NEW HOULKA • The New Houlka Mayor and Board of Aldermen earlier this month approved naming the baseball field the Coach McDonald Baseball Field.

In other action during the meeting, aldermen approved a resolution to make the town of New Houlka smoke-free, and discussed a town clean-up day, but set no date.

The action honoring the late legendary coach McDonald came during the board’s 6:30 p.m. meeting Tuesday, Jan. 7.

McDonald, 71, died Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019 at his home in Houlka. The Houston native coached for many years for Houlka Attendance Center. He was a member of Houlka First Baptist Church.

McDonald retired following the 2017-18 season. He spent most of his career at Houlka, where he won three state championships and a Grand Slam title. He won a total of 1,772 games – 906 coaching girls, 866 with boys.

McDonald took teams to State Tournaments in Jackson 22 times, including his final season, when the boys reached the Class 1A semifinals.

McDonald was also an outstanding baseball coach, leading Houlka to a state title in 1973.

Over the years, Coach McDonald received uncounted awards. Among them: Kellogg‘s- Woman’s Basketball Coach of the year- 1977; induction into the Mississippi Coaches Hall of Fame- 2014; induction into the NEMS Basketball Coach Hall of Fame- 2012-2013; and induction into the NEMCABB- Coach Hall of Fame- 2014.

Some at his funeral were silent evidence of his legendary coaching ability: Honorary pallbearers were the 1973 Baseball State Champs, 1975 Girls Basketball Grand Slam Champs, 1977 Girls Basketball State Champs, and 2000 Boys Basketball State Champs.

Coach McDonald is survived by his wife of 43 years, Debbie Jo Houston McDonald of Houlka; his daughter, Jill Marie (Brad) Vance of Houlka; Bradley Hubert (Lauren) McDonald of Bruce; his sisters, Bonnie Sappington of Houlka, and Vicki (Donnie) Homan of Pontocola; and his grandchildren, Jade Gunnells, Addie Kate Vance, Jace Tutor, Lily Tutor, and Mary Haire, according to obituary information.

The mayor and board also took care of the following items of business during their meeting:

--Approved a motion to make the Town of New Houlka smoke free. The Town of New Houlka would be eligible for certain grants as a smoke free town. Attorney, Kevin Howe will write a resolution to be signed at the next board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020.

Presently there are smoke-free ordinances in place in Houston, Okolona and Woodland, according to Wikipedia. Houston’s ordinance, passed Sept. 3, 2016, bans smoking in all enclosed workplaces, including all bars and restaurants. Okolona’s, passed April 15, 2011; and Woodland’s passed. Dec. 3, 2016; contain the same language, according to Wikipedia.

More cities in Mississippi vote to go smoke-free every year, recognizing the value it brings to residents and visitors, according to the Mississippi Department of Health website.

There are 164 100 percent smoke-free communities and at least five smoke-free counties in Mississippi. Currently there are 129 communities which have ordinances that include restrictions on electronic cigarettes.

The reason for going smoke-free? Secondhand smoke, indoors and outdoors, presents a clear hazard to non-smokers, especially children, according to the MDH website.

--Discussed setting a date for clean-up day to clean to paint stripes on the streets, do some painting on City Hall, and get tree stumps on the square cleaned up. No motion was made. The details will be decided on a later date, aldermen said.

--Approved the agenda.

--Approved the Dec. 3 and Dec. 19 board minutes.

--Approved payment of claims.

--Heard reports from the Water Department and Police Department.

--Recessed until the board’s next regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, Feb. 4.

Those present included Mayor Jimmy Kelly; Alder- ladies Kimberly Murphree, Beverly Davidson, Bonnie Brown; Aldermen K. C. Gates and Dustin Eaton; City Clerk Janie Tutor; Attorney Kevin Howe; Police Chief Phillip Smith, and David Huffman.

All votes were unanimous, unless otherwise noted.

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