Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe kept a promise to voters by lowering the grocery tax. The House of Representatives voted 99 to 0 to cut the grocery tax again, bringing it from 3 cents to 2 cents.
Former Sharp County OEM Coordinator Peter (Pete) Reilly Jr., 64, of Hardy was arrested March 30 on charges of rape and sexual indecency with a child.
A welcome break from the cold and icy winter weather was taken as the circus came to town April 2. The Spring River Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored the Kelly Miller Circus at Ash Flat. The circus was well attended and enjoyed by many.
Swine Flu Enters the U.S. in April. The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) issued an alert to physicians to be on the watch for HIN1 (swine flu) virus in humans. At that time, no cases had been identified in Arkansas but, 40 cases of swine flu had been confirmed April 26 in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.
April also brought a great time for memories for the Highland High School Band, as the band returned from Orlando, Fla., where the 46 student band competed in the internationally renowned All American Music Festival. The band, under the direction of Greg and Hope Bruner, brought home awards and received the coveted "Excellence Rating" as well as being ranked seventh in the nation for their class.
With warmer weather in May, also came a big disappointment for the Hidden Valley family who constructed a tree house for their children in their front yard. For the neighborhood kids, the Shackleford's tree house represented many childhood dreams and a lot of fun times with friends. On May 2, Brian Shackleford was given a special release from a treatment center to come home and tear down the tree house that he and his children had worked so hard to build due to a zoning issue with the City of Highland.
May also brought changes for the City of Cherokee Village as Cherokee Village Police Chief Jason French formally announced his resignation to member's of the Cherokee Village City Council May 7. French left the city after helping with the transition of the new police chief. French announced he will be taking a position working with State Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office and told the council of his appointment of Ricky Crook as the new police chief.
Economic Development meetings allowed area cities to express their wish lists as representatives from seven different city councils and members of the Sharp County Quorum Court, as well as concerned citizens came together in an unprecedented town hall type meeting May 7 at the Sharp County Courthouse. The open discussion meeting was held with representatives from the Arkansas Delta Center at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Arkansas Capitol Corporation and Connect Arkansas.
Ash Flat welcomed a new Chief of Police in May as Anthony Wiles was appointed to the position following former Chief Mike Zeiger's transfer to the Drug Task Force last November.
Prior to the end of the 2008-09 school year, Highland Middle School's gym was rocking May 15 as Brandon Baxter and Booger from Jonesboro's 101.9 KISS FM brought the Rockin' Apple Award party to Highland. Carrie Shell, seventh grade science teacher, won the award in what Baxter said was "the largest number of votes in the history of this contest."
Ozarka College officials announced in late May the appointment of Dr. Richard Dawe as president of Ozarka College in Melbourne. Dawe, a native of the north-Arkansas-southern-Missouri region, assumed the presidency July 1.
With the increasing number of H1N1 cases nationally, in May the Arkansas Department of Health held a meeting to prepare the health community in the event of a pandemic of the flu.
June brought with it more wet weather with rising rivers and flooded low water bridges. An Evening Shade woman narrowly escaped injury when the truck she was driving was swept off Bear Creek Bridge near Evening Shade. She was able to escape the vehicle and call for help.
To be continued next week.