Top Local Stories Of 2016 On

By Staff, 01/2/17 12:46 PM

HOPE/PRESCOTT – A retrospect of the top local stories from 2016:

January saw the first female firefighter being hired by the City of Hope, ex-Arkansas Highway Policeman Jimmy Vickers plead guilty to federal weapon charges and a Lafayette County man stabbed in the ear with an ice pick and subsequently die. Harley Sisson Sr. and former Hope Chief of Police, Jim Purtle both died.

In February, two local houses, the Etheridge house in Hope and the Prescott home of attorney Rowe Staton both burn. The North Hervey Branch of the Bank of the Ozarks is robbed by a Texas man, who was quickly apprehended. James Pafford was sentenced. The Spring Hill area rural water project was awarded a grant for funding. A fight involving a large number of juveniles and young adults in the parking lot of McDonalds required the response from all area law enforcement agencies.

The Interstate 30 project between Hope and Fulton began in March and Steve Lance was named Citizen of the Year and Karen Massey was honored as Educator of the Year at the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce banquet. Hempstead County Judge Haskell Morse wins the Republican primary against Brad Judd. Hempstead County suffers through historic flooding and Valerie Klipsch and Mary Nell Turner died.

Operation Burnout, a multi-agency law enforcement project, saw 20+ arrested throughout Hope and Hempstead County on drug charges in April. The pool in Prescott was demolished and James Pilkinton’s law license was suspended.

May saw additional flooding in the area, a man shoots and kills his brother and a civil court case is filed against James Pilkinton. The Hempstead County Library received a check that enabled them to began plans for expansion.

The new Nevada County jail opened in June and that month’s Nevada County Quorum Court turned into a major shouting mass. More floods affected Hempstead County and Hope saw dramatic flash flooding. Perry Foster and John Brannan, Sr. died.

July saw more flooding, the Clinton Birthplace Home reopen after the arson fire of December 25, 2015 and a plane crash at the Hope airport that sent two men to the hospital.

August was all about about the Watermelon Festival and the Oak Creek Boys’ concert.

The Fair Park Beef Barn was renamed the Don Fuller Beef Pavilion in September and it was Fair time. The first Trade Days was held in downtown Hope and the idea of a new Hempstead County Courthouse facility was broached. A double fatality car accident took place on Hwy. 73 W, a fire damaged a bridge in Nevada County and members of the Prescott Police Department saw pay raises.

A second Trade Days was held in Hope in October, James Pilkinton surrendered his law license and the Nevada County Sheriff was requested to confiscate a school bus.

Elections in November saw Danny Watson and Karen Smith emerge as winners. There was a fatality hit and run in Rosston and a member of the Blevins School Board faced publicity after wearing blackface makeup to a Halloween party.

December was THE month for the Prescott Curley Wolves as they won the AAA state title. There were two fatal car accidents in Hempstead County: one on Interstate 30 and one on the Bill Clinton Bypass. Mayor Dennis Ramsey said ‘thank you and goodbye’ after serving the City of Hope for thirty-eight years, a local DJ’s house burned and June Downs died.

That was your year – learn from it if you can.


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