It was a once-in-a-lifetime story. Reports of giant reptiles roaming the city had circulated for several weeks in May and June of 2009. People said they had seen everything from alligators to iguanas to monitor lizards. Then, on Monday, June 15, police cornered one of the critters, a tegu lizard, on the Highway 7 bypass.
Herpetoculturist Eric Lago was called to the scene and bagged the critter. Lago, who lived on County Road 109 just outside the city limits, said he had one escape of the ten he had at his home. Later he said two, and then he said three of the original 13 had actually gotten out.
So, it was over. The city was safe again because all the lizards had been accounted for…or so we thought. But, like a bad science fiction movie, the monsters came back. In July, police and animal control were called to the Berkshire Apartments for another sighting. This time residents said they planned to petition the Board of Supervisors to do something.
• 5 years ago, June 18, 2009 – A line of strong thunderstorms with high, straight-line winds moved through the area blowing down several trees in the county.
Supervisors voted to terminate the county’s Civil Defense Director, Cecil Harrison. The county’s fire coordinator, Frank Hyde, was appointed as interim CD Director.
Watermelon Carnival T-shirts went on sale and were pictured on the front page being modeled by youngsters Makenzie Chandler and John Paul Ashford.
A ribbon cutting was held for the grand opening of the China Palace restaurant on North Main Street.
Brittany Mills graduated from the Radiologic Technology Program at Mississippi Delta Community College.
Members of the 2009 Water Valley FFA Opening and Closing Team placed fourth at the Mississippi FFA Convention. Team participants included Dustin Person, Joshua Sullivan, Gary Bratton, Kye Gilley, Cody Perkins, Cass Phillips and Chris Caldwell.
• 10 years ago, June 17, 2004 – County Supervisors and Sheriff Steve Shuffield wrangled over money during a discussion of the Sheriff Department’s budget. The Sheriff estimated the department would be $65,000 over budget by the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30.
The emergency spillway stilling basin at Enid Lake was drained for the first time since 1983 offering a rare view of the baffle blocks used to slow the current in an overflow.
New Chamber of Commerce officers were Derrick Surrette, president; Mike Brown, vice-president; and directors Bobby Turnage, Terry Varner, Amy McMinn, Missy Kimsey, Ora Lee Phillips, Johnny Avant, Keith Marchbanks and Lee Pullen.
Winners in the second annual “Old Timers” baseball game included Kenneth Mayes, Ryan Taylor, John Walker, Ron Hart, Roy Vance, Jeremy Vance, Michael Fonte, Jeff Bynum, Eddie Mister and Chris Yancy.
Ray Brasher was designated a Public Housing Manager after completing training by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.
• 20 years ago, June 16, 1994 – Alisha Holland, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Holland of Oakland, was named Miss Yalobusha County during the annual pageant sponsored by the Community Involvement Group. Little Miss Yalobusha County was Samantha Jean Goodwin. Miss Teen finalists included Katasha Rockette, Kimberly Hervey, Lakesha Gilland and Miss Teen Merlissa Caldwell. Junior Miss finalists were Vernay Hervey, Amanda Jean McCammon and Junior Miss Sabrinna Jean McCammon.
An editorial from the Mississippi Economic Council warned of federal government involvement with health care.
Dorris’ Sir Trouble, out of the Sylva Rena Kennels, competed with about 100 dogs at the Southern States Field Trials at Carver Point on Grenada Lake. Trouble, owned by Buddy Dorris, placed first in trailing, second in hunting, fifth in endurance and third in all-age HGA.
• 30 years ago, June 21, 1984 – A “We Can Do It” Day was planned for the city on June 30 to clean up the mess left by the tornado and flood.
Valery Lynn White, 11-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tommy White, was cast in the lead role as Annie in the University of Mississippi Summer Showcase production.
The Yalobusha County Soil Conservation Service was repairing nine structures in Yalobusha County under the provisions of the Emergency Watershed Protection Act. Some of the work was on Otouchlofa Creek.
Correy Cobern, son of Sue and Troy Cobern, won first place in the District I Mississippi Private School Art Contest.
Becky and Lisa Mathis were pictured participating in the Blackmur Library Summer Reading Program with Librarian Ann Ivy King.
South Central Bell was offering free installation of “Touch-Tone” services because “the Information Age is bringing a lot of new services.”
• 40 years ago, June 20, 1974 – Yalobusha General Hospital Administrator Marguerite Cook was honored by the Pink Ladies Auxiliary for her “years of service to the health facility.”
Charman Gayle “Charmie” Lassen was named Miss Hospitality and would compete in the state pageant in Biloxi.
Denise Tidwell was crowned “Miss Poppy” by the American Legion Auxiliary. First alternate was Bonnie Newman and second alternate was Paula Mills.
The Water Valley National Guard Battery C, 114 Field Artillery, was honored during their recent summer camp and testing.
The Yalobusha Homemakers Flower and Vegetable Show was held at the American Legion Hut in Coffeeville and Mrs. Thomas Turner, show chairman, and Mrs. Forest Barber, garden leader of the Coffeeville club, were pictured selecting vegetables to be exhibited at the show.
• 50 years ago, June 18, 1964 – Four Yalobusha County men, brothers Jimmy and John L. True, J. H. Langham and Ray Hylander, were being held on open charges after they were involved in a shooting incident during which deputy sheriff Loyd Hughes and landowner Tal Brower were wounded. The four men were “joyriding” on a bulldozer being used in road construction. The men drove the dozer into Brower’s pasture and when approached by Hughes and Brower, Hylander fired a blast from a 12-gauge shotgun. Doctors removed 43 birdshot from Hughes and 38 from Brower.
Attending the Inter-national Order of Odd Fellows’ sponsored United Nations Pilgrimage for Youth were Tommy Edwards, Cheryl French, Sweetie Hall, Martha Bess Cooper, Suzanne Bell, Carlisle Throop and Nancy Spears.
Thomas H. Dalton received a 50-year Illinois Central Gold Pass at the banquet in Chicago.
Boy Scouts Owen Riddick and Hilly Griffin of Coffeeville were headed for the 1964 Boy Scout National Jamboree at Valley Forge, Pa.
Guardsmen pictured receiving instruction on the 105mm Howitzer from Sgt. Gary Ayers of Coffeeville were Cpl. Jimmy Berry, Pvt. John E. Watson and Pfc. Jim Dollahite.
• 60 years ago, June 17, 1954 – Attorney John S. Throop Jr. of Water Valley announced his candidacy for Senator, representing the 28th District, Yalobusha and Grenada.
Joe Pegram, valedictorian of the WVHS 1954 graduating class, received the Reader’s Digest Award, consisting of an engraved certificate and one-year subscription.
Mrs. Hamric Henry was selected as president of the Junior Auxiliary. Other officers were Mrs. Clyde Ray, vice president; Mrs. John Throop Jr., historian; Mrs. John C. Wright, recording secretary; Mrs. James Brown, treasurer; Mrs. Howard Holloway, Parliamentarian; and Mrs. Oliver Wiley, corresponding secretary.
Dan Wagner, 13-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Wagner of Memphis, died of a cerebral hemorrhage while swimming in a lake near Memphis.
Robert A. Cire was selected as athletic coach and high school principal. Cire came to WVHS from Greenwood.
• 70 years ago, June 15, 1944 – The Herald printed on the front page a letter from Sgt. Francis D. Provost, a close friend of I. S. Rogers Jr., who was reported missing in action. Sgt. Provost wrote a heartfelt letter to Rogers’ mother telling her than he was afraid that her son, his best friend, would probably not return. He was on the same raid with Rogers and saw him go down. “I will say your son went down fighting and he upheld every tradition of the Air Force to the last.”
• 80 years ago, June 22, 1934 – Will Tarver, one of the successful and efficient farmers residing east of Water Valley, brought in the first cotton bloom of the season.
Mayor DeShon reported that there were three fine watering tanks for horses in Water Valley. One was at the northeast corner of City Park and two new ones were installed at the Pate lot to the rear of Turnage Drug Store and the rear of Robinson property in the Herring Hotel block of Main Street.
The famous Water Valley Harmonica Band was in the news again. This time they played at New Hope for the big Mason picnic honoring St. John’s Day.