DECATUR Following last week’s review of the first half of 2009, it’s time to take a look at the second half of the year. Here are a few highlights taken from the headlines of The Decatur Herald from July to December.
More than 212 children entered the sixth annual Community Fishing Derby at Crystal Lake on June 27. The tournament was sponsored by the Decatur Assembly of God Church and the Take a Kid Fishing program.
In early July, school officials and coaches decided to move ahead with the Decatur High School football program, even though participation was lacking. They agreed to make a decision on whether or not to cut the team when school started, hoping to give students every chance to participate.
On July 14, Simmons Foods of Siloam Springs announced that it would be expanding its pet-food business and adding a petfood processing plant to the existing feed mill in Decatur. The project promised to bring 15 to 20 new jobs to the town by the end of the year.
In July, Nichols Family Farms opened an egg-processing facility in the former Hooper’s Grocery Store on Main Street in Decatur. The company packages and markets eggs from cage-free hens. The facility will process up to 2 million eggs a week and sell them to retailers across the country.
In July, Decatur saw another sign the local economy was improving. City sales tax revenue was $16,060 in June 2009, compared with $11,087 in June 2008.
Parks and recreation committee members met on Aug. 3 and decided to move forward with plans for Bulldog Days, set for Oct. 9-11.
The 56th Annual Decatur Barbecue was held in Veterans Park Aug. 7. Fans traveled from as far away as Washington State and Mexico to hear entertainer John Conlee perform. The day also featured a fun run, children’s games, parades, beauty contest and plenty of barbecued chicken.
Decatur students returned to school on Aug. 19. On the first day of school, enrollment was up seven students from the previous year.
In late August, Denise Trammell announced she was selling the Gallery Cafe to Stacy and Amy Brooks and moving out of state due to health problems.
City council members approved the issuance of a $947,000 water and sewer revenue bonds to finance the design and construction corrections to the new wastewater treatment plant at an Aug. 10 meeting.
Superintendent LeRoy Ortman and athletic director Bobby King made a final decision not to field a high school football team on Aug. 13. Somewhere between five and nine players attended summer practices, coaches reported. Eleven players must be on the field at any one time during a football game.
Juan Carlos Lezama, of Decatur, was arrested on Aug. 27 for allegedly sexually assaulting a nine-year-old girl. Lezama was accused of inappropriately touching the girl on two occasions, exposing himself to her and showing her pornographic movies.
In September, the FNA Group of Elk Grove, Ill., which bought Decatur’s Black & Decker pressure washer plant in March, began the process of transferring its hose operation from Illinois to Decatur. The company had already transferred its Simpson-Delco pressure washer operation from Siloam Springs to Decatur.
On Sept. 3 the Stephen’s Media, LLC, owner of The Morning News, and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, owner of a number of local papers including The Gentry Courier Journal and The Decatur Herald, asked the U.S. Justice Department to approve a joint venture in which each entity would own 50 percent of a new company called the Northwest Arkansas Newspapers, LLC.
Decatur 4-H and FFA members entered projects from livestock to arts and crafts in the Benton County Fair, held the week of Sept. 15 to 19.
The Decatur School District filed a counterclaim to former superintendent Dave Smith’s lawsuit against the district on Sept. 24. Smith was suing the district for compensation for the rest of his three-year-contract, which could amount to over $300,000. The counterclaim accuses Smith of failing to perform his duties, including overseeing the districts financial well being and managing former district treasurer Tina Murray, who pleaded guilty to taking $41,000 from the school.
On Sept. 29, at 6:15 a.m., a two-year-old was found wandering along, unclothed through the intersection of Main Street and Roller Avenue in downtown Decatur. The boywalked nearly a half mile from his home in 43-degree weather while his mother was sleeping.
During September, school officials continued to work on spending $459,041 in federal stimulus money to ensure better safety, increased student achievement and new technology for Decatur students.
On Oct. 6, two pit bulls attacked Lisa Brown’s dog in the bed of her pick-up, parked on her property. Brown managed to fend off the attack and kill one of the pit bulls with her bare hands. Her dog survived, but sustained severe cuts and lacerations around its neck.
Heavy rain on Oct. 8 and 9 caused storm water, mixed with wastewater, to overflow from a sewer-line manhole near the intersection of Spring Avenue and Arkansas 59. The city could face fines from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality as a result of the incident.
Even though torrential rain put a damper on Bulldog Days events on Oct. 9, when the sun came out on Oct. 10, there were plenty of fun filled activities for families to enjoy. Bulldog Days included a car show, carnival, vendors and Meagan White concert.
The Decatur School District was the first school in Benton County and one of the first schools in Arkansas to receive H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines on Oct. 19 and 20.
The merger between northwest Arkansas’ two competing newspaper companies was completed on Nov. 1 making the Decatur Herald part of a new company called Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.
Financial reports, presented at the Nov. 9 city council meeting, showed the city swimming pool lost $9,463 during the summer of 2009. Council members continued discussing the possibility of closing the pool next summer if a solution could not be found.
Discussions of holding Bulldog Days and the Decatur Barbecue back-toback on the same weekend began in November. The parks and recreation committee and the chamber of commerce met several times throughout the month to discuss the idea.
City building inspector Ray Adams appeared at the Nov. 14 city council meeting to inform the council that Simmons Foods has not submitted complete plans for its Decatur pet-food plant, now under construction, and is not cooperating with his attempts to do annual safety inspections onthe existing poultry plant and hatcheries required by city ordinance.
Two new businesses opened on Main Street in Decatur during October and November. Decatur Tire and Auto, owned by Jason Blackmon, offers new and used tires, tire repair, oil changes, vehicle maintenance, diagnostics and brakes.
Bulldog Video and Consignment Shop, owned by Chris and Jennifer Bean, offers movie rental, video equipment repair, consignment sales and even flower arranging.
Approximately $3,500 to $4,000 - the proceeds of the FFA sausage, bacon and chicken fundraiser - was stolen from the Decatur High School agricultural building over Thanksgiving break. Several weeks later $41 was stolen from the Decatur School District Administration building. Police suspect the same people were responsible for both break-ins but no arrests have been made.
The Chamber of Commerce Christmas parade was held on Dec. 11. After the parade, Santa Claus greeted children in the Decatur General Store andpassed out sacks of treats. The Decatur FFA was the winner of the best schoolsponsored float award.
At a Dec. 14 meeting, City council members voted to give city employees a 5 percent pay raise in 2010 and Christmas bonuses in 2009. They also passed an ordinance approving a $7 million industrial-development-bond issue for Simmons Foods. At the same meeting, Mayor Bill Montgomery reported the inspection issue between city Building Inspector Ray Adams and Simmons Foods had been resolved.
A two-year-old boy gave his baby-sitter and police a scare when he seemed to disappear from his home on Dec. 21.
The Decatur, Gentry, Gravette and Sulphur Springs police departments began searching for the boy, along with the Benton County Sheriffs Office, the Decatur Fire Department and personnel from the Decatur water and street departments. He was found sleeping behind a chair under a pile of blankets and stuffed animals.
A snowstorm on Dec. 24 brought Decatur a white Christmas.
News, Pages 1 on 12/30/2009
Print Headline: 2009 in review