2013 in Review, January Through July

Thursday, January 2, 2014
As 2013 began the region was still cleaning up from the Christmas blizzard of 2012, as evidenced by this huge snow pile on the Piggott square. (photo courtesy Frank Staples Photography)

Those who suffer from triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13, are likely to be happy to see 2013 ending. But, despite its ominous numerical representation, the year will be remembered as one of both economic resurgence and political stalemates in America. As we live out the final days of the year unemployment is down, the stock market is at new record highs and everyone is still arguing about the Affordable Care Act--or as it has become known, Obamacare.

On the local scene it was also a year of great economic growth, but it was also a time of loss as the community said farewell to several longtime local business and community leaders. This week we begin our annual year in review for 2013, and look back at local news as reported on the pages of the CCTD.

January

The first of January brought news of the Christmas blizzard which blasted the region, as a severe winter storm roared in on Christmas day. Luckily, local residents were spared the brunt of the ice and the severe weather which preceded it across the nation. It was also reported the intense summer heat of 2012 had resulted in record rice crops. And, the Thomas-Smart farm of Piggott was recognized as a Century Farm by the Arkansas Agriculture Department.

In sports, the Lady Cougars fell to Marked Tree in the finals of the NEA Tournament at Jonesboro, while the boy's squad fell to the Indians in the semi's. Meanwhile, the Mohawks beat Osceola before taking their holiday break.

The second week of January brought the news of the death of longtime Liberty Hill news correspondent Lillian Vaughn. Former State Rep. Mike Patterson also looked back on his years in office, and Rector planned its first chili supper and cook-off. Meanwhile, Meagan Massey was named basketball homecoming queen at PHS.

A water main break inside Jones Furniture in Piggott was discovered this month, which later led to a major project for the water department. And fire destroyed the Paul Edwards home in Rector, but no one was home at the time.

January also brought news that both Rector superintendent Johnny Fowler, and Piggott superintendent Charlie Powell, had their contracts extended. The chili cook-off fundraiser at the Rector Community Center was also a success, with Ryan Rogers taking first, David Cagle second and Jeff Douglas third. The Rector city council also considered a vicious dog ordinance at their meeting. It was also announced the CCAC was planning their second annual Celebration of the Arts and the Piggott PD got a grant for bullet proof vests.

Meanwhile, Kortney Chadwell of Piggott won the county spelling bee at Rector.

In sports, Lady Mohawk volleyball coach Melissa Williams was named as an assistant for the annual All-Star game set for the spring.

The month also brought the news Bill Martin was retiring from Irby's Funeral Home after 24 years of service. A special memorial was held to remember PES student Matthew Brown on the first anniversary of his death. And, members of the Rector Water Department were recognized for outstanding service.

Another milestone in local sports was marked, as the new scoreboard was installed in the RHS gym.

January closed with the news Piggott voters were being asked to approve an extension of the hospital tax. Meanwhile, State Rep. Joe Jett took over his duties and was profiled, the 30th anniversary of the fire which destroyed the Piggott Middle School was remembered and the RHS homecoming court was announced.

Late January also included a story on Esta Lee Cavaness, as she marked her 100th birthday. And, five Rector students became a part of history as they attended the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

February

As February began the winners of the Clay County Single Parent Scholarships were announced. It was also reported the new vicious dog ordinance in Rector was in effect. Toni Weber, formerly of Piggott, took over the top position at the Heritage Nursing Center in Kennett. And, Sheila Dale assumed her duties as recorder/treasurer for the city of Rector.

Peyton Holcomb was named Homecoming Queen at RHS, and the basketball season began to wind down.

A donation by Piggott State Bank provided start up money for the formation of Piggott Community Sharing Hearts, Inc. And, a fundraiser will be held at the Rector Community Center featuring Chad Garrett and friends. This week also brought an update on the new McDonald's/Circle K project in Piggott as site preparation is near complete.

Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum was recognized with the promotional award at the Delta By-Ways banquet.

And, in sports the Cougars swept the Mohawk boys and girls as the Tribe hosted their neighbors for senior night at PHS.

Late February brought the news a Piggott man, Adam Hackworth, had been charged with two counts of attempted murder in connection with an attack which occurred Feb. 23 in Rector. And, PHS hosted the Area One Special Olympics basketball competition. This week also brought news of the fire which destroyed Weaver's Transmission in Rector, with firefighters from several departments responding to the blaze.

In sports, the Mohawks fell in district play and are now set for baseball. While the girls wrapped up their season as well. The Cougar boys also fell in the second round of their district, while the girls went on to beat BIC for the Region 2 title.

March

As March began the Rector City Council was informed the prospects for Wise Company looked good, with possible expansion of the local facility possible. Meanwhile, the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum acquired several "world class" specimens at the Tucson show. Also in the news, the Rector FFA dinner-auction was a big hit.

March also brought the news that Rector native Bill Carter had received two honors from the state--being named to the Hall of Fame and accepting a parks and tourism award. It was also reported the application period was underway for the first Gaylon Lawrence Scholarship, to be given to a PHS grad in memory of the longtime local banker and businessman.

Callie Henson of PES was named "Piggott's Proudest Kid" as winner of the Chamber of Commerce essay contest. The RHS cheerleading program was featured, and it was reported Lady Mohawk multi-sport standout Mallory Wright had signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Williams' Baptist College.

The lineup for the third annual Johnny Cash Music Festival was also announced in March, with the show set for August in Jonesboro. This month also brought news of budget concerns from the Clay County quorum court meeting. And, Mona and Kenny Faulkner were among the 4,000 plus passengers stranded on a cruise ship which experienced a major power outage.

Late March brought the news the Weaver Transmission building, which had been heavily damaged by fire, was being torn-down to make way for a new structure. And, a late spring winter storm left the region covered in about four inches of snow. It was also reported longtime local resident, and political activist, Wilma Jinks of Piggott had died at the age of 100.

In sports, Ethan Murray of Piggott was profiled as the PHS sophomore joined the high school rodeo circuit as a team roper. And, all-conference basketball Mohawks included Mallory Wright, Lucas Brewer and Austin Murray.

April

The month of April brought the news the Sugar Creek Country Club had applied for a liquor permit. And, a two vehicle crash south of Marmaduke claimed the life of John McClure, 51, of the city. Pat Clayton hit a $200,000 jackpot from the Arkansas State Lottery on April 1, and the Piggott FFA is set for its annual farm equipment auction. The Rector Pre-School students held their annual Easter event and the Emmanuel Baptist Church of Piggott hosted its annual celebration and egg hunt.

April also brought news the new First National Bank project in Piggott was underway, and should be open by the end of the year. Meanwhile, Clay County first responders took part in a drill on the grounds of the Emmanuel Baptist Church. And, it was announced the Rector Chamber of Commerce dinner would feature both State Senator Robert Thompson, and State Rep. Joe Jett, as the featured speakers.

The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chalk Bluff was to be marked, as the 2013 re-enactment was scheduled. Meanwhile, the Clay County Arts Council will host a puppet theater at the Rector Community Center.

In sports, the Lady Cougars brought home the first place trophy from a softball tournament at Heber Springs, while the Lady Mohawks were runner-ups in their invitational tournament beating Kennett and New Madrid County Central.

A special informational meeting was held during the April meeting of the quorum court, in an effort to educate landowners about the impending jump in assessments for farmland. And, plans are now underway for the 15th annual Piggott Heritage Park Car Show and Cruise.

One of the Rector shooting sports teams took second in a junior division tournament at Batesville. Meanwhile, plans are underway for the second annual Rector Community Center craft show--and Shelton Sanitation took delivery of the brand new garbage truck which would be servicing Piggott.

Mitchell Weber represented the Cougars as a member of the blue squad in the 2013 Best Under the Sun Senior Classic at Jonesboro High, finishing with 12 points and 5 rebounds as his team took the win 106-83. And, the Mohawk baseball team held a special Relay For Life fundraiser in conjunction with their home game against Westside.

By the way, both Rector and Piggott high schools held their respective junior senior proms.

The Relay For Life survivor's dinner was held, with Teresa Calhoun, Debbie Johnson and Sheila Taylor as the honored survivors. Meanwhile, a large group of Cub Scouts took part in a camporee at Heritage Park and the Bits and Pieces Puppet Theater performed at the Rector Community Center.

The Piggott School Board voted to accept bids for the sale of the old gym on Garfield Avenue at their meeting. And, the BRAD HeadStart Center held a trike-a-thon for St. Jude's.

May

A large crowd attended the Rector Chamber of Commerce banquet, and got an update from the region's state lawmakers. Meanwhile, plans are complete for the Chalk Bluff re-enactment and early voting is underway on the hospital tax extension.

RHS grad Amanda Layer was recognized during the Convocation of Scholars at ASU. And, longtime members of the First United Methodist Church of Piggott, and Wright's Chapel, were recognized.

In sports, the Lady Cougars fell to McCrory, while the boys lost to Marmaduke, as they end their seasons. Meanwhile, the Lady Mohawks won a thriller over Manila to advance to regional play and the Tribe downed Hoxie as they look forward to another trip to the state tournament.

May also brought news of the impending high school graduations, and the annual Relay For Life Survivor's walk was held. The McDonald's/Circle K project is also progressing, and this week featured a look inside the partially finished building.

Dozens of Boy Scouts took part in a camporee at Heritage Park, as cool and wet conditions limited those participating. This week also included a profile of Demetra Schultz, and local doctor Hillard Duckworth spoke out in favor of the hospital tax issue.

The RHS band marked the end of a successful year with a banquet. While it was announced a new exhibit, "A View from the Hill" would open at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum.

In sports, the Lady Mohawks fell to Melbourne in the first round of regional play. While, the Tribe beat Yellville-Summit in a rain delayed regional contest and qualified for yet another trip to the state 3A tournament.

In mid-May RHS held commencement exercises, while the Piggott hospital tax issue was passed by a wide margin. The Rector FFA also held their annual awards banquet, and the annual Heritage Park fishing rodeo will be held May 25.

Longtime Piggott businessman Jack Ballard died May 15, his family had owned and operated Ballard Nursery for nearly 90 years. This week also brought news the liquor permit for the local country club had been denied on the first application, and PHS also held graduation ceremonies.

Memorial Day services were scheduled for the holiday weekend, and Rector residents donated over 4,500 pounds of food in the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. Larry Norred of Piggott marked a milestone this month, as he had the opportunity to conduct the Delta Symphony Orchestra in the Fowler Center on May 5.

Late May also brought a wrap-up of the annual Piggott car show, which enjoyed good participation and weather.

As May came to a close Memorial Day services were held in both Rector and Piggott. Site preparation is also underway for the third major building project to be announced in Piggott this year, as the lot is being cleared at East Main and Thornton Streets to make way for the new Casey's Convenience Store.

Late May also brought a strong storm system, which rolled through the region leaving widespread wind damage. Emily Sanders and Hayden McCluskey of RHS were the winners of the annual Chamber of Commerce scholarships. And, PES students marked Earth Day with a variety of activities.

June

The month of June brought the news local State Trooper Terry Burdin of Rector had been recognized with his second lifesaving award, an honor he had also received in 2007. Meanwhile, it was announced the "Ride the Fault Line" bicycle tour would visit Piggott and HPMEC.

This week also brought the news of Camilla Cox of Piggott celebrating her 90th birthday. Meanwhile, Hughey and Mary Linam of Rector marked their 75th wedding anniversary. Also featured was a story on the Purcell General Baptist Church's new building, and the 100 years of history the church enjoys.

The Clay County Arts Council Celebration of the Arts drew a big crowd, as they honored long time local resident and community supporter Demetra Schultz. Meanwhile, Piggott Postmaster Stephanie Jett was named Postmaster of the Year by the state branch of the National League of Postmasters. And, work is complete on the new McDonald's/Circle K and the two businesses are set to open June 18.

The Piggott School District lost over 250 years of combined experience with the retirements of several educators at the conclusion of the school year--including Marilyn Short, Regina Crittenden, Alvin Vangilder and Billie Plunk at PHS and Julia Winberry, Cathy Norred and Jean Potts at PES.

In mid-June the Clay County Quorum Court agreed to ask for a one cent countywide sales tax to benefit the general fund, and announced it would be voted on during a special election on Oct. 18. Meanwhile, the Yount family of Pollard was named Clay County Farm Family of the Year.

Organizers of the Piggott Fourth of July Picnic note the schedule is set and will include a free concert by Nashville singer-songwriter Jamie Teachenor, a native of the Fagus area. Lily Hoggard of Piggott was recognized by the VFW Auxiliary as their national hospital volunteer of the year. And, members of the Rector FFA attended the state convention at Camp Couchdale near Hot Springs.

Piggott High School completers were recognized for their accomplishments, and the Rector Preschool graduation was held.

In sports, former Lady Mohawk Mallory Wright is set to play in the All-Star volleyball game at Conway and the annual junior Mohawk tennis clinic was held at the municipal courts, hosted by longtime coach Paul Seegraves.

As the first half of 2013 drew to a close, the Rector PD was investigating a rash of vandalism incidents. Meanwhile, the schedule is set for the Piggott Fourth of July Picnic and volunteers in Rector are working to clean-up and landscape Memorial Park.

Late June also brought news the liquor permit for Sugar Creek Country Club was finally approved, with the decision coming June 19 from the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. Meanwhile bad weather forced the local Radio Control Airplane Fun-Fly to move from Pfeiffer Field in Piggott to the airport. And, Biker Sunday was held at Shady Grove Baptist.

The construction projects are continuing as well, with the shell of the Casey's building complete and demolition of the old Chevrolet dealership underway to make way for the new First National Bank.

And in sports, the Jeremy McDaniel Sports Complex at Rector was busy as it hosted the Little League District Tournament.

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