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Year in Review Part II: What Made News in 2018

February 1

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. 

March 1

The Ava Board of Aldermen met and passed a resolution to change the zoning designation at 1306 Prince Street, where the Douglas County Sheltered workshop is located. The property will go from being zoned AG-Agriculture to B-3 General Business. The council also accepted a bid of $300 for a 1998 Ford Crown Victora no longer in use by the Ava Police Department. The city accepted the donation of a 1929 Fire Truck from Mayor David Norman and his wife Dorothy. The fire truck was originally purchased by the city 1930 and was recently restored by Mayor Norman and Rodney Alms. 

Consensus was reached on the proposed Ava Square changes. Mayor David Norman, city council members, and Jessica Paulk, with the South Central Ozark Council of Governments (SCOCOG) hosted a public hearing to address issues associated with proposed changes to the Ava Square. At the onset of the meeting, however, it was announced that the Mayor and business owners -residents, those who originally opposed the proposed changes, had reached an amicable agreement on how to proceed with the improvement project. Based on the revised drawing, this new plan was more conservative, and continued to offer most of the parking slots in the middle of the square intact. The new rendering shows five-foot sidewalks with handicap accessibility around and through the middle of the square, with sidewalks on the east and west sides slightly elevated. It also proposes several safety measures for the gazebo area, as well as handicap access. The hearing was attended by about 43 concerned individuals. 

The grant application deadline for the Ava Square project is April 1, 2018, with the award most generally made in July. According to the city, the grant is earmarked specifically for making the square handicap compliant, as federal deadlines for complying are fast approaching. The grant cites $499,081.85 as the total project expense, with an actual award of $453,041.85; the City of Ava would then be responsible for $46,030 of in-kind work.

The School Board agrees to disagree on bus route contracts. After three options were presented to the board for consideration, the board arrived at a 4-3 decision to approve the sale of Bus Route No. 7 from Dwain Turner to Tommy Scrivner. The deal maintains the agreements put into place in 2016 and places Scrivner on the same scale as current bus drivers who have an agreement and contract for servicing the route. Another option presented had the School Board buying the route, and then operating it or dissolving it. The third option had a more complex three-tiered arrangement with different buy-out prices after different periods of time.  Dr. Dial noted district monies continue to register above proposed budget figures due to the increase in student enrollment. Dr. Dial also recognized Helen Blakely for establishing a scholarship at Ava R-1 for the top math student in the graduating class. The scholarship was established in 1994 and is in memory of her son Michael.

In a closed session, the board hired Ashley DeVore as seventh grade math teacher, and contracts were extended for the following administrators: Erin Swofford, special services; Dr. Clint Hall, elementary principal; Marcella Swatosh, middle school principal; Dr. Teresa Nash, high school principal; and Nathan Houk, assistant principal, high school. Dr. Teresa Nash reported the date of May 11 has been selected as the last day of school for graduating seniors, as well as the date for graduation ceremonies.

Continued rainfall caused flooding in the Ava area, closing roads and creating hardships for motorists. Reported rainfall totals for the period range from 7.5 to 10 inches.

Beginning today (March 1), the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will no longer be allowing commissary items to be brought into the jail by inmates or families. All items needed and wanted by inmates will now be ordered and shipped directly to the jail by inmates or their families through the website. Sheriff Chris Degase said this will eliminate drugs and other unsafe items being smuggled into the jail via commissary items.

The Douglas County Herald announced a move into digital publishing that will allow color photos and ads in the newspaper. The move will take the printing process from in-house (where it has run on the same presses for 51 years) to being printed out of house. The most drastic change to customers is a change in deadlines and less flexibility in extending those deadlines.

This issue is the first edition of the Douglas County Herald featuring color photos. The first color photo on the front page of the paper shows Cowskin Creek rushing over Highway Y west of Ava.

Maxine Lirley and Elmer Bradford were crowned queen and king at Heart of the Ozarks Healthcare Center last week. The royalty were selected by the employees, and cookies and punch prepared by the dietary department were served to the residents by the staff. 

Ava High School’s Hoopcoming Court had their coronation on Feb. 23rd. King candidates were Connor Moran and Wyatt Gastineau; 2017 king was Anthony Rosas; 2018 king and queen were Weston Stillings and Gloria Rosas; 2017 queen was Emily Guengerich; and 2018 queen candidates were Kailey Thompson and Kylie Jenkins. Crown bearers were Fisher Bray and Harper Adams.

The Douglas County Democrats announced they will offer a $500 scholarship to a deserving high school senior in 2018. 

Ava High School senior Dalton Curtis announced his acceptance at Southwest Baptist University. He intends to study Sports Medicine.

The Ava High School baseball team will participate in a jamboree at West Plains on Saturday, March 10, in preparation for the coming season. Ava’s first scheduled games of the season will be in the Cabool Tournament March 19-22.

The annual basketball tournament for the Inter School Academic and Athletic Competition (ISAAC) was held Feb. 23-24 on the campus of Mt. Zion Bible School, Ava. A total of 10 teams from six schools were in attendance. Winners were; Mtn Grove Christian Academy – First Place Boys. Overland Christian Schools, First Place Girls. Overland Christian Schools – Second Place Boys. Show-Me Christian – Second Place Girls.

Theta Porter enjoyed a party celebrating her 90 birthday at Porter’s Cafe in Squires Monday, Feb. 26. More than 75 family members, friends, customers, and classmates came to celebrate with her and enjoyed cake, punch, and other refreshments.

March 8th

The Bradleyville Lady Eagles basketball team advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time ever where they defeated Scott County Central, 87-55, at Van Buren on Saturday, March 3. The girls would play in the state semifinals at Springfield’s JQH on Friday, March 9.

Absentee ballots were available at the County Clerk’s Office for the April 3 municipal and school elections. 

It was announced that the Vietnam Memorial Wall coming to Ava in the fall would be the new, larger wall, and would be making one of its first visits to Missouri when it came to Ava.

Nine Ava High School cross country athletes were named academic all-stars by the Missouri Track and Cross Country Coaches Association. The athletes included Layla Giorgianni, Eden Little, Grace Key, Caden Prock, Clara Sicilia, Hailey Pedersen, Jacob Key, Dwight Emerson and Braden Swofford.

The Ava High School Alumni Basketball Games would be played Saturday night, March 10. Proceeds help fund the Mandy Hampton Memorial Scholarship awarded by Ava High School.

Ava High School graduate Susan Sinclair developed a breath spray for dogs that would debut at the Missouri Pet Breeders Association’s spring conference in Lebanon.

The Ava High School baseball team would participate in a baseball jamboree in West Plains on Friday, March 9.

March 15

In a real estate deal with Cheyenne Enterprises, the City of Ava traded the ‘old’ city hall building and parking lot at 123 West Lincoln Avenue, plus an additional $60,000, for a 9-acre parcel of land owned by Cheyenne. The City plans to incorporate the land into the Parks and Recreation Department and eventually develop it with athletic facilities.

On Feb. 13, two hundred seventh graders from the Ava and Mountain Grove schools took part in a Seventh Grade Nontraditional Career Event sponsored by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The event was designed to expose Missouri seventh graders to nontraditional careers such as agricultural education for females, family consumer sciences education for males, health sciences education for males, trade, industrial technology and engineering for females nontraditional career paths. 

On Mar. 5, 68 year old Richard W. Clark of Theodosia was taken by ambulance to Mercy Hospital for injuries sustained in a one-vehicle crash on Highway 5.

MoDOT announced that Route 5 in Hartville, Wright County, will be reduced to one lane with a 10-foot width restriction as the Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform bridge maintenance on the bridge over Woods Fork. The work is expected to run from Mar. 12-22.

Ava R-1 Schools will hold its annual “Walk to School Day” on Mar. 28. On that day students will be encouraged to meet up with other students at designated locations in town and walk to school with adult escorts. All elementary students who walk to school will receive a prize and participating students will also be entered in a drawing.

On Mar. 6th, four individuals were sentenced to the Department of Correction; James Bluhm of Sweetwater, TN for probation violation, Dustin J. Lee of Vanzant for unlawful possession of a firearm, Adam Garrett of Mountain Grove, MO for possession of a controlled substance, and Brian K. Maggard of Ava for violation of probation.

The Church of God Emmanuel cut a ribbon on Mar. 9 signifying membership in the Ava Area Chamber of Commerce.

Parole absconder Shane Loper, 32, of Mansfield was apprehended and jailed by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office on Mar. 10.

The Ava High School Bears will open the 2018 baseball season in tournament play at Cabool next Monday, March 19. 

Ava High School Senior Sara Wake announced that she’s been accepted to Cottey College in Nevada, MO where she will study music.

Ava High School Senior Connor Moran announces that he’s been accepted to Missouri State University where he will study Business Management.

Ava High School Senior Katie Hodges announces that she’s been accepted to Missouri Southern State University, where she will pursue a degree in Nursing.

Ava High School Senior Anthony Hunt announces that he’s been accepted to Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. He plans to study radiology.

Artists of the Month in third grade at Ava Elementary were Jericho Marrow, Everett Stewart, Jessie Shrable, and Noah Middleton, Autumn Cudworth, Caleb Niesen, Peter Lawler, Katie Brooks, Brooklyn Merritt, Levi Cannon, Ryan Adams, and Samantha Thompson.

Ava High School Citizens of the Months of December, January and February were recognized in February at Archie’s Restaurant. They were Alex Stevens, Araina Evans, Ryan McFarlin, Rachel Taylor, Amber Cathcart, and Waylin Moon.

March 22

Students at Ava High School will be participating in a mock distracted driving car crash on Thursday, March 29. The presentation will include a mock distracted driving car crash involving student actors from Ava High School.

The Ava R-I School Board met Mar. 15th and approved two sessions of summer school. The Board also committed to engage a Resource Officer in conjunction with the city and county law enforcement agencies which will all share in the cost. Tenured and non-tenured teachers were re-employed for the 2018-19 school year.

March 28 will be “Walk to School Day” for Ava R-1 students.

Douglas Co. Route ZZ will be closed May 14-Aug. 13 for replacement of the Fox Creek Bridge.

The Ava Chamber of Commerce released more detail about the upcoming “2500 Miles of Art and Culture” event scheduled for April. Planned activities include Civil War tours, young composer concerts, interpretive hikes, genealogy workshops and more.

The Mar. 15th Court Day saw 144 cases on the docket.

The Ava fishing team of Bailey Bewey and Cameron Berry won first place in the high school fishing tournament at Lake of the Ozarks on Mar. 10.

Ava High School Students of the Month were Sara Wake and Madison Irby.

During the week of March 12-19, the Douglas County Sheriffs office answered 96 calls for service, and booked 20 people into the Douglas County Jail. 

Ava High School senior Hannah Griffith has been accepted to Truman State University, where she will study psychology.

Ava High School senior Madison Curtis has been accepted to Missouri State University, where she will study music education.

Ava High School seniors Sierra Boatman and Seth Fowler have been accepted to Ozarks Technical Community College. Boatman will study to become a physical therapist assistant. Fowler will study industrial systems technology.

Ava High School Senior Andrew Boergert has been accepted to Southwest Baptist University where he will study Physical Education.

Ava High School Senior Abby Groenenboom has been accepted to Rochester Community and Technical College in Minnesota where she plans to study business.

Ava High School Seniors Jessica Fratti and Haylee Hare have both been accepted to the Nursing program at Ozarks Technical Community College.

Douglas County Herald Managing Editor Kieth Moore announced his retirement from the paper effective March 31st. Moore was present for every Wednesday printing of the Herald during his 48 1/2 year career.

Ava Elementary Artists of the Month from 3rd grade are Connor Forrest, Blaze Howard, Rylee McKenney, Briella Pueppke, Zaren Roscoe, Ethan Williams, Abby Fortner and Karissa Williams.

March Citizens of the Month at Ava High School were Emily Stillings and Connor Moran.

The Ava High School Baseball Bears are playing in the Cabool tournament this week.

Ava Mayor David Norman signed a proclamation declaring Monday, March 26, to be Purple Day in Ava, in memory of Afton Nash who passed away on Mar. 11, 2015 from SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death from Epilepsy).

University of Missouri Extension Leadership Awards were presented local residents to Hershell Letsinger, Ross McElvain and Max Murphy.


March 29

The Ava Board of Aldermen voted to start the process of placing a one-half cent transportation road tax on the August 2018 ballot. The proceeds – estimated at $350,000 annually, will be earmarked for improvements and repairs to local streets.

Elections for the Ava School Board and the Ava City Council will be held next week. School Board incumbents Bart Ellison and Vernon Johnson are being challenged by Daniel Johnson and Deana Parsick. City Council incumbent aldermen Keith Jones, East Ward, and Stan Lovan, West Ward, are running unopposed for re-election.

Another season of Thursday Night Music kicks off April 5, at the Douglas County Veterans Memorial Association, 402 W. Washington Ave., across from the Post Office.

Hundreds of kids filled their Easter baskets at an Easter egg hunt at Ava City Park on Mar. 24.

The Skyline R-II Board met in regular session on Mar. 21, 2018 with six members present. The consent agenda items consisting of board minutes, bills and financial statement were presented and approved. The Board continues to work on deeding over the bus barn and land to the Skyline Volunteer Fire Department, and decided to look into some additional security issues at the school.

Ava High School senior Kelsy Schroeder has been accepted to Cottey College in Nevada, MO where she intends to study Business and Education. 

Ava High School senior Cynthia Schmidt has been accepted to Lindenwood University of St. Charles, MO. where she will study Psychology.

Ava High School senior Gabe Sams has been accepted to Ranken Technical School in St. Louis where he will study high performance racing technology.

The Bears Den middle school cooking students made dinner for their parents on March 14. There were 46 in attendance.

The Ava Lions Club drew their first winning ticket on March 1 in the month-long Lions gun giveaway promotion.

The Ava Baseball Bears swept three teams in the Cabool tournament last week to take first place. The Bears defeated Salem 2-1, Cabool 11-4, and Van Buren 7-0.

During the week of March 19-25, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office received and responded to 94 Calls for Service. We have arrested and booked 18 into the Douglas County Jail and currently are housing 35 inmates.

April 5

In the Ava R-I School District election, Deana Parsick and incumbent Bart Ellison won seats. 

This year’s Ava High School Alumni Banquet will be held on May 5.

Century Bank of the Ozarks will host the Apr. 10th Ava Area Chamber of Commerce meeting.

Weather conditions forced the Ava High School mock crash drama inside. Distracted driving was the focus, but the event also provided safety tips for avoiding accidents.

The 2018-2019 Ava Lion’s Club Officers are Lion Bob Sellers Treasurer, Lion Joe Koloski Secretary, Lion Bob Sorensen Vice President and President Lion Richard Sturgeon.

Ava Bass Club Results – Pontiac for March 24 have 1st going to  Heston Fish with 15.42, and 2nd, Adam Johnson with 14.22. Big Bass went to Bruce Platt with a 4.64. 

After three weeks of construction, the McDonald’s indoor dining area is now open for business, and the Ava restaurant has a fresh new look. Mayor David Norman presented a proclamation designating March 30, 2018, as McDonald’s special day.

Representative Lyle Rowland presented Keith Moore with a resolution from the Missouri House of Representatives noting Moore’s tenure of 48-1/2 years at the Douglas County Herald. A Missouri State Senate resolution from Senator Mike Cunningham was also presented to Moore. The recognitions were presented during an open house held at the Herald on Mar. 30.

The Ava Bears baseball team defeated the Willow Springs Bears 5-4 Apr. 2.

April 12

The Ava High School Jr./Sr. Prom was held Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Springfield, Missouri at The Grey Rocks event center. Prom King was Joe Balassone and Prom Queen was Rebecca Dudley. Over 200 students, guests, and chaperones attended.

East Ward Alderman Keith Jones and West Ward Alderman Stan Lovan took the oath of office Tuesday during council meeting. 

The City Council also approved Suzanne Welsh as city clerk, Larry Tyrell as city attorney, Reggie Johnson as police chief, Peggy Porter as Treasurer, Stacy Henry as collector, and Tom Woods as fire chief.

Sara Sawyer and Scott Stark were reappointed to serve on the planning and zoning commission.

April is Child Abuse Awareness month. On Apr. 6th, community groups including law enforcement, city officials, and volunteer organizations met at the gazebo on the Ava Square along with 132 preschool and kindergarten youngsters anxious to put blue pinwheels in the ground. The goal was to bring awareness to the community and recognize  The Go Blue Awareness campaign.

The 5th Annual Glade Top Trail Run took place on Apr. 7. Slippery roads kept almost 100 preregistered runners away but 151 braved the elements to make the Trail Run a success. This was the largest amount of runners signed up for the run in the 5 years it has been held.

Mayor David Norman presented Norma Stillings with a proclamation declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Ava. Norma serves as the treasurer of the Go Blue event.

Terrific Kids during the month of February were ]Shianne Robertson, Michael Masters, Landre Hampton, Kaylie Belt, Addy Phillips, Megan Levan, Greyson Vaccaro, Carli Harper, Marley Wagner, McKenzie Barnes, Alexis Swearengin, Parker Smith, Taylor Dry, Madison Dietz, Mackenzie Jones, Gracie Wright, Alexis Philpott, Michael Meile, Braelyn Willis, Josh Hutchison and Will Lebsock. Terrific is an acronym for thoughtful, enthusiastic, respectful, responsible, inclusive, friendly, inquisitive, and capable.

Construction is underway on a new building for the Ava Area Ambulance District. The new building will be located to the north of the present facility, with a corridor connecting the two buildings.

Commissioner Lawson Curtis, left, and Presiding Commissioner Lance Stillings, center, offered local support to the Christos House by signing two proclamations and recognizing upcoming Denim Day on April 25, and April as Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Lacy Diel and Danny Shields of Ava, Mo. announced their upcoming wedding in May. Both Lacy and Danny are graduates of Ava High School, and State Technical College of Missouri.

Hailey Pedersen announced her acceptance to College of the Ozarks, where she plans a double major in psychology and business.

The Ava Art Guild announced a workshop for Apr. 14th.

The Ava Police Department handled 95 calls between April 1 and April 7.

The Ava Bears baseball team beat Thayer 16-2, and Houston 6-2. They lost to Seymour 10-5.

Janet Curry celebrated her 70th birthday with family.

April 19

The Missouri Department of Transportation announced that Route ZZ in Douglas County is scheduled to close Monday, April 30 as contractor crews are readying to replace the bridge over Fox Creek. The Fox Creek Bridge is located at the end of Route ZZ between County Road ZZ-136 and County Road ZZ-138. Weather permitting, the road is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, August 1.

Newly elected officers were chosen to serve on the Ava R-I school board Tuesday evening. They are Kenny Fleetwood, secretary; Bart Ellison, president; and Mark Henry, vice president, Michael Stewart, Deana Parsick, Lowell Strong, and Troy Tredway.

The Ava R-1 school board voted 4-3 against allowing homeschooled students to take part in Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) sanctioned events. 

During the Go Blue Pinwheel event on the Ava Square April 6, the following groups were represented; 44th Circuit Children’s Division; Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA); Ava R-1 Elementary Schools; Ava Head Start; City of Ava Police Department; Douglas County Sheriff Department; Douglas County Health Department; City of Ava; Ava Board of Aldermen; CHART; Norma Stillings, Go Blue Treasurer; Donna Dixon, Go Blue Secretary; Shirley Emerson, Go Blue Committee chair; and volunteers Rebecca Turcott and Nanette Hirsch.

The FFA Booster Club recognized Haley Beard, Taylor Long, Dylan King and Clara Sicilia of the Ava FFA horse judging team for achieving high marks at district and qualifying to compete at the upcoming state competition. 

Connie Danielson, age 56, of Drury, Mo. and Edward Moore, age 52, from Lexington, Kentucky sustained serious injuries in a single car accident on Sunday morning on Highway 95 in Ozark County, 10 miles south of Gentryville.

During the April Chamber luncheon Ava High School seniors Hannah Griffith and Emily Little were recognized for outstanding school participation.

The Skyline 5th/6th Academic Bowl team took 4th place in team competition at Bradleyville. Team members were Abigail Whittier, Brooke Johnson, Myla Sarginson, Malachi Fulk, Erika Strong and Kyle Barker.

On April 3, the Douglas County Community Foundation gave a $1000 donation in support of the 2500 Miles of Art & Culture event

The Middle School Lady Bears traveled to West Plains last week for the West Plains Ribbon Meet. The 7th grade Lady Bears finished 3rd and the 8th grade Lady Bears tied for 4th.

Ava High School senior Collin Jenkins signed a letter of intent April 11 to attend Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar where he will be on the college track and cross country teams.

On Monday, April 2, Skyline students under direction of Principal Jeanne Curtis, began a Penny War to help families in Douglas County recover from disaster. Every penny collected is being donated to assist the Douglas County Long-Term Recovery Committee with disaster recovery in the county. 

On April 9th the Ava Bears boys and girls varsity track teams traveled to Marshfi eld for the Marshfi eld Invitational Meet. The boys placed 4th overall and the girls placed 6th.

Ava Baseball head Head Coach Rex Sawyer collected career win number 300 as the Bears walloped the Cabool Bulldogs 18-3 in Springfield, MO.

The Ava Bears also beat Salem 13-7.

The Ava Middle School track teams participated in the West Plains Middle School Relays on Tuesday, April 10th. Ava’s 8th-grade boys team won their division, and the 7th-grade boys finished second in their division.

Businessmen and ranchers from Colombia, South America, toured the DHT Angus Ranch with Sonny and Cecil Huff on April 5, and returned April 11 for a second visit. Juan Rincon and Carlos Beltran were accompanied by friends and interpreter Janeth and Greg Lenz, DVM and Embryologist.  Carlos and Juan were impressed with the DHT Angus herd and bulls, and are making arrangements for shipping cattle and embryos from the ranch to Colombia, South America.

Ava Middle School March Students of the Month were Connor Cavanaugh, Brooklyn Simmons, Lakota Atherton, Gracelyn Lazorchak, Mallory Barnes, Wyatt Coberly, Carter Cutbirth, and Abigail Williams.