Top 10 feature stories of 2014

Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 3, 2015

Last year, the Item wrote dozens of human-interest stories about the community. From huge local winnings all the way to the community coming together to offer a helping hand, here are the top ten feature stories of the year.

The tenth feature story of the year highlights all the local wins achieved in Pearl River County. In January, the Pearl River Central High School Blue Angels dance team became Jazz State Champions after placing first in the Jazz category at the MHSAA state competition. But they weren’t the only ones to see first place. Picayune Memorial High School’s theatre group, High Tide Productions, won state championships. Also, the Pearl River County middle and high school show choirs, New Edition and Central Attraction, won first place at the Mississippi Show Choir Contest.

From local performing groups taking the prize to one local man being sworn in, the ninth story of the year centers on state representative Jeramey Anderson. He is the youngest member to be sworn in to the Mississippi Legislature and he once attended Pearl River Community College.

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The eighth feature story shows the power of community. In July, the city of Picayune initiated plans to restore the landscape along Goodyear Boulevard. Dozens of people from the community planted several live oak trees in the area in order to revitalize the community.

From tree planting to adorable puppies, the seventh feature story of the year shows an example of goodwill. During the 31 Heroes CrossFit event in August, Pearl River County’s SPCA was the recipient of hundreds of pounds of dog food.

The sixth story of the year goes to another local resident, Picayune Optometrist Dr. Lori Blackmer, for winning the Dr. James P. Brownlee Optometrist of the Year award from the Mississippi Optometric Association.

The fifth story goes to one local veteran, John Young, who was featured in a documentary. The Vietnam War documentary was called “Brother’s in War,” which premiered in March at the National World War II museum.

The fourth story of the year centers on the men and women who serve this country. Several military veterans in Mississippi received homes from Bank of America and Merrill Lynch in partnership with the Military Warriors Support Foundation.

The third story of the year is the profile of Brandi’s Hope program, which helps local adults with mental disabilities learn to be independent and live a fulfilling life. The Picayune location was founded in 2010, and the Picayune location is one of seven locations in the state of Mississippi, which has helped its members find jobs.

The second story of the year is all about the movies. Recently, Arcadian Cinemas announced plans to restore the local movie theater, Cinema IV theater. The projected opening is set for sometime in March 2015.

The number one feature story of the year centers on one courageous local man, who overcame an obstacle. Carl Sampson, who served in the Marine’s and the National Guard, dealt with major life-threatening injuries after his vehicle was hit with a missile during his deployment in Iraq in 2003. But after years of rehabilitation, he’s slowly regaining his strength.

While 2014 was filled with inspirational stories, only time will tell what stories the New Year will bring.