Lamar County Courthouse Stock

The Lamar County Courthouse

Lamar County’s 19 volunteer fire departments are to share in $380,000 in American Rescue Act funding approved Monday by county commissioners.

“The fire departments have really been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and they have not been able to sponsor fundraisers as normal for the past two years,” Lamar County Emergency Management Coordinator Quincy Blount said in making a presentation before the court. “Some of the volunteers are having to dip into their own pockets just to buy fuel.”

Commissioners voted to allocate the funds from the $4.5 million already received of an expected $9 million in federal funds, the county’s share of a $9 trillion pandemic relief measure established by Congress and signed into law by President Joseph Biden in March. Of the total, $65.1 billion is set aside to help county governments cover costs associated with the Covid-19 pandemic and to support economic recovery.

The court charged the Lamar County Volunteer Firefighters Association, made up of the 19 fire chiefs, with the responsibility to determine how much each of the volunteer departments is to receive.

Commissioners heard from Lamar County 4-H Club President Cadie Gray of Prairiland High School and Reese Bassano, also of Prairiland FFA, talk about the club’s upcoming community service projects in conjunction with National 4-H Week, to be celebrated Oct. 3-9. Commissioners issued a proclamation in recognition of the observance.

“On Oct. 9 we will begin painting at the fairgrounds as a community service project,” Gray said.

Bassano shared that the club also will be preparing and delivering food to intensive care nurses at Paris Regional Medical Center.

“You know, they have to work such long hours, and often can’t leave to go get food, so that’s something they really deserve, and that they would appreciate,” Bassano said. “We’re going to do that for them.”

In response to a request from Paris Main Street Director Cheri Bedford, commissioners approved the city’s use of the courthouse parking lot as a staging area for vendors for the Festival of Pumpkins, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 22.

Commissioners approved the final plat of four 2.5-acre lots, a part of a 10-acre tract located near Powderly on the north side of CR 3370 and west of FM 1499. The court also agreed to fund a portion of a Department of Family and Protective Services staff member to serve the county, issued a memorandum of understanding for disaster services with Choctaw County in Oklahoma and an interlocal agreement with Hopkins, Delta and Franklin counties for the purpose of a grant application for volunteer firefighter communication equipment.

The court approved sheriff and constable fee schedules for the coming year as well as $10 filing fees to fund preservation and restoration of county and district clerk records.

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at

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