Madison County Sheriff Rick Evans told me last week he was feeling much better and was ready to resume duties after undergoing heart surgery recently.

Evans had three stents inserted into arteries in his heart at Washington Regional Hospital in Fayetteville. Two were done on Nov. 9, with another inserted on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

“One of the stents closed off and they had to go back in and do it again,” he said last week.

“Oh I’m good. I’m about to be back blowing and a going,” he said by telephone when asked how he was feeling.

“I’ve come in a time or two this week. I’ve got a meeting to go to today and I’m being as easy as possible, then I’ll be back Monday,” he said of his schedule this week.

Evans was elected sheriff in 2016. He received 63.4 percent of the vote in the primary election.

I asked Evans if his wife, Leslie, had to take away his truck keys following his surgery, to keep him on a rehab schedule.

“No, but she stayed on top of things,” he said with a laugh.

The sheriff said he began having chest pains over a weekend while he was at home.

“I guess it’s been going on for a while, but it got Saturday night, it got to where it was pretty bad,” he said.

Capt. Clay Rowland filled in while Evans was out after surgery. As of last Thursday, Evans wasn’t sure if his return would be on a full-time basis.

“I guess it’ll depend on how I feel when I get back to work,” Evans said. “It’s hard to say. If I get run down and not feeling good, then I’ll probably come home and rest a while, but otherwise I’ll probably do my full-time [job].”

Evans explained that a stent – a small item made of mesh – is installed into an artery, then it becomes a permanent part of the artery. The stent keeps the artery open so that blood can flow freely through the heart.

“She [a nurse practitioner] said they’ll embed right into the arteries and become part of it,” he said.

Overall, Evans said he’s feeling better since the surgery.

“I am. I’m feeling alright. I’m just building my strength back up. I had those attacks, it pulled a lot out of you,” he said.

• • •

It was written in the Sheriff’s Office reports last week that a break-in at the Clifty Fire Department resulted in numerous items being taken.

The dispatch report for Nov. 16 read, “Caller advised of someone breaking into the Clifty Fire Dept and left a mask and what looks to be a T-shirt. Caller advised they kicked in the door and stole many items. Caller advised this is not the first time this has happened.”

According to Fire Chief Ronnie Villines, the break-in and theft happened at a nearby shop, not at the fire department.

• • •

I’ve been following the tragic story in Fort Smith of the house fire which killed a little girl. Her brother died later at a hospital. The news came out Friday that the mother – Whitney Kaub, age 30 – died in the hospital, as well.

Fort Smith Fire Marshal Teddy Abbey told media outlets that the fire started in the living room. There were no smoke detectors inside the home.

Working smoke detectors may have saved the children and their mom. Two other children are still in the hospital. The family was renting the home.

One, the landlord should have had smoke detectors in the home. Period. Two, most fire departments – either in major cities or small towns – will provide and even install smoke detectors in your home.

This is the time of year when fire officials warn about increased fire dangers from heaters, fireplaces, overused extension cords and more. If you live in a home without smoke detectors, get them installed immediately. Install many of them in your house. Don’t plug too many electrical cords into power strips. Have your fireplace cleaned and never, ever put a heater close to drapes, clothes or furniture.

Be safe out there.

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