All posts by Joseph

Women Who Made Basketball History

On Sunday, October 29 at 2 p.m. three women from Independence County will tell their stories in Old Independence Regional Museum. They were part of the legendary women’s traveling professional basketball team known as the “Red Heads.” Mickey Gay is from Pleasant Plains, Sandra Mann lives in Locust Grove, and Glenda Ledbetter is from Floral.

Sandy Mann remembers, “I was in the seventh grade when the All American Red Heads came to our school in Desha and played. I went home from the game and told my parents that if they would put up a basketball goal in the backyard and get me a basketball, I was going to play with the Red Heads. They did, and I did.”

During several years in the 1960s Mann, Gay, and Ledbetter were part of the Red Heads, one of the nation’s first professional women’s basketball teams, barnstorming small towns across the U.S. and into Canada and Alaska. They traveled in inexpensive vehicles, planes and ships, were up half the night hand-washing their clothes, doing their dyed red hair.

Glenda Ledbetter said that playing basketball was only part of the job. “We were there to entertain, so we had dribbling, ball handling routines, and trick shots such as the Spin Shot, Knee Shot, Head Shot, Flip Shot and a Piggy Back Shot.  At halftime, I would do the Dipsy Doodle. Holding the basketball with both hands, I would bend over, throw the ball back through my legs up into the basket.”

The Red Heads played exclusively against men’s local teams, using the men’s rules, and routinely beat them. Once they won 96 games in 96 days, with three days off and three doubleheaders. Under Coach Orwell Moore the team played 2,116 games, winning 1,813 and losing 303.

In 2012, a great day arrived for the many Red Heads. The New York Times covered the story when the All American Red Heads, which had started in 1936 and disbanded in 1986, were officially inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Massachusetts.   
Museum Curator Twyla Gill Wright said, “We hope to have a good crowd out for the program so people can enjoy hearing these women tell about their days on the court, and to show our pride in these local athletes from days gone by.” The work they did as barnstorming women helped break new ground for their gender and pave the way for the thriving industry that is women’s basketball today.  

A book has just been published about the Red Heads, including sections featuring these three women, and many others. Barnstorming America, Stories from the Pioneers of Women’s Basketball by John Molina is now available on line.

The program will be free and open to the public.  Normal museum hours are: Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission is $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for seniors and $1.00 for children.  The museum is located at 380 South 9th street, between Boswell and Vine Streets in Batesville.  

Old Independence is a regional museum serving a 12-county area: Baxter, Cleburne, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Marion, Poinsett, Sharp, Stone, White, and Woodruff.  Parts of these present-day counties comprised the original Independence County in 1820’s Arkansas territory.
Twyla Wright – Curator of Exhibits

Run The Wave!

 The White River Health System (WRHS) Foundation, in partnership with the WRMC Breast Care Center, will host its Annual Run the Wave 5K Run/Walk in Batesville on Saturday, October 28, 2017. This year’s event is an evening race starting at 6:00 p.m. We are thrilled to celebrate the courage of our breast cancer survivors and create awareness for WRHS’ initiative to fight breast cancer through the latest treatments and most advanced care.
The WRMC Breast Care Center is designed to ensure access to education, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship resources for patients. If you are interested in sponsoring the WRMC 5K, contact Amanda Roberts at 870-262-1927. To learn more about the race or to sign up, contact Jennifer Dorris at 870-262-1161.  

United Way Angel Tree Applications Available  

United Way of North Central Arkansas’ Angel Tree Program helps hundreds of children each year know the joy of opening a gift on Christmas morning.  Whether it’s a toy or new clothing, it’s a special moment that we want every family to share.  
The Angel Tree Program will be assisting low income families in Independence County with Christmas gifts for their children and it’s time for parents/guardians to pick up applications.  The applications may be picked up from the Department of Human Services at 100 Weaver Ave, Batesville, Arkansas, or the United Way office located in the First Community Bank building – Southside Branch at 1 Allen Chapel Road beginning October 2, 2017.  The applications are to be returned to DHS no later than Tuesday, October 31, 2017 for processing.  No applications will be accepted after October 31, 2017.

All information on the application is strictly confidential for those receiving services. The criteria for eligibility are:
1. Children must be ages 2 (two) – 10 (ten) and living in the home listed; and
2. The household must be receiving S.N.A.P. (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program).

United Way relies upon individuals and businesses to select an Angel and provide them with the gift of joy on Christmas morning.  Names will be available to purchase gifts for the Angels from November 15th through December 1st.

For more information or to volunteer, please contact the United Way office at 793-5991 or by email at

Museum to Host Fall Family Day “Welcome to the Carnival”

Celebrate the fall season with Old Independence Regional Museum at Fall Family Day on Saturday, October 21 from 10am to 2pm.  The event is free and open to the public.  This year’s program theme is “Welcome to the Carnival”.  Visitors will be able to try their hand at various carnival games and win prizes.

“We hope everyone will join us for this fun family event,” states Humanities Educator Terri Crawford.  The carnival will include various games and crafts, including ring tosses, duck pond picks, leaf drawing, and more.  A variety of prizes will be awarded to the lucky winners.  Be sure to bring your camera so you can take a photo against the carnival backdrop.  

Admission to the event is free as are all games and crafts.        “We are proud to announce that First Community Bank is our sponsor for the day. We appreciate the support of our local community which allows us to offer this type of free programming,” commented Crawford.

Museum volunteers will host a concession stand with carnival foods available for purchase.  Proceeds from concessions will be used to support the museum’s general operating fund.  In addition, the Museum gift shop has stocked up for the day with many new items for kids and families.  Claudia Nobles, gift shop manager, notes that the gift shop has several great Christmas gift ideas such as plush animals, finger puppets, educational toys, and historical books.  

This humanities program is made possible by local support from Independence County and the City of Batesville, as well as by Challenge Grant Endowment funding from the National Endowment of the Humanities.  Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Old Independence serves a 12-county area:  Baxter, Cleburne, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Marion, Poinsett, Sharp, Stone, White, and Woodruff.  Parts of these present-day counties comprised the original Independence County in 1820s Arkansas territory.

The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for seniors and $1.00 for children.  The museum is located at 380 South 9th street, between Boswell and Vine Streets in Batesville.   During your visit, stop by our gift shop.  We stock many items from local artists, authors, and crafters, as well as historical toys and games.
Contact:  Terri Crawford                Humanities Educator
Phone:    (870) 793-2121

74th White River Water Carnival Schedule

The Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC) and 2017 sponsors are pleased to announce the 74th Annual White River Water Carnival schedule of events that will take place on Saturday, September 16, at Riverside Park in Batesville.
The 2017 schedule of events is as follows:
10 a.m.        MDA Firetruck Pull  /  River City Cruisers Car Show
11 a.m.        Vendors Open / Food Truck Festival Begins / Kid Zone Opens /Smokin’ on the White BBQ Championship Open to Public
12 p.m.        Aquafly Performance (Professional Hydroflight Team)
3 p.m.        Car Show Awards Ceremony
3:30 p.m.    Aquafly Performance
4:00 p.m.    Keith Symanowitz Live
5:00 p.m.    74th Annual White River Water Carnival Parade
6:30 p.m.    Aquafly Performance
7:00 p.m.    Bad Boy Mower Giveaway /  Lockhouse Orchestra Live
8:30 p.m.    Aquafly Performance (LED Night Show)