County administrator says jailer starting pay too high

LaKeisha Jones sentenced to 10 years for child neglect

CPSO helps nab two more men for child porn

Southwest Miss. jobless rates released

Adams shooter gets just six months in jail

Visit the CPSO Facebook page at

Natchez home prices may drop a bit

Zillow says the average Natchez home is worth $109,000, up from $99,000 a year ago. Natchez homes are expected to drop 1.3% in value over the next year.

Adams County supervisors approved the hiring of a jailer at the rate of $13.23 for the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. County Administrator Angie King complained that starting salary for new employees should be $12.60. Deputy Billy Neely pointed out the jail is short three jailers, and the increased pay rate will not put the department over its budget. Further, Neely suggested the increased rate was offered because of the employee’s experience and was necessary to secure the employee.

LaKeisha Jones, 29, plead guilty to two counts of felony child neglect and received two five year terms in prison. Judge Lillie Sanders said the sentences will be served consecutively. One of her children, Armani, was beaten and died at her boyfriend’s hands and the other, Lailah, was severely injured in 2019.

The CPSO Cyber Crime Unit began an investigation into an adult subject, who initiated conversation with a minor online for sexual purposes. Over the course of a week, the subject transmitted multiple lewd photos to the minor, planned meeting at a motel room for sexual purposes and engaging in the use of narcotics. Detectives were able to positively identify the subject and warrants were obtained for his arrest. Arrested was Earl Curtis Achord III, 39, of Denham Springs, on charges of indecent behavior with juveniles, computer aided solicitation of a minor and contractor fraud charges.

The Concordia Chamber of Commerce honored locals for their achievements at the annual reception at the Vidalia Convention Center including Syrah Technologies (Business of the Year), David Hedrick (Concordian of the Year), Weeks Furniture (50-Year Service Award), Austin Lipsey (Young Professional Under 40), Mark Welch (Guy Murray Volunteer of the Year), Will Miller (Farmer of the Year) and Tim Vanier (First Responder of the Year).

Judge Lillie Sanders reduced the bond of accused shooter killer Tayshon Holmes so he could be released earlier this year. Now he’s been arrested again, this time in Jackson for shooting at a relative. DA Shameca Collins said she will ask the judge to cancel the bond.

Franklin County's $13.9 million overall budget, which came together following a series of public meetings during August and behind-the-scenes calculations by county staffers, does not call for an increase in ad valorem taxes. Supervisors will not raise taxes.

The CPSO Cyber Crime Unit began an investigation with the Catahoula Parish Sheriff’s Office, after receiving a cyber-tip generated by the NationalCenter for Missing & Exploited Children. According to information received, multiple files had been downloaded by a Jonesville resident, which contained child sexual abuse material. In addition, evidence was discovered that the subject had also engaged in an ongoing attempt to purchase such material online. On September 15, a search warrant was executed at the residence, at which time multiple electronic devices were seized; however, it was learned that the suspect had relocated to Missouri for military training. A warrant was issued for his arrest which was served on September 16, when he was taken into custody by Missouri officials. He will be booked into the Catahoula Parish Jail upon extradition. The matter remains under investigation. Arrested was Kadarien M. Osteen, 18, of Jonesville for two counts of pornography involving juveniles.

Javonte Butler, 23, of Natchez, was arrested this past April for shooting into an occupied dwelling and drive by shooting. He was already out on bond for fleeing law enforcement, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. In 2019, he was convicted of stealing a pistol from Peddlers Pawn. Earlier this month, he appeared in Judge Lillie Sanders court and plead guilty to possession of weapon by a felon. The fleeing an officer and resisting arrest charges were dropped by the court. He was sentenced to five years, with 4 1/2 years suspended and six months to serve with credit for time served. He has been in jail for about five months awaiting trial. Judge Sanders says he must serve another month in jail before he is freed and will be on parole.

Adams County reports a jobless rate of 6.3%, Jefferson 15% , Claiborne 10.6%, Franklin 5.8%, Amite 5.7%, and Wilkinson 7.4%.

Jonesville police arrested Jamel Omari Effat of Crestview, Fla., following a traffic stop. As a passenger in the vehicle, he possessed marijuana, THC products and THC paste. He was charged with possession with intent to distribute. He was arrested in Okaloosa County, Florida in March for possession of meth with intent to distribute.

Dewayne M. Young, 34, of Natchez, was arrested for felony possession of a concealed weapon. He has been previously arrested for possession of three large bags of marijuana and for aggravated assault for shooting and wounding another man. Because of his criminal history, he could been denied bond. But he was cut a break and his bond set at $25,000. If his family can raise $2,500 in cash, he can bond out. So far, he’s still in jail.

Ferriday Mayor Rydell Turner has suspended Police Chief Sam King for alleged insubordination. King has been police chief since May. King has appealed the suspension to the aldermen.

Three candidates are running for Circuit Judge in Adams, Franklin and Amite: Debra Blackwell, Tim Blalock and Eileen Maher. Election Day is Nov. 8.

Truck driver Richard Reeves, 65, of Bogue Chitto, died in a two vehicle accident, when his Peterbilt rig was struck by a motorist attempting to cross Hwy. 84 near Five Star c-store near Meadville. Brooklynn Cupit, 17, of Meadville, was driving the Honda that attempted to cross the westbound lanes when the collision occurred. Reeves was declared dead at the scene. The Miss. Highway Patrol is continuing its investigation.

Taylor Ragonesi, 19, does not yet have a sentencing date. She pled guilty to one count of cruelty to a juvenile as part of the Noah’s Ark daycare child abuse case. The other three women received 7, 9 and 12 years for multiple counts. Ragonesi will receive a lighter sentence due to her conviction on just one count.

Judge Debra Blackwell has ordered Xavier Jenkins to serve the remainder of his 15 year sentence for accessory to attempted murder, canceling his parole, after he burglarized Woodhaven subdivision cars and then shot at a homeowner. He has 13 1/2 years to serve.

Tamika Mason, 45, of Ferriday, was arrested by CPSO deputies, charged with two counts of possession of Schedule II drugs with intent to distribute and criminal damage to property.

Neighborhood Wireless will host a free tablet and smartphone giveaway at Copiah Lincoln Community College’s Natchez campus from Sept. 20 until 3 p.m. The event was shared on the college’s Facebook page. The tablets with data and smartphones with talk, text and data are free for qualifying consumers with an income of less than $56,000 per year, according to Neighborhood Wireless.

The Miss. Highway Patrol is investigating the pedestrian death of Herman Lee Davis, 69, of Doloroso. Davis was walking along Hwy. 61 in Wilkinson County on Monday, when he was struck by a passing Ford or Lincoln. Davis died of his injuries. The motorist did not stop to render aid. May God care for Mr. Davis and his family.

Adams County supervisors passed a new budget, calling for $32.4 million in expenditures and $33.1 million in revenues with a 1.93 mill tax increase. Supervisors said they are passing along a school request for more money from the schools. The supervisors will report a surplus of over $1 million for FY 2022-2023.

Woodville will its increase its millage by 5.56 mills (55.62 to 61.18 mills) for the next budget year. The town's budget is $2.5 million. Centreville is increasing its millage by 8 mills (38 to 46 mills), expecting a $2.4 million budget.

The Adams County Volunteer Fire Department has received a $97,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. The grant requires a five percent match from county funds, for a total of $101,550.

The Bude Board of Aldermen voted to adopt the town’s budget of $423,000 for fiscal year 2023 without raising ad valorem taxes, which had been suggested during planning for the revenue and spending proposal. Town officials had originally floated the idea of increasing taxes by 5 mills, but that effort was shelved after residents responded negatively to the proposal during an August public hearing.

The Franklin County Board of Supervisors opened sealed quotes on for repair work on the Clear Springs Road bridge. Quotes received for the project were from Dozer LLC in the amount of $79,320 and from Midway Construction totaling $58,840. The Board accepted Midway's lower price.

Vidalia utility ratepayers to get 50 percent rebate

Fish kills reported in La. fresh waters

Natchez shelter has no more room for animals

Shooting kills Vidalia man

Ferriday aldermen reject bank building purchase

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Natchez City Budget Tops $51 Million

The budget includes a $2 million deficit

The Natchez city budget is up 37 percent in four years. Aldermen approved a new city budget 2022-2023 that will spend $51 million. With $49 million in revenues, the $2 million deficit will be covered by existing cash balances, estimated to be over $10 million. The city budget was just $37 million in 2019-2020. There will be no property tax increase. A motion to fund the Natchez chapter of the NAACP with $50,000 failed. The city will continue to participate in federal programs that repair a very few poor people’s homes, but will not subsidize those repairs with local taxpayers’ money. The city’s cash position has improved significantly in the last two years because federal subsidies to municipalities have increased dramatically. The city is getting more revenue from property tax collections. The millage has stayed the same. But assessments have risen greatly (county does all assessments for city and county). The city has also benefited from increased city sales tax collections, which are up since the pandemic shutdown. The new budget starts Oct. 1.

Vidalia will rebate 50 percent of customers' annual utility bills to residential and business ratepayers. Hydro royalties topped $19 million this year, and after paying bills, allocating the rebate and reserve funds, the town will have another $5 million available for capital projects.

La. wildlife officials reported fish kills in fresh waters because of high temps and a low amount of oxygen in streams and rivers across the state. The Black River in Jonesville was no exception to the rule when reports of an overwhelming number of dead fish were seen floating on top of the water. The majority were silver bullet carp, but some spoon bill, catfish, and German carp were in the mixture. Dead fish building up at the Black River locks is causing a mess and stench in the air.

The Natchez-Adams County Humane Society Shelter cannot accept more animals now, because it is at capacity. Natchez's animal control officer really has no place to put stray dogs at the moment.

Nicholas Brown, 27, and Darius McMorris, 26, both of Vidalia, shot at each other on Gillespie St. in Vidalia. Brown was killed and McMorris has been detained as a suspect for murder. Henry Jefferson Jr., 28, of Ferriday, was driving the car from which McMorris shot. He is expected to be arrested also.

Ferriday aldermen turned down Mayor Rydell Turner's request to buy the Concordia Bank branch in Ferriday for $3000,000 and issue a bond to cover the cost. Turner wants to use the bank building as a new city hall. Aldermen believe town finances are too stretched to make the purchase. Concordia Bank in Ferriday plans to move to the Tensas State Bank location on E.E. Wallace Blvd.

The Concordia Parish Police Jury will spend $2 million to repave B J, East, Eagle, Freeman, Guido, Sage and Stephens roads. These roads were identified in a FEMA disaster 4462 for Mississippi River seepage waters. The parish has a cost share to the project and has pledged additional funding to help renovate the roads as a whole, not just the parts identified by FEMA as damaged.

In March, the state coordinator for Mental Health informed supervisors from the nine counties serviced by Region 11 that the operation was not providing adequate mental health services along with being in a financial crisis. Since that time, leaders from Franklin, Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Jefferson, Lawrence, Pike and Wilkinson counties have met several times to discuss the lingering situation and ultimately develop an action plan. In May, the counties hired Chuck Lambert, formerly employed with the state’s Audit Department, to conduct an independent financial review of the books at Region 11 with the nine counties splitting the cost for undertaking that service. Since the time of the first meeting between the local governmental entities, Adams County has expressed a desire to remove itself from Region 11 altogether and form its own region, and Claiborne, Jefferson and Wilkinson Counties are also leaning in that direction.

Adams County supervisors expressed their dissatisfaction with County Administrator Angie King’s work. King had misplaced expenditures in the road department budget that didn’t belong there and amended the proposed county budget line items without supervisors’ input. Last week, supervisors discovered they had a $800,000 budget overrun for salaries, mostly because of raises. This week, they learned that $2 million in FEMA grant funds expected will not arrive in time for this budget year. Two weeks ago, county vehicles were not able to get gas because the county administrator did not process gas invoices on a timely basis.

Some Natchez politicians said that the number of  local jobs has been growing at a frenetic pace. Natchez-Adams has 9,880 employed in workers today, whereas it had 10,330 with jobs in 2019.

While some murders in Mississippi can bring the death penalty or life in prison, being found guilty of child homicide brings up to 30 years not life in prison nor the death penalty. When Judge Lillie Sanders sentenced James Anderson to 20 years for the death of one child, she did cut him a lighter sentence. When she assigned 20 years to him for child endangerment of the second child, she cut him slack again by ordering the sentences to be carried out concurrently instead of consecutively. If she had chosen the stricter sentence, he would have received 20 plus 20 for 40 years to serve. Instead he will serve no more than 20, which could be cut to 10 with early parole.

LaKeshia Jones goes in trial Sept 21 in Adams County Circuit Court in two charges of neglect (deprivation) in the care of her daughters. That alleged lack of care contributed to the death of one daughter and the serious injury of the other. If convicted, she could face 1-20 years in jail and up to a $20,000 fine.

The Concordia Parish School Board has temporarily moved its employees out of its Carter St. offices because of a mold problem. The board expects to pass a new budget for the 22-23 school year later this month. That budget will be $60 million. The district serves 3,261 students.

Mississippi can continue to take away the right to vote of those who have committed serious felonies. The ACLU said Mississippi law targeted blacks. But the federal appeals court agreed with the state, saying the state was not discriminating but applying the law to all races based on the crimes committed. If a person is convicted of murder or rape or 20 other serious crimes, he loses his right to vote.

Franklin County deputies arrested Isaiah Turner, 33, of Brookhaven, for allegedly dealing drugs at the Franklin County High football game. His bond was set at $150,000.

Earl Hefley of Natchez has died. The Natchez businessman owned Hefley’s Refrigeration and Appliance, the leading appliance repair company in the area for more than a generation. He served in years back as a cross country coach for Cathedral and Trinity schools. Known for his quiet demeanor, Earl was a conscientious and honest businessman who had earned the trust of several thousand homeowners for his good work. He was 75.

Adams County deputies arrested Jeremy Junkin, 30, for alleged kidnapping and aggravated assault with a firearm. Junkin fired shots at the victim’s house, entered the home and held the man, his cousin, with the threat of shooting him over a woman. Junkin assaulted the man physically and later left the home. The victim called ACSO and Junkin was arrested.

A Jefferson County man was found guilty in U.S. District Court following a four-day jury trial of three counts of possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Prosecutors said Boris Ward, 49, was also found guilty on one count of selling 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, one count of possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon, and one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. According to court documents, Ward conducted two controlled sales of a half-ounce of methamphetamine in JeffersonCounty on June 1st and June 13th, 2018. After the two controlled sales, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and other agencies executed a search warrant at Ward’s residence and recovered 10 firearms and over 540 grams of 100% pure methamphetamine. Ward was previously convicted of a 2022 felony drug crime in JeffersonCounty. He was dealing drugs in both Jefferson and Adams counties. He will be sentenced on January 11, 2023. He faces a maximum term of life imprisonment. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.

Adams County’s vehicles were not able to get gas two weeks ago week because of unpaid Fuelman bills. All invoices are submitted to the county administrator and then the bookkeeping department for payment. Kaiser’s Petroleum extended the sheriff’s office and some other county vehicles special credit so deputies could get gas and perform their duties.

Vidalia police arrested Dylan Troxler, 21, of Vidalia, for possession of Schedule 1 drugs with intent to sell and possession of a firearm while possessing controlled substances. Bond was set at $50,000.

The annual Mississippi English Motor Club’s car show will be held this Sept. 17 on the Natchez Bluff. The show starts at 10 a.m. and most cars will join the lineup by 11 a.m. on Saturday. Awards will be announced at 3 p.m.

The Franklin County Board of Supervisors voted to appoint Elizabeth Rushing as the interim District 2 Election Commissioner to serve in that post until a special election to fill the vacancy is held in November. Also appearing on the November ballot will be two of FranklinCounty’s five Board of Education positions. Gloria C. Hayes and Vanessa Walker filed to seek re-election to their respective seats with no challengers. Hayes, who represents District 1, currently serves as school board president, and Walker, from District 2, is the panel’s vice president. The general election ballot will also feature several other important races, including the battle for Mississippi’s Second Congressional District seat between Democrat incumbent Bennie G. Thompson and Republican challenger Brian Flowers. Also, voters will have judicial races for chancery and circuit courts to consider. In the Fourth Chancery Court District, which includes Franklin, Amite, Pike and Walthall counties, the two incumbent judges — Debbra K. Halford in Place 1 and Wayne Smith in Place 2 — are unopposed in their bid to seek re-election. In the Sixth Circuit Court District, incumbent Place 2 Judge Debra W. Blackwell will face off against challengers Timothy David Blalock and Eileen M. Maher. The Place 1 Circuit Court seat will see a change after long-time Judge Lillie Blackmon Sanders withdrew her candidacy for re-election in July. Candidates qualifying for that post include Lydia Roberta Blackmon, Carmen Brooks Drake and Scott J. Pintard.

The Catahoula Parish School Board adopted a proposed budget $21 million dollars for the fiscal year 2022-2023, with a projected deficit of $425,000.

The Miss. Highway Patrol is investigating the pedestrian death of Herman Lee Davis, 69, of Doloroso. Davis was walking along Hwy. 61 in WilkinsonCounty on Monday, when he was struck by a passing Ford or Lincoln. Davis died of his injuries. The motorist did not stop to render aid.

The Vidalia Conference and Convention Center is the optimal location for an event to remember. The facility is crested along the bank of the majestic Mississippi River, in Vidalia, Louisiana, directly across from Historic Natchez, Mississippi. Located on the Vidalia Riverfront adjacent to the Clarion Suites Hotel, and just North of the Riverfront R.V. Park. 20,000 Square Feet of Rental Space for Conventions, Parties, Exhibits, Weddings and Special Events. For more info, call 318-336-9934.

386 Liberty Road, Natchez. Ben and Bubba Wroten, owners. 24-hour towing, free insurance estimates, expert paint and body work at a fair price.

Johnson Sentences Daycare Defendants

Judge Kathy Johnson

Concordia-Catahoula Judge Kathy Johnson sentenced the Noah's Ark daycare defendants, who had all plead guilty. Julianne Perales was sentenced to three years per count on six counts of abuse, three counts to be to be served consecutively and three counts concurrently, for a total of 12 years in prison. Bridget K. Delaughter was sentenced to three years on each of three counts to be served consecutively, for a total of nine years, with credit for time served. Lysa Richardson was sentenced to three years on the first count, two years for the second count and two years on the third count. She will serve seven years. Taylor Ragonesi’s sentencing has been delayed to Sept. 16. Each defendant could have gotten up to 20 years for each count. If they behave in jail, they will be eligible for parole in three to five years.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said the city’s finances and accounting procedures improved dramatically in 2021, noting the city finished the fiscal year with a $1.7 million surplus. CPA firm Silas Simmons said the city sill had major negative findings in its audit. Local governments are required by law to break even or show a surplus. Some have difficulty doing so because of excessive spending. Silas Simmons and Gillon CPAs have had difficulty compiling accurate reports for the city in the past because the city’s own accounting was filled with discrepancies and illegalities. Despite the recent theft and embezzlement, the mayor and new City Clerk Megan McKenzie have made progress in making the accounting much more accurate, the latest audit reveals.

Recent heavy rains have damaged the soybean and milo crops in Concordia Parish, with damage or losses of 15-50 percent, depending on the location. Cotton harvesting is just beginning. It's too early to tell how much the cotton will be affected. The parish received more than 15 inches of rain in a week.

Natchez residents from the Minorville neighborhood have asked aldermen in public session to give them money from the city budget to fix their dilapidated homes. The residents said they are lower income, black and live in a historic neighborhood and deserve special help. Aldermen listened attentively but haven’t voted the homeowners any money yet.

Roosevelt Lewis, 18, was arrested by Ferriday police, after he tried to bring a gun into the Ferriday-Richmond football game. He was charged with possession of a weapon on school property.

Franklin County Sheriff Tom Tindle said Richard Gibson, 44, of Meadville has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with a shooting that was reported on Sims Lane off Gloster Road prior to midnight on Sept. 2. The victim, who was not immediately identified by authorities, died as a result of the gunshot wound he sustained during the altercation. Gibson’s bond has been set at $300,000.

Adams County supervisors said they may start on the Morgantown Road widening and resurfacing project soon. However, they have not let out any bids for the $2.4 million project. At this point, not that much construction can be done because supervisors have not added extra funds to the project. The cost should be more than $1 million per mile. The county says it will apply for an MDEQ grant to improve drainage along Morgantown Road.

Franklin County supervisors drafted a budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2023 that will not result in any increase in ad valorem taxes.

According to Natchez city code, a vicious dog is defined as a dog that has previously attacked another animal or dog or has chased or attacked a person. The owner of the vicious dog is supposed to post a sign that says BAD DOG HERE on his property. Owners of roaming vicious dogs can be cited and their animals impounded. The owners of vicious dogs that bite, attack, injure or kill can be held liable for damages.

New air conditioning units were installed on top of Jonesville’s Block High “B” building.

Natchez and Vidalia police worked together to arrest four juveniles who stole three vehicles from Miss. Auto Direct. The juveniles were captured by VPD for racing the stolen cars. A follow up investigation by NPD found that two of the kids possessed stolen weapons at their homes. Those two may be charged as adults.

The new district lines for State Senate District #37 shift the district north to include Jefferson and Claiborne and even Copiah counties. The shift makes it less likely that Melanie Sojourner can retain her seat. The RINOs that lead the Miss. GOP have never supported Sojourner's conservatism and decided to redistrict her out.

Natchez aldermen will install synthetic turf at two of the ball fields at Duncan Park.

The women striking at Dutch Ann Foods in Natchez have gone back to work. They received raises in pay to $11 per hour. They have asked the company for air conditioning and have been promised fans. But so far, the fans haven’t arrived yet. The women still feel they are underpaid compared to their male counterparts. And they said they might strike again if pay and working conditions aren’t improved.

Kellie Palermo, 41, of Maurice, La., was arrested by Vidalia police for stealing a motor vehicle. In 2019, she stole a vehicle in Crowley. In 2017, she stole one in Franklin Parish.

Terry Lee Thompson Floyd, an Adams County Road Department employee, died unexpectedly at the road maintenance facility on Friday, apparently from natural causes. She was 41.

Ron Miller, Natchez’s top historic preservationist, has died. He and his wife, Mimi, helped bring Natchez into the national limelight in preservation over a 30 year period. Miller helped organize and lead the Historic Natchez Foundation for a generation. He and his wife convinced the Natchez public that preservation was in the community’s interest and its economic future. He was 78.

The Natchez School District said it passed a budget for the fiscal year starting Oct 1 that did not include a local revenue increase request. That budget included millions extra in federal funds to help remodel and build the new schools for the current year expenditures. Now Adams supervisors are saying they will raise property taxes 1.93 mills to cover “an increase” in school spending.

Following a complaint to the La. Humane Society, Concordia deputies arrested Marshal Jones, 43, of Vidalia, for neglect and cruelty to his starving dog.

Concordia Parish now has 6,698 people employed and a 5.9 percent jobless rate. Employment has increased by 197 workers in the past year.

Workers on a barge on the Mississippi River 15 miles south of Natchez found the body of a female floating on the river. Authorities said the 39-year-old woman committed suicide.

Trinity Medical has dropped its masking requirement for employees and visitors.

Twenty white jars filled with 77.9 grams of marijuana, one jar of THC paste and four THC vapor liquids were confiscated during a traffic stop in Jonesville. Sergeant Destiny Davis conducted a stop at 604 Fourth St. in Jonesville after radar indicated the vehicle was traveling 53- mph in a 40-mph zone. Unable to see inside the vehicle Sergeant Davis called for backup from Officer Austin White. Once officers approached five occupants were seen in the rental vehicle with a Florida license plate. A marijuana like smell was noticed by officers and when questioned the driver, Jaukeen Deonte Smith, advised there was a little weed inside the vehicle that belonged to passenger Jamel Omari Effatt. The suspect claimed to have a medical card to use marijuana, but the authenticity of the card could not be verified and by law Louisiana does not accept out of state cards for medical marijuana. A backpack full of a leafy like substance was obtained from Effatt. K9 Officer Mike and Catahoula Parish Sheriff Office Deputy Williamson were called for a canine search. KP Mike alerted to the backseat driver’s door where more green leafy substances were found along with $1,130 in cash. Effatt was transported to Jonesville Police Department where he was charged, booked, and transported to CPSO for processing and housing. Charges against Effatt consisted of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and drug paraphernalia.

Clayton aldermen are expected to raise monthly sewer rates from $22.50 to $30.00.

ATM's at all our branches.

Tyberia Bell's Alleged Killer Arrested

Matt Lee Mason Jr. is accused of the strangulation death of Tyberia Bell

The Vidalia Police Department arrested Matt Lee Mason Jr. for the strangulation murder of Tyberia Bell that occurred Aug. 21. After an extensive and still ongoing investigation, investigators were able to establish enough probable cause and evidence on Mason to issue a warrant for 2nd degree murder that was signed by Judge John Reeves. This is still an active and on going investigation, if you have information regarding this killing, please contact the Vidalia Police Department.

Concordia-Catahoula Judge Kathy Johnson will pass sentence next week on the four women who pled guilty to felony cruelty to juveniles in the Noah’s Ark daycare case. Three of the women face multiple counts. One woman pled guilty to one count. The maximum sentence is up to 10 years on each count. The minimum sentence would be a suspended sentence with no jail time.

In May 2020, Tamara Longs of Woodville shot and killed Aaronecia Bell at the Shell c-store in Woodville during an argument. In a bench trial in June of this year, Judge Al Johnson found Longs guilty of manslaughter and assault and sentenced her to 20 years for the killing and six months for the assault. Her appeal was subsequently denied. She has filed an appeal with the Miss. Supreme Court and is incarcerated with MDOC in Pearl. She has filed in Judge Lillie Blackmon Sanders court, asking that she be released pending the outcome of her Supreme Court appeal. Judge Sanders will hear her motion for freedom on Sept. 1 at 11 a.m. at the Adams County Courthouse.

Leewong Hughes, 62, a city maintenance worker at the Natchez police station, came to work in an angry mood. When asked to leave the premises, Hughes attempted to assault the police chief and another officer with a pipe wrench. He was charged with simple assault. Neither Chief Daughtry nor the officer were injured.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said the aldermen will have a $2.1 million bond issue to help pay for recreational improvements to the Duncan Park Golf Clubhouse and the North Natchez Youth Center. Other projects included will be repairs to the Duncan Park Canteen $100,000, City Council Chambers Building $100,000, Hiram Revels Plaza $150,000, Police Dept. $125,000, Fire Dept. $200,000, and utility improvements to the north end of the bluff, $250,000. Casino community development funds will help pay back the five-year bond.

Adams County deputies arrested Charles Miller, 52, at a room at the Red Carpet Inn in Natchez. They found a little less than an ounce of marijuana, more than one-half of an ounce of methamphetamine, 14 Oxycodone pills and drug paraphernalia. He was charged with drug possession and intent to distribute. Agents with ACSO’s Special Operations Group were investigating drug dealing at the Super 8 hotel in Natchez and found Keisha Campbell, 41, in the parking lot. Campbell had two ounces of meth, three Xanax pills, two ecstasy pills and $735 in cash. She was charged with drug possession and trafficking. Campbell is already in the Adams County Drug Court program. It's possible her probation may be revoked and she will have to serve her previously assessed three year sentence plus any time given for the current charges, if found guilty.

Natchez police seized 122 grams of marijuana and a gun during the arrest of an alleged drug dealer outside the Citgo gas station on U.S. 61.Brodrekus Williams, 27, of Natchez, has been charged with felony possession of marijuana with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia with a firearm enhancement. He was seen by officers at the gas station at approximately 4:30 p.m. in the process of packaging marijuana for sale. The weapon has been sent to the crime lab to determine whether or not it may have been reported stolen.

Diane DuPont has resigned her job as marketing director for the Natchez Downtown Alliance. She offered no reason for her voluntary resignation. She plans to stay in Natchez.

Catahoula Sheriff Toney Edwards said last Wednesday morning at approximately 3:30 a.m.,  La. DOC came with approximately 200 officers from their STRIKE Team in order to conduct a surprise shake down of the parish correctional facility, outside area, and employee parking area. “No area for inmates or employees was left unturned,” said Sheriff Edwards. The officers arrived on DOC busses early Wednesday morning close to shift change. With that number of officers the whole prison and grounds were able to be searched at the same time. As with any prison, contraband is and will always be an issue, but DOC Lt. Kent Gremillion did tell me that the amount of contraband found in our prison was low for the size,” said Sheriff Edwards.

The American Symphony cruise boat has made its first stop in Natchez, welcomed by city officials Symphony will consider Natchez a home port.

Concordia Parish now has 6,698 people employed and a 5.9 percent jobless rate. Employment has increased by 197 workers in the past year.

Several air carriers are considering bringing passenger air ervice to the Natchez airport, including Southern Airways. What companies will come with what routes is still to be decided. A federal grant and city-county funds will subsidize the service.

Thieves stole from unlocked cars in Montebello subdivision this past weekend, taking cash, jewelry, phones and firearms. Thieves hit at least six cars. One homeowner left his keys in his Dodge Charger. Police said the punks stole the car.  Lock your car. Don’t keep valuables even in a locked car.

Catahoula schools assessed this year's LEAP test results by saying their students did better than in the pandemic year but still scored significantly below the state averages. The Catahoula system admitted much work needs to be done. Concordia schools assessed this year's LEAP test results by saying their students did phenomenally well compared to the pandemic year and the system didn't mention that the kids scoring Basic, Below Basic and Unsatisfactory were in the majority in nearly all grades and subjects, meaning their skills are below or way below grade level. LEAP tests evaluate student performance in Grades 3-12 in a variety of subject area, including English-language arts and math.

Catahoula deputies are still investigating the death of Talesha Hamilton, 43, of Jonesville, whose body was found floating in the Black River July 23. If you have any info regarding her death, please call Detective Kyle King at 318-744-5411.

The CPSO Cyber Crime Unit began an investigation into the sextortion of a 12 year-old minor, by way of Instagram. The investigation began as the result of a cyber tip generated by NCMEC (NationalCenter for Missing & Exploited Children), regarding an account in Concordia Parish, that had engaged in conversations with the child demanding lewd photos. During the chats, the subject threatened negative reaction if the demands were refused. Detectives obtained a residential address based on information provided by internet service providers and a search warrant was prepared. On August 26, 2022, the warrant was executed with the assistance of the Adams County Sheriff's Office, at which time numerous electronic devices were seized. Upon analyzing the devices, numerous files were recovered, consisting of children engaged in sexual activities, as well as evidence relative to additional sextortions. Arrested was Larry Wesley, Jr., 19, of Ferriday, on charges of three counts of pornography involving juveniles under age 13, four counts of pornography involving juveniles, indecent behavior with juveniles and extortion. Sextortion is the threat to expose sexual images of a person, in order to make the person do something in return, usually resulting in the victim providing such material out of fear. It can occur by using actual photos of the victim, or by photo-shopping the victims face onto another person's body.

The Williams Dumas Building Restoration Foundation held a kickoff celebration for its restoration project at the Natchez Grand Hotel on Aug. 27. The heirs of the Dumas Drug Store at 707-709 Franklin St. in Natchez plan to restore the building. The National Trust African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund gave the foundation $80,000 to do repairs. The foundation has also received $3 million from other organizations within the last year. The properties date back to the early 1900's. Albert, Henry, and Michele Dumas operated a drug store there and family lived on the property.

The Natchez Cemetery Association has received a donation of $400,000 from the estate of Grace Augusta Manning to construct a new barn. She died in 2020 at her home in Dallas. Manning was born in Natchez in 1927.

Vidalia aldermen held two public hearings on Aug. 15 and Aug. 22 to hear suggestions on hydroelectric-funded projects from Mayor Buz Craft and locals. Possible projects include finishing Polk Park, improving drainage to upgrading Vidalia High School’s football field to paying off municipal debt. If passed, the park will expand throughout the current sports complex. The park will feature a multi-use trail around the current baseball, softball and soccer fields. The lighted trail will be large enough for walkers and bikers and feature exercise stations. A water feature will be located at the park along with a splash pad and large playgrounds with features for everyone. Three pavilions will be built throughout the park, including one located near the community garden that doubles as a farmer’s market. There will be a pavilion near the splash pad and also one serving as a centerpiece located near the tennis courts. One tennis court will also be converted into a pickle ball court. Park creators are looking into a skate park and nine-hole frisbee course.

The Adams County Nursing Center has scheduled special events, including: Sept. 7: Bake Sale; Oct. 13 or 14: Hot Air Balloon Day; Oct. 28: Pumpkin Contest/Halloween Party; and Oct. 31: Trunk or Treat. The Bake Sale will raise money to provide candy for Trunk or Treat. Hot Air Balloon Day will be as permitted by weather. Businesses in the community, along with ACCS, compete in the pumpkin carving/decorating contest. The pumpkins will be displayed in the dining room. Residents will also have holiday activities and music during the Halloween Party. Trunk or Treat will consist of faculty staff making decorated booths outside in the patio area to distribute candy for trick or treating. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Activities Director Anne Harriss or Social Services Director Sara Hill at 601-446-8426.

A California man was convicted August 26 by a federal jury for his involvement in a conspiracy to traffic over a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of methamphetamine and marijuana into the Natchez, Mississippi area, announced U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Brad Byerley of the Drug Enforcement Administration. According to court documents, from 2016 through 2018, Arthur Wilson, 57, from Moreno Valley, California, conspired with Wesley Bell of Natchez, MS, Jimmie Lee Swearengen, Jr., of Mesquite, TX, Thomas Jerome Mitchell and Justine Chambers of Victorville, CA, and Kevin Singleton, formerly of Natchez, MS, to traffic kilograms of methamphetamine and marijuana into the Natchez area for distribution and sale. Wilson was also convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering for his role in moving more than $345,000 in drug proceeds from Natchez to his drug suppliers in California. Wilson will be sentenced on November 9, 2022. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $10 million fine. A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. This OCDETF case is the result of an extensive investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force in Atlanta, GA, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and Pearl Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Carla J. Clark and Clay B. Baldwin.

The “Shop the Block” outdoor event is set to return to downtown Bude on Sept. 10 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., according to Wes Arnold, director of the Franklin County Baptist Association. This event draws people from churches and community organizations from throughout the area to display and sell handcrafted items, one-of-a-kind gift items, along with food and drinks.

Franklin County supervisors will spend  just under $81,000 to repair the roof of the Miss. Extension Service building in Meadville. They will also consider doing interior repairs caused by the water damage from the leaking roof.

Wilkinson County supervisors will spend $500,000 to purchase a new fire truck. They will apply for a $50,000 state grant to pay for a small portion of the cost. It will take 18 months before the truck is delivered.

A recent lightning strike at St. Mary Basilica caused $150,000 in damage to the church and rectory, including damage to office equipment, wiring and audio-video systems.

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Our newspaper serves Southwest Mississippi and East Central Louisiana, covering seven counties and parishes.

Publisher: Peter Rinaldi 

Editor: Clarisse Washington    


Mailing address: 15044 Blue Marlin Terrace, Bonita Springs, FL 34135