An early inkling that things may not be going right at the beef plant came on a smelly Monday morning 10 years ago. Coffeeville residents awoke to find a putrid substance spilled across their town after several gravel trucks spewed waste products from the cattle processing plant in Oakland all through town. Apparently the gravel trucks’ back gates did not seal the messy gook, and by the time the trucks traveled down County Road 211 from Oakland and came through town with cattle parts and gook oozing out at every turn.
One passerby noted a hoof in the street, and then Civil Defense Director Cecil Harrison reported on the issue to supervisors, who were meeting in Coffeeville that morning.
“Water is not working, the fat turned to grease,” Harrison explained to supervisors as MDOT’s efforts to remove the smelly substance from the highway was equally unsuccessful and cars were even sliding at intersections.
The story grew in the days that passed and not all was reported because it could not be substantiated. The problem was the rendering plant in the facility, which was supposed to turn the waste animal tissue into stable, value-added projects, failed. With that gook backing up, it was loaded onto the trucks destined for a landfill in Houston. One version of the story said the trucks had been loaded that Friday and cattle gook stewed during an unusually warm November weekend.
One thing was sure, the smell was strong and reminded me of Catfish Charley, a stink bait commonly sold for fishing.
• 5 Years Ago, Nov. 12, 2009 – After being open for several weeks, city officials gathered at Main Attraction for a ribbon cutting for the new business on Main Street owned by Bill and April Pullen.
Freddie Wayne McClanahan was arrested for possession of methamphetamine after the sheriff’s department received a tip. Sheriff Lance Humphreys reported meth use was at an all time high, with numerous arrests made in recent weeks in surrounding counties.
Students recognized on Faith Christian Academy’s honor roll include Savannah Watson, Noah Watson, Lindsey Allen, Megan Stone, Segan Prince, Christian Allen, Nathan Stone, Miriam Hill, Samantha Allred, Matthew Oflin and Grafton Muirhead.
Second year Blue Devil coach Brad Embry said the playoff victory against M.S. Palmer is an accomplishment for his team, which had not had a playoff win in several years. With the 21-8 win, the Blue Devils were headed to Belmont for the second round.
• 10 Years Ago, Nov. 18, 2004 – Deputies tracked James Peacock for 10 miles through Yocona bottom after he escaped from jail and eluded authorities. Peacock had been indicted for armed robbery and was painting an office in the jail when he walked away. Thought to have left the state at one point, Peacock stayed in the same vicinity for 10 days before he got tired and hungry and was ready to turn himself in to Sheriff Steve Shuffield.
Herald co-owner John Howell made the trip up to Dividing Ridge to indulge in the annual Coleman family stew. Howell reported on the bluegrass music and the fine eating, with a 110 gallon stew pot fueled with ingredients that included two-and-a-half deer, 200 pounds of potatoes, and so on.
• 20 Years Ago, Nov. 10, 1994 – Ruth Rotenberry was pictured on the front page, celebrating her 101st birthday at a party at the nursing home.
Raymond Phillips was chosen Employee for the Month at Holley Automotive.
Sheriff Lloyd Defer told supervisors that deputies’ schedules would have to change to comply with the Federal Wage and Hour Regulations. Deputies had been working 54 hours each week and with the change they would only be able to work 43 hours a week before receiving time-and-a-half for overtime.
Defer told supervisors that he would need extra money in his budget for the extra pay, but the board declined his request. The sheriff agreed to change the deputies’ schedules, but warned the county’s law enforcement efforts would be hampered.
• 30 years ago, November 15, 1984 – Brad Brooks of Water Valley joined an elite group of FFA achievers when he received the highest FFA degree of membership, that of American Farmer. The honor came at the National FFA Convention in Kansas City, Missouri.
Members of the Yalobusha County Ducks Unlimited banquet committee pictured at the annual banquet included Dr. Fred McCullar, Sam Goodwin, Eddie Magee, Wilbur Herring, Danny Dickey, Gary King, Steve King and Charley Carter. The group helped raise more than $7,000 at the banquet.
• 40 Years Ago, Nov. 21. 1974 – Highway Commis-sioner Herschel Jumper told the Rotarians that the Highway 7 Bypass is assured.
Boyce T. Evans and Andrew J Prince, both of Coffeeville, received pins for 30 years of service to the Soil Conservation District. The recognition came at the annual awards ceremony in Jackson.
• 50 Years Ago, Nov. 19, 1964 – City Marshall W.G. (Freck) Marshall warned that a recurrence of last year’s shooting of fireworks during the Christmas parade would be dealt with severely. Police would be stationed along the parade route to apprehend offenders.
Five young people on their way to a youth rally at Water Valley First Christian Church were injured when the car they were riding in plowed into the back of a tractor on Hoy. 315.
The driver of the tractor, Sam Stokes, sustained minor injuries, but a $5,000 Massey-Ferguson diesel-matic tractor was a complete loss.
The youth group was traveling from Aberdeen and the driver of the car was cited with following too close.
• 60 Years Ago, Nov. 18, 1954 – Members of the Water Valley First Baptist Church voted to purchase three lots immediately north of the church building, to be used as a location for an education annex. The purchase price of the property was $8,000.
• 70 Years Ago, Novem-ber 9, 1944 – Yalobusha voters favored Franklin D. Roosevelt eight-to-win to help the president secure his fourth term.
Yalobusha County surpassed its quota in the National War Fund campaign, county chairman Bill Trusty announced.