2015 Year in Review January – June

Published 5:22 pm Tuesday, December 29, 2015

January 7

An 18-wheeler from Broome and Sons Wood Chipping, Inc., of Sumrall, overturned Tuesday morning at the entrance of Highway 84 West from Highway 13 North. The driver was transported to Jefferson Davis Community Hospital with minor injuries.

The Bassfield water tower got a face-lift recently and now displays a yellowjacket showing community  pride in Bassfield High School.

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January 14

Joseph Bullock has been hired by the Board of Alderman as the Police Chief for the Town of Prentiss.

Bullock was sworn in Monday by Mayor Charley Dumas.

“I have grown up in Prentiss and lived here most of my life. I love this town and am thrilled by the opportunity that has been given to me.

I will strive to have more community involvement. I believe that citizens should know who the police are and have positive interactions with them,” Bullock stated.

Joe Dale Walker, 61, a former chancery judge from Monticello, and his nephew Chad Teater, 42, of Magee, were each sentenced in federal court today to 5 months in prison followed by 5 months home confinement for federal obstruction of justice.

January 21

The Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s Department has recovered a stolen Mississippi Forestry Commission truck. According to deputies, the truck was stolen around 9 p.m. Thursday night from the home of John Rhodes at Taylor Lucas Road. The truck and driver were seen on surveillance cameras getting gas Friday morning in Pass Christian. The truck was tracked by air through seven counties before being seized in New Orleans. No other details were available at press time.

Firemen responded to a house fire on Harper Road in Bassfield early Monday morning where they soon discovered the burned bodies of 73-year-old Eunice Magee and 53-year-old Steven Bradley. Autopsy results were not in at press time and the cause of the fire is still under investigation

January 28

Five horses were found dead Tuesday morning at the end of Old Radio Road in Prentiss.

A neighbor to the property, Keisi Berkhalter, went to the Sheriff’s office to voice her concerns. “Our dog kept showing up with blood on him, so we investigated and discovered the dead animals,” she said.

According to Sheriff’s Deputy John Wayne Tolar, five horses were found dead inside an estimated 20 X 20 pen, with one horse still living.

Inside the pen with the horses was a large gas tank, an old well, and a storage building.

The horses belonged to Pete Raynes, of 1020 Anna Street in Prentiss. He was charged with six counts of animal cruelty and released on bond.

Teffany Madison has been chosen as Jefferson Davis County Teacher of the Year. Ms. Madison lives in Silver Creek and teaches 7th & 8th grade sciences. She has been a teacher for seven years, two of those being in Jefferson Davis County.

Thursday evening the Jeff Davis County Fire Fighters held the annual banquet at the Rosenwald Institute Building to honor those who had been chosen from each of the county’s volunteer fire departments as an outstanding fire fighter for the year.

Those selected as each fire department Fire Fighter of the Year were Bassfield- Johnathan Fairley, Clem-James Earl Stephens, 84 West-Becky Bridges, Granby-Joe Parker, Oakvale-Pete Ward and Prentiss-Robert Earl Stephens.

Overall 2014 Fire Fighter of the Year Award went to Robert Earl Stephens of the Prentiss Dept.

February 4

The National Title I Association is pleased to announce that Bassfield High from Bassfield, Mississippi,  has been named a National Title I Distinguished School by the Mississippi state department of education.

Bassfield High is one of up to 100  schools throughout the country that is being nationally recognized for exceptional student achievement in 2014.

Celebrity Comedian Dr. Dennis Swanberg again visited the Covington-Jeff Davis Baptist Association to bring laughter and entertainment in his own special style to those gathered for the pastor/deacons and wives banquet held at the Association building.

February 11

Soon the swings will be still, the trucks will be put away and the rocks won’t be found in little boys’ pockets at home.

The Early Childhood Education Program at Prentiss Baptist Church will be closing May 29, 2015 after 41 years of teaching and loving the children in our community.

According to a Prentiss Headlight article dated July 11, 1974, The Early Childhood Education Program at Prentiss Baptist Church would begin in September 1974, offering child care and kindergarten for ages 2-5.

The Town of Prentiss has removed unsightly construction from the old Coulter’s Cleaners building following repeated attempts to have the owner clean his property. The building had been declared unsafe and did not meet building codes.

February 18

The Board of Supervisors is working in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Department to keep logging trucks on their proper route instead of the short-cuts they take causing damage to county bridges. Logging companies are required by the county to pay $50 to receive a permit and route to use while cutting and hauling timber. Once the permit and route are received, they still take alternative routes, causing damage to bridges which is dangerous and costly.  They also travel county back roads to avoid scales on Highway 84. “If the board will let us know where timber is being cut and give us the permitted truck route, we will take care of this problem, said Sheriff Ron Strickland. County ordinance violators will be subject to a citation.

February 25

Luke Horton has been named president of Brookhaven Newsmedia and publisher of The Daily Leader, The Prentiss Headlight and affiliated publications.

A native of Newton County,  Horton most recently worked as publisher of The Newton County Appeal newspaper in his hometown. He will begin his duties in Brookhaven in the coming weeks.

On the evening of “Friday the 13th”, 2015, the 1975 Girls State Basketball Champs from Bassfield High School celebrated their 40-year reunion.  It was not only filled with “good luck” but the type of experience one would place on their “bucket list”!

Students representing Carver Elementary, J.E. Johnson Elementary, Prentiss High, Bassfield High and Prentiss Christian School vied for first place speller in the Jefferson Davis County School District.

Fifteen students began the event, which was held February 12, at Bassfield High School.

After many elimination rounds, the top speller award went to Prentiss Christian School sixth grade student Alexis Tran.

In second place was Samora Evans of Carver Elementary, and Nakhia Arnold of Carver Elementary finished third.

March 4

Students at Carver Elementary celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday Monday. Many community leaders and business owners volunteered their time to read to the Carver students as part of Read Across America Day. Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on March 2 — Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books.

Preparations are underway for the 32nd annual Run for the Roses, which will be held in Prentiss Saturday, April 11, 2015.

The Run for the Roses is one of Mississippi’s premier road races and attracts runners/walkers from across the southeastern United States.

March 11

The Jefferson Davis County Chamber Partnership held their annual banquet Tuesday, March 3, 2015, at the Rosenwald Building in Prentiss.

Guest speaker was Benjamin Prestridge, Pearl River District Manager of Mississippi Power Company.

Tracy Waits surprised Janie Winscott by presenting her with  the 2014 Citizen of the Year award.

At the conclusion of the evening, Partnership Director Ben Hamby presented Business of the Year awards to two outstanding businesses in the county: South Central Construction, Inc., and Prentiss Financial Services.

This year’s STAR student from Prentiss Christian School was Peyton Dungan. STAR student awards are presented to the senior with the highest ACT score.

The Longleaf Trace was recognized by the National Coalition for Recreational Trails for outstanding use of program funds in the category of Multiple-Use Management and Corridor Sharing.

March 18

Entertainment for the 32nd annual Run for the Roses will be 55 South, a band featuring Prentiss’ own Mark Offutt. The band will perform at the Longleaf Trace Park beginning around 9 a.m.

efferson Davis County School Board members Von Norwood, John Bass, Beulah Walker, Billy Boleware and Rev. Jesse Holloway were recognized at Monday’s school board meeting for their hard work and effort in the district. Members were honored with refreshments, gifts and a certificate signed by Mississippi School Board Association Executive Director Michael W. Waldrop.  School Board Members Recognition Week in Mississippi was February 15-21.

Supervisor John Thompson has appointed Towonder Applewhite as the election commissioner for district 3. This position became available after Deandera Clavo resigned in order to run for Justice Court Judge. Candidates wishing to run for this position must be qualified by 5 p.m., September 4. This will be a special election placed on the General Election Ballot on November 4.

March 25

Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to assist a stranded motorist Wednesday morning on Highway 42 just west of Carson. Deputy Caleb Williams was the first to arrive on the scene and noticed the motorist was acting suspiciously. The driver was identified as Chad Montz of Lacromba, Louisiana. He had a suspended drivers license and is a convicted felon. Deputies noticed a handgun on the floor board of the driver’s side. After a consensual search of the vehicle, deputies discovered a second handgun, approximately 10 grams of methamphetamine, an assortment of prescription medication and several Suboxone Strips. Montz was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and felony drug charges.

Senator John Polk visited Jefferson Davis County Schools Monday as part of Educational Awareness Month. Polk discussed with the students how to be successful and encouraged them to pursue their educational goals. He informed them of the changes regarding state testing as well as current graduation requirements. Polk offered congratulations to both high schools on their successful football and basketball seasons. Polk is the State Senator for District 44 which includes the northern parts of Forrest, Lamar, and Perry counties. Polk is pictured with Jefferson Davis County Superintendent Will Russell, Prentiss High School Principal Pete Howell, Academic Specialist Terri Stamps and Prentiss High Librarian Patricia Becton.

April 1

Officers responded to reports of gunfire Wednesday afternoon at Meadow Hills Apartments. Elvadus Rhodes was shot in the back and carried to Jefferson Davis County Hospital for his injuries. The suspect, Timothy Taylor, was on the run and later apprehended in the East St. Stephens Road area. According to Rhodes, the incident occurred over money.

On March 26, the Mississippi House of Representatives recognized the Bassfield High School “Yellowjackets” Football Team with House Concurrent Resolution 59 at the State Capitol. The football players and Head Coach Lance Mancuso were recognized for their outstanding 2014 season and winning the 2014 Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 2A State Championship. This is the team’s third consecutive MHSAA Class 2A State Championship title.

April 8

Windstream is placing over 90 miles of fiber optic cable in Jefferson Davis County in order to improve their internet broadband service.

As part of Phase I of the  CAF (Connect America  Fund) Project, Windstream will place 62 miles of cable in Prentiss and 30 miles in Bassfield. In addition, 18 new Adtran remotes will be added in the county and 14 existing remotes will be replaced.


April 15

It was a beautiful day for the runners and walkers Saturday morning during the 32nd Annual Run for the Roses 5K Run/Walk held in downtown Prentiss.

Dale Griffin of Pearl, MS, was the first runner to cross the finish line with a time of 17:06.

The first female to cross the finish line was Chantay Steen of Florence, MS, with a time of 24:47.

Lex Davis of Raymond, MS, with a time of 20:39 and Beverly Carr of Bassfield  with a time of 26:44 were the Masters winners.

Grand Masters winners of this year’s race were Bo Smith of Brandon, MS, with a time of 18:42, and Miriam Allred of Jackson, MS, with a time of 25:32.

The fastest Jefferson Davis County runner was Jeff Hathorn with a time of 20:25.  Beverly Carr was the fastest Jefferson Davis County female runner with a time of 26:44.

The oldest participant was Sylvia Rieger, age 80.

Prentiss Christian School received the award for most registered participants of all the local schools.

April 22

Regions Bank has announced that Sarah Stewart, Branch Service Leader in Bassfield, Mississippi, is the April 2015 recipient of the Regions Bank Better Life Award.

The Better Life Award is the top honor given to a Regions associate for outstanding dedication and job performance, as well as exemplary involvement and commitment to the community.

In addition to the recognition, Regions donates $1,000 in the name of the recipient to a nonprofit organization of the winner’s choice.

Stewart chose the American Cancer Society’s Jefferson Davis County Relay for Life, an annual event she helped start in 2003 after fighting her own battle with breast cancer. A video of Stewart is available on the Regions Financial YouTube channel.

Sarah Stewart has stood behind the Regions Bank counter in Bassfield since 1960. In those 55 years, Stewart has seen many changes in the banking industry and served many generations of customers, all while remaining true to a vow she took her first day on the job

Soothing Hands Massage, owned by Massage Therapist Clementine Sullivan, is now open at 1805 Columbia Avenue. Hours are Wednesday and Thursday 8 a.m. until, and Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday after 6 p.m.

April 29

Dupree Harris was killed when the motorcycle he was driving collided with a Jefferson Davis County District 2 work truck in Bassfield. The county truck was driven by Willie Ray Dyess. He and passenger Troy Smith were uninjured.

Santee Baptist Church welcomes only the second pastor in its illustrious history, Pastor Seth Bond, wife Jerrica, and children Analeigh and Maze.

Pastor Tony Bagley, founder of Santee Baptist back in 1976, was the only Pastor the church had ever known through 2014, when God called home His servant from a career of serving Jefferson Davis, Covington and surrounding areas.

May 6

Jefferson Davis County Relay for Life raised over 24,000 for the American Cancer Society.

The evening was kicked off with a reception for cancer survivors hosted by Prentiss United Methodist Church.

Survivors took the first lap around the track and were joined by their caregivers after releasing a balloon.

Each team followed by making a lap around the track with their banner. A member of each team walked the track the remainder of the evening.

During the luminaria service, each team read the names of those being remembered or honored by luminarias, sky lanterns and torches.

Teams enjoyed fun activities throughout the night and competed in several categories. The winners are below.

It’s Dabbin, owned by Bertile Price, officially opened Friday at 225 General Robert E. Blount Drive in Bassfield. It is a consignment clothing and accessories store, but also has new things to offer as well.Hours are Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6.p.m. Call 601-606-5659 for more information.

May 13

Prentiss Police Chief Joe Bullock raised the officer memorial flag Monday as part of National Police Week.

Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

This year was especially meaningful in light of the deaths of the two Hattiesburg Police Officers Saturday.

The flags were soon lowered to half-staff in their honor.

An organized Farmer’s Market is now in the works in Prentiss. The first meeting for growers was held in April at the Ezra Garner Building. The Market will be open every Friday from 4-7p.m. beginning June 19. A volunteer on-site coordinating director is needed. Any growers interested in participating must register. For more information contact Paige Ward at 601-271-6099 or paige.ward@healthyms.com.

Feathers is now open at 2219 Columbia Avenue in Prentiss. Owned by Vanessa Jones, Feathers serves grilled and fried chicken tenders, wings, salads, sandwiches and hamburgers. Hours are Mon-Thurs 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri-Sat 10 a.m.-12 a.m. and Sun 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

May 20

Jamal Peters, a senior at Bassfield High School, won the 2015 MHSAA state championship in the 200-meter dash. Peters has signed to play football at Mississippi State this fall.

Due to circumstances beyond control, the Prentiss Lions Club announces the indefinite closing of the Prentiss Lions Club Community Center in Prentiss effective June 1, 2015.

Jimmy Graves presenting Catha Jones with a plaque for her 45 years of service to Jefferson Davis Community Hospital. Graves stated of the 45-Year Service Award recipient Catha Jones, “There is no more dedicated employee that goes the extra step to make sure patients get good quality care than Catha Jones.”

May 27

The annual Memorial Day Service was moved inside Monday due to inclement weather. Guest speaker for the event was Colonel Charlie M. Thornton, Mississippi Army National Guard, Retired. Mr. Walt Moeller (USA, Retired), of the Prentiss Lions Club, was Master of Ceremonies (left photo).  The Color Guard from the Prentiss High School Junior ROTC Battalion presented the Colors as Mr. Kayron Berry sang the National Anthem (center photo).

Christopher D. Thompson, a 2008 senior of Bassfield High School has completed his requirements for graduation. He passed his Subject Area Test in Biology I this year and on May 8, 2015, he graduated in a small Commencement Ceremony held at Bassfield High School Auditorium. Mr. Will Russell, Superintendent of Education for Jefferson Davis County School District, presented his official diploma to him.Christopher never gave up and his mom never gave up on him. He continued each year to come to the school and take his state test and his determination paid off. Christopher is the son of Sybil Thompson of Bassfield, and the grandson of Jacola Johnson and the late Simon Johnson of Bassfield.

June 3

The Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s Department, assisted by the Prentiss Police Department, recently recovered two stolen vehicles. One of the vehicles, a 2015 Nissan Altima, was stopped on Columbia Avenue. The other, a 2015 Nissan Frontier, was stopped on Second Street. Both vehicles were stolen from the Jackson area. According to Sheriff Ron Strickland, four people were arrested and charged in connection with the stolen vehicles.

Prentiss Fire Chief  Howard Kelly has been re-elected Vice-President of the Southwest District of the Mississippi Fire Chiefs Association.  Kelly was elected this past weekend at the 78th Annual Fire Chiefs and Firefighters convention held in Tupelo, Mississippi.

June 10

Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to the Palmetto Estates on Highway 42 around 12:12 a.m. Tuesday  morning after reports of shots being fired.

Authorities have charged Eric Lott, a.k.a. “Hubcap”, with aggravated assault and murder.

According to investigators, an altercation took place between him and Adrian Eley at Lott’s mother’s residence at 150 Hartzog-Magee Road.

Eley then followed Lott to the Palmetto Estates where the altercation continued and Lott allegedly shot Eley in the chest.

Eley was transported to Jefferson Davis Community Hospital and then Forrest General Hospital where he later died.

The Prentiss Police Extravaganza, held Saturday at the Ronald W. Jones Complex, raised $6500 which will go toward replacing outdated equipment.

An antique car show, auction and chicken plate dinner were all part of the event.

“I want to thank everyone for their support and generosity. We had a wonderful turn out for the extravaganza. I appreciate everyone who volunteered and donated. You are what makes this town great,” said Police Chief Joe Bullock.

Olde Towne Grille is open at 1604 Columbia Avenue. Onwed and managed by Jeff & Gayle Parish and Kelly Nobles, it offers seafood, sandwiches, burgers, steaks and daily lunch specials. Hours are Wednesday through Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Thursday through Saturday 5 p.m.-9 p.m., and a Sunday buffet from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

June 17

The Board of Supervisors’  Blowin’ Smoke BBQ Team took first place and $700 in the Chamber Partnership 1st Annual Cook-Off Saturday at the Longleaf Trace Park.

Three celebrity judges participated: Joy Redman, co-anchor of the WLBT Early Morning News; Coach Alvin Gray, former Head Football Coach at Prentiss High School; and Coach Lance Mancuso, Head Football Coach of the Bassfield Yellowjackets.

Treasurah P & T Boutique, owned by Kristin Reese,  is now open at 226 General Robert E. Blount Drive in Bassfield (adjacent to the Library). Hours are Monday-Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. For more information call 601-517-7120.

Bassfield Volunteer  Fire Department responded to a house fire on Nelson Lane Friday night around 6:00 p.m. Ms. Joyce Young perished in the fire. Good Hope Volunteer Fire Department assisted with the blaze. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

June 24

The Farmers’ Market in Prentiss officially opened Friday with several vendors on hand with a variety of goods.

Volunteer Administrators of the Market are Joel and Susan Hoxie. “We really want to get people out and realize they can sell their products,” said Joel.

Prentiss will host the 2015 MS Dixie Youth Baseball AA Coach Pitch District 5 Tournament at Price Field.

The tournament will be held June 26 through July 1, 2015. Admission is $5 for anyone over 12 years of age. Ages six-12 is $3 with 5 and under free.