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2008 – A Year In Review

A Month By Month Look At 2008 News Events


Water Valley Mayor Bill Norris announced plans to celebrate the city’s 150th birthday with a Founders Day celebration to be held April 19.

Carothers Construction Company announced in a brief letter to city officials that they were no longer interested in purchasing 2.7 acres of surplus city property behind the old Big Yank building. The process had begun three months earlier in October 2007 when the company had asked the city to consider selling the property.

Yalobusha General Hospital officials announced that    Dr. Heidi Pratt, a family physician, would begin practicing in the Water Valley Medical Clinic, sharing space with Dr. Joe Walker.

Judge Andrew Baker administered the Oaths of Office to county-wide  officials Jan. 3 at the Court House in Water Valley.

Yalobusha County Supervisors re-elected Amos Sims as their president and Tommy Vaughn as the board’s vice-president. John Crow was appointed as the board’s attorney to begin his 29th year in that capacity. They also approved the first beer permit in the county for the 330 Superstore, which is located just outside of Coffeeville.

Davidson Elementary School sixth grade math teacher Ashley Rich was a contestant of the popular game show Wheel of Fortune.

Denley’s One Stop, located on Okahoma Street in Coffeeville, was destroyed by fire Jan. 16. The family business had been in operation at the same location for almost six decades.

City officials announced Jan. 17 that repairs to the water-damaged floor of the Blackmur Memorial Library would cost at least $75,000.

David McFadden of Water Valley photographed a bear with a motion-detecting  deer camera he had placed in a secluded hunting area near Hwy. 315 in southeastern Panola County.

April Pullen opened Valley Dance Company, a dance school, Jan. 22 on Main Street with about 40 students.

In sports news,  the Water Valley High School basketball teams were able to get wins over the Strayhorn Mustangs Jan. 23 at W.V.H.S. gymnasium.

Leading the pack in the Water Valley High School student council womanless beauty review fundraiser were Antonio Hoskins, first place; Tyler Jones with second place; and Cody Shuffield, third place. The contest was held Jan 25 in the high school gym.         

The flu bug bit hard in Yalobusha County and local doctors saw more than a dozen cases over the weekend of Jan. 26-27. Doctors Paul Odom, Joe Walker, Heidi Pratt, and Dragica “D” Milicevic along with Nurse Practitioner Holly Robertson all had a personal battle with the bug.

A Senate Bill introduced Jan. 31 will put Yalobusha County in the hunt for a joint regional/county jail that would be financed by the state. Senator Gray Tollison authored Senate Bill 2584 which would authorize the Mississippi Department of Corrections to contract with Yalobusha County for a regional prision.

A squabble about a county road found its way to federal court in late January when Fletcher Fly sued Yalobusha County to settle a dispute concerning the ownership County Road 161.


The city will participate in the Great American Cleanup – Mississippi as part of preparations for the town’s sesquicentennial, city officials announced at the beginning of the month.

Enid Lake’s Annual Habitat Day was held February 2. Volunteers built fish shelters to attract fish during the period of lower lake levels.

A storm system that moved through the area Feb. 5 and caused the postponement of the City Board meeting spawned a tornado that practically destroyed Caterpiller’s Oxford plant. The destruction prompted businessman Cayce Washington to call Caterpillar offering assistance which led to a temporary move to Water Valley.

Irb Benjamin of Jail Development Management & Consulting, began working for Yalobusha County Feb. 7, following a unanimous vote by supervisors in a recessed meeting in Water Valley. Benjamin’s job will be to walk the regional jail project through the legislative process and continue in the design and construction of the facility.

The American Association of School Administrators honored Superintendent Sammy Higdon of the Water Valley School District as Mississippi’s Superintendent of Distinction at their meeting in Tampa Florida Feb. 16.

The Yalobusha County Crime Stoppers program was recognized as the best new program statewide  at a recent state meeting.

An announcement appeared in the Feb. 14 Herald about The Water Valley Main Street Association and Mari and Eddie Foster sponsoring a writing contest for grades ninth to 12th in honor of local historian, the late Bruce Gurner. The contest was part of Founders Day celebrating the City of Water Valley’s sesquicentennial.   

In sports news Feb. 14, the 2008 Water Valley High School baseball season was about to start and head coach Doug Robbins had his team ready to hit the field. And, the Water Valley High School basketball teams saw action twice during the past week playing host to the Charleston Tigers and Senatobia Warriors. The girl’s team was able to go a perfect 2-0, while the boy’s split at 1-1.

A Water Valley resident made a direct hit on the Sprint Mart Feb. 21 when her car jumped the curb, crossed the sidewalk and rammed a metal window support. “I came to get milk but got the beer instead,” she commented as she got into her car to drive home.        

The Water Valley Junior Auxiliary Crown Gala was held Feb. 23 at the Davidson Elementary School Gym. JA presented their Community Inspiration Award to Snooky and Mary Lou Williams.

Renasant Bank pledged $200,000 to establish a low-interest loan program for the Water Valley Main Street Association.

In the Feb. 28 Herald, the municipal airport was reported open again and one small step away from final FAA approval after completion of the new lighting system.

More than 500 youth and adults filled the Multipurpose Building in Coffeeville February 29 and March 1, in the sixth annual Y-Fest.    The event provides worship through music and motivational speakers.


The baseball Blue Devils (5-2 overall) picked up a couple of wins March 1 in doubleheader action against the Charleston Tigers at W.V.H.S. field. The Devils outscored the Tigers 6-2 in the first game and 12-2 in the second.

The Enid Lake Volunteers for Waste Management combined with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Enid Lake in the fifth annual Enid Lake Clean Up Day on March 1. About 175 volunteers picked up a total of 50 cubic yards of trash and 56 tires from along Enid Lake’s roadways and shoreline. Also, all campgrounds and day use areas opened at Enid Lake.

The opening date for Windsor Quality Food Company was pushed back to early fall while the company makes modifications to the Oakland plant that formerly housed Mississippi Beef Processors, LLC. The announcement was made March 3 at the board of supervisors meeting in Coffeeville.

Rev. Millard Guy Reedy, Jr., 85, died March 3. He was born Sept. 19, 1922, in Aberdeen. He had several pastorates in Mississippi, spanning 51 years.  He served nearly 23 years in Water Valley prior to his retirement in 1992.

Water bills went up to defray the costs of replacing worn out parts of the city’s water system and the high price tag associated with new federal regulations. The new rates were approved at the city board meeting March 4. At the same meeting, aldermen also approved the new city flag design submitted by Vallian Tommy Latham. The flag symbolizes the three lakes and the three roads coming into town.

The Herald reported March 6 that Bills in the House and Senate were still alive that would allow Mississippi Department of Corrections to contract with Yalobusha County to build a regional jail. Yalobusha is one of 10 counties listed on Senate Bill 2462.

The ninth annual Yalobusha County Agriculture Banquet was held March 6 at the Multi-purpose Building. James Edwards was selected as the Yalobusha County Farmer of the Year. The Kudzu Preservation Society of Water Valley held their charter ceremony March 7 at the Mechanics Bank community room. The local group became part of the Mississippi Federation of Women’s Clubs.

Snow fell overnight March 7 creating excitement  among the young and young at heart. When the sun came out the next morning, the light covering began to melt quickly.

Repairs to the Blackmur Memorial Library – which were estimated in the $70,000 range were completed March 14 for about $10,000 using city workers under the direction of Joe Newman, manager of the electric department.

Mississippi’s 47-day turkey season opened Saturday, March 15 with thousands of hopeful hunters taking to the woods to whine, yelp, purr and cluck.

The students at Davidson Elementary School had a choice of cheesy chicken over rice or a tuna sandwich for their school lunch on Monday, March 17.

The City took yet another step in the process toward renovating Baker Street Park by holding a second public hearing March 17.

The Yalobusha County Soil and Water Conservation District hosted the 22nd Annual Wildlife Tasting Buffet on March 20. Saltillo resident and popular American Idol contestant Drew Poppelreiter provided entertainment.

The Herald reported March 20 that the U.S. Justice Department signed off on an annexation that will expand Oakland’s boundaries to include developer L.J. Lindley’s rental cabins and other businesses.

The Water Valley Blue Devils baseball team (12-5 overall, 3-1 in division play) was able to pick up two wins, one March 18 and one March 22.

Three Georgia men were indicted in federal court in Oxford March 25 for their alleged fraudulent role in the defunct Mississippi Beef Processors located on the western edge of Yalobusha County near Oakland.

Senator Roger Wicker made a campaign stop in Water Valley March 26.

Grass and brush fires were almost daily occurrence for Yalobusha County firefighters during March. There have been 12 brush fires county-wide since the beginning of the month, the Herald reported March 27.


An April Fools Day story about drilling a gas well downtown at the Railroad Park Pavilion appeared on the Herald website April 1.  Some readers loved the joke; others didn’t.

A proposed ban on smoking drew a full house of concerned citizens to the city board meeting on April 1. Many were there to support the ordinance. Others attended to question the ban.

At the same meeting Alderman approved the use of city owned property on Railroad Street behind the Big Yank building for the Founders Day fireworks display.

Natural gas production could become a reality in North Mississippi due to advancements in horizontal well drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology, the Herald reported April 3.

Davidson Elementary Kindergarten registration for 2008-2009  was held April 3 at the Davidson Elementary School library.

Strong storms moved through Mississippi April 4 dumping 1.58 inches of rain in Yalobusha County over a two day period.

The Tillatoba Volunteer Fire Department held a Fish Fry April 5.

The Water Valley Atomic Dogs Softball Team began its 28th straight season under the coaching of Freddie Folson winning the season openers April 6.

Sheriff Lance Humphreys told supervisors April 7 that he may need as much as $20,000 dollars added to his budget due to the spiraling cost of gas to fuel his police cruisers.

Yalobusha County Tax Assessor/Collector Linda Shuffield sold property parcels in the county on which the 2007 taxes have not been paid April 7. An annual tradition, investors pay the taxes on hundreds of parcels.

Brad Embry, a Calhoun County native, was selected as new Blue Devil head football coach April 7 during a school district board meeting.

John K. Gurner Sr. received the Braswell Hatcher Award at the annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet April 7. New Officers were announced including Ron Hart, president; Tonya Eubanks, vice-president; Joy Turner, secretary; and Clay Ashford, treasurer.

The Water Valley Blue Devils baseball team committed seven errors in a 10-0 loss to division-opponent Hamilton Lions at W.V.H.S. field April 7.

The Herald announced April 10 that Kayla Thomas, daughter of Lisa Murrell and Roger Thomas, won $100 in the earliest newspaper issue contest for a Sept. 14, 1872 Water Valley Courier.

The regular season for the Water Valley Blue Devils baseball team came to an end April 11with the Blue Devils closing out the season with four consecutive wins, three of which came over division opponents; Hatley, Bruce and Ackerman.

The Mt. Moriah District Association sponsored their annual Leadership Conference on April 12.

Jessica Smith was crowned Watermelon Queen at the Watermelon pageant held April 12.     Three men were injured when their vehicle and an 18-wheeler crashed on Hwy. 7 just north of Coffeeville April 14. One of the victims was Paul Burney, manager of Burney Farms and brother of Yalobusha County Circuit Clerk Daryl Burney.

Blackmur Memorial Library celebrated National Library Week April 14-18.

Bob Tyler, director of the Yalobusha Economic Development Authority, appeared before the Board of Supervisors at their meeting April 16 and explained that he had received assurances from the Department of Employment Security that they had set aside $100,000 for training Windsor employees when the time comes.

The Water Valley Blue Devils and Lady Devils Track Teams won the District 1-2A Track Meet at Tupelo April 16.

Cam Tyler was announced April 17 as the new president and CEO of Mechanics Bank to succeed Eddie Ray.

Three Water Valley Blue Devils were named to the All-Region 2-2A Basketball team, the Herald reported April 17. Juniors Benny Weekley and A. J. Folson each made the first team, while Senior Jonathan Nevol was named an honorable mention.

Cheerleader tryouts for the Northwest Mississippi Community College cheerleading squad were held on April 18 and 19 at Howard Coliseum on the Senatobia campus. Among those chosen to represent Northwest as cheerleaders for the 2008-09 year were Meredith Burrell and Gretchen Harris of Water Valley.

Water Vallians celebrated the 150th birthday of the city during Founders Day April 19. Activities  included an old fashioned sack race, bike parade, car show, cake contest, pet parade, fashion show, pudding eating, fireworks and a grand finale concert.

A pictorial postmark to commemorate Founders Day was available April 19 at a temporary Post Office station located at the Water Valley Casey Jones Railroad Museum. The postmark features the eagle from the old Bank of Water Valley along with the dates, 1858 and 2008.

The Water Valley Blue Devils baseball season came to an end the weekend  of April 19 after they  dropped a best-of-three playoff series to Division-2A-District 1 East Union Urchins by the scores of 12-4 and 2-0.

A midnight dispute in neighboring Panola County between Harley Elmer Banton and Christopher Keel Sr. of Water Valley led to the shooting of Keel just after midnight April 23. Panola Sheriff’s investigators believe Keel was shot and killed by Codie Allen Banton, 17, while Keel fought with Banton’s father.

The Water Valley Blue Devils and Lady Devils finished second overall in the Region Track Meet, held at Tupelo April 26.

The high cost of diesel fuel was the topic of discussion at the April 28 meeting of the county supervisors in Coffeeville. The suggestion was made to put $20,000 in each beat’s fuel fund, and $20,000 in the sheriff’s department’s fuel fund to offset the higher costs.

Goodwin Construction, LLC of Water Valley was named to the VP Buildings 2008 Hall of Fame for the design and construction of the DeSoto Honda facility in Olive Branch.


Zachery Brower of Water Valley was awarded the Mississippi Angus Auxiliary scholarship at the 2008 Mississippi Angus Association Annual Meeting and Banquet, May 2 in Raymond.

The rising price of fuel and food prompted Water Valley school officials to raise the price for school meals beginning in August for the new school year. The decision, made May 5 at a regularly scheduled school board meeting, marks the first increase in seven years.

Mayor Bill Norris told city aldermen during their regular meeting May 6 that the cost of gas and oil has increased drastically. “Right now, we are in a money crunch on our gas and oil,” the mayor said.

Strong storms hit Yalobusha County late Saturday night, May 10, downing trees and power lines and causing some flooding. The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for the county setting off warning sirens.

The late Wayland Dean Hill, Sr. was honored by the Corps of Engineers, area residents, and local sportsmen during a dedication ceremony on May 15 at the Wildcat Brake Wildlife Management Area on Enid Lake.  

Defensive Tackle Bryant Mix of Water Valley was one of five former Northwest Mississippi Community College athletes inducted into the college’s Sports Hall of Fame during ceremonies May 15 at the David M. Haraway Center.

Hospital administrator Terry Varner told county supervisors May 19, during a recessed meeting held in Coffeeville, hospital trustees are ready to spend an estimated $2 million to build a 13,000 square foot doctor’s office.

Authorities were seeking tips to help solve a string of church burglaries during May. Sheriff Lance Humphreys said six churches in the county, all located in rural areas, have been the target of break-ins.

Effective May 23 Enid Lake restricted operation of All Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s, four wheelers) and Off Road Vehicles (ORV’s, side-by-sides), in all designated recreation areas and the immediate Dam Area at Enid Lake.

Darryl Necaise of Coffeeville was sentenced in Batesville May 30 for kidnapping. Jurors found Necaise guilty and heard testimony that revealed a horrendous ordeal suffered by the victim, Lawrence Covington.


Beginning June 1, Mississippi gasoline suppliers only provided gasoline with 10 percent ethanol, commonly called E10 ethanol gasoline, or gasohol in an attempt to help the environment and reduce the United State’s dependency on foreign oil.

Practice started in June for the newly formed Pop Warner football teams in Water Valley – dubbed the Water Valley Titans. Thirty-eight children registered in two different age groups for the full contact game.

A fire June 1 destroyed the Oakland Tire Center near the I-55 and Hwy 32 intersection.

Yalobusha Sheriff Lance Humphreys received a $15,000 adjustment to his budget for fuel at the “first Monday” supervisor’s meeting June 2.

Aldermen took no action on tax exemption requests from the city’s two largest employers, BorgWarner Air Fluid Systems and Water Valley Poultry, LLC,  at their regular monthly meeting June 3.

Yalobusha County Circuit Clerk Daryl Burney  anticipated a large voter registration this summer as the November General Election approached, it was reported in the June 12 Herald.

Yalobusha General Hospital Administrator Terry Varner reported June 6 that the hospital and nursing home campus will be designated smoke-free as of July 1.

Coffeeville cowboy Ross Burney was headed to Casper, Wyoming, over the June 14 weekend to participate in the week-long College Nationals Finals Rodeo. Following this event, Burney will compete in other western states as he works to make it pro.

Yalobusha County was one of the first counties targeted in what has become a rash of church burglaries across north and central Mississippi. Fifteen counties have reports of church break-ins totalling almost 60 churches. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation joined the probe in mid-June.

Grand juries in the First and Second Judicial District in Yalobusha County handed down 60 indictments on June 18 and 19.

An installation-ordination service was held June 22 at First Presbyterian Church for new pastor Harold Spraberry.

Former Water Valley resident Jennifer Cofer Flanagan, the daughter of the late Judge and Mrs. Kermit Cofer and a cancer survivor, was named chair of this year’s North Shore Medical Center Cancer WALK, which took place June 22 in Salem, Mass.

Yalobusha Habitat for Humanity hosted a reorganization meeting in the Community Room of the Mechanics Bank on June 24.

The Water Valley 9-Year Old All Stars recently won the Blues Bash Tournament held in Pontotoc, it was reported June 26. They will be competing in their State Tournament beginning July 10 in Tupelo.

The Water Valley 7-Year-Old All Stars beat Tupelo in the Championship Game, 19-13, June 21 in Houston.

Art in the Park was held June 28 in the Water Valley City Park. The event, sponsored by the Water Valley Junior Auxiliary, featured art related fun for kids of all ages.

Almost 100 campsites at Wallace Creek Campground at Enid Lake were renovated to accomodate larger camping units during June.

Five thousand hatchling paddlefish (spoonbill catfish) raised at the new North Mississippi Fish Hatchery at Enid Lake found their way June 30 into the Tenn-Tom Waterway in the latest release by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.


Keith Stevens, Minister of Worship and Administrator for First Baptist Church, has accepted  a position in Greenwood as Associate Pastor of Music and Senior Adults at North Greenwood Baptist Church.

Discussion of the ad valorem tax exemption for BorgWarner and Water Valley Poultry began about one hour and fifteen minutes into the July 1 meeting of the city board. However, officials deferred action to a later meeting.

A Grenada County fisherman ended his trip to Enid Lake on a bad note July 3 when his Ford pickup rolled down the boat ramp and into the lake at McCurdy Point.

Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, who also serves as State Fire Marshal, and Water Valley Fire Chief Mike Defer urged residents to exercise special caution when using fireworks over the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.

Yalobusha County’s unemployment rate for May rose 1.5 percent from April and 1 percent from May of last year, according to figures released by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security at the beginning of July.

As most Yalobusha County residents slept in the hours preceding the long 4th of July holiday weekend, emergency personnel had already responded to a vehicle crash on I-55 and a fire in Oakland.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation reopened to local traffic the west end of a 3.5 mile section of Hwy. 315 east of Water Valley near Valley Animal Hospital, it was reported July 17. The road had been closed while MDOT replaced a bridge with a double culvert.

The Water Valley Board of Alderman gathered for a special called meeting in the boardroom at city hall July 21 to revise the budget.

The Water Valley Titans held their first practice on July 23 at the football practice field on Lafayette Street near the football stadium.

Sales tax collected and diverted back to the City of Water Valley and Coffeeville during the state’s fiscal year, which ended June 30, each nudged up less than one percent, compared to the 2006-2007 fiscal year, according to figures reported July 24 from the Mississippi State Tax Commission. The figures also indicate that Oakland sales tax decreased  2.3 percent during the same period.

The Tri-Lake Fairgrounds Association’s summer festival was held July 23 through July 28 at the Fairgrounds, located on Highway 315 West, across from the VFW Post Home.

Police, animal control and some helpful civilians teamed up July 28 to capture a peacock that had escaped from its pen on Fly Street. Police began following the bird after it was spotted on South Court Street near City Park.

Robert L. “Bob” Chandler, age 59, died July 29 at Yalobusha General Hospital. He served as Chancery Clerk from1992 through1999.

Registration for the 2008-09 school year was held at Water Valley High and Junior High Schools July 29, through Aug. 5.

Kimberly Morgan, 2007 Miss Mississippi, was a featured performer at the 2008 Watermelon Music Festival July 31. A local band, The Sharecroppers, opened the night’s entertainment.

George Harrison of Coffeeville was recently named chairperson for the Board of Mental Health, it was reported July 31.


Thompson-Ward held a CD release concert in honor of their debut album Porch Funk Aug. 1 in the backyard of the Thompson home.

A Water Valley High School class ring that belonged to the late Mary Alyce Edgar Hyde, a member of the graduating class of 1942, was returned to her son, Frank Hyde, Aug 1 during the Watermelon Carnival street dance.

The Watermelon Carnival was held Aug. 1 and 2 amid some of the hottest weather of the year. The combination of high temperature and high humidity prompted the National Weather Service to issue a excessive heat warning early Saturday morning.

Austin Brooke Mills, 18-year-old daughter of Tim and Lisa Mills, will represent Water Valley in the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Pageant, August 1st and 2nd at the Saenger Theater in downtown Hattiesburg.

BorgWarner Inc. cut about 1,000 people from its North American workforce due to declines in the auto industry. In Water Valley 11 employees were impacted Aug. 4 by the reduction, plant officials said.

Yalobusha Supervisors warned landowners Aug. 4 that they are not responsible to pay for damages incurred to county roads during logging operations.

An application to sell beer and light wine for on-premises consumption submitted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 4100 was granted by supervisors during their “first Monday” meeting held Aug. 4.

Hirings, firings, and promotions were among the topics at the “first Tuesday” meeting of the Board of Aldermen Aug. 5. The board hired five new employees, terminated two, and promoted one.

On August 7, Nelly McMahen and Sequareah Sayles of Water Valley joined over 200 other academically-talented high school juniors and seniors to begin the twenty-first year of classes at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science located on the campus of Mississippi University for Women.

The final Tri-Lakes Western Horse Show for the year was held Aug. 9.

A severe thunderstorm rolled into the area around 6:30 Aug 15 right as the Water Valley Blue Devils prepared for “Meet the Devils” night at Bobby Clark Field.

The Tupelo Police Department Bomb Squad was called to Enid Lake Aug. 17 after a suspicious looking metal file cabinet was found in the entranceway to a men’s restroom in the Persimmon Hills day use area. It turned out to be nothing, according to Corps of Engineers officials at Enid.

The convoluted tale of an alleged attempt to sell a baby brought television reporters swooping down upon Yalobusha County the week of Aug. 17. The investigation began when the incident was reported to the Yalobusha County Sheriff’s Department on Monday, Aug. 11. A woman had made a comment about selling a two-week-old baby for $2000 and a used car.

A petition was circulating in District Three to force a general obligation bond issue to an election. The petition came after an August 4 vote by supervisors to allow District Three Supervisor Butch Surrette to begin a notice of intent to issue the general obligation road and bridge bonds.

Ole Miss Journalism student Reid Bankston joined the North Mississippi Herald as the Water Valley Blue Devils beat writer.  The Tupelo High School graduate will provide weekly coverage of the Water Valley football and basketball teams, as well as other sports stories.

The Water Valley Main Street Association held a community pep rally Aug. 28. High school football kicked off Friday night, Aug. 29, as the Blue Devils traveled to Coffeeville to face the Pirates continuing a four-decade inter-county rivalry. The Devils won, 20-12.

A replica mount of the world’s largest white crappie, caught more than 50 years ago at Enid Lake, went on sale the last week of August on eBay. The replica was from a wax casting taken from fish right after it was caught.

A one vehicle crash on Highway 315 about one mile northwest of the city limits in the early morning of Aug. 30 injured a man identified by witnesses as Wesley McCain of Water Valley.

Yalobusha County prepared for hurricane Gustav by opening the disaster relief distribution center in the Multi-Purpose building on Aug. 31.


Concerned citizens got a chance to voice their opinion on the proposed $2,747,758 city budget at a public hearing Sept. 2.

A petition circulating in District Three in Yalobusha County landed in the hands of supervisors Sept. 2 asking for a general obligation road bond of up to $250,000 to be put before voters in a special election.

School uniforms were the topic of a public forum Sept. 4 that was one element of a study being conducted by the Water Valley School District Board of Trustees.

Volunteer Fireman Billy Brooks, 29, of the Clear Springs community, was bruised and a Yalobusha County fire truck was wrecked when the truck rolled over responding to a fire Sept 4.

In a letter to the editor in the Sept. 4 Herald, almost 50 Yalobushians expressed concern over the county’s current ordinance that requires a $2,000 bond to be posted in order to receive a permit when timber is going to be hauled on county roads. In the letter, the landowners, who are members of the Yalobusha Forestry Association, reported the $2,000 becomes an expense that comes right off the top of the purchase price of the timber that the landowner is selling.

Holly Springs, led by senior standout Darryl Kinkle, defeated Water Valley, 31-0, Sept. 5 at home.

Aldermen granted the ad valorem tax exemptions for BorgWarner and Water Valley Poultry at a special called meeting of the city board Sept. 9. The board also voted to adopt the 2008-2009 city budget without a tax increase.

Billy Humphreys became the city’s new Zoning and Floodplain Administrator/Building Inspector after the Board of Aldermen hired him for the part-time, “three-hat” position Sept. 9.

John Matthew Hughes, a former resident of the area wanted in connection with the stabbing death of an Ohio man, has been captured in Nebraska Sept. 9.

The Blue Devils edged out the Independence Wildcats, 26-22, on Sept. 12 earning Water Valley their second road win of the season.

Water Valley Poultry, LLC, began its second year of operation Sept. 14 processing an average of 55,000 chickens a day.

Yalobusha Supervisors adopted a budget for the 2008-2009 fiscal year Monday morning, Sept. 15, following a public hearing at the Coffeeville Courthouse.

The new Sonic Drive-In was allowed to use their standard sign after the Planning Commission voted to grant the fast-food restaurant a variance at their meeting Sept. 15.

In a Sept. 18 Herald story, Frank Hyde, 911 Coordinator, stressed the importance of posting your address so that emergency responders can find you.

Four U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes in the Vicksburg District including Enid Lake will participate in a 3-year mandatory life jacket wear test program beginning next May, officials announced Sept 18.

Mayor Bill Norris contacted the Herald and reported for the Sept. 18 edition that he is at home and on the mend follow heart surgery last month. Alderman-at-Large Lance Clement was serving as interim mayor.

Yalobusha County’s unemployment rate for July rose six-tenth percent from June and 1.9 percent from July of last year, according to the latest figures published Sept. 18.

In one of the few visible signs locally of the upcoming presidential debate, AIDS activists walked along the Highway 7 bypass Sept. 22 on the last leg of their 175-mile trek from Jackson to Oxford.

The whole world was watching as Mississippi took center stage Sept. 26 for the first Presidential Debate of 2008 held on the Ole Miss campus.

Yosheka Conard was crowned homecoming queen Sept. 26 by Brittany Weekly, the 2007 queen.

The Water Valley Blue Devils forced four West Tallahatchie turnovers in route to a 20-16 win over the Choctaws during the homecoming game Sept. 26.

After months of practice and preparation, two new PopWarner football teams played their first home game at Bobby Clark Field Saturday morning, Sept. 27, against the Oxford Tigers.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Enid Lake invited everyone to “Hunting and Fishing Day” Sept. 27 at Riverview Recreation Area located below the dam at Enid Lake.  

Ingram Cattle Co. Inc. of Water Valley ranked as third largest in registering the most Angus beef cattle in Mississippi having recorded 152 head of Angus with the American Angus Association® during fiscal year 2008, which ended September 30.


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development presented a Certificate of Excellence in Management Operations to the Water Valley Housing Authority in recognition of exemplary performance for the fiscal year 2008 for Outstanding Resident Initiatives Program Management, it was announced Oct. 2.

A Coffeeville man on the run since an August 17 nightclub shooting that injured five was arrested early Saturday morning, Oct. 4, in Cook County, Illinois. Marcus Lavar Hardy, age 30, has been charged with five counts of aggravated assault for his alleged involvement in the shooting at the Grand Palace.

About a dozen volunteers were on hand Saturday, Oct. 4, to take part in the Water Valley Main Street Association’s Better BackStreet program. The group was working to redo the backs of some of the Main Street store buildings.

First of the Fall Music in the Park presentations was Saturday night, Oct. 4, with a performance by Travis Lamb and special guest Ken Hart.

Coffeeville Police investigated  an armed robbery, aggravated assault, and burglary that occurred Tuesday, Oct. 7, around 4 p.m. when George Fly was assaulted and pistol-whipped by two males, possibly juveniles, inside his home at 955 Tennessee Street.

Renovation of Baker Street Park was finally set to begin Oct. 25 after approval by city aldermen at the regular “first Monday” meeting Oct. 7.

In Yalobusha, 4,030 acres of cotton were planted in 2008, down 60 percent from the 10,700 acres planted in 2003, and down from the 5,537 acres last year, according to information provided by the Yalobusha FSA and published in the Oct. 9 Herald.

Justice Court Judge Gary Tippit set bond at $105,000 for Marcus Lavar Hardy, 30, during an initial appearance Tuesday morning, Oct 14. Hardy was charged with aggravated assault stemming from a club shooting in August that injured five.

Susan Hart was selected as the new Manager for Water Valley Main Street Association (WVMSA), it was announced Oct. 16.

Although residential real estate values have declined nationwide, Yalobusha County homes are holding their own, according to statistics released Oct. 16 by the North Central Mississippi Board of Realtors.

Users of the Yalobusha County Multi-purpose Building can expect to pay almost 20 percent more in user fees following a decision by supervisors  Oct. 17. The new rates will help offset spiraling utility costs at the facility and the rate adjustment is the first since the facility opened almost eight years ago.

Yalobusha Supervisors presented Mary Chandler with a resolution honoring her late husband, Bob Chandler, during a recessed board meeting held Oct. 17 in Water Valley.

Water Valley knew what to expect and Bruce delivered in style, as the senior duo of running back Richard Freelon and quarterback Curtis Lyons proved too much for the Blue Devils in a 33-14 Trojan victory, Oct. 17.

Planning commissioners agreed at their Oct. 20 meeting that the current zoning ordinance should be modified to allow larger signs in areas zoned highway commercial. The current ordinance restricts signs in all areas to 40 square feet of less.

An early morning crash on Saturday, Oct. 25, claimed the life of 20-year-old Brittany S. Simmons of Water Valley. She was killed when her 2006 Toyota Tacoma ran off the road and overturned on Hwy. 32 East of Water Valley, near the intersection with County Road 100.

A fall festival was held Saturday, Oct. 25, in the Housing Authority Community Room at Rolling Hills for the youngsters of the public housing community. The event was a cooperative effort between the housing authority and the Water Valley Police Department.

Davidson Elementary students, faculty, staff, and administrators celebrated the seventh annual Salute to America program Thursday, Oct. 30, in the gym.

The Water Valley Blue Devils fell 28-14 at Ackerman Oct. 31.


The Yalobusha County Health Department held a special flu shot clinic on Monday, November 3, in the Yalobusha County Health Department.

Supervisors were told Nov. 3 that a federal court order, following a late-September jail inspection by attorney Ron Welch, mandated that the county can only continue housing state inmates until next September, unless county officials have shown “good faith” toward building a new jail. The order also included extensive requirements including cable television for the working inmates.

Although uniforms are off the table for students in the Water Valley School District after a 3-2 vote Monday night, Nov. 3, students and faculty will likely see a tougher dress code implemented next year.

Sonic Industries, Inc., franchisor of America’s largest chain of drive-in fast food restaurants, announced Nov. 5 the opening of the newly rebuilt Sonic Drive-In in Water Valley. The much-awaited re-opening created a traffic jam on South Main Street as cars lined up to enter the parking lot.

Water Valley’s two PopWarner football teams finished regular season play after a five-game season, it was reported Nov. 6.

The rebuilding process had begun after a May fire destroyed the Mt. Moriah District Association Building located on Hwy. 330. Rev. Amos Sims, who serves as Moderator of the District, reported Nov. 6 that the 29-church district hoped to have the outside of the facility completed by Thanksgiving.

Mississippi Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (MABC) honored Hill’s Construction, LLC at the association’s annual award banquet Nov. 7 for the Woodland Hills Baptist Church project.

A 2008 season dedicated to restoring the pride around a depleted Water Valley football program came to a prideful end at Leland Nov. 7 as the Blue Devils fell 33-14 to the Cubs.

The Water Valley Main Street Association held a fall Farmer’s Market Saturday, Nov. 8, on Main Street near the intersection with Panola Street.

An hour-long wait for an ambulance by Daliah McLeod following an automobile accident created questions for Yalobusha supervisors during the “first Monday” supervisors’ meeting held in Coffeeville Nov. 10.

The classic Thanksgiving dinner cost more this year, according to a national survey reported Nov. 13. However, local prices were not only lower, but were still at 2007 levels.

“Holidays Timeless & Traditional” was this year’s theme for the annual Holiday Decorating program sponsored by Friends of the Coffeeville Public Library.  The free holiday program was held Sunday, Nov. 16.

Mississippians can expect to see a hike in the state’s tobacco tax included in the 2010 budget, according to District 24 State Representative Dr. Sidney W. Bondurant, a Grenada physician who represents the southern portion of Yalobusha County.

A blowout is believed to be the cause of a Nov. 21 vehicle crash that took the life of Natasha N. Woodard, 24.

Yalobusha Supervisors considered soliciting quotes from additional insurance companies for the county’s general liability insurance and employees’ health insurance after learning of a probable hefty premium hike coming from Blue Cross/Blue Shield in 2009. After weighing the pros and cons, supervisors informally opted not to make a change during a recessed meeting held Nov. 24 in Coffeeville.

The old saying is that fires come in threes and firefighters had to deal with a trio of blazes within the city limits. The first was in the early morning hours of Nov. 11 on East Lee Street. The second was on Chestnut Street on Nov. 20 and the third was on Calhoun Street Nov. 24.

What’s big and yellow and disappeared over the Thanksgiving holidays? 1: Big Bird mistaken for a turkey or 2: School bus number 13. If you guessed answer 2, you get an A on the test. The bus was recovered on CR 214 on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27.


The board of aldermen voted Dec. 2 to instruct Attorney David Burns to prepare an amendment to the Water Resources Management Ordinance that would amend the amendment they approved just nine months ago in March. The amendment would return the rates for the industrial classification to the level they were before a March rate increase. Alderman White cast the sole dissenting vote.

During a preliminary hearing in City Court on Dec. 4, Yolanda Hawkins was bound over to a grand jury. Hawkins has been charged with murder for allegedly shooting Hugh E. Nicholson on Nov. 16.

The holiday seasons kicked into high gear across Yalobusha beginning Dec. 4 with the Christmas tree lighting at Railroad Park Pavilion in Water Valley followed by the annual parade down Main Street Dec. 6. Dr. and Mrs. Paul Odom had the honor to lead the parade as Grand Marshals.

Coffeeville’s Christmas parade was held Dec. 13, sponsored by the Coffeeville Woman’s League and the Oakland Christmas Tour was also held Dec. 13 starting at the Methodist Church with Christmas music.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported the first laboratory confirmed influenza case of the 2008-2009 season on Dec. 5.

The White Star Café was closed for almost a week after heavy rain Dec 9 caused water and sewage to flood the Main Street eatery and bar.

A longtime Yalobusha company moved a step closer to locating in neighboring Lafayette County after Yalobusha supervisors officially voted to accept Carothers Construction Company’s property as a donation in a recessed meeting held Dec. 11.

The Water Valley Community Band presented their Christmas Concert Sunday, Dec. 14.

The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) awarded $10,000 to Yalobusha County, Economic Development Director Bob Tyler reported Dec. 18.  The money will be used to create a website to promote the county.

The Water Valley School District will ask to be included in an industrial water rate rollback under consideration by Water Valley aldermen. The topic was discussed during a school board meeting Dec. 18.

The Davidson High School Class of 1967 selected the Yalobusha Nursing Home as their charity project for 2008. The group presented gifts during a party for residents Dec 19.

Blackmur Memorial Library celebrated the holiday season with a Christmas party on Dec. 20.

Water Valley First United Methodist Church invited the community to come and share the Christmas Story with them through music on Dec. 21.

Residential customers of Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association (TVEPA) are expected to see a drop in monthly power bills starting January 1 following a decrease in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) fuel adjustment cost, it was reported Dec. 25.

In a letter to Santa published Christmas day, Logan Joyner wrote that he had been so good this year. He asked Santa for a hot air balloon, a scooter, Spider Man Video Game, a really good skateboard, and “a toy to give to my dog, cause I love him so much.”

Valley residents certainly showed their creativity for the Christmas season. The Lettie Lee Blackwood home at 131 Dogwood Dr. took top honors in the Water Valley Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas Lighting Contest to win the $100 prize. The Tommy Turner home on Robinson Street at Lafayette Street took second place and the home of Chip and Cathy Odom, located on old Hwy. 7, took third.

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