Community

IN REVIEW: Remembering January 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 January 2018, now one year ago.

• Beginning in January 2018, Hempstead County Deputies and jail personnel will be issued medication to help combat opioid overdoses. Deputies and jailers will be trained in the use of Naloxone, deputies will carry two doses of the medication with them in case they encounter someone who has overdosed on opioids or it can be used by the deputies if they are somehow exposed to the drug by accident.
• Whether it was case of “calm before the storm” or merely the cold weather outside Tuesday night, the Hope City Board saw a light agenda and finished up their business in near record time of 20 minutes, but the next meeting of the board will prove more consequential as several appointments are to be made.
• On Thursday afternoon as well as today, Friday, at the Graves Conference Room at Hope’s downtown BancorpSouth, Sylvia Brown, now the local face and principal spokesperson for the local Democratic Party, was holding informational sessions to re-engage with persons interested in local government, in particular, participating in local races in 2018.
• The Nevada Jr. Blue Jays remain unbeaten and perfect in their performance on the hardwood thus far into the 2017-18 basketball season to win their second junior high tournament hosted at Genoa Central Dec. 11-16. The Jr. Blue Jays opened tournament play cruising to victory over Lafayette County 69-30, then dominating host tourney team Genoa Central 61-26 in the boys championship game to be crown the 2017 Genoa Central Jr. High Tournament Champions.
• In their opening meeting of 2018, the University of Arkansas Hope Board of Visitors heard reports and updates of stable enrollments, continued plans for expansion, and an overall economic impact of faculty and staff activities last Friday at Hempstead Hall.
• Hatched from a convergence of factors one year ago as well as determination and vision, the Hope Downtown Network has survived — and even accomplished much — in its first year of existence, and on Wednesday, it saw a promising start to its second year with a sizable donation from local attorney Blake Montgomery.
• At its first meeting of the new year on Thursday afternoon, the Hope Tourism Commission heard from Pete Pessel, a regional baseball promoter from Texarkana, about bringing a 12-year-old tournament to Hope sometime in March. For AAU, it would be the tournament’s first visit in Hope, and it would likely be the catalyst for other age divisions and groups.
• A hometown girl with roots in Clark County starts 2018 as a new deputy prosecutor for neighboring Nevada County as Gurdon native Kolby Harper was sworn in January 3 at the Nevada County Courthouse in Prescott by Circuit Judge Duncan Culpepper. Harper, 31, is a native of Gurdon, and she previously served on the Gurdon City Council.
• The Prescott Lady Wolves took care of business on the road during the Christmas holiday break to create some winning noise on the hardwood for tournament competition hosted at Lake Hamilton High School in Pearcy December 28-30, 2017. The Lady Wolves competed in the 2017 Kameron Hale Sr. Girls Invitational to finish tourney play 2-1 defeating Arkadelphia and Centerpoint, but falling to host tournament team Class 6A Lake Hamilton.
• Following the Christmas holiday break, the Nevada Blue Jays and Lady Jays basketball teams got their first taste of the new year last week splitting home wins hosting Camden Harmony Grove and battling Lafayette County on the road to began the second half of the 2017-18 season schedule.
• For nearly three hours last Friday, the combined Southern Gospel talents of the Booth Brothers and Ernie Haase and Signature Sound both entertained and inspired an estimated crowd of 600 at Hope’s Hempstead Hall.
• Over the weekend, early forecasts had already called for an Arctic blast with a hard freeze expected Tuesday, but by early Monday evening, it was evident that far more was coming as rain and sleet, and later, snow was falling, and by early Tuesday morning, much of the Hope area was blanketed in four-inches of the white stuff. Snow flurries started falling in Hope at approximately 10:15 Monday evening and continued throughout the night.
• Fox News analyst and Arkansas gun-rights activist, Jan Morgan, shot her own fireworks in the new year by stunning the Republican Party with a challenge to incumbent Governor Asa Hutchinson, and she is now touring the state with a visit to Hope, hosted by the Hope Tea Party on Friday, January 26 at Hope’s Fair Park Coliseum.
• It was 17 degrees with snow and ice around, but the Hope City Board bundled up and still met Tuesday night before an handful of people to conduct business, which mainly involved appointments to city boards and commissions, most notably the HWL Commission.
• The immediate past Hempstead County Sheriff announced his candidacy for the county’s top office, County Judge, in 2018 on Thursday afternoon, and he has formed a committee that includes his son as campaign manager. Jerry Crane, who served as Hempstead County Sheriff for 18 years, then retired to form a church in Perrytown and ministry, said Thursday that he is now a candidate for Hempstead County Judge.
• Prior to this week’s actual “big freeze,” the other “big freeze” story in the state was a January 9 letter from Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson regarding tuition levels that went out to the presidents and chancellors of all of Arkansas’ four-year universities and two-year colleges.
• Prescott Curley Cubs junior high hoopsters impacted productively in their home match-up last Friday hosting Cossatot River Jr. Eagles at the Prescott Sports Arena. The Curley Cubs had a close encounter early, but prevail through to pull away 36-25 for the 11 point victory in junior high boy basketball action.
• Lady Wolves’ leading scorer Lacie Nolen does it again to lift her team to victory in the closing seconds that gave Prescott an thrilling victory over a good and tough Cossatot River Lady Eagles team, 25-24 last Friday night in home action at the Prescott Sports Arena.
• Black History Month will prove to be a bit of a happy Homecoming locally this year as Hope native and United States Magistrate Judge-designate Doris L. Pryor will come up to deliver the keynote speech for Black History Month on Monday, February 5 at Hempstead Hall.
• An estimated crowd of 540 on Sunday at Hempstead Hall saw plenty of pretty girls, Broadway-style singing, clever special effects, athleticism, and colorful costumes jammed into a brisk and entertaining one-hour extravaganza that was “Skatetacular Dreams on Ice.”
• Three local individuals, all first time candidates, announced their entries into various races this week, and all challenging existing incumbent office holders. This group included Hope’s Allen Flowers, a Democrat, for Hempstead County Judge; retired businessman Steve Atchley for Justice of Peace in District 7, and Nicholas Ward for Hope School Board.
• The Hope Watermelon Festival is among a group of finalists for the 2018 Class of the Arkansas State Food Hall of Fame as recognized by the Department of Arkansas Heritage, Hope Chamber Director Beckie Moore announced at Wednesday’s Board of Directors meeting.
• Over the past weekend, residents in the southwestern Arkansas region saw near 70 degree temperatures, rain and tornado warnings after seeing ice, snow and temperatures near 7 degrees the week before. Prescott and Nevada County were not isolated from the weather extremes as schools closed a week ago Tuesday and much of Nevada County was was blanketed in four-inches of snow.
• The Prescott Curley Wolves would split victories in their return on the hardwood last week in their trip to face rivals’ Gurdon Go-Devils for the season series finale and host Horatio Lions at home.
• Nevada Lady Jays continue their hot streak of victories at home after returning to action last Friday night topping the Bradley Lady Bears 53-39. The victory put the Lady Jays at .500 overall with an 9-9 record.
• The Hempstead County Quorum Court found itself in controversy again as its first meeting of the new year saw two issues, unpaid “Comp Time” for county employees, and the County Extension office at the forefront before a capacity crowd, mostly of county employees and irate farmers.
• Two nationally known figures from Arkansas visited Hope over the past weekend, one a hometown favorite son who went on to become Arkansas governor, the other seeking to be governor this year, both greeted by big and enthusiastic crowds. Saturday night saw the appearance of Hope native Mike Huckabee before an estimated dinner crowd of 600 from throughout Arkansas at Hempstead Hall. Approximately 24 hours earlier, Huckabee’s fellow Fox News analyst Jan Morgan brought her campaign for governor to the Hope’s Fair Park, hosted by the Hope Tea Party.
• While Hope native Doris Pryor, who will be back in her hometown on Monday for Black History Month, emerged from Hope High School in the 1990s on her way to an appointment as a United States Magistrate Judge, other Hope natives and Hope graduates from that period have also gone on to stellar careers in government service. On such individual is Hope native Rickey Gulley, who was a 1998 Hope High School graduate, and was recently named as Command Sergeant Major in active duty in the Army National Guard.
• In addition to speaking at the 100 Anniversary of the Hope Rotary Club on Saturday night, former Arkansas governor and Hope native Mike Huckabee was on hand to distribute four “Rotary Club Mike Huckabee Servant Leadership Scholarship” awards, each for $1,000, to students from each of Hempstead County’s local high schools. Recipients included: Britni Leann Cottingham of Blevins, Jocelyne Jazmin Mejia of Hope High School, Morgan Renee Hooker of Garrett Christian, and Christy Renee Randle of Spring Hill. Huckabee, himself, was a 1970s-era recipient of the same Hope Rotary Scholarship, when he graduated from Hope High School.
• In the latest news from the ongoing legal dispute between Nevada County and one of its most prominent vendors, the lawsuit is now awaiting the Arkansas Supreme Court to make its move in appointing a new judge to oversee the case. In a statement, Plaintiff Donny McGuire said “We are moving ahead. We are waiting for the Arkansas Supreme Court to appoint a new judge, and then, we are on the way to trial soon.”.
• Once again, the Prescott Curley Wolf nation will be represented in Conway this summer for the 63rd anniversary of the Arkansas Army National Guard AHSCA All-Star Football game with Thomas Muldrew and Kadarius Pearson selected to play on the West All-Star team hosted at the University of Central Arkansas.

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