Year in review: a look back at 2014's top local stories
The year 2014 brought a lot of changes to Poinsett County. Here is a look back at some of the year's biggest stories.
In January, the city of Trumann lost its fire chief, Rick Winkles, who died on Jan. 28 after suffering a heart attack while fighting a grass fire. Winkles had served the Trumann Fire Department for nearly 28 years and had been fire chief since 2004. Earnie Link took over as fire chief.
February and March saw a pair of ice storms hit the county which left the power out for thousands of residents. Many in Marked Tree agreed the February storms hit them worse than the 2009 ice storm.
In April, the city of Weiner held a fundraiser for the Miracle League Field in Jonesboro. The Weiner Pig Roast helped raise over $20,000. The Miracle League Field, the largest in the country opened in October. It is a baseball/softball field designed especially for special needs children and adults.
Trumann School District was in the news in April after High School Principal Wanda Van Dyke was suspended. After a private hearing was held, which last for eleven hours total over the course of two days, the school board voted unanimously to back the superintendent's decision not to renew Van Dyke's contract.
April also saw the opening of the Cardinal Center, Weiner's senior citizen center, and Tyboogie's Cafe in Tyronza, a local restaurant owned by Keith and Jill Forrester who run Whitton Farms.
Lepanto's plan to replace 13,000 of galvanized water lines dating back to the 1920s hit a slight snag and had to be delayed over the wording of an ordinance regarding the bond issue. A special election had to be held in June before the project could go forward. The city accepted a bid on the project at the end of October.
After years of fundraising, the Wall That Heals, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, made a stop in Tyronza to be on display for the 12th Annual Stars and Stripes Jubilee.
August marked the opening of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and museum in Dyess, a huge draw for tourism in the area which brings people in from all over the world. The house has been restored to the way it was when the Cash family lived there from 1935 to 1953.
In September, Trumann voters passed a millage increase to fund the construction of a much needed new elementary school. September also saw the groundbreaking of the Sims-Talbot Adult Education/Workforce Development Center in Trumann, which will offer adult education and workforce training in cooperation with ASU-Newport when it opens in 2015.
November saw several changes with the election resulting in new faces in office at the county level and new mayors for Trumann, Tyronza, and Lepanto. Bob Cantrell was voted county judge, taking over from Charles Nix who retired this year at the end of his term. Barbara Lewallen won the election for Trumann mayor, beating out five other candidates and avoiding a runoff. Charles Glover will take over as mayor of Tyronza, taking over from Marion Bearden who is stepping down after her third term. And Dale Dunlap returns to the position of mayor of Lepanto this year, beating Steve Jernigan, who served for one term.