Revisiting the memories of 2011

Thursday, January 5, 2012
Rector boys decided teamwork made work go faster in building a fort after heavy snow fell in February

This is the second part of the Times-Democrat's look back at the events of 2011:


An area family is surprised to find that an escaped mental patient has been living under their house...Rector's downtown gets new life through the efforts of Greg Downs, who moved to the area from Chicago and purchased several properties...The Clay County Sheriff's Department plans the installation of new cameras to keep a watchful eye on prisoners...L and M Racing near Rector hosts an Arkansas Lawnmower Association group for Test 'n Tune Day...Piggott FCCLA members attend a state leadership meeting to compete and to see the sights in Little Rock...The Rick and Sandra Little family of Piggott hosts a family from Denmark for a taste of smalltown life in America...Rector sixth graders celebrate the completion of the DARE program with a special graduation ceremony...Kayley Dare Bell, 17, of Rector is killed when her car is struck by a Union Pacific train just east of town...Several Clay County leaders gather to discuss ongoing preparation efforts in the event of a large earthquake...The Dixie Melody Boys and Gene McDonald appear at the Rector Community Center in a fundraiser to help pay for renovations at the center...The Piggott School Board agrees to keep a watchful eye on school finances due to a slow economy...Piggott, Rector and Marmaduke high schools all hold their annual proms on Friday, April 15...Piggott High School AP studio art classes visit Gulfport, Miss., during their spring break...A Science, Health and Safety Expo is held at the Piggott Elementary School gymnasium...With prices up, farmers are optimistic about the year...A select team from the Rector High School gifted and talented department completes the online Arkansas Personal Finance Challenge competition...Piggott's Emilee Seegraves is one of only 10 young writers who win a copy of the book "Peak," by Roland Smith, in a contest sponsored by Scholastic's Storyworks magazine...CJ's Garden Center opens at 215 East Sixth Street in Rector...Magician Rocky Clements of Jonesboro thrills a large group of all ages in a show at the Piggott Community Center...The Piggott Mohawks baseball team finishes the season unbeaten in conference play...Piggott fourth grader Louis Lin is recognized as one of the brightest students ever at Piggott Elementary...Fred Ort of Piggott discovers two bald eagles in a tree in front of his home on South 16th Avenue...An all-star lineup including Kris Kristofferson, George Jones, Gary Morris, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell and many others is announced for the first Johnny Cash Music Festival in Jonesboro set Aug. 4...Longtime Piggott teacher Dolores Bellers reflects on years behind the blackboard at Piggott schools...Rector's Jessica Nicole Hill is one of four Arkansas State University graduates earning the university's highest student honor as recipient of the Distinguished Student Award...RHS graduate Joshua Vangilder is named as one of 10 Chancellor's Scholars at Arkansas State University...Students in Kathy Coyle's class at Piggott Elementary are recognized as the winning class from Piggott in the Arkansas Rice Depot's Great Penny Hunt which raises funds to buy food for food pantries and for children in hundreds of Arkansas schools...The Piggott Mohawks baseball team wins the 3A-3 Conference Championship...Kelsey Shavalia of Rector is inducted into Alpha Chi National College Honor Scholarship Society at Williams Baptist College...Rector celebrates the arrival of a new ambulance for the community with a special ribbon cutting ceremony...A Monette man is injured when his truck is struck by a Union Pacific train at the same crossing where a fatality occurred earlier in the month east of Rector...A wave of tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, strong winds, hail and heavy rain wreak havoc across Arkansas with flooding the primary concern in Clay County...Rector begins a mosquito control program...Piggott and Rector schedule drug take-back events in a program aimed at stopping drug and alcohol abuse...The Piggott High School Band wins numerous awards and is recognized as one of the best bands in the area...The City of Piggott examines options to help cover approximately $200,000 in losses accrued as part of its energy distribution contract from the Plum Point Power Plant...The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center holds Young at Art IX, the annual student art competition and exhibition.


Tensions build in Clay County and much of Northeast Arkansas as heavy rains continue and encroaching waters close in on homes and roads...The planting of spring crops is delayed by the continued flooding...Former Rector resident Steve Crawford has his second book published with "Pile Drivers and Power Chords: Stories from Rector, Arkansas and Beyond" available at and the Rector Public Library...The Clay County Relay for Life event is moved to the Piggott Community Center due to strong winds and rain, but the poor weather did not dampen the spirits and passion of participants, who raised over $43,000 for the American Cancer Society...Clay County is among those named as disaster areas by Gov. Mike Beebe...The Rector City Council discusses with fire department representatives how to best collect fire fees...Piggott mayor Gerald Morris and Rector mayor David Freeman join other Arkansas officials in declaring May as Historic Preservation Month...The Pooch Parlor opens at 165 West Main Street in Piggott...Rector seventh grader Tori Hill is recognized as a Duke TIP scholar...Piggott and Rector letter carriers hold their annual food drives...Rector High School student Haven Cagle is named the overall winner of the RHS drama department's annual talent show, with Lindsey Ford as winner of the senior division and Sophie Simmons as winner of the junior division...Final exams are canceled at Black River Technical College in Pocahontas with an early end to the semester due to extensive flooding...Twenty-nine Piggott High School FBLA members attend the Arkansas State Leadership Conference in Little Rock...The Clay County Fair Association presents Spring Fling at the fairgrounds with arts and crafts, yard sales, concessions, music and more...The Rector First Baptist Church holds its annual Springfest and Easter egg hunt with a large number of children and youth taking part...Mohawk football players and members of the Piggott and Rector fire departments are among a group of volunteers who work at the Clay County Road Department filling sandbags to hold back floodwaters...Piggott and Rector schools plan graduation ceremonies Friday, May 13, with Lauren Brown as the Piggott valedictorian and Brittany Lockhart as the Rector valedictorian...Clay County students gather in Piggott in a united effort to promote healthy lifestyle choices...Rector drama teacher Gail Burns announces plans to retire after 40 years in the classroom...The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center holds its 12th annual Celebration of Quilting...Piggott teacher Kim Rouse retires after 28 years in education...Kyle Jackson is recognized as valedictorian of the Marmaduke High School Class of 2011 in graduation ceremonies May 15...The Clay County Arts Council names as its 2011 scholarship winners Morgan Meadows and Jessica Davis of Piggott and Ashley Williams, Misty Hall and Courtney Studdard of Rector...The Rector High School Lady Cougars softball team advances to state tournament play and the Piggott Mohawks boys baseball team heads to the state tourney at Harrison...The Clay County Sheriff's Department receives the highest possible rating in a state comprehensive inspection...Dr. J.T. Dewitt joins the staff at The Family Care Clinic of Rector...Erica Harris is named as assistant principal at Piggott Elementary...The Clay County Arts Council presents checks to the Piggott and Rector community centers to help with expenses and upkeep...Rector's Relay for Life team, WRECK (Walking Rectorites Encouraging Cancer Knowledge) holds an impressive luminary service at Rector Memorial Park...Daniel Blackshare and Ashley Williams are named as Rector's Best All Around Seniors for 2011 while RaChelle Classen and Landen Crancer are named as Rector's Junior High Best All Around...Piggott's Dick Wesserling is part of a special World War II unit which reunites over Memorial Day weekend in Washington, D.C...Piggott's 13th annual Heritage Park Car Show and Cruise is deemed a big success...Rector High School holds its annual Academy Choice Awards program with Ashley Williams named Best Actress, Seth Morris as Best Actor and Alice in Wonderland as Play of the Year...Longtime Rector teacher Cathy Louder retires after 38 years in the classroom and her husband Rob Louder retires as Rector superintendent after 33 years in the education field...Piggott baseball standout Hayden McMillon signs with the Lyon College Scots, fulfilling a lifetime dream...Piggott baseball coach Shawn Hearn is chosen as part of the AAA All-Star baseball coaching staff...Fallen soldiers are remembered in Memorial Day services at both Piggott and Rector.


The Rector Public Library kicks off its summer reading program in its new children's room at the back of the facility...Piggott fourth grader Louis Lin and Rector eighth grader Michael Hufty are named as winners in a Clay County Fair t-shirt design contest...Rector sixth grader James Fannin wins two medals in the Special OIympics held at Greene County Tech in Paragould...Rector Elementary recognizes sixth grade honor students Avery Bucy, Bailey Hoots, David Bozarth, Case Watson, D.J. Golden, Dominique Coln, Sarah Isom and Dalton Murray...Eight-year-old Devin Beck of Piggott finds a dandelion the size of a softball...Piggott recognizes its many outstanding athletes in its annual Athletic Banquet...U.S. Senator John Boozman visits Piggott and discusses the economy and other issues with local officials...The Brian Nagy family of Piggott volunteers to help with the cleanup following a massive tornado in Joplin, Mo...A reception marks the opening of Rector's beautiful new Visitors Center on Main Street, housed in a renovated 1915 former jail...Former Rector teacher Craig Wadley is jailed following a conviction in a sex-related crime...Rector High School FFA and skeet shooting teams are treated to a thrilling shooting exhibition at the Rector airport by Tim Bradley, a Team Benelli (shotgun) sharpshooter...Young basketball stars of tomorrow hone their talents in Piggott's annual Mohawk Individual Skills Basketball Camp...Fire consumes the Marlon Wright residence near Piggott...Rector's Northeast Arkansas Innovative Training Center is approved for classes through Black River Technical College...Jeremy Pierce is welcomed as the new preacher at the South Thornton Church of Christ in Piggott...Longtime Rector Elementary principal Johnny Fowler is named as new Rector school superintendent and elementary PE teacher Nate Henderson is named as the district's new elementary principal...Charlotte Potts says farewell to Piggott Elementary after 35 years in the classroom...Kristie Hardin of Rector is named as the Clay County winner of the Arkansas Governor's Scholarship...Gail Burns is honored by former students and friends with an evening of entertainment and memories at the Rector Community Center in recognition of her retirement...A bronzed World War II soldier which is the centerpiece of Rector's new Veterans Memorial Park is put into place by National Sculptors' Guild director John Kinkade, joined by smiling park co-chairmen Maj. Gen. (Army, retired) George Barker of New York and Rector Police Chief Glenn Leach...The David Cagle Family is honored as Clay County's 2011 Farm Family of the Year...Patrick Patterson is recognized for 13 years of perfect attendance at Piggott schools...Barbara Collier retires as Clay County 4-H program assistant...Genny's Kitchen, operated by Genny and Kenny Burns, opens on Highway 49 in Rector...Piggott High School's Class of 1961 celebrates its 50-year reunion...Murphy Health and Rehab in Piggott honors its many volunteers with a special banquet...Legendary Piggott athlete Gary Adams is one of 10 University of Arkansas alumni chosen to be inducted into the school's Hall of Honor.

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