As compiled by Rick Kennedy, managing editor
In a special 12-part month-by-month series, SWARK Today presents a review of the top stories and news worthy events in both Hempstead and Nevada counties over the course of the calendar year of 2018. This installment looks at June 2018.
• In the summer blaze of downtown Hope on Saturday, a dedicated group of individuals were powerwashing old structures and doing the unglamorous task of cleaning debris from buildings and sidewalks. Headed by downtown business owner Bob Irwin, folks like Mark Ross were driving a folklift, Toby Neff was elevated 30-feet with a sprayer, while John Akin and John Caldwell were hand picking weathered roofing, wood and nails from the ground as they spent a good portion of five hours cleaning up the old Tae Kwon Do building.
• The Southwest Arkansas Arts Council (SWAAC) is featuring the artworks of mother and daughter, Lisa and Caley Pennington, through June 29, at the Art Station Gallery at 200 East Division Street in Hope. Both of the Penningtons are teachers – Lisa at the University of Arkansas Community College in Hope and Caley at Arkansas State University-Beebe.
• During the recent Parade of Lights EMS Week celebration in Little Rock, Jamie Pafford-Gresham, CEO for Pafford EMS, learned that she has been selected to be inducted into the Arkansas EMS Hall of Fame.
• The ongoing restoration and resurrection movement in Hope is not limited to downtown as the Hope Lions Club officially acquired rights Tuesday to the ancient concession facility once known as the Hope Band Boosters stand.
• The Nevada County Courthouse at Prescott in Nevada County is among 12 Arkansas properties that have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the country’s official list of historically significant properties. The Nevada County Courthouse at 215 East Second Street was built in 1964 from a design by Weaver and Hiegel Associates reflecting the New Formalism.
• The Nevada County Fair Association received $2,480.00 to purchase four window mounted AC and heating units and two window mounted AC units. The Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) Division of Rural Services works in partnership with the Arkansas Rural Development Commission to administer the County Fair Grant Program each year.
• Due to an age change in January, Hope High School graduate Brooke Cornelius found herself with a fifth and final shot at the Miss Arkansas crown starting this week in Little Rock, while a one-time winner of the Miss Southwest District Fair crown, Reagan Grubbs, makes her first appearance on the Miss Arkansas stage as the reigning Miss Southern Arkansas University.
• An estimated crowd of 50 showed up Tuesday morning in the parking lot adjacent to the First Baptist Church in downtown Hope and almost directly across the street from the old downtown branch of Farmers Bank to celebrate the groundbreaking for new downtown branch of Farmers Bank.
• Amid 90-degree plus temperatures and bright sunshine in Prescott’s City Park, it was a perfect day for a splash in some cool water. As it turned out, that was exactly what happened Friday morning as an estimated crowd of 70 gathered for the grand opening of the City of Prescott’s new Water Park Splash Pad.
• As the Miss Arkansas Pageant starts today, the big national pageant news happened last week as Miss America Pageant officials announced the elimination of the traditional swimsuit competition, and additionally, saying that the evening gown competition will be modified and reduced in significance. Regionally respected pageant director Suzi Powell, who oversees events in both Hempstead and Howard Counties, said “These are ‘beauty’ pageants, and it seems like they are trying to take the ‘beauty’ out of the pageant. I am not crazy about these new ideas, and in fact, I think some of it is ridiculous.”
• Stacy Jester, the longtime director of the Miss Nevada County Pageant, said “The national level is a bit different than the county or the state levels, but I will say that as you try to encourage young ladies to enter the Miss Nevada Pageant, the swimsuit competition is one of the biggest drawbacks.”
• A one-time Miss Southwest District Fair Queen scored an early category victory at the Miss Arkansas Pageant as Reagan Grubbs, now completing as Miss Southern Arkansas University, was named as an Alpha award Lifestyle and Fitness winner in the Swimsuit competition on opening night Tuesday.
• The old saying “Something old can be something new again” certainly meant something as a previous closed local restaurant reopened under a new name in Hope on Wednesday night. Scottie’s Steak & Seafood made its debut for dinner, opening in the old Boonies Restaurant building located at 504 W Compress St.
• Brooke Cornelius, a 2012 graduate of Hope High School now residing in Little Rock as a second-year law student, made a late run in the Miss Arkansas Pageant over the weekend, winning a preliminary Thursday and landing a spot in the Top 10 on Saturday night and completing for the crown.
• With a brisk performance, county music star Lorrie Morgan proved to be full of surprises in a Friday, June 15 performance before an estimated crowd of 650 at Hempstead Hall.
• An estimated crowd of 200 was believed to have physically attended the second coming of “Summer in the City” event, but scorching temperatures in downtown Hope were believed to have kept many in air conditioned homes and cars on Saturday.
• The Hempstead County Economic Development Corporation’s 32nd annual meeting on Tuesday night proved to be mostly about touting existing Hope business and investments and the contributions of local companies.
• A well-known and respected Hempstead farm family with 30 years of experience was formally named as 2018 Hempstead County Farm Family, joining a select group of family farms that were honored in ceremonies across the state as Jeff and Jane Collums were visited by a group of state district judges on June 13.
• A well-known and respected Nevada cattle ranch family was formally named as 2018 Nevada County Farm Family of the Year, joining a select group of family farms that were honored in ceremonies across the state. Todd and Kathy Brown were visited by a group of state district judges June 13.
• Although summer doesn’t officially happen until June 21, scorching daily temperatures and dry conditions — described by some like respected Nevada rancher Todd Brown as almost drought-like — have been commonplace throughout the southwestern Arkansas region including both Nevada and Hempstead counties.
• Howard G. Austin, who was named as Citizen of the Year earlier this year, was honored again at the end of May by the Prescott School District after stepping in to serve on the school board this school year when his zone and school needed him. As always, he diligently served our school and students.
• Prescott’s Thomas Muldrow and KaDarius Pearson made their presence well known on the gridiron in Conway over the past weekend amongst the Natural State’s top-notch football players in the state at the 63rd anniversary of the Arkansas Army National Guard Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Football game at Estes Stadium on the University of Central Arkansas. The Prescott connection of Muldrow and Pearson helped the West dominate the East 52-21 last Saturday night in the all-star football game.
• Pafford’s 2018 Stars of Life, paramedic David Richardson and his partner/wife, EMT Lori Richardson, recently met with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, Senator John Boozman, Representative Rick Crawford and Ashley Shelton from his staff, and Representative Bruce Westerman as part of the festivities surrounding the American Ambulance Association’s Stars of Life program.
• In an unusual coordination of multiple operations, four nearly concurrent drug raids were executed and arrests made throughout the region Wednesday afternoon with one instance happening at a well-known restaurant franchise in Hope.
•The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, a division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, has awarded $2,963,781 in grants for projects in 58 Arkansas counties—including Hempstead County—through its County Courthouse Restoration Grant, Historic Preservation Restoration Grant and Main Street Downtown Revitalization Grant programs. The Hope Downtown Network received a $1,000 Main Street Downtown Revitalization Grant.
• A comprehensive 14-page motion for summary judgment in the suit filed by M&M Wrecker and Service of Prescott against the Nevada County Quorum Court was filed at the Nevada County courthouse on Friday, June 29.
As compiled by Rick Kennedy, managing editor