Allen Dodson took over as Faulkner County Judge in January after his predecessor, Preston Scroggin, was made executive director of the state Livestock and Poultry Commission, and he didn’t have to wait long for his first calamity.
One morning at the end of March, residents of a quiet Mayflower neighborhood woke up with thousands of gallons of oil in their backyards, flowing down their streets, etc. — a disaster that made the front page of this newspaper and news outlets around the country.
The Pegasus pipeline spill in Mayflower was bad, but, long story short, quick thinking and good judgment by Dodson, along with county road foreman Glenn Wilhite, Mike Winter and Mark Ledbetter of the Conway Fire Department, Sheila McGee with the Faulkner County Office of Emergency Management and any number of other people saved Lake Conway.
For someone like Dodson, who made it through both Navy flight school and law school, hard questions wanting quick answers weren’t a new thing, and under his direction good people got the job done in a hurry. They dammed a creek with clever underflow dikes to keep the oil there and at one point were moving a million gallons of water a minute out of the cove to keep up with heavy rains. It took a lot of work, and locks may have been cut at nearby businesses to get what they needed, but they saved the lake.
And the Christmas lights at the courthouse look awfully good too — and we’ve yet to hear the first complaint about the county’s Christmas tree.