Staff picks for 2015: A collection of some of our favorite stories

Published 11:59 am Monday, January 4, 2016

Although some of our readers’ favorite stories included big, surprising news events—like Old Kiln Road washing out—the staff picks for their favorites stories were a bit different in tone.

Football star Heidelberg Recognized

In September, Lumberton’s Willie Heidelberg was voted into the state’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Picayune Item published a look at his career Oct. 9. Heidelberg shined as a high school athlete, then went on to do very well at PRCC and then at University of Southern Mississippi, where he led the Golden Eagles to a win against Archie Manning’s Rebels.

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Blue Devils make statement

On Nov. 6 the Pearl River County Blue Devils swept past the Maroon Tide, ending a 20-year losing streak against their cross-county rivals.

Locals pay respects to two murdered Hattiesburg Police Officers

On May 11, the city of Hattiesburg held a memorial service for two fallen officers at

the Lake Terrace Convention Center, where family, friends and police officers nationwide, including some from Pearl River County, were in attendance.


Local farm trains, breeds and competes Paso Finos

On April 3, the Picayune Item took a look at a Poplarville family that trains, breeds and competes Paso Finos. The Horse Haven ranch is home to the top 85 Paso Fino horses, which are the oldest native breed of horses in the Western Hemisphere.


Living with ALS: Couple remains positive

On March 7, the Picayune Item published a profile of high school sweethearts Cindy and Billy Dyle. They married in 1977 and had two children, Leslie and Lance, but then in 2005, Billy Dyle was diagnosed with ALS, a neurodegenerative disease more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Needless to say, the diagnosis turned the couple’s lives upside down as Cindy left her job to take care of her husband.


The Gift of Life: Local mother donates hope

On May 9, the Picayune Item profiled Brenda DeArmas, who suffered from a rare condition known as floating kidney, a condition that caused her chronic pain. Doctors told her that removing her kidney could ease her pain. Doctors located 32-year-old mother of three Tenesha Dickens, who had suffered from kidney failure for six years.

DeArmas was a perfect match for Dickens and the transplant was completed on April 9. As a result of this, Dickens is now able to participate in activities with her children and lead a life without the weekly dialysis treatments.


Protecting traditional ways

On Dec. 10, the Picayune Item published a profile of Billy Frank Brown, who lives in the Silver Run area. Brown’s family was among the first Europeans in this area, and he still used a 175-year old barn and he maintains historically significant cattle and horse breeds.


Small community emptied for rocket testing

On Oct. 9, the Picayune Item took a closer look at the former community of Gainesville, a town that was moved to make way for the John C. Stennis Space Center. The story was told through the eyes of Henry Hann, a former resident of the town.


Standoff ends without incident

On Feb 27, a routine traffic stop in Picayune turned into a standoff between a man and police after Joseph Ryan Sumrall barricaded himself inside his home. Luckily, no one was injured and Sumrall surrendered peacefully.


Local veteran Livaudias shares his story about his service during the war

Last May, Livaudias, then 98, sat down with the Picayune Item and shared his memories of fighting in WWII.