Skip to content

What Made the News in the Douglas County Herald in 2018

January 4:

18 year old Skyla S. Boyd from Ava was seriously injured on New Year’s Day in a wreck in Douglas County, on Highway 76 near the Taney County line.

The Ava School Board held a closed session to vote on transportation. The vote was split 5/2 in favor of drafting a transportation contract for future contractors.

Skyline R-2 School received a new letter of accreditation from the State Board of Education.

Local resident Clyde Connelly and his horse, Southern Playboy, were both inducted into the Fox Trotter Hall of Fame. At the time of the award Southern Playboy was one of three World Grand Champion Missouri Fox Trotting Horses that was bred, raised, trained, showned and shod by their owner. Southern Playboy is also the only horse from Douglas County that has won the World Grand Championship.

Eight people started 2018 off by receiving prison sentences. The Douglas County Sheriff and the Ava Police department investigated the cases which included probation violations, drug possession, burglary, and firearm theft.

Ozark Action, Inc. recognized Ava graduate Terril Shull as an outstanding member of their board.

Ava student Knight Hrehor won 2nd place in the Voice of Democracy competition run by the Ava VFW.

Larry Johnson, manager of Town & Country Supermarket in Ava for 48 years, retired at the end of December. The employees of the Ava store held a reception for their longtime manager to help him celebrate.

The Ava Bears lost to Springfield Kickapoo and Branson in the Blue & Gold Basketball tournament held in Springfield. 

The Ava Lady Bears came up short in the Walnut Grove Holiday Tournament before Christmas. A loss to Miller put them into the consolation side of the bracket. They initially won against Hurley and Ash Grove, then lost to Verona in the fourth quarter.

January 11

Visit from the Wall That Heals was announced. The Wall That Heals is a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. The Wall will be on display in Ava September 20-23.

The Ava City Council held a two-hour long session. Three presentations led to the longer than normal meeting – the proposed Ava square remodel, the Vietnam Wall coming to Ava, and the purchase of a 2003 pumper truck for the fire department.

Darrell R. Newberry, 49, from Mountain Grove was moderately injured in a wreck on Highway 95.

The Douglas County Sheriff served a number of warrants and made a number of arrests. Charges included child pornography and drug activity.

Ava Rural Fire Department was called out to the Garrett Schmidt home on East Highway 76 where a trash fire burned out of control and spread to the house.  The same fire also burned into the woods and had to be extinguished there by firemen.

Ava Mayor David Norman issued a proclamation proclaiming the month of January to be Cervical Health Awareness Month in Ava. Mayor Norman said in the proclamation that cervical cancer is a disease that strikes nearly 13,000 American women each year. The Proclamation noted that screening tests together with vaccines provide formidable and effective means of preventing this disease.

Ava High School Students of the Month were A.J. VanValkenburg and Angel Stevens. They were recognized at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Tyler Johnson, of Ava, Mo. qualified for the Fall 2017 Dean’s List at the State Technical College of Missouri. To be on the Dean’s List a full-time student must earn a semester grade point average between 3.5 and 4.0.

Ava High School senior Kaylee Evans was awarded the Bear Growl award in recognition of her commitment to community service and compassion. The PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Support) committee accepts teacher nominations and recognizes students who have gone above and beyond expectations. Archie’s Restaurant manager Robin Collett congratulated Kaylee with a lunch and special gifts.

The Ava Bears Men’s Basketball team lost to the Hollister Tigers 57-54.

The Ava Lady Bears basketball team lost to the Thayer Bobcats 69-24, and to the Mansfield Lions 45-35.

 Ava High School students Joe Balassone and Hailey Pedersen were chosen by their coaches as the Healthy Athletes of the Month. The program is designed to recognize athletes from Ava High School for exemplifying outstanding character and leadership in athletics and setting a healthy example for our youth. 

January 18

Light freezing rain and icy roads led to the cancellation of the Ava girls basketball game at Housing and the junior varsity boy’s tournament at Fair Grove. Further snowstorms fell over the weekend leading to cancelled church services Sunday and school closings on Monday.  Accumulations were around two inches.

The University of Missouri Douglas County Extension Office invited the public to stop by and see them in their new location at the Douglas County Courthouse.

Filing closed and the ballots were set for the April 3 municipal and school elections. Ava R-1 school was set for a contested election, with four candidates seeking two positions on the board.  In the City of Ava, incumbents Aldermen Stan Lovan, West Ward, and Keith Jones filed for reelection. State law still requires an election even if only the needed number of candidates are filed.

During the home game played on Friday, Jan. 12, the Ava Bears boys basketball team wore special shirts during the pre-game warm-up. The t-shirts were in recognition of January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and team members also displayed teal and white ribbons on their jerseys as a show of support. 

Ava Middle School Students of the Month for the month of December were 8th graders: Samuel Morris and Hannah Evans; 7th graders: Lexie Gastineau and Jacob Carroll; 6th graders: Savannah Belcher and Matthew Lakey and 5th graders: Jordon Riley, Maddox Wade and CeCe Shea.

Ava Elementary Artists of the Month from 2nd grade were Jacob Hall, Garrett Richards, and Jackson Gasek, Dalilah Shea, Marlee Barlett, Jentry Harley, Gracelynn Lamb, and Christopher Harder.

The Ava Bears lost to Willow Springs In the SCA conference 66-61. The Hoopcoming was postponed until February 16th due to the recent inclement weather.

The Ava Elementary Artists of the Month from 2nd grade are Riley Green, Kota Jones, Crighton Smith, Rhett Brooke, Mika Yost, Matthew Whitaker, Kameron Garrett, and Jade Young.

The Salvation Army found a mother’s ring mixed in with the coins and bills dropped into the red kettle at the local Wal-Mart store here in Ava. Local volunteers assume the ring may have fallen into the kettle accidentally, and they are hoping to find the owner.

Barbara Magoon, born January 16, 1918, celebrated her 100th birthday Tuesday with her family at Heart of the Ozarks Healthcare Center.

January 25

The Douglas County Commission completed its budget for the 2018 calendar year. The budget reflects estimated revenues of just under $5.6 Million and anticipated expenditures of $4.46 Million. The budget reflects funds generated by the one-half-cent sales tax voted in last year for the construction of a new sheriff’s office and jail.

The west entrance to the Douglas County Courthouse was closed last week and will remain closed until concrete is poured for the new steps that are being installed. The old steps were broken, pitted, narrow, and steep. The new steps will make the courthouse much more accessible.

Ava firemen responded to an early morning house fire in the 900 block of Evans Street. The home’s occupants all got out safely and the blaze was under control by daybreak. The cause of the fire was not immediately determined.

The Ava Board of Aldermen met and agreed to name a walking trail at the Ava City Park in honor of Cathy Thompson, who was instrumental in facilitating the project. The Aldermen also discussed the vacation policy for city employees, agreeing to create a proposed revision of the policy. The Board also discussed a grant concerning emergency generators for City Hall, the wastewater plant, and the Police Department. They announced a public hearing to take input about the Ava Square improvement project, updated on Verizon’s plans to install a tower in Ava, and accepted the resignation of utility department employee Don Sanders. They voted to approve the purchase of a 2003 Ford F550 mini-pumper truck, financed through Welch State Bank.

Rhonda McNamer retired from the City of Ava after 19 years, most of that serving as municipal court clerk.

The Ava Bears lost to Mountain Grove 80-52 in the first round of the Panthers’ basketball tournament.

The Lady Bears lost to Norwood 41-30. Their loss came in the first round of the Mansfield Lady Lions Basketball tournament.

Bailey Lee, of Ava, Mo. qualified for the President’s List recognition at Truman State University. 

February 1

Brush fires are a concern as the dry weather spell continues. On Jan. 25 the Ava Rural and Squires Fire Departments spent four hours on a 200 acre fire south of Ava between County Road 411 and County Road 413. On Jan. 27 they also put out a smaller fire just north of the Ava city limits by St. Leo’s Catholic Church.

The Missouri Farm Bureau and local county Farm Bureaus across the state joined forces to celebrate agriculture by promoting Thank a Farmer Week. Local restaurants featured informational placemats, the Douglas County Herald ran agriculture-related articles, and KKOZ radio featured news releases and interviews with local FFA members. The Farm Bureau also planned on being at the upcoming Douglas County Livestock Auction to thank local farmers in person and hand out goodies.

The Board of Directors of the Ava Ambulance District planned to meet on Feb. 1 and discuss the addition of a training room at the ambulance station.

On Jan. 30, Ava Kiwanis Club presented Terrific Kids awards for the month of November at the Ava Elementary School. Students receiving awards were Christian Morrison, Brooklyn Grigg, Abbygail Claire Winterton, Lane Coonts, Christian Adams, Bryce Stewart, McKenna Lumley, Tharon Cahow, Drake Henry, Cash Collins, Stetson Day, Abby Fortner, Kelly Jelowdar, Kyle Swearengin, Katara Jones, Alyssa Boyd, Carter Loftin, Rachael Garner, Ben Stewart, Chaseten Bartels, Sidnee Gast and Zach Perkins.

On Jan. 20, Archie Ferguson turned 90 years old and he celebrated with four generations who visited in his home. Son Larry, grandson Travis, and great-grandson Travis Jr. came down from Camdenton.

The Ava Bears took on Marshfield in the losers’ bracket of the Mtn. Grove Tournament on Jan. 26th and were eliminated with a 54-35 loss.

The offensive struggles of the Ava Lady Bears continued this week as the Ava girls lost to Mtn. Grove, 56-46, in the second round of the Mansfield tournament on Jan. 26th, then dropped an SCA decision at Salem on Jan. 29th, 49-43.

The Ava Bass Club tournament was held out of Buck Creek on Jan. 27. Adam Johnson took first place with 18.12 pounds, including Big Bass weighing in at 5.86 pounds. Dean Mitchell took second place with 14.80 pounds.

Barbara Magoon of Ava celebrated her 100th birthday on Jan. 16. A celebration was held with her family at Heart of the Ozarks Healthcare, then last week another celebration was held at the Ava Senior Center where she enjoyed a giant birthday cake with friends and members of her family. 

February 8

The Ava Emerson facility received the COO Safety Award from Steve Pelch, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Emerson on Jan. 9.

Instrumental music students from all the schools in the South Central Association gathered in the halls of the Mountain Grove High School on Tuesday, Jan. 30 to audition for a spot in the SCA Honor Band. At the end of the auditions, the top rankings were posted of those who would get to perform in the SCA Junior High Honor Band and the SCA High School Honor Band. After only three days of practice, all the top-ranked students came together on Saturday, Feb. 3 in the Ava Performing Arts Center to spend all day practicing with clinicians for a late afternoon performance for families, friends, and other music lovers.

 On Jan 31st, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department arrested Don L. Hill of Ava, with possession of a controlled substance. Later that day the Douglas County Sheriff arrested Willis Rex Davidson of Ava with two charges of 3rd-degree assault-special victim. 

1st Southern Baptist Church announced that they would host the Feb. 13 Ava Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks and the Ava High School announced a community blood drive to be held on Feb. 13th at the Ava High School.

The Ava High School Student Council announced the queen and king candidates for the Ava High School 2018 Hoopcoming Celebration to be held on Feb. 16 at the Mountain Grove boy’s basketball game.  Queen candidates were Kylie Jenkins, Gloria Rosas and Kailey Thompson. King candidates were Wyatt Gastineau, Connor Moran and Weston Stillings. All six candidates were seniors.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said Alexa S. Coonney, 26, was fatally injured when the 2001 Buick Century she was driving ran off Highway 76 three miles west of Ava and hit a tree. The accident happened on Jan. 16th.

The Douglas County Commission opened bids on Feb. 5 for blades, pipes and ready-mix concrete to be used by the County Road & Bridge Department maintenance projects. Bids for blades were submitted by DOWD Supply, Viebrock, Murphy, Wear Parts & Equipment and Fabick. The low bid by Fabick was accepted. Bids for pipes were submitted by Metal Culvert and Viebrock, with the low bid from Viebrock accepted. The bid for ready-mix concrete was awarded to Ava Redi Mix.

The first grade students of teacher Emily Sterling celebrated the 100th day of school on Jan 31st by finding how often they could accomplish certain tasks in 100 seconds. They could sing the Happy Birthday song 5 times but found they could do 98 jumping jacks.

An unpredicted snow system moved through the Ozarks on Feb 4-Feb 6, causing major traffic problems, school closures, early school dismissals, and basketball game postponements.

Ava Mayor David Norman was at the Ava McDonald’s restaurant Tuesday morning, Jan. 30, to issue a proclamation declaring the week of Feb. 12-18 to be “Ronald McDonald House Week” in Ava, Missouri. As stated in the proclamation, “Springfield’s two Ronald McDonald Houses have provided a home-away-from-home and an invaluable source of hope and comfort for families of seriously ill and injured children who must travel far from home for medical treatment.” The Ronald McDonald House near Cox South and the House of Mercy Kids have served the needs of 226 Douglas County families, 179 of which are residents of Ava. 

Ava High School Senior Brianna Robertson announced her acceptance to Ozark Technical Community College, where she intends to study Biology and Pre-physical therapy.

Ava High School Senior Darci Ray was accepted into Drury University where she intends to study Music Therapy.

Ava High School Senior Bradon Swofford announced his acceptance to Missouri Southern State University, Joplin where he plans to study Mass Communication.

Artists of the Month in first grade at Ava Elementary School are Katie Clark, Jaidyn Philpott, Easton Ratzlaff-Hart, Scotty Crocker, Maddie Snow, Brian  Horwath, Jessie Cooney and Bethany Tate.

Ava Elementary School’s Terrific Kids for the month of December 2017 were recognized by Ava Kiwanis Club Tuesday, Jan. 30. They are: Luke Pearce, Lane Searcy, Noah Lansdown, Abby Clements, Addy Cahow, Bethany Tate, Bentley Merritt, Allison Williams, Gracelynn Lamb, Blaze Howard, Buck Haden, Abigail Swainston, Teia Roberts, Kelton Wiedmeier, Emily Iott, Baylinn Holt, Grady Potter, Levi Burton, Wyatt Huber, J.J. Cahow, Hannah Herrera, and Crighton Smith.

The Ava Bears beat Houston in SCA play, 46-37 on February 2nd. Wyatt Gastineau had led all scorers with 18 points.

The Lady Bears won in overtime playing against Norwood February 5th, 42-41.  Ashton Bewley lead in scoring with 13 points.

February 15

Megan A. Knowles, 25 and Luke Knowles, 17 were both treated and released for injuries sustained in an accident on Highway 14, east of Sweden in Douglas County.

The Ava High School FFA Chapter announces it will observe National FFA week from Feb. 17-24. The Chapter has several special events planned, including community service, group church attendance, wearing camouflage to school, and more. Local officers of the Ava Chapter of FFA are: President Hailey Herrell; Vice President Dwight Emerson; Secretary Kennedy Meyer; Treasurer Eden Little; Reporter Kayla Cornett; Sentinel Haley Herrera; Historian Caitlin Welch; Chaplain Reagan Swatosh; 2nd Vice President Elizabeth Tucker; Assistant Treasurer Samantha Lawson; and Assistant Reporter Kami Collins. Dane Bovard and Kayla Cornett were king and queen at Ava FFA Chapter Barnwarming earlier this year.

The Route 76 bridge over Beaver Creek at Brownbranch was closed last week for bridge replacement. Prior to the closing of the Beaver Creek bridge, the Kentucky bridge on Route 76 reopened to traffic. That road had been closed for several months while the Kentucky Creek bridge was being replaced.

Billy Long reported that weather in the Ava area experienced a wide range in temperatures during January of 2018. A low reading of 6 below zero was recorded on Jan. 17, and four days later the temperature was 69 degrees. Ava saw just over 3 inches of rain in January.

A public hearing to discuss proposed improvements to the Ava square was scheduled for Feb. 27th. Mayor Norman also said Verizon continues to pursue the idea of installing a 95-ft. tower within the city limits. City Clerk Suzanne Welsh said the tower is permissible under current zoning so long as it meets city regulations and guidelines. The construction must be approved by planning and zoning, and city councilmen before breaking ground. 

The City Council geared up for the summer season by hiring Chase Willis and Eli Maggard as lifeguards, and Jorie Garrett was rehired as pool manager and instructor. Willis and Maggard are to attend training classes for aquatic safety. Kelly Williams was hired as swim team coach, and Brad Evans will serve once again as the summer ball program director.

The Council unanimously approved two resolutions and one city ordinance. The first resolution prohibited use of excessive force during nonviolent civil rights demonstrations and was adopted by the City of Ava because it is a paperwork requirement for the Community Block Grant program. The second resolution adopted the Douglas County Multi-Jurisdictional Local Hazard Mitigation Plan which is done in conjunction with the Disaster Mitigation Act passed by Congress in 2000. Acceptance of the plan is a condition under FEMA pre-and post-disaster mitigation grant programs. The ordinance revised the city employee handbook to reflect the policy on paying vacation days upon an employee terminating their position with the City of Ava.

The schedule for district high school basketball was announced with games on Monday, Feb. 19 and Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Practice days will be held this the Feb 17 and Feb 18 at the site of the Glade Top Trail Run coming up in April. The practice will begin at 1 p.m. each day. The run begins and ends at Wolf Junction in the Mark Twain National Forest.

Mt. Zion Bible School Boys Basketball team was invited to play in the Classic Invitational Tournament held in Cincinnati, Ohio Feb. 8-9. This is the first year MZBS has had a team playing scheduled games since 1992. 

January Students of the Month at Ava Middle School were Kylie Scrivner, Kira Prock, Conner Johnson, Jericho Christeson, Nova Gilbreath, Mallory Melton, Tristan Corcoran, and Wyatt Johnson.

Most of Missouri remains in a drought, according to a map released Feb. 8 by the National Drought Mitigation Center. The drought affects livestock farmers facing dwindling hay reserves. Row crop farmers are eyeing the situation with caution as planting season nears.

The Ava Bears publically recognized players at Senior Night Feb 13: Weston Stillings, son of Tim and Laura Stillings; Michael Sparnicht, son of Todd and Donna Sparnicht; Wyatt Gastineau, son of Jim and Ginger Gastineau; Joe Balassone, son of Rick and Amy Balassone and Terry Lee; Katie Hodges, and her mother Deannetta Burress; Joey Swofford son of Rita Swofford and Joe Swofford.

The Lady Bears recognized Hailey Pedersen, daughter of Jens and Krissy Pedersen; Kathrin Buff, escorted by her father Heinz Buff and “Grandma” Rosie Harris; and Sierra Boatman, daughter of Tim and Amber Boatman. 

District 15 winners of the free throw contest sponsored by Knights of Columbus on Feb. 3 were: Allie Benoist, Houston; Shealynn Riley, Willow Springs; McKylie Cox, Willow Springs; Ashlyn Jones, Willow Springs; Brady Jones, Pomona; Kolby James, Pomona; Chance Miller, Edgar Springs; Ryan Riga, Pomona; Caden Lee, Ava and Dylan Sawyer, Ava.

John Thomas Rueschmann, of Ava, earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering, magna cum laude and honors academy fellow from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Lady Bears Drop Decisions To Bradleyville (69-59), Mtn. View-Liberty (75-52).

The Ava Bears defeated Cabool (79-71) and Mtn. View-Liberty (58-49).

Jake Silvey, 77, of Bradleyville accepted his 55-year pin from Laborers Local 663 Business Agent Tim Price, left. Silvey joined the union in 1962 and has continually paid his monthly dues, not once missing a payment. Silvey, who retired in 2001, counts early work on U.S. 65 and Missouri Hwy. 5 among the projects on which he worked. Jake grew up in the Long Run area.

Ava’s newest Lions Club members are Lion Rick Clark, Lion J.D. Chadwell, and Lion Ray McFarland. 

February 22

Ava resident Darrin L. Hawkins died in a traffic accident on a half-mile north of Goodhope on Route O. His passenger Eva L. Baldwin sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to Cox South Hospital in Springfield.

Ava High School senior Joey Swofford drove his 2004 Chevy pickup into the rear of a 2014 Peterbilt tractor-trailer rig driven by Norman D. Mings, of Ava. The semi was slowing to make a left turn when the crash occurred. Swofford suffered broken bones and was airlifted to Mercy Hospital, Springfield.

Ava High School seniors Gloria Rosas and Weston Stillings were crowned queen and king of Ava’s Hoopcoming last Friday night prior to the basketball game with Mtn. Grove. Gloria was escorted by senior Logan Little and Weston was escorted by senior Haylee Hare.

The Spring Renaissance Assembly to recognize achievements of the past semester was held at Ava High School Monday morning, Feb. 19. Students in all four grades were recognized for attendance, academics and improvement shown during the past semester.

Argument Leads To Murder of Ava Man In Webster County Argument leads to murder of Ava man in Webster County. Michael Wicker is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Justin Watterson, 54 of Ava. According to court records and published statements, Wicker allegedly shot Watterson after the two got into an argument while driving around in Webster County.

General rainfall over the area this week brought welcomed relief from wildfires that burned out of control last week in southern Missouri. A wildfire, referred to by the U.S. Forest Service as the Rozell Fire, burned out of control in Taney County on the Ava/Cassville/Willow Springs Ranger District of the Mark Twain National Forest and on private land last Thursday. The fire was in the area of Highway 160 and State Route 125. Approximately 100 firefighters and other emergency management personnel responded under a unified command with Forest Service Zone Type 3 Incident Commander Reggie Bray. The fire was estimated to be about 500 acres in size by late afternoon.

Artists of the Month in 4th grade at Ava Elementary were Nolan Clark, Aiden Lane, Brycen Watson, Logan Meile, Selena Hernandez, Hunter Strunk, Lily Fossett, and Corynn Tomlinson.

Anthony Hunt and Marissa Reynolds were recognized Feb. 13 as the Ava High School Students of the Month for February.

The February luncheon meeting of the Ava Chamber of Commerce was hosted by the First Southern Baptist Church. 

Ava High School senior Andrew Vanvalkenburg announced that he’s been accepted to Missouri State University in Joplin, MO. He plans to major in secondary education and history.

Ava High School senior Hunter Watson announced that she’s been accepted to Missouri State University. She plans to study English.

Artists of the Month from 4th grade at Ava Elementary are: Tristan Denney, Brody Stillings, Elise Archer and Jaiden Schmutzler.

After defeating Mtn. View- Liberty here on Feb. 13th for their fourth consecutive SCA win, the Ava Bears fell to Mtn. Grove, 74-42, on Feb 16th. Licking defeated Ava 67-47, to end the Bears’ 2017-18 season.

The Ava Lady Bears got an SCA win at home over Mtn. Grove on Feb. 15th before seeing their season end Feb. 19th in the first round of districts. Ava defeated Mtn. Grove 49-40 in conference play after losing to the Lady Panthers earlier this year in the Mansfield tournament. The Lady Bears lost to Mtn. View-Liberty in first round action, and saw their season come to a close with a 67-55 loss.

Mitchell Welch and Josh Turner won the Big Squirrel portion of the 2nd annual squirrel hunting tournament sponsored by Mom & Pop’s Bait & Beverage.  Mark and Dianne Hogan were jackpot winners tournament.