The following is part one of a compilation of some of the highlights from The Times Dispatch’s coverage of 2020.

January

The Martin Luther King Jr. Commission hosted an event at Hoxie marking the 65th anniversary of the integration of Hoxie School as part of the organization’s King Week.

James Ratliff of Imboden, longtime president and member of the Lawrence County Fair Board, was inducted into the Arkansas Fair Managers Association Hall of Fame.

Several were injured when a Hoxie School bus overturned after being rear-ended by a truck hauling a load of chat on Highway 63 between Walnut Ridge and Sedgwick.

February

The Beatles at the Ridge festival received four awards at the Arkansas Festival and Events Association conference including: first-place gold award for Outstanding New Idea at a festival, silver award for Best Event Website, and bronze awards for best T-shirt design and Festival of the Year.

The Arkansas Supreme Court delivered an opinion that Lawrence County District Judge Adam Weeks’ name should remain on the ballot for circuit judge for District 3 after a Pulaski County judge ruled it should be removed due to a fictitious tags conviction while Weeks was a college student. Weeks had argued that the offense he pled guilty to did not meet the requirements to constitute an “infamous crime.”

March

The Hoxie Fire Department added a new weapon in its arsenal to fight fires with the purchase of a ladder truck.

Dr. Kevin Diamond was recognized as the 2019 Special Advocate at the Lawrence Memorial Health Foundation’s annual gala.

Cancellations and closings began as elected officials, healthcare workers and community leaders worked to slow the spread of COVID-19. Along with school closings, the Arkansas Activities Association suspended play for spring sports. The county also had its first confirmed case of the virus.

April

The city of Hoxie received its new garbage truck and distributed new garbage cans to residents as it implemented the rolling-cart style cans that are picked up by a rear lift on the truck.

Masks were received in Lawrence County for all residents thanks to a cooperative effort of Lawrence County Judge John Thomison and the mayors throughout the county.

Lawrence County opted to implement furloughs for many county employees in response to anticipated revenue shortages due to COVID-19. Furloughed employees’ weeks were reduced from 40 hours to 20 hours with them being unemployed for 20 hours.

May

Josh and Jack Brand and families were announced as the 2020 Lawrence County Farm Family of the Year.

The state entered phase one of reopening and began lifting restrictions that were placed on businesses due to the pandemic. The Lawrence County Courthouse also reopened to the public.

Local sales tax revenue from March collections, reported in May, was much better than anticipated, actually showing an increase from 2019. Officials attributed the increase to residents spending more money locally as they were not traveling to other counties to shop or eat.

June

The Walnut Ridge Airport Commission voted unanimously to have Mayor Charles Snapp submit an application to upgrade the airport to a 139 classification.

After two months of battling an outbreak of coronavirus in the facility, Walnut Ridge Nursing and Rehab was reported as COVID-19 free.

The Beatles at the Ridge festival committee announced plans to skip the 2020 event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The summer ball program at Stewart Park in Walnut Ridge began after a delay due to the virus.

The second half of the year in review will appear in next week’s TD.

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