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Readers picks: Clay County’s top 10 stories of 2011


June Griffin of Henrietta was selected as one of more than 100 volunteers charged with decorating the White House for Christmas. Her story is one of the top 10 selected by readers of the Pioneer Sentinel as the most important to Clay County in 2011.

In the final week of 2011, Readers of The Clay County Pioneer Sentinel voted for what the top 10 stories that shaped Clay County in 2011. Stories selected include the good, such as June Griffin’s invitation to decorate the White House; the bad, wildfires and drought; and the strange, like the Oklahoma earthquake that rattled residents south of the Red River.

Each voter chose his or her top 10 from a selection of 20 news items. Results of the week-long poll, including the percentage of the vote that each story received, are listed below:

1. Byers ISD to enter into consolidation discussions with Petrolia (37%)

With time running short for Byers Schools, and Petrolia again open to the idea of consolidation, BISD Superintendent Kim Childs sought the direction of his school board last week. During the Dec. 15 regular meeting of the board, Childs asked trustees to review a list on considerations to be presented to Petrolia ISD. (Continued)

2. June Griffin invited to decorate White House (32%)

While most folks in Clay County will spend a long Thanksgiving weekend searching the attic for boxes of Christmas ornaments, June Griffin will have a much larger task at hand, a warehouse full of holiday décor in Washington D.C. (Continued)

3. Burger Shop back in the burrito business (32%)

Longtime residents of Henrietta fell into what can best be described as a state of mourning when The Burger Shop suddenly shuttered its doors in late spring. It seemed as though the Clay County icon, in its 43rd year, might be gone for good. (Continued)

4. Manufacturer investigates opportunities in Henrietta (32%)

A manufacturer of portable cabins and “system built” homes is looking at Henrietta as an option for a new plant. Friday (Dec. 9), Scott Clayton, president of the Henrietta Growth Corporation, signed a memorandum of understanding with Stone Creek Homes, a Nebraska company that specializes in workforce housing. (Continued)

5. Oklahoma quake rattles Clay County Saturday night (32%)

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake in central Oklahoma Saturday night was felt throughout Clay County. According to the United States Geological Survey, the epicenter of the quake was located 21 miles north northeast of Shawnee, Okla., near the town of Sparks. (Continued)

6. September wildfires breakout in Vashti-Bellevue area (26%)

Two large wildfires broke out in southeastern Clay County Tuesday morning (Sept. 13), giving local volunteers all that they could handle. The first fire was reported midmorning on Manton Road near Cray Lane, southeast of Bellevue, and is believed to be a case of arson. The blaze began as two fires sparked in separate locations along Manton Road, and quickly joined together. (Continued)


7. Storm cuts Reunion short, fills some tanks (21%)

“What does it take to bring a day of rain to Clay County? Three nights of rodeo.” A line of thunderstorms that passed through Clay County Saturday night may have brought an early end to the 80th annual Pioneer Reunion and Rodeo, and left Henrietta without electricity for more than 24 hours, but gave the land a much needed drink of water. (Continued)

8. Steer Wrestler Mickey Gee earns third trip to NFR (21%)

After winning the PRCA world championship in 1999, and returning to compete in 2003, steer wrestler Mickey Gee will make his third trip to the National Finals Rodeo in December. That could mean a big payday for the Dean cowboy. Each of the 10 go-rounds pays $18,000 to the winner. The participant with the best overall average earns $46,000. (Continued)

9. Daughter accused in death of Dean man (21%)

The daughter of a Dean-area man shot to death Sunday morning (Nov. 13) has been arrested for first-degree murder. Jenna Cherish Dickerson, 26, of Wichita Falls, is accused of killing John Derek Hamlin, 46, sometime late Saturday night or Early Sunday morning. Hamlin died of a single gunshot wound to the chest. (Continued)

10. Lights to brighten chamber’s Clay County Christmas (16%)

The Henrietta and Clay County Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the county’s Christmas celebration on Saturday, Dec. 3, on the courthouse square in downtown Henrietta. This year’s celebration expands greatly on the past “Holiday Happenings” lighted parade by featuring such additions as lighting the entire courthouse, erecting a 20-foot community Christmas… (Continued)









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The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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