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Farmer’s Insurance One Setting New Records for Readers

January 28th, 2008 by

Since last October, has continued to grow.

Each month there have been increases, in stories, and in pageviews.

Last week set several new marks.

Most Daily Pageviews – 2104 on Friday, and Most Weekly Pageviews – 8699.

January will also set a new monthly record, we’re at 19,285 so far.

I just want to say thanks for your support, and your constant “coming back” to see “what happened in Monticello today.”

But please remember, you can make MonticelloLive even better by letting us know when something is going on.  Contact Joe at 367-0000 with tips and story leads.

Thanks again.

One Monticello Life: Lyle Welch, Southeast Emergency Services

January 20th, 2008 by


On May 12, 2006, Southeast Emergency Services began operation, serving Monticello and Drew County with ambulance service.

SEEMS is owned and operated by Lyle Welch.  He also is a Paramedic. 

Lyle was born, raised, and graduated High School at Arkadelphia.

Lyle attended Henderson State University and became a paramedic on February 21, 1996.  He had taken an EMT class, since he was a member of the local Volunteer Fire Department.  The instructor complimented his work in class, and encouraged Lyle to enroll in the upcoming Paramedic class, that was being taught.  Lyle did, and has been a Paramedic for 12 years now.


Lyle started his EMS career here in Monticello on April 1, 1996 and has been here working on an ambulance in Monticello ever since, with the exception of 6 months he was at MEMS in Little Rock.

He is married to Kim Fenton Welch. They have four children:  Shea Welch, who is planning on starting her junior year of college at the University of Arkansas in the fall.  Tyler Welch, an upcoming basketball star at Emmit High School.  Kayla Fenton who attends Monticello schools.  Jordan Welch, the youngest of the four.

Lyle and his family attend Serenity Baptist Church.

His hobbies include hunting, fishing, and remote control model airplanes.

Lyle is show above with “A.C.”, who arrived at the office a couple of days after SEEMS opened.  Lyle said, “A.C. adopted us. Not the other way around.” 

Lyle’s favorites include:

Restaurant-Young’s on Thursday, “It’s chicken and dumplin’ day.”

TV show-M*A*S*H.

Movie-Days of Thunder.

Actor-Clint Eastwood.

Music-Classic country and today’s rock.  Sometimes “disco” on XM.

Song-Long, Black Train.

Sports team-Excluding Billies, Pirates, Hogs, & Weevils-Dallas Cowboys & St. Louis Cardinals.

Favorite book-A Look At Life From A Deer-stand, by Steve Chapman.

Lyle Welch and SEEMS, another “person behind the scenes” that keeps Monticello going strong.

Click here to go to Southeast Emergency Services’ website. It’ll give you information on what are classified as “emergencies”, as well as info about their services.

Lyle Welch, thanks for sharing your One Monticello Life.

Click here to see the One Monticello Life archives.

MEDC Office-Old Post Office-Still Catching Peoples Eye With Historic Artwork

January 15th, 2008 by

Again recently, the sand sculptures at the old Post Office, currently the office of the Monticello Economic Development Commission, are drawing the attention of many people.


The subjects of the sculpture; a basket of tomatoes, a mule, and someone picking tomatoes, are a reflection of the importance of agriculture in Drew County’s history.


As it has been found out by research, the same creator of the Monticello Post Office’s artwork, is the same person who designed the work done in the Washington D.C. Post Office.

The Post Office construction began in early 1937, and the cost of the artwork was covered by the Dept. of Treasury’s Section on Fine Arts, at a cost of $750.

For more information, click here to read the original article from the Arkansas Preservation Society.

MonticelloLive Viewed Over 700 Times Tuesday.

January 10th, 2008 by had over 700 pageviews Tuesday, according to

This is the highest number of daily readers to the website, since May 4.  Tuesday had the 2nd highest view count ever for the web-site.

Thanks for “spreading the word” about, Monticello’s community website.

Registered Child Sex Offender Sentenced to 1-6 Years in Prison

January 9th, 2008 by

Darnell Crosswhite, of HWY 278 East, Monticello, was previously required to register as a “child sex offender” in a Mississippi court, according to court records.

Crosswhite went before the Drew County Circuit Court Tuesday morning, charged as a “sex offender working with children”.

Although the Prosecuting Attorney’s office had reportedly agreed to a plea bargain of 3 years probation, Circuit Judge Bynum Gibson refused to let that plea agreement stand, and sentenced Crosswhite to 1-6 years in the Dept. of Correction.

The Circuit Court will hold a hearing on Feb. 19 to determine exactly how long Crosswhite’s 1-6 sentence will be.

After his hearing Crosswhite was released on an earlier bond, but with the stipulation that if he is found in the company of any child under the age of 18, he will be arrested on a $20,000 bond, and brought before Judge Gibson, again.

One Monticello Life: Darrell & Lee Ann McDaniel Family

January 6th, 2008 by


As i was selecting a good subject for this weeks edition, I realized that there is a family of 5, that will be starting back to school tomorrow, in fact 5 different schools.  That would be the Darrell & Lee Ann McDaniel family.

Darrell & Lee Ann have been married for 25 years, as of last September.  The family is very active in Northside Baptist Church, where Darrell was brought up, and where Lee Ann began attending, when she and Darrell got married.

Darrell was born in Heber Springs, and moved to Monticello in the 5th grade.  Lee Ann was raised in Arkadelphia, until the 8th grade, when her family also moved to Monticello. 

Monday morning, when all of Monticello and Drew Central schools start their 2008 school years, the McDaniels will also go back to school.

All 5 of them, each going to a different school.

Darrell is an instructor at the Occupational Education Center (vocational technical school) for the Monticello School District.  Actually he’ll be teaching the same “Metal Trades” class that he took, when he was attending vo-tech.  Darrell took what he learned in that class, and spent over 20 years working at Burlington as a machinist, before coming full circle back to teaching.

Lee Ann will return to UAM. She works in the purchasing office for the University.  She has been there for 4 years.  Prior to UAM, Lee Ann worked at Bartons

As you’re reading this, Katie, a freshman at UA Fayetteville, is probably already on her way back to school.  She’s working on her Pre-Med major.

Julie, a MHS freshman, plays saxophone in the band, and is in EAST Lab.

Jordan is a 4th grader at MIS.

The family all likes to spend time outdoors, especially around the water.

Darrell’s hobbies include hunting, fishing, and metal craft.

Lee Ann likes to spend her free time reading, gardening, or watching NASCAR.

Katie spends her free time on the phone, according to her mom, when she should be studying.

Julie’s favorite past-times include reading and playing video games.

Jordan likes hunting and fishing, like his dad, and killed his first deer this year.  Jordan spends any free time he has harassing his older sisters (just ask them).

The family pets include Buddy, the dog, and 9 cats.

Usually now is the time in the interview when I ask about “favorites”, so this week will represent the family’s “combined” answers.

Their favorites include:



Movie-Toy Story and Santa Clause movies.

Music-Lee Ann likes contemporary Christian music and the family usually listens to country.

Favorite actors & books-Too hard to agree on.

Favorite songs-Amazing Grace and Sweet Beulahland.

Favorite sports teams-Billies and Hogs.

Monday morning, as we are all getting back in the habit of “school”, remember the McDaniel family.

5 family members, 5 different schools.

Thanks to all of the McDaniels, for sharing your One (or 5) Monticello Life.

To read other editions of One Monticello Life, Click here.

Monticello Man Dies in Single Vehicle Accident

January 2nd, 2008 by


Raymond Glen Hale, age 59, of Drew County was killed in a single vehicle accident on HWY 35, approximately one mile east of the Drew County Fairgrounds, around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

According to unofficial reports from the scene, Hale’s vehicle, shown above, was heading towards Monticello, left the highway, hit a culvert, flipped at least once, and came to a stop, resting on it’s roof.

Mr. Hale was pronounced dead at the scene by authorities.

Monticello’s 39th National Guard Battalion to be Deployed to Iraq

December 31st, 2007 by

The Arkansas National Guard Delta Company 39th Brigade Support Battalion will be leaving during the next few days, to be stationed in Shelby, Mississippi, before being deployed to duty in Iraq.

The total planned time of deployment is set to be one year, which will begin upon their arrival at the base in Mississippi.

 The unit will leaving at different times beginning with the first group departing later this week, with the final departure expected to leave on January 8.

Keep checking back here on for updates as they become available. 

EZ Mart, 425 South, Robbed at Gunpoint

December 31st, 2007 by

The EZ Mart, located on HWY 425 south, was the location of an armed robbery, early Monday morning just before 4 a.m.

Reports indicate that the store’s security video camera shows a black male, approximately 5 foot, 10 inches tall, wearing a mask, armed with a shotgun appears to have been alone in the hold-up.

The robber arrived and fled on foot.

The investigation is being conducted by the Monticello Police Dept.

One Monticello Life: Sharon Hancock, Young’s BBQ

December 30th, 2007 by


Young’s Bar-B-Q has meant “lunch” to Monticello residents for decades.   The local restaurant has been chosen as Monticello’s “Best Bar-B-Q” for 7 years by the voters in the local newspaper, as well as having won “Best Lunch Buffet” and “Best Country Cooking” several times, along the way.

Sharon’s mom & dad, Ben & Cleo Young, sold Bar-B-Q out of their grocery store from 1954 until 1983.

In 1989, Sharon and her husband Billy Joe Hancock, re-opened “Young’s Bar-B-Q”.  They ran their “take out only” business in the back of the building, where Mr. Ben’s Bar-B-Q pit had remained.

In 1996, they moved the business into the front of the building, and opened a full service restaurant.  In July of 2003, the business burned and closed for a brief time.  But the Hancocks decided to close their laundromat operation, and moved the restaurant, complete with their famous buffet, into the newer building next door.  After a complete remodeling process, and a new kitchen, “Young’s Bar-B-Q with Country Buffet” re-opened in October of that same year.

When most people think of Young’s, they think of it’s owner, and daily hostess, Sharon Hancock.  She’s always there, with a “How are you doing, today?”, or her cheerful, “Ya’ll come back!”  She’s open every weekday for lunch, as well as Sunday lunch buffet.  They also serve catfish, fried shrimp, and BBQ ribs on Friday nights.

When I asked Sharon how she ended up in the restaurant business, she replied, “Well, I was 9 when we moved into the store………….”

She said that the best part of her job is pleasing folks.  “Full people are happy people.”

Sharon was born and raised in Monticello, and graduated from Monticello High School.

“I’ve been married to Billy Joe all my life”, she added with a smile.  Billy Joe served in the U.S. Army until 1962, and was stationed in Germany for a part of that time.

They have 2 sons, Mike, who works at the Pine Bluff Arsenal, and Steve, who is now part-owner of the restaurant, and handles the inventory and catering, as well as doing all of the B-B-Qing.

The Hancock’s have 3 grandchildren: Jake (age 17), Laura (age 14), and Somer (age 13).

Saron’s response to the usual “Get to know” type questions included:

Hobbies-Painting, especially Santa portraits and birdhouses.  (Her Christmas present from her husband was painting classes.)

Pets-“He has pets. They’re all his”.

Restaurant-She smiled, no response was needed. 

Favorite phrase-“‘Have a good day’ seems to say it all.”

TV show-Paula Dean’s Cooking Show, on the Food Network.

Favorite actor-Richard Gere.

Favorite movie-Sweet Home Alabama.

 Favorite music-Country.

Favorite author-James Patterson (mysteries).

Favorite sports teams-Billies, Pirates, Weevils.

In closing, Sharon considers herself a, “Plain old, what you see is what you get” type of person, but that’s the kind of person, business, and cooking that keeps so many Monticello people coming back for lunch. 

Thanks, Sharon Hancock, for sharing your One Monticello Life.

To read other editions of One Monticello Life, Click here.

One Monticello Life: John Carter

December 23rd, 2007 by


John Carter, shown here during an emergency drill a few months ago at Drew Central Schools, is an agent of the 10th Judicial District’s Drug Task Force.

John began his law enforcement career with the Monticello Police Dept., where he remained for 4 years, until November of this year.  He had originally been a member for the Monticello Fire Dept. (he’s still a volunteer firefighter), and when Lt. Eddie Deaton suggested he become a member of the Police Auxiliary Unit, he soon became a full-time officer.

Read the rest of this entry »

Warren Man, Working in Monticello Facility, Is Accused of Child Sexual Abuse, story courtesy of FOX 16 News

December 7th, 2007 by

Police investigators are looking at the possibility of additional victims in a sexual assault case after a Warren man was charged with sexual assault of a minor and reveals to police he works around children for a living.

The Department of Human Services and state police led Warren Police Department detectives to Ronnie Lopez.  Detectives have only a story from one child victim of alleged sexual abuse, but detectives say the background of Lopez, 35, could lead to more charges.

Lopez is free as of Wednesday night on $25,000 bail after being charged with sexual assault of a child under the age of 14.

“According to Mr. Lopez he does work around underage children and juveniles,” says detective Shaun Hildreth with Warren P.D.

Lopez told investigators he works at the Day Spring Behavioral Health Services in Monticello.  Police say it’s a center for troubled teens.

Reports indicate Lopez is a former employee of the Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Home in Monticello.

For more information on this story, click here to go to the Fox 16 News site

One Monticello Life: Larry Wilkerson

November 25th, 2007 by


Several years ago, the church I was attending had a visiting preacher, who preached like he knew exactly what all was going on in my life at that time.

That preacher was Bro. Larry Wilkerson.  Bro. Larry is now pastor of Ladelle Baptist Church, a “country church” that averages around 75-80 people attending on Sunday mornings.  One of Bro. Larry’s friends was at lunch with us, and described the church as “country people and potluck meals, that make you feel at home.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Thanksgiving Day Special Report, Drew County’s Historic Rosenwald School

November 18th, 2007 by

Thanksgiving morning, MonticelloLive will be running a Special Article, about Selma’s Historic Rosenwald School.

This award winning report was written by Mrs. Sheilla Lampkin a few years ago, but is extremely interesting, especially to History buffs, here in Drew County.

Check back Thanksgiving Day, to learn more about the rich history of Drew County.

One Monticello Life: Truman Hamilton

November 11th, 2007 by

100_0378.JPGMost Monticello residents know Truman Hamilton from when he owned the radio stations.  Others remember when he managed the Magic Mart store, but there’s more to know about Truman than where he used to work.

Truman has just accepted the position of executive director of the Monticello Economic Development Commission. 

I think the job is in good hands.

MEDC’s director, Derrill Pierce, is stepping down because of health reason, but is helping it’s new director during the transition. 

Truman has just been in the office a few days, but the first thing that I noticed about his desk, was that his Bible was on it.  That’s a sign of leadership.

Read the rest of this entry »

One Monticello Life: Beverly Lobitz

November 4th, 2007 by

Mrs. Beverly Lobitz has been a member of UAM’s Music faculty for 35 years.  So many times, when someone has the same career, they just do their job.  That’s not the case with Mrs. Lobitz.lobitz.JPG

David Johnston, who’s daughter, Dailyn, is a first year piano student of Mrs. Lobitz, considers her to be “an outstanding piano teacher.  Dailyn is already reading sheet music, and can sing and play at the same time.”

Johnston added, “She is a very sweet person who allows parents to sit in on lessons with their children. Seeing her work with kids the way she does, shows that she is a very patient and talented teacher.  She always seems eager to share her love of music.” 

Beverly Lobitz grew up in Manhattan, Kansas.  She earned her Bachelor of Music degree at Kansas State University, and then completed her Masters of Science in Voice degree, at Emporia (Kansas) State University.

Mrs. Annette Hall, her colleague in the Division of Music since 1972, considers Mrs. Lobitz to be “a multi-talented musician, dedicated teacher, and exemplary role model for students.”

Mrs. Hall added, “She has the heart of a teacher.” 

Mrs. Lobitz has taught piano and voice, both in school settings and privately, since college.  She has been a member of UAM’s Music Department for 35 years. 

Betty Matthews told me last week, how helpful Mrs. Lobitz was when she taught Ms. Matthews daughter, Laura.  “Personal involvement” makes a world of difference.”

Larry Lobitz, retired, is Mrs. Beverly’s husband, and has preached for many years.  Together, they serve at Lakeside Presbyterian Church, in Lake Village.  Mr. Larry leads the choir, and Mrs. Beverly has played the organ for 11 years.

Their son, Brice is a construction contractor in New Orleans, and his wife, Becky (formerly Becky Jacobs, of Monticello), is an electrical engineer with Shell Oil.  They spend many weekends working with church projects there, such as missions, and construction for people with special needs.

Mrs. Lobitz has 2 grandchildren, Colton and Tyler.

Mrs. Lobitz says she doesn’t watch very much television, but does enjoy an occasional “Extreme Home Makeover”, when someone does something helpful to improve someone else’s life.

Mrs. Lobitz considers music, “a vocation, and a hobby”, and has taught hundreds of students in private lessons, where she can make the most of “one on one” contact, in teaching.

She explained her ambitions with this phrase, “My goal is to see students succeed, not just in music, but in life.”

It seems that Mrs. Beverly Lobitz has reached her goal; many, many, times.  Including with me.

I became a voice student of Beverly Lobitz in 1982, when i started at UAM.  3 years later, while living and working in Dumas, but just a few hours short of graduation.  Mrs. Lobitz kept in touch with me by sending messages by my church’s pianist (also a student of hers), encouraging me to finish.  Mrs. Lobitz kept saying, “When you’ve got that degree, you’ll be so glad to have achieved that goal in life.”  25 years later, I see that she was right.  The fact that Mrs. Lobitz never gave up, has really made a difference, as it does to so many other students, that she still calls “My Kids”.

Thanks, Beverly Lobitz, for sharing your One Monticello Life.

One Monticello Life: Calvin Murphy

October 28th, 2007 by

I’ve known Calvin Murphy for several years, and the more I’m around him, the more I learn.


Calvin, and his wife Mrs. Carolyn, operate O&M Oil Co., on East Gaines street.

Mr. Calvin has always lived in Drew County, and was born in the “Sipio” community, south of Ladelle and Lacey.  At the time, the Ashley, Drew, & Northern Railroad had a stop in that area.  Calvin grew up and graduated from Monticello High School.

Calvin started out as a meat cutter at “Clay’s Grocery Store”, which was located on North Main St., across from where Union Bank is now.

Calvin served in the U.S. Army, and was stationed at Ft. Chaffee, AR, Ft. Sill, OK, and was sent to Germany, shortly after the Korean War.  After he was released from the Army, he joined the National Guard, and served there until he’d completed 39 years of service to his country.

Next month, Calvin & Carolyn Murphy will have been married to each other for 50 years.

They have 2 grown children.  Their son, Les lives in Star City, and runs O&M’s bulk plant there.  Les is married to Jacque, who teaches 1st grade.  Calvin’s daughter, Kim, lives in Springdale, and teaches 1st grade there.  Kim is married to Rob Tanksley, who works at the Tyson corporate office.

Calvin got into the oil business back in the 1950’s, when he went to work for his father-in-law, Mr. Hellums Owen.  Back then, the station was at the corner of S. Main, and Shelton streets, and the bulk plant was located right where O&M is now.  This was when all “service stations” were “full service” stations.

Mr. Calvin told me, “I believe a man should work 5 days.”  He added, “Saturday is mine, and Sunday belongs to the Lord.”

On Saturday’s, if the Razorbacks play a home game, Calvin is usually somewhere close.  If the Hogs are playing an away game, he’s probably at Monticello Speedway.

On Sunday, he’ll be at Northside Baptist Church.  Calvin is the senior deacon at Northside and sings in the choir. “Quietly,” he adds.  Northside has been the only church he’s been a member of.

Over the years he has served as Sunday School teacher and director, “Training Union” teacher and director,  youth and building committees, and anywhere else that there was a need.

Calvin is also a member of Gideons, Int., which provides Bibles to schools, hospitals, and to our soldiers.

Mr. Calvin’s other passion, besides Mrs. Carolyn, is cars.  He has two “older” cars he’s working on restoring now. “Very slowly”, he comments.  One is a 1948 Lincoln Continental Mark I, and the other is a 1939 Cadillac LaSalle.

As you can tell by the photograph, Calvin Murphy loves his cars, and Mrs. Carolyn doesn’t like being in pictures.

Thanks, Calvin Murphy, for sharing your One Monticello Life. 

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