January 2, 2013 Edition

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Congressman Rick Crawford (center) discusses the summer's drought and its effect on agriculture with Kevin Goff (left) and Rickey Goff during a meeting in Smithville.

2012: A year in review



Hoxie's Krista Coffell set a new state record in May when she won first place in the pole vault at the Class 3A State Track meet with a vault of 10 feet, six inches.
Gretchen Hunt
Editor

The following is a compilation of some of Lawrence County's headlines in 2012.

January

Derek Lawson, son of Ed and Tracy Lawson of Walnut Ridge, played in his final game with Arkansas State University at the GoDaddy.Com Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

The Children's Shelter in Walnut Ridge received a $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation.

February

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department held a public involvement meeting at Portia to discuss the proposed widening of 1.5 miles of Highway 63 to five lanes extending from Portia, westward toward Black Rock.

Former Lawrence County Sheriff and County Judge D.S. "Rosie" Foley died at the age of 90.

March

The Hillcrest Screamin' Eagles senior boys made it to the quarterfinals of the Class 1A State Basketball Tournament, before falling to Sacred Heart 79-51.

Birdsong Peanuts announced that it would locate a new peanut buying point off Highway 63, near Portia.

April

Dr. Jerol Swaim, president of Williams Baptist College, was honored with a retirement reception after 48 years with WBC, including 17 years as president.

Lawrence County Tourism Committee members announced that the area to be home to the new Guitar Walk would be named Cavenaugh Park in honor of Don and Fran Cavenaugh's support of the project, as well as a $23,900 contribution through General Motors.

May

Walnut Ridge High School's new science, art and physical education complex was completed.

Hoxie's Krista Coffell won first place in the pole vault at the 3A State Track Meet setting a new record with her 10-foot, six-inch vault.

The Williams Baptist College Lady Eagles softball squad won the American Midwest Conference championship by defeating Park University.

Due to budget shortages, the Lawrence County USDA Rural Development office was closed. It was announced that Lawrence Countians would now receive Rural Development services through the Jonesboro office.

June

A storm system swept through the county June 2 causing structural damage and uprooting trees.

Plans were revealed for a splash pad at the Walnut Ridge City Pool, which would be funded by grant money and local fundraisers.

David Foley concluded his tenure at Black Rock School after having served as teacher, principal and superintendent.

July

Lawrence County, along with the entire state of Arkansas, suffered the effects of a drought, including increased agricultural costs and the cancellation of many July 4 events.

Terry Lambert's resignation as president of Lawrence Health Services was announced.

Dr. Thomas Jones became the sixth president of Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge.

August

First-day of school enrollment figures showed a decrease from 3,140 students in 2011 to 3,068 students in 2012. Sloan-Hendrix was the only district to show an increase in students.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held for a new 9,355-square foot facility for Community Healthcare Center in Walnut Ridge.

Lawrence County native Stan Witt was appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe to replace Col. JR Howard as the director of the Arkansas State Police.

September

Remnants of Hurricane Isaac dumped rain on the county, damaging crops as the harvest season was getting underway.

A budget shortfall for the city of Walnut Ridge led Mayor Don House to initiate cutbacks and several layoffs.

The grand opening of the Guitar Walk at Cavenaugh Park was held in conjunction with the Beatles at the Ridge event, which was a combination of activities from the Beatles festival and the Iron Mountain Festival, which was previously held in October.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital's Emergency Department added new AR SAVES equipment and procedures to help treat stroke patients.

October

Gov. Mike Beebe visited Lawrence County and toured the new Guitar Walk at Cavenaugh Park in downtown Walnut Ridge.

Longtime District Court Judge Larry Hayes announced he would retire from that office effective Dec. 31, 2012.

The Lawrence County Communications Center added the Smart911 system, where residents can provide personal information that will be used to help responders in the event of an emergency.

November

Lawrence County lost one of its most beloved and respected citizens with the Nov. 1 passing of Dr. Ralph Joseph of Walnut Ridge.

The county had a high voter turnout with 66.61 percent of registered voters casting ballots in the General Election, which included the presidential race.

The Hoxie School district's new multi-purpose facility was completed.

The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce presented Man and Woman of the Year honors to Danny West and Fran Cavenaugh, both of Walnut Ridge. Other awards were: Community Service Award, Katie Smith of Hoxie; Agriculture Business of the Year, Greenway Equipment; Business of the Year, Flippo Heat & Air; and Industry of the Year, Birdsong Peanuts.

John Andrews of Walnut Ridge was appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe as director of Rural Services.

The Walnut Ridge Bobcat football team advanced to the semifinals of the Class 2A state football playoffs, where they fell to the eventual champion Junction City Dragons.

December

Bids on construction of a new Black River Bridge and completion of the new Highway 67 from Highway 230 to the Highway 63 Bypass were accepted by the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.

Lyda Harris was honored with a retirement reception after 30 years in county government, including 16 years as the county treasurer.

A variety of holiday activities kept Lawrence County residents busy including church programs, Christmas parades, Hoxie's Dickens in the Park and Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree activities in downtown Walnut Ridge.

Between 10 and 14 inches of snow fell across Lawrence County as a blizzard hit the area on Christmas evening.

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