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Looking back at top stories of 2008

(Editor’s Note: Following are the top news stories for 2008 as selected by the editorial staff of The Southwest Times. With the exception of the top story, the selections appear in no specific order.)

Without a doubt, the economy was the dominating theme in news coverage during 2008, with an unprecedented number of business closings and layoffs being reported not only in Pulaski County but also across the nation.
The tone of the year appeared to be set in April when Volvo Trucks North America announced that a third of its workforce would be laid off in May. The cuts had been planned for earlier in the year, but a February strike delayed the action until mid-May.
Initially, the company anticipated cutting 650 workers permanently near the end of January. However, that figure had nearly doubled by May, when 1,100 employees (38 percent of the Dublin plant’s workforce) were placed on furlough.
At that time, it was hoped some of the workers would eventually be called back, but company spokesman Jim McNamara said Volvo officials preferred “not to speculate on how long the layoffs would last” when asked if they would be permanent.
“We’ll adapt to market demand,” he added.
However, the news only got worse for Pulaski County as the summer started drawing to a close.
In August, the company announced that as many as 200 more employees could be laid off in the fourth quarter of the year when production of Mack Trucks was moved from the Dublin plant to Pennsylvania.
A company press release said the move was part of a "jointly formulated" plan to increase the efficiency of its North American operations.
John Mies, vice president of corporate communications, said the impact on New River Valley employment "will depend on production volume at the time of the transfer. If we were to make the transfer at a time when we were raising the rates in the New River Valley, it’s conceivable that it would not impact the current active workforce. We would just not recall as many laid-off employees as we would otherwise.
"On the other hand, if we were still at today’s production volume (a total of about 80 trucks per day), at least 200 New River Valley employees would be laid off" when the transfer is made, he said.
Less than two weeks later, the news became even more grim when a letter sent from Volvo to Pulaski County Administrator Peter Huber revealed that 973 of the workers laid off in May would be permanently cut as a result of a declining economy and the Mack pullout.
The letter from Denise Hughes, the New River Valley plant’s human resources manager, stated that Volvo had anticipated a majority of the May layoffs to be temporary until build rates increased around September or October of 2008.
She said that although Volvo’s build rate is still expected to increase, the Mack unit closure and "deterioration of the American economy" have affected the company’s ability to recall the laid off workers.
She went on to say that only bargaining unit employees with UAW Local 2069 would "actually suffer a permanent employment loss" due to the Mack move. However, she added, "Volvo no longer projects" any of the laid off workers from May (those not affected by the Mack closure) "will be recalled … and therefore, (the) temporary layoffs are being extended indefinitely and … should be considered permanent."
As many as 540 positions were UAW “bargaining unit positions.” Hughes indicated that one non-bargaining (non-union) employee, a production advisor, was placed on extended layoff.
But the job losses didn’t stop there.
State budget cuts announced in October revealed another 62 county employees would be without work when Pulaski Correctional Center off Morgan’s Cut Road (Old Route 11) near Dublin is closed in late January.
In his October reduction plan for the 2009 fiscal year budget, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine estimated the state could save just over $1.6 million by closing the prison facility, which was constructed in 1955.
It is one of six correctional facilities statewide that the governor proposes to close to help make up for an estimated $2.5 billion shortfall in revenue through 2010.
Seventh District Rep. Dave Nutter (R-Christiansburg) expressed "complete surprise" by the planned closing of the Pulaski facility, noting that neither he nor county officials had any warning of the announcement. He noted that the decision will “further hurt a community already hard hit by the loss of thousands of jobs and with an unemployment rate approaching 9 percent."
Pulaski Correctional Center is one of the few Level 2 (minimum/low medium security) prisons available in the state.
Kaine’s reduction plan calls for the layoff of 567 state employees across the Commonwealth.
December proved to only worsen the local job market when four more area manufacturers which employ Pulaski County residents announced plans to either lay off workers or shut down completely.
Only months after its parent company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, a Intermet New River Foundry in Radford announced up to 140 workers would be laid off in January. The company already had laid off 56 employees in August. At that time, company officials said the plant still had 160 employees.
According to Intermet’s website, it is "one of the world’s foremost producers of cast-metal components for automotive and commercial-vehicle manufacturers."
But the slump in the automotive industry didn’t stop with Intermet.
Acument Global Technologies, a Wytheville company that also manufactures parts for the automotive industry, announced it will close next year, eliminating 160 jobs.
A spokesman for Acument told Associated Press that the closing is due to "very difficult automotive industry conditions."
Another Wytheville-based company with an operation center in Dublin also announced in December that it will cut its workforce by 25 percent beginning in 2009.
In addition to the Dublin facility, the company’s operations centers in Wytheville and Atkins also will be affected by the layoffs.
Camrett is a third-party logistics provider.
This is the first time in about a decade that Camrett has had to impose layoffs, the company reported. The first one was in 1999 and only affected four employees.
And finally, just before Christmas, the Xaloy plant off East Main Street in Pulaski laid off about 40 employees, or about a quarter of its workforce.
Mark Gaia, vice president of Human Resources for Xaloy’s corporate group, said the lay offs are a “general staff reduction” due to a decrease in business.
He said he anticipates the layoffs to be temporary.
Xaloy is a manufacturer of high-performance machinery components and equipment for the plastics industry.
On strike!
Without a doubt, one of the stories that captured many a headline during the first few months of the year was the strike at Volvo Trucks North America’s Dublin plant.
Members of United Auto Workers Local 2069 walked off the job Jan. 31 when contract negotiations broke down. The strike lasted for about a month and a half before workers and the company reached an agreement in mid-March.
The UAW contended the strike was about plant safety and recall rights, not money.
Pulaski loses a treasure
It was a sad time in the Town of Pulaski and across the county on the morning of Nov. 17 when residents awakened to find the town’s historic train station gutted by fire.
However, the sadness turned to relief when it quickly became evident that a good amount of historic items were able to be salvaged from the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Museum, which was housed in the building.
Work quickly got underway to preserve the salvaged items and to determine whether the wall structure could be repaired so the train station could be rebuilt. Town Manager John Hawley recently announced that insurance will cover 100 percent of the replacement cost and the town contracted with a Roanoke firm to shore up the structure pending the rebuild.
The fire was ruled accidental and apparently was the result of an electrical short.
Murders bracket year
Pulaski County authorities participated in two murder investigations during the past year – one in the county in January and the other just over the Pulaski/Wythe county line in December.
Just two weeks before the December incident took place, Richard Forest Mabry, 41, found out he will have to serve 30 years of a 50-year prison sentence for fatally stabbing an acquaintance Jan. 21.
Mabry was sentenced after pleading guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Dawn Meredith Wright. Wright’s body was found several feet off a gravel road in the "Bloomer’s Mountain" section of the county Jan. 23.
Mabry claimed he killed Wright as part of an initiation into a motorcycle gang.
A Wythe County man is charged with second-degree murder in connection with a shooting off Dyer Road near the Draper section of Pulaski County.
More than a dozen charges have been filed against 57-year-old Douglas Albert Jaccard of Dyer Road, who remains in custody at New River Valley Regional Jail.
Jaccard is alleged to have fatally shot a neighbor, Joseph Foster Bane on Dec. 16, wounded another neighbor and a Pulaski County deputy who responded to the scene, and to have set a fire that destroyed Bane’s home.
Hundreds of officers participated in a two-day manhunt for Jaccard before he was found hiding under a table in his residence after he returned there for food and medication.
Reassessments spark ire of citizens
Pulaski County residents packed the final two Board of Supervisors meetings of the year to complain about their new property reassessments.
The citizens called for the board to reject the new values placed on their property, saying they do not reflect the slump in property values of the past year. Many said they fear being forced off their property due to an inability to pay taxes on the “inflated” or “unreasonable” assessments, which in some cases doubled or quadrupled.
It remains unclear at this point whether the Board will chose to follow citizen suggestion to throw out the new figures and have assessments redone.
School division meets AYP goals
The Pulaski County Public School division met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals for the first time in 2008.
AYP is a calculation made yearly based on No Child Left Behind federal legislation. In these calculations, schools are required to make increasing benchmarks set forth by NCLB in all of several subgroups as well as by the entire school population in grades three through twelve.
"This is good news. We are very, very proud," said Glenda Patton, coordinator of testing and special projects for PCPS, who shared this news with the Pulaski County School Board during one of its meetings this past fall.
While as a school division, PCPS met AYP goals, not every school met individual AYP goals. Seven out of the nine schools in the county, including Pulaski County High School, both Pulaski and Dublin Middle School, Critzer Elementary, Snowville Elementary, Newbern Elementary and Riverlawn Elementary met AYP goals. However, Dublin Elementary and Pulaski Elementary did not.
Despite that fact, this is still an improvement from the 2006-07 school year, Patton said.
During the 2006-7 school year, only five of Pulaski County’s nine schools reached AYP goals (PES, DES, PMS and DMS did not make AYP last year) and as a school division, PCPS did not meet those goals overall.
In addition, while DES and PES did not make AYP this year, they improved from two areas of sanction to one, meaning that instead of not meeting the benchmarks in both reading/language arts and math, they met at least one of those benchmarks this year, which is an improvement, Patton said.
Southwest Virginia gets first veterans’ cemetery
Military veterans from across southwest Virginia paid a visit to Dublin on Sept. 22 to witness a monumental land transfer between the U.S. Army and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
As the Army conveyed 79.8 acres of its land to the Commonwealth, the Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery moved one step forward in its journey to completion.
That journey had been a long time coming, but officially began in 2006, when Ninth District Congressman Rick Boucher introduced a bill to the U.S. Congress, which passed and was signed into law by President Bush, directing that the land, which is located on Bagging Plant Road in Dublin, be transferred from the U.S. Army to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the purpose of establishing southwest Virginia’s first veterans cemetery.
At the ceremony, Boucher noted that the closest veterans cemetery in Virginia is in Amelia County, which is about five hours away from this area, so the need for a veterans cemetery in southwest Virginia is great.
As a higher percentage of the local population has served in the military than the national average, Boucher said that in order to "honor properly those southwest Virginians who have served the nation in uniform," he made it a goal to build a veterans cemetery in the Ninth district.
Along with Boucher, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine was in attendance at the ceremony.
The cemetery is expected to be completed by late 2010.
Pulaski Theatre open for business
The Pulaski Theatre sprung back to life this past November.
After being closed since 1991, the Pulaski Theatre, which is located on West Main Street in downtown Pulaski, hosted its first event in 17 years.
Two Christiansburg-based music groups performed, including The Down Home Gospel Band with Olen and Frances Gardner, and Statement., as the first of three performances in a live concert music series fund-raiser for theatre, "Holidays at the Pulaski Theatre."
The second performance in the series, titled "An Appalachian Christmas" was hosted in December, and featured bluegrass musicians from across the New River Valley, including the Cox Family and Friends, a group native to Pulaski.
On Sunday, Jan. 10, the Old Pros will perform, bringing the concert series to a close.
The theatre building, which was built in 1911 and officially became the Pulaski Theatre in 1937, closed to the public in 1991, and the property eventually began to deteriorate and fell into disrepair.
In 1992, ownership of the building fell into the hands of Pulaski County. When the county began to talk of demolishing the theatre building to make way for a parking lot, the Friends of the Pulaski Theatre group, formed in 1993, came to the rescue.
Since then, the group had been working to restore the theatre through numerous fund-raising efforts.
Nation elects first African American president
2008 proved to be a historic year in November when Americans elected the nation’s first African American president.
Although Democratic Sen. Barack Obama was defeated by Republican Sen. John McCain by a margin of 20 percent in local voting, Obama was victorious statewide and nationally.
Another historical aspect of the 2008 presidential campaign came during the primaries when the two top Democrats candidates were an African American and a woman, Hillary Clinton.
In local elections, the Town of Pulaski elected a new mayor this year. Pulaski voters selected Jeff Worrell, a veteran councilman, to fill the seat vacated by Charles Wade, who decided not to seek another term of office.
The year 2008 was a special one again for high school football in Pulaski County.
The Cougars made a strong bid for a state title after completing a perfect 10-0 regular season and winning the River Ridge District title.
Pulaski County was easily the dominant team in this region, putting an exclamation point on the season with a 38-0 whipping of perennial powerhouse Salem in the region championship game. It was the Cougars’ second consecutive win over arch rival Salem.
The Cougars eventually won 12 straight before finally being beaten in the state semi-finals by two-time defending state champion Amherst County, 13-7.
Following the season the awards and recognitions poured in to Pulaski County. Several Cougars, including head coach Jack Turner, were recognized with postseason honors. Tops among them was tailback Nubian Peak’s being named First Team All-State as a running back by the Associated Press. Brandon Hazzard and Josh Miller were also named Second Team All-State by the AP — Hazzard as a defensive lineman and Miller as an offensive tackle.

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Looking back at top stories of 2008

(Editor’s Note: Following are the top news stories for 2008 as selected by the editorial staff of The Southwest Times. With the exception of the top story, the selections appear in no specific order.)

Without a doubt, the economy was the dominating theme in news coverage during 2008, with an unprecedented number of business closings and layoffs being reported not only in Pulaski County but also across the nation.
The tone of the year appeared to be set in April when Volvo Trucks North America announced that a third of its workforce would be laid off in May. The cuts had been planned for earlier in the year, but a February strike delayed the action until mid-May.
Initially, the company anticipated cutting 650 workers permanently near the end of January. However, that figure had nearly doubled by May, when 1,100 employees (38 percent of the Dublin plant’s workforce) were placed on furlough.
At that time, it was hoped some of the workers would eventually be called back, but company spokesman Jim McNamara said Volvo officials preferred “not to speculate on how long the layoffs would last” when asked if they would be permanent.
“We’ll adapt to market demand,” he added.
However, the news only got worse for Pulaski County as the summer started drawing to a close.
In August, the company announced that as many as 200 more employees could be laid off in the fourth quarter of the year when production of Mack Trucks was moved from the Dublin plant to Pennsylvania.
A company press release said the move was part of a "jointly formulated" plan to increase the efficiency of its North American operations.
John Mies, vice president of corporate communications, said the impact on New River Valley employment "will depend on production volume at the time of the transfer. If we were to make the transfer at a time when we were raising the rates in the New River Valley, it’s conceivable that it would not impact the current active workforce. We would just not recall as many laid-off employees as we would otherwise.
"On the other hand, if we were still at today’s production volume (a total of about 80 trucks per day), at least 200 New River Valley employees would be laid off" when the transfer is made, he said.
Less than two weeks later, the news became even more grim when a letter sent from Volvo to Pulaski County Administrator Peter Huber revealed that 973 of the workers laid off in May would be permanently cut as a result of a declining economy and the Mack pullout.
The letter from Denise Hughes, the New River Valley plant’s human resources manager, stated that Volvo had anticipated a majority of the May layoffs to be temporary until build rates increased around September or October of 2008.
She said that although Volvo’s build rate is still expected to increase, the Mack unit closure and "deterioration of the American economy" have affected the company’s ability to recall the laid off workers.
She went on to say that only bargaining unit employees with UAW Local 2069 would "actually suffer a permanent employment loss" due to the Mack move. However, she added, "Volvo no longer projects" any of the laid off workers from May (those not affected by the Mack closure) "will be recalled … and therefore, (the) temporary layoffs are being extended indefinitely and … should be considered permanent."
As many as 540 positions were UAW “bargaining unit positions.” Hughes indicated that one non-bargaining (non-union) employee, a production advisor, was placed on extended layoff.
But the job losses didn’t stop there.
State budget cuts announced in October revealed another 62 county employees would be without work when Pulaski Correctional Center off Morgan’s Cut Road (Old Route 11) near Dublin is closed in late January.
In his October reduction plan for the 2009 fiscal year budget, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine estimated the state could save just over $1.6 million by closing the prison facility, which was constructed in 1955.
It is one of six correctional facilities statewide that the governor proposes to close to help make up for an estimated $2.5 billion shortfall in revenue through 2010.
Seventh District Rep. Dave Nutter (R-Christiansburg) expressed "complete surprise" by the planned closing of the Pulaski facility, noting that neither he nor county officials had any warning of the announcement. He noted that the decision will “further hurt a community already hard hit by the loss of thousands of jobs and with an unemployment rate approaching 9 percent."
Pulaski Correctional Center is one of the few Level 2 (minimum/low medium security) prisons available in the state.
Kaine’s reduction plan calls for the layoff of 567 state employees across the Commonwealth.
December proved to only worsen the local job market when four more area manufacturers which employ Pulaski County residents announced plans to either lay off workers or shut down completely.
Only months after its parent company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, a Intermet New River Foundry in Radford announced up to 140 workers would be laid off in January. The company already had laid off 56 employees in August. At that time, company officials said the plant still had 160 employees.
According to Intermet’s website, it is "one of the world’s foremost producers of cast-metal components for automotive and commercial-vehicle manufacturers."
But the slump in the automotive industry didn’t stop with Intermet.
Acument Global Technologies, a Wytheville company that also manufactures parts for the automotive industry, announced it will close next year, eliminating 160 jobs.
A spokesman for Acument told Associated Press that the closing is due to "very difficult automotive industry conditions."
Another Wytheville-based company with an operation center in Dublin also announced in December that it will cut its workforce by 25 percent beginning in 2009.
In addition to the Dublin facility, the company’s operations centers in Wytheville and Atkins also will be affected by the layoffs.
Camrett is a third-party logistics provider.
This is the first time in about a decade that Camrett has had to impose layoffs, the company reported. The first one was in 1999 and only affected four employees.
And finally, just before Christmas, the Xaloy plant off East Main Street in Pulaski laid off about 40 employees, or about a quarter of its workforce.
Mark Gaia, vice president of Human Resources for Xaloy’s corporate group, said the lay offs are a “general staff reduction” due to a decrease in business.
He said he anticipates the layoffs to be temporary.
Xaloy is a manufacturer of high-performance machinery components and equipment for the plastics industry.
On strike!
Without a doubt, one of the stories that captured many a headline during the first few months of the year was the strike at Volvo Trucks North America’s Dublin plant.
Members of United Auto Workers Local 2069 walked off the job Jan. 31 when contract negotiations broke down. The strike lasted for about a month and a half before workers and the company reached an agreement in mid-March.
The UAW contended the strike was about plant safety and recall rights, not money.
Pulaski loses a treasure
It was a sad time in the Town of Pulaski and across the county on the morning of Nov. 17 when residents awakened to find the town’s historic train station gutted by fire.
However, the sadness turned to relief when it quickly became evident that a good amount of historic items were able to be salvaged from the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Museum, which was housed in the building.
Work quickly got underway to preserve the salvaged items and to determine whether the wall structure could be repaired so the train station could be rebuilt. Town Manager John Hawley recently announced that insurance will cover 100 percent of the replacement cost and the town contracted with a Roanoke firm to shore up the structure pending the rebuild.
The fire was ruled accidental and apparently was the result of an electrical short.
Murders bracket year
Pulaski County authorities participated in two murder investigations during the past year – one in the county in January and the other just over the Pulaski/Wythe county line in December.
Just two weeks before the December incident took place, Richard Forest Mabry, 41, found out he will have to serve 30 years of a 50-year prison sentence for fatally stabbing an acquaintance Jan. 21.
Mabry was sentenced after pleading guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Dawn Meredith Wright. Wright’s body was found several feet off a gravel road in the "Bloomer’s Mountain" section of the county Jan. 23.
Mabry claimed he killed Wright as part of an initiation into a motorcycle gang.
A Wythe County man is charged with second-degree murder in connection with a shooting off Dyer Road near the Draper section of Pulaski County.
More than a dozen charges have been filed against 57-year-old Douglas Albert Jaccard of Dyer Road, who remains in custody at New River Valley Regional Jail.
Jaccard is alleged to have fatally shot a neighbor, Joseph Foster Bane on Dec. 16, wounded another neighbor and a Pulaski County deputy who responded to the scene, and to have set a fire that destroyed Bane’s home.
Hundreds of officers participated in a two-day manhunt for Jaccard before he was found hiding under a table in his residence after he returned there for food and medication.
Reassessments spark ire of citizens
Pulaski County residents packed the final two Board of Supervisors meetings of the year to complain about their new property reassessments.
The citizens called for the board to reject the new values placed on their property, saying they do not reflect the slump in property values of the past year. Many said they fear being forced off their property due to an inability to pay taxes on the “inflated” or “unreasonable” assessments, which in some cases doubled or quadrupled.
It remains unclear at this point whether the Board will chose to follow citizen suggestion to throw out the new figures and have assessments redone.
School division meets AYP goals
The Pulaski County Public School division met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals for the first time in 2008.
AYP is a calculation made yearly based on No Child Left Behind federal legislation. In these calculations, schools are required to make increasing benchmarks set forth by NCLB in all of several subgroups as well as by the entire school population in grades three through twelve.
"This is good news. We are very, very proud," said Glenda Patton, coordinator of testing and special projects for PCPS, who shared this news with the Pulaski County School Board during one of its meetings this past fall.
While as a school division, PCPS met AYP goals, not every school met individual AYP goals. Seven out of the nine schools in the county, including Pulaski County High School, both Pulaski and Dublin Middle School, Critzer Elementary, Snowville Elementary, Newbern Elementary and Riverlawn Elementary met AYP goals. However, Dublin Elementary and Pulaski Elementary did not.
Despite that fact, this is still an improvement from the 2006-07 school year, Patton said.
During the 2006-7 school year, only five of Pulaski County’s nine schools reached AYP goals (PES, DES, PMS and DMS did not make AYP last year) and as a school division, PCPS did not meet those goals overall.
In addition, while DES and PES did not make AYP this year, they improved from two areas of sanction to one, meaning that instead of not meeting the benchmarks in both reading/language arts and math, they met at least one of those benchmarks this year, which is an improvement, Patton said.
Southwest Virginia gets first veterans’ cemetery
Military veterans from across southwest Virginia paid a visit to Dublin on Sept. 22 to witness a monumental land transfer between the U.S. Army and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
As the Army conveyed 79.8 acres of its land to the Commonwealth, the Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery moved one step forward in its journey to completion.
That journey had been a long time coming, but officially began in 2006, when Ninth District Congressman Rick Boucher introduced a bill to the U.S. Congress, which passed and was signed into law by President Bush, directing that the land, which is located on Bagging Plant Road in Dublin, be transferred from the U.S. Army to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the purpose of establishing southwest Virginia’s first veterans cemetery.
At the ceremony, Boucher noted that the closest veterans cemetery in Virginia is in Amelia County, which is about five hours away from this area, so the need for a veterans cemetery in southwest Virginia is great.
As a higher percentage of the local population has served in the military than the national average, Boucher said that in order to "honor properly those southwest Virginians who have served the nation in uniform," he made it a goal to build a veterans cemetery in the Ninth district.
Along with Boucher, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine was in attendance at the ceremony.
The cemetery is expected to be completed by late 2010.
Pulaski Theatre open for business
The Pulaski Theatre sprung back to life this past November.
After being closed since 1991, the Pulaski Theatre, which is located on West Main Street in downtown Pulaski, hosted its first event in 17 years.
Two Christiansburg-based music groups performed, including The Down Home Gospel Band with Olen and Frances Gardner, and Statement., as the first of three performances in a live concert music series fund-raiser for theatre, "Holidays at the Pulaski Theatre."
The second performance in the series, titled "An Appalachian Christmas" was hosted in December, and featured bluegrass musicians from across the New River Valley, including the Cox Family and Friends, a group native to Pulaski.
On Sunday, Jan. 10, the Old Pros will perform, bringing the concert series to a close.
The theatre building, which was built in 1911 and officially became the Pulaski Theatre in 1937, closed to the public in 1991, and the property eventually began to deteriorate and fell into disrepair.
In 1992, ownership of the building fell into the hands of Pulaski County. When the county began to talk of demolishing the theatre building to make way for a parking lot, the Friends of the Pulaski Theatre group, formed in 1993, came to the rescue.
Since then, the group had been working to restore the theatre through numerous fund-raising efforts.
Nation elects first African American president
2008 proved to be a historic year in November when Americans elected the nation’s first African American president.
Although Democratic Sen. Barack Obama was defeated by Republican Sen. John McCain by a margin of 20 percent in local voting, Obama was victorious statewide and nationally.
Another historical aspect of the 2008 presidential campaign came during the primaries when the two top Democrats candidates were an African American and a woman, Hillary Clinton.
In local elections, the Town of Pulaski elected a new mayor this year. Pulaski voters selected Jeff Worrell, a veteran councilman, to fill the seat vacated by Charles Wade, who decided not to seek another term of office.
The year 2008 was a special one again for high school football in Pulaski County.
The Cougars made a strong bid for a state title after completing a perfect 10-0 regular season and winning the River Ridge District title.
Pulaski County was easily the dominant team in this region, putting an exclamation point on the season with a 38-0 whipping of perennial powerhouse Salem in the region championship game. It was the Cougars’ second consecutive win over arch rival Salem.
The Cougars eventually won 12 straight before finally being beaten in the state semi-finals by two-time defending state champion Amherst County, 13-7.
Following the season the awards and recognitions poured in to Pulaski County. Several Cougars, including head coach Jack Turner, were recognized with postseason honors. Tops among them was tailback Nubian Peak’s being named First Team All-State as a running back by the Associated Press. Brandon Hazzard and Josh Miller were also named Second Team All-State by the AP — Hazzard as a defensive lineman and Miller as an offensive tackle.

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