Trial begins for coroner

December 14, 2010 LITTLE ROCK — Jurors were seated Monday in the case against Independence County Coroner Hardy Willis, who is accused of conspiracy to distribute marijuana.Willis was originally indicted with others in August 2009 for distributing marijuana, but those charges were later dropped after the U.S. Attorney’s office filed a motion to sever Willis’s case from the others. Willis has pleaded not guilty.

Roadhouse burns

December 14, 2010 SWIFTON — As smoke rose from the charred rubble from what remained of the King of Clubs near Swifton Monday afternoon, Janell Marshall sat in her vehicle with video camera in hand filming what was left of a place she and many others considered home.“I worked here. This was the heart of the county. We had a lot of times, a lot of good times. It’s very sad,” said Marshall, a native of Swifton and club employee. “This was home away from home for many people.” It also was as much of a legend as those who performed there.

4 expelled for drugs; junior high flooded with phone calls, gang-related rumors

December 14, 2010 The Batesville School Board voted during a special-called meeting Monday night to expel four students for on-campus drug possession.Two boys in 10th and 11th grades were expelled for possession of marijuana while on campus at the district’s New Horizon’s alternative learning school at Desha. Two girls in the eighth grade also were expelled for marijuana at the junior high campus.The board expelled the boys for the rest of the 2010-11 school year.

News of Other Days

December 13, 2010 Editor’s note: This column ran previously in the Guard on July 2, 1991.95 YEARS AGOEvery woman and girl and every man who could be spared from work at the Arkansas Lime Co. plant at Ruddells is at work setting out 40 acres in tomatoes, sweet potatoes, string beans and other vegetables which will be canned in a cooperative cannery being installed by employees and management of the plant. They expect to feed themselves and make a good profit on the surplus.

Sew with Cotton winners named

December 13, 2010 The Sew with Cotton Contest was held Dec. 2 in conjunction with the Arkansas Farm Bureau Annual Convention in the Hot Springs Convention Center.The first five-place winning garments in each of the seven categories were modeled during the Women’s Luncheon.

Poet reading is Saturday

December 13, 2010 HARDY — Poet and author Patricia A. Oplinger will read her work from “In the Playhouse of My Mind Volume I,” “Scattered Rainbows Volume II” and “Life on a Seesaw Volume III” from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Words Bookstore on Spring Street in Hardy.Oplinger’s poetry and prose awards in 2010 were from Grand Prairie Festival of Arts, Poetry Society of Tennessee, Grandmother Earth (Environmental Award), White County Creative Writers, Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas, and the Arkansas Writers’ Conference.

Library open 7 days a week

December 13, 2010 The Independence County Library is open seven days a week and features a new website,, launched in late 2009.The library located at 368 E. Main in Batesville is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and from 1:30 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. For more information call (870) 793-8814, or visit

Girl wins crown

December 13, 2010 The Best Pageant System held its annual Tri-State Mini/National in Bentonville Nov. 5-7.The pageant is open to girls who reside in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.Bree Tanksley competed in the Junior Miss division. After winning and placing in many side categories, Tanksley was crowned Junior Miss Supreme.

Holiday driving tests canceled

December 13, 2010 The Arkansas State Police will not be giving written or driver’s license tests in Batesville on Dec. 16 or Dec. 23.


December 13, 2010 One of the Old Independence Regional Museum volunteers was inadvertently left off a list of docents and other volunteers honored recently.Sherry Matthews was awarded a bronze medal for her hours. She was also recognized as the volunteer who does the most school tours, administrative assistant April White said.