Look Back at 2018, Part Three

Thursday, January 10, 2019
PHS grad Hannah Smart, 18-year-old daughter of Wade and Leah Smart, was crowned Miss Piggott for 2018 at the conclusion of the July 4, annual celebration. First alternate was Raelyn Jones (right), of Paragould, the 17-year-old daughter of Toni and Dennis Etheridge, and second alternate was Sydney Risinger, the 18-year-old daughter of Tommy and Christie Risinger of Piggott.
TD file photo

July

The first half of 2018 ended with a flurry of news activities, as reported the first week of July. The ArDOT meeting on proposed highway improvements along U.S. 62 and 49, in Piggott, drew a large crowd of interested citizens. Meanwhile, Piggott Community Hospital was recognized with an award for quality performance measures. And, it was good news for the Rector School District as they learned they would receive a 21st Century remediation and enrichment grant for the coming year. Meanwhile, the Piggott School Board met in special session and heard an update from Jon Wellman on the ALE program, and on efforts to bring BRTC classes to PHS. Two coaching moves were also approved, as Walter Rau resigned as teacher and assistant football coach to pursue a full-time career in the military and the board approved the hire of former Westside Lady Warrior, and WBC grad, Shelby Slaven as the new volleyball coach. And, residents of Piggott were set to go to the polls to decide the fate of an extension of the sales tax to benefit the local hospital.

Hannah Smart was crowned Miss Piggott at the annual Fourth of July Picnic and Homecoming. Serving as Grand Marshal was James Lasswell, son of war hero and former Piggott resident, Alva Lasswell. A special ceremony was also held, as items belonging to Lasswell were donated by his family. Speaking of the Piggott Picnic, drawing winners were Peggy Smart and David Wagster, of Piggott, and David Wells of Rector. The Rector Community Museum renovation of the Underwood building was updated to the city council. Meanwhile, plans are complete for the upcoming Pollard Picnic.

On July 10, Piggott residents extended the sales tax for PCH on a vote of 381 to 38.

The Summer Reading Programs at the Piggott and Rector Libraries were a big success, as reported in July. And, the Clay County Arts Council announced auditions for an upcoming production of “Alice in Wonderland.” And, the HPMEC Writer in Residence program drew to a close as Kate Osana Simonian completed her effort.

The Quorum Court approved the 2017 audit at their July meeting. The Piggott School Board also approved the hire of long time head football coach Don Simmons as a Mohawk assistant, as he brings 40 years of experience to the staff. Pacy Risner was crowned Miss Pollard, and the St. Francis Picnic was at hand.

Linda Dixon retired from the district court office after a long career, and a reception was held. Meanwhile, the Rector High School Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2018 was introduced, as Jim Speer, Hannah Parsley-Rudi and Jimmy Greenway would be inducted on Sept. 1.

The Piggott City Council held the first reading of their side-by-side and golf cart ordinance at the July meeting, as they also sought to legalize such vehicles for city streets. Meanwhile, Ryleigh Laden, of Piggott, was crowned Miss St. Francis; the Piggott School Board approved the band room demolition bid and hired an SRO. The porch at HPMEC is being renovated and the Piggott High FBLA earned national honors.

August

The annual Greenway Picnic was at hand as August began for 2018. Also topping the news, local native Cody Shaw continues to recover from a severe brain injury he sustained in early July at his workplace in Hot Springs. New voting machines in Clay County mean fewer voting sites, as it was announced that the county was reducing polling places from 14 to 10. The Piggott School Board accepted the resignations of former PHS band director Jeremy Wortham, and fourth grade teacher Christy Wortham, his wife, at a special meeting. They also hired Johnny Gardner as resource officer.

The Attorney General's office had a representative visit the extension office in Piggott. And, the Community Alliance annual Backpack Bash was set while Rector churches planned their annual “Back to School With Love Day.”

Rhonda Turner retired after a lengthy career at the local FSA office. The sales tax holiday weekend was set, and the municipal filing period was at hand. With Labor Day rapidly approaching, the annual Neighbor 2 Neighbor work day was set.

In sports, champions were crowned in the annual Piggott Summer Tennis League. And, registration is underway for the Rector Labor Day 5K.

Hannah Smart, of Piggott, added to her trophy case in early August as she was crowned Miss Greenway for 2018. Meanwhile, classes reconvened in both Rector and Piggott. And, plans are shaping up for the return of the Ultimate Oldies Show on Aug. 31, to kickoff of the Labor Day weekend in Rector.

Work continues on the Rector Community Museum, and State Rep. Joe Jett stopped by for a tour and made a donation. Meanwhile, Piggott Community Sharing Hearts donated funding to the Clay County 4-H Youth Leadership Citizenship Team.

With Labor Day just a couple of weeks away, tickets are on sale for the annual drawing. Also in the news, the Mohawk football team will host their annual kick-off event on Aug. 23, at the old gym.

As classes got underway, the Piggott band director position remained vacant with volunteer parents helping with the students. The school board did approve a remodeling project for the restrooms at Parker Field. Meanwhile, the Rector board heard a positive update on the first day of school at their meeting. And, at Piggott Community Hospital they've got a new CT “dose reduction” machine that reduces radiation and improves image quality.

Mid-August also brought the news that Piggott's own Gary Adams has been nominated for the inclusion into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. The Rector Labor Day pageant schedule was set, and the 21st Century grant program at Rector schools was updated.

August also brought the sad news of the deaths of two more Corning High School students, as Bethany Stormes and Rachel Ballard were killed north of the city when their truck was struck by a train. Clay County was recognized by the Association of Arkansas Counties with a safety award during their annual conference. The Neighbor 2 Neighbor effort was a big success. And, there are four contested races in the city of Piggott as the municipal filing period ends.

The Piggott location of Region's Bank closed Aug. 17, in a move which had been announced earlier in the year. The Lady Mohawk volleyball season was at hand, and the Mohawk golf squad was prepping for the season.

As the month drew to a close Tammy and Hoss Scott were announced as the Grand Marhsals of the upcoming Rector Labor Day Picnic Parade. The Piggott City Council advanced the golf cart ordinance at their meeting and the Piggott School Board approved the hiring of Richard Smart as a sub for the vacant band director position.

A full schedule of events, activities, music and fun was on tap as the 77th annual Rector Labor Day Picnic was set. Tickets went on sale for the CCAC production of “Alice in Wonderland” set for Sept. 22.

In sports, the Mohawk tennis teams have seen early season action. Sugar Creek Country Club held their annual two-gal scramble, and Sandy Deaton, of Dexter, had a hole-in-one. Meanwhile, former Mohawk Mazin Chase signed a letter of intent to attend Crowley Ridge College and play golf for the Pioneers. And, Labor Day weekend in Rector will also include the RHSSHOF induction ceremony and golf tournament.

September

All eyes were on Rector Labor Day weekend, as the annual picnic was held. Crowned Miss Rector for 2018 was Sawyer Hendrix and the top three finishers in the 5K were Max Ford, Landon Stucks and Colton Lindsey. Meanwhile, the annual Clay County Fair is set to begin Sept. 12.

With four contested races in the upcoming election, a public forum has been planned at the Piggott Community Center on Oct. 1. Races include Mayor Jim Poole facing a challenge from councilman Travis Williams; councilman Jamey Parks facing a challenge from Brent Sanders and Jimmy Chilcutt; councilman Mike Cook facing a challenge from Kevin Jones and city clerk Ramona Magee facing a challenge from Julie McMillon. County assessor Tracy Gurley was also challenged by Erika Snow and State Rep. Joe Jett is facing a challenge from Ryan Carter, of Corning.

The annual Clay County Farm Bureau meeting was held with around 135 members and guests in attendance.

In sports, the football season began with a rivalry game as the junior Cougars hosted the junior Mohawks at Temerian Field. But, lightning just prior to halftime cut the contest short with the score tied at 0-0. Meanwhile, the Mohawk varsity team hosted the potent Westside Warriors and dropped a 37-16 loss. And, the induction ceremony was held for the RHSSHOF class of 2018.

The Clay County Fair got underway with the annual schedule of pageants. Crowned Miss Clay County for 2018 was Sarah Marie Robinson, of Rector.

The Piggott School Board hosted its annual public meeting. Board members also voted to hire an additional SRO for PES, extending a contract to PHS grad Lonzo “Trae” Peacock.

The Rector City Council appointed Anthony Dowdy to fill out the unexpired term of Ryan Lawrence at their meeting, as he is the only candidate for the position on council. Meanwhile, the Rector School Board reviewed budgets. Work is also underway on the resurfacing of West Clay Street in Piggott. And, the CCAC production of Alice in Wonderland is set for Sept. 22.

In sports, the Cougar football team kicked off the season in style with a 15-14 home victory over county rival Corning. As for the Mohawks, they went on the road to Brookland and pounded the Bearcats 44-16. The junior and seventh grade Cougars also swept Corning in their games, while the junior Mohawks and EPC played to a tie after the lights went off at Parker Field.

The local VFW announced a memorial service in conjunction with National POW/MIA Recognition Day on Sept. 22. Also in the news, the quorum court approved the new polling center plan for the county at their meeting. The Piggott Fire Department benefited from a donation by Enterprise Products and the walls of the old PHS music room came tumbling down as the aged structure is being torn-down to make way for a new safe room.

In mid-September, Pumpkin Hollow kicked-off its 26th season with a variety of new offerings and updated facilities. The annual Lake Side Market was set at Heritage Park, and vendors were being sought. Advance tickets were on sale for the annual Piggott Area Chamber of Commerce Dinner Meeting, set for early October.

In sports, the annual rivalry game between the Mohawks and the Cougars was a lopsided affair as the Tribe rolled 52-0 to post the non-conference win.

Sad news dominated the headlines in late September, with the loss of several influential local residents. Former State Rep. Richard Simmons, of Rector, died suddenly Sept. 25. Long time Piggott businessman Eugene Mann passed away Sept. 23, and Mitchell Funeral Home owner Robert “Bobby” Mitchell died Sept. 17.

On the bright side, the CCAC production drew large crowds to the Rector Community Center. The golf cart ordinance was reviewed by the Piggott City Council and Piggott Community Hospital announced that Dr. Matthew Dalke will begin a local practice later this year.

HPMEC hosted a World War I themed writer's retreat. Rain hampered early harvest efforts. And, East Arkansas Area Agency on Aging celebrated 40 years of local service.

In sports, as September drew to a close Mohawk golfer Isaac Langley qualified for a return trip to the 3A state golf tournament based on his performance at district. Meanwhile, the PHS tennis squads prepped to district play and the volleyball season was in full swing. As for the football teams, the Cougars blew a late lead in losing to EPC, while the Mohawks rolled over the Manila Lions 68-7 at Parker Field.

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