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One Monticello Life: Dr. Sylvia Simon

October 3rd, 2010 by

The oldest of seven children, Sylvia Simon describes life growing up as “very busy.” Raised mostly in Warren, AR, she says that things in her family were a little different than in your traditional family.

“We didn’t watch TV at all, so we entertained ourselves in other ways like gardening, quilting, crocheting, and things like that. I’m really an old lady I guess because those are still the things I do.. those are my hobbies now.” Read the rest of this entry »

177 Acres Destroyed in Forest Fire, Near Midway Rt., Friday

October 3rd, 2010 by

Around 3 pm, Friday afternoon, a grass fire in a field at the end of Old Troy Road crossed into a nearby forest, and started a major forest fire, southeast of Monticello.  The fire, according to Sheriff Mark Gober, was likely started by a downed power line.

An early estimate from someone at the scene indicates that around 200 acres of timberland were destroyed.

Read the rest of this entry »

16 People Transported to DMH, Following 2 Separate Auto Accidents

September 29th, 2010 by

For the second afternoon in a row, car crashes have kept police, ambulance crews, tow trucks, and hospital staff busy.

Tuesday around 2:30, according to reports from bystanders, a westbound Pontiac Grand Prix, shown here, failed to stop, at the intersection of HWY 278 East and Cherry Street.  The Pontiac collided with the rear of a GMC Envoy.

There were 5 passengers in the Pontiac, and 3 in the GMC.  SEEMS and MASI both responded.  A total of 8 people were transported to Drew Memorial from the wreck, including a couple who went by personal vehicle.

Monticello Fire & Rescue was paged out to remove occupants from the vehicles.   MPD worked the wreck, assisted by Arkansas State Troopers.  Triple A towed the Pontiac.

2 hours later, around 4:30, a Hyundai Elantra pulled out of a driveway at Montongo hill, on HWY 425 North, into the path of a southbound Mazda Tribute.

The Hyundai came to a stop after crossing a deep ditch, with passengers remaining trapped inside, causing Fire & Rescue to be called again.

SEEMS responded with 2 ambulances, and along with some who chose to ride in personal vehicles, a total of 8 accident victims were transported to Drew Memorial, from this crash as well.  Following this collision, 2 patients were taken to Little Rock and 2 more went to JRMC in Pine Bluff.

Drew County Sheriff’s deputies worked the scene.

2 2-vehicle car crashes in 2 hours sent a total of 16 victims to Drew Memorial.

One Monticello Life-Miss Drew County 2010, Toni Findley

September 26th, 2010 by

“My mom taught me, if you want anything, you have to do it yourself.”

Raised by single mother, Rhonda Findley, Toni Findley learned early in life what it meant to work hard for what you want, and to lean on those closest to you. Her childhood years shaped a strong passion to help single parents, and to always believe in second chances for others.

Toni attended McGehee schools until her family moved to Monticello right before her sixth-grade year. School was not easy for Toni. She suffered from ADHD and said the problems that came with the condition made everything difficult, from schoolwork to making friends.

Toni & her mom, Rhonda Findley, at the Miss Drew County Pageant

“I was very impulsive, blunt, and I couldn’t wait my turn for anything. It made things really difficult. I was also a perfectionist so if I couldn’t do something the perfect way, I just wouldn’t try to do it at all. I’d rather give nothing than only do it half-way.” Read the rest of this entry »

1,185 Acres Destroyed, as Forest Fire Burned Across Southern Drew County, Over Weekend

September 20th, 2010 by

Around 2:30, Saturday afternoon, a forest fire was reported in the southern part of Drew County.

For several hours, the fire was moving north on two separate fronts, and south, with another fire wall, centered around Gates/Mainline Road, between the south section of Midway Route and Collins Line Road, about 15-20 miles from Monticello.

Local fire departments were standing by area deer camps and watch for road crossings, while 2 planes were dropping water, another plane guiding the firefighters, and 9 fire-plows were also working to extinguish the blazes.

Around 7:30, Saturday night,  it was estimated the the fire was 50% contained, and that the planes and plows would be able to contain and control the remaining fire; and at 9 pm Arkansas Forestry Commission crews reported that the fire had been contained. Read the rest of this entry »


September 20th, 2010 by

Of our three branches of government, most people are least familiar with the judicial branch. While voters choose the judges who sit on the Arkansas Supreme Court and Arkansas Court of Appeals, these judges keep much lower profiles than legislators or constitutional officers. Very few Arkansans will ever be personally involved in cases heard before our highest state courts, but the decisions of these courts impact the lives of all our citizens on a daily basis.

I have emphasized for years that the best way to restore the faith of our people in their government is through candor, access, and citizen involvement. This is why I was especially glad this week to take part in an announcement by the Arkansas Supreme Court, which is taking those very tenets to heart. Read the rest of this entry »

Miss Drew County 2010 Is……………….. Toni Findley

September 19th, 2010 by

Toni Findley won the title of Miss Drew County in the annual fair pageant, Saturday night.

Toni also won the swimsuit and interview portions of the pageant.

Toni is the 20 year old daughter of Rhonda Findley, and a student at UAM.

Haley McLemore was selected as 1st runner-up and photogenic.

Lily Burchfield was chosen 2nd runner-up and Miss Congeniality.

Share The Gift Of Love, Become A Foster Parent

September 15th, 2010 by

Family foster care is a program designed to provide a substitute family life experience. The purpose is to provide a healthy home and community experience for the child while conditions which caused the placement away from the birth/legal family are being resolved.

Foster care is intended to be temporary. Children are placed in foster homes because they have been removed from their own families due to abuse, neglect or other family problems that endanger their safety. The children may range from infancy to 18 years. The Children may belong to any ethnicity or race as well as belong to a sibling group of brothers and sisters that need to be placed together.

Click Here For More information about Foster Care in Drew County.

Drew County Division of Children & Family Services :
444 Hwy 425 North
Monticello, AR  71655
Phone:  870-367-6835

9/11, A Busy Day for Local Emergency Personnel

September 13th, 2010 by

Monticello Firefighters Spent 6 hours Battling "Old Bradley Mill" Fire in Warren, Saturday Night. Photo by David Forrest, of the Guesthouse.

On a day when emergency personnel are recognized across the nation, our local fire dept, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, state troopers, and both ambulance services were busy proving how important they are to our community.

Here’s a portion of their day…….

Before midnight Friday, Monticello Fire & Rescue was paged out to a single car wreck on HWY 293 near Selma, where an Oldsmobile’s 3 passengers needed them.  Arkansas State Troopers worked the wreck, assisted by Drew County Sheriff’s Deputies.  SEEMS transported the 3 victims to Drew Memorial.  Although it turns out that Fire & Rescue weren’t needed, the caller who reported the crash believed the 3 victims were pinned inside the vehicle.

Prior to this Arkansas State Troopers had made 3 DWI arrests late in the evening, protecting Drew County drivers.

4 am Car Crash on Barkada Road, Saturday.

Around 4am, Saturday morning, a Chrysler 300 crashed into a tree, 4 miles out, on Barkada Road.  The person who called this in reported that the driver was still inside the car, and it looked like the car was on fire.  Fire & Rescue were called out to save the crash victim.  When Drew County Deputies arrived on the scene, with Fire & Rescue right behind them, it was discovered that the “possible fire” was “air bag dust”, but at 4 in the morning, the caller couldn’t tell.  MASI transported the driver to DMH.  Triple A towed the vehicle.

First Responders Recognized by Local Veterans at Flag Dedication Ceremony at 1st Baptist Church

Several of our emergency personnel were recognized for their dedication and service, during a flag and flagpole dedication at First Baptist Church at 10 o’clock, by our local veteran’s organizations and Woodmen of the World.

House Fire at Dead Man's Curve, Saturday, 12:45.

Many of them attended a Community Prayer Rally at the Drew County Courthouse at noon, but were called out to a double-wide mobile home at 12:45, which was called in “the cars are there, but no one is standing outside.”  The photo shows how engulfed the structure was when it was called in.  Firefighters battled the blaze for 4 hours, hauling water from Carpenter Road, 1.5 miles away, until the fire was out.  Also worth noting, SEEMS came to the scene, “just in case” there would’ve been someone inside who needed medical care, and also, Sheriff Gober, an off-duty auxiliary deputy, and an area constable were at the fire, in case they were needed.

SEEMS Displayed a U. S. Flag on their Ambulance, in Honor of 9/11, Saturday

After getting the trucks ready for their next call, whatever it may be, and a very late lunch (at around 4:30), they got to sit down for the first time all day.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the day for the Monticello Fire Dept.  The “Old Bradley Mill” in Warren caught on fire around 11 pm, Saturday night, and they were called to assist Warren’s Fire Dept.  Monticello’s firefighters arrived back at the fire-station 6 hours later.

Throughout the day, our Monticello Police and Drew County Sheriff’s Deputies answered calls of all types, around the clock.  SEEMS and MASI were on duty, providing their services, as always, at a moments notice.   The emergency room staff at Drew Memorial were ready and waiting, for whatever illness or injury came through the door next.

There wasn’t a minute of the day that there wasn’t a dispatcher standing by take you call, in case of emergency at MPD, ready to send whichever of these dedicated public workers your way, in your time of need.

As we look back on 9/11/2001, we should also recognize that same dedication that our Drew County emergency personel serve us with.

One Monticello Life: Shay and Sherrie Gillespie

September 12th, 2010 by

Growing up in a single-parent home, Shay Gillespie never could have dreamed all that he would accomplish in his future. Raised by his mother and grandmother, he was taught to work hard and to trust God to provide everything he needed.

“Growing up we were poor, but we didn’t know we were poor. Back then everyone in the community raised you… and made sure you had everything you needed.” – Rev. Gillespie

Shay Gillespie became a trailblazer, starting at a very young age. Read the rest of this entry »

Warren’s Old Bradly Mill Destroyed by Fire, Saturday Night

September 12th, 2010 by

A fire at Warren’s “Old Bradley” Mill last night, apparently destroyed a large portion of the facility, and led to fire departments from around the area to be called out to assist.

The Monticello Fire Dept. responded to the blaze, and assisted throughout the night, and returned to Monticello around 5 am, this morning.

No details are available at this time, but Warren Fire Dept. is still on the scene, putting out blazes and hot-spots.

Local Home Lost to Fire

September 12th, 2010 by

A local family seems to have lost everything, due to a Saturday afternoon fire that destroyed their home on HWY 278 East, near the road construction area around Dead Man’s Curve.

No one was home when the fire began, and flames were rising high into the air, before a passing driver saw the fire.

The Monticello Fire Dept. responded, and battled the blaze, while hauling water to the scene from a hydrant near Carpenter Road.

Princess, the family’s dog, died during the fire.

Video Tour of New Mainline Community Health Clinic in Monticello

September 9th, 2010 by

Click on the video above to go on a tour of the new Mainline Community Health Clinic in Monticello.  (Click on the “cloverleaf” to set it to full screen.)

Mainline’s Allan Nichols will take you on a tour of the facility, and explain many of the features of the clinic, and the services that they offer to Monticello and the surrounding area.

One Monticello Life: UAM Provost, David Ray

September 5th, 2010 by

Drew Central Superintendant Wayne Fawcett, UAM Provost David Ray, and Monticello Superintendant Bobby Harper, at last week's MEDC meeting.

He’s been an inspiration and an example to college students for decades; everyone in town recognizes his name, and his voice: now sit back and join in on a visit with UAM Provost David Ray, this week’s One Monticello Life. Read the rest of this entry »

4 Arrested on Drug Charges, 2 of them for Attempted Capital Murder of DTF Agent: $1 Million and 1/2 Million Bonds Set

August 31st, 2010 by

On Thursday, August 26, 2010 agents of the Tenth Drug Task Force were attempting to stop a vehicle driven by James Daniels, age 39, formerly of Warren, currently residing in Little Rock, Arkansas.  A search warrant had been obtained for the vehicle prior to the stop as information had been received that the vehicle was transporting narcotics to South Arkansas.

The stop occurred on County Road 133 near the intersection of 133 and Highway 35.

As Agents made the initial stop on the vehicle, a second Task Force vehicle pulled in front of the vehicle driven by Daniels and occupied by three other suspects. As Agents exited from the blocking vehicle, Daniels accelerated his vehicle as it swerved towards and rammed the blocking vehicle, striking a DTF agent. The agent fired on Daniels’ vehicle, striking the front and rear passenger side tires. Read the rest of this entry »

N. Syracuse, NY Wins World Series Over Saginaw Valley, MI With Homer in the 7th Inning

August 28th, 2010 by

North Syracuse’s Pilotti’s game-winning 3 run homer in the final inning gave New York the victory in the World Series final.

The “Champs” celebrate, after the final out.

While trailing 4-3 in the top of the final inning with 2 outs, North Syracuse centerfielder Pilotti hit a 3 run home run to take the lead away from Saginaw Valley, MI and put New York ahead 6-4.

N. Syracuse added another run before the inning ended, and that’s how the game ended, with a 7-4 final score

Read the rest of this entry »

Broadband Grant to Benefit Schools & Hospitals in all 75 Arkansas Counties

August 20th, 2010 by

Wednesday, UAMS received a $102,131,393 federal grant – one of the largest ever received by an Arkansas institution – announced at UAMS by Rick Wade, senior advisor and deputy chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Commerce. In addition to the $102 million grant, UAMS and its partners are providing a 20.6 percent match of $26,450,427.

The grant will enable fiber connections and/or bandwidth upgrades in all 75 counties and in 135 Arkansas communities, including 81 Arkansas hospitals, all two-year colleges (four-year colleges are already connected), eight public libraries, all state human development centers, the state’s trauma network, community health centers, mental health clinics and home health agencies.

For more information read the full article on

Memories from the Museum – Frank & Jesse James’ Visit to Tillar

August 15th, 2010 by

Nearly every city has allegedly experienced a brush with a famous person whether he is “good or bad”. Bonnie and Clyde reportedly once visited Monticello. Tillar, a small farming community, also had a visit from legendary outlaws – the notorious James boys.

This event was recorded by Hie C. Birch of Tillar and found in the Drew County Archives. Mr. Birch was born August 24, 1874, on Macon Bayou and died in McGehee on January 10, 1956. At some point before his death he wrote his memories of the James’ visit to Tillar during his youth. This article is a summary of that ignoble visit. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Area Residents in Jail on $50,000 Bond after Aggravated Robbery of Apartment

July 29th, 2010 by

Armonzo Watkins & Samantha Barnett at Bond Hearing

Brittany Garcia & Santonio Vaughn at 1st Appearance Hearing.

At 4:02, Saturday morning, a 911 call came into the Monticello Police Dept., reporting a robbery at one of the Park Hill apartments, on North Slemmons St.

Jeffery Thomas, after arrest.

Two of the victims were treated and released from Drew Memorial Hospital, later in the day, Saturday. Read the rest of this entry »

James and Rene Knowles Chosen as 2010 Drew County Farm Family of the Year

July 21st, 2010 by and

This year’s Drew County Farm Family of the Year title has been awarded to James and Rene Knowles. Both were raised in farming families and made the decision to keep that tradition alive in their own family, that now includes two sons and a grandson.

“I’ve been farming all my life,” James said as he recalled growing up in Valley Community.  “Dad (Pharris Knowles) was originally a cotton farmer; when I was old enough to help farm he was a commercial hay farmer. He sold hay all over southeast Arkansas.”  James’ mother is Marjorie Knowles Craig.

James graduated from Drew Central High School, is a member of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association, and a member of the American Quarter Horse Association. He worked on the farm with his father until he was married to Rene.

Rene’s dad (Bob Person) owned a hog farm and raised cattle over the years. Rene’s mom was the late Joyce Person, “but  dad’s wife, Mrs. Judy, has been ‘mom’ for over 20 years.”  Rene graduated from Monticello High School and completed 3 years of college. Rene is a Drew Central School board member and was just re-elected to her second term on the Quorum Court. They are active members of Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church.

Read the rest of this entry »

“But Officer, I Was Only Going ‘One Way'”

July 4th, 2010 by

At 6:20, Saturday evening, the driver of this white sedan was stopped by MPD’s Rickey Fleming, who pointed out that they were traveling the wrong way on a one-way street, as they were driving east on on east McCloy Street, toward oncoming traffic, in both lanes.

It reminds us of the old joke, “but officer, I was only going one way.”

The driver was from Florida.

84 Year Prison Sentence for Felony Cocaine Arrest by DTF & 90 MPH Pursuit

June 21st, 2010 by

Rodney Scales, age 36 of Dermott, was found guilty by a Drew County jury Friday, on the charges of possession of cocaine with intent to deliver and fleeing (without concern for human life).

DSCN1409Scales was sentenced to 80 years on the cocaine charge, and 4 years on the fleeing charge.  The jury recommended the charges run consecutive, for a total of 84.  Scales will not be eligible for parole for approximately 21 years.

Read the rest of this entry »

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