Natchez, Miss.
Postings Daily

Sheriff David Hedrick

See our CPSO Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CPsheriff

Vidalia scores another excellent audit

The most recent Silas Simmons audit of the Town of Vidalia for the Fiscal Year ending 6/30/22 showed the town's financial standing continues to improve and its bookkeeping and accounting methods and practices meet or exceed the requirements of state and federal law. Silas Simmons ran checks on 28 specific areas of the town's accounting practices, and there were no adverse findings other than Vidalia's written sexual harassment policies should be updated to reflect the current language adopted by the feds. The town pledges to do so. Vidalia's net liabilities, including payables and debt have decreased compared to 2021. Vidalia spent $22.6 million on general government, public safety, public works, economic development, capital outlay, principal repayment and interest on long term debt and another $14.2 million on providing utility and other enterprise services. It is able to spend that much because hydro revenues topped $25.1 million, utility and other proprietary revenues were $15.2 million and sales taxes brought in another $3.7 million. Vidalia's cash balances remain strong, and the overall picture of the town's financial health should be interpreted as very good to excellent. 

A portion of the levee in Concordia Parish near New Era is damaged by a sloughing off of the earth near the river. The Fifth District Levee Board will make repairs. The damage is not considered dangerous or serious to the levee's integrity. 

Wilkinson County EMA Director Mattie Powell told county supervisors the new COVID strain is very dangerous and residents should double mask. Supervisors voted to extend their COVID emergency order for another 30 days.

James W. Calhoun, 60, of Natchez was walking at night when he was hit and killed by a  passing vehicle on Morgantown Road near Rolling Hills Drive. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Adams deputies performed toxicology tests on the driver, found no alcohol or drugs and determined he was not criminally at fault due to the darkness of the road. Witnesses alleged Calhoun had been walking in and out of traffic. No charges have been preferred. Prayers for James and his family.

Southwest Miss. Mental Health remains in crisis

Hearing about the issues with Southwest Mississippi Mental Health Complex Region 11, leaders from Franklin, Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Jefferson, Lawrence, Pike and Wilkinson counties came together several times throughout 2022 to discuss the situation and develop a plan of action. The mental health agency operates in the red, provides poor services and is badly managed. Adams and a few other counties thought they might start a new mental health district in the area, but the state will not allow it. Now there is conversation that each county may appoint one of its elected officials to the Southwest board, in hopes of bringing improvements. No final decision has been made.

Before the pandemic, Mississippi’s chronic student absenteeism rate fell to 13 percent in the 2018-19 school year. But now the state average is 28 percent. Chronic absenteeism is defined 18 or more days of excused or unexcused absences. Franklin County bucked the most-recent state-wide trend with an overall chronic absenteeism rate of 9.65 percent. the lowest of any school district in the state. 

Catahoula Parish deputies arrested Zaronni Robinson, 36, of Jonesville after a welfare check revealed there was no food in the house to feed Robinson's children and meth, Xanax and synthetic marijuana on the premises. She was charged felonies, including with possession of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, cruelty to juveniles, failure to supervise juveniles, and possession of drugs in the presence of children.

The Vidalia Conference and Convention Center is the optimal location for the event to remember. Located along the bank of the Mississippi River in Vidalia, La., directly across the river from historic Natchez, Miss., adjacent to the Clarion Suites Hotel and just north of the Riverfront RV Park. 20,000 square feet of rental space for conventions, parties, exhibits, weddings and special events. 

For more info, call 318-336 9934.  www.vidaliaconventioncenter.com 

Barge worker is missing

Donnie Mitchell, 50, fell into the river near the Adams County Port around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. He was attempting to climb a ladder, slipped and fell. Rescue teams have been unable to find him. The search continues Thursday. 

The Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture has acquired a rare 1828 document showing the sale of an enslaved man to an early settler of Spanish Natchez. The document is a bill of sale by slave traders Warren Offutt and Rice Ballard for the sale of a 21-year-old man named, Aaron, whom they sold for $500 to John Henderson of Natchez. It was purchased in January by an anonymous donor, who delivered it to city hall. The document reads: “Know all men by these presents that we Warren Offutt & Rice Ballard for and in consideration of the sum of five hundred Dollars to us in hand paid by John Henderson of the City of Natches the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged have bargained sold and delivered and by these presents do bargain sell and deliver to the said John Henderson One Negro Man named Aaron about twenty one years of age and we do hereby warrant the said Negro Man as a slave for life to the said John Henderson his heirs and assigns against the legal claim of all and every person or persons whomsoever and do also warran[t] the said Negro Man to be at this time bound in mind and body. In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals at Natches this twenty seventh day of December 1828. Witness: Warren Offutt, R. C. Ballard." David Slay, chief of interpretation for the Natchez National Historical Park, said the document is significant for several reasons. “It documents the existence of a 21-year-old Aaron and the other enslaved people from the McInnis estate, which will be of value to genealogists in that Aaron and the others likely have descendants in this region,” Slay said. He noted this could be a key piece to someone's ancestry search one day. “It is a tangible artifact of the domestic slave trade in this region,” Slay said. “It is a physical object representing the selling of a man's life in Natchez in 1828, who was bound both ‘mind and body’ to John Henderson.” According to the information provided with the document, on the day of the sale, “Henderson advertised an auction of ten slaves in two families from the estate of Norman McInnis of Concordia, La., to be sold at auction on Jan. 2, 1829.” However, three years later, he penned a letter to a Washington, D.C. newspaper in which he proposed “a method for the gradual abolition of slavery.”

The CPSO Cyber Crime Unit began investigating an adult subject, soliciting what he believed to be a child online for sex. Over the course of several weeks, the subject transmitted lewd photos of himself, requesting the same in return, discussed meeting up for sexual activity and keeping the relationship a secret. After being identified, an arrest warrant was obtained and he was taken into custody today by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. Alton E. Jackson, 28, of Silver Creek, Miss., was charged with computer aided solicitation of a minor and indecent behavior with juveniles.

Mardi Gras celebrated

The Krewe of Phoenix Parade will be held Feb. 17 in downtown Natchez, stating at 6 p.m. The Krewe of Vidal will have its parade, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. The Vidalia parade  has a route change. Starting at Vidalia High, the parade travels Carter St. to Vidalia Upper Elementary and ends at the Vidalia Riverfront.

Billie Humphreys has been promoted to Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Chief. She is the first female to be named volunteer fire chief in Adams County.

Catahoula deputies and La. Wildlife and Fisheries agents worked together to investigate a PayPal fraud case in which Chester Coleman allegedly made fraudulent purchases and shipped them to his address. Serving a warrant, law enforcement found firearms, meth, cocaine, a homemade suppressor and drug paraphernalia. Coleman was arrested on drug possession, possession of firearms while in possession of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of stolen things. Deputies also have an arrest warrant for Kimberly L. Duchesne, who participated in the PayPal scam.

Trash pickup bids received

Adams supervisors received just two bids for twice weekly pickup, the lowest from United Infrastructure (formerly Metro Service Group) at $26.66 per month for twice weekly pikckup. Arrow Disposal bid slightly more. The bids were taken under advisement. Despite the cost more than doubling over the previous long term contract, supervisors are unlikely to raise rates until their re-elections are over.

Dr. Ruby As Sabor, 69, died in a fire at her home on Brookfield Drive in Natchez on Sunday night. The flames were so great when neighbors and firemen arrived, they were unable to rescue her. Dr. As Sabor worked for the Natchez schools as special services director.  

Reports indicate the Bruce treatment center on North Union Street in Natchez continues to operate without the proper business license nor the proper zoning. The city told Tina Bruce to close her operation, but she has not done so. Garbage and trash has been accumulating in trash cans there on a weekly basis, a sign that either residents or workers are still operating the center. The city could go to court and seek an order for its immediate closure, using the police or sheriff’s office to enforce the order.

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Taegan Kenney

Taegan Kenney, a senior at Vidalia High, won the Miss Vidalia 2023 competition at the Vidalia Convention Center. The event is sponsored annually by the Vidalia Women's Club.  

Emergency personnel were summoned to a creek near Cottage Farm Road in Adams County to retrieve the body of a man floating in the water. Roosevelt Hendricks Jr., 70, had been missing for two weeks. Family members identified him.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said the city will restart its renovation to The Depot, thanks to a $143,750 grant from Archives and History. Aldermen will spend $500,000 to renovate the Duncan Park Golf Clubhouse. Other city properties about to see repairs are city hall (restoration of the historic interior is now in progress), the city council chamber building, fire departments, police department. The city will finalize plans soon for renovations to the city auditorium, convention center and civic center. Renovations to the North Natchez Youth Center underway, and renovations will include the ball fields, Duncan Park restrooms, Auburn billiard room, Canteen building, and Duncan Park playground pavilion.

Deputies capture robbers

Adams County deputies have arrested five people wanted for a Jan. 29 home invasion and armed robbery. The perps were armed with at least one assault rifle and a handgun. Those arrested included Tyrell Kelly, 29, Omar Pinkey, 20, Travin Jones, 19, Trayvon White, 22, and Kaylin Owens, 21. Kelly was arrested for possession of a stolen firearm and convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Pinkney was arrested with possession of a stolen firearm. Jones was charged with providing false information to a law enforcement officer and a bench warrant issued by the Adams County Justice Court. White was charged with armed robbery. Owens was charged with hindering prosecution. Kelly and Pinkney were already out on bond for other arrests, including armed robbery and rape. Jones has an outstanding felony warrant for fleeing. Deputies are also looking for Cameron Brooks, 19, for his participation in the crime. Brooks has another felony arrest warrant for a different armed robbery. All the robbers except Owens have a history of multiple felony arrests and convictions.

Jamal McCullen, a fourth grade English teacher at WesElementary School, is the writer and director of “The Natchez Deacons for Defense: A dramatization.” The play will premiere at 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 11, at Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 607 Madison St. It is free and open to the public. The play is presented by the church in concert with the Dr. John Bowman Banks Museum. “This play is about education,” said McCullen. “It’s an opportunity to learn about an era in our community history where some amazing men stood up and had the courage to do something different than what was being done to move our people forward -- and closer to equality and fair treatment.” The Deacons protected civil rights events with their own armed security, tried to function as an opposing group to the Klan and “talked” to black men and women about staying true to the boycotts. Their role was historically important, while much of the actual civil rights work, including voter registration, was often accomplished by black women. But to be a deacon, your life was often at risk.

Chad K. Foster, 36, has been arrested for aggravated assault by Adams deputies. Bond was set at $10,000. Last April, he was charged with possession of crystal methamphetamine. In Dec, 2004, Foster was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after a search of his residence in Concordia Parish.

Repeat felony offender arrested

Ferriday police conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle that resulted in the driver being arrested on various charges. The driver was identified as Johnqual Nix, 35, of Natchez. Nix was charged with a red light violation, no driver's license, possession of schedule I (marijuana) with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm while in possession of a controlled deadly substance, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a stolen firearm. He also has an outstanding felony warrant out of Adams County for controlled substance violation. The firearm was stolen out of Adams County as well. "We're a small department and I commend our officers on their dedication and vigilance," said Sam King, Chief of Police. "This traffic stop led to drugs and guns being taken off the streets destined for Ferriday and Concordia Parish." Nix was arrested in late August by Natchez police on a charge of sexual battery.

Mississippi has released graduation and drop-out rates for area school districts: Adams (88.4%, 7.6%), Franklin (87.5%, 6.3%). Jefferson (94.3%, 4.3%), Wilkinson (84.8%, 11.4%), Claiborne (90.2%, 4.9%) and Amite (84.8%, 12.7%). The percentages do not include those students who completed the GED or those who take five years to graduate from high school.

The CPSO Cyber Crime Unit began an investigation into an adult subject, communicating with what he believed to be a minor online. The subject made contact by way of two separate accounts, using false names and photos. During the conversations, the subject solicited for phone sex in exchange for money and requested that the minor watch him while he engaged in sexual activity. Detectives were able to positively identify the suspect and learned that he had recently been employed as a firefighter with the Oakdale Fire Department. Upon obtaining an arrest warrant, the subject was taken into custody today without incident by the Allen Parish Sheriff’s Office. Edward J. Robinson, 32, of Oakdale, was charged with computer aided solicitation of a minor.

Qualifying has ended

Adams County candidates have qualified for this year's elections. Sheriff: Travis Patten (D), Lance Adams (D), Curtis Davis (I) ; Chancery Clerk: Brandi Lewis (D), Angie King (D); Circuit Clerk: Eva Givens (D), Daye Dearing (I); Tax Collector: Terrence Bailey (I) ; Tax Assessor: Larry Hughes (D), Conswella Madison (D); Justice Court Judge North: Audrey Minor (D) ; Justice Court Judge South: Danny Barber (D), Eileen Maher (D), Jack Blaney (R) , Timothy Blalock (I), Mary Willard (I); District Attorney: Shameca Collins (D), Tim Cotton (I); Constable South: Randy Freeman (D); Constable North: Fay Minor (D), Deselle Davis (D); County Prosecutor: Tony Heidelberg (D), Lydia Blackmon (D); Coroner: James Lee (D); Dist. 1 Supervisor: Mike Lazarus (D), Wes Middleton (D); Dist. 2 Supervisor: Kevin Wilson (R), Frances Ransom Jr., (I); Dist. 3 Supervisor: Angela Hutchins (D); Dist. 4 Supervisor: Ricky Gray (D), lJacquetta McCranie (I); Dist. 5 Supervisor: Warren Gaines Sr. (D), James Berry Jr. (D), Brad Dean (D); Dist. 2 Election Commissioner: Larry Gardner (NP); and Dist. 4 Election Commissioner: Shirley Frazier (NP).

CPSO deputies have made several felony arrests: Tony M. Evans, 56, Ferriday, convicted felon in possession of a firearm; Tony C. Evans, 37, Vidalia, theft, criminal trespass, possession of stolen things, felony criminal damage to property; Cecelia Wheeler, 51, Vidalia, convicted felon in possession of a firearm; Haven Evans, 24, Vidalia, accessory after the fact (harboring a fugitive); Stephanie Woods, 55, Vidalia, accessory after the fact (harboring a fugitive); Jeffery L Woods, 54, Vidalia, accessory after the fact (harboring a fugitive); and Allen Cotton, 60, Vidalia, possession of schedule II drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, convicted felon in possession of a firearm. 

The Miss. Department of Health has reported separate violations related to mandated Safe Drinking Act standards for Meadville during November and December. The town has been notifying its customers by mail of the concerns raised by the state and the local actions being taken to rectify the situations. Officials cited incidents where contaminants testing, which is required on a monthly basis for bacteriological and chlorine presence, was not completed during November. The water system did not initiate required sampling for lead and copper contaminants during a three-month period in mid-2022. The town said it will also collect 10 required lead and copper samples prior to Sept. 30, 2023 and will report those results to customers as soon as the findings have been received.

Robert Bradford

Adams County Emergency Management Director Robert Bradford is running for state ag commissioner as a Democrat.

The Miss-Lou Black History Month Parade will be held Feb. 20 starting at 3 p.m. The parade route will be from the Forks of the Road along St. Catherine St. to the Triangle at MLK St. For info, call Joseph Smith at 601-807-2707.

La. Hall of Fame basketball coach Jack Bairnsfather, 90, died Tuesday at St. Francis Cabrini in Alexandria. Visitation for Bairnsfather is Thursday 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Monterey Church of Christ. His funeral will be held Friday at 10 a.m. at Monterey Church of Christ under the direction of Young’s Funeral Home. The new Monterey Gym is named after him.

An American Cruise Lines representative met with downtown Natchez merchants at Natchez Coffee Co. to discuss how the company can better serve its travelers and help generate visitors to local shops and restaurants. The meeting was sponsored by the Downtown Natchez Alliance.

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Adams supervisors will open bids

The Adams County Board of Supervisors has set a Feb. 6 deadline for companies to submit bids for getting the long-term contract for curbside pickup service. Metro Service, Hometown Waste, Waste Management, Waste Pro and Arrow Disposal have all shown interest in getting the contact. The final bid for once a week service is expected to be about $20 per month per household.

Concordia Parish has 6,649 people working, up 104 jobs from a year ago, and currently 4.3 percent jobless.

Matthew Williams, 33, of Natchez, had active outstanding warrants. On Jan. 13, Adams deputies stopped the vehicle he was driving, but he bailed out and escaped. On the lam for two weeks, deputies finally nabbed him at his girlfriend's house on Jan. 31. He has been charged with felony fleeing law enforcement in a motor vehicle, two counts of felony false pretenses and for a bench warrant from Adams County Justice Court. Williams is also wanted in Lincoln and Copiah counties for multiple instances of felony bad checks. Also arrested was India Dobbins, 37, of Natchez, the girlfriend, who has been charged with harboring a fugitive.Williams was previously charged by Natchez police with a Feb. 2008 house burglary, stealing cash and a gun, and felony escape. In July 2008, he committed an armed robbery and assault, shooting and wounding a man. Police did not capture him until six months later.

Homestead filing

Miss. homeowners have until April 1 to file their request for homestead tax exemption consideration. Homeowners who received homestead exemption last year and did not have a change in their status do not need to reapply. However, a new homestead application is needed for those who have obtained a new home, bought or sold land attached to their homestead property, lost their spouse, turned 65 years old or became disabled in 2022, were married or divorced, applied a life estate to their homestead property, placed their homestead property in a trust or recorded any deed that applies to a change on their homestead property. Apply at the county tax assessor's office. 

The Franklin County School District will seek to fill an administrative vacancy following the retirement announcement of current Career and Technical Center Director Terry Moffett. Superintendent of Education Chris Kent announced Moffett’s planned departure effective June 30.

Natchez aldermen will seek a contractor for a new overlay on city streets and will issue notices for bids. The board has a list of 75 Natchez streets to repave, with $6 million borrowed through a bond. Not all streets on the list will be done.

American Serenade

Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft said the new cruise boat American Serenade will have its official christening April 23 at the Vidalia Landing. American Cruise Lines hasn’t said how often the new boat will be stopping in Vidalia. 

Only five of Mississippi's 82 counties have gained population since 2020. The Delta counties have lost 3-5% of their residents in just two years. Adams County had a population of 29,538 in 2020, now estimated to be 28,710, down 828 persons, a drop of 2.8%.

The Concordia Parish Police Jury will get more than $6 million from the federal government to combat lowland flooding and improve drainage as part of the Brushy Bayou project.

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The Depot

The city of Natchez will use The Depot as a second visitor center with public restrooms. The city donated its former visitor center to the National Park Service during the Grennell administration because it could not afford the repairs and maintenance. Now the Gibson administration will try to reopen the derelict Depot, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to open its own visitor center separate from the National Park Service visitor center. The two buildings are about a mile and a half from each other. The plans of entrepreneurs to open an upscale restaurant at The Depot have been abandoned.

Natchez aldermen will spend $500,000 to repair and renovate the Duncan Park Golf Clubhouse. Bids will probably let in June.

The Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture and the city of Natchez held a Black History Month unveiling ceremony for its self-guided African American History Tour. The project consists of 27 historical markers related to African American history that will be posted throughout Natchez. 

Most Catahoula water systems scored well

The La. Department of Health evaluated Catahoula Parish water systems, grading them from A to F. Sandy Lake, Harrisonburg, Black River, Jonesville and Leland all earned an A. Sicily Island got a B, Maitland a D and Enterprise an F. Maitland and Enterprise had serious deficiencies, including improper chlorine and metals levels and/or contaminants.

Gloster will get 131 more jobs and a $200 million investment with a new sawmill. Gloster Forest Products should open in 2024.

Southwest Miss. Electric Power will open a district office and a regional headquarters in a new building in the Linwood Industrial Park in Brookhaven. The company will also keep its office and work yard in Lorman. The utility has just received a $33 million loan from the federal government to improve its transmission lines and security. Southwest serves rural homes and businesses in nine counties.

Curtis Davis and Travis Patten

Curtis Davis will challenge Travis Patten for Adams County Sheriff. The Justice Court South race has three candidates: Eileen Maher, Danny Barber and Timothy Blalock. The Dist. 5 Supervisor’s race includes candidates Warren Gaines Sr., James Berry Jr. and Brad Dean.

The rising Mississippi River at Natchez should crest at 37.4 feet this week and then fall to 34 feet by Feb. 13.

Adams County supervisors will open bids Feb. 6 to determine which company will earn the county’s long term trash pickup contract.

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Viking Mississippi

Viking Mississippi has stopped its Mississippi River cruises while it repairs damage after striking “river rubble.” The boat is repairing its propulsion system in Houma. It should resume cruising in mid to late February, and its next stop in Natchez is Feb. 22. The boat usually visits Natchez weekly.

Adams County supervisors will start interviewing for the position of county administrator in February. They have received 38 applications for the job.          

Adams County Circuit Clerk Eva Givens will be challenged by Daye Dearing in this year's elections.


Natchez aldermen have formally accepted a lease of Auburn to the Historic Natchez Foundation. The house will be reopened for tours with the city getting 25 percent of the revenues and the Foundation 75 percent. The parties agreed to a two-year lease.

Cleveland Moore at the Fallin Center is the Natchez-Adams County School District Administrator of the Year. LaTasha Ford at Morgantown Elementary is Teacher of the Year.

Wilkinson County supervisors spent $60,000 to remove the two fallen concrete spans from the Buffalo River Bridge that collapsed under the weight of a drilling rig. A Baton Rouge contractor with a crane on a barge removed the spans to the river bank. The drilling rig that caused the collapse has also been removed. The county will perform temporary repairs to the bridge to re-open it. 

Commission will kick off new tourism campaign

The Natchez Convention and Promotion Commission and its Visit Natchez campaign has a new branding and promotional approach. The agency operates www.visitnatchez.org and uses sales tax monies from meals, inns and hotels to promote local attractions and events to travelers. An Alabama ad agency has designed the new campaign at a cost of $40,000. The tourism website has been redesigned to be simpler and more phone friendly.

The Concordia Parish murder trials of Tre'Yon Kelly and Charmecia Harvey have been continued to Feb. 1 by Judge Kathy Johnson at the request of the defense. They are charged  with the December first degree shooting murder of Ferriday resident Wilbert Henderson at the victim's home. Kelly is also charged with aggravated battery and battery of a correctional officer after he assaulted a prison guard. 

Franklin County Superintendent of Education Chris Kent said he plans to 'retire' from his county job at end of July and take state retirement. He left open the possibility that would continue work in education, perhaps coming back as superintendent Nov. 1, as he must drop from the county payroll for 90 days before taking another public job.

When Woodville aldermen passed a resolution to give three employees raises, Mayor Drew Pierson vetoed the measure. The mayor said the extra money was not budgeted and the town is already running a deficit. The aldermen did not attempt to override the veto.


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Hosemann's War Against Adams County

Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann

by Peter Rinaldi

With redistricting led by Delbert Hosemann, Melanie Sojourner was purposely cut out of her state senate seat, put in a Democratic district she could not win. 

The result means Adams County no longer has a senator or representative that actually resides in Adams. Robert Johnson actually lives in Hinds County and rarely comes to Natchez. That's why you never see or hear from him.

Not only does this make our political efforts in Jackson more difficult, I cannot understand why Mayor Dan Gibson continues to praise Hosemann publicly, telling him how wonderful Delbert is as a leader and how Natchez loves and respects him, when Delbert was obviously trying to hurt our community by destroying Melanie's district. 

It's good to be courteous to any political enemy of Adams County, especially a Lt. Gov., but to publicly fawn all over him is a waste of time. He will give you only the minimum of attention, a minimum of money, because he has shown you already what he thinks of your community. You are poo-poo to him and throwing Adams into the Port Gibson based district of a Democratic senate non-entity proves that he thinks you belong in Siberia, without power, money, influence or improvement.

Delbert thinks you are nothing, worthy of nothing, so butt kissing won't do you any good. As a matter of pride and honesty, you should politely, kindly and directly tell him you know perfectly what he did to hurt us. And you don't like it or respect that behavior. And in return, you promise to be a loyal Adams County resident and Mississippian and can only support the re-election of those who actually support us, versus those who try to hurt us. The door remains open to future conversation, but the underlying principal must be that we expect state government and the Lt Gov. to help Adams County and not harm our community.


Note: When I posted this little commentary without the stirring headline on Del's FB page that invites public input, it was immediately deleted by his staff. Shows you, doesn't it?

Battling Crime in Natchez 

by Peter Rinaldi

Why would the mayor and aldermen believe that by simply changing police chiefs violent and property crime will decrease? Unless you change the way you police and the way you manage the department, you will get the same failure over and over again. There are many towns and cities across the US that have effective policing. And a lot of communities are very safe. But Natchez is not. 

We all know that the increase in crime and violent offenders is complex in nature, having to do with home life, immorality, evil, even wayward judges and prosecutors. But the job of police is simply to arrest perps. They’re not educators, social workers or ministers to the soul. Their job is simply to deter crime by having a large enough presence on the street, to use pre-emptive investigations to keep the criminals huddled down and afraid, and to arrest every felon who commits a serious crime. A big task. But some communities do this very successfully. 

If your mayor and aldermen do not have a solution to the police and crime management problem, then new officials are needed. If we don’t change the current situation, Natchez will have a future but a future worse than it is now. 

It’s pretty obvious that gangs, drugs, violent and property crime are out of control in Natchez and law enforcement and the politicians are unable or unwilling to deter this crime. Is it time for armed citizens to patrol their own neighborhoods? I think so. To be effective, neighborhoods would have to form their own security districts, equip and pay armed security, an expensive proposition. But if law enforcement won’t do the job, you have only two choices: armed protection or surrender to the criminals.

The Change

by Peter Rinaldi

In 2022, I noticed a significant change in the direction of the Natchez-Adams County School Board and its management. In past, the district tried to highlight its successes, while acknowledging its need to do better, especially in things like test scores and the state’s evaluation. This past year, school leaders changed direction and overblew modest improvements post Covid, trumpeting somewhat dishonest A/B/C evaluations and ignoring that only 15-35 percent of students performed at or above grade level in various subjects such as math, language arts and reading.

This change marks a reinforcement of the earlier dishonest policy when the district built a new high school when voters specifically told the bosses they didn’t want one. There remains a strong constituency within Natchez-Adams County for the repair and upgrade of our local schools, including improving the quality of teaching and student performance.

It’s strange that our nearby school districts in Catahoula and Wilkinson are engaged in lengthy discussions on how to improve their schools, discussions that include board members, administrators and the public. Weaknesses are openly discussed and hotly debated. Those districts, with far less money and resources than Natchez Adams, are dealing with these problems. They’re not lying to the public.

While Natchez-Adams supervisors and aldermen dropped the issue of an elected school board because of Philip West’s opposition, it’s now pretty obvious that he is the obstruction to change and should be removed and a new honest superintendent chosen.

In the end, the lack of positive outcomes for learning in the Natchez public schools harms the students and impairs the economic future of the community. The schools are a reflection of the community they serve. And the downhill slide of both over the last 30 years is obvious to all except the blind and corrupt insiders.

You cannot reverse outward migration of the population and a decrease in economic activity by continued poor schools, lots of crime, low-paying jobs, dilapidated housing and inferior community aesthetics. However, lying, misleading the public and failing to follow public mandates only make a bad situation much worse.

It’s sad that some black political leaders say they want our black schools to do better. But their actions reveal the truth. They want the power and money for themselves and their friends and the black kids can go to hell, if changes threaten who is at the top.

These leaders are not the champions for racial justice but the purveyors of racial injustice. So the rich and upper middle class black kids and white kids and their parents flee the Natchez public schools for AC or Cathedral or play ‘the where does the parent/kid live? game,’ and try to slip the child into the Vidalia or Franklin County schools. The failure of Natchez public schools will drive a parent manic and/or broke to save his or her kid.

Like all of us, I have more questions than answers, and solutions are easier to spout than actually enact. But I know the schools will never, ever get anywhere and succeed with dishonest leadership in charge. They will always fail and miserably so. That is inevitable.

For more information, go to https://www.bcbsms.com/

Short Story: A Kiss from 1992

by Peter Rinaldi   

My wife and I decided to give a New Year's Eve party back in 1992, when we lived in Village Green in Natchez. 

I've never liked parties much. And whether I'm the host or a guest, I get so nervous, I can't enjoy myself. But we lived in the Village Green neighborhood for more than a decade by then, so I succumbed to my wife's request-command that we sponsor a drop-in party from 6-9 p.m. and invited neighbors and their kids and told them to bring a dish or snack or whatever.

We still had the Christmas tree up, of course. I went to Piggly Wiggly and loaded up on snacks, cheese, sandwich meats, cookies, beer and Dr. Pepper and Coke. I called Domino's and asked them to deliver four cheese pizzas at 6:30 p.m., figuring people would be just a bit late in arriving. And I stopped at the liquor store to pick up two one-gallon bottles of Gallo wine. As my wife stated and against my better judgment, it's Natchez, and alcohol is a mandatory party favor.

The party went well. Lots of families came. I had a roaring fire in the fireplace. It got so hot inside the house, I had to turn on the a/c. The kids were having fun. My older son sat at the kitchen table enjoying a card game of Uno with his friends. My younger son and his friend playfully argued over a Chinese checkers game in front of the fireplace. More kids were in the TV room in the back playing the video game Tetris. The adults were milling around, drinking very little but eating a lot and talking a lot. I had a Dave Brubeck jazz cassette playing softly on the stereo. Perfect. My anxiety lessened. About 8 p.m., I noticed our neighbors Pam and Frank sitting on the couch together. They were both in their mid 70's, and many years before, they had been married to each other and had kids, though they had been divorced at least 20 years by 1992. They still lived in the area. Pam lived on Sun Court and had remarried a guy who was a semi-professional gambler, which meant they were always broke. Frank had moved over to North Temple and married fishing. No spouse. Just he, the dog and fishing. 

I heard parts of their conversation that New Year's Eve. Pam was doing most of the talking and Frank was mostly listening. Pam was talking about her cake business, who she was making cakes for, what kind of cakes, the kind of icing and the decorations she put on the cakes. Back in those days, she was known for her made-from-scratch cakes. She had a little bakery in the Morgantown Plaza for a few years, where UMB is now, When they tore down the shopping center and built the bank, she moved her cake business to the house and never missed a lick, if you'll pardon the joke.

Pam was in the middle of her cake dissertation to Frank, when Frank gently reached for her hand and leaned over to Pam and kissed her on the lips, passionately and romantically. Pam started kissing him back enthusiastically. Then they hugged and kissed just a bit more. Frank then stopped and just held her hand. And I could tell she was getting emotional, and she started tearing up. They didn't talk. They just sat there on the couch, and Frank held her hand. 

No one noticed the couple kissing, other than my wife and me. All the adults and kids at the party were talking, eating and playing and didn't notice the couple at all. 

The party broke up about an hour later. People had a good time and everyone wished each other Happy New Year and went home. Pam and Frank went their separate ways to their respective homes. 

After the party, I asked my wife what she thought. "Do you think they still love each other?" I asked. "I don't know," my wife replied and added, "It was a beautiful kiss, a beautiful moment." 

Many New Year's Eves have come and gone since 1992. As the years went by, I never heard of Pam and Frank reconnecting. Pam stayed married to the gambler and Frank stayed married to fishing. Sadly, they have both passed on. Pam's husband did eventually gave up gambling. Pam did cakes until her early 90's, And Frank actually died of a heart attack while fishing at Lake St. John. A good way to go. 

I think about Pam and Frank often. I think of that party, how nervous I was in advance of the party, and how they were so affectionate with each other. Almost every New Year's Eve, the memories return. I can remember their conversation, how they looked on the couch. It seems like just a few years ago not three decades. 

There were two things I learned from that New Year's Eve party in 1992. First, Domino's cheese pizza is always popular and appreciated at a party. And second, no matter how old you are, you need love, caring and emotion in your life. The touch of a hand and a kiss can be so very important.

Top Stories of 2022

by Peter Rinaldi

Crime: Violent and property crimes continue to plague Natchez-Adams CountyConcordia Sheriff's Office arrests several dozen cyber perps and sex offendersFerriday rebuilds police department with Chief Sam KingNatchez hires Commander Cal Green as its police chiefVidalia daycare workers get long terms in jail for child abuse; Adams prosecutors and judges criticized for plea bargains, low bonds and light sentences Economic development: Miss-Lou employment rebounds from pandemic lows; Syrah Technologies announces major expansion; Vidalia pays utility customers 50% rebate, pays off entire city debt; Jordan Carriers to build new HQ; Magnolia Bluffs Casino and The Markets get new owners; Residents still moving away to get better jobs, population drops since 2020Eola Hotel rehab project stalls Infrastructure and facilities: Adams supervisors and Natchez aldermen borrow more than $12 million to fix roadsMorgantown Road repair funded though not started; Adams supervisors-sheriff struggle over jail plans without resolution; Natchez aldermen repair parks and will update convention center, auditorium; Natchez-Adams County to issue bonds for major recreation improvements; Ridgecrest ties into Ferriday water system; Natchez-Adams politicians drop the ball on E911 relocation Culture: Balloon festival one of the more successful in its history; Natchez becomes solid new venue for live concerts; Natchez aldermen will spend $1 million on Civil War troops statue Top 2 Stories: Jessica Aldridge finally gets sentenced to 20 years for shooting and killing boyfriend Joey Cupit; Accused killer Semaj Jackson indicted for shooting Jamesia Brown and Cameron Jones

Short Story: The Christmas Mailbox

by Peter Rinaldi

Mabel and Howard Smith of Franklin County gave birth to a healthy baby boy on Christmas Eve, 1951. They named their only child, Howard Jr., but everyone in the family called him “Beau.” He was simply one of the prettiest, cutest babies anybody ever saw. The Smiths live just off Hwy. 33, down one of those dirt roads in a little white frame house. Howard worked cutting timber and Mabel stayed home taking care of little Beau.        

As Beau grew, he became an avid reader. He would look at the picture books and pronounce words, asking for his mother’s approval each time he got a word right. His mother would smile and say, “You’re my smart boy!” And Beau would beam with pride. His dad would spend evenings reading the newspaper to his son, telling him truths about the world, why it’s important to be hard-working and to be good to your neighbors. 

When Beau was just shy of his sixth birthday, he said, “Momma, I want to send a letter to Santa and put it at the mailbox.” So Beau and his Mom sat down at the kitchen table and wrote a short letter. The boy asked for a baseball glove for himself, a work shirt for his dad, and a sweater for his mom. Mabel put the letter in a white envelope and wrote on the front, “To Santa – North Pole.”             

Beau and his Mom walked out to the roadside and the pipe iron mailbox to send off the letter. The boy cried, “Momma, Santa won’t see it in the mailbox. Put it on the outside between the box and the red flag.” So Mabel did as her son requested, and they walked back to the house, talking about what they could do to surprise Dad on Christmas. Mabel shared the story of the ‘letter to Santa’ with the aunts, uncles, and cousins at the Christmas dinner table.             

When Beau was almost 19, he and his mom sat at the kitchen table and remembered the time when they wrote the letter and placed it on the side of the mailbox instead of in it. They both laughed. But it was a somber Christmas that year for the Smiths, as Beau had just enlisted and was scheduled to enter the army the first week in January. “It’s my duty. Whether I end up in Vietnam or not, I’ve got to do what’s right,” Beau said quietly. He could have gone to college, gotten a deferment, but chose to serve his country instead. And both his parents were worried.             

It was early in September 1971; a rocket attack hit just north of Saigon. Beau was sitting on the edge of his jeep, talking with a buddy. In a second, it was over. Beau was killed. There wasn’t much to send home to bury, according to his platoon sergeant.

After Beau’s death, the family never seemed right again. Howard Sr. began drinking and was injured on the job. Mabel suffered from a deep depression over the loss of her son and her husband’s problems. Eventually, the couple moved away from Franklin County and the little frame house fell into disrepair. No one ever lived there again. The dad died of a heart attack in Dallas in 1980. Mabel died in nursing home in 1992.            

If you ride down Hwy. 33 and look off that dirt road where the Smiths lived, you’ll still see the mailbox standing. The house is pretty much gone. But that old rusty mailbox is still there. And every year on Christmas Eve, you can see a fresh, white envelope stuck between the red flag and the mailbox itself. Neighbors aren’t sure who tucks the envelope there, but figure it could be a relative or someone close to the family who knows the story.   

If you happen to see that person this Christmas Eve, please stop and thank him for remembering the Smith Family and Beau, even though so many years have gone by. The family has passed on, but there are still more than a few folks around who remember them, the good times they had, and the love they shared.             

This short story originally appeared in Miss-Lou Magazine in 1996.

Tracetown Shopping Center Has Seen Better Days

by Peter Rinaldi 

The decline of Tracetown is not a new thing.

When I moved our Miss-Lou Magazine offices there in 1995, the center was already in decline, as Sears had closed and about 20% of the shops were vacant. When I moved out in 2017, there were about a half dozen tenants and today maybe three or four. 

With its Winn Dixie and Sears anchors gone and excessive vacancies, the center was hugely unprofitable, with insurance, minimal maintenance and property taxes much greater than annual revenues. There was little hope of a turn around. 

Tracetown also suffers from antiquated construction design, a rolling hills parking lot and would require at least $3 million for the parking lot, lighting, a/c and roof repairs. So nothing will be done to change this. Realistically, the center has practically no market value, other than for its few rentals. Post office, rehab, nail salon...maybe $200,000-300,000 in value tops, less considering the maintenance and operational problems.

Add to that, flat and leaking roofs and overhangs, antiquated ac systems and the general decline in the Natchez economy, the center just hemorrhaged money. Many of the units are so severely damaged because of the catastrophic roof leaks. The Mobile, AL owners had also sold off their frontage lots to the bank, McDonald's and Ruby Tuesday's to get some operating cash. But selling off the front doomed the Sears property. The former Sears location had no parking left. And the building itself was in such poor shape, no smart tenant would rent it. the owners then tore down the Sears building, After thieves stole all the copper and wiring out of the theater, that building was demolished, too. 

 The Lazarus Arts-Dr. Kumi complex is separately owned and not part of Tracetown. 

The owners gave away their shopping center in Ferriday to the town to get rid of that property and operational costs. And I expect, sooner or later, the owners will approach Natchez about the same kind of deal, like the Fry Building. Politicians would tell you what a great deal it is to get a donated center or building. What they don't tell you is that the donation takes the property off the tax rolls, relieves the owner of the high maintenance costs, transfers those to taxpayers and nets the politicians some tidy campaign donations during the next election cycle.

Good Garden Clubs

by Peter Rinaldi 

One of the puzzling things about our community is how the Pilgrimage Garden Club, Natchez Garden Club and Auburn Garden Club get a bad rap on occasion. 

Most of the members of these clubs are very interested in the economic vitality of Natchez Adams. They understand that history preserved can mean more tourist dollars, more conventions, more hotel stays, more restaurant visits and more jobs. Well maintained historic properties not only bring tourists but have brought a new generation of well to do out-of-towners who have spent millions of dollars upgrading their antebellum and Victorian homes. And that investment has paid off in many jobs for people of all economic groups and all races. 

There was a time in Natchez, when some connected to the clubs used their platform to try to cement their social position above others, but the time of the so called landed gentry is long gone. I’ve often heard how the garden clubs killed off IP and Armstrong. In fact, the those closures had nothing to do with the clubs. The factories were losing so much money and had serious union problems that meant making a profit unlikely. So the factories closed and the jobs were lost. And many garden club members mourned that economic downturn like the rest of us. 

Remember that some of the old homes are not owned by garden club members. Some are also owned by men. And many of the new generation of old home owners continue to run their properties at an economic loss and do so because they have the extra money to do so and/or are committed to a better Natchez even if it costs them mega cash. Whether you’re a garden club member from downtown, Morgantown or Kingston, all share the same goal: a better city and county with more prosperity for all. Also, you’d might be surprised to know that many garden club members are actually very middle class and some less so. But regardless of wealth, the members share an interest in exterior and interior design, flowers, gardens, architecture, history and historic preservation. 

We should be proud of their contributions to our community. Some also own businesses that have little to do with history. But they understand that successful maintenance of homes and gardens and the marketing of that history and beauty to the outside world is a necessary and important task, even more so because of the decline of our industrial base over the last 35 years. 

Thank you, ladies of the Pilgrimage Garden Club, the Natchez Garden Club and the Auburn Garden Club. When you think of the garden clubs, think of the economic contributions of their members which is so vital to our present and future.


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Mayor Fibs About 2021 Audit

by Peter Rinaldi

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson recently said the city CPA audit for 2021 showed much improvement for 2021 compared to 2020. He did not tell the truth, as the CPA's negative findings for 2021 continue to show that the city was not following acceptable accounting and bookkeeping practices. Of course, the failure to follow such good standards led to the theft of $36,000+ in funds by two city clerks. 2021 was the Gibson administration's first full year in office. You can't blame former Mayor Grennell for these errors. The responsibility lies with the city clerk and staff, the current mayor and aldermen. They are supposed to follow accepted accounting and bookkeeping principles and regulations. They did not. 

Of the 2021 City of Natchez audit, CPA Silas Simmons said: Bank Reconciliations: Bank Reconciliations were not being properly reconciled to the general ledger or in a timely manner. Accounting Records and Financial Statement: Preparation transactions were not being recorded to the city's general ledger in a timely manner. Interfund Transfers: Due To/From, and Advances lnterfund transactions were not being recorded timely or accurately. Segregation of Duties: During the process of obtaining an understanding of internal control in planning the audit, assessing control risk, and assessing fraud risk, a lack of segregation of duties was noted. Documentation of Adjusting Journal Entries: Adjusting journal entries posted to the general ledger lacked proper and adequate documentation. Single Audit The City's Single Audit was not filed with the Federal Audit Clearinghouse in a timely manner. CPA Silas Simmons then when into detailed analysis and recommendations as to how these re-occurring problems from both 2020 and 2021 should be remedied. 

Several pages of details on what to do were enumerated. If you doubt the truth as presented by both the CPA or myself, you can read the audit findings and make your own judgment. I am used to politicians lying and bull throwing. From a news point of view, I should try to verify the mayor's future claims on all subjects, as those assertions may or may not be truthful. https://www.natchez.ms.us/DocumentCenter/View/1246/2021-Audites 
See pages 85-92.

Stinking City 2020 Audit

by Peter Rinaldi

When completed, the City of Natchez 2020 audit showed that the city did not meet its legal obligation to provide sound and professional accounting of revenues earned and expenditures made. The audit findings reflect the gross incompetence of the city clerk's office under Servia Fortenberry and the lack of care Mayor Grennell and the aldermen showed for their legal responsibilities. That lack of care and oversight allowed Fortenberry and another clerk to steal more than $36,000 in funds during the Gibson administration, according to the state indictment of two clerks. Aldermen discussed this lack of competence during both the Grennell and Gibson administrations but took no action to remedy the illegalities. 

Gibson says the 2021 audit is much better and should be posted online soon. I will report on the 2021 audit as soon as its posted. The 2020 audit reflects activity during the Grennell administration through July 2020 and the Gibson administration from July-September 2020. While the onus falls on Fortenberry, Grennell and the aldermen mostly, the audit did not show any improvements made during the first three months of the Gibson administration. 

2020 Financial Statement Submission to State Auditor: The City's audited financials were not submitted to the Mississippi State Auditor's office by the statutory date required. Bank Reconciliations: Bank reconciliations were not being properly reconciled to the general ledger or in a timely manner. Accounting Records and Financial Statement Preparation: Transactions were not being recorded to the City's general ledger in a timely manner. Interfund Transfers, Due To/From, and Advances: Interfund transactions were not being recorded timely or accurately. Segregation of Duties: During the process of obtaining an understanding of internal control in planning the audit, assessing control risk, and assessing fraud risk, a lack of segregation of duties was noted. General Fund Expenditures Over Budget: The City's General Fund expenditures exceeded its budgeted amount by $1,015,773. Casino Annual Lease Fund Expenditures Over Budget: The City's Casino Annual Lease Fund expenditures exceeded its budgeted amount by $350,490. Compliance with Reporting Requirements of OMB - Single Audit: The City's Single Audit was not filed with the Federal Audit Clearinghouse in a timely manner.

Ferriday's Big, Bad Mess

 by Peter Rinaldi 

Town of Ferriday finances have been in a mess for years, mostly because the town's tax base is not adequate to meet the obligations of minimal government. Additionally, town management, through several mayors and clerks, has not done a very good job of bookkeeping and accounting, with many deficiencies and adverse findings. The town was again late submitting its records to its CPA to publish an annual audit for 2021.

 Some of the more recent problems include: 1) Old past due and non-collectible water accounts were still on the books. 2) Financial statements were not submitted to the state on time. 3) Customer utility deposits were short $22,000. The cause could be inaccurate bookkeeping, stolen or embezzled funds, or deposits may have been used illegally to pay town bills. The CPA noted the shortage but did not conduct a review to determine the exact cause or causes. 4) The town was not in compliance with state safe drinking water standards for more than 10 years, including a failure to pay state mandated fees, which amount to more than $45,000. 5) Town bookkeeping staff did not maintain reserve accounts required by issued bonds. Ferriday should have a debt service fund, reserve fund, and depreciation and contingencies funds noted in its books and balances kept as required by the bond covenants. 

Ferriday's latest audit for the year ending 6/30/21 has not been released. But Mayor Rydell Turner pledged in the last audit that the five major deficiencies noted above would be corrected. The era of bad management continues to plague this poor town. Its citizens deserve better.

Facing Our Obligation

 by Peter Rinaldi 

I have always loved writing news and working on ads for my clients. I enjoyed 35+ years of publishing Miss-Lou Magazine in print and online. In more recent years, I’ve talked to many families, mostly moms and grand moms, who have lost kids and grandkids shot to death by vicious criminals. These tearful conversations have happened far too often since 2010. 

The pain and suffering of these families never ends. And they often have to struggle against a justice system that really doesn’t care whether the murderers are punished or not. There are many things to love or dislike about our communities. But the tragedy of our young men, women and teens shot and killed (nearly all are black young people) is so troubling. I am haunted by the pictures of these kids and their families’ pleas for justice. I find myself going back to the stories and the photos of the murdered kids and again asking God to care for these victims and their crying families. There should be a special place in this universe reserved for the killers with plenty of extra seating set aside for the uncaring law enforcement officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges who do such harm to our victims’ families. 

This is one reason why I have been so adamant about politicians facing the facts about our crime wave. The politicians are supposed to be in charge of public safety. All shooter killers should get life without parole or the death penalty. We should continue to advocate for no bonds and no suspended or light sentences for shooter killers. No exceptions. Justice demands that we take these crimes seriously. We can’t bring the victims back to life. We can’t end the suffering of the families. But we can do what Mississippi and Louisiana law calls for. It is our obligation to do so.

Questions Worth Asking

by Peter Rinaldi 

If Natchez police took 150 illegal or stolen guns off the street in just six months, just how many people were arrested as a result? I haven’t noticed even 50 arrests for such. Did those with two or more guns get arrested on trafficking charges with a more serious penalty as provide by state law?  

While overall incidence of crime in Natchez reached a peak in the early 90s due to the crack epidemic, the city became more violent in recent years again. In 2018, Natchez had 12 murders in the city and 6 in the county. Property crime also increased dramatically. Since then, overall crime has lessened. In 2018, Natchez was in the bottom 1% of safe communities. Today, it is in the bottom 4%. Did Natchez actually solicit its safety award rather than get the award for community safety? The answer to this question is yes. Natchez submitted an application for the award category to the Miss. Municipal League. The award was not given out of the blue because officials around the state overwhelmingly recognized how Natchez was doing so well with safety. The city filled out an application highlighting its success. And the League awards committee then chose Natchez.

I received info from law enforcement last year, that city crime stats had been sanitized and improved at the direction of the former police chief. If true, that would mean the violent and property crime stats submitted to the FBI DOJ could be suspect. At this point, I have no way of verifying whether the allegation or stats are true or untrue. But the whole affair with seizures, the award, and crime statistics makes me somewhat wary. The mayor has already announced that new crime stats will show Natchez is much safer. Are we supposed to accept this announcement as truth or just more political bull throwing? I don’t know. 

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Contact Us 

News for Southwest Mississippi and East Central Louisiana, including Adams, Jefferson, Franklin and Wilkinson counties and Concordia and Catahoula parishes.

15044 Blue Marlin Terrace, Bonita Springs. FL 34135


Peter Rinaldi, publisher
Clarisse Washington, editor

Stanton Hall

Historic Downtown: Between Main and Franklin streets is the hub of Old Natchez with tree-lined streets, old homes, plenty of places to walk and view restored historic properties. Restaurants, antique and gift shops, banks, bars. Very visitor friendly. Call the Chamber of Commerce for specific sites worth visiting, 601-445-4611.

Vidalia Riverfront: A mile-long river walk and the best views of the Mississippi River highlight this spectacular collage of scenery of new facilities including restaurants, hotels, convention center and amphitheater. The river walk is the perfect place to unwind, relax and get a touch of exercise. 

Delta Music Museum: A restored post office in downtown Ferriday offers a glimpse into the lives of Ferriday's most famous musical natives: Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley, Jimmy Swaggart, and PeeWee Whittaker. Free admission, 318-757-9999. 

Natchez Visitor Reception Center: Offers an orientation to the area through exhibits, maps, brochures and displays. Located next to the Mississippi River Bridge, the center features The Natchez Story, a good cinematic introduction to the history and culture of the region, 800-647-6724. The Visitor Center and the Convention Promotion Commission operate a tourist-oriented website at www.visitnatchez.org

Duncan Park: Nice tennis facilities and 18-rounds of golf, picnic tables, driving range, handicapped accessible playground, nice biking and walking. Golf just $29 ($24 seniors), cart included. Inexpensive recreation, 601-442-5955. 


Longwood and Rosalie: These homes offer the best of the best tours of pre-Civil War mansions. Longwood, an unfinished octagonal house (800-647-6742), and Rosalie, with its original furnishings and beautiful gardens (601-445-4555), have great family histories. 

Antebellum Home Touring: Natchez Pilgrimage Tours offers individual and group tickets to antebellum mansions year-round. Fall and Spring Pilgrimages offer more than 30 homes on tour, all restored, beautifully furnished with priceless antiques, art and collectibles. Many homes feature exquisite gardens and landscaped grounds, 800-647-6742. 

Magnolia Bluffs Casino: This downtown casino offer Las Vegas-style gambling, dining, and entertainment. Call the 1-888-505-5777 for info. 

Downtown Carriage Ride: The guides know just about every story about every building and the people who lived there during Natchez's historic past. Get tickets from the drivers themselves at the Canal Street Depot. Carriage rides are just $20 per person, $10 for children ages 3-10, a real value when you consider the quality and beauty of the tour. 

Grand Village of the Natchez Indians

Grand Village of the Natchez Indians: A historic site and museum commemorate the Natchez Native American culture. Mounds rebuilt, nature trail, picnic tables, tree-covered grounds. Free admission. School and civic groups welcome, 601-446-6502. 

Natchez in Historic Photographs: Nearly 100 years of Natchez history is captured in photos hung on the walls of Stratton Chapel of First Presbyterian Church. More than 300 photographs from the 1850's-1950's. Free admission, donation requested, 601-442-4751. 

Natchez Museum of African-American History: This museum on Main Street offers more than 600 artifacts that interpret the life, history and culture of black Americans in Mississippi from the 1890's to the 1950's, 601-445-0728. 

Natchez National Historic Park: The park includes two properties, Melrose and the William Johnson House. Melrose is a stately antebellum home built in 1848, situated in a lovely park-like setting. Outbuildings are preserved. Tours are offered. The William Johnson House is a three-story townhouse, once owned by a free black businessman, 601-442-7407. 

St. Catherine Creek Wildlife Refuge

St. Catherine Creek Wildlife Refuge: This 25,000 acre refuge, located along the Mississippi River from Cloverdale Road to the Homochitto River, offers a nature trail, fishing, hunting and wildlife watching opportunities, 601-442-6696. 

Natchez City Cemetery: This cemetery was established in 1821 and contains graves dating to the 1700's. Many of Natchez's historic figures are buried here. Tours are available, 601-445-5051. 

Beau Pré Country Club: 18 holes of beautifully landscaped golf, $50-$60 with cart. One of the best courses in the state, grill and lounge, tennis, swimming. Open Tues. through Sun., www.beauprenatchez.com, 601-442-5493.

 Beau Pre Country Club


Contact Us 

News for Southwest Mississippi and East Central Louisiana, including Adams, Jefferson, Franklin and Wilkinson counties and Concordia and Catahoula parishes.

15044 Blue Marlin Terrace, Bonita Springs. FL 34135


Peter Rinaldi, publisher
Clarisse Washington, editor

A Remarkable Moral Achievement by Dennis Prager

Given how flawed human nature is, America has been a remarkable moral achievement. This is the truism that separates the wise man from the fool. This is the truism that separates the left from the anti-left. Those who acknowledge how flawed human nature is compare America to reality. Those who do not, compare America to some utopian image: a country free of inequality, prejudices, intolerance, sexual misbehavior, greed, etc. This divide helps explain why those who hold a biblical worldview — usually religious Jews and Christians — are more likely to appreciate America than those who do not. It is fundamental to Judaism and Christianity that “the will of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21). I offer a partial list of bad traits inherent to human nature. When perusing it, one can only marvel at how good a country America became. 

No. 1: A yearning for power over others. This yearning is what has animated nearly every political leader in history. There are people who do not have a personal craving for power and seek positions of power solely because of a calling. But these people are rare. The American Founders understood this. They created a unique political system to minimize power and to maximize checks on power. That is the reason for the division of power among three coequal branches of government and the reason states were given so much power. Thus, America was established to be a republic, not a pure democracy. In addition, the Founders did not trust the majority with great power, which is the reason for two nondemocratic institutions: the Electoral College and the Senate. And that is why the left, which is rooted in a desire for power — and therefore a desire for evermore powerful government — loathes the Electoral College and the Senate. 

No. 2: A yearning for fame and recognition. This, along with the yearning for power, is what drives and has driven nearly all politicians in world history, but it is hardly isolated to politicians. For example, it is largely what animates Hollywood actors. That is one reason no other profession gives itself as many awards as does Hollywood. Increasingly, however, being a star is also what animates journalists and, to the extent possible, academics and other intellectuals. 

No. 3: A yearning to feel and be considered important and morally superior. This is nearly universal. People — historically men, but increasingly women — ache to believe they are important. There is nothing inherently wrong with this yearning. However, it can lead people to engage in irresponsible, even evil, behavior — solely because it makes them feel important. This explains why the left fights largely nonexistent evils such as “systemic racism,” “white supremacy,” “white privilege” and “capitalism.” Fighting evil, even make-believe evils, makes one feel important and morally superior to those who do not fight these evils. 

No. 4: The sex drive. Consider how many men have lost everything — their money, reputation, livelihood, even their family — in order to gratify their sex drive. The reason there has been so much irresponsible and sometimes evil sexual behavior is not because of “sexism” or “patriarchy,” but because of this drive. The wonder is not how much sexual impropriety exists in America; the wonder is how little there is compared to the past, compared to virtually every society in history and compared to many societies today. This has largely been the result of the influence of Judeo-Christian ethics. Prior to the baby boomer generation, most American men were raised to believe that manhood was defined by marriage and by taking care of a family. With the left’s assault on Judeo-Christian religions, more and more young men feel free to revert to their animallike sexual nature, which is not monogamous and not naturally inclined to getting married and making a family. 

No. 5. Greed. The desire for more money and material possessions is built into the human condition. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make more money and have a nicer home. In fact, it is usually a good thing; it is what animates people to work hard and invent things. Greed, however, is the word we use to describe a yearning for material wealth so great that it overpowers moral considerations — which it has throughout history. It is the reason for corruption, an evil that constitutes the single greatest reason countries do not develop. Like every other country, America has always had its share of greedy individuals, but there has generally been far less corruption in America than elsewhere — a major reason for America’s unique prosperity. This, too, is rapidly changing. Like the other negative impulses of human nature, greed was held at least somewhat in check by religion. Every Bible-based religion taught its followers self-control. With the demise of religion, the only thing left to control people is the state. But when the state becomes a substitute for religion in attempting to control human nature, one ends up with a police state, which may well happen here. 

No. 6: Ingratitude. Gratitude is not built into human nature. That’s why good parents tell their children thousands of times, “Say ‘thank you.'” Gratitude needs to be cultivated. And throughout American history, it was. The great majority of Americans and new immigrants to America were profoundly grateful to be American. Of course, many Blacks had legitimate reasons not to be grateful to be American. But, over time, that has changed. However, the left has told every group other than white males that they should have no gratitude for being American. One could say that most college and graduate school degrees today are degrees in ingratitude. The left knows it can only win elections when the majority of Americans are ungrateful. Given human nature, America has been an extraordinary accomplishment. However, given the left’s largely successful elimination of Judeo-Christian and middle-class values — and the consequent unleashing of human nature — that accomplishment may not survive.

You can read more of Dennis Prager's writing at https://townhall.com/columnists/dennisprager.


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Management of Wild Hogs by James L. Cummins      

A significant factor in the rise of wild hog numbers is its ability to eat just about anything. The wild hog is omnivorous, meaning they will eat plant and animal matter. During the spring and summer months, the most important food sources are grasses, roots, and stems. During the fall and winter months, hard and soft mast make up the bulk of their diet. An adult wild hog can eat over 160 pounds of mast during a winter period and with abundant crops, as much as 84% of the hog’s diet will consist of acorns. The wild hog is also known to eat animal matter. Major vertebrate foods include other hogs, armadillos, white‑tailed deer (fawns), and some birds and their eggs.  

One of the primary concerns that land managers and wildlife biologists have concerning the wild hog is its ability to destroy agricultural crops and native habitats. Studies have shown that in areas with high hog populations, 85% to 98% of the native understory species of plants can be destroyed by the hog's feeding and rooting behavior. They have been shown to out‑compete other species of wildlife for hard and soft mast crops and are notorious for destroying food plots planted for deer, turkey, and other wildlife. In addition to wreaking havoc on native habitats, wild hogs cause thousands of dollars in damage each year to agriculture crops across the state. 

One method used to control wild hog populations is through hunting. Hunting wild hogs is exciting and fun, but it has been shown to not be an effective means of controlling population growth. Wild hogs are one of the wariest of our big game animals and they will alter their habits due to hunting pressure.

Research conducted in Florida has found that to effectively control wild hog populations, you need to remove at least 75% of the population a year. One effective way to accomplish this is through trapping. There are many different styles and types of traps used to capture hogs with the most common being a heavy-duty cage trap with either a spring door, root door, or drop door. Traps are usually baited with sour corn, milo, or sweet potatoes. One important point to remember about baiting traps is that no matter what you bait with, one must remember that to bait a trap during hunting season can be considered baiting, resulting in a ticket and fine. To avoid this, it is best to wait until after all hunting seasons are closed before starting your trapping program. It is also a good idea to contact your local conservation officer to let him know what you are doing and where your traps will be. 

Another trapping method not widely used to capture hogs is with snares. Snares are highly effective when used under fences in heavily traveled areas. However, catching a hog with a snare usually means that the hog will have to be killed on the spot.

James L. Cummins is executive director of Wildlife Mississippi.


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Amy Alkon

When You Post Private Thoughts on FB by Amy Alkon

Dear Amy: What are your thoughts on gently dissuading a person from making a total fool of herself on Facebook? A woman I know had her husband leave her for the woman he was cheating on her with. She's been venting about this almost daily on Facebook, in sometimes blistering detail, and I'm truly embarrassed for her. She's looking for a job, and a prospective employer could see these posts (as could potential future boyfriends). Shockingly, not one of her 443 Facebook friends has suggested she put a lid on it. -- Concerned Acquaintance 

Dear Concerned: Social networking, at its worst, is like drunk dialing not only your rotten ex but everyone in his zip code. It's easy to forget this when you're home alone in your ratty old robe, typing a message into the Facebook status window. But, the moment you hit "post," it's like you lured 500 people into a room with a clip of a monkey skiing and then got up on an ottoman and yelled out a hate-soaked rant about how your cheating husband should've pledged, "Till skanky piece of trash do us part."            

If you saw a blind man about to step off the curb into speeding traffic, you'd probably tap him on the shoulder and say, "You know, that seems like a bad idea." A similar approach seems in order for a friend in a blind rage wandering naked into Internet traffic. With Facebook's confusing and ever-changing privacy settings and every computer user's ability to take screenshots or copy and paste text, it's best to assume that everything you post has the default visibility of "everyone on earth." (Ideally, this is best assumed proactively -- before some fisherman in China messages you, "Tell us more! Post pictures!")             

Now, it's possible that others have privately messaged her, noting that staying connected can sometimes be the quickest way to alienate yourself from future boyfriends and employers. It's also possible many are frozen by what social psychologists call "the bystander effect" -- how being in a crowd (or even just imagining being in one) seems to lessen the likelihood that people will help a person in need. People will assume that someone else in the crowd will intervene or, if they haven't, that there's good reason they haven't. (Maybe that's what went on here -- or maybe all these "friends" are just too entertained by the carnage to ask her to stop.)  

Of course, people are also less likely to speak up when it might make somebody angry with them, which, in this case, could lead to their unfriending on Facebook and in reallifebook, too. If you're willing to risk that, message her, sympathize about what she's going through, and gently remind her that even if she isn't vying to be secretary of state, those heading the "confirmation hearings" for her next job are sure to have access to the Internet. This isn't to say employers won't look at people who engage in social media overshare, but it's best that their interest isn't expressed with "Forget her resume. Check out this YouTube video of her shoveling horse poo on her husband's car and lighting it on fire!"

REGIONS: There's an ATM at each of our branches. www.regions.com. Member FDIC. An Equal Housing Lender.-----

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Peter Rinaldi, publisher
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