As compiled by Rick Kennedy, managing editor
In a special 12-part month-by-month series, SWARK Today presents a review of the top stories and news worthy events in both Hempstead and Nevada counties over the course of the calendar year of 2018. This installment looks at July 2018.
• Within the city limits of Hope, resident voters will have an opportunity to go to the polls next week to determine the future governance of the city. The proposition will be the only item Hope voters see on Tuesday. Exclusively at the Hope’s Fair Park Coliseum on Tuesday, City of Hope voters will decide a proposition to change the city’s form of government from its current Board of Director/City Manager configuration to an elected Mayor/City Council form.
• As regional temperatures outside have continued to reach 100 degrees, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) kicks off this month to help eligible low-income households in both Hempstead and Nevada counties with help in paying utility bills.
• The proposed time capsule for the Hempstead County Bicentennial celebration is now in process of becoming a reality as carefully cut and fabricated 304 L stainless steel was delivered to the TI staff and students at the University of Arkansas at Hope’s campus for welding, integrity testing and subsequent memorabilia fulling and argon gas sealing.
• As US Congressional candidate Hayden Shamel visits Hope next week for a campaign rally at Hope’s Fair Park Community Center, it will be a homecoming of sorts for the former UA-Hope English instructor, who taught there from 2008 to 2011. Shamel, who is running as a Democrat, is seeking to unseat incumbent District Four Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-Hot Springs).
• A measure to change the governance for the City of Hope apparently fell short Tuesday night by an unofficial count of 358-377, a difference of 19 votes. While the Hempstead County Election Commission did have questions regarding 11 provisional ballots and 1 International ballot, the final outcome was ultimately unchanged.
• With the works of five photographers on exhibit over the next month, the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council continues 2018 and goes into 2019 with one of its busiest seasons in its history. The ongoing Photo Exhibit at the Arts Station in downtown Hope features works by photographers Meredith Piper Embry, Abby Christine Pifer, Alex Chavez, C. Jason Smith, and even the SWAAC director himself, George Smith.
• The Nevada Blue Jays made an impressive showing on the hardwood in Northwest Arkansas this summer to finish unbeaten during several key battles in team camp basketball competition. The Blue Jays showcased their skills to top some of the quality basketball programs to produce wins representing part of south Arkansas.
• Hooten’s Arkansas Football has arrived to highlight amongst over 200 high schools in the Natural State for the up coming fall 2018 season. Traditionally, Nevada County’s solo prime football team Prescott Curley Wolves are featured in the 26th annual edition of Hooten’s football book with all the entire classifications from 2A-7A for conference preseason predictions voted by league coaches. With no surprise, the hometown County’s Curley Wolves are picked to win in the 5-3A Conference as the heavy favorites, voted by league coaches in the upcoming 2018 football season.
• The now year-long saga of the lawsuit between the Nevada County Quorum Court and local business owners Nicky and Donny McGuire will enter a new phase on Wednesday, August 1 at the Nevada County Courthouse as all parties have been summoned for a Pre-Trial hearing before Circuit Judge Tom Cooper.
• Two of Southwest Arkansas’ talented cheerleading squads of Prescott senior and junior high cheer teams attended camp last week to get pumped and ready to showcase their skills for the upcoming 2018-19 year of sports.
• An estimated crowd of 40 concerned citizens, including prominent Hope City elected officials and department heads, gathered Monday night at the Hempstead County Courthouse for a special hearing of Hempstead County Elections Commission, and everyone heard that the apparent outcome to the City of Hope’s July 10 special election didn’t change, although the margin narrowed considerably by 11 votes, instead of the previously announced 19. The revised unofficial count was announced by Commissioner Cindy Newsom as 380, For and 391, Against, which still meant that the July 10 measure to change the governance for the City of Hope still fell short, only by 11 votes.
• In the same late 70s and early 80s era as 2018 Watermelon Festival concert headliners Mickey Gilley and Johnny Lee, Hope was also in the traveling lanes of Mid-South Wrestling, a then-hotbed of old-style Southern professional wrestling, which featured such standouts as Junk Yard Dog, Ted Dibiase, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Iceman King Parsons, and the Fabulous Freebirds among others.
• Democratic hopeful Hayden Shamel brought her campaign for Congress to Hope on Tuesday, speaking to a crowd at the Fair Park Community Center. Healthcare, education and the economy were the three main points she emphasized.
• It’s not Halloween yet, nor is the Grim Reaper recruiting, but a local Hope funeral home is hosting a unique open house event on Thursday, along with a ribbon-cutting by the Chamber of Commerce. The funeral home in question, now called Herndon-Fuqua, happens to be one of Hope’s longest continuously running businesses, dating back to 1898 or 120 years of service, and over the past year, it has undergone transitions in ownership as well as a makeover inside.
• Downtown Hope has added another member to its ranks as dozens of community business persons and interest parties celebrated the ribbon-cutting of the new Hope Kindred at Home center on Wednesday.
As compiled by Rick Kennedy, managing editor