2017 was a year of changes for the nation, the state and for the community of Heber Springs. Cleburne County lost several icons of the community including two Quorum Court members. The community will feel the losses of these people for years to come I am quite sure.

As I began thinking about The Year in Review I realized there may be stories that have been published before I arrived as editor so I have gone through the archives to find stories that seemed to reflect the year. I apologize if I don’t list one that was important to you. Time and space are limited in this business sometimes but I have strived to go month by month to reflect the year. I hope you like this small nostalgic look at 2017.

Baptist Health Medical Center Heber Springs was recognized by iVantage Health Analytics and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) for overall excellence in outcomes and patient satisfaction, reflecting top performance among all rural acute-care hospitals in the nation.

Cleburne County received the first snow of the year early in January and there were plenty of photos sent in reflecting this.

There’s a new sheriff in town became a reality to Chris Brown when he was elected to be the new sheriff in 2016. In an interview by James Jackson, Brown said, “Law enforcement, by nature is reactive. It traditionally deals with problems after they've happened with enforcement and rehab. But he sees room for law enforcement to be proactive as well, by assisting with education and building strong, positive community relations.” His belief is everyone wins if they can help prevent anyone from falling into a destructive lifestyle.

Greg Hutto was recognized as Person of the Year for 2017.  Hutto said upon receiving the award,     
"Boy I just love Cleburne County," said Hutto upon receiving his award. "I love all the people. I love it all."

In early February     The World Championship Cardboard Boat Races won 2016 Event of the Year at the Arkansas Love Festivals & Events (ALFiE) Awards, its second year to receive the prestigious award. The announcement was made at the 33rd Annual Conference held in Little Rock January 25-26.

Cleburne County Cares broke ground for a new Food Pantry that will include a self-serve food pantry that will allow clients to select food that they will use. Cleburne County Cares currently supplies seven days worth of food to approximately 450 individuals. Once the Food Pantry is complete, Cleburne County Cares will begin the remodel of their Thrift Store.

John Green, founder of Green Dental Lab in Heber Springs, passed away in February.

The American Legion Post 64, Heber Springs, VFW Post 7514 in Quitman and DAV Chapter 57, Heber Springs joined forces to pay for a new floor in the Recreation Room at the Pine Mountain Veterans Home in Quitman.
Damaging winds tore through Cleburne County in the early morning hours Wednesday,  March 1, downing trees and damaging property all across the area. While all areas of Cleburne were hit, some of the most extensive damage appeared to be in the Crossroads community north of Quitman and in the Mystic Isle area of Greers Ferry.  
The City of Heber Springs was  awarded a plaque by Governor Asa Hutchinson acknowledging it as a 2016 Volunteer Community of the Year. "This is a wonderful community of volunteers," said Heber Springs Mayor Jimmy Clark. "We had over 300,000 hours of volunteer hours and look forward to being named a Volunteer Community of the Year for 2017.         

Margie’s Haven House for abused women held their first annual Masquerade Mystery Ball to raise awareness and funds.

Easter celebrations were held around the county. Spring Fest was held including the Volkswagen car show.

Long time Firefighter and Cove Creek-Pearson Fire Chief Doug Deckard was tragically killed in an accident during torrential storms in early May. The storms caused severe flooding all over the County. Between nearly five inches and in some areas, over nine inches were reported along with washed out bridges. The damages prompted both Governor Asa Hutchinson and County Judge Jerry Holmes do declare Cleburne County a disaster area.
CAPCA celebrated 52 years and has served 21,350 families in Cleburne, Faulkner and White Counties and empowered them to attain self-sufficiency. “We served over 650 children in our Head Start programs, we assisted 23 individuals in obtaining employment, we provided supplemental food to over 6,000 individuals, and we had 501 community partnerships. Our work changes lives and strengthens our entire community.” said Jennifer Welter, Executive Director.  

Staff Sergeant Robert Dale Van Fossen of the Army National Guard  who went down in a Douglas C-124A-DL Globemaster II aircraft that took off from McChord Air Base in Tacoma, Washington to Elmendorf Air Force Base near Anchorage, Alaska. In the midst of the flight, the plane disappeared in bad weather near Middleton Island, in the Gulf of Alaska. In June, 2012 the wreckage was found and in May, 2016, Van Fossens’ body was returned and laid to rest.

Patti Upton, founder of Aromatique passes away.
New editor of The Sun Times, Dawn Teer, takes helm of The Sun Times. Her first article would be on the loss of Patti Upton.

Cleburne County Quorum Court Justice of the Peace Larry Goff passes away. The CCQC declares a vacancy to replace hm.

Billy and Susan Brewster are named Farm Family of the Year. The Brewsters have raised three children, Isaac, Holly and Carrie on their ranch. Isaac and his wife Shirley, are raising their five children, Anna, Nathanael, Leah, Moriah and Deborah Joy on this ranch as well. Billy’s mother, Eunabelle Brewster would pass away in late November. Look to the January 10 edition for Year in Review part 2.