IN REVIEW: Remembering April 2018

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 April 2018.
• Like a department store Santa handing out gifts, SWEPCO’s Jennifer Harland swept through the region on Tuesday morning with grants for both the Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce and the Southwest Arts Council.
• The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Iron Horse Shooting Team competed in the ACUI Collegiate Clay Target Championships in San Antonio, Texas, on March 26 to April 1. The Iron Horse Team finished seventh place in all-around American events for their division and eighth place in high overall points.
• Municipal improvements were high on the agenda for the Hope City Board meeting April 3 as they voted unanimously to move forward with the construction of the Hope Pavilion on Elm Street at the corner of 3rd Street.
• As the 2017-18 high school sports seasons comes to a close, two of Hope High School’s recognizable student-athletes earned special honors as cheerleaders. Senior Tristen Jones and junior Jaidyn Simington both received high prestigious accolades during cheer season for this year’s school year.
• With the GOP Primary looming six weeks away and counting, insurgent GOP candidate Jan Morgan continued hopping the state with appearances in Hope and Ashdown on Thursday, and upcoming speeches in nearby Louisville and Texarkana. Morgan has been mounting a primary challenge to incumbent Governor Asa Hutchinson, who is looking to reelected to a second term this fall.
• This past weekend’s Prescott Car Show proved to be more eventful than usual as a contingent of film and art students from John Brown University, a private, interdenominational, Christian liberal arts college in Siloam Springs, arrived for a shooting of an Indie film project featuring many of the antique cars at the show.
• Nevada Blue Jays have collected some impressive wins on the diamond to begin their 2018 baseball season. In previous battles, the Blue Jays have secured big road wins at Trinity Christian 16-3 and Blevins 8-3 for back-to-back victories.
• The unexpected winter blast over last Saturday – now seemingly passé with Spring-like climate this week – seemed an unlikely time to have a Chili Cook-off in a parking lot, yet hardy folks like Terry Grant were braving the cold temperatures, cooking up a recipe for growth and expansion at the New Life Pentecostal Church of Hope, which sits on the border between Hempstead and Nevada counties.
• Mickey Gilley, the 1976 Country Music Entertainer of the Year, and Gold Record recording artist Johnny Lee will perform their world-famous Urban Cowboy Reunion Tour at the 42nd Annual Hope Watermelon Festival on Friday, August 10, at 8:30 p.m.
• A formal site visit by a team from the Arkansas Department of Education is set for April 23 at noon to determine the feasibility and community support for a school-based health clinic proposed for the Hope High School campus through an ADE grant program.
• The ongoing dispute between a Quorum Court Justice and a longtime Nevada County vendor has apparently overflowed from the realm of Quorum Court to a civil court, and now, criminal court as an arrest and possible counter-complaints emerged late last week, and by Saturday, it was likely that a Special Prosecutor from the state would be named, according to Prosecuting Attorney Christi McQueen.
• The Nevada County Master Gardeners will have their 10th Annual Garden Show & Plant Sale this Saturday, April 14 at the Central Baptist Church at the Stokes Center at 605 East 2nd Street in Prescott.
• The Hope Academy of Public Service in the Hope Public School District is among 175 schools across Arkansas to receive a monetary award from the state for academic growth; and, HAPS has also been named an “A” rating school under new state guidelines for public school accountability.
• The original dinner play production of ‘FRAMED’ Murder Is Art opened to an enthusiastic crowd estimated at 128 at Hempstead Hall on Thursday, and completed its two-night run on Friday despite inclement weather.
• Garrett Memorial Christian School Lady Saints softball team remains dominant on the diamond to post impressive home victories as the reigning AACS state softball champions. The Lady Saints shut out Christian Ministries 16-0 and 15-2 along taking out school rivals’ Columbia Christian 14-1.
• On Senior Night, the Hope Ladycats lost a hard fought encounter on the diamond to school rivals’ Magnolia Lady Panthers 16-5 Tuesday evening at Ladycat Stadium to conclude their conference series match-ups. Featured seniors Andria Curtis, Tristen Jones and Morgan Gray all were recognized on Senior Night following game competition and provided valuable efforts during competition despite defeat on their night.
• The 2018 Hope FFA Rodeo Junior Queen competition at the 59th Annual Hope FFA Rodeo features five contestants competing for honors. 2018 Rodeo Queen contestants include Kylee Bruce, daughter of Pheonix Newton of Clinton Primary School; Ava McWilliams, daughter of Judy McWilliams; Ali Bree Hargraves, daughter of Jake and Katlyn Hargraves of Garrett Memorial Christian School; Savannah Fields, daughter of Bryan and Pam Fields of Garrett Memorial Christian School and Zoey Cox, daughter of Tina Smith of Clinton Primary School.
• Already expected to be an eventful meeting as the recent arrest of one of its own was making news, the April meeting of the Nevada County Quorum Court also saw the return of one of its former, and most outspoken members, as Harold Vines made an appearance after mostly being unseen or unheard for several months.
• The Prescott Curley Wolves had tough battles on the diamond last week falling in a double-header hosting Ashdown Panthers (17-4, 10-7) at James Johnson Sports Complex, but regrouped to be victorious on the road to defeat Cossatot River Eagles 10-6 in extra innings.
• Nestled near the county line of Hempstead and Nevada counties, the New Life Pentecostal Church was cooking more than just chili at a special event two weeks ago as the regional church counting over half of its 80-and-still growing congregation as residents from Nevada County is looking at expansion, having outgrown its current building.
• Assistance with maintenance of Rose Hill Cemetery did not come to a vote and was not on the agenda for the April 17 Hope City Board of Directors meeting, but the discussion, led by concerned citizen Hazel Simpson, covered the issue of sunken graves and excessive flooding of many of the grave plots.
• A nearly year-long as well as month-long frenzy of activities comes full circle as the main event, the 2018 Hempstead County Relay for Life comes to life on Friday night. Now, over 20 years and running, RFL has not lost any of its local charm or mission, and it brings back several familiar faces in addition to its most well-identified and enduring longtime local leader, Jessie Lewis.
• One year ago, five major local events had converged on the first weekend in May; in 2018, the now-6th annual Train Day in downtown Hope headlines the weekend, Saturday, May 5, mostly on its own, but will also bring many new elements — street vendors, a “Country Rock” concert, a petting zoo and 500 free hot dogs — to more than carry the day.
• As the Train Day headliner concert, new style “Country Rap” artist Charlie Farley will be in decidedly in comfortable surroundings when he arrives in downtown Hope on May 5. The Arkansas native was raised outside nearby DeQueen, and even as an emerging crossover County star, Farley still lives in Arkansas, and maintains a close musical and personal ties to his roots.
• Hope High School Bobcats and Ladycats tracksters competed hard and strong at the 5A South Conference meet hosted at Camden High School on Tuesday against several competitors in the conference representing in field and running events.
• Following a sell-out that required extra tables to be set up in 2017, the 2018 Prescott-Nevada County Chamber of Commerce Banquet is set to commence tomorrow, Thursday, April 26, shortly after close of business, at 5:30 p.m. at the Prescott High School cafeteria.
• Reigning Class 3A State Track Champions Prescott Curley Wolves completed a strong finish overall during meet competition last week in Nashville at the 2018 Coco-Cola Relays hosted at Nashville High School.
• Once again, the Prescott Curley Cubs track and field team finished first place overall in their ultimate meet competition at the 7-3A Jr. High District Meet last Thursday hosted at Eddie Jackson Field, Cummins Stadium. The Curley Cubs captured their 15th consecutive district meet title and racked up a team winning total of 288 points.
• With a capacity crowd on hand, the annual Prescott Nevada County Chamber of Commerce banquet on Thursday, April 26 saw 2017 Citizen of Year Lauren Doucet had the 2018 honor to Howard Austin, a well-known and respected community and religious leader in Prescott over the past 50 years.

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