As 2017 is coming to a close, the Nevada County Picayune takes a look back at some of the top headlines in a two-part series, today recapping the highlights from January to June; the second part of the series will be featured in the Jan. 3 edition and will rundown the second half of 2017 from July to December.
As 2017 is coming to a close, the Nevada County Picayune takes a look back at some of the top headlines in a two-part series, today recapping the highlights from January to June; the second part of the series will be featured in the Jan. 3 edition and will rundown the second half of 2017 from July to December. Current updates to some of the past headlines are included as appropriate. Most original Picayune reports and photos in 2017 were produced by staffers Rick Kennedy, Gerren Smith, Lisa Martin, Rachel Wright and Jeri Pearson. The Picayune also appreciates its readers and the large number of reader-contributed stories and photos received and published over the course of the year.
The week of January 4:
• The new year in 2017 begins with Prescott and Prescott High School still celebrating the undefeated 2016 State Football Champion Curley Wolves.
• New Nevada County Quorum Court members are sworn in for new terms. The new Justices also set times for the Quorum Court meetings for 2017.
• As most folks in both Nevada and Hempstead counties were celebrating New Year’s Day on Sunday, January 1, 2017, the day was bittersweet for some around the area as members of the Arkansas Army National Guard, including dozens of local personnel, left for deployment in East Africa.
• Newly-elected Danny Watson was officially sworn in as District 3 State Representative on Monday, January 9 in Little Rock just prior to the opening of 2017 General Assembly. Watson represents both Hempstead and Nevada counties. Watson had defeated incumbent Brent Talley in the November 2016 elections.
The week of January 11:
• The Prescott Fire Department added a fourth truck to its fleet, with the purchase of a 2006 Pierce Fire Engine. The truck was purchased by the city for $180,000; an estimated 1/4 the original price.
• After having a extraordinary career-high as a star athlete at Nevada High School for the Lady Jays athletic program, Brianna Mullins, a Rosston native has taken her talents to Conway and continues to keep more success progressing on the collegiate level for the University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears women's basketball team.
• The Prescott Lions Club and Prescott Rotary Club teamed up to host a community appreciation banquet for the 2016 3A Football State Champions the Prescott Curley Wolves on January 12.
The week of January 18:
• The Nevada County Quorum Court voted for an ordinance to amend the ambulance service agreement between the county and Nevada Ambulance Service, Inc. This would reduce the county payment from $25,000 to $20,000 a year; the same the city of Prescott pays. The original contract was entered into October 1, 2014, and will run through September 31, 2019.
• Local reporter Rachel Wright has accepted a position to teach abroad in mainland China and will be leaving Hope as well as her duties at the Nevada County Picayune at the end of January.
The week of January 25:
• The new Prescott City Council voted for Ordinance No. 1 of 2017 for the second amendment to Ordinance No. 1 of 2007 to extend the temporary burning of leaves in city limits at the January meeting.
• The 2017 Class of Leadership Nevada County started in January with an opening retreat. The retreat was held at the Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center in Columbus.
• Leadership Nevada County welcomed its new board members at their annual board meeting at Casa Carlos. The new board members are Judy Duke, Essence Jordan, Naomi Butler, Barbra Brown and Faith Beavert, vice president.
• Prescott Curley Wolves head football coach Tommy Poole and senior quarterback Derrick Flynn were among several honorees chosen and awarded coach and player of the year by Little Rock Touchdown Club.
The week of February 1:
• The Prescott School Board voted for a resolution for a disbursing officer policy at its January 24 meeting. A disbursing officer will focus on electronic transfers and direct deposit of checks through the school system.
• Prescott artist Spot Daniel’s art is being featured by the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council at the Cairo-Fulton Depot in downtown Hope, now through March 2.
The week of February 8:
• It was another special and proud day in Curley Wolf country last Wednesday Feb.1 on National Signing Day as six standout senior football players of the undefeated 15-0 overall record 2016 Class 3A state championship Prescott Curley Wolves signed National Letter of Intent to continue their careers on the collegiate level gridiron.
• Prescott's Derrick Flynn, Carlos Vanhook, Jay Marks, Ja'Mozyia Williamson, Deonte Jamison and Hunter Grimes all signed to play football to prestigious universities in the nation during a special Signing Day ceremony at the Prescott Sports Arena.
The week of February 15:
• An enthusiastic student body cheered on their peers during a talent show held at Prescott High School Friday. The event was organized by students in honor of classmate Katie Cummings, who passed away in November at the age of 14 after battling cancer.
• The Nevada Blue Jays secured another big unbeaten league season title after finishing their conference schedule 14-0 last week.
The week of February 22:
• Hebb Sorrells, former Nevada County Deputy, was honored at the February Nevada County Court meeting. He was recognized by Justice Brenda Stockton, for his commitment to his community and law enforcement.
The week of March 1:
• Marisa Malone appealed to the Prescott City Council at the February meeting, asking them to reconsider the Planning Commission’s decision to deny her permit to place a manufactured home at her property at 817 Ash Street.
• A Prescott pocket-park may be affected by demolition occurring next door. The old Holly’s Health Mart building on Elm Street has been purchased and due to the condition of the property, the structure is being torn down.
• Nevada County has produced some major and exciting success on the hardwood in the last couple of weeks as three teams will be representing in the big dance of Arkansas high school basketball in the Class 1A and 3A state tournaments this week.
The week of March 8:
• A Nevada County jury rendered a guilty verdict for Timothy Jester for one account of rape and three counts of sexual assault in the second degree. Circuit Judge Division 1, Judge William Wright, sentenced Jester, a 48 year-old Prescott resident, to 25 years for rape and 5 years for each of the three sexual assault verdicts.
• A new roof on Prescott High School could be paid for with the help of state funds, if voters pass a bond issue for the Prescott School District. The special election, to be held May 9, ask voters to refund the November 2012 and July 2013 bond issues and to extend the existing 10.1 debt mills through 2047.
• After producing impressive victories through district and regional tourney competition, the No. 1 seed-4 Prescott Lady Wolves had their season of hoops come to an end in first round action against the Charleston Lady Tigers 45-40 on the hardwood in the Class 3A state girls basketball tournament in Bald Knob.
The week of March 15:
• Prescott continues to enhance its aesthetic properties and has been named a 2016 Tree City by the Arbor Day Foundation.
• The Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act aims to help people between the ages of 16 and 24 years old who are not attending school, who are searching for employment or looking to enhance their future with training.
• Prescott Fire Department responded to the scene of a fire on West Second South. Assistant Chief Donald Harris, and Assistant Chief Bill Hubbard, ran the scene where smoke and heat damage was found throughout the structure, caused by a fire which appeared to have been started by a curling iron in the living room, where the fire was contained.
The week of March 22:
• Nevada County Quorum Court held the regularly scheduled meeting last week, with Judge Mark Glass absent due to illness. Old business discussed centered around trash pick up in the county and the possible use of community service to accomplish the task.
• The City of Prescott will move forward as the pursue to bolster the water supply infrastructure. The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission announced the approval of a loan in an amount up to $2,700,000 from the Arkansas Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund to the city of Prescott, according to Commission Chairman Don Richardson.
• Two of Nevada County's arch-rival schools of the Prescott Lady Wolves battled Nevada Lady Jays on the diamond during the 2017 Debra McMaster Memorial Scholarship Softball Tournament over the weekend at Fair Park in Hope. Prescott prevailed over Nevada 14-2 during their match-up.
The week of March 29:
• High electric charges in the City of Prescott were the focus of concerned councilperson Tommy Poole at the city council meeting last week. Prescott maintains and owns its electric lines, but has a power purchase agreement with SWEPCO to purchase electricity. To bring the energy to Prescott, SWEPCO has been passing on additional transmission charges it incurs from another party.
• The entire Prescott Planning Commission resigned at the March city council meeting, after the Prescott City Council voted to overturn a ruling the commission rendered in February. Meredith DeWoody addressed the council and read a prepared statement signed by the five commissioners, herself, Rena Brown, Lauren Doucet, Pat Grimes and Marcia Lasiter.
The week of April 5:
• The Ila Upchurch Community Corporation gathered Saturday evening in the Prescott High School Cafeteria for their annual banquet, where they saluted law enforcement. Law enforcement recognized at the banquet include Prescott Chief Joey Beavers, Lt. Alex Gable, Det. Cody Fergson, Off. David Stinson, Off. Woody Perry, Off. Donald “Bo” Morris and Off. Athalia Dismuke and Sheriff Danny Martin, Chief Dep. Larry Miller, Sgt. Steve Orwell, CID Jeremy Hendrix, Dep. Robert Missey, Dep. Justin Hughes and reserve deputies.
• The Ila Upchurch Community Corporation gathered Saturday evening to bestow annual awards to deserving individuals. Teresa Blake is the recipient of this year's Educator of the Year award. Shatayana Ross secured an annual high school scholarship award. Tanner Stone was also awarded a Upchurch scholarship.
The week of April 12:
• Safety at Prescott schools has been a topic of conversation among parents and community members. On March 10, Superintendent Robert Poole took to social media and posted, “The Prescott School District places a high priority on the safety of our students and we will take extra precautionary measures to make sure our students are safe.”
• Prescott Curley Wolves went to work on the diamond in a series of battles falling to Nashville 8-0 at home and on the road at Fouke 4-2. The Curley Wolves regrouped from back to back losses and secured a impressive home win against the Mena Bearcats 6-5 at the James Johnson Sports Complex.
The week of April 19:
• The Prescott Nevada County Chamber banquet is nearly sold out, but additional tables are being added to the event to accommodate the overwhelming support and interest from the community.
• Continuing to inform the community of an upcoming special election for a bond issue for the Prescott School District, Superintendent Robert Poole spoke at the April Quorum Court meeting.
The week of April 26:
• Prescott School District is considering how technology might keep students safe. Superintendent Robert Poole said he would like to offer the district a means of communication that would allow students, parents and community members to report suspicious, harmful, or suspect activity.
• Once again, Prescott native and former standout Curley Wolves' Trevor Rucker has earned more collegiate baseball honors for his duty and performance on the diamond as a Southern Arkansas University Muleriders. The senior outfielder has been named as the Great American Conference and as the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association Central Region Player of the Week.
• It's been a dream season in track and field for the Prescott Curley Cubs and Lady Cubs track teams. Prescott Curley Cubs and Lady Cubs track team won the 3A Region 7 Jr. High District meet hosted at Genoa Central on Wednesday April 19.
• “To burn or not to burn?” was the question concerning the Prescott City Council at the April meeting last week. Mayor Terry Oliver asked the question after an agenda item suggesting an amendment to a burn ban ordinance, which would effectively rein- state a burn ban in city limits, failed to receive a motion.
The week of May 3:
• A capacity crowd estimated at 450 at the Prescott High School Cafeteria saw Lauren Doucet named Citizen of the Year by the Prescott/Nevada County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday night at its 2017 banquet. During an emotional acceptance speech, Lauren Doucet praised the Prescott community for accepting her as she relocated to the community five years ago and making her feel at home. District 12 State Senator Bruce Maloch of Magnolia delivered the keynote speech.
• With state legislators back in Little Rock this week for the called special session, District 3 State Representative Danny Watson, who represents both Nevada and Hempstead counties, said that legislators still had work to do and tough issues to face during a speech at a Hope-based political dinner.
The week of May 10:
• After capturing first place hardware in previous season track meets, the Prescott Curley Wolves became the 2017 Class 3A state boys track and field champions on Tues- day, May 2 at Eddie Jackson Field, Cummins Stadium in Prescott. The Curley Wolves racked up 109 points to secure to overall top place finish. The 2017 3A State Track Championship marks the second state championship for Prescott High School in the current 2016-17 academic year.
The week of May 17:
• More typical lately of government meetings elsewhere in the region, the Nevada County Quorum Court saw its share of tension at its May meeting last week as Justice George Smith questioned county spending practices bringing equal measures of contention and confusion, and then proposed a new fee for logging trucks.
• Nevada Jr. High track and field teams wrapped up their seasons with strong finishes at the 1A-7 East District Championships hosted at Southern Arkansas University track stadium in Magnolia.
The week of May 24:
• Although a proposed logging truck fee had failed at the May 16 meeting of the Nevada Quorum Court, the issue or the controversy that came with it is far from a resolved issue, Nevada County Justice George Smith said.
• The 60th Annual Meet of Champions event was hosted at Russellville High School on Saturday, May 13 and Prescott Curley Wolves' Deonte Jamison competed in the boys triple jump to place third overall with a school best jump at 45-8. Jamison was amongst the best track and field athletes in the entire state of Arkansas competing of all classification 1A-7A.
The week of May 31:
• A dispute stemming from the May 9 meeting of the Nevada County Quorum Court regarding the purchase of a 2012 grader may eventually end up in a courtroom, although as of Friday, May 26 as the Picayune was preparing for an early holiday press run, no lawsuit or other legal action has been reported filed at the Nevada County Courthouse. Eventually, a lawsuit was filed, and the legal processes involved in the suit continued through the rest of 2017.
• The dispute primarily centers around members of the Nevada County Quorum Court, in particular District 8 Justice George Smith, and public statements about a 2012 grader the county purchased from M&M Wrecker, who’s owners have a long history of doing business with the county.
• As the Hempstead County Relay for Life, a nationally known fundraising effort for the American Cancer Society, just celebrated its 20th year in Hope, its longtime chair person is reaching out to Prescott and Nevada County with the idea that the 21st anniversary of the event may just be a combined “Mega Relay.”
The week of June 7:
• John Brannan give the keynote speech, covering local business improvements and project developments, especially the Elkins Ferry and Prairie D’Ane land acquisitions. The Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office held its annual Business and Industry Appreciation dinner last Thursday, June 1 at the Prescott County Club.
• A young woman from Prescott, identified as Mercedes Toliver, age 18, who was originally reported missing back on December 17, 2016, apparently remains unaccounted for as a flurry of media reports on both television and websites emerged over the weekend seeking her whereabouts. To date, Toliver remains a missing person.
The week of June 14:
• Better known to many locals as a bank teller at the Prescott branch of Bank of Delight, Micheyla Leigh Nealy could soon be very well-known in television, magazines, or billboards of the future. Nealy is seeking the Miss Arkansas USA title in Fort Smith in October.
• Caleb Loe, 27, of Prescott, is among 18 pediatric cancer survivors selected this year to receive Dennis Jungmeyer Scholarships valued at $3,500 each and awarded by the CARTI Foundation in Little Rock.
The week of June 21:
• The June 13 meeting of the Nevada Quorum Court became the latest edition of “what is old is new again” as former Justice Harold Vines and money issues appeared again like the ghosts of Christmas past. Vines, who had not been seen much since his departure from the Quorum Court last year, was back to question operations at the County Jail, even as he had once upon a time voted for its construction.
• District 2 Justice of the Peace Willie Wilson, right, presented a commemorative plaque as the "Good Citizen" for his district to Howard D. Austin, former educator and coach. Wilson called Austin an "unselfish person" who "changed lives" through his example of living a good life and through his ability to relate to and teach young people.
• Greg and Marcell Wilson joined a select group of families throughout the state last week as they were honored as the 2017 Farm Family and recognized in the special media day ceremony last Wednesday, June 14 afternoon. The Wilson family includes two sons, Justin and Kyle, both 14, as well as Aaron Johnston, 35, and Jennifer Johnston, 32.
The week of June 28:
• George Smith, known to most in Nevada County as the District 8 Justice on the Nevada County Quorum Court, has expanded his footprint in the region being named as executive director of the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council based in nearby Hope.
• The Prescott Curley Wolf nation was well represented in Conway for the 62nd anniversary of the Arkansas Army National Guard AHSCA All-Star event hosted at the University of Central Arkansas. Prescott's very own football head coach Tommy Poole and former Curley Wolves' Jay Marks, Chris Cowling and Tyler Rucker with cheerleaders Abigail "Abby" Madden, Shatayana Ross all were selected to join the West All-Star football and cheer team rosters.
• Nevada's Jemarreya Jones was a participant for the West at the 2017 Arkansas Army National Guard/ Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star basketball game at the Farris Center at the University of Central Arkansas campus in Conway.