End of year review July-December 2015

Published 3:01 pm Wednesday, January 6, 2016

July 1

Fireworks will fill the sky this Fourth of July as people across our nation, and citizens here in Jeff Davis County, come together to celebrate the birth of America and the patriotic spirit which has made our country great.   Everyone is invited to enjoy fireworks and family fun during the third annual Fireworks Celebration at Longleaf Trace Park in Prentiss on the 4th of July from 6 to 9pm.  Members of “Unity in the Community” are hosting this patriotic event which features local talent, music, kid centered activities and a fireworks show that promises to be the best one yet!

July 8

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The Jefferson Davis County Court Clerk’s Office was broken into and robbed last week. Court Clerk Judy Cole arrived at work Wednesday morning to find her office in shambles. All three money drawers were broken into and damaged. A total of $370 in cash was stolen from the office, along with a roll and a half of postage stamps.

As part of the summer reading program “Every Hero has a Story”, the Prentiss and Bassfield public libraries invited local heroes to speak with the children participating. Dr. David Cloyd, Casey Ward, Mayor Charley Dumas, and Firefighter Pete Stephens all spoke to the children in Prentiss about their area of expertise.

The Prentiss Board of Aldermen recently approved a Trunk-or-Treat to be held at the Ronald W. Jones Memorial Safety Complex.  The event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Halloween night and will also include a haunted house. The event will be free to participants.

Members of Unity in the Community thank all business sponsors and citizens that planned to participate in the scheduled Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration activities.  While afternoon weather conditions, alerts for flash flooding, and forecasts of continuing rain caused the calling off of this popular event, it will be rescheduled.  Members of the group will meet this week to determine a new date.

July 15

A fire destroyed the home of Reginald Hartzog at 466 Hartzog-Magee Road in Prentiss early Sunday morning. No one was home at the time the fire broke out. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

DFI Construction, Inc., on Highway 35 in  Bassfield was burglarized Monday night. Two trucks were stolen from the yard. One is a white 2011 Ford F-250, Crew Cab, 4-wheel drive with the driver mirror missing.

Members of Unity in the Community met Thursday night to reschedule the Fireworks Celebration originally planned for July 4. The new date for the event is Saturday, September 5th, from 6 to 9 p.m.  This will be the Saturday before Labor Day, so it is hoped that many of our citizens will be able to come out for this family friendly event.

July 22

According to Sheriff Ron Strickland of the Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s Department, Jeffrey Asa Sanford, age 57, reported to the Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s Department for docket call on nine indictments issued by the Grand Jury with a ‘no bond’ set by the Circuit Court. While being processed he was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia further resulting in a search warrant being issued for his vehicle. Upon execution of the search warrant on the vehicle, there was a discovery of a stolen firearm, other drug paraphernalia and drug residue. As the investigation continued, a search warrant was issued for Sanford’s residence at 2860 Highway 42, Sumrall. Approximately 21 guns, body armor, a large assortment of ammunition, narcotics, and a stolen enclosed trailer were seized.

The Jefferson Davis County Forestry Association recognized Dr. Larry Rogers as 2015 Tree Farmer of the Year and Ryan Williamson as 2015 Logger of the Year during its banquet held Monday night at M.G. Dyess, Inc., in Bassfield.

Recognition was given to John Polk for his service as a professional forester and his service with the MS Forestry Commission. He was commended for his dedication to the JDC Farm Bureau Federation, and presented a Meritorious Service Award for his commitment to the JDC Forestry Association.

July 29

The United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, in conjunction with the Jefferson Davis County School District, announced that Jefferson Davis County has been selected for a USDA grant for distance learning and telemedicine service totaling nearly half a million dollars. The grant is awarded based on barriers that arise from extreme rurality, poverty, and a lack of local resources and was secured by Tim Bryant, Information Technology Director for Jefferson Davis County Schools.

Jefferson Davis County is under a Burn Ban effective until August 7, 2015. For more information please call 601-792-5198.

August 5

Incumbents Clint Langley and Ron Strickland defeated their opponents to continue serving as Chancery Clerk and Sheriff, as did Charles Reid in the District Two Supervisor’s race.

Charlene Fairley defeated David Fortenberry for the office of Chancery Clerk.

Kelley Ross-Brown, Corky Holliman, Bobby Rushing, and Jimmy Slater were all unopposed.

District Four Supervisor Michael Evans and Terry Mathis will be back out seeking votes for the August 25 election. The District Three Supervisor position will also be in a run-off between John Thompson and James Graves.

Both Constable Incumbents, Zack Jackson and Harold Rhodes, will retain their position.

There will be a run-off for both posts in Justice Court. Incumbent Ronnie Barnes will face Deede Clavo in Post One and Darhyl Hartzog will face Calvin Graves in Post Two.

Will Russell will face Allen Ray Dyess and Kysetta Warner Armstrong in the General Election in November for the office of Superintendent.

The Primary Run-off Election will be held Tuesday, August 25, with the General Election following on November 3.

August 12

The Town of Prentiss is continuing to work with the Mississippi Department of Health to improve the Farmers’ Market at the Cotton Gin.

The area around the Gin has been leveled and newly graveled by city maintenance workers in order to improve conditions for farmers, or anyone, with extra, locally grown produce who comes here to sell it to the citizens of Jeff Davis County.

Although produce can be sold at the Prentiss Cotton Gin at any time, starting this Saturday, August 15th, The Farmers’ Market will begin operating on Saturday mornings between 8 a.m. and noon.

B & M Beauty Mart is now open at 115 Columbia Avenue in Prentiss. Owned by Maryetta Armstrong, it will stock beauty supplies as well as clothes and shoes.  Hours are Monday through Saturday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.  For more information call 601-792-9229.

August 19

The Prentiss-Jefferson Davis County Airport has been awarded a grant estimated at $75,000 to make improvements to the current facility.

Enhancements will be made to the tarmac and apron area (which is the taxiing and parking area for the airplanes), as well as the section used to gain fuel access.

This area will be resurfaced, remarked and receive needed maintenance work.

August 26

Michael Evans and John Thompson will both continue to serve as Jefferson Davis County Supervisors.

Evans defeated Terry “Red” Mathis 379 to 282 in Tuesday’s primary run-off election.

Thompson defeated James Graves 458 to 316 to continue serving the citizens of District 3.

Ronald “Ronnie” Barnes will also continue his place on the bench defeating Deandera “Deede” Clavo 691 to 658 for Justice Court Judge Post 1.

In the Justice Court Judge Post 2 race, Calvin Graves defeated Daryhl Hartzog 786 to 371.

According to Circuit Clerk Clint Langley, voter turnout was low, as expected.

Jefferson Davis County School District students had the opportunity to receive a word of encouragement and motivation from two New Orleans Saints NFL Players, Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem. Both players are Super Bowl Champions.

The players made a stop at Prentiss High right before the pep rally Friday, followed by a visit to Bassfield High School.

There is a new 3-Way stop at the intersection of Bass-Burkett Road and Bassfield Cemetery Road in Bassfield. Motorists are asked to use caution upon entering this area. It is a safety measure put into place to protect students and faculty arriving at Bassfield High School.

September 2

On Friday night, August 28, at approximately 9:45 p.m., there was an altercation in the parking lot of the Prentiss High School, in which there were multiple gunshots fired.

According to preliminary reports, the altercation stemmed from a previous argument between the suspects regarding a shooting at a Hattiesburg nightclub earlier this year.

The Prentiss High vs Collins High Football game had just concluded and patrons were making their way to their vehicles when the shots erupted.

No injuries were reported, although there were four cars struck by gunfire. Two of the vehicles were occupied.

“Regarding the incident at the Prentiss/Collins game, I want to make clear that none of our students were hurt, and all necessary actions were taken following the shooting,” said Will Russell, Jeff Davis County Superintendent.

“We had sufficient security and city police at the game. In the future, we look to increase patrol in the front area where crowds tend to gather, and add more lighting at the front of the stadium. I have discussed this with our chief safety officer as well as city police, and we will increase security throughout the football season.”

The Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s Department, assisted by the Prentiss Police Department, executed a search warrant Monday afternoon at a residence in the Greens Creek community. Three ounces of methamphetamine was seized from the residence, along with seven guns & a large assortment of prescription medication. One of the guns seized from the residence was reported stolen out of Louisiana. The narcotics seized had a reported street value of around $8,000. Marvin Terrell Smith was arrested & charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute & possession of stolen property. Crystal Smith was arrested & charged with possession of prescription medication without a prescription & resisting arrest.

September 9

Thursday morning an inmate noticed 39-year-old Tresa Taylor, of Prentiss, unresponsive in her jail cell.

Authorities called the ambulance for assistance.  According to Deputy Coroner Kathy Stephens, Taylor died sometime between 8:30 a.m., when authorities last spoke with her, and 11:30 a.m. The coroner’s report states the cause of death is natural due to a massive pulmonary embolus. Taylor was arrested August 19 for domestic violence.

Quaneilius Hooker of Prentiss has been charged with murdering Antonio McCollum, also of Prentiss. Authorities were called to Bass Laird Road around 2:30 a.m. Monday morning.  McCollum was found with multiple gunshot wounds and was taken by Lifeflight to Forrest General Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Jefferson Davis County Tax Assessor Kelly Ross-Brown will now be collecting Bassfield City Taxes effective October 1.

September 16

On Friday, August 28 at 5:30 in the evening, the administration, faculty, and staff of J.E. Johnson and the Jefferson Davis County School Leadership Team dedicated the gymnasium in memory of the late Johnny L. Brister, Sr.

Lena Gholar was honored at the school board meeting Monday night for her years of dedicated service to the children of Jefferson Davis County. Gholar served as a teaching assistant and stated, “When I began to teach grandchildren of children I taught, I knew it was time to retire.”

The Annual Chamber Workshop entitled: Social Media-After Hours Business Showcase, will be held Tuesday, October 27, 2015, at the Olde Towne Grille in Prentiss from 5:30 p.m to 7:30 p.m.

The Chamber Partnership invites everyone for a night of beneficial information including updates on social media for existing or new businesses.

September 23

Students at J.E. Johnson Elementary are getting really, really excited about math and you can see it on their faces in a video that is going viral.

The one-minute cell phone video, shows sixth grade students in the school’s hallway, competing in a game called “Fact Dash.”

The Board of Supervisors presented a resolution to John Polk at the board meeting Monday for his 40 years of service to Jefferson Davis County.

September 30

‘til then…PS. Services for former Prentiss Headlight Editor Patsy Speights will be held Friday at 2 p.m. at Saulters-Moore Funeral Home in Prentiss. She passed away at home Tuesday night after a lengthy illness. She put her heart and soul into this newspaper without fail every week for 25 years.

A teacher at J.E. Johnson Elementary has been fired after cameras were found in a school restroom Wednesday morning.

According to the Jeff Davis County Sheriff’s Department, Arthur Martin stated that he put the camera in the bathroom at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning and it was found later that day around 1 p.m.

Martin was a fifth grade teacher at J.E. Johnson and has been charged with photographing and filming a subject without consent under the age of 16. According to MBI officials, investigators seized a computer and other technology from Martin’s Lamar County home. Martin was released on $150,000 bond.

October 7

Patsy Speights, former editor and general manager of The Prentiss Headlight, died at her home last Tuesday evening following a lengthy illness.

Speights became the general manager of The Prentiss Headlight in 1987 and added the editor title to her name in 1992.

After 25 years of faithful service to The Headlight, town and community, Speights retired in 2012.

When she retired, former Daily Leader owner Bill Jacobs wrote, “She was the epitome of the Norman Rockwell painting of a small town newspaper editor. She did it all: covered meetings, wrote news stories, sold advertising, laid out the pages and made sure the papers made it to the post office each week on time.”

“While she gained the respect of the local community, she also gained the respect of her newspaper peers on a state and national basis,” Jacobs wrote. “In political circles, she also gained the respect of governors as well as congressmen and senators. To each of them — peers and politicians — she is known simply as Patsy. No need for her last name, for speaking about Patsy can mean only one person — Patsy Speights, editor of The Prentiss Headlight.”

October 14

Johnny Kendall Roberts was sworn in last Tuesday night as a Bassfield Town Alderman at the monthly town meeting.

Former Alderman Lance Garner resigned his position effective September 1, 2015, due to moving outside of Bassfield city limits.

Bassfield Volunteer Fire Department responded to a one vehicle accident Friday on Williamsburg Road in front of Farm Depot. The Jaws of LIfe were used to extricate John Easterling from the vehicle. Easterling was transported to Jefferson Davis Community Hospital by AAA with minor injuries.

October 21

There is a county-wide burn ban in effect indefinitely for Jefferson Davis County. The Sheriff’s Department will issue citations for those that don’t comply. These fines will range from $100-$500 each. According to Sheriff Ron Strickland, six citations have been issued thus far.

The Knox Waller home, built in 1911 and located at the corner of Leaf avenue & Fourth Street, burned late Wednesday night. Several crews worked into the early morning hours to get the fire under control.  The home is currently owned by Jessie Bridges. No one was home at the time and there were no injuries reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

October 28

Members of Crime Stoppers visited Carver Elementary School recently to discuss safety with the students and faculty.McGruff DNA Safety Kits were given away to each student.The kits were made available by the Metro Crime Stoppers Directors.

November 4

For the 11th straight year, the Bassfield YellowJackets have defeated the Prentiss Bulldogs for what has been known up until this year as the County Championship, but hereafter will be known as the JDC Pink-Out Bowl.

With the win over division opponent Prentiss, Bassfield also completes its 7th in the last 8 years as division champions.

The Jefferson Davis Sheriff’s Department is warning of a phone scam targeting residents in the area. According to the Sheriff’s Department, several local citizens have received calls and reported them to the department.

According to Attorney General Jim Hood’s website, the scammers call claiming to be an agent for the IRS or the Federal Treasury Department.

November 11

Will. L. Russell will continue to serve Jefferson Davis County as school superintendent. Russell defeated  Allen Ray Dyess and Kyseta Warner, gaining just over 50% of the votes.

“I am grateful for the chance to serve as your superintendent four more years. I look forward to continuing the progress we have made in our school system,” said Russell.

In other local races, Bertile Price defeated Towonder Applewhite for the District 3 Election Commissioner; and Calvin Graves won the Post 2 Justice Court Judge position defeating Dawn Renea Otis 1,650 to 190.

Langley estimates roughly 4,100 voters exercised their right, which is less than 50% of the registered voters.

On Monday, November 2, Prentiss Police and Fire Departments hosted the first annual “A Night of Treats.”

The event was originally scheduled for Halloween night, but was postponed due to inclement weather.

The activities included trunk-or-treat, a haunted house, a pumpkin decorating contest, space jump, and several others. Each were free to participate with the exception of the haunted house.

According to event coordinators, 20 trunks participated handing out candy to over 300 children. Approximately 160 people went through the haunted house.

November 18

Officer Richard Browning has recently joined the Prentiss Police Department.

Browning, who has been in  law enforcement since 1990, is a Desert Storm Veteran. He is a 1993 Graduate of San Antonio Police Academy and is a State Certified Officer in Texas and Mississippi.

A two-vehicle accident claimed the lives of three people Thursday and sent four others to the hospital.

A red Ford Explorer driven by Richard Corkern, 56 of Hattiesburg, slammed into a white Chevrolet Malibu driven by Terry Young, 54 of Prentiss. Young and his passenger, Donald Barnes, 54 also of Prentiss, were killed on impact. Corkern was transported to JDCH where he died of his injuries. Jennifer Singh, 26 of Hattiesburg, and three children ages six, three and six months, were all passengers in the Explorer and were transported to area hospitals with critical injuries. The accident occurred around 1:16 p.m. on Highway 42 East between Carson and Bassfield. The crash remains under investigation by the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

November 25

JDC Soil & Water Conservation District members recognized Mr. Milton Thompson with the 2015 Outstanding Conservationist Award and Queen Sutton with the 2015 Outstanding Grassland Small Ruminent Grower Award at their 46th annual membership meeting and banquet held at the M.G. Dyess Multipurpose building in Bassfield.

CC’s Cafe is now open in the Patriot Shopping Center. CC’s is owned by Yvette Caraway and serves a variety of menu items including hamburgers, cheeseburgers, pantrout, catfish, and shrimp. Hours are Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 601-792-4337

December 2

The Prentiss Christmas Parade is this Thursday at 4:00 p.m. Grand Marshall for this year’s parade is former NFL star Jeffery Posey.Posey was born and raised in Bassfield, MS to Sammy and Geneva Posey.

Charles Johnson has recently completed the Certified Investigator Program through the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer’s Training Academy. During the 11 week program, Johnson successfully completed hours of training in Gangs & Drugs, Investigating Major Drug Trafficking Organizations,  and Show me the Money.

Johnson is now a State Certified Investigator and Captain with the Sheriff’s Department. He is the first Certified Investigator to be in the JDC Sheriff’s Department.

An accident on 84 East just outside of Prentiss stalled traffic mid-morning Tuesday. Leslie Craft of Wesson was traveling to Jones County to visit her mother in the nursing home when she struck a tractor from behind. Mitchell Barnes was driving the tractor and was headed to a church member’s house to bush hog for Thanksgiving. There were no injuries sustained in the accident.

December 9

For the senior class of the 2015 Bassfield YellowJacket football team, a record that is a long way from ever being broken, maybe extended, but broken, probably not in our life time; four 2A State Championships for the four year seniors. 4 State Championships, a new 2A record.

Bertile McLeod Price was sworn in Wednesday as District 3 Election Commissioner by Circuit Clerk Clint Langley. Price was the winner in a special election held for the position. All other elected county officials will be sworn in December 21.

December 16

Walt Grayson speaks at the Bethany Baptist Church Christmas Benefit Banquet. After a pleasant dinner and musical entertainment by Dwight Chance and Wesley Lee the large gathering of local patrons were treated to his pleasant style of storytelling to round out the evening.

Ritzy Rags & More, A Retail Store, is now open at 1015 Columbia Avenue in Prentiss. Owned by Dr. Daisy Tisdale, Ritzy Rags will be open Mon-Sat 10-6. For more information call 601-850-2887.

Members of the Prentiss High School cheerleading squad traveled to New York City during Thanksgiving break to participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. In between parade rehearsals, the girls visited the 911 Memorial, the Statue of Liberty, the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular and the famous musical Hamilton.

December 23

An outstanding group of guys came together Saturday December 19, to help improve the hallways, bathroom, and classrooms of their alma mater, Prentiss High School.

Members of the Prentiss Christian School Drill Team made 60 homemade cards and delivered them to the residents and staff at the Jefferson Davis County Extended Care Facility this week. They also adopted a resident at the ECF for Christmas and presented him with gifts.

December 30

Judge Prentiss Harrell addressed a packed courtroom last Monday before swearing in all elected county officials. As each official approached the podium, Judge Harrell took a brief moment to describe their duties and how they function within the county. Each official was allowed family and friends by their side

The Jefferson Davis County Board of Supervisors presented Johnny C. Hartzog with a proclamation at their last December board meeting. Hartzog served as Justice Court Judge for Jefferson Davis County for 38 years. When he began his service to JDC, the Justice of the Peace had their office in their home