Year in Review, Part III

Thursday, January 12, 2017
PHS students Georgina Bautista and Hannah Powell (in blue) react as they're announced as the champions at the FBLA national competition, bringing home the first such win in school history.(courtesy photo)


The second half of 2016 began with sad news out of Rector, as long-time elected official and civic leader Lavern "Mac" Manchester died at age 92. Meanwhile, big crowds and turned out of for the annual Piggott Fourth of July Picnic, with Dr. Hillard Duckworth serving as Grand Marshal of the parade. Crowned as Miss Piggott was Keragan Cunningham of Kennett.

Brandon Blount, APRN, has joined the staff of the Rector Family Care Clinic, and a full day of fun awaits at the upcoming Pollard Picnic to benefit the New Hope Cemetery.

Congrats to members of the Piggott High School FBLA, as they posted the school's first-ever national win. Taking first at the national meeting for Introduction to Business Presentation was the team of Hannah Powell and Georgina Bautista. The Rector City Council read a letter from the school board concerning the future use of the armory, as the district sought to have the building donated. There will be one contested school board race this fall in Piggott, as Jimmy Threatt and Chris Crawford have filed for the seat being vacated by Jeff Benbrook. Despite an early evening thunderstorm, the annual Pollard Picnic was a success. Crowned Miss Pollard, at the nearby Hope Center of New Hope Church, was Madison Steward of Holcomb. Of course, the annual St. Francis Picnic is drawing near.

The turf/track project continued at Piggott's Parker Field in mid-July, as the surface was prepared. And, the Rector High School Sports Hall of Fame named the inductees for 2016, including Jessica Hill-Graham, Jimmy W. McKeel, Dana Adams-Wilson and Wendell H. Crow.

A fiery crash near Nimmons claimed two lives in the past week, although the names of the victims were not released. It was also reported Rector Drug and Medical Supply had been awarded a grant to repair wind damage. The Piggott School Board addressed personnel matters at their meeting. And, Courtney Roberts of Holcomb was crowned Miss St. Francis at their annual picnic. The quorum court approved the FEMA flood plain map, and authorized the hiring of an investigator for the sheriff's department. Meanwhile, the Clay County Arts Council board met and set the schedule of events for the coming year.

Repair of the roof of the Piggott Community Center dominated the monthly council meeting, as aldermen hosted a public meeting on the subject. It was also announced the Regions Bank branch in Rector is scheduled to close by the end of October. And, a feature story reported on all of the upgrades and repairs made to the Rector Community Center thanks to the Melvin Crockett estate. A new Extension Homemakers Club has been formed in the Nimmons area, dubbed the Nimmons Women EHC. And, the annual Greenway Picnic is set and the pageant schedule reported. The annual Piggott summer tennis youth league was held in late July, and members of the Cougar football team attended camp at Ouachita University.


The month of August brought with it news the Rector City Council had voted to sell the armory to the school district for $10,000. An expansion project was also carried-out at Mitchell Cemetery, as volunteer labor and equipment cleared a new section. The Piggott City Council accepted bids on two projects for the water department at a special meeting, including the painting project involving the water tower. The Greenway Picnic was at hand, and organizers reminded everyone of the big Ultimate Oldies Show set for Friday evening of Labor Day weekend in Rector.

Irby Funeral Home has a new owner, as Billy Curl took over operations at Rector, Piggott and Marmaduke. He also owns Cobb Funeral Home in Blytheville. The Back-to-School Backpack Bash is also set at PES, thanks to the volunteers of Community Alliance. In sports, with the arrival of August football preseason practice is now underway.

School resumed on campuses across the state in early August, as the 2016-17 school year began. Piggott Community Hospital recognized Dr. Hillard Duckworth with a 90th birthday party and the Rector School Board voted to finalize the agreement to acquire the old armory. The 86th annual Greenway Picnic, to benefit Mitchell Cemetery, was a success despite touchy weather. At the end of the day Sawyer Hendrix, of Rector, was crowned Miss Greenway for 2016. The Marmaduke School Board made last minute preparations for the school year to come, and Neighbor 2 Neighbor set their annual work day in Rector. Of course, the annual Rector and McDougal picnic are at hand.

In mid-August the Rector Council discussed whether or not to pursue a major water system improvement project. Organizers of the upcoming "A Face in the Crowd" anniversary celebration also joined members of the PHS Marching Mohawk Band in releasing commemorative postcards to be sold in conjunction with the event. This month also brought with it the news that Piggott native, and PHS grad, Dr. Randy McComb is now working part of schedule in the emergency room at PCH. He and his wife, Cindy (Camp), are enjoying life on 300 acres on Crowley's Ridge and their effort to restore game birds to the ridge.

Rector Methodists were also set to celebrate their building's 100th anniversary, with special services in the iconic building at the corner of Third and Dodd.

In sports, the high school teams are rolling into fall play in the coming weeks. As for the Lady Mohawk volleyball team, they get a new coach as Southeast Missouri native Codie Lancaster takes over.

Torrents of rain forced the postponement of the Neighbor 2 Neighbor clean-up day in Rector. Marmaduke Council voted to continue to provide water service to ARI. Community Center hours and rates were set by the Piggott City Council, and employees in the two Clay County Courthouses "Backed the Blue" by wearing special shirts. A church service is also planned for Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Long-time area minister Rev. Jack Bearden was set to mark his 100th birthday in early September. Meanwhile, Cleda Simmons, of Rector, celebrated her 103rd birthday, and the Rector Labor Day pageant schedule was released.

In sports, Cougars and Mohawks took part in scrimmages, and along with volleyball the fall tennis season is at hand for the PHS program.

As the month of August drew to a close it was reported Butch French has been named Grand Marshal of the annual Rector Labor Day Parade. Also in the news, school enrollments have remained steady at local districts with Rector reporting 605 students, Piggott with 880 and Marmaduke around 755.

Despite the delay, the Neighbor 2 Neighbor clean up was a success in Rector. The special two-day anniversary celebration of the filming of A Face in the Crowd is set for early September, with the funds benefiting the PHS band program. Rector Downtown Central is hosting another ice cream social, and the first-ever Backpack Bash was a success, thanks to the efforts of the Community Alliance.

In sports, the Mohawk tennis teams were in action, along with the PHS volleyball squads and the Cougar and Greyhound golf teams.


The annual Rector Labor Day Picnic was celebrated in grand style, with Chelsey Scott crowned Miss Rector for 2016. Early voting is set to begin Sept. 13, for the annual school election in Clay County. And, the coming weekend will bring with it both the Face in the Crowd anniversary celebration and the Clay County Fair pageants.

Leland Blackshare was the keynote speaker at the Rector History Luncheon, reviewing history of the local Labor Day Picnic. A ribbon cutting was held as The Piggott City Market opened to the public on the west side of the square. The new business boasts a coffee shop, baked goodies and local pieces of art to mention a few of their offerings.

In sports, the Junior Cougars began what would be a perfect season with a win over the Junior Mohawks. The senior squad wasn't as lucky though, as they fell to Palestine-Wheatley. The Tribe began what would also be an historic season for them on the road, as they beat 2A powerhouse Hazen 20-6. The Mohawk volleyball and tennis teams were also in action, and Easton Tracy was the winner of the annual Rector Labor Day 5K run/walk.

The annual Clay County Fair got underway Sept. 14, and crowned Miss Clay County for this year was Lauren Hovis of Corning. A fatal crash on Johnson Avenue in Piggott was also investigated, involving a truck driven by the same man who's vehicle struck a building along East Main earlier in the year, but at this point no names were being released. The driver was the lone fatality, while three others were injured. The Face in the Crowd anniversary celebration was held, with a special observance at the Mohawk football game with Portageville and a banquet at the community center. Another annual favorite is also at hand, as the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum will host their annual Native American Day on Sept. 24.

In sports, the Mohawks christened the new turf with a 34-22 win over the Portageville Bulldogs as they improve to 2-0. Meanwhile, the Lady Mohawks rolled to the Slam Fest championship and the PHS tennis teams posted wins over Paragould in non-conference play.

A retirement reception was held in September for Judy Wells, as she retired after a long career as a local healthcare provider. The Rector City Council reviewed possible upgrades to the water system once again, and discussed grant efforts. Issues with the quality of the carnival at the annual Rector Labor Day Picnic also prompted a discussion among local residents. The victims in the fatal crash were identified, as it was reported the driver, Kenneth Bradshaw, 51, had died in the mishap on North Johnson in Piggott. The Clay County Fair drew to a close, and the Native American Day was at hand. Tickets went on sale for the annual Piggott Area Chamber of Commerce banquet, set for Oct. 11, and the City of Rector planned their citywide yard sale.

In sports, the Rector Junior Cougars beat Salem 14-6 while the Junior Mohawks downed Corning 24-14. As for the senior squads, they met in their annual rivalry game with the Mohawks posting a lopsided 63-0 home victory over the Cougars to remain undefeated.

The final week of September brings with it more sad news for the Rector area, as long-time local farmer, and former school board president, Dale Vangilder dies at age 70. Despite hotter-than-average weather, the annual Native American Day was a success at MKPM. The resurfacing effort by the city of Rector was approved by the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, which will upgrade several streets. The Piggott City Council reviewed finances, and heard some good news concerning future electric rates. And a feature told the story of the renovation of the old merry-go-round in Rector Memorial Park, and the city employees and volunteers who made the project possible.

The Marmaduke city council voted to allow K-9 officer Duke to retire with his handler, Matthew Pruitt. Fire destroyed a vacant home in Rector and Josie Brandon was recognized at a party as a 40 year member of TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly). Grandparents Day was marked at regional schools, with good crowds on hand at PES.

In sports, the junior Cougars continue to roll as they beat Earle 14-6. The Tribe was also victorious, as they traveled to Osceola and beat the Seminoles 43-7, while the junior Mohawks fell at home to Osceola 42-0. The PHS boys and girls tennis teams were in late season play, and RHS golfers Cody Ails and Tyler Tinnin both qualified for the 1A state tourney. In volleyball action, the Lady Mohawks beat Hoxie at home then split with non-conference Harrisburg on the road.

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