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Monday, May 2, 2016

A look back at 2004

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Staff Writer

School consolidation, drug busts, the hospital tax passage, a prominent member of the community convicted of multiple child sex abuse charges and the primary elections were major newsmakers during the first half of 2004.

Here's a list of story highlights from January through June:

JANUARY: A Melbourne man, Dennis Lawrence, was arrested and charged after he fled from wildlife officers during a traffic stop.

Arkansas Game and Fish Officer Y.D. Whitehurst was injured when Lawrence drove off. Officers found two bobcats, a raccoon and marijuana in Lawrence's truck.

Gregory Dean Lynn, 31, of Calico Rock jumped into the White River after law officers attempted to arrest him for parole revocation.

Authorities said Lynn installed a "booby trap" in his apartment to injure law officers, but the device failed.

FEBRUARY: Jeremy Niederbrach, 26, of Salem garnered national attention when he was caught smoking a marijuana cigarette outside the Fulton County Courthouse, prior to a court appearance.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Fox News and other Internet media picked up the story.

A propane truck driver, Kurt Garrett of Salem, was injured when his truck ran off the road.

Lora Aldridge of the Fulton County Conservation District was named employee of the year by the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts.

MARCH: The Mount Pleasant School District accepted annexation into the Melbourne School District.

Former 16th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney T.J. Hively was convicted of five counts of racketeering and fraud.

Danny Ramsey, an administrator with the 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force lost a finger and suffered other injuries when a flash bang detonated in his hand during a drug raid near Salem.

A basketball tournament was held to raise funds for fifth-grader Dennis Smith who has an inoperable brain tumor.

APRIL: The city of Salem received the first mobile emergency decontamination (MEDS) and command unit trailer in the state.

Sixteenth Judicial District Drug Task Force Chief Scott Russell said the Drug Task Force would "hunt down" any and all methamphetamine users and dealers who engage in these activities in front of children.

Pipe bombs and drug paraphernalia were found inside the truck of Morris Allen Jones, 26, of Mammoth Spring.

Highway 9 between Salem and Mammoth Spring was closed while the Arkansas State Police Bomb Squad defused the bombs.

Fulton County voters, by a 6:1 margin, approved a half-cent sales increase to benefit the Fulton County Hospital.

The Horseshoe Bend City Council appointed Barbara Bell to replace retiring Alderman George Evans.

Capt. Tate "Trey" Lawrence III of the U.S. Army was awarded the Bronze Star with the Valor Device for heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force in Iraq.

MAY: Kenneth Melton, 29, of Thayer was killed in Iraq when his military vehicle was hit by an explosive device.

Melton, a member of the Arkansas Army National Guard's Detachment 1, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 153rd Combat Team graduated from Thayer High School in 1992.

Former Horseshoe Bend Recorder/treasurer Charles "Chuck" V. Simmons, 49, was sentenced to 210 years in prison after he was convicted of five counts of child rape from 1997 to 2000.

Charles Willet and Jerry Smith emerged as the runoff candidates for county judge after the Democratic primary election. In the sheriff's race, Viola's Walter Dillinger faced off against Mammoth Spring's Carrol Traw.

A ballot scanner malfunction forced the Fulton County Clerk's Office to hand count votes cast in the primary.

The Iron Works in Calico Rock was closed after its contract with Ohio-based Longaberger was not renewed.

Jason Morin, 29, of Memphis was arrested after he assaulted Kelly Savage with a boat paddle, near the Spring River on Memorial Day.

JUNE: Charles Willet of Salem defeated Mammoth Spring opponent Jerry Smith in a run-off to become the Democratic nominee for Fulton County judge.

Walter Dillinger narrowly defeated Carrol Traw to become the Fulton County sheriff in 2005.

Melbourne High School teacher Steven Mitchell was charged with multiple sexual assault charges.

Investigators claim Mitchell tried to coerce male students, ages 13 to 18 into committing sexual acts at the school or on school sponsored trips.

The Horseshoe Bend City Council appointed Ron Dupler to fill vacated Alderman Mike Turner's seat.

Izard County Detention Center inmate David Lee Armstrong was apprehended a day after he escaped from the jail.

Armstrong, 45, was being held on charges out of Stone County. Officials said Armstrong escaped through a fence in the exercise yard.

The Salem City Council banned the use of compression brakes within the city limits.

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