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The top Stories of 2011


January 8, 2012 by wcobserver

What a year it’s been! Check out some of the Observer’s top stories and photos of 2011

Baseball Coach Steps Down

When: September 1, 2011

Greenland Baseball Coach Lee Larkan stepped down after four years in the dugout although he’s still going strong as the high school football coach, reported Brent Harrison.

Larkan left with a 68-17 record that included a Regional Conference Championship and three District Tournament titles.

Second-year baseball and football assistant Josh Holloway replaced Larkan.

“I feel I’m ready to take over, and coach Larkan has prepared me well,” said Holloway, who played at both the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith and Arkansas Tech University.


Greenland’s New Police Officer

When: August 4, 2011

Even some older, non-students had to return to school this year.

Hunter Carnahan was selected from about 25 applicants to become Greenland’s newest police officer, serving primarily as the school district’s resource officer.

Raised in Prairie Grove, Carnahan served on the Fayetteville Police Department for almost eight years as a police officer and first-class patrolman, which included bike patrol on Dickson Street.

As a school resource officer, Carnahan has had to serve a unique position, one that is part police officer and part counselor.

“I’m looking forward to working for a community that wants to grow … you start with the kids,” said Carnahan when he was interviewed by the Observer’s Susan McCarthy.


Principal Says Goodbye

When: June 23, 2011

After four decades, Greenland Middle School principal Jay Gardenhire retired at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

​In preparing for a 40-year career of going up against pre-teens, Gardenhire served in the Navy – four years enlisted and 26 years in the reserves – and was even assigned to river-patrol duty during Vietnam in 1968.

​“Mr. Gardenhire has had an outstanding career at Winslow and Greenland as an administrator: both as a principal and superintendent,” said Charles Cudney, Greenland schools superintendent. “I think fundamentally, education is in Gardenhire’s blood.”

As reported by Timothy D. Dennis, the Greeland school board is full of adults who had been guided, educated and, yes, even disciplined by Mr. Gardenhire, when they were younger.

“At one time, he was the principal, and they did do corporal punishment there,” laughed school board member John Collins. “I’ve been swatted a couple of times by Mr. Gardenhire when I was a kid.”


Torrential Rains Wreak Havoc

When: April 28, 2011

It was the year of the 100-year flood.

As reported by Jamie Smith, five days of drenching rain caused heavy flooding and the results were all too real. The deluge caused at least one death in south Washington County and there was extensive damage to rural county roads, parks, and some homes along the river.

South Washington County received about 15 inches of rain and County Judge Marilyn Edwards declared an “emergency disaster” in the county. During the disaster, there were 30 high-water related rescues, middle school students found about an inch of water in the hallways and Devil’s Den State Park closed – its statue barely rising above the waterline.

While much of the damage caused by the flood has been repaired, some issues will be with south Washington County for years to come.


Whopper Snow Storm

When: February 17, 2011

Area residents who went to bed on Feb. 8 expecting two-or-four inches of winter flakes, found themselves completely snowed in after an unexpectedly massive storm. It was actually the third such winter event within a week.

Schools, city offices, libraries and business across the county closed, some for a couple weeks in a row.

​According to KNWA’s Chief Meteorologist, Dan Skoff, the final snowstorm on Feb. 9 dumped nearly four years of snow in one morning. West Fork and Winslow saw some areas collect as much as 16 and 20 inches of snow, ​respectively.

Residents were tough, though. Mickey’s One stop in Winslow managed to stay open, and West Fork Postmaster Danny Neal said his carriers deserved “unbelievable credit” for remaining true to the USPS creed: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.


Winslow Comes in First After Successful Race

When: Sept. 29, 2011

The first-ever Winslow Half Marathon and 5K Run on Sept. 17 was an unqualified success.

The brainchild of longtime Winslow resident Mary Anderson, treasurer of the Winslow Community Development Council, the race drew over 200 runners to this small Ozark mountain town. The race was organized as a vehicle to promote Winslow and raise funds for community non-profit orginizations.

The Half Marathon and 5K races were held simultaneously on a course that was certified by USA Track and Field and more than 50 community volunteers were on hand to facilitate logistics of the race such as parking, staffing first aid and comfort stations, traffic control and race logistics. Various local vendors set up concessions at the finish line in Peak’s Park to add to the festivities.

When all the scores were tallied, the city of Winslow raised a whopping $4,000. Winslow Community Meals received the largest share at $2,189.18, while the Winslow Emergency Relief Fund was given $500.00. The Boston Mountain Fire Department, Ozark Folkways, Friends of the Library and the Winslow Museum each received checks for $300 and the Winslow 4H Club was given $100.

Organizers hope to turn the race into a major annual event and plans are already underway for next year’s run.



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