Highlights of 2021: January-June

A look back allows us to reflect on the headlines of the year 2021.

The communities of Farmington, Prairie Grove and Lincoln have seen the return of traditional events in 2021, along with new challenges.

The covid-19 pandemic continued to grab headlines, with positive cases declining in the spring and early summer before escalating again with the Delta variant, covid vaccination clinics, warrants mask, quarantines and Zoom meetings for security.

Housing has exploded in western Washington County, with Farmington setting a record for the number of permits issued for new residential construction in a single year.

A May 4 shooting involving an officer in Prairie Grove is the main news for 2021.

Prairie Grove Police Constable Tyler Franks was shot three times on May 4 while responding to a family argument with Constable Andrew Gibson.

Gibson fought back and was able to take Franks to a safe place where he applied two tourniquets to stop the bleeding. Gibson is credited with saving Franks’ life with his quick acting.

Franks was taken to the Washington Regional Medical Center. After several surgeries, Franks’ left leg was amputated above the knee due to irreparable damage to his vascular system. Franks was able to return home on June 2 to continue his recovery and was fitted with a prosthetic leg.

The following presents highlights for each month from the Enterprise-Leader pages in January-June 2021. Highlights for the remaining six months will be published in the January 19 issue of the journal.

January

• The City of Lincoln hired Thomas Pinder Jr. as a full-time fire chief, in addition to administrative duties. Previously, Lincoln had a volunteer fire chief and a full-time fire administrator. Pinder was from the Schertz Fire Department in Schertz, Texas.

• Larry Oelrich, Director of Public Works and Administration for the City of Prairie Grove, retired after 41 years with Prairie Grove. He was away for several months and returned over the summer to work part-time as the town’s administrative assistant.

• Local firefighters and police were among the first in western Washington County to receive the new covid-19 vaccination, and area schools, as well as local pharmacies, began sponsoring clinics. vaccination for teachers and other staff.

• Farmington, Prairie Grove and Lincoln school districts received their first round of federal funding to help fight Covid.

February

• Voters approved the City of Prairie Grove’s proposal to replace two existing sales taxes with two new sales taxes of the same rate to pay for bonds to fund capital improvement projects with an estimated total cost of $ 15. millions of dollars. Voters approved the issuance of bonds for a new fire truck and water, street, park, sewer and drainage improvements.

• Farmington School District voters approved a district proposal to restructure debt so it could issue new bonds for construction projects, including additions to junior high and two elementary schools.

• Snow and several days of single-digit and sub-zero temperatures in western Washington County and northwest Arkansas have caused power cuts, water shortages and school closures. and city offices. The region received a total of eight inches during two snow events and experienced nine consecutive days of freezing temperatures from February 10 to 18, 2021.

March

• The Farmington Planning Commission approved the Large Scale Development Plan for the community of Farmington Hills, a 57 duplex development on 16.6 acres at the end of East Wilson Street.

• Terri Strope, Deputy Superintendent of the Farmington School District, tendered her resignation, effective at the end of the school year. Strope had worked in education for 35 years and served Farmington Schools for 21 years.

• The Prairie Grove Lions Club has announced that it will host the Clothesline Fair over the Labor Day weekend 2021. The fair has been canceled in 2020 due to covid-19 issues.

April

• Sterling Drug owner and pharmacist Gary Davis celebrated his 50th birthday with the store on April 1, 2021.

• The Town of Prairie Grove and Entegrity celebrated the town’s new solar panel at a “Flip the Switch” ceremony. The network is located near the city’s wastewater treatment plan and is expected to generate annual savings of $ 28,000 for the city.

• The Prairie Grove School District was the first district in the region to drop the covid-19 mask mandate in the second semester of the 2020-21 school year. The school board voted to make face coverings optional for students and staff.

• The Farmington School Board voted to promote Junior High Principal Joe McClung to Deputy Principal, effective July 1, 2021.

Can

• All three school districts have announced that they will hold in-person and outdoor graduation ceremonies with optional masks and no restrictions on the number of guests allowed to attend.

• The Town of Farmington has created a new code enforcement station.

• Ron Bond, who served the Prairie Grove School District for 20 years, submitted his documents to retire as an educator. Bond was a high school principal for 18 years and a college teacher for two years. He completed his 34th year of study, including five years at Farmington Schools.

• Nickolas Colbert of Prairie Grove was held in the Washington County Detention Center on $ 1 million bail after his arrest in connection with the shooting of Prairie Grove police officer Tyler Franks. Colbert was arrested for attempted capital murder (two counts), third degree assault and battery, aggravated assault (three counts), aggravated assault on a family or household (three counts), criminal use of a prohibited weapon and terrorist threats (four counts).

• Lincoln High School, at its graduation ceremony in 2021, surprised graduate AJ Valdez with “AJ’s Sno Shack,” a food trailer that Valdez could use to sell snow cones at community events. Valdez, who was diagnosed with autism as a young child, had said he would one day like to have a snow truck and the school made his dream come true.

June

• The Farmington School Board approved a $ 3.8 million energy savings performance contract with Entegrity Energy Partners. The company guaranteed that the school would save $ 282,389 in annual costs when all energy projects are implemented. Projects include LED lighting, replacement of HVAC systems, multiple solar panels, smart thermostats.

• Prairie Grove Police Officer Tyler Franks returned home on June 2, four weeks after being shot three times while responding to a family disturbance. The community of Prairie Grove held a parade in his honor to welcome him to their home. Franks and his wife, Amber, were escorted by a long line of law enforcement vehicles through northwest Arkansas.

• Lincoln Middle School was named the Arkansas Model School of Culture of Opportunity in 2021 for its efforts to “improve students’ access to high quality education by extending the reach of great teachers to more of students ”.

• Stacy Hurst, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, came to Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park to speak to those concerned about the preservation of the historic artifact store on the property. of the park and the decision to move the artifacts to another facility. She said one goal would be to keep the Prairie Grove artifacts “in perpetuity”.


FILE PHOTO Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park celebrated the park’s 50th anniversary in June 2021 with cupcakes and decorations.




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FILE PHOTO The community of Prairie Grove held a parade on June 2, 2021 to welcome home police officer Tyler Franks, who has been shot multiple times while responding to domestic unrest in Prairie Grove.




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FILE PHOTO Members of the 2021 Lincoln High Class walk to their seats on the football pitch at Wolfpack Stadium during their graduation ceremony in May. Lincoln, Prairie Grove, and Farmington High Schools all hosted outdoor graduation ceremonies in 2021.




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FILE REPORT Western Washington County had snow and several days of single-digit and sub-zero temperatures in February 2021. This is one of the Creekside Disc Golf Course’s disc golf baskets in Farmington.



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