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One Monticello Life: Joe Williams

April 27th, 2008 by


Joe Williams, Jr. was born and raised in Monticello, and graduated from Monticello High School in 1982.  He attended and graduated from UAM with a B.A. in computer science.

Joe has spent the last 4 years employed as receiving manager for School Apperal’s Star City facility, but is best know from the more than 20 years he spent at Burlington Industries, here in Monticello.

He started working at Burlington in 1982, but was told by the personnel manager that if he was going to quit school, that he wasn’t going to get hired, but that he should get promoted after he graduated.  Joe took the challenge, completed his education, and began his way up the Burlington ladder of supervision.

Read the rest of this entry »

Emergency Plan for Dam Break at Lake Monticello

April 24th, 2008 by


This map showing the probably effected area if there were to be a break in the dam at the end of Lake Monticello, was a part of the focus of the meeting held to revise the Emergency Action Plan for use in the event of such an emergency.

Most city and county officials were present for the meeting, where Steven Faulkner, Monticello’s Fire Chief, was appointed Emergency Action Plan Coordinator.

Early Morning Wreck Involving Alcohol and Student

April 20th, 2008 by


Around 1 a.m., Sunday morning, law enforcement officers on patrol on Old Warren Road, noticed a downed power pole near the running track just east of Monticello High School.

Upon entering the school’s parking lot, a wrecked GMC truck was found (see photo).

The student in question was taken to the County Detention Facility for a BAC test.

Witnesses at the scene indicated that he had been drinking, and was attempting to enter the school’s “safe prom”, which is being provided to prevent drinking and driving.

The truck left the scene of the wreck, and was parked near the area where last week’s “DWI Wreck Re-enactment” was held.

The student’s mom told MonticelloLive, “the last thing we told him before he left was don’t be drinking and driving.”

One Monticello Life: Jesus Christ

April 12th, 2008 by

2 years ago, Jeff told about the life of Jesus, as the One Monticello Life for Easter Sunday. I suppose that featuring my Saviour has become an Easter tration, but if Christ hasn’t become the most important part of your life, he’is there waiting to accept you, as the hymn says, “Just As I Am”.

There’s not a more deserving subject for this week’s feature. Jesus, the One who has changed more lives than anyone else who ever walk on the earth, including mine. After reading, be sure to play the video at the bottom.

May God bless you all. – Joe Burgess


Today is Easter and celebrated many ways throughout Monticello. Children enjoy the candy received from new-found Easter eggs. Spiral ham, mashed potatoes and fresh rolls are served at many family gatherings. Much of this happens after a time of reflection and celebration at one of the 50+ Christian churches in the area. The Holy One that is celebrated on this holiday isn’t a local, but Jesus Christ is found in the hearts of many Monticellonians. This is His story.

Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, Israel. Roman historians subsequently used the birth of Jesus as the dividing line of history using A.D. (Anno Domini, which is Latin for “the year of our Lord”) to mark the coming of Christ.

picture-2.jpgJesus was born into humble circumstances. His mother’s name was Mary who was of the Israelite tribe of Judah. At best, the circumstances of his birth were complicated. Mary was engaged to marry Joseph, also of the tribe of Judah. Joseph could trace his lineage back to Abraham. Jewish lineage and ancestry was sacred to the Israelites. However, before they were married, Mary confessed to Joseph that she was pregnant but claimed that the pregnancy was a result of news she had received from an angelic messenger. Read the rest of this entry »

New Ladder Truck is Now Officially Monticello’s

April 8th, 2008 by


Last week it became official, when Randy Pogue, of Greenbrier, visited Monticello on behalf of the Arkansas Forestry Commission, and signed over ownership of the “new to Monticello” 1989 Pierce Arrow ladder truck with a 105 foot ladder.

One of the features of the new unit, is that is has a remotely controlled nozzle, with a maximum output of around 1000 gallons per minute.

Shown here, members of the Monticello Fire Dept., Fire Chief Steve Faulkner,  Randy Pogue, MEDC Director Truman Hamilton, local Forestry Agent Joe Friend, and Mayor Joe Rogers.

The estimated value of the ladder truck is around $400,000, if it were to be purchased.

The grant was a part of the Federal Excess Property Program, which has distributed 412 vehicle throughout the state of Arkansas, and has sent aid to 70 of Arkansas’ 75 counties.

One Monticello Life: Sgt. Larry Smith

March 30th, 2008 by


Sgt. Larry Smith, Sr.
Criminal Investigator
Monticello Police Department

I have known Larry Smith for several years, but never really spent much time around him, until my wife’s truck was broken into a couple of years ago, and he worked the case.

When I started covering the Police Dept. for MonticelloLive,  I began to consider Larry to be a good friend.  I, like so many others was shocked to here about Larry’s battle with cancer.  There are a couple of links below that will take you to the story about the wristbands that local police officers are selling, information about the cook-out to help cover Larry’s medical expenses on April 11 & 12, and photos from Larry’s recent plane ride over Lake Monticello. 


But first, here is this week’s One Monticello Life edition, written by Larry’s longtime, family friend, Trish Harvey.

Read the rest of this entry »

ML Feature Story—-Sgt. Larry Smith’s Plane Ride Over Lake Monticello

March 26th, 2008 by


Sgt. Larry Smith, a detective with the Monticello Police Department, has recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Larry had recently told another employee of the police department that one thing he’d really love to do, would be to fly over Lake Monticello, and of course, go fishing.


Several of his friends knew of someone who had a plane that he used for business trips.


By now, you can see where this story is leading. 

Wednesday morning, Larry’s wish came true, when Ward Rabb took him for an aerial view of Lake Monticello and the surrounding area.


The photos above show Larry in the plane, waiting for take-off, taking off, and landing.  Larry’s expression shows how much he enjoyed the ride.  When asked how everything looked, Larry simply said, “Small.”


Shown here are Drew County deputy, Larry Smith, Jr., Monticello Police Dept. members, Jerald Clark, Larry Smith, Eddy Deaton, and Trish Harvey.  Also shown are Ward Rabb, and Chief Robert Rosegrant.  Not shown are Game & Fish officer John Paul Greer, MPD’s Ginger Norris, and Shelly Rabb.

Special thanks to Ward and Shelly Rabb for making this possible.


Oh, yeah, I forgot something.

Larry is shown here crappie-fishing in Gail Hyatt’s pond, later on in the day.


Although these fish were caught in Alaska, last year, I put them in because Larry said if he didn’t catch many, to find a good picture. 

Well, that’s Larry for you.

“20 for the Future” Returns from Washington D.C.-Photos Added

March 8th, 2008 by


“20 for the Futrue” listens to Congressman Mike Ross, as he explains how he will support issues in Monticello & Drew County.


Monticello delegatin with Congressman Mike Ross ouside of his office.


Senator Blance Lincoln, Benny Ryburn, Dave Dickson, Sheilla Lampkin, and Judy Lassiter discussing Drew County’s needs in Senator Lincoln’s office.


Senator Blanche Lincoln with “20 for the Future”.

Photos courtesy of Curtis Larsen, of Union Bank.


Monticello’s “20 for the Future” group left Tuesday, on their annual trip to Washington D.C., and returned late Thursday night.

While in Washington, they met with Congressman Mike Ross, Senator Blanche Lincoln, and staff members for our area’s other representatives.

They were also able to watch U.S. Senator Mark Pryor making a presentatin from the Senate floor.

MonticelloLive spoke to a couple from the group.  One member said, “with an effort like this, it will be next year before you know how much was accomplished”.  Another who was present commented, “Everyone we visited with seemed to be concerned.  They were also helpful with suggestions on other, possibly better, ways to achieve our goals.” 

Last year the group flew in to Nation’s Capitol during a snowstorm, and this year they arrived in Little Rock on the return trip with reports of snow as well.

New Ladder Truck for Monticello Fire Dept.

March 5th, 2008 by


Monticello’s Fire Dept.’s new ladder truck came in today.

The 105 foot reach ladder truck was the result of an application that was made to a grant program, involving the Arkansas Forestry Commission.

The unit had been involved in the Navy’s station at Corpus Christi, TX, where our firefighters went to pick the truck up, and drove it to Monticello, arriving around 4 p.m. this afternoon.

Notice the size of the vehicle compared to the men standing next to it.

One Monticello Life: Kasey Earl

February 24th, 2008 by


Usually, One Monticello Life is done in an interview type format, but this week will be a little different.

Someone suggested that we feature Kasey Earl a couple of months ago.  When I heard that he was playing at “the Coffee Bean” Friday and last night, I had to go.  It was great. But that’s not all.  Kasey is also the drummer for Gary Meggs & Ezekiel 3:18, who will be featured in the “Branson Comes to Monticello” event tonight.  It’s been a busy week for Kasey Earl, this week’s One Monticello Life.

This weeks edition may be in a different format, but I think you will be blessed by learning more about Kasey Earl.

When I asked Kasey to tell me about himself, and how he got to where the Lord has led him today, he sumed it up this way……

Read the rest of this entry »

10,000 Pageviews in 7 Days on

January 30th, 2008 by

According to, the internet’s leading pageview analysis program, had over 10,000 pageviews in the 7 day period from Tuesday, January 22 at midnight, until Tuesday, January 29 at midnight.

When your friends ask, “What’s going on in Monticello?”  Tell them about

Today’s news.  Today. 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.

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