2014-The Year in Review (January-June)

Published 9:44 am Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Jarvis Perkins, 21, of Silver Creek was arrested in the early hours of December 23 after the Prentiss Police Department received a tip that drugs were being sold by Perkins in a local motel room.

The Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s Department was out Thursday night holding a surprise roadblock on Granby Road. Motorists are urged to use caution on the roadways during the New Year’s holiday.

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A retirement reception was held Friday afternoon at the Prentiss Farm Bureau office on December 20 honoring Mary Jean Hamby, Agency Manager with the Jefferson Davis County Farm Bureau for 27 years.



A red ribbon was cut to celebrate opening day on Tuesday for Prentiss’ newest business, Pizza Hut, located at 1813 Columbia Avenue.

Temperatures in Jeff Davis County dipped into the teens this week with wind chill factors at single digits. Local plumber Jeffrey Lee said phone calls were flooding his phone from people whose pipes in the home had frozen.

One of the biggest events that happened in Jeff Davis County, in 2013 – in terms of numbers of people in attendance – grew out of the purposeful, volunteer work of “Unity in the Community,” a group that promotes civic participation and pride throughout the county.

ECF resident Bertile Polk was chosen as “Ms. September” in a 2014 art calendar contest sponsored by the MS Health Care Foundation Assn. of extended care facility residents’ work.



A young life was taken early Tuesday morning in a two-vehicle accident that occurred at the intersection of Highway 35 and Granby Road. Jake McRaney, 19, of Bassfield was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident from blunt force trauma, according to Jeff Davis County Deputy Coronor Kathy Stephens.

A dedicated member of the Bassfield Fire Department will be missed by many. Jessi Lynn Sanford, 19, of Bassfield died Monday morning from complications due to liver cancer.

Owners of land, personal property and mobile homes in Jefferson Davis County are seeing an increase in their tax bills because of a 1.33 millage increase this year following last years’ 10.6 millage increase. The Town of Bassfield now charges 10 mills while the Town of Prentiss is 38.56 mills. Neither town increased taxes for the year.

Congratulations to Missy Jones who completed the Mississippi Blues Half-Marathon this weekend in Jackson.



State Auditor Stacey Pickering announced Thursday that fraudulently obtained equipment from Surplus Property is back in inventory for public use after the last three of six current and former Bassfield city employees appeared in Rankin County Circuit Court.

The annual Jeff Davis County celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was held Monday in Prentiss.

Williamsburg Road near Carver Elementary was the site of a wreck on Monday morning that left one injured. Kristen McRaney, 27, was the driver of the silver Honda involved in the two-vehicle wreck with an 18-wheeler log truck. McRaney was taken to Forrest General Hospital with injuries.



Extreme winter weather closed businesses and schools throughout the county on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tractors and dump trucks were no match for slippery roads as freezing rain, sleet and snow packed the streets. “We got so much sleet,” said Supervisor Corky Holliman. “That’s what put us in such bad shape.”

Voters in future elections will now be required to present photo identification before casting a ballot. Mississippi Voter ID cards are now being issued by the Jeff Davis County Circuit Clerk’s office.

In the 22 years John Thompson has held the job of Supervisor of District Three, garbage pickup on the side of the road has been a constant challenge, and the problem, he says, is increasing.

Heavy equipment is being installed as the Foley Products Company on Highway 84 nears the estimated building completion date set for the first week of March.



Loggers, pipeliners and other workers bringing in heavy equipment and 18-wheeler trucks will now be required to pay $50 for a permit to travel county roadways.

Most county residents heeded the Tuesday warning of emergency personnel to stay off the roads during last week’s winter storm. But Wednesday was a different story. As people ventured out to see the snowy sights, roadways were filled with motorists sliding sideways over thick ice. Stranded motorists relied on good neighbors with 4-wheel drive.

Holley Kruger Cochran has been named General Manager and Editor of The Prentiss Headlight and will succeed Karen Sanford who has resigned after serving in this role for two years.

State Auditor Stacey Pickering presented the Jefferson Davis School District with the “Achievement in Accountability” certificate at the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents Winter Conference in Natchez on Monday.

For just over 15 years, Danny Polk was a fixture in Prentiss as the voice of WJDR-FM Radio. He succumbed to complications from illness on Saturday morning while in hospital at University of Mississippi Medical Center.



Gail Williams, former Municipal Court Clerk for the Town of Prentiss, pled guilty on Monday to embezzling $89,620.27. Williams, 59, was sentenced to five years with two years to be served under house arrest and three years suspended.

Almost a sell-out crowd attended the match between the JDC All-Stars and the Harlem Ambassadors Thursday night.

A full house was in attendance last Tuesday night at the 12th Annual Jefferson Davis County Firefighter of the Year Banquet. “There was more people here than we’ve had in the last few years,” said Prentiss Fire Chief Howard Kelly.

James Russell Dumas of Prentiss visited with Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann in Jackson last week as Governor Phil Bryant announced February as Voter Registration Month.

Students missed classes for three days January 28-30 when the entire county shut down due to dangerous conditions on icy roads. The school board was notified at Monday night’s meeting that students will need to make those days up.



David Holland from the Secretary of State’s Office met with the Board of Supervisors in their bi-monthly meeting Tuesday to inform them of the details with implementing Voter ID.

The end of 2013 saw Jeff Davis County ranked 53rd in the state for unemployment at 8.9 percent.

Students from BHS, Carver Elementary, PHS, J. E. Johnson and Prentiss Christian School participated in the Jeff Davis County School District Spelling Bee. Bassfield’s Shakira Hall is top district speller.



Robert Terrell was found guilty of indirect criminal contempt of court charges and sentenced to six months incarceration. Terrell spoke to potential jurors regarding his trial in which he was charged with fraud, larceny, conspiracy, and false pretense.

Richard and Krisit Lee were alerted to their house fire by a smoke detector. The house was a total loss but the family is just grateful that no one was injured.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield presented Bassfield High School with a $1000 check as the Class 2A winner of the “Text to Win” contest held during the 2013 Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Gridiron Classic football championship game.

The Mississippi Supreme Court suspended Chancery Judge Joe Dale Walker with pay while the Commission on Judicial Performance investigates the alleged inappropriate actions regarding a conservatorship in Walker’s court.



The Board of Supervisors has declared the last two weeks in March (March 17-31) as an official period to clean up Jefferson Davis County.

The First Lady of Mississippi, Deborah Bryant, made a stop Friday at J.E. Johnson Elementary School as part of her education initiative “Read Across Mississippi”. Mrs. Bryant’s goal is to read to students in all 82 counties of Mississippi throughout 2014 with her focus being grades K-3.

“Street Preacher” Duane Lyons can be seen proudly displaying his “Jesus Saves” signs, along with a smile and a wave, on the streets of Prentiss He has spread the message of Jesus Saves throughout most states and in 69 countries.

Bassfield High School journalism teacher, Melissa Martin, organized a field trip on to the Brookhaven Daily Leader to see how a newspaper is printed.



Skylar Laine is set to perform at the 31st annual Run for the Roses.

JDC awarded USDA grant for distance learning and telemedicine service totaling nearly half a million dollars to improve educational programming in rural communities.

On March 5, 2014, the Asset Development Division of the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) provided asset mapping services to the communities of Prentiss and Bassfield.



The Office of the State Auditor has released the Jefferson Davis County School District annual financial audit for the year ending June 30, 2013. “Jefferson Davis County should be commended for an outstanding job. Very few school districts have an audit this clean with zero deficiencies in county controls. We just don’t give these (clean audits) away-you earned it”, said Charles L. Shivers, CPA.

In conjunction with the Run for the Roses 5K event, the Run for the Roses Committee announced high school seniors will have an opportunity to compete for scholarship funds to be applied to higher education expenses at the institution of their choice. Applicants must be a high school senior graduating in 2014 enrolled in a Jeff Davis county school, or a JDC home school student.

The Jefferson Davis County Forestry Association is hosting a benefit ‘Draw Down’ for the Anthony and Holli Stuart family. The Stuart’s suffered a significant monetary loss when equipment belonging to them was destroyed in an act of vandalism in October, 2013, near Monticello.



The county was shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of our tax assessor/collector Mrs. Sue Shivers Worthy on Sunday afternoon due to a massive stroke.

BHS eighth grade student Shakira Hall, the daughter of Earline and Jimmy Graves, represented JDC School District and BHS well when she competed in the Mississippi State Spelling Bee along with 27 other top spellers from around the state.

New exercise equipment has been installed at the Longleaf Trace Park just in time for spring. Materials were donated by Parkway Pipeline. Equipment purchase and construction were done by the Longleaf Trace.



The Board of Supervisors held a meeting Friday morning to discuss and appoint a tax assessor/ collector to serve the county until a special election can be held in November. Kelley Ross Brown was appointed and sworn in immediately by Chancery Clerk John W. Davies.

Chamber Partnership Director Ben Hamby presented the Business of the Year awards to two outstanding businesses in the county at their annual banquet: Norwood Medical Supply of Prentiss and Sip-N-Eat of Bassfield. STAR Students awarded at the banquet were Oliviyah Farris from Bassfield High School and Sarah Harrell from Prentiss Christian School.



The 31st annual Run for the Roses 5K walk/run will be held Saturday, April 12th in Prentiss. The 5-K Run/Walk will begin at 8:00 a.m. The 1-Mile walk/run will begin shortly after finish of the 5-K (approximately 8:30 a.m.) and the ¼-Mile preschool walk/run will begin as soon as the 1-Mile is finished (approximately 9:00 a.m.). Additional activities include an antique car show and an arts and crafts market in the Longleaf Trace Park.

Morton’s Auto Parts has been in business for 87 years. Long-lived family businesses are becoming the rarity and JDC is fortunate to have Morton’s Auto Parts still run by Bassfield family generations.



31st Annual Run for the Roses – There were over 350 total participants in the 5K and one mile races, with another 50 preschoolers participating in the fun run. Skylar Laine of Brandon, performed on stage after all races concluded. Laine was a contestant on the 11th season of the American Idol and finished in fifth place in the competition.

Four people have been arrested in the Sept 13, 2013, murder of 26-year-old Antwaune Cortez Walker.

Malcolm K. Love (27), Joseph B. Spivey (23), Shanice N. Johnson (21), and Gerald J. Aldridge (32), all of Jones County, and have all been charged with capital murder.



The Board of Education called a meeting last Monday to discuss with the public the future of the Jefferson Davis County School System. The Board commissioned a Capital Improvement Report by Volkert to determine how much money could be saved by consolidating the county’s schools.

After receiving spirited feedback regarding the Board of Education meeting last week, Superintendent Ike Haynes has recently put another solution on the table.

ACS Credit Repair is now open for business at 2228 Columbia Avenue.

Harold Rhodes represents the State of Mississippi as he is awarded Constable and Marshall of the year at the National Constable and Marshall Conference.



Jefferson Davis County’s Relay for Life “Game On-Find a Cure” will kick-off this Friday, May 2, at the Longleaf Trace Park in Prentiss. Survivor’s registration begins at 5:45 p.m., followed by a Survivor’s Reception sponsored by Prentiss United Methodist Church. Survivors will join together to take Relay for Life’s opening lap, unified in victory and hope, followed by a lap including their family members and caregivers.

The Town of Prentiss has received a grant to paint both water towers over a span of 150 days. Each tank will take approximately 40-45 days each to drain, prepare, and paint, depending on the weather.

The 5th Annual Scott and Stephen Jones Memorial Golf Tournament was held this past weekend at the Prentiss Country Club. Thirty-three teams participated in the two-person scramble over Saturday and Sunday.



The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is assisting the Prentiss Police Department in an investigation involving an incident of aggravated assault on Prentiss police officer Timmy Daughdrill. According to Police Chief Harold Rhodes, Officer Timmy Daughdrill attempted to make a routine traffic stop in downtown Prentiss Saturday night, and the car failed to yield. A pursuit ensued before coming to a stop on Hwy 13 north. Officer Daughdrill approached the vehicle at which time the suspect accelerated the car striking the officer. Officer Daughdrill fired four shots into the front of the vehicle.

A second pursuit entailed following the gunfire, ultimately resulting in the suspect fleeing his vehicle on Pearl Avenue. Officer Daughdrill was taken to Jefferson Davis Community Hospital where he was transported to Forrest General Hospital, treated, and released. The suspect has been identified as 38-year-old Andreas Deone Shackleford of 186 Kirby Road, Hillsboro, Alabama.

Jefferson Davis County raised $50,000 for the American Cancer Society during this year’s Relay for Life.


MAY 14

Bassfield High School’s track and field team won its first ever overall state championship, and set a new state 2A record in the process. Jolissa Fairley also won the State 2-A shot put title for Bassfield High School.

Prentiss Christian School teacher and Headmaster Danny Quick has been inducted into the Mississippi Economic Council STAR Hall of Fame. Quick has been chosen STAR Teacher 10 times over the course of his 26 years in teaching at Prentiss High School and Prentiss Christian School.


MAY 21

According to a news report from WLBT, the Canton Public School Board of Trustees selected Jefferson Davis County Superintendent Ike Haynes, as its new Superintendent of Schools, effective July 1.

Officers TC Cooley and Jason Wombolt seized drugs and weapons. After setting up a DUI Safety Checkpoint on North Williamsburg Road, officers were suspicious and questioned the driver. He admitted drinking but registered under the limit. Officers asked to search the vehicle. They seized three stolen weapons, cash, cocaine, controlled substance, paraphernalia, ice, all with intent to distribute.


MAY 28

Veterans of all services, eras, and wars along with their families and friends attended the annual Memorial Day Ceremony Monday in front of the Jefferson Davis County Court House.

The purpose of the ceremony is to pay our respects to those who have given their last full measure in service to our country. Guest speaker for the event was Jason D. Little, Command Sergeant Major (CSM), 106th Brigade Support Battalion, Mississippi Army National Guard, based in Monticello, Mississippi.

Area homes, business and churches have been victims of air conditioner theft over the past several weeks. Thieves dismantle the outer cover of the unit, then take the condensers and copper and aluminum parts, leaving the outer shell.



Prentiss voters used their ID for the first time to vote Tuesday in the Republican and Democratic primaries for U.S. House and Senate. Voters were required to show a driver’s license or other government-issued photo identification at the polls during voting.

Bassfield football coaching legend Howard Willoughby died Wednesday at the age of 87. Willoughby coached for 17 years at Bassfield High School. While at Bassfield, Willoughby led the Yellowjackets to three consecutive state titles in 1984, 1985 and 1986.

Willoughby compiled an overall career record of 224-96-9 and was named Coach of the Year by the Clarion-Ledger, Hattiesburg American, Mississippi Association of Coaches and the National High School Association of Coaches. He was inducted into the Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame in 1982.



Forrest General Home Care rolled out 93 new Nissan Sentra SVs for their Home Care and Hospice nurses, therapists, social workers, and nursing assistants. The vehicles will provide more reliable fuel-efficient transportation for its clinical staff. The new fleet of leased cars, wrapped with the Forrest General Home Care and Hospice logo, was unveiled on June 4, 2014 at the Prentiss office location.

Prentiss Fire Chief Howard Kelly has been named Vice-President of the Southwest District of the Mississippi Fire Chiefs Association. Kelly was elected this past weekend at the 77th Annual Fire Chiefs and Firefighters convention held in Gulfport, Mississippi. He is the first person to have ever been elected to serve in the Association from Jefferson Davis County. The Southwest District includes: Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Copiah, Franklin, Jefferson Davis, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Pike, Simpson, Walthall, and Wilkinson Counties.



A multi-county high speed chase ends in JDC after a vehicle fled a driver’s license checkpoint in Simpson County. Once the vehicle entered Jefferson Davis County, the JDC Sheriff’s Department assisted Captain Steven Shows and other Mississippi Highway Patrol with the pursuit. The chase ended at the intersection of North Carson Road and East St. Stephens when the driver of the vehicle lost control and ran off the road. The suspects were apprehended and an estimated 200 lbs. of marijuana was found in duffel bags in the trunk of the vehicle. The suspects claim to be from Austin, TX. They were charged with possession of Marijuana with intent to distribute, felony fleeing and DUI.

Prentiss Donuts is now open in the Patriot Shopping Center (formerly the Tri-Y) at the south end of town. Owned by Ty Chang, Prentiss Donuts will be open Monday through Sunday from 5:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and will be serving fresh donuts, specialty donuts, kolaches, biscuits and croissants. A variety of drinks, coffee, hot chocolate and cappuccino are also available.



Superintendent Ike Haynes turned in his resignation to the Jefferson Davis County School Board and will officially leave office June 30. John Daley, Will Russell, and Dr. L.C. Firle were interviewed for the appointment.

Wondra Dale has retired from her position with the Town of Prentiss after 25 years of service. Dale worked under the administration of three mayors: Joe Thomas Miller, Tut Williams, and the current mayor, Charley Dumas. For 14 years Dale greeted customers at the front desk until the retirement of then clerk Carolyn McRaney. She has served in the town clerk’s position for 11 years.

“This is a very bittersweet time, said Dale. “I loved my job and never once minded coming to work.”