Friday, April 21, 2017
Today at approximately 11:00 a.m., the Hot Springs Police and Fire Departments responded to a report of a bomb threat in the 1400 block of Central Avenue, specifically at the offices of Crye-Leike Realtors.
The surrounding two-block area was barricaded as HSPD called in the bomb squad as well as the K-9 unit to search the area for explosives. A thorough search revealed no threat to the offices and employees were allowed back into the location. Northern traffic flow on Central Avenue was opened first followed by the southbound lanes and the adjacent cross streets. Search took about an hour.
The location of this threat is the office of City Director of District 5, Rick Ramick, and has been the site of ongoing protests since April 3rd. Residents have been calling for the resignation of Director Ramick for months. Arkansas Herald conducted an exclusive investigative expose on February 20th. On this date and several days prior, Ramick was observed coming and going to and from the county residence. On February 20th he was seen rolling his Garland County-issued trash receptacle to the curb at his apparent residence at 158 Paddock Point. Paddock Point is part of Enclave B which was annexed into the city in 2016 but has remained outside of the city limits due to ongoing litigation.
During the last 2016 City Board of Directors meeting in December, the board voted unanimously to annex additional lands, specifically Enclaves C and D. This was met with the same opposition as that of Enclave B resulting in petitions produced to allow a public vote. On March 7th, the board was slated to set a date for public vote but in a turn of events, voted instead to vacate the annexation of Enclaves C and D.
Several city and county residents have voiced concern that Director Ramick is serving illegally as the director of his district. They allege that Ramick voted to annex the area of Enclave B where he resides in the Paddock Point home but that he was ineligible. Ramick contends that he has “dual residency” with a condominium inside the city limits.
No further details of the threat were available but will be reported as soon as they become available.
Monday morning at 10 a.m. protesters carried signs outside of Crye Leike Realty demanding the resignation of District 5 City Director Rick Ramick. Protesters feel that Ramick is ineligible for serving as City Director since he resides at a home on Paddock Pointe in proposed Enclave B which is still in the county, not the city. Ramick interviewed with us weeks ago claiming to have dual residency in both a city and a county address. Click on the video to hear the words of those who oppose him.
by Brenda Brandenburg, staff writer
More than two dozen citizens gathered at City Hall today to voice their opposition to several issues recently invoked by the local City Board of Directors. The event was “not just about annexation” according to Cliff Jackson, one of the organizers. “It’s about Voting Rights and Civil Rights”, he went on to explain.
Things became quite loud and even a bit rowdy with attendees chanting “Protect Voting Rights…Remember Guy Siratt…Remember W. L. Robinson… City Manager Resign… David Frasher Resign–You’re Violating Our Civil Rights, Resign!” Some of this was in regard to the disqualification of numerous signatures on petitions gathered to oppose the city’s annexation of privately-owned county land. It is not known whether the city approved or rejected Robinson’s signature or if it is among 2,000 supplemental signatures not processed. However, the nitpicking mistake–scratching out the “19” in “1917” as done by Siratt— is similar to other petty mistakes the city utilized to reject signatures and deny voting rights.
Hot Springs Police Officer Sam Spencer was stationed at the event and handled the crowd with grace and professionalism as witnessed by the cameraman and crew of the Arkansas Herald. Here’s to you, Officer Spencer! You’re an asset to our community and a fine example of heroism.
The group says they plan more gatherings to eventually force the leaders to do the “right thing” or be voted out.
Dear City of Hot Springs Mayor, Board of Directors and City Manager:
Tonight is a very important night to many of us here in Hot Springs. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and more will line the street to attend our Annual Christmas Parade along famous Central Avenue. Chests will puff with pride and joy. The eyes of children will light up the darkness of the night amidst the colorful lights of the season. It will be a magical night!
Or will it?
Unfortunately, there are many who are struggling with the painful decision to attend the parade or miss it in order to be present at the regularly scheduled Board of Directors meeting. The Board of Director’s meeting will address the very controversial issue of “forced annexation” and is the only time that the public can offer comments prior to the Board’s vote. So, we ask, is this intentional?
The Board canceled two regularly scheduled meetings this year due to lack of agenda items. Therefore, the public is aware that cancelations and rescheduling can and does occur.
Is the Board using the scheduling conflict to its advantage? One might think that this is like the Grinch attempting to steal Christmas or in this instance, the Board trying to “steal parts of Garland County” by reducing the number of people who attend and voice their opposition. Is this annexation being imposed to prosper the natural growth of our city or is it an immoral, conscious effort to usurp the power of the people?
Will this be the Board of Director’s Christmas gift to the citizens of Hot Springs and Garland County? Surely not. Remember how the story ends.
And may your hearts grow three sizes tonight!