provide low-hazard recreation for well-equipped, responsible wave action for kayakers, surfers, and tubers of all skill levels,” a news release said. Construction is expected to be completed in 2023.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said, “The innovative partnership of Siloam Springs, The Walton Family Foundation, the Grand River Dam Authority, and the states of Oklahoma and Arkansas demonstrates the possibilities when non-profits and public sectors combine resources. WOKA will entertain Arkansans, attract visitors from other states and encourage people to enjoy the natural beauty of the outdoors.”

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The Harringtons had to say goodbye to our beloved dog Lucky last week. The rescue mini-weenie developed severe back and spine issues. Watching the pain he was in made the choice to let him go an obvious one, but it was rugged nonetheless.

In his short 6.5 years, Lucky chased hundreds of squirrels, ran thousands of miles in his back yard, and dug plenty of holes. Lucky spent the night at Beaver Lake, Devil’s Den, White Rock and other wonderful spots. He even visited Oklahoma and Missouri and spent a Fourth of July in a Eureka Springs hotel away from the noise of his home neighborhood.

The great folks here at The Record made a donation in his memory to Paws & Claws in Huntsville. I saw on the shelter’s Facebook page that part of the donation sponsored the adoption fee, vaccines and spay for Edith, a dog that was abandoned along with others that were rescued recently.

I think Lucky would have approved.

The gesture was a beautiful one by my employer and co-workers.