Ferriday Fire Chief Joe Sontoyo retires

Noah's Ark defendants plead guilty

Shooter-dealer arrested again after getting suspended sentence

Aldermen and supervisors may set up separate 911 dispatch centers

Damian Whitley sentenced to 40 years for killing state trooper

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

Visit the CPSO Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CPsheriff.

Gun Club and Black Panthers March in Natchez

There were no incidents during or following the march.

About 40 members of a Texas gun club and their allies marched through downtown Natchez Sunday. Some were armed. Others carried New Black Panther Party flags. The demonstrators chanted slogans. The march was peaceful and there were no incidents. The gun club leader had promised to bring 1000 armed supporters to town. Fortunately, his boast did not materialize. However, the threat of a such a large armed group raised fears. The Elmer Geronimo Pratt Gun Club came to Natchez to participate in Juneteenth commemorations.

Ferriday Fire Chief Joe Sontoyo is retiring after 38 years with the Ferriday Fire Department. He served 16 years as fire chief.

Accused drug dealer and convicted shooter Elmontre Williams of Woodville was sentenced in Judge Lillie Blackmon Sanders circuit court for aggravated assault in March. Even though Williams had tried to kill a rival, she sentenced him to 10 years suspended with only five years actual probation. On April 22, Woodville police arrested Williams for possession of a weapon by a felon, possession of drugs, possession of drugs with intent to distribute. He had already failed his court mandated drug test the day before, on April 21. He was once again placed on a low bond of $20,000 and released. Judge Al Johnson, now substituting for Sanders while she is on medical leave, learned of Williams' behavior in early May and ordered the felon arrested and jailed, signing an order for the man's immediate arrest. Williams will now serve the 10 years he earned previously, plus additional time, if he is convicted of his April charges.

The defendants in the Noah's Ark childcare cruelty case in Vidalia have pled guilty. Lysa Richardson, 36, Bridget DeLaughter, 33, Julianne Perales, 26, and Taylor Ragonesi, 19, hit children multiple times on the head, face and mouth, causing pain and bruises. Sentencing will be Sept. 7 for all except Ragonesi, whose pre-sentencing investigation has not been completed. The women were captured on their own nursery video battering the kids.

Adams County Board of Supervisors Attorney Scott Slover said the E911 Board has asked supervisors to consider buying and rehabbing the old WIC building for a new home for the county's E911 services, but supervisors are going to research several options before making a final decision. Supervisors would prefer to keep a combined city-county E911 effort but Mayor Dan Gibson says his police chief would prefer to have separate systems. Running two separate systems would cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands more dollars per year.

Damian Whitley, 27, of Natchez, has been sentenced to 40 years in jail for the 2020 killing of off duty Trooper Troy Morris. Whitley will be eligible for probation or parole in 30 years. Whitley shot and killed Morris as the trooper was doing his second job, a mail route in JeffersonCounty.

Three people were injured in a traffic accident at the intersection of Hwy. 65/425 in Clayton, when a minivan turned in front of a tractor trailer rig. The three were treated at Trinity Medical with no serious injuries. The driver of the minivan was issued a ticket for careless operation of a vehicle.

Concordia Parish deputies report that Jonathan Naron, 30, of Pineville, has been captured in Pearl River County. He was wanted for possession of child cyber porn and soliciting a juvenile.

The Miss-Lou Pregnancy Center in Vidalia will receive $30,000 in donations from the Natchez chapter and the national Knights of Columbus. The center counsels women on the advantages of allowing babies to go to full term. The center will open on Hwy. 84 in July.

Ferriday residents are asked to conserve water, as the town repairs a water pump that failed.

Bernadette Wilson, 64, who was formerly the chief of police at Alcorn State University in Lorman, was struck by a car while walking and killed on Cannonsburg Road in Jefferson County. She was 200 yards from her home when the accident occurred. Wilson was remembered as a kind and loving person.

Mark Sturdivant, 35, and Kevin Paul Martin, 35, wanted for the burglary of Washington Baptist Church, have been captured and are now in the Adams County jail.

Whitney Seal is the new Main Street director for Woodville and WilkinsonCounty. She reported that Polly Rosenblatt’s application for restoration funds has been approved for Polk’s Meat Market and $100,000 in exterior repairs. The historic market is owned by the town. Rosenblatt served as the community’s Main Street director for many years until her passing in March of this year.

Three former employees of Ridgecrest asked the mayor and aldermen for extra payment from American Rescue Act funds. The village did not give them the money, explaining that the it had spent the Rescue Act funds on the repair of a sewer lift station in Ferriday, which serves Ridgecrest.

Natchez has rejoined the Mississippi Main Street Association. The city once belonged but then dropped its membership. Now it has rejoined in hopes of improving historic downtown Natchez

When an alleged drug dealer was shot in the back at the Zipy c-store on Old Washington Rd. Saturday night, he refused to name the shooters. Police have subsequently found and arrested the two men allegedly responsible for the attack. Officers arrested Anthony Thompson Jr., 20, and Ahmad Shannon, 22, on three counts of aggravated assault for shooting the victim, and shooting at the pregnant woman in the victim's car and the woman's unborn child.

Adams, Jefferson and Wilkinson counties are talking about forming their own three county mental health district and withdrawing from the larger Region 11 district. Region 11 is unable to provide adequate services, behind on its bills and essentially broke. The three counties would have to get state permission and some state funding for the project, as well as provide some local seed monies. The boards of supervisors of the three counties have not yet given their assent for the idea. If they go ahead, it would take probably 18-24 months to set up the new district.

The Mississippi Department of Education has given preliminary approval for four charter school outlines for Natchez, including three from the Natchez Adams Educational Foundation and one by a Texas based company. The outlines will be explained further and detailed in the next stage of the charter school application process. where the applicants are interviewed. Whether any of the Natchez charters will actually get final approval is uncertain.

Jonesville police arrested Robby Woods, 42, of Jonesville, after he ran around naked in the front yard at 901 Front St. yelling swear words. He was charged with obscenity and domestic abuse battery, because he threw a chair at family members after police arrived. In an unrelated incident, four juveniles were arrested by Jonesville police for smashing windows at the Exxon Fueltrac at 3am and stealing cigars. Their antics were captured on security video. They were charged and their parents cited for improper supervision of a juvenile. Jonesville has a 10pm curfew for minors. Kids traveling to and from work are exempted from the curfew.

A few kids were handling a loaded pistol on the porch of one apartment at Commons Apartments in Centreville, when the gun fired and a bullet struck a 12 year old girl in the leg. She was treated at Field Health and is recovering.

The city of Natchez is considering whether to allow businesswoman Taylor Cooley to paint wall murals on her building on Franklin Street.

Meadville aldermen voted to replace a 21-year-old malfunctioning roll-up door at the town’s fire station at a cost of $5,992. Quality Door, a company that has installed doors previously for the town, will provide the service. Aldermen then Approved a second pay requisition from Warren and Warren Asphalt Paving in the amount of $19,666.62 related to the resurfacing of Main Street, which was funded through a SmallMunicipalities and Limited Population Counties grant from the Mississippi Development Authority. Town leaders discussed the mandated inspection of Meadville’s above-ground water storage tanks, and accepted a quote from Dungan Engineering totaling $2,300 to provide the service and then approved foundation repairs to the town hall building in the amount of $3,524.66 that will be undertaken by Owen Holland and Sons.

One of the most recognizable corners in downtown Meadville is getting a face-lift. The Bank of Franklin has announced long-term plans to renovate its headquarters at the corner of Main and Walnut streets. The start of planned improvements coincide with the bank's 110th year in business.

Natchez woman murdered outside her apartment

Ferriday may install license plate cameras

Concordia residents complain about roads

Johnnie Adams named interim Catahoula school superintendent

Natchez aldermen want audit of community pool

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.

Vidaila Employees Get Pay Raise

Vidalia rmployees will get their pay raise in July.

Vidalia town employees will receive a five percent salary increase, plus a $1050 retention bonus. The extra money will come from the regular budget and American Rescue Act funding. 

Adams County Coroner James Lee said the death of Doretha Fitzgerald, 63, was a homicide. Her body was found outside her apartment near St. Catherine St. Fitzgerald was killed by blunt force trauma to the head. Police continue their investigation.

Ferriday aldermen are thinking about hiring a company that would install cameras to read the license plates of speeders and then issue tickets to offenders. The technology would provide the town with hundreds of thousands of dollars of annual revenues. The deluge of tickets could once again earn Ferriday the reputation it had as a speed trap town during the Gene Allen administration.

At the Concordia Parish police jury meeting, residents complained jurors aren't doing enough to repair roads and combat derelict properties. Jurors listened but did not offer any plans in remedy. Jurors did agree to hire a new secretary-treasurer, since Sandi Burley is taking a new job at Syrah. Burley mentioned she is hopeful that some grants will come in that can be used for road repairs.

Johnnie Adams had been appointed interim superintendent of schools of Catahoula Parish, as hiring for the job has been delayed until at least July 15. Ads for the open post were not run on time. Adams has applied for the permanent position. He is a former Catahoula principal.

Natchez aldermen want to audit the revenues and expenses of the community pool. They reiterated their position that pool parties should not include alcohol.

A plea hearing for defendants in the Noah’s Ark daycare child abuse case will be held in Seventh District Court in Vidalia on June 22. Trial is set for Aug. 1.

The State of Louisiana has closed the public boat ramp at Lake Concordia because the concrete is broken. Officials have not set a date for repair.

Jeremy Davis, 30, of Vidalia, has been in the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility since April, charged with multiple burglaries and possession of stolen firearms. Now he has been charged with second degree attempted murder for allegedly stabbing a fellow inmate with a shank (a jail made knife).

Accused drug dealer George Derrick Smith, 31, was recently released from the AdamsCounty jail June 8 and then was shot and seriously wounded at the Zipy store on Old Washington Road on Saturday. Despite his criminal history, he was released on bond after being arrested for drug possession, possession of a weapon by a felon, aggravated assault and possession of drug paraphernalia. He refuses to talk with police about the attack or his assailants. He has been arrested in the past for intent to sell  meth, ecstasy and marijuana and normally has a gun even though he is a felon. Previously, he shot at two people in Broadmoor. He has also run from the police in the past to avoid capture.

Concordia deputies arrested Michael L. Johnson, 49, of Natchez, following a traffic stop. He was charged with possession of meth with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia. He also had outstanding warrants for his arrest. He has been previously arrested in AdamsCounty for possession of meth and Xanax and possession of a stolen weapon. Johnson was arrested for drugs as recently as May of this year in Adams County. He was released on a $500 bond.

An alert Adams County deputy recognized a stolen FranklinCounty car being driven in Kingston. He then arrested the driver, Devin Wheeler, 26, of Natchez, for possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of drugs in a stolen vehicle. Wheeler also had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

Circuit Judge Al Johnson sentenced three WilkinsonCounty men to life in prison for murder and 20 years for conspiracy to murder for beating and then killing Carl Newton in 2018. The sentences are to run concurrently. Nathan Lollis, 37, Charles Lee Wells, 68, and Marcel Smith, 23, were convicted by a Wilkinson County jury.

Franklin County Upper Elementary School will soon get a new, modern playground. valued at more than $300,000, thanks to a grant provided through the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation.

Not all homes received a new digital water meter, when Bude's contractor did the recent installation. Apparently, some residences were left off the master list because they had previously had water service but not recently.

There will be a GOP runoff for Congress between Ronald Eller and Brian Flowers on June 28. The winner faces Bennie Thompson in November. Thompson's 2nd Congressional District includes Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Wilkinson and Amite counties.

We have ATMs at all all our branches. www.regionsbank.com

Natchez Still an Unsafe City

Violent and property crime places Natchez in the bottom 4 percent of safe cities

Natchez remains in the bottom four percent of safe communities in the nation because of the high incidence of violent and property crime. That means 96 percent of the nation’s cities are safer than the Bluff City. The crime stats on violent and property crime are available from neighborhoodscout.com and the DOJ/FBI.

O. C. Johnson, 41, of Ferriday, fired shots into the air during an argument with his nephew. Ferriday police arrested him for aggravated assault, illegal use of a weapon and firing of a weapon within the town limits. He faces additional charges of possession of drugs with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Adams County supervisors said they want feedback from their constituents on whether voters are willing to generate the money needed for a new jail. “Building a jail is going to require taxes going up,” said Supervisor Ricky Gray. “Call a town hall meeting. See what the people want,” said Supervisor Angela Hutchins. “If they want their taxes raised, I’m all for it.” She suggested putting the issue on the ballot for AdamsCounty voters to approve or reject. The five-member board of supervisors again discussed the 47-year-old jail’s worsening structural problems that have some questioning whether inmates are being held in inhumane conditions. “I know the urgency the jail has created. It’s pretty bad,” said Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said. “It’s deteriorating. It’s been an issue here before, but right now it’s a lot more concerning,” he said. He noted a “blueprint” is being prepared of various alternatives and costs for how to house Adams County inmates.

Concordia Parish lakes will play host to the G.G. King Bass Tactix National Invitation on July 7-9 and the Miss-Lou area will reap the benefits. The fishing tournament will bring in approximately $1.1 million to the local economy, help local and national youth and expose the area to a national audience, according to Bass Tactix Fishing Director of Operations Richard Parker. Those fishing in the tournament will be in the area Tuesday through Saturday. The event will see 150 teams who represent 250 to 300 families. The tournament is sponsored by Jimmy Allgood and MidSouth Broadcasting.

Adrianna Butler, 22, of Woodville, was driving in East Feliciana Parish near Norwood. when she crossed the center line and struck another car and was killed. State Troopers said the other driver was injured. Butler's Ford Focus left the highway and crashed. She was wearing her seatbelt.

Concordia Parish detectives began an investigation into an adult subject, engaged in online conversations with a minor which were sexual in nature. Over the course of several days, the subject sent lewd videos and photos, also requesting the same from the minor. After positively identifying the subject, a warrant was obtained for his arrest. Preston Glass, 27, of Denham Springs, was charged with computer aided solicitation of a minor and indecent behavior with juveniles.

Joe Wilson, 28, of Natchez, was charged by Natchez police with shooting at another man’s truck near the Mississippi River Bridge at Government Fleet Road in a road rage incident. No one was injured. Wilson was charged with aggravated assault, malicious mischief, shooting into a vehicle and shooting inside of city limits. Bond was set at $55,000. Wilson was arrested previously in Concordia Parish for cruelty to animals, shooting on a public roadway and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Richard Cole, 42, of Natchez, was arrested by Natchez police for allegedly dealing drugs while in possession of a firearm. He was released on a mere $500 bond.

Concordia Sheriff's patrol deputies had the occasion to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle, traveling over 80 mph in Ridgecrest. As the vehicle came to a stop, the driver exited and proceeded to flee the scene on foot, however, was positively identified. Upon conducting a license plate check, it was learned that the vehicle had been stolen from a nearby residence. Deputies made contact with the owner of the vehicle at that residence, at which time it was discovered that the suspect had actually committed a home invasion, by prying open a door as the occupants slept. He then entered the residence, taking the vehicle keys from inside, at which time he then left the area in the homeowner’s vehicle shortly before being stopped. It should also be noted that the suspect was in possession of a stolen firearm at the time of initial stop.  Several hours later, deputies received a call relative to an additional home invasion, also with a vehicle stolen by the suspect. Based on information received from a local store, a suspect and vehicle description were obtained and located a short time later. The subject was positively identified by deputies as the same subject in regard to the first home invasion. He was arrested without incident and all property recovered. Christopher W. Stallings, 30, a homeless man, was arrested for home invasion, theft of a motor vehicle, possession of stolen firearm, illegal possession of stolen things, resisting an officer, reckless driving and flight from an Officer.

Natchez police arrested LaDarrius Lowe, 26, after he allegedly stole a handgun from a man he was having an argument with and then later used the gun to shoot at the man's house. No one was home at the time, and no one was injured. Lowe has been charged with aggravated assault and held because he was already on probation.

Adams County supervisors have received a request from the Natchez NAACP that supervisors add $50,000 to their budget next year for house repairs for low income residents. Supervisors seemed inclined to do so. But such work would be contrary to state law. Counties cannot spend their public monies to repair or improve private properties. There are some federal grant programs that allow communities to spend federal monies on low income and/or seniors roof, structure and energy saving repairs. And soil conservation still provides federal money for watershed and erosion projects. Such spending on private property is legal.

Clayton is expected to increase its water and gas rates soon, as the village is losing money on those services.

Great Southern Recreation of Tennessee won a city of Natchez bid and will place $515,000 in playground equipment at six city parks.

Jennie Williams, a Wilkinson County High School junior, scored a 34 on the ACT, the highest score ever recorded at the school. She wants to attend Harvard University.

The Ferriday Police Department received a shots fired call in the area of 5th Street and Georgia Avenue. Ferriday Police officers along with Concordia Parish deputies responded to the area. An investigation was conducted and officers recovered several shell casings from area. While canvassing the area, officers discovered one house was struck by a stray bullet but no one was injured. Several suspects were identified with warrants forthcoming for their arrests. Within an hour of the initial call, another call was received stating a subject had brandished a weapon towards individuals from the earlier incident. Deputies and officers were able to quickly track down this fleeing felon identified as Demontay Dunbar, 24, of Ferriday. A gun in plain view was inside of his vehicle. Dunbar was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He may face federal charges related to his possession of a "ghost gun." He was out on bond for attempted second degree murder, aggravated assault with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. That bond was revoked.

The Franklin County School District will host a public hearing on its proposed Fiscal Year 2023 revenue and spending plans at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 28 in the offices of the Superintendent of Education on First Street in Meadville. Projected revenues for the year are $16 million. No request will be sent to supervisors for more tax money.

A CPA audit of the Town of Jonesville that ticket revenue was not properly documented and fees collected for other state agencies were not paid on time. Deposits to Community Bank were not placed in secured accounts. The town failed to give the state its annual audit when it was due. Funds from restricted revenue accounts were moved improperly to the general fund.

Bennie Thompson easily won the Democratic nomination or his2nd District congressional seat in this week's primary. He is expected to win handily in the General Election in November. Thompson's district now includes Adams, Franklin, Wilkinson and Amite counties.

Two people accused in a Nigerian fraud scheme pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy during a court hearing in Natchez, federal prosecutors said. Edafe Onoetiyi, 34, of Nigeria but living in Dallas, and Susan Johns, 55, of Bothell, Washington, entered the pleas in U.S. District Court in Natchez, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi said in a news release. Court documents show the defendants conspired with each other and other people to defraud American citizens by transferring bank account information, personal identity information and other access devices to create and transfer fraudulent loans and perpetrate other forms of theft resulting in the transfer of hundreds of thousands of dollars within the U.S. and abroad, including Canada and Nigeria, the news release said. “Many of the victims of the fraud were romance scheme victims, wherein fraudsters concealing their true identities duped innocent victims into either sending money or allowing the fraudsters to use their bank account to move fraudulently obtained money,” the news release said. Onoetiyi and Johns will be sentenced Sept. 6. They each face up to five years and a $250,000 fine. The convictions are the result of a multi-year investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations.

Burglar Shot Dead by Homeowner

Burglar Gari Harris did his last home invasion

Adams County deputies said Gari Harris, 35, of Natchez, tried to break into a Johnson Circle home today. The burglar broke several windows and tried to get by a locked door. The homeowner fired a warning shot. Harris persisted and the homeowner shot and killed the criminal. Harris had succeeded in breaking into another home nearby earlier in the day. He was arrested for aggravated assault in 2010 when he shotgunned a man in the face. His victim survived.

Concordia-Catahoula Judge John Reeves denied bail for defendant George Hunter Sikes, 25, of Jonesville, after Sikes provided an opioid to a local resident and the drug killed that person. Judges can refuse to set bail when the felony accused has a history of criminal behavior or is a threat to the community. Sikes was being held for other charges as well and has a long history of criminal acts. Sikes will not be released before trial.

Hometown Waste of Catahoula has secured the Catahoula Parish trash pickup contract effective July 1. Doug and River Atkins own and manage the company.

Congressional primaries will be held June 7. Wilkinson, Franklin, Amite and Adams now part of District 2. Incumbent Democrat Bennie Thompson will most likely win the general election in November.

Trinity Medical reported $24.4 million in revenues for 2021. The hospital’s services and revenues have grown significantly when compared to the former Riverland Medical Center.

Quentin Maurice Smith, 45, of Fayette, has been arrested again for selling drugs, this time possession of meth with intent to distribute. He has been arrested several times in the recent past for his drug dealing. Justice court and prosecutors do not believe he is a threat to the community. His bond was set at $5000 and he was released. He could have been denied bond because of his proclivity to commit felony crime. Felony defendants normally pay a bail bondsman 10 percent of the bond as a fee. When a drug dealer has a bond of $5000, it will cost the defendant $500 cash to get out of jail. In February of 2022, Smith was arrested for felon in possession of a weapon in Concordia Parish.

JR Real Properties has purchased the former Community Hospital site. The company hopes to find medical tenant(s) for the property.

The Natchez-Adams Educational Foundation has applied to the state to establish three charter schools in Natchez. The schools would include an elementary, middle and high school. The middle school would emphasize health science and the high school media and performing arts.

The Franklin County School Board has approved the student use of medical marijuana in pill form, but the parent of the child must administer the drug, as school personnel will not. The student must have a prescription.

Sandi Burley is resigning her job as secretary-treasurer of the Concordia Parish Police Jury and will go to work for Syrah Technologies as an administrative assistant.

Pat Sanguinetti has agreed to fill in as interim Head of School at Cathedral until a permanent person is hired.

The Woodville mayor and aldermen discussed the need for water well and water system repairs, not only for the town but the prison as well. The town supplies water to the prison for a fee. The aldermen voted to use federal American Rescue Act funds to repair a broken water pump. Aldermen also discussed the problem of street and sidewalk maintenance, which is lacking. Unfortunately, the town only has two employees working street maintenance and they have to keep up the six cemeteries as well. The town hasn't hired more workers because of budget problems.

Some Catahoula Parish deputies (namely Bubba Roy, Paul Jackson, Tyler Hill and Chris Ahmed) are trained to use Narcan, a drug that counteracts the effects of a narcotic or opioid overdose. Sheriff Toney Edwards says his deputies have administered the drug on several occasions to overdose victims, saving lives.

The new $3.5 million gym at MontereySchool will not be completed in time for the beginning of school Aug. 1. The gym should be finished later that month.

Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office narcotics deputies had the occasion to conduct a stop on a vehicle outside of Ferriday, at which time the driver fled, resulting in a high-speed pursuit. With the assistance of Louisiana State Police, deputies were able to bring the vehicle to a stop, at which time the driver was placed under arrest without incident. Located inside the vehicle was a loaded handgun, along with a quantity of marijuana packaged for sale, prescription grade cough syrup and cash. Arrested was Kendrell Johnson, 31, of Houston, Tex. He was charged with aggravated flight from an officer, illegal possession of drugs with intent to sell, possession of firearm while in possession of drugs and felony criminal damage to property.

Deputies Arrest Alleged Drug Dealers

Taire Nelson, Olivia Dixon and Jason Fulton

Adams and Concordia deputies worked together to raid Miller Ave. and N. Rankin St. residences and arrest alleged crack cocaine dealers, Taire Nelson, 39, and Olivia Dixon, 38. Nelson and Dixon were arrested at the Miller Ave. residence for possession of crack with intent to sell with a firearms enhancement, felons in possession of a firearm, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of stolen weapon. Jason Fulton, 43, a tenant at the N. Rankin St. residence was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. Deputies found drug ledgers, packaging and weighing materials that were used to package the crack cocaine at the North Rankin location.

Syrah’s CEO Shaun Verner says his Vidalia plant will be able to produce 11,000 tons of active anode material annually, used for making electric car batteries, for example. He would like to increase the plant's production four times that amount to meet expected growth in the industry. He says Syrah may apply for a U.S. government loan to improve  meet those production goals. The Vidalia plant is currently undergoing a $180 million expansion.

The Concordia Parish Police Jury agreed to join a multi-parish railroad district. The prospects of actually developing a new railroad line are very slim, because the parish does not have enough industry to support a line.

Adams County has a current jobless rate of 5.3%. 9,940 people have jobs, up 260 jobs from a year ago. Concordia Parish has a 4.6% unemployment rate. 6,535 people are working, up 92 jobs from last year at this time.

The Ferriday Town Council voted to use federal stimulus funds to pay each town employee a bonus of $2,500.

Natchez police arrested Tiqi Griffin, 18, for the sexual battery of a 13-year-old.

Judge Al Johnson will sentence Jessica Aldridge on Friday for the 2019 shooting murder of her boyfriend, Joseph Cupit. She has registered an open plea, which is an admission of guilt in hopes of a lighter sentence. An open plea is sometimes lodged when a plea bargain has been offered but not accepted. Her case attracted much attention because she was made a trusty in jail and got pregnant by an inmate. She was also released on bond and violated the conditions of her bond and was put back In jail. The murderer not only killed her boyfriend but managed to put both the sheriff’s office and two circuit judges to shame by manipulating them. Johnson could sentence her for 20 years to life, a customary sentence for murder in the second degree. But he can also set a lighter sentence because of the open plea and request for mercy.

The Woodville Republican and publisher-editor Andy Lewis are now celebrating the paper’s 198th year in business. The Lewis Family started its ownership of the weekly back in 1879. Andy’s father, John, began operating the paper in 1938 and Andy took over in 1982.

Jonesville Police Officer Corey Hall has been suspended from his job. Following an argument with his wife at their home, both were arrested by Catahoula sheriff's deputies for domestic abuse battery because they allegedly struck each other.

Adams County deputies have charged two men for their involvement in the shooting and wounding a man on Saragossa Road on Saturday night. Jadarrius Knight, 26, has been charged with aggravated assault using a deadly weapon and was released on a bond of $20,000. Deputies also questioned Brandon Brooks, 26, concerning the shooting. Brooks was arrested and charged with possession of a stolen firearm and drug paraphernalia and his bond was set at $10,500. Deputies weren’t sure whether the stolen gun was used in the shooting or if another gun was used.

Natchez officials will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, May 31, from 6-8 p.m., at the Natchez Convention Center to provide information on the status of improvements to the city’s parks and facilities.

Woodville Police Officer Ciara Bailey made a traffic stop, when a driver ran a stop sign on Natchez Street North. A passenger in the car had what turned out to be 182 grams of marijuana hidden in his pants and another 20 Zanax pills. He also had two weapons with extended clips full of ammo. The passenger, Elmontre Williams, is a convicted felon. He was arrested for possession of weapons by a convicted felon and possession of drugs with intent to sell.

Vidalia released its proposed budget with overall projected revenues of $51.1 million and projected expenses of $48.8 million.

More than 600 people have signed a petition asking WilkinsonCounty supervisors to take action to improve water flow along creeks near the Lake Mary- Ft. Adams road. Clogged creek beds have increased flooding during heavy rains. And now that Foster’s Lake has silted in, there’s even more flooding, as the drainage for the BuffaloRiver Basin is impaired. The fix would require millions of dollars in state and federal monies. In the short term, resident hope supervisors will clear Hamilton Creek of debris, so the Lake Mary Road is not so severely impacted.

Jaccory Carr, 24, has been captured In Jefferson Parish and is expected to be extradited to Wilkinson County to stand trial for the shooting murder of Centreville resident Cody Belle.

Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said he would like the county to purchase a jail pod from CoreCivic on Hwy. 84 to place some prisoners in isolation after they’ve caused trouble at the county jail. Patten said there is enough room next to the jail on State St. to place a pod. Supervisors are considering his request.

Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office detectives began an investigation into an adult subject, who made contact with a minor online for sexual purposes. The conversations were initiated by way of social media, during which the subject sent lewd photos and discussed meeting for sexual activity. On May 19, the subject set up a meeting, driving from Pineville to Vidalia, with plans to take the minor back to stay the night with him. However, upon his arrival, he was met by Sheriff Hedrick and CPSO detectives, at which time he was taken into custody without incident. It should be noted that at the time of arrest, the subject was wearing an ankle bracelet and was in fact confirmed to be a registered sex predator, convicted of forcible rape in 2016. Deputies arrested William R. Ford Jr. 25, of Pineville, and charged him with computer aided solicitation of a minor, indecent behavior with juveniles, driving under suspension and switched license plates.

Lyn Fortenberry Jenkins is the new president and CEO of the Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce. She fills the job previously held by Debbie Hudson, who retired.

Catahoula Parish deputies received a tip that children were not being taken care of and that drugs and weapons were in a SicilyIsland home. Upon a search of the home allowed by the owner, deputies found Robert Bingham hiding in a closet. They arrested him for possession of crack cocaine, possession of meth with intent to distribute and possession of a handgun by a felon.

Franklin County Sheriff Tom Tindle said his office has received many calls from residents who complain that thieves have stolen cans full of gas from garages and sheds.

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