CPSO Cyber Crime Unit wins state award

Natchez balloon fest will be Oct. 14-15

Taylor Cooley seems unlikely to get her wall mural

New longer hours for Okhissa Lake possible

First Natchez marijuana dispensary licensed

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

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

Patten Opposes Locating E911 at Police Station

Sheriff Patten believes joint E911 offices should be located according to the county's plan

Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten has said officially he opposes locating E911 at the city police station. He believes the service should be independently located, not at the police station, which he says the building is not in suitable condition. He believes the city’s proposal underestimates repair and operating costs. And there has been no line item budget presented by the city that shows savings, just an assertion of savings. Patten believes a separate facility will enhance services, provide a good working environment for employees and better serve the current and future needs of the community.

Community Foundation of Acadiana celebrated its third annual Leaders in Law Enforcement Awards. The 2022 honorees are the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Department, the 1st Judicial District Attorney’s Office of Caddo Parish and Louisiana State Police Troop D. The Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office (CPSO) was recognized for the implementation and effectiveness of its Cyber Crime Unit. This special unit was formed to address the rising number of child pornography and cyber enticement cases in the community. In Aug. 2020, the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office created the Cyber Crime Unit to enhance investigative response combating predators using the internet and online communication to sexually exploit juveniles. A specially trained lead investigator and two support investigators were brought together to form the Cyber Crime Unit.

The Natchez Balloon Festival will be held Oct. 14-15 on the grounds of Rosalie. Tickets are on sale at www.natchezballoonfestival.com and will also be sold at the Historic Natchez Foundation starting this week. Weekend passes are $35, Friday only tickets are $15 and Saturday only tickets are $30. Admission is free for kids aged 10 and younger. Drive-By Truckers is this year's headlining band.

The Natchez Preservation Commission tabled action on guidelines for murals in the Natchez Historic District. Those proposed guidelines would allow murals on a few buildings in downtown. Historic buildings or those adding to the historic atmosphere of downtown could not have murals. The highly interpretive and vague rules would prevent photographer Taylor Cooley from putting murals on her building on Franklin St. Cooley has been asking Natchez for permission for a year.

Public feedback will be through early September on a proposal to alter the operating hours for the Homochitto National Forest’s Okhissa Lake Recreation Area in Franklin County. Homochitto National Forest District Ranger Shaun Williamson said his agency is considering changing daily public access hours from the present sunrise to sunset to 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Highest Care is the first licensed marijuana dispensary in Natchez. It will open on Jeff Davis Blvd. The owner is Tabitha Wroten.

Natchez public schools have enrolled 2,600 students, down 200 from last year. Concordia Parish schools this year have 3,073 students, down 60 students from last year.

Marie Yearby has been appointed to serve in her late husband’s Concordia Parish Police jury post. Willie Bill Yearby died Aug. 1.

Natchez attorney Scott Pintard is running to fill the circuit judgeship post now held by Lillie Sanders. Sanders is retiring.

Vidalia aldermen awarded Camo Construction a $760,000 bid for drainage improvements. T.L. Construction won a $558,000 low bid to overlay streets.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said the NorthNatchezYouthCenter is a historic landmark and its repairs should be completely funded. Aldermen then voted to spend $824,000 to repair the building.

The CPSO Cyber Crime Unit began an investigation into an adult subject who initiated online contact with a 15 year-old minor for sexual purposes. During the conversations, the subject sent sexually explicit photos, discussed "dating" and "keeping the minor a secret". In addition, he stated that he had recently began a new job as a high school teacher. Detectives were able to positively identify the suspect, at which time it was learned that he was a resident of Colfax, La. Based on the evidence, an arrest warrant was obtained and contact was made with the Grant Parish Sheriff's Office. With safety of the school students in mind, detectives elected to affect the arrest warrant, along with a residential search warrant, at which time the subject was taken into custody without incident. Arrested was Bradly J. Dyer, 26, of Colfax, for indecent behavior with juveniles.

Six assembly line workers at the Dutch Ann Foods pie shell company on Liberty Road in Natchez have gone on strike. They say they are working hard and deserve more than the $8.25 per hour they earn.

The new American Symphony cruise boat has been launched on the East Coast, has completed its sea trials and is making way to New Orleans. It’s inaugural cruise will include Natchez on Aug. 30.

Natchez homebuilder, Henry Watts, has been re-elected as Chairman of the Mississippi Veterans Home Purchase Board. His re-election, was shortly after being re-appointed by Governor Tate Reeves, for his third, four-year term to the VHPB board of directors. “The Mississippi Veterans Home Purchase Board, (VHPB) located in Pearl, Mississippi is a six-member board and a Executive Director, that represents each of the old Congressional Districts of Mississippi, with one member at large. All members must be veterans with backgrounds in banking or mortgages, real estate, homebuilding or business. All 6 members are appointed by the Governor and are vetted through confirmations hearings with the State Senate’s Veteran Affairs Committee,” Watts said. The Veterans Home Purchase Board was created in 1936 to make low interest loans to Mississippi veterans. “Today, our interest rate on a 30 year loans is 2.75 percent, fixed and on 15 year loans, it’s 2.50 percent, fixed. The maximum loan amount on both existing homes and new construction is $647,200.00 with no origination fee, no discount points and no application or underwriters fees. Currently, in our revolving loan fund, we have about $100 million dollars available for veteran loans. It’s, without question, the best home loan program for veterans in America today,” Watts said. Watts served in the U.S. Army in 1969 and 1970. He has been in the real estate and homebuilding business since 1978. He has been a member of the National Association of Home Builders and the Home Builders Association of Mississippi over 35 years. He served as the State Homebuilders President in 1995 and has served as Chairman of the Mortgage Finance Committee and Government Affairs Committee. In 2004 Watts was elected and served two terms on the Adams County Board of Supervisors being it's President in 2009 and 2010. In 2019, Watts was inducted into the prestigious Mississippi Home Builders Housing Hall of Fame. He is a Life Director on both the National and State Home Builders Associations. Watts commented its been said, “that the home is the chief school of human virtues.” He and his wife, Kirby, are long time members of First Baptist Church-Natchez.

Jarrod Bottley is mayor of Waterproof, La. He’s trying to improve services within the limits of a very small budget. Like many mayors, he gets lots of criticism but does his best to take the complaints in stride. Recently, he was appointed as a board member of the American Public Gas Association in DC, acknowledgement of his leadership ability.

Thor Teal, an escaped Concordia Parish inmate, was recaptured. He will face escape and auto theft charges.

The CPSO Cyber Unit began an investigation into a 46-year-old subject, who initiated inappropriate contact with a minor online. During the conversations, the subject expressed his desire to perform sex acts on the minor, making plans to travel, pick the child up and return back to West Monroe to stay the weekend with him. The subject arrived in Vidalia, at which time he was met by CPSO detectives and taken into custody without incident. Arrested was William Michael Ezell Jr.,46, of West Monroe, for computer aided solicitation of a minor.

A proposal to increase municipal ad valorem taxes in Bude by up to five mills did not agree with residents who were given an opportunity to address the issue during a public hearing. Held along with the monthly business meeting, municipal leaders pointed out repeatedly they had not formally adopted any tax increase, but instead were studying the idea prior to adoption of their fiscal year 2023 budget in September. One angry taxpayer was removed from the meeting by police for her profane outbursts.

The CPSO Cyber Crime Unit began an investigation into pornography involving juveniles, after receiving a report regarding a subject possibly in possession of CSAM (Child Sexual Abuse Material), stored on a cell phone device. During the investigation the device was recovered, at which time a search warrant was obtained and a forensic exam conducted. Upon analysis of the data extracted, detectives recovered a total of six video files, consisting of children engaged in sexual activity. The subject was positively identified and a warrant was obtained for his arrest. The subject was located on August 10 and taken into custody with the assistance of the Adams County Sheriff's Office. Jakson Gordon, 35, of Natchez, was arrested for charged with six counts of possession of pornography involving juveniles.

Harrisonburg will consolidate its water services with the Enterprise water system, taking over Enterprise's services. Proposed improvements include a new transmission line to connect the Harrisonburg and Enterprise Systems; refurbishing the elevated tank on the Enterprise system; water leak search and repair on the Enterprise system; generators at all booster stations and water well sites for both systems; abandoning the Enterprise system’s water wells; an system upgrade to tie together the Harrisonburg and Enterprise systems; a new 22,000 gallon steel ground storage tank to replace the older welded steel tank at the Harrisonburg treatment facility; installing a master meter near the tie-in to Enterprise, along with radio read meters for the users of both systems. Also included is an activated carbon filter system. The total estimated cost for the project is $4.8 million which will be funded by the Consolidation Initiative Program, the Louisiana Community Development Block Grant Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 

Syrah's Vidalia plant gets $102 million federal loan

250 students don't show up for Natchez public schools

Brookhaven man catches huge catfish near Natchez

Ferriday accounting plagued by errors

Accused shooter-killers released from Adams County Jail

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Clerks Indicted for Embezzlement

Two Natchez city clerks allegedly stole more than $37,000 in total

Former Natchez City Clerk Servia Fortenberry, 52, and Deputy Clerk and Board of Aldermen secretary Sevetrius Dillon, 33, were arrested today by the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, after being indicted for embezzlement of Natchez governmental funds. They each stole more than $18,800, according to the AG. The State Auditor conducted the investigation and turned over the evidence to the Attorney General's Office for prosecution. Each woman's bond was set at $10,000. CPA audits have said every year (during the current and past administrations) that the city did not have the proper bookkeeping and accounting controls in place, making it easier for someone close to the money, check-writing and disbursements to steal funds. The clerks were employed by the city during the Grennell and Gibson administrations.

Syrah Technologies will get a $102.1 million loan from the U.S. Dept. of Energy to expand its Vidalia plant.

Only 2200 of the expected 2800 Natchez public school students have shown up for class in the first few days of school. School officials don’t know why parents have not made their kids go to school.

Christopher Halley of Brookhaven went fishing in the Mississippi River near Natchez last Saturday.  Using a trotline, he caught a 104-pound blue catfish.

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 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 have been 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 may 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.

Outgoing Circuit Judge Lillie Blackmon Sanders has lowered the bond of accused shooter-murderer Damien Hayes, 26, from $500,000 to $50,000. Hayes has made bail and been released. Hayes is accused of killing Natchez resident Don Owens in 2018. On Christmas Eve 2019, Hayes also allegedly shot and wounded Kendrick Owens, a supposed witness to Don Owens' murder. Three months later, Kendrick Owens was shot and killed by an unknown assailant. That case is still under investigation. While authorities arrested Hayes in March 2020, for the drive by assault of Kendrick Owens, they did not have enough evidence to arrest Hayes for the killing of Don Owens until 2021. Kendrick and Don Owens were cousins. In 2021, Hayes was sentenced to 18 months on federal firearms charges. Neither the district attorney nor the sheriff were informed of any pending bond hearing concerning Hayes this past week. The judge may have reduced bond with only the cooperation of the defense attorney. Sanders would not comment on why she lowered the man’s bond. A second accused shooter-killer in the Don Owens case, DiQuan Seals, 28, charged with conspiracy to commit murder, was also released four days later.

Louisiana authorities are searching for three escaped inmates: Thor Neal, Ryan McKinney and Carlos Ramos. The men escaped from the Concordia Parish prison on Hwy. 15 in Ferriday and may have stolen a pickup to leave the area.

The Town of Vidalia's most recent CPA audit by Silas Simmons shows no findings, meaning no bookkeeping or accounting errors noted or remedies required. The town adhered to all La. laws regarding its accounting functions.

Adams County supervisors will spend $160,000 for four Ram1500 pickups for deputies. Supervisors will also spend $30,000 for 40 anti-crime cameras.

Trinity Medical continues to grow its services and revenues, with revenues increasing from $18 million 2019 to $24 million in 2021. The hospital continues to show an operating profit.

Concordia Parish schools report 61 percent of their students are proficient in reading and 58 percent in math.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors will join with Claiborne, Jefferson and Wilkinson counties to try to form their own small mental health district separate from SW Miss. Mental Health, which is falling apart and providing poor services. The four-county plan will be submitted to state and federal health officials for approval.

Natchez-Adams County has 70 fewer jobs than last month, with 9,940 workers employed. But that's still 160 more jobs than a year ago. Concordia Parish has 6,736 people employed, compared to 6,548 a year ago, up 188 jobs.

The 85 freshmen who attend Ferriday High will participate in a Star Academy designed to improve their language arts, reading, math and science skills. A $1.8 million grant and specially formulated teacher instruction should help students advance more quickly.

Most cities and towns across the USA publish their annual financial reports online for taxpayers and voters to see. In Louisiana, the Legislative Auditor has those reports on its website, so cities and parishes, big and small, share their data for all to see. So you can check Vidalia, Ferriday or Concordia Parish's reports with ease. Natchez's Fiscal Year ending 9/30/2020 report is online at www.natchez.ms.us. As usual, the city's most recent report is late in compilation and yet to be posted. Adams County could publish its CPA annual reports at www.adamscountyms.net.but has not chosen to do so.

The Vidalia Police Department Criminal Investigations Division executed a search warrant in the 1200 block of Plum Street after several months-long investigations. The investigation began with the investigators receiving tips and complaints from concerned citizens about suspected narcotics possession and use by not only adults but juveniles in the home as well. During the execution of the search warrant, investigators were able to locate methamphetamine, marijuana, paraphernalia, and pills identified as controlled substances. Inside the home during the search warrant were several juveniles that ranged from in age from 5-14 years old. The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services was contacted concerning the children. Arrested as a result of the search warrant were: Jerry Brownell Jr., 42, and Lester Janette Ratcliff, 69. Each was charged with possession of Sch. II, possession of Sch. I, contributing to the endangerment of a minor, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Diane DuPont is the director of the Downtown Natchez Alliance. Her job is to improve revitalization efforts. She is a San Marcos, Texas, native, and a graduate of the College of Charleston, with a background in interior design, mass communications, marketing and real estate.

Carmen Drake has qualified to run for Circuit Judge. Lillie Blackmon Sanders is retiring.

Coca Cola United will close its distribution facility in Natchez in 2024. Many of its 40 employees will be reassigned and will work remotely. There will be no interruption of service in the Miss Lou area. Closing the plant will save the company money. Coke products have not been bottled in Natchez for more than a generation.

Willie "Bill" Yearby, 72, a Concordia Parish Police juror, has died. Yearby was a retired mechanic, deacon at the St. Thomas Baptist Church, a deacon at the St. Stephen’s Baptist Church and an honorary deacon at St. James Baptist Church. He served on the Public Works and Boards Committees of the police jury. Prayers for him and his family.

The transfer of Magnolia Bluffs Casino to Saratoga Gaming will likely occur in the fourth quarter instead of the third quarter of this year as first thought.

A Franklin County resident who lost his life almost three years ago while mowing a section of highway right of way was recognized by having a portion of U.S. Hwy. 84 named in his honor. Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King and representatives of the Mississippi Department of Transportation hosted the dedication service saluting the late Mark “Peanut” Youngblood and his family at RoxieBaptistChurch.  The 57-year-old Youngblood, who served as a maintenance technician with MDOT’s Bude office, died in a Sept. 24, 2019, mishap while cutting roadside grass in rural FranklinCounty. His tractor rolled over in the accident.

Franklin County supervisors have fixed the roof of the county-owned Miss. Extension Service building at Walnut and Main streets at a cost of  just over $80,000.

A retrial has been granted to Jonesville native, Brad Dosher. Brad was convicted of the second-degree murder of his father following an argument on Jan. 28, 2018. The Third Circuit Court of Appeal later ruled that because a Catahoula jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict on a second-degree murder charge that Dosher had to be retried. A new trial was granted because when the jury was polled in Oct. 2019, it was learned that Dosher was convicted on a 10-2 jury verdict on the second-degree murder charge. On appeal, Dosher argued two errors. The first was that the convictions for second degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon were unconstitutional because they were not unanimous. The second argument was the trial court committed an important error when it instructed the jury that it could convict with a less than unanimous verdict. The circuit court ruled that the second-degree murder conviction should be vacated and remanded to the trial court for a new trial. Dosher will continue to serve time in prison until a new trial is completed.

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.

Grant May Lure Southern Airways

Local officials are optimistic about landing commercial air service

The Natchez-Adams County Airport will get a $750,000 federal transportation grant to help pay for upfront costs to start commercial air service to and from Natchez. City and county governments may add $300,000-$500,000 more in a local match to help with more seed money, while the grant requires only a 20 percent match. Southern Airways has expressed interest in a Natchez route. Local officials are optimistic that air service can make it in Natchez. The airport already receives more than $200,000 a year in subsidy from supervisors to cover negative cash flow. No airline has ever made a profit serving Natchez, though a number have tried since the 1950’s.

Circuit Judge Lillie Blackmon Sanders has decided not to run for re-election. Candidates may qualify for the open seat by Aug. 5. The election is Nov. 8. The judgeship includes Wilkinson and Adams counties.

Concordia candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot include: Assessor (Jeannie Archer, Stephen Dawkins), Vidalia City Judge (Stuart Boykin, Ann Siddall, Hu'Cheryl Walker), City Marshal (Frank Duson, Dustin Lemoine), School Board Dist. 1A (Fred Butcher, Jennie Kimble), School Board Dist. 1B (Dorothy Parker), School Board Dist. 2 (Fred Marsalis, Raymond Riley Sr.), School Board Dist. 3A (Vanessa Houck, Ricky Raven Sr.), School Board Dist. 3B (Lisette Forman), School Board Dist. 4A (Derrick Carson), School Board Dist. 4B (Angela Hayes, Ronnie Lewis), School Board Dist. 5A (Warren Enterkin, Sandy Roberts, Wayne Wilson Jr.), School Board Dist. 5B (Nicky Pere, Matt Taunton), Justice of the Peace, Dist. 4 (Charles Gill Jr.), Mayor Ridgecrest (Veller Ray Carroll, Dorothy Evans), Aldernen Ridgecest, 3 to be elected, Connie Adair, Deborah Barrett, Charlie Brown.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, is investigating the shooting death of a 22-year-old man that occurred on July 23. Officers received a 911 call in reference to people shooting at a mud ride event on Patton Road in Lorman. According to investigators, an altercation began when three young males tried to enter the event without paying. At some point, weapons were drawn, and Robert Reynolds was shot in the stomach. He was transported to the Claiborne County Hospital where he died.

Vidalia officials voted themselves a raise. The mayor, police chief and aldermen will all get five percent raises. Town employees will get five percent, too, plus the $1050 retention bonus promised earlier.

The CPSO Cyber Crime Unit began a joint investigation with the Louisiana Attorney General's Office, regarding a subject uploading child sexual abuse material at a residence in Ferriday. During the investigation, a suspect was positively identified, and a search warrant was obtained for the residence. On July 22, with the assistance of the Ferriday Police Department, the warrant was executed, at which time the suspect was taken into custody without incident. As a result of the investigation, a total of 35 files were recovered involving the sexual abuse of children, 24 of those having been uploaded in Concordia Parish. Further charges are likely, pending notification of other jurisdictions.  Arrested was Recardo A. Bates, 35 of Ferriday, on  24 counts of pornography involving juveniles.

Natchez-Adams County recorded 70 fewer jobs than last month, with 9,940 workers employed. But that's still 160 more jobs than a year ago.

Ferriday police arrested Carlos Hines, 50, of Ferriday, for possession of schedule II drugs with intent to distribute, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

The Natchez mayor and aldermen plan to issue a $13 million bond for facility upgrades, including $6 million to improve streets, $5.3 million for the convention and community centers, $2 million for the city auditorium, $1 million for the Duncan Park clubhouse and North Natchez Youth Center, $200,000 for the fire stations, $150,000 to relocate E911, $200,000 for electrical improvements to the Bluff for concerts and $150,000 for Hiram Revels Plaza. City leaders believe most of the bond can be paid for with sales tax collections from the lodging and restaurant taxes.

Natchez aldermen voted to replace their appointees on the recreation commission unless the commission members go back to a “no-alcohol at the pool” policy. Aldermen are giving the commission seven days to make the change.

Natchez police arrested Isaiah Demarius Smith, 24, of Natchez, on charge of aggravated assault; attempts to cause serious bodily injury. He was released on bond. In Aug 2020, he was sentenced to 60 days in jail in Concordia, sentence suspended upon payment of $500, for carnal knowledge of a juvenile.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office received a call from the Vidalia Police Department and was made aware of a threat of a mass shooting against Natchez and Vidalia High Schools. The Vidalia Police Department and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office were able to identify and locate the caller that made the threat in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Kenneth Allen Moody, 31, was arrested and charged with making terroristic threats by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office and the Vidalia Police Department. Moody is currently waiting extradition back to Louisiana and Mississippi. Moody is currently on probation in Arkansas. In 2019, he was convicted of aggravated assault and making terroristic threats in Hot Springs. Moody also has a criminal history in Florida and Louisiana. In 2017, in Arkansas, he threatened suicide by cop, threatened to kill officers on Christmas Day, threatened to attack the mental health clinic where he received treatment. He also tried to shoot a possible victim and himself but was unable because the safety of the gun was still on. The victim disarmed Moody and police arrived.

Concordia Parish will receive a $3.1 million state grant to expand broadband service. As many as 4,800 households could receive new or better internet service.

Adams County supervisors want to buy a new building for E911. With remodeling, the county is thinking about spending more than $1 million on the purchase and annual E911 operations. The city has offered to use part of its police station for E911. The cost would be around $600,000 for annual operations shared by the city and county. Supervisors said they would consider the city's less expensive proposal.

Cierra Sherman of Woodville has already been recognized for her writing ability. Her children’s book “George’s Peanuts” is available on Amazon. Her second children’s book is due out in November, and she has received a state arts grant to help with its promotion.

The Sportsman’s Shop next to the Lake Mary Store In Wilkinson County suffered serious to near total fire damage recently. Volunteer fire departments from Wilkinson and West Feliciana fought the blaze. No one was injured.

A call was received from a fisherman in Black River regarding a body he found floating in the water approximately one mile South of Jonesville. Catahoula Parish Sheriff’s Office and La. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries recovered the body. After the initial investigation, the body was sent to Louisiana Forensics in Youngsville, La. for an autopsy. The initial report of the autopsy revealed the body is a female. Due to the condition of her body race, size, and cause of death is undetermined. The age of the female can vary from 20-40 years of age due to not knowing the health condition of the woman.  If you have any tips regarding this case, please call 318-744-5411 and speak with Detective Kyle King.

Ferriday police stopped L.J. Bingham, 46, of Ferriday, for driving without headlights and no driver’s license. Police found Schedule II drugs in quantities enough to charge him with possession with intent to distribute. He has previously been arrested for possession of marijuana and cocaine and attempted murder for shooting and wounding his victim.

Here is the annual average of number of workers employed in Adams County. Adams has not gained jobs since 2018. It has had a net loss of jobs for the four year period. 2011 - 11,580, 2014 - 10,590, 2017 - 10,380, 2018 - 10,510, 2019 - 10,370, 2020 - 9,310 pandemic shutdown, 2021 - 9,760 pandemic recovery, June 2022 - 9,940.

The Natchez Adams County Airport is short on hanger space and may apply for a Miss. Development Authority grant or loan to build another hanger. The prospect of providing commercial air flights from Natchez to Houston or Dallas is still being studied. The city and county have pledged to subsidize air service with taxpayer funds.

Adams County deputies have arrested three men for stealing four ATVs and conspiracy. Arrested were Kameron Singleton, 18, Kevin Shelton Jr. 21, and Javari Blanton, 16. Blanton was already out on bond for aggravated assault.

Bude aldermen may increase property taxes by five mills. A hearing on the town’s budget is scheduled for Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. at Bude Town Hall on Railroad Avenue, and the public is invited to attend.

The Franklin County School Board expects to get $3.1 million from supervisors in property tax collections. The school board will not request more money.

The Catahoula School Board voted to hire interim school superintendent Johnnie Adams as their permanent superintendent.   

Loria Hollins and Mike Wilson have qualified to run for mayor of Jonesville. Christofer Hattaway and Walter Krause will battle for mayor of Sicily Island. Mike Tubre is unopposed for mayor of Harrisonburg.

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Natchez Public Schools May Ban Medical Marijuana

No medical marijuana on campus

Natchez public school officials will review a policy that states the school district will not permit, accommodate or allow the use or possession of medical cannabis on any district properties. If the new policy is adopted by the school board, the ban would apply to both employees and students.

Ferriday Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd, verbally attacked Mayor Rydell Turner following a scheduled town meeting July 12 to pass the budget. A lack of a quorum forced the meeting to be cancelled. Lloyd missed the scheduled budget meeting, as did Elijah Banks, Brandi Bacon and Andre Keys. Lloyd and Bacon said they did not attend out of fear of catching Covid and said the mayor should have sanitized town hall. Ferriday should have passed a budget before June 30. The state may shut down town operations again until a budget is passed as required by law.

Qualifying for the Nov. 8 Concordia ballot continues through July 22. Posts open include parish tax assessor, school board (Districts 1A, 1B, 2, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 5A, 5B),  Justice of the Peace Dist. 4 and Vidalia city judge. Also qualifying will be candidates for Ridgecrest mayor and aldermen.

Joshua Day of Natchez and Cannonsburg has been drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is an ACCS and University of Missouri grad, plays shortstop and has a .340 batting average.

Franklin County has purchased new voting machines, spending $114,000. The new machines will be different from the ones currently in use. The new units will scan paper ballots that voters fill out by hand. There will be 15 precinct scanners and 14 machines purchased that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The dumpster at the old Harrisonburg High will be temporarily removed until officials figure out a way to police the dumping by out of parish residents. The site has become a big mess despite the work of Hometown Waste and village employees trying to keep it tidy.

Accused murderer Michael Thomas, 25, was being transferred back into the Adams County Jail. His belongings were searched upon entry and 70 grams of cocaine were found and seized. In addition to the murder charge he faces, he was arrested again, this time for introducing contraband into the jail and drug trafficking.

Despite direction from both the supervisors and aldermen to the contrary, the city-county recreation board again voted to allow drinking at private parties at the Natchez public pool. Chairman Jimmy Ware said his board wants rental events to be able to serve alcohol. The decision puts the city and county at additional safety and liability risk should an impaired person suffer injury or death. Even if the party renter has an insurance policy, the potential liability for taxpayers is greater.

Natchez police officers responded to a threatening and suicidal woman armed with a knife on Jackson at MLK streets early Monday morning. One police officer shot the woman as a result of the confrontation. She was taken to Merit Health for treatment. The police chief said he didn't believe the woman's injury was life threatening. The officer has been placed on administrative leave while the state investigates. No names have been released.

Matthew Blount, 21, was asked to leave a Montebello subdivision property in Natchez. Instead, he allegedly set fire to a camper and home at the Maplewood Lane location. The camper was destroyed and the home severely damaged. He was arrested by Natchez police and is being held in the county jail. Blount was charged with aggravated assault and arson. In May 2021, charges against him in justice court were dropped. At that time, he was charged with malicious mischief and disturbing the peace.

Hiram Evans, mayor of Jonesville, will not run for reelection. In a public statement, he said he wished he had accomplished more and acknowledged that he would only give himself a grade of C during this term. The town has been beset by financial problems, including rising costs and shrinking revenues.

The CPSO Cyber Crime Unit began an investigation into an adult subject, communicating with a minor online. The subject initiated contact and began “grooming” dialogue that turned sexual in nature, which continued for several weeks, using numerous online platforms. On Saturday, July 16, the subject made plans to travel and meet the minor, arriving around 3:30 PM. At that time, he was met by CPSO deputies and taken into custody without incident. During the arrest, the subject was found to be in possession of numerous adult items that he had brought, along with suspected methamphetamine. As part of the investigation, a warrant was obtained for a search of the subject’s personal cell phone device, which was analyzed the following day. At that time, a total of six files were recovered, containing pornography involving juveniles, along with two files containing pornography involving sexual activity between humans and animals. Jody L. Acreman, 51, Oak Grove, was arrested for computer aided solicitation of a minor, indecent behavior with juveniles, pornography involving juveniles, sexual abuse of an animal (possessing pornographic images of humans engaged in sex with animals) and illegal possession of Schedule II drugs.

Greg Simmons, 42, pleaded guilty to Count 1 statutory rape in Judge Debra Blackwell’s court this month. Pursuant of the plea agreement with the State, the State retired count 2 (sexual battery). He was sentenced to 30 years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with credit for any time served, 20 years to serve, 10 years suspended. Post-release supervision will be through the Mississippi Department of Corrections for period of 10 years, the first five years to be served on formal reporting post-release supervision, and the remaining five years to be served on informal non-reporting post-release supervision. Simmons shall register as a sex offender upon release from the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He must pay all court costs and fees, including a $250.00 prosecution fee. No fine was assessed.

Updated Census info on Natchez is available. Population estimate, 7/1/21, 13,824, Population change since 4/1/20-7/1/21, -3.2%, Persons under 5 years, 7.2%, Persons under 18 years, 26.3%, Persons 65 years and over, 22.3%; Race or origin: White alone, 34.3%. Black or African American alone, 62.9%, Hispanic or Latino, 2.6%; Households, 5,907, Households with broadband internet, 72.5%; High school graduate or higher, age 25+, 80.7%, Bachelor's degree or higher, age 25+, 22.9%; Median household income $26,800, Persons in poverty, 35.6%/. Median is not the average. Median household income is the midway point, with half the households above $26,500, half below $26,500. Median household income in Mississippi is $46,511.

The Concordia Parish School Board has agreed to study whether it needs new school buildings or needs to remodel its existing schools. The Board is expected to hire a consultant to perform the assessment.

The Miss. Department of Education says 18.9 percent of Natchez public school students are proficient in English and just 8 percent are proficient in math. US History proficiency is 25.8%, science 24.1% and college and career readiness 13.4%.

Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a call of a shoplifter at Tractor Supply on Hwy 61 North. When deputies arrived, they learned subject had loaded a buggy full of dog food and left with out paying. Deputies were able to obtain a description of the subject and a possible vehicle. A few moments later, deputies located the vehicle traveling on Hwy 61 North and attempted to stop the vehicle. The vehicle pulled into Selma Estates trying to avoid deputies. Once the vehicle was stopped, Kendrick Tenner was driving the vehicle and Matthew Moore was on the passenger side. Deputies made positive identification on the vehicle and the subject in the car as the vehicle and people they were looking for from the Shoplifting incident at Tractor Supply. Deputies found the dog food in the trunk of the car and both Tenner and Moore were arrested and charged with shoplifting.

Franklin County supervisors accepted a low bid from Alan Coleman Construction for $582,849.70 to do work on a project involving a bridge on Oak Grove Road. Supervisors voted to appoint Elizabeth Rushing as election commissioner to replace Elizabeth Lazarus, who turned in a letter of resignation in June. Rushing will serve until the election in November.

Two juveniles were shot and wounded in Centreville following a dispute between teenagers. Multiple shots were fired. As one car drove away at high speed along Hwy. 24 West, it crashed, killing the driver, DeQuan Veal, 16, of Woodville, and injuring another boy. Jatyriun Turner, 14, a shooter, was charged with aggravated assault, posted a $50,000 bond and was released. Turner was the driver of the car at the time of the shooting. Veal then became the driver, as a carload of teens tried to escape. Other juveniles who participated in the melee were charged with assault or accessories. All suspects were between 14 and 16 years of age.

Jalyrious Green and Fred Barnes have been released from the Concordia Parish jail. The men had been arrested for the Dec. 2021 shooting murder of Ja’Kerress Hawkins, 17, in Ferriday. D.A. Brad Burget said there's not enough evidence to bring the accused to trial. The court accepted a defense motion to allow their release because of the failure to provide a speedy trial.

The 2020 murders of Becky Brown and Cameron Jones of Natchez remain unsolved. The reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter had been increased to just under $10,000. If you have any info, call the ACSO at 601-442-2752. Your info will be handled in confidence.

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

Publisher: Peter Rinaldi 

Editor: Clarisse Washington    

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