Top 10 news stories of 2018
Youngblood win, dogs shot, student rally mark top 10 stories of the year
1. Youngblood landslides way to commissioner
Outgoing Barry County Clerk Gary Youngblood earned a landslide victory in the election for Barry County presiding commissioner. Youngblood took in 2,753 of the 5,382 total votes, winning all 16 precincts and in the absentee ballots. Incumbent Cherry Warren came in second with 1,586 votes, and John Hendricks rounded out the results with 1,043 votes.
2. Family mourns three dogs shot in Eagle Rock
An Eagle Rock woman spoke out on behalf of her family after their three labradors were allegedly shot to death and mutilated while playing in Table Rock Lake about half a mile from their home. The Barry County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case and has recommended charges. Social media posts about the dogs’ deaths garnered nationwide and even international attention.
3. Cassville students hold rally for school safety
Cassville Middle School students took to the campus courtyard to hold a rally for school safety in March. Plans for the event began not long after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead. Student Council members spoke about numerous topics, saying school safety was not being taken seriously enough and proclaiming, “We are the answer.”
4. $1.9 million hatchery project underway
The Roaring River State Park’s spring pool has a different scenery, as a $1.9 million project at the Roaring River Hatchery is ongoing. Paul Spurgeon, manager of the Roaring River Hatchery, said the project will replace all flood gates in the spring pool, the pipeline into the hatchery and a traveling screen will be installed to catch debris from the pool before it enters the hatchery.
5. MoDOT to spend $11.5 million on Hwy. 37
Work is expected to begin on Highway 37 from the Arkansas state line to Highway 60 in Monett, including a possible roundabout or interactive flashers at the Highway W intersection in Butterfield. The $11.5 million project is scheduled to begin spring 2020. MoDOT is weighing the results of comments submitted on the Butterfield intersection.
6. Shell Knob Named ‘Best Place to Escape’
Shell Knob was recognized as the ‘Best Place to Escape’ in Missouri by Expedia, one of the world’s leading travel companies. The Expedia Viewfinder blog features travel inspiration on destinations in the U.S. and across the globe. Expedia’s staff writers sought out locations that provide the best opportunity to relax, recharge and enjoy a real getaway.
7. Exeter principal retires after 15 years
Robert Taylor retired from his position, and the education field, after 15 years as principal of Exeter High School. One thing he has always liked about Exeter is that it is similar to his hometown. “It kind of reminds me where I’m from,” he said. “It’s a small town so it’s familiar to me. Before, I’d been working at a bigger school. I liked the small schools a little better.”
8. Doctor plans for medical marijuana dispensary
Dr. Lisa Roark has proposed to the city of Cassville her plans to open a medical marijuana dispensary. Roark provided a packet of information to the city, including letters of support and non-opposition. Roark said she believes medical cannabis should be accessible and affordable to local qualifying patients after voters approved a medical marijuana ballot initiative in November.
9. Farm to table restaurant opens in Cassville
The Farmer’s Daughter, An Ozark Eatery, opened in the summer, utilizing fresh foods from local producers to bring meals made from scratch to locals. The farmhouse-themed restaurant, owned by Abby Carr and Chef Matt Lowman, is inspired by the Ozark locale. “We want to keep people in Cassville verses them going to Monett, Rogers and Joplin,” Lowman said.
10. Exeter police chief fired after tense hearing
After a three-and-a-half-hour meeting in August, the Exeter City Council voted to terminate the employment of Police Chief Kenen Martinez. The city listed five reasons for the removal, including misuse of funds and insubordination. In response, the former chief has sued the city to be reinstated and receive damages. Martinez has also declared his intentions to run for Exeter mayor.