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2012 – A Year In Review

In July Gov. Phil Bryant was here for BorgWarner’s expansion (upper left), Bevo, the University of Texas mascot (upper right) visited in September, Soldiers deployed and some came home (center), folks dressed up for the “Come As You Aren’t” fundraiser inJune (center left), a goat grazed as firefighters put out a grass fire in March (center right) and a group of church youth were mostly uninjured in a bus crash in April (bottom).


The 2012 Session of the Mississippi Legislature began on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at noon, reported Representative Tommy Reynolds in his Herald column, Report To The People.
Yalobusha supervisors started the first meeting of the new term on Jan 3 with appointments including electing District 1 supervisor Tommy Vaughn as board president and District 2 supervisor Amos Sims as vice-president. Also, supervisors appointed Willis Engineering employee Carl Grubb as county engineer.
The airport hangar issue came up again at the Jan. 3 meeting of the mayor and board of aldermen when Alderman Larry Bell brought it up even though it wasn’t on the agenda. At issue was whether or not the matter was settled. Bill McGregor, who wants to build a private hanger at the airport, said that it wasn’t until the city aldermen voted.
Main Street Director Mickey Howley told aldermen at their meeting Jan. 3 that the city will get a Blues Trail Marker March 23 honoring Casey Jones and the song that made him famous.
Pamela Redwine suggested in her Living Well In Yalobusha County column Jan. 5 that we all resolve to eat more fruits and vegetables during the year. It was one of her “realistic” resolutions for the New Year.
Long-time team captain Binnie Turnage of the local volunteer Medical and Dental Missions Internation-al (BMDMI) Team resigned after serving 20 years as the missions’ team captain, according to a story in the Jan. 5 Herald.
A resolution was published in the Jan. 5 Herald memorializing the life of James Howard Barton. It stated: With his passing, Yalobusha County, and especially the Sylva Rena Community, have lost a man of great dedication and unselfishness.
The Farm Service Agency in Coffeeville was one of 259 offices, labs and other facilities nationwide targeted for closure by the U.S. Agricultural Department, it was announced Monday, Jan 9.
Patriot Rail Corp, a privately-held short line and regional freight railroad holding company, announced Monday, Jan. 9, that it has donated its 21-mile Mississippi & Skuna Valley Railroad roadbed (“MSV”) to Calhoun and Yalobusha counties.
Gov. Phil Bryant, flanked by First Lady Deborah Bryant, took the oath of office administered by Mississippi Chief Justice Bill Waller on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
Both artists and non-artists were being invited by the Water Valley Arts Council to donate one or more 4-by-6-inch original artworks on stiff (postcard type) paper for a “Postcards and Pizza” art show at Rounders Pizza Deli on Feb. 11 to help raise funds for the ArtCamp project, organizers said Jan. 12.
Lexi Fowler, 14, daughter of Denise Fowler and Steve Fowler, spelled “evidence” correctly to win the Yalobusha County Spelling Bee Jan. 12 at Davidson Elementary School.
USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced Jan. 12 that Michael R. Sullivan, State Executive Director for Mississippi FSA, and members of his management team scheduled a public meeting in Yalobusha County January 26 to take public comment on USDA’s proposed office consolidation plan which includes the Yalobusha County FSA office.
Water Valley area AT&T wireless customers began complaining Jan. 16 that they were unable to get service. John L. Garner of Tillatoba was killed in a one-vehicle accident Jan. 18. on Hwy. 330 near Tillatoba Lake.
One of the 208 people pardoned last week by outgoing governor Haley Barbour committed a crime in Yalobusha County in 1976, the Herald reported Jan. 19. Buster Caldwell received a full, complete and unconditional pardon after being convicted  July 2, 1976 on rape and armed robbery charges.
The Water Valley Post Office handled 763,296 letters and flats in fiscal year 2011, ten percent less than the 842,935 handled in FY 2010, according to a story in the Jan. 19 Herald.
The proposed Main Street Historic District was one step away from receiving that designation after being approved Jan. 19 by the Mississippi Historic Preser-vation Professional Review Board.
Sporting a fresh new look on the outside, a newly renovated physical therapy department, and the renovation of two of 26 acute care rooms, Yalobusha General Hospital celebrated 50 years with current and former employees and members of the community Sunday, Jan. 29. “Over the last 50 years many things have changed, but our motto has always stayed the same, ‘Neighbors Caring For Neighbors,’” Hospital administrator Terry Varner said.


The “big word” around Davidson Elementary School was testing at the beginning of February 2012 as teachers and students prepared for the Mississippi Curriculum Test, Second Edition (MCT2).
After completing stellar careers for the Water Valley Blue Devils, Chris Conard and C.J. Jackson signed their National Letters of Intent Feb. 1 to play for Itawamba Community College.
Coley Bailey, Jr., was selected to represent Mississippi on the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Coun-cil, a board of 26 farmer leaders that determines the rural school district recipients of the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grants, according to a Feb. 2 report.
Water Valley Area Chamber of Commerce Vice-President Daniel Martin was pictured Feb. 2 presenting a matching funds check to BorgWarner Plant Manager Kent Tobin as part of a grant that helped finance a new cleanroom at the local manufacturing plant. The expansion will provide 35 additional jobs.
Yalobusha supervisors went on the record Feb. 6 in opposition of the proposed consolidation of the Coffee-ville Farm Service Agency with the Grenada FSA.
Rhonda Burchett was appointed to the Yalobusha General Hospital Board Feb. 6 following a motion by District Three supervisor Lee McMinn. The appointment filled a vacancy from District Three on the hospital board dating back to 2004, when Ben Wright stepped down.
Supervisors learned at their meeting Feb. 6 that a preliminary estimate to run water and sewage from the city limits to acreage adjacent to the sheriff’s department for a new jail topped $600,000.    
The county flood ordinance became a factor in the “airport hanger issue” when it was revealed at the board of aldermen meeting Feb. 7 that the airport property is about four feet below flood level.
Alderman Fred White was back at work at the city board table Feb. 7 after an illness and Mayor Larry Hart was absent after undergoing heart surgery.
Sweet potatoes were the topic at the Rotary meeting Tuesday, Feb. 7. Bill Burdine, area sweet potato specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, told Rotary members that the profit margin for sweet potato acreage can be huge and the land dedicated to this crop, both in Mississippi and Yalobusha County, is on the rise.
A four-car crash seriously injured Shay Taylor Feb. 8 at the intersection of County Road 436 and Hwy. 7. She was flown to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis for treatment of her injuries.
Herald readers had to wait an extra day for their Feb. 9 paper after a machinery breakdown caused a delay in printing.
Collin Sharp, a fourth grade student at Davidson Elementary School, won the 2012 Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Local Garden Club Poster Contest, it was announced Feb. 9.
Head Coach Greg Haynes of Smithville was pictured Feb. 9 accepting a check for $200 from Water Valley’s C. J. Jackson, E. J. Bounds and Austin Hodge to help rebuild the Smithville athletic program. The money was given in June during the Vardaman Summer Basket-ball League game on behalf of the team and the Blue Devil Hardwood Club, according to Water Valley Head Basketball Coach John Sherman. Smith-ville’s program was almost completely destroyed by a devastating tornado that swept through the area.
A New Orleans woman had to be airlifted to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis after sustaining injuries in an ATV accident Feb. 19. Sheriff Lance Humphreys reported it took almost an hour before the woman could be transported from the accident site, near the mouth of O’Tuckolofa Creek, to Hwy. 32 where a Wings helicopter could fly her to a Memphis hospital.
Sales tax collections for the month of January for all three municipalities in Yalobusha County were up over the same month in 2011 according to figures from the Mississippi Tax Commis-sion, a story in the Feb. 23 Herald reported. Water Valley’s share of the sales tax collected was up 1.7 percent, receiving $42,232.03 as its share of the seven percent sales tax. Coffeeville was up 10.6 percent, receiving $11,205.07 in January.
Law enforcement officers in Panola and Yalobusha County will step up enforcement at Enid Lake after two ATV accidents Feb. 26 required medical attention.


On March 1, all campgrounds opened at Enid Lake where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operate five Class A and two Class C campgrounds.
Y-Fest 2012 kicked off March 2 at 7 p.m. and continued through March 3 at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building, Hwy 7 Coffeeville.
Congressman Bennie G. Thompson addressed a group of voters at the Mt. Moriah Association Building on Friday March 2. Among those present were the local Campaign Coordinator, Anita Bledsoe from Oakland, Mayor Swear-engen of Oakland and Circuit Clerk Daryl Burney.
Newly elected District 3 Supervisor Lee McMinn said March 5 that he would sell his county pickup. “I have decided with all the needs I have in my district, I can’t justify having my county issued truck to drive, I don’t hardly use it,” McMinn said. 
School trustees tabled action at their regular monthly meeting March 5 on disposing of several items from the school cafeteria to determine if the restaurant-type equipment had value.
Mayor Larry Hart was back in the saddle at the March 6 meeting of the board of aldermen after missing last month’s meeting due to heart surgery.
County officials urged citizens to use caution when burning in an article published March 8. More than a dozen grass fires in recent weeks have kept fire fighters busy across the county.
Herald readers James Tribble and Dennis Tindall wrote letters to the editor March 8 in support of Mickey Howley’s column March 1 in which he talked about the litter problem in Yalobusha County.
High straight-line winds struck Tillatoba and a few scattered areas of Yalobusha County on March 8. Miraculously no one was injured during the storm but more than 30 homes were damaged, some minor and some severe.
Voters in the county slightly favored Newt Gingrich in the March 13 primary that included four Republican candidates seeking their party’s nomination for president.
The Herald noted in the March 15 edition the 70th anniversary of the deadliest storm to hit Yalobusha County. On that hot and humid afternoon of March 16, 1942, 16 people were killed, more than 100 people were wounded, 63 homes completely destroyed, 56 home partially destroyed or damaged, and many barns and outbuildings swept away.
Yalobusha County Farm Bureau was once again offering the Brad Brooks Memorial Scholarship, named for former Yalobusha county Farm Bureau board member, Brad Brooks, it was announced March 15. 
Dr. Seuss poster contest winners from Davidson Elementary School pictured in the March 15 Herald were Ashlyn Hill, Taskika Carothers, Will Embry, Lane Thomas Potts, Megan Romberger, Adam Green, Layla Hill, Brett Bain, Maggie Kate Kutcha and Jasmine Chandler.
Local Fuller Center for Housing volunteers assisted Fuller Bicycle Adventure volunteers during Build Day Thursday, March 15, at one of five sites in the Water Valley area. About 30 riders from 11 state participated in the 400 mile ride to raise money and awareness of housing needs
Yalobusha County Sheriff Lance Humphreys was requesting the public’s help to help solve an armed robbery March 15 in Enid. Humphreys said two men robbed the owner of Catfish Hut, located just south of the Enid levee on County Road 206.
There were almost a thousand more people at work in Yalobusha County at the end of 2011 than were working at the first of the year, according to figures from the Mississippi Department of Employment Services report that appeared in the March 22 Herald.
“A Sense of Place: The Landscape Explored” opened March 23 at Bozarts Gallery on Main Street.
Ten-year-old Caleb Mof-fett was pictured with a 20 pound gobbler, that had a ten inch beard and one inch spurs, Saturday morning, March 24, he killed while hunting with his PaPaw, R. W. Moffett, who called the big gobbler in.
Steven Hollis, a Coffeeville Elementary School 3rd grader in Ms. Draper’s class, won 1st place in the Engineering Class I Regional Science Fair at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, it was announced March 29.


Several vehicles, a pontoon boat and two tractors deemed surplus came off the county’s inventory in the supervisors’ “first Monday” meeting April 2.
High winds around 7:30 p.m. April 2 downed a pine tree blocking County Road 99 near the intersection with County Roads 220. The winds were in front of a line of strong thunderstorms that never quite made it to Yalobusha County.
At the Ambassador ribbon cutting for Doc’s Table and Tavern April 3 the new chef, Paige Osborn of Paris, Miss., was introduced.
City Aldermen voted April 3 to put up a $11,810 curtain at the sewage treatment facility in the south end of town to meet one of several mandates from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
A new sign was erected at the entrance to W. C. Gardiner Industrial Park April 4 thanks to a joint effort by the Town and County Garden Club and the City Street Department. The two-sided sign, purchased by the garden club, was mounted on the original posts from the old sign that were refurbished by Street Department workers.
Aldermen voted April 5 to enter into an agreement with the Mississippi Development Authority to borrow $250,000 for “construction of an industrial building to accommodate an industry” at the old Bondafoam site now owned by the city.
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes in Mississippi would continue to implement the mandatory wearing of a life jacket, the Corps announced April 5.
The Lady Blue Devils were off to a 3-0 division start and a 7-3 overall record this season, sports reporter Reid Bankston wrote April 5. He also noted that after dropping two of their first three division games, both 3-0 defeats against the Mooreville Troopers, the Blue Devil baseball team had rattled off two straight wins to move to 6-10 overall, and 3-2 in the division.
Yalobusha EMA Director Frank Hyde received the go-ahead from Supervisors April 6 to place notices alerting homeowners that a county ordinance requires a 911 address to be posted.
Good Friday, April 6, was a busy afternoon at the community garden on Railroad Street. Grant Thompson tilled the rows as Patti D’Amico followed with seeds. Almost a dozen garden enthusiasts turned out to plant various fruits and vegetables.
Huntley Camp, age 4, killed his first turkey with his .410 gauge single shot while hunting over the April 7-8 weekend with his mom and dad, Harley Camp. The turkey had a nine-inch beard.
Television weatherman Matt Laubhan of WTVA, Tupelo, spoke to Rotarians during their lunchtime meeting at the Yalobusha Country Club on April 10.
Prisoner rights attorney Ron Welch increased pressure on Yalobusha and other counties with aging jails to consider constructing new facilities. In a letter from Welch sent to sheriffs across the state on April 10, he attached a copy of the latest Gates versus Bryant federal order to clarify prior orders regulating jail inspections to include all jails that house state inmates. This includes Yalobusha County, which routinely houses state inmates awaiting trial or awaiting sentencing.
Water Valley’s Main Street Historic District was approved for listing on the National Register of Historic Places the Water Valley Main Street Association was informed April 11.
Judge S. Allen Alexander assigned the Federal Public Defenders Office to represent Larry Loftis, according to the April 12 Herald. Loftis faces three counts stemming from the March 1, 2011, fire that gutted Lindley’s Antique Mall in Oakland. An estimated $2 million in damages to the building and contents was attributed to the blaze. James Flemons, 47, was also charged as an accomplice.
A Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) grant has helped fund a new weather siren for Yalobusha County. The siren was installed on County Road 276, near Sylva Rena and the Water Valley Boat Landing area, the Herald reported April 12.
The Water Valley Housing Authority was notified that it had been named a 2011 “High Performer” by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, an article in the April 12 Herald stated.
The Water Valley baseball program sponsored Military Appreciation Day, Saturday, April 14, at the high school baseball field. The event was co-sponsored by the VFW Post 4100. Sgt. Tommy Turner, a member of the local National Guard unit, the 289th Vertical Construction Company, threw the first pitch.
Carrie Carlisle, an 18-year-old senior at Kirk Academy, traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado April 14 to compete in the National Junior Olympic Rifle Competition. She is the daughter of Rick and Carolyn Carlisle of Water Valley.
Tom Hill was discovered in a ditch off County Road 123 around 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning, April 15, after he had wrecked his motorcycle sometime Saturday, maybe more than eight hours earlier.
School will start about two weeks later beginning in 2014 trustees learned at the April 23 school board meeting.
School officials may have to shorten some holiday periods and even remove some holidays from the schedule after the action by the Legislature. During the same meeting, board members approved CHART, an abstinence-plus sex education policy.
A Water Valley man, Johnny Fuller, will serve 25 years after being convicted of burning and beating a nine year-old child and beating another 10 year-old child, the Herald reported Apr. 26.   
Lauren Tyler was selected Miss Hospitality for 2012. The daughter of Cam and Julie Tyler represented Water Valley in the state’s Miss Hospitality Pageant in Hattiesburg in the summer. Her picture appeared on the front page of the Herald on Apr. 26.
Post season play for the Lady Blue Devils ended after the team dropped two games in a best-of-three series against Mantachie, Sports Reporter Mark Anthony wrote in the Apr. 26 Herald.


The annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life fundraiser brought in $43,864.74 as of the end of the evening, Event Chair Bea Tidwell said May 1.
Water Valley was to receive $305,239 for the municipal airport, according to an announcement May 2 from the office of Senator Thad Cochran.
The Mississippi Senate adopted its redistricting plan May 3 that drastically changed Yalobusha’s representation. District 9 Senator Gray Tollison (R-Oxford) will no longer represent the county as the plan splits Yalobusha into two separate districts.
Unemployment continued to drop in Yalobusha County going from 10.7 percent in February to 9.5 percent in March, according to the May 3 Herald.
The long-anticipated House redistricting map was passed and put all of Yalobusha County in District 33 represented by Tommy Reynolds according to the May 3 Herald.
The Second Annual World’s Largest Crappie Festival was held May 5 and Panola anglers Scott Hopper and David Tutor claimed the prize for the largest crappie with a 2.37 pound lunker.
The O’Tuckolofa Baptist Church had its 119th homecoming celebration May 6.
Coffeeville Mayor Mack Burns attended the “first Monday” supervisor meeting May 7 and told supervisors his aldermen offered to donate property to the county for a new jail.
Water Valley High School senior Haley Vance committed to play softball with Northwest May 7.
Volunteer postal employees collected more than 1,000 pounds of food on Water Valley postal routes May 12 during the nation’s largest one-day food drive. Locally the drive benefited Compassion Ministries.
WVHS Principal Dr. Glenn Kitchens characterized the latest crop of graduates from Water Valley High School “wholesome” the week before they were to graduate on May 17. “They’ve been very, very good kids,” he said May 14. James Colson was Valedic-torian and Mallory Washin-gton was Salutatorian.
Members of Water Valley’s Class of 2012 were pictured tossing their caps in the air at commencement on May 17. One of the special memories from the event was the celebration of Tanner Shuffield’s birthday which fell on graduation day.
City officials were moving forward with construction of a city-owned hangar at the municipal airport after receiving a flood plain “exception” from the Mississippi Emergency Man-agement Agency. Aldermen voted May 23 to advertise for bids on the project.
Compassion Ministries, which serves as a food ministry for Yalobusha and surrounding areas, provided food to 329 area families during the month of April.
Unemployment in Yalobusha County hit a four-year low in April going down to 8.8 percent, according to information released May 31.
Sally Patsy Annie Winters Polk was honored with a story in the Herald after she celebrated her 104th birthday and her family declared a national holiday with a three-day celebration.    
Extension Agent Brent Gray reported May 31 that the wildflower tour at the Jamie L. Whitten Plant Material Center in Coffee-ville was cancelled due to early summer conditions.


The Water Valley Blue Devil football team kicked off summer workouts in June in preparation for the upcoming season.
The USDA was moving forward June 1 to consolidate 125 Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices  across the country, including one in Coffeeville. The closures were triggered by the 2008 Farm Bill, which had a provision allowing offices to be consolidated if they were less than 20 miles apart and employed two or less permanent employees.
Tillatoba firefighters hosted a fish fry June 2 at the Tillatoba Fire Station to help raise funds to purchase equipment for the active volunteer fire department.
In a split vote June 4, county supervisors agreed to give Water Valley an additional month to present potential sites to construct a new county jail. In May, Coffeeville Mayor Mack Burns offered the county city-owned property for the new jail site.
Alderman Larry Bell wrote in a letter to the editor June 7 that spending $30,000 of local tax money on top of $265,000 for a hangar at the municipal airport “that will house only four small airplanes seems rather ridiculous to me since the only interest has been from individuals who want to build their own hangers, which will eventually belong to the city anyway.”
On June 9 a mission team comprised of people from Water Valley all the way to Atlanta traveled to to the Village of Terrabona Nicaragua.
Superintendent Kim Chrestman told school trustees at the board meeting June 11 that at Davidson Elementary School the carpet was being taken up and replaced with tile in grades one through four.
The Blackmur Hotel was featured in the June 14 Herald in a story about the fire June 12, 1982 that irreparably damaged the structure and led to the demolition of the 100-plus years old landmark.
Floyd Holland of Coffeeville was invited to give an opening prayer at the House of Representatives in April, it was reported June 14. He was accompanied by his wife, Dorothy. Holland is a member of Abundant Life Church in Grenada, where he is a deacon and teacher.
The city has a number of assets, but the top three are location and iconic name, the arts community and the downtown area, according to the Mississippi Develop-ment Authority Asset Mapping Team, who presented a report June 14 based on information gathered during a January visit.
The Allied Group, an industrial filter manufacturer from New Jersey, had come to Yalobusha County with help from the Mississippi Development Authority. Tracey Giles, bureau manager for the Community Services Divi-sion of the MDA, said June 14 that money to get the company here came in the form of a $100,000 Rural Impact Program grant and another $208,075 under the Capital Improvements Revolving Loan Program.
Juan Lolina Segovia of Alton, Texas was behind bars after allegedly stealing a Yalobusha General Hospital-owned pickup truck June 15.
A group of parents from the Coffeeville School District met with State Senator Gray Tollison June 21 to voice concern after an estimated 100 students were denied a release to attend Grenada Public Schools. Grenada officials were requiring out-of-district students to show they had been released from their district before attending school there.
A boat built by master carpenter Jimbo Thompson and his brother-in-law J. W. Tuggle was pictured in the June 28 Herald. Tuggle said he enlisted Thompson’s help with the boat, and they worked together for almost two months on the project.
The extreme heat prompted the Herald to take on the old saying June 29 that it gets so hot you can fry an egg on the sidewalk. We tried; it fried…not. Apparently the sidewalk didn’t reach the 158 degrees required.


County officials postponed a decision about a new jail at the July 2 supervisor’s meeting in Coffeeville and agreed to continue the search for a site.
For the first time since 2009, the county’s total assessed value experienced an increase to $73,588,910. The good news came during a report from Tax Assessor/ Collector Linda Shuffield, who presented the 2012  tax rolls to supervisors in Coffeeville July 2.
Aldermen opened bids for construction of a city-owned hangar at their first Tuesday meeting July 3.
Wright Steel Erectors, Inc. of Clarksdale bid $288,623.26 and Hill’s Construction, LLC of Water Valley bid $294,244.00, both of which were taken under advisement.
A Burn Ban was issued for Yalobusha County after record breaking temperatures mixed with the lack of rain in the area, the Herald reported July 5
The Yalobusha County Master Gardener Association officers were pictured in the July 5 Herald including Mary Ann Wood, president, Virginia Wood, vice-president; Martha Rogers secretary-treasurer; and Brent Gray, MSU-ES County Director.
In a letter mailed to Yalobusha County producers during the week of July 8, the USDA pinpointed August 24 as the official date the FSA county office in Coffeeville will close.
Early check-outs are no longer routinely allowed at Davidson Elementary School under a new policy outlined in the updated DES handbook presented to school board trustees for approval at their July 9 meeting.
Tickets went on sale July 12 for the annual Watermelon Carnival Music Festival sponsored by the Water Valley Town and County Garden Club.
Mrs. Gracie O’dell Farmer, who was born July 13, 1912, had a 100th birthday party.  She said her secret to life is praying to God. She loves soul food with a lot of grease, vegetables and roast beef. She loves gardening and worked in her own garden until she was 90.
Fire heavily damaged the unoccupied homeplace of Mr. and Mrs. Hall Pullen on CR 225. The blaze, which may have been caused by lightning, was reported around 4:30 p.m. on July 15. Another fire, reported just before 10:30 p.m., destroyed a residence at 205 County Road 557 just off Hwy 32 West between Water Valley and Oakland. Sylva Rena firefighters assisted by other county units fought both blazes.
Craig Warren of Sena-tobia, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Gene Warren, was ordained to the Gospel Ministry in a service Sunday night, July 15, beginning at 6 p.m at Woodland Hills Baptist Church.
Blackmur Memorial Lib-rary held its Summer Library Program from July 16-29 for kids in kindergarten through the sixth grade.
Aldermen voted July 17 to award a contract to Wright Steel Erectors, Inc. of Clarksdale to build the city-owned hangar at the municipal airport pending final approval by the FAA.
A Coffeeville man, James Otice Chastain, 68, was killed in a one-vehicle accident July 17 on Hwy. 330 between Coffeeville and Tillatoba when his Ford F250 left the road around 4 p.m., hit a ditch and flipped, coming to rest on its side.
Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Foundation announced in the July 19 Herald the establishment of the Sammy Higdon Endowed Scholar-ship. State Representative Tommy Reynolds and his wife Liz established the scholarship in appreciation for Higdon’s contribution to education in Yalobusha County and for his life of integrity and service.
Unemployment was up slightly for May in Yalobusha County, the Herald reported July 26. But, it is still more than two points lower than it was at the same time last year. The latest figures show 9.5 percent unemployment for the county in May.


A British invasion rocked downtown Water Valley, Aug. 1. The free concert featured Yalobusha County’s own Sharecroppers and direct from London and New York, the 253 Boys. The event marks the second time the two groups joined for a performance after the Sharecroppers traveled to New York last November. Donations were accepted for the Water Valley Arts Council.
Anticipating a second attempt by Grenada Railway to abandon track between Grenada and Canton, representatives of seven affected counties adopted by-laws to form the North Mississippi Regional Rail Authority (NMRRA), the Herald reported Aug. 2. Yalobusha County representatives, including supervisor Tommy Vaughn, Oakland mayor Riley Swearengen and Water Valley mayor Larry Hart were among 35 rail authority members who met in the Grenada County office building to appoint an executive board, elect its officers and plan strategy.   
A former Water Valley resident, Rodrick McLeod, and a Coffeeville man, James Wallace Allen, were killed in separate vehicle accidents over the weekend, according to an Aug. 2 report.
Yalobusha County was one of 10 counties in north Mississippi designated by the Department of Agriculture as part of a natural disaster area due to drought conditions, it was reported Aug 2.
The annual Watermelon Carnival was held Aug. 2-4. Attendance was down, officials said. Graden Hooker won the Largest Melon Contest with a watermelon weighing 156.2 pounds.
Sheriff Lance Humphreys was seeking information about thefts that occurred between Aug. 3 and 6 in the Sylva Rena area that were possibly connected.
Police were investigating the death of Timothy Key, 30, of Oxford, who was found lying on the side of the roadway bleeding from a head wound on the Hwy. 7 Bypass early Monday, Aug. 6.
The search for a place to put the County Jail had come full circle when supervisors voted Aug. 6 to have Willis Engineering look into the actual cost to run sewage and water to the former Carothers Construction Co. property between Water Valley and Coffeeville on County Road 436.
School started Aug. 6.
The number crunching for the county’s 2012-13 budget gobbled up almost three hours during a recessed Board of Supervisor meeting held Aug. 10. But, if the numbers hold, it appeared each county employee will get a $50 monthly raise and the sheriff will receive a $5,000 annual raise, to $61,400.
Also at the Aug. 10 meeting, architect G.G. Ferguson met with county officials and presented a preliminary plan for a new county jail. Although supervisors were not ready to hire an architect, they indicated it would be in the near future.
The Water Valley Blue Devils opened up the 2012 campaign and the fifth year of the Coach Brad Embry era by hosting the “Meet the Blue Devils” and a scrimmage half versus the visiting Vardaman Rams on Friday, Aug. 10 at Clark Field, defeating the visitors 14 to 0 in a half of action.
Band Director Keith Morgan put the 36 members of the Water Valley Band through their paces Aug. 16 on the practice field west of the high school. The band director vowed to be on the field every Friday night during football season.
Yalobusha County 4-H’ers finished 4th overall with 262 points in the State 4-H Horse Show, County Extension Service Director Brent Gray reported Aug. 16. Yalobusha 4-H’ers entered 69 total riding classes with eight kids. 
Michael Washington, 59, was charged with murder after he allegedly shot his son, Joshua Washington, in the chest with a 22-caliber rifle just after 9 p.m. on Aug. 18.
For the third straight season, the Water Valley Blue Devils (2-0) cruised to a comfortable 49-13 Railroad Rivalry victory over Coffeeville (0-2) Aug. 24.
Herald readers were delighted to learn that Darla, a little lost fiest, was found Aug. 30 by her owner Audrey Taylor. Darla had been on the lam for four days.


Cienna Olmstead of Water Valley placed fourth runner-up out of 66 contestants in the National American Miss Mississippi Pageant held in Jackson over Labor Day weekend. She is the 17 year-old daughter of Brad and Jil Olmstead and is a senior and varsity cheerleader at Water Valley High School.
The Herald reported Sept. 6 that Ownership of a 21-mile stretch of abandoned railroad that stretches from Coffeeville to Bruce had created controversy after landowners asked county officials both in Calhoun and Yalobusha Counties to honor their deeds. At issue was the 100-feet wide right-of-way that the two counties took ownership of last year, following the donation from Patriot Rail for future use as a bike trail.
Two vehicles ended up “parked” on the porches of Water Valley Housing Authority apartments on Blackmur Drive after a car driven by Beau Rayburn ran into a resident’s parked pick-up truck around 1:46 a.m. Sept. 8.
Supervisors adopted the $7,748,399 county budget for 2012-2013.
Yalobusha General Hospital plans to have a 3,300 square foot health clinic open in Oakland by the first of 2013, Hospital administrator Terry Varner told county officials during a recessed supervisor’s meeting held Sept. 14 .
The Mississippi De-partment of Education released the new letter grades of “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” and “F” for all the state’s schools and districts Sept. 14. Water Valley’s two schools both received a “D” rating. Coffeeville Elementary School received a “D” and Coffeeville High School received an “F.”
The Charleston Tigers defeated the Blue Devils, 35-21, on Sept. 14 for their first loss of the season.
Eleven streets got a coating of asphalt during the week of Sept. 16-22  as part of the city’s continuing program of maintenance. The streets are Brown Drive; Depot Street, located on the west side of the Cemetery; Daniels Drive from the south entrance of Davidson Elementary School to Mills Street; Railroad Street south of Blackmur Drive; Pate Street; Walnut Street; Grafton Drive; Lee Ann Drive; Cook Street; Fairview Drive and the portion of South Street north of Blackmur Drive.
The Springdale WMA at Enid Lake was opened to the general public for deer hunting only during all Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks zone deer seasons from October 1 through January 31, the Corps of Engineers announced Sept. 20.
A local firm, Goodwin Construction Co., submitted the low bid Sept. 28 for the industrial “spec” building to be constructed on the old Bondafoam property. The company’s bid of $384,159 was $15,166 less than the next lowest bid from Ralph McKnight & Son Construc-tion, Inc. of Kosciusko.
The 4th annual Art Crawl was held Saturday, Sept. 29, and featured 54 artists exhibiting at 16 different locations. There was live music by 15 musicians at six of those locations. Mickey Howley of the Main Street Association reported that 1000 of the fan maps were distributed. He and Mayor Larry Hart speculated that as many as 500 out-of-towners attended the event.


The Pennie Pullen McKinney Endowed Scho-larship was established to honor the memory of McKinney, a Northwest Mississippi Community Col-lege nursing student and president of the Student Nursing Association. A reception was held Oct. 1 at Northwest for members of the family. The scholarship will be awarded to the student who is the president of the Student Nurses Association at the beginning of an academic year.
Aldermen accepted the low bid from Goodwin Construction Co. to build an industrial building on the old Bondafoam property. The $384,159 bid was approved at the regular monthly meeting of the board Oct. 2 based on the recommendation of Willis Engineering, the city’s engineering firm. Their recommendation came in spite of a formal letter of objection from next lowest bidder bidder, Ralph McKnight & Son Construction Co., related to bid irregularities on the project.
Even cold rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of most folks during the Celebrate Coffeeville 2012 event Saturday, Oct 6. The itinerary included a car show, quilt show, arts and crafts, food booths, kids play area during the day. Mayor Larry Hart, assisted by the Water Valley Ambassadors and Rev. Dan Dickerson, cut the ribbons officially opening the Yalobusha Medical Clinic and The Crawdad Hole, both on Oct. 8.
A grant to help finance an energy efficiency renovation project at Water Valley High School was the topic of a brief public meeting Monday night held before the regular Oct. 8 school board meeting. The school district had applied for a rural development grant under the USDA sponsored Community Facilities Loan/ Grant Program.
The overall project is expected to cost more than $800,000.
Dale, an English bulldog owned by John Walker, son of Dr. Joe and Zandra Walker, was back home Oct. 9 after he had disappeared from his “grandparents” home on Hwy. 32 West. The pampered pooch wandered off after grandpa Dr. Joe let him and Chew, a shih tzu mix belonging to Zandra, out to do their business. People from all over the community joined in the hunt.
Water Valley was named one of “America’s Best Little Food Towns” in the October issue of Food & Wine magazine, according to Mickey Howley in his Oct. 11 Street Talk column.
Marcus Telford was handed a 20-year sentence after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the shooting death of Cornelius Obrien “Shawty” Wells. The sentence was handed down Oct. 11 in Circuit Court by Judge Smith Murphey as part of a negotiated plea  by District Attorney John Champion and Telford’s attorney, Tommy Defer. Wells, a Batesville resident, was 24 years old when he was gunned down on May 15, 2011, following an altercation on Chestnut Street in Water Valley. Police charged Telford with his murder three days later.
City officials approved a ten-year lease with the Allied Group for the new industrial building north of BorgWarner Oct. 11.
Local AT&T cell customers were hit with another service outage Oct. 17 similar to one in January. Customers seemed more upset with a perceived lack of customer service than about the actual outage.
The Main Street Association had a major economic impact over the five years of its existence, helping to create 52 full-time and part-time jobs downtown members were told at the annual meeting Oct. 18. The association’s yearly awards went to the husband and wife team of Coulter Fussell and Amos Harvey; the Arts Council and the Crawdad Hole Junior. Five-year awards were presented to the North Mississippi Herald, Turnage Drug Store, Renasant Bank, Mechanics Bank, City of Water Valley and Ramona Bernard. Three new board members were also elected at the meeting including Jessie Gurner, J. Clayton Peacock and Bill Pullen. Tyler Wortham was elected as an alternate board member.
During Lafayette High School’s homecoming Oct. 19, Gail Caldwell was surprised when Baptist Memorial Hospital landed the helicopter on the football field and presented her the game ball in recognition of her battle with breast cancer.
 the lead of the 2009 and 2011 squads by completing an undefeated season Oct. 23 at Bobby Clark Field. After a slow start, the Devils cruised to a 40 to 6 victory over Pope.
The North Mississippi Fish Hatchery Visitor Education Center (NMFH VEC) adjacent to Enid Lake hosted a Bird Program on Oct. 27. Participants learned how to make houses and feeders from recycled items.


Unemployment was up slightly over the month of September for Yalobusha County at 9.4 percent. The MDES estimates actually show that 110 more people were employed during September, 5450 vs. 5340 in August. But, the labor force increased from 5880 to 6020, creating the statistical drop, the Herald reported Nov. 1.
Herald Editor David Howell wrote that it was a sound like no other at daylight Monday morning as 317 hounds were turned loose to start the 92nd annual Chase Futurity on Monday, followed by the 118th National Field Trial that gets underway on Thursday, Nov. 1.    
A large crowd of nearly 90 people attended the Rails-to-Trails meeting last Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Bruce Museum. Yalobusha supervisor Frank “Bubba” Tillman and Yalobusha’s Skuna Valley Trails District representative Gaylon Gray attended the meeting according to the Herald story Nov. 1.
BorgWarner contributed $7500 to Compassion Ministries as part of their program to give back to the community, the Herald reported Nov. 1.
The Blue Devils wrapped up their regular season with an emphatic 56-3 victory over the Mantanchie Mustangs, according to the Nov. 1 report.  Led by a dominant ground performance from E.J. Bounds, Brandon Bounds, Jeoffrey Gordon, and Jarard Williams, the Blue Devils jumped out to a 41-3 halftime lead as Water Valley secured the two seed in Region 2-3A.
The Blue Devils advanced to the second round playoffs with a 41-22 win over North Panola Nov. 2.
The third annual Community Sing-Along was held Saturday, Nov. 3, in the Hendricks Machine Shop building on South Main Street. The event drew about 70 people and featured several talented entertainers.
There was standing room only at Bozarts Saturday night, Nov. 3, for the latest in a series of poetry/fiction readings at the Main Street art gallery. The readers included Greg Alan Brownderville, Tim Early, Mark Neely and Alex Taylor.
A pair of Rottweilers alleged to have mauled several pets on County Road 14 may be the tipping point in the implementation of a county dog ordinance regulating vicious dogs after complaints about the dogs brought the matter back into the limelight during the “first Monday” Board of Supervisors meeting Nov. 5.
Dispatchers at the sheriff’s department will start handling medical emergency calls in the county in an agreement worked out by county and hospital officials Nov. 5.
Aldermen set the rental rate for space in the city owned hangar at the municipal airport at $75 per month during their regular “first Tuesday” meeting on Nov. 6.
The Blue Devils were knocked out of the play-offs Friday, Nov. 9, by Cleveland East Side, 26-24.
Water Valley’s downtown merchants held the “Christmas In The Valley Holiday Open House” Nov. 10. Participating businesses were BTC Old-Fashioned Grocery, The Velvet Glove, Doris Flowers and Gifts, Turnage Drug Store, J’s On Main, Bozarts, J. Clayton’s, Water Valley Check Delay, Magnolia Home Furnish-ings, Doc’s Table, Sartain True Value, Jay Gee’s, Julia Ray’s, Main Attraction, Defining Moments and Studio B.
Quick action by Water Valley Fire Department Captain Sherman Gooch and Police Sergeant A. J. Hernandez and Officer Steve Story kept a kitchen fire from spreading Saturday, Nov. 10.
A singing program was held in the Masonic Hall at Oakland Saturday, Nov. 10, beginning at 6 p.m.
A Water Valley man and Coffeeville woman, Billy Dean McCullar, 58 and Regina Soileau, 32, were killed in an automobile accident on Nov. 10. in Lafayette County near Profit Bridge on Hwy. 315.
Police were seeking a man who rolled his car on Boyd Street and then ran from the scene after being helped out of the vehicle at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13.
A letter to the editor Nov. 15 from Bobby Goodwin urged dog owners to not let their pets run loose. Yalobusha officials were contemplating an ordinance to help control the vicious dog problem in the county.
A vicious dog ordinance in the county was to go into effect December 22, following a unanimous vote by supervisors in a recessed meeting Tuesday, Nov. 20.
The new county jail will be constructed in Water Valley at the Yalobusha County Complex on County Road 436 following a split vote in a supervisors’ meeting Tuesday, Nov. 20.
The county’s curbside garbage pickup service was set to go out for bids in early 2013 after Supervisors hired garbage consultant Chip Barton at their Nov. 20 recessed meeting.The cost of a classic Thanksgiving dinner is less locally than the national average, according to figures provided by the American Farm Bureau Federation and published in the Herald Nov. 22. Locally, turkeys cost from $.88 to $1.38 per pound.
Sheriff Lance Humphreys was offering homeowners some tips to help prevent break-ins over the holidays in the Nov. 29 Herald.   


Water Valley Blue Devils hosted Coffeeville, Charleston and North Panola in a three-day basketball tournament. In action on Saturday, Dec. 1, the Coffeeville Pirates won over WVHS, 50-40.
Two Cousins, 20 year-old Johnathon Holland and 14 year-old Kristofer Riddell, both of Water Valley, were killed Dec. 2 when they were struck by a vehicle while riding on a car hood onto Hwy. 315. The driver of the vehicle pulling the hood could face criminal charges.
After initially taking steps to hire an architect for the jail during their “first Monday” meeting Dec. 3, supervisors opted to withdraw from the contract within hours after the meeting and take additional steps before hiring an architect.
County supervisors looked at amending their rental policy for the county’s Multi-purpose at their meeting Dec. 3 after several fights stemming from birthday parties at the facility.
School officials were looking at the possibility of adding soccer to school district’s lineup of athletic programs if the details can be worked out, the Herald reported Dec. 6. Athletic Director Trey Allman appeared before district school board trustees Tuesday, Nov. 27, to “start the conversation for planning for the addition of soccer.”
The Herald noted the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Coffeeville in the Dec. 6 edition. One hundred and fifty years ago on Dec. 5, 1862 Col. T. Lyle Dickey’s advance cavalry had been ambushed above Coffeeville and his last line of defense had just collapsed and his forces were being routed on the Brow of the Rise.
Santa visited with local youngsters during the open house at Mechanics Bank Dec. 7.
The Blue Devil junior high teams closed out the season Monday night, Dec. 10, against Bruce. The seventh and eighth grade boys’ teams each won while both girls’ teams were defeated.
The Water Valley Community Band under Concert Director, Stanley Crow, held their Christmas Concert Dec. 10 in the Water Valley Civic Auditorium.  The 25-member group played arrangements of Christmas favorites, both religious and pop.
Two letters to the editor appeared Dec. 13. One was from a parent asking why there was no hand soap in the restrooms at Davidson Elementary School and the other pointed out the benefits of building the jail as a  monolithic dome.
Jackson attorney Ralph Germany was hired to draft an architectural contract for construction of a new county jail during a recessed county board meeting Dec. 14. During that same meeting, supervisors voted to remain with the county’s health insurance provider, Humana, even though there has been a recurring problem this year.
Water Valley firefighters responded to a pick-up truck fire on Blackmur Drive just before 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 14. Harold Cardin was headed west when he heard a noise and then saw flames coming from under the hood.
Oakland held their Christmas parade on Saturday, Dec. 15. Oakland Mayor Riley Swearengen and family members led the parade.
Professional basketball Coach Carol Ross, a Yalobusha County native, held a free basketball clinic Dec. 15 in the old Walker Gym south of Oakland. Ross, who was named WNBA 2012 Coach of the Year in October, wanted to provide young athletes from the area the benefit of her years of experience, plus give a boost to the restoration of the old gymnasium, which is being undertaken by volunteers and the West Yalobusha Action Council. 
Water Valley Mayor Larry Hart and Coffeeville Mayor Mack Burns both said they would seek a fifth term in office, the Herald reported Dec. 20. Candidates could begin qualifying in January for municipal elections in late Spring.
County Supervisors were asking residents to fill out a “Zap the Gap” survey form in an effort to help improve cell phone service in the area, according to a Dec. 20 story.
Cory Williamson of Water Valley won the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer Discussion Meet recently at the organization’s 91st Annual Meeting in Jackson, the Herald reported Dec. 20.

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