The St. Paul Town council last week approved Linda Grom to replace Phyllis Haire on the council.

Haire, who served for nearly 30 years on the council, died on Jan. 11. Grom volunteered to serve and she was approved by the council last Tuesday, according to Mayor Nina Selz.

“She knows people around here so that’s fine,” Selz said. Grom and her husband moved to St. Paul from Wisconsin in 1978. Grom worked at the Job Corps in Cass and also sold real estate in St. Paul.

Selz said, “Everybody was upset about Phyllis,” and discussions about her took up part of last week’s meeting. Haire owned and operated Ahart’s Grocery for 40 years in the community.

In other business, two representatives from the U.S. Census Bureau attended the meeting. The Census is looking to hire people in the area to help with the 2020 Census.

Two members of council said they are thinking about being numerators, people who go out and help get accurate Census numbers.

Selz said that at the last election, there were 55 registered voters in the community, which had a population of 113 in the 2000 U.S. Census.

Selz said the Dollar General is open in St. Paul.

“People seem to be very pleased. I’ve only gotten one negative feedback on Facebook,” Selz said. The negative feedback took exception to Selz’s comment recently that Dollar General is “Ozarkian” for building in rural areas.

The managers at the new store are from St. Paul, Selz said. She also said teachers approached her about possibly changing Dollar General’s hours  from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“Because then it gives them time to come by, they have to be at school at 8, it gives them time to come by and get what they need for the classroom that day or whatever. So, I passed that on to the general manager,” Selz said.

February should be a busy month, Selz said. St. Paul received a $75,000 grant to renovate the community center.

“By that time we should have our three bids in for the renovation of the center, so that should get going pretty fast,” she said.

Potential bidders must be licensed in Arkansas and have sufficient liability insurance to cover a $75,000 project.

Selz said bids are due this month and the work is to be done between March and July.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 11, beginning at 6 p.m.

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