Pike celebrated a historic 200th year since the county was founded Dec. 9, 1822 with special events throughout 2022 and plenty of new growth and consideration of the county’s future. Get the Journal Reporter‘s special Year In Review print edition for more of the top stories from 2022.
The VA Center opened in July after many delays and now offers services for veterans from near and far with state-of-the-art medical equipment and care. Some Pike residents received fiber broadband internet toward the end of the year through Southern Rivers Energy, but there are more than 4,000 citizens who have a different energy provider and will not be offered access to fiber internet.
The Parks and Recreation started Phase 1 of the Park Master Plan with the enclosed building at the soccer fields nearly ready to open by the end of the year.
Molena unveiled a new event with the first ever Bigfoot Festival in November bringing hundreds of visitors to hear from speakers and share their own experiences. Molena also held an Independence Day celebration and flag retirement ceremony. The Concord Jubilee celebrated their 49th year and other annual events were a blast as well, including the Williamson Wisteria Festival, Vintage Day at Peachstate Airport, the Concord Children’s Bike Parade, the Meansville Music Festival and the Freedom Rodeo. The towns of Meansville and Molena hosted opportunities for citizens to share historic items, photos and information in celebration of the county’s bicentennial. Zebulon hosted the Fair Around the Square in celebration of Pike’s 200th birthday as well as the Bicentennial Christmas Light Parade on Dec. 9 and the Christmas Festival the next day.
Not all news was good in Pike however, and just after two teenagers killed another teen on Patton Road, the sheriff shared the need for a new jail facility. He noted that the sheriff’s office often has to pay other jails to house their inmates, including the murder suspects Jaiden Chappell, 18, as they have few cells for females, and Antonio Murgado, 19, who was shot when he was arrested in Fayette County and required medical care that is not able to be provided at the current jail.
As usual, the Pike County community worked together with citizens stepping up to help in areas of need, including teachers at the elementary school who got sponsors to upgrade the playgrounds and others who helped clear Buddy’s Trail, a path that now connects to the rest of the campuses and the Jacob’s Way 5K trail.
At least 100 citizens also showed up in Concord to search for a missing 2-year-old boy on an unusually cold October night. Thankfully, his dog Yuka kept barking until Jason Nordan and his daughter Alexis were able to find him on a 400-acre hunting property adjacent to his home.
Mary and Mark Nalls planted a large garden and shared hundreds of large bundles of fresh turnips and collards with locals for Thanksgiving, even giving out jars of their homemade hot pepper relish. Donations were taken at the garden and given to Ralph McCrary who is battling cancer. The grand marshal of the Bicentennial Christmas parade – ‘Mr. Haze’ Mabry Jr. – chose to donate the funds raised by the parade entry fees to the McCrary family and others raised funds for them as well.
Tragedy struck when twin girls both lost their lives in a fire just a day after their first birthday. The state insurance commissioners released a report stating that the fire began in the entrance of the home’s second bedroom and the fire burned an area of approximately five feet.
Pike voters approved exemptions from school district taxes for residents over 62 years of age. Voters in Williamson approved the sale of distilled spirits in the city by a vote of 181 to 151.
Pike County brought home several state titles in 2022 with the baseball team going undefeated in region play and then earning the championship win. In gymnastics, Madelynn Crow swept the state competition, earning all five first place medals and set both a school and state record for most first place finishes. She earned three perfect scores during the state meet, with a 10.0 in vault, beam and floor. The Pirates soccer team made school history as the first to be ranked #1 in the state and #10 in the state for all classifications. The Lady Pirates soccer team was ranked #8 in the state after the first round of playoffs and both teams advanced to the Elite 8. The Lady Pirates softball team made it to the Elite 8, powering through the first ever Super Regionals and outscoring their opponents 46-2.
The PCHS wrestling team sent six athletes to the state meet and Gage Lee became the second state champ in wrestling for PCHS. John Lovett won a state title the year before and is now wrestling for Iowa Central. Cooper Jones and Jakilen King finished fourth in the state.
Students in the PCHS one-act play swept all but one of the regional acting awards and earned second place in the region. The Pirate Regiment Marching Band earned the Silver Division Championship (Class A and AA) at the Old South Marching Band competition.
The Pike County Journal Reporter would like to wish our local businesses and citizens a happy and healthy New Year!