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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

2008:Year in Review

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Alonzo Foster Jr., 22, of Ash Flat was killed July 20. Foster was shot at Lick Creek in Ozark County Missouri while on a picnic with his family.

Foster and his family were at a place where his family said they had been thousands of times when Alicia Sanders, a resident of Mammoth Spring showed up and protested to the visitors that they were trespassing on her land.

Sanders and her 26-year-old son-in-law Jesus Sesena-Murrieta confronted Foster and his family. The confrontation resulted in Sesena-Murrieta shooting Foster causing his death.

Arkansas Paranormal and Anomalous Studies Team (ARPAST) visited the Old Hardy Hotel. The investigators said there were flying pennies appearing from nowhere and plates being tapped in dark empty rooms.

Savannah Harris was crowned 2008 Miss Sharp County. Harris is the daughter of Eric and Shannon Harris of Cherokee Village.

The group who started gathering petition signatures in Sharp County to put the wet/dry issue on the November ballot turned in their signed petitions. Save Energy Reap Taxes (SERT) gathered over 6,000 signatures.


Tommy Bolt, a golf legend, passed away Aug. 30 at the age of 92. Bolt was a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and Arkansas Golf Hall of Fame. He won 15 Professional Golf Association events and earned worldwide fame with his victory in the 1958 U.S. Open at Tulsa's Southern Hills in Oklahoma.

Hurricane Gustav caused several Louisiana families to flee to the Sharp County area for what was the third time for some. In the Hardy area, local hotel owners and managers estimated that close to 40 evacuee families stayed in the area for the duration of Gustav.

It was thought to be official that Sharp County voters would vote on the wet/dry issue in November after the Sharp County Clerk certified the signature petitions gathered by SERT.

The Sharp County Clerk said at the time that the only way the issue could be taken off the November ballot was if someone filed suit against the petitions.

Carolyn Estes pled guilty to conspiracy to commit murder Sept. 9. According to court documents, Estes plotted with Gary "Crowbar" Russell to kill her ex-husband. Estes received a fine and probation.

Gov. Mike Beebe declared a state of emergency in Arkansas due to gasoline-supply interruptions caused by Hurricane Ike. The price of gas was $3.89 by the end of the day Sept. 12. Beebe vowed to investigate anyone who he felt was price gouging.

Judge Harold Irwin filed a temporary injunction based on two lawsuits filed against the wet/dry petitions submitted to the Sharp County Clerk. Yota Shaw and Morris Street filed separate suits claiming the petitions and the process used to gather the signatures were questionable.


After a three day trial District Court Judge Phillip Smith ruled that the injunction would stay on the wet/dry issue. Smith heard from both sides and after a day of consideration, let the people involved in the case know that the issue would not be on the ballot in November.

SERT members said they would appeal the decision. Stu Freigy a SERT member said he didn't care if Sharp County was voted wet or not, he just thought the people had a right to vote on the issue.

SERT kept their word, just a week after Judge Smith ruled for the wet/dry issue to be removed from the November ballot SERT filed an appeal. Jeremy Lowrey of Sheridan was the attorney SERT chose for the appeal process.

Richard Dale Messenger Jr. was arrested after taking a cooler full of pennies into First National Banking Company (FNBC) to cash them in with drug paraphernalia in the cooler. Employees of the bank informed the Ash Flat Police Department and after responding and looking into the situation officers apprehended Messenger.

It was announced at the Oct. 16 Cherokee Village City Council meeting that Cherokee Village Police Chief Scott Goodwin would be asked to resign and Sgt. Ric Morris had been demoted. Cherokee Village Mayor Lloyd Hefley said he received a letter from all of the police officers working for the city that stated they were working in a hostile work environment. Hefley said he felt this situation had gone on too long without appropriate attention which is why he asked Goodwin to resign.

The decision on SERT's appeal to Judge Smith's decision to remove the wet/dry issue from the November ballot came back. The Supreme Court ruled with Judge Smith that several of the petition signatures were invalid as well as many of the seals affixed by a notary public.

After refusing to resign, Cherokee Village Police Chief Scott Goodwin was terminated by Cherokee Village Mayor Lloyd Hefley. Jason French, formally an instructor at Black River Technical College, was hired to serve Cherokee Village as the new police chief.

Clifton Johnson who was responsible for paying the city of Hardy for the water usage of Biggers Bluff residents fell behind on his payments. Johnson had not made a regular water payment in over two years resulting in Hardy shutting off the water supply to Biggers Bluff. The disconnection of the water resulted in over 10 families being without water.

Biggers Bluff residents were paying their water bill to Johnson, after the water was shut off it left the residents wondering where their money went. Many of the residents had wells dug immediately but others had to wait for their financial situations to allow them to do so. Some citizens went over two weeks without water to their homes in the Biggers Bluff community.


Presidential elections proved that Arkansas and Sharp County were for John McCain but Barack Obama won the nation.

Reports from the Arkansas Ethics Commission (AEC) showed that the money Yota Shaw used to contest the wet/dry ballots for Sharp County came from Missouri beer and liquor distributors. The AEC report showed that Shaw received $13,000 from various liquor companies in Missouri. The AEC report filed by Morris Street showed all of his money came from churches and local citizens.

One of Sharp County's legends passed away. Elwin Charles "Preacher" Roe died Nov. 9 at the age of 92. Roe was well known for his play on the baseball field but was also remembered as a true friend and devoted father.

Clifton Johnson of Biggers Bluff Corporation was arrested and charged with theft of property and theft of services for failure to use customers' monies to pay Hardy for the Biggers Bluff water usage. The affidavit showed that Johnson had enough money in his account to pay the water bill in full but chose not to, spending the money on other things including personal items.

Three Cherokee Village boys were caught in the act vandalizing a Cherokee Village home. The three boys posted a video of themselves damaging personal property on the famous Web site YouTube. A concerned citizen who viewed the video informed local police which resulted in the three boys being identified and arrested for the vandalism.

Ash Flat Police Chief Mike Zeiger resigned from his position to take a job as an officer for the Drug Task Force (DTF). Zeiger wrote in his resignation letter that he thanked Ash Flat for all of their support through the years.


Several post offices were broken into and mail boxes robbed. The post offices included Glencoe, Ash Flat and Evening Shade. Postal inspectors announced that there would be a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the people responsible.

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