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Look Back In Yalobusha History

Aaron Hefner Murder Trial Began In 1944

• 5 years ago, Jan. 15, 2009 – Thieves broke in to the Hopewell Baptist Church on County Road 95 and stole electronic equipment and some misc. items.
Hospital Administrator Terry Varner was pictured on the front page talking with Kevin Clanton, project superintendent for D. Carroll Construction, at the site of the new medical clinic on the hill adjacent to Yalobusha General Hospital.
Derrick Surrette was named executive director of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors.
Cage Sumner, 12, killed his first deer while hunting near Coffeeville with his grandpa Leon Sumner.
Street department workers were pictured installing highway department surplus guard rails on the Lafayette Street bridge.
Courtney Phillips was the student athlete featured by Mechanics Bank for January.
• 10 years ago, Jan. 15, 2004 – Improvements were being made to the Yalobusha County Jail including a large wooden fence to separate the prisoner’s exercise yard for the adjoining driveway and courthouse parking lot. Also underway was the removal of old paint and plaster.
Water Valley School District adopted a no-transfer policy that simply stated that school officials would not allow students who live in the community to transfer out of the district to attend school in another district. Money was not an issue to board members, according to then superintendent Sammy Higdon.
New officers at the Valley City Masonic Lodge were Chad Wrenn, senior warden; Charles Ball, Master of the Lodge; Sam McCain, Treasurer; Al Dollahite, Tiler; Rubin Johnson, Chaplain; Freddie McDougal, senior deacon; John Caldwell, secretary; J. W. Tuggle, junior deacon; and Ricky Jenkins, junior warden.
Wayne Harris, Agriculture and Commercial Relationship Manager for the Union Planters Bank, was honored as one of 53 top performers in its Central Banking Group.
Children pictured making Christmas crafts at Blackmur Memorial Library were Yolanda Williams, Toni Johnson, Allison Pomerlee, Markyta Pomerlee, Lisa Cheyenne Bryant, Emily Rone, Brenna Faust, Brandon Faust, Callie Jordan, and Tori Johnson.
• 20 years ago, Jan. 13, 1994 – Dr. Rayford Edgar was honored by the Water Valley Housing Authority with the naming of the Edgar Community Center on Hunt Lane.
Incarcerated in the county jail during 1992 were 557 adults and seven youths, an increase of 74 over 1992.
On the Dean’s List at Mississippi State University were Pamela Casey McCoy, James R. Rutherford, both of Water Valley, and Coleman Little Bailey of Coffeeville.
The Oakland Fire Department received a 1986 Chevrolet 4×4 utility truck through the Mississippi Forestry Commission and the Federal Excess Property Program.
Batesville Police Chief Rodger D. Vanlandingham praised Water Valley Police Officers James Wright and A. J. Hernandez for their help in apprehending two Batesville burglary suspects.
Sholunda Rucker was chosen as a semifinalist in the Coca-Cola Scholars Program. She was chosen from more than 110,000 applicants nationwide.
Lacy Dickey, 16, and her little brother Dillon, 9-months, were pictured cheering the Blue Devils in a Gurner Photography ad.
• 30 years ago, Jan. 19, 1984 – The old Wood Street Methodist Church, which had been converted into apartments, burned Jan. 17.
A new piece of playground equipment was installed at the Water Valley Elementary School. Shown trying it out were Rhea Brown, Benjamin Eakes, Naketa White, Jennifer Griffin, Tenesha Shaw, Tyler Hill, Tammy Burgess, Tonya Joy, Amy Hodge and Yølanda Holmes.
The Junior High Lady Blue Devils were winners of the Junior High Tri-Lakes Conference Tournament at Bruce by defeating Charleston’s Lady Tigers, 27-10.
The Water Valley Schools Parents Support Group purchased a videodisc player and several discs for the elementary school. Shown presenting the equipment to Assistant Principal Dollie Henderson were Mrs. Linda Maynor, Parents Support Group President, and Mrs. Judy Sartain, Video Project Chairman.
The Bank of Water Valley announced they would be tearing down their old bank building and erecting a new structure on the site.
• 40 years ago, Jan. 17, 1974 – The Board of Direc-tors at Mechanics Bank announce that W. E. Blackmur was elected Chairman of the Board; Earl K. Fly was elected President; Ernie Aune and C. M. Langford were elected vice-presidents; Kenny Taylor was elected cashier; and Frank West was elected assistant cashier.
TWL announced that they were proud to be part of Water Valley and invited everyone to come by and see the store while it was being remodeled. The business was formerly Parker’s Ben Franklin.
Ginger Allen was initiated into Kappa Delta Pi, an honor society in the Department of Education at Mississippi State University.
Jim McMinn was pictured with a nine-point buck he killed while hunting near Water Valley. It was his first deer in several years.
• 50 years ago, Jan. 16, 1964 – Claude Woods succeeded O. T. Hamner as executive director of the Water Valley Housing Authority.
Mr. and Mrs. Albert Mott and their daughters, Martha and Lee Ann, had moved to Water Valley. Mr. Mott  of Mott’s Incorporated of Mississippi would direct operations at the local poultry processing plant.
Bobby Carr Johnsey was installed Illustrious Master of J. J. Melton Council No. 50 Royal and Select Masters.
Members of the Oakland football team were honored at their banquet. Receiving top honors were Charles Barton, John Lynn Hartley, Wayne Simmons, Charles Jones, and Jack Craig.
Mrs. Catherine Redwine was installed as Worthy Matron of Water Valley Chapter of the Eastern Star.
Three area students graduated from Northwest Mississippi Junior College including Bonnie Jo Hillhouse of Water Valley and Emma Lou Harrison and Ralph Harry McCormack of Coffeeville.
• 60 years ago, Jan. 14, 1954 – Snow was still on the ground from a storm the past Sunday night. City workers were pictured clearing sidewalks and putting down sand on streets. Future editor Ed Shearer III commented in his “Brain Storms” column that the town looked great under a blanket of snow.
The local Jitney-Jungle store was celebrating its 25th anniversary. George Surrette was the owner and manager.
C. E. Simpson was installed as Worshipful Master of the Valley City Lodge No. 42, F. and A. M. Other officers included G. L. Gafford, W. G. Cotton, K. R. Sissell, T. O. Gore Sr., J. W. Bailey, O. J. Gregory and J. L. Edgar.
Rays Department Store was having a sale and their best $49.95 suits were reduced to $37.50.
It was noted in the “Local & Social” column that Mr. and Mrs. Robert Litton of Shaw had moved to Water Valley to make their home with her aunt, Miss Jessie Wagner.
• 70 years ago, Jan. 13, 1944 – The trial of Aaron Hefner on the charge of first-degree murder was set to begin 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19, at Coffeeville. Hefner and A. I. Shaw are accused of killing Pvt. James R. Durkin of Camp McCain. The soldier’s body was dumped on Hwy. 7 near Coffeeville.
Three Water Valley men were profiled on the front of the Herald for their roles in several battles: Signalman First Class Harry Simpson, Gunners Mate Third Class Bruce James Myrick Jr. and Pfc. Norris D. Harding.

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