Helena-West Helena mayor reaches out to farmers to help clear icy roads

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HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — Snow and ice creating a very dangerous situation in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, where in some neighborhoods’ ambulances are unable to get to people who need them. There just aren’t enough city vehicles equipped to clear streets. So, the mayor sent out call to area farmers for help.

“We don’t have the major equipment like the highway department have. We’re actually using our backhoe to get out and scrape the streets,” said Bobby Jones, director of Helena-West Helena Public Works.

In one case an ambulance was unable to make a call to the home of Joseph and Katherine dean on Arkansas Street, one of the highest spots in the city.

“She called me this morning and said the ambulance couldn’t get there to pick up her husband, who’s taking dialysis daily,” Jones said. “So, what we’re going to do is try to get over there and clear it out so the ambulance can be able to get to him.”

One of the city’s backhoes got to work clearing the street, but it was obvious more help would be needed.

So, Friday morning, the mayor sent out a call for help to area farmers asking them to lend a hand to clear streets.

Phillips County farmer John Bryant brought his monster of a tractor, equipped with a scraper and drove from his farm to the city.

“We got a tractor here trying to help them clear the roads, trying to get ambulance service up the road,” Bryant said.

The earth rumbling machine was a very pleasing site and sound to Katherine Dean.

“Happy, very happy, yeah,” Dean said. “So, therefore, we wouldn’t be trying to bother people about coming and picking him up, and if we can just get this road cleared, then we can get him to dialysis.”

Hunter Ginn, a volunteer firefighter who leaves in a few days for Air National Guard basic training, couldn’t turn down the chance to help wherever he’s needed.

“It’s pretty bad if you ain’t got four-wheel drive,” Ginn said. “But I got lucky to have my truck, so I try to help people out when I can.”

The mayor tells us a shelter has been set up at the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office.

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