2016—The year in review

Published 10:41 am Tuesday, December 27, 2016

January 6

Corky Holliman, Supervisor for District 1, will serve as president of the board of supervisors for the next four years. Michael Evans will serve as vice-president.

The board spent most of the first meeting of the term with housekeeping duties of setting salaries, appointments and election of officers.

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In addition to those elected by voters, Wes Daughdrill was appointed as board attorney and Les Dungan as county engineer.

Alan Buffington will serve as prosecuting attorney.

Bob Evans and Curtis Hays were appointed as county public defenders by Judge Prentiss Harrell. Their appointment will end December 31, 2019.

Supervisor Charles Reid will continue to be the county representative on the Rails to Trails board.

Supervisor Michael Evans will represent the county on the Homeland Security Task Force, and Supervisor Bobby Rushing will be the coordinator for federal, state and local grants.

Anna Keys was reappointed as the Red Cross coordinator for the county.

Cole Family Dentistry is now open at 1335 Winfield Avenue in Prentiss (in the former Dr. David Cloyd building). The practice accepts patients of all ages and files insurance. Call 601-792-5506 or visit www.colefamilydentistry.com for more information.

January 13

J.E. Johnson was the gold award winner in the Mississippi Breakfast Challenge, defeating all other participating elementary schools in the state.

They received a cash award of $1500 and a visit by a NFL MVP in February.

G.W. Carver was the silver award winner in the same category coming in second across the state in CEP elementary schools. They received a $1000 cash award.

There is a new learning center under construction for the Jefferson Davis County School District.

This new lab will be the nucleus of the following academic areas: fine arts, advanced placement, alternative placement, professional development, administrative meetings, and trainings.

The project will be funded from interest accrued from 16th section land.

The building will be located next to the Dennis W. Fortenberry Career Center in Carson.

Groundbreaking on the site will be within the next two weeks.   

January 20

A parade down Prentiss’ main street and a celebration program was held in the PHS auditorium to honor the Dr. Martin Luther King and remember his contributions to civil rights. Grand Marshalls for the parade included senior citizens of the county over 90 years old, Spencer Thompson, Melba Bass, Hattie Johnson and Rosie Lofton.

The very first baby born in 2016 in the state of Mississippi is from Bassfield. Andrew “Aiden” Key was born at 12:53 a.m. on January 1, at Wesley Medical Center.

Parents are Charla King of Bassfield and Andrew Key of Brandon. Maternal Grandmother is Alyson King of Bassfield. Paternal Grandparents are  Jennifer Coulter of Brandon and Andy Key of Hattiesburg.

January 27

Clem Firefighter of the Year was awarded to John Robert Lee.

Matthew Barnes was awarded firefighter of the year for 84 West fire department.

Steve Epp carries a cross through Prentiss on Highway 84 West on his way to California.

Moments in silent prayer to end abortion were observed on the steps of the Capitol by several from the county including Covington-Jeff Davis Baptist Association Director Bro. Tommy Broom and his wife Lynn.

February 3

John Polk, Commissioner for the Jefferson Davis County Soil and Water Conservation District, was selected as the MACD Outstanding Wildlife Conservationist for the State.  He was presented the award at the MACD meeting on Thursday, Jan. 21, at the Hilton Hotel in Jackson.

The annual Jefferson Davis County Volunteer Firefighter Banquet was held Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, at the Rosenwald Building on the Prentiss Institute Campus. John Robert Lee was presented the Jefferson Davis County Firefighter of the Year Award.

February 10

Preparations are underway for the 33rd annual Run for the Roses, which will be held in Prentiss Saturday, April 9, 2016.

The 5K Run/Walk will begin at 8:00 a.m., followed by the one-mile race and the ¼ mile pre-school run.

Other events tentatively scheduled that day include the annual Longleaf Trace Arts and Crafts Market.

The Run For The Roses event is produced by the Jefferson Davis County Chamber Partnership with extensive community support.

Profits from the race go toward scholarships for local high school students as they pursue higher education and other worthy projects in the community.

At approximately 11:35 p.m. February 3, 2016, the Prentiss Police Department received a call reporting shots fired at  the Western Motel on Columbia Avenue in Prentiss.

Jhyrod Finch, of Atlanta, Georgia, was found wounded with a gunshot wound. Another victim was found dead inside of a motel room.

According to Prentiss Police Chief Joe Bullock, Finch identified the deceased as his cousin, Marquis Porter from Atlanta, Georgia.

The Prentiss Police Department was assisted by the Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s Department and believe the crimes to be narcotic related.

February 17

Bassfield High School received a bomb threat last Tuesday morning, along with several other schools across the state. According to authorities, a call came into the Bassfield High office around 11:15 a.m. The caller stated that there was a bomb on site and it would detonate in 30 minutes.

Students were immediately sent to the football field and eventually escorted across Highway 42 to the Family Dollar parking lot.

Jeff Davis County authorities need the public’s help in identifying an individual who is impersonating a police officer.

The person police are searching for is a white male, in his 40s, wearing a white and grey uniform shirt, black pants and full duty gear as stated by Jeff Davis County investigator Zack Jackson.

February 24

Retired New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister spent time with the cafeteria staff and greeted the children as they came through the food line at J. E. Johnson Elementary School Thursday.

McAllister was a standout athlete at Morton High School, and had a record breaking career with the Ole Miss Rebels. McAllister’s visit was in conjunction with the awards received by the school for being the first-place winner of the MS Breakfast Challenge sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Education, Office of Child Nutrition, in collaboration with the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association Inc. (SUDIA), to encourage school districts across the state to increase breakfast participation in the fall of 2015.

Dr. Michael O. Evans, Pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Collins, delivered an opening prayer to the senate at the invitation of Senator Joey Fillingane, after Lt. Governor Tate Reeves called  lawmakers to order. Dr. Evans is also General Secretary for the Mississippi National Baptist State Convention and District 4 Supervisor for Jefferson Davis County.

A disturbance call led Jeff Davis County authorities to drugs and weapons and landed a convicted felon behind bars once again. Deputies were called to the Briarwood Apartments in Prentiss last Wednesday evening around 7:15 with reports of a disturbance which led to a search warrant on the apartment. Demario Harrien was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute while in possession of a firearm, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute while in possession of a firearm.

A suspect has been charged in connection to a murder that occurred at the Western Motel in  Prentiss earlier this month. Bradford Booth, 39, of Bassfield was arrested by the US Marshals fugitive task force on Wednesday, and was charged with capital murder and attempted murder, according to Prentiss Police Chief Joe Bullock.

Mar. 2

Jefferson Davis County School District hosted the 2016 District-Wide Spelling Bee at Bassfield High School Auditorium on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016.

Students in grades 4-8 from Carver Elementary, JE Johnson Elementary, Bassfield High, Prentiss High, and Prentiss Christian, had the opportunity to participate in this annual event.

The overall winner was fifth grade Prentiss Christian student, Adriana Tran. She won in the 27th round with the final word, alternate.

David Marshall has retired from the Prentiss Police Department after three years of service to the community. “It has been my pleasure serving the citizens of Prentiss and I have enjoyed my time here,” Marshall said.  Marshall resides in Hattiesburg and plans to rest and renew his golf game with his time off.

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has awarded Jefferson Davis County a $25,000 two-year waste tire grant to continue the local waste tire collection program for small
quantity generators of waste tires.

March 9

The Jefferson Davis County Chamber Partnership held their annual banquet Tuesday, March 1, 2016, at Crossroads Restaurant and Buffet in Prentiss.

Guest speaker was Miss Mississippi Hannah Roberts. Roberts spoke about her platform, Pages of Love, and entertained the crowd with a classical violin performance.

At the conclusion of the evening, Partnership Director President Stacy Clark presented the 2015 JDC Business of the Year award to Farm Depot of Bassfield.

The 2015 Industry Leadership Award was presented to John Polk.

The 2015 Citizen of the Year Award was given in memoriam to Patsy Speights.

Speights was the editor of The Prentiss Headlight for 25 years before retiring in 2010.

Receiving the STAR student award from Prentiss High School was Austin Spruell. Spruell chose Janice Cunningham as his STAR teacher.

The STAR student for Prentiss Christian School was Taytum Reid. Reid chose Courtney Daley as her STAR teacher.

March 16

Students at J. E. Johnson Elementary and Carver Elementary celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday this month. Many community leaders and business owners volunteered their time to read to the J.E. Johnson and Carver students as part of Read Across America Day.

Mayor Charles A. Dumas recently welcomed guests to Prentiss City Hall to sign a proclamation declaring March as Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities Awareness month in the town of Prentiss.  The month is a time to hold activities and events designed to bring awareness to the needs of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities and to focus on their accomplishments and abilities as they contribute to their communities.

A concerned citizen is now $1,000 richer after calling Metro Crime Stoppers.  Their tip helped take a huge bite out of crime in rural Marion County on February 17, 2016.  In a highly publicized raid, local, state, and federal law enforcement swarmed a residence located in the 200 block of Miller Road in rural Marion County.  Law enforcement made eight arrests and seized over $10,000 worth of drugs and firearms.  Authorities also put three fugitives wanted for attempted murder in Jefferson Davis County behind bars.

March 23

The Mayor and Prentiss Board of Aldermen announced in their March bi-monthly meeting that a new industry is headed to Prentiss.

Tiny House Life Space, LLC, owned by James Ray Polk, will begin production in the original KHL building at John Street Extension.

Tiny House Life Space, LLC., will produce storage sheds and tiny houses.

March 30

A special discount is being offered again this year to all students, parents, guardians, and employees of the Jeff Davis County School District, Prentiss Christian School and surrounding schools who register for the Run for the Roses by Friday, April 1.

“Proceeds from the Run for the Roses are used to provide college scholarships each year, so it is very important that we have good participation,” said Tracy Waits.

Celebrating Prentiss Institute Black History month  are PNII Board members, Alumni Museum committee volunteers and teachers from Carver Elementary. Mary Hudson, Christine Norvell, St. Elmore Sutton, Bertha Johnson, Jessie Bournes, Queen Sutton, Bettye Jenkins, James Jenkins, James Armstrong, Shelia Sullivan and Karey Alegria.

April 6

Tiny House Life Space, LLC., has now added Sam Burrow to its workforce. His title will be head of maintenance. Burrow worked for 10 years at KLH before its closing. “When we found out Sam was available, we were thrilled. His experience will be invaluable,” said James Polk, owner.

The 33rd annual Run for the Roses 5K walk/run will be held Saturday, April 9 in Prentiss.

April 13

Tiffany Ann Dudly has broken a decades old Run for the Roses record, finishing the race three seconds faster than the previous record holder with a time of 18:15. Dudly is from Starkville and said she decided she wanted to do a run in the southern portion of the state so she searched the internet and found Prentiss’ Run for the Roses. Dudly received $500 cash for breaking the record and another $100 for being the first female across the finish line.

A double-shooting Monday afternoon in Jeff Davis County killed one and injured another. The shooting took place on North Williamsburg Road at an old oil field sight around 3 p.m. “There was a man and his wife with their two children in the car, the parents were both shot multiple times,” JDC Sheriff Ron Strickland said. According to Strickland, the victim has been identified as Damos Daniels. Daniels was shot in the head and upper shoulder and pronounced dead at the scene. Damos was previously an FBI informant who was on trial for murder for the 2010 shooting death of 29 year-old Kenroderick Jefferson.

Officers with the Prentiss Police Department & Deputies with the Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s Department recovered two stolen vehicles over the weekend. Also recovered were several bags of Crystal Methamphetamine, Heroin, Xanax Bars, Gabapentin, Marijuana, and Subutex, along with one handgun and one rifle. Three people were arrested at a residence on Highway 84 West of Prentiss.  Jamie Easterling was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of crystal methamphetamine, Meagan Kelly was charged with possession of methamphetamine and receiving stolen property (a 2014 Nissan Titan Truck stolen out of Jones County), and Charles Chevalier was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of heroin, and receiving stolen property (a 2012 Ford F-150 truck stolen out of Ocean Springs).

Fifteenth Circuit Court District Attorney Hal Kittrell announces that Robert Patrick Terrell of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, was convicted at trial on Thursday, March 17.2016, on four charges: Conspiracy to Commit Timber Theft, Timber Theft, Conspiracy to Commit False Pretense and False Pretense.

Terrell was sentenced Friday to the maximum sentence on all counts to run consecutive for a total of 25 years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Additionally; he was ordered to pay fines totaling $25,000, restitution of $97,921.64, and costs of court.

This case stems from Terrell’s falsifying deeds and affidavits to obtain title and timber rights of a 78.5 acre tract of land in Jefferson Davis County.

April 20

Authorities have charged Antonio Sims of Jefferson Davis County with murder and attempted murder in the double-shooting that occurred Monday on North Williamsburg Road.

On Thursday afternoon, Sims and a second man were taken into custody by authorities in Jefferson Davis County after conducting a high-risk search warrant.

Jefferson Davis County Relay for Life is set for Friday, May 6. This year it will be held at the Bassfield High School football field and will begin at 7 p.m. and conclude at 12 midnight. The Survivor Reception will be held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on the field.The theme for this year’s event is “Cancer Never Takes a Vacation”.

An early morning fire Monday destroyed the 84 One Stop in Prentiss. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

April 27

A second suspect has been charged in the shooting death of Damos Daniels, and the critical injury of his wife Megan Daniels. After further investigation, the Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s Department along with the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshalls, DEA, and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, initiated a search warrant for two residences on Black Polk Road last week.

A large quantity of marijuana, $9000 cash and a stolen firearm were recovered from the residences.

According to authorities, Jaylen Thomas turned himself in later that day. He was charged with murder and attempted murder.

The shooting occurred in the gravel lot of an abandoned oil well on North Williamsburg Road.

A number of items were stolen from several residents in the Ebenezer community in Jefferson Davis County recently. A search warrant was executed last Friday at the home of Jerry Raynes, after he was determined to be a suspect. According to officials, many stolen items were recovered at the Raynes’ residence. The remainder of the items were retrieved after a search warrant was executed at the home of Buddy Keisman on Monday. At this time the majority of the stolen property has been recovered. Pictured is investigator John Wayne Tolar with a stolen boat that was recovered.

Dr. Samuel Jones has been chosen as the speaker for the 2016 Mother of the Year Freedom Fund Banquet. The banquet will be held Saturday, April 30, 2016, at 6:00 p.m., at the Rosenwald Cultural Arts Center, on the campus of Prentiss Institute.

May 4

Law enforcement supporters from across the county have come together and offered their assistance to all officers. Saturday, May 7, the Blue Line Wives of Jefferson Davis County will host a yard sale at the Prentiss Police Department. The proceeds will be used to purchase laptop computers for patrolmen.

The Jefferson Davis County School District 2015-2016 Administrator of the Year is Dr. Crystal Haynes.

Dr. Haynes has been the principal of G.W. Carver Elementary for the past four years.

Before her time as principal, Dr. Haynes served as lead teacher at Carver and was also a teacher at J.E. Johnson Elementary. She has dedicated 11 years to the students and schools in Jefferso Davis County. Dr. Haynes works tirelessly to help improve not only G.W. Carver Elementary, but the district as a whole.

Jefferson Davis County ministers, aldermen, supervisors, the Mayor of Bassfield, JDC Chancery Clerk, educators, JDC Sheriff and concerned citizens gathered with members of Unity in the Community to pray for, education, the nation, youth, economic growth and most of all love and unity for our county.

Echoes of songs of praise from Jennifer Winfield set the tone for a crowd of over 65 attendees of the Prayer Breakfast that was held Saturday April 23, 2016, at the Crossroads Restaurant & Buffet.

May 11

The Jefferson Davis Relay for Life Event was held Friday, May 6, at the Bassfield High School football field.

This year’s theme was, “Cancer Never Takes a Vacation,” and the team sites were decorated in vacation themes. Holly Springs CME Church, Jefferson Davis County Hospital and St. Peter’s Catholic Church all did an excellent job of representing the theme.

The longest cancer survivor was 89 year old Willow Dean Anthony and Ray Smith 65, while the youngest was 7 year old Tina Stapleton who was diagnosed with Leukemia at age 4.

All funds raised by this event go to the American Cancer Society to fund research to find a cure, treatment options and provide various types of assistance to cancer victims. Total funds raised by the event were $36,182.05.

More than 50 participants gathered Thursday on the lawn of the Jefferson Davis Courthouse to pray for the nation and leaders.

May 18

Shoppers were carrying away many treasures from the garage sale located at the police department and fire station parking lot Saturday.

The funds raised by the event will go to buy laptop computers for the JDC patrolmen.

According to officials, at approximately 10:30 p.m., on Thursday, May 12, the Prentiss Police Department received a call stating that shots were fired on First Street near Leaf Avenue.

Officers were immediately dispatched to the scene. Shortly thereafter,  a second call came in stating that one subject was injured and an ambulance was needed. Officers arrived on scene and found a 17-year-old black male lying in the caller’s yard. He had been shot multiple times.

May 25

The Bassfield boys track team has won the 2A Boys Track & Field State Championship. The team was highlighted by a star studded senior class featuring the class 2A record setting Sanchez Berry. Berry clocked a blazing 10.26 in the 100m this season.

FleetWay Market, owned by Fleet Morris Petroleum of Madison, started ground work at its upcoming facility at the corner of Hwys 35 and 42 in Bassfield.

The new location will be approximately 7,500 square feet and will include a 50 seat full restaurant along with a deli, convenience store, and mini market. It will offer gas and diesel under separate canopies.

The Jefferson Davis County Chapter of the NAACP held their Annual Mother of the Year Freedom Fund Banquet, Saturday April 30, at the Rosenwald Cultural Arts Center. Mamie Walker 2015 MOY winner joyfully crowned Bonita Gray the 2016 Freedom Fund Mother of the Year.

The Bassfield Volunteer Fire Department will be having a Meet Your Local Fire Department Day “May Day” on Saturday, May 28.

June 1

The annual Memorial Day service was held Monday morning on the Jefferson Davis County Courthouse lawn. This year’s service was presented by the Town of Prentiss and the Jefferson Davis County Veterans Association. Mayor Charley Dumas was Master of Ceremonies.  Willie Davis sang the National Anthem, Missy Jones read a poem, and Joe Bridges placed the wreath on the monument. Walt Moeller (USA, Retired) read the names of  the county’s Veterans  as Joe Hutchins and Joe Bridges placed a flag in front of the monument for each name read.

According to Jefferson Davis County Sheriff Ron Strickland, a Jefferson Davis County escaped inmate is now in custody. Jerry Raynes, 45, escaped from the Jeff Davis County jail sometime during the early morning hours Monday, according to department officials. “The inmate got out through a light fixture in the ceiling sometime between midnight and 7:30 a.m. and was last seen wearing a prison orange jumpsuit,” said Jeff Davis County Sheriff Ron Strickland.

Raynes has a previous list of charges that include attempted grand larceny, utility theft, petit larceny, possession of drug paraphernalia and a hold from the Mississippi Department of Corrections, according to Strickland. Raynes was apprehended in Bogalusa, Louisiana, Monday afternoon.

The very first Tiny House Life Space garden shed rolled off the assembly line last week. The shed is made of reclaimed materials including the window from the original Belhaven College in Jackson.  This garden shed retails for $3300 dollars and will be donated to Unity in the Community. Unity will be selling chances to win the shed, with all proceeds going to Unity in the Community.

June 8

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 79th Annual Fire Chiefs and Firefighters convention held in Natchez. The Southwest District includes:  Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Copiah, Franklin, Jefferson Davis, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Pike, Simpson, Walthall, and Wilkinson Counties.

Prentiss and Granby fire departments responded to a house fire at 162 Polk-Oatis road Monday. The call came in around 7 p.m.  When firefighters arrived, the home was fully engulfed. The home is owned by  Yeller Oatis.  Oatis’ daughter, who was home when the fire started, was taken by ambulance to Jefferson Davis Community Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.  The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen.

Supervisor Michael Evans hosted a collaborative educational review session recently with Senator Joey Fillingane, Superintendent Will Russell and Dr. Jason McLeod, Director of Academic Success. This session was designed to discuss several key issues facing the local educational system, as well as the drive for community growth.

June 15

The Prentiss Police Department held its annual Extravaganza on Saturday, June 4.

People from counties across the state traveled great distances to participate in the car show and other events.

“I appreciate everyone’s kindness and generosity,” said Chief Joe Bullock, “We had a great turn out this year.”  The chief conveyed that this year the Prentiss Police Department raised over $3,000.

Last Monday, June 6, Prentiss Police officer Gary Bounds attempted to stop a grey Chevy S10.

A short pursuit ensued to Airport Road where the suspect’s vehicle was stopped.

The suspect, Johnny Myers of Columbia, then fled on foot.

Chief Joe Bullock, investigator Zack Jackson, and officer Cassandra Lumpkins assisted officer Bounds.

A short time later, Myers turned himself into the Prentiss Police Department.

He was charged with possession of a felony amount of high grade marijuana with intent.

The Prentiss Police department also seized $1,200 for the abandoned vehicle.

In a separate incident Monday, Prentiss Police officer Richard Browning and Sheriff’s deputy Caleb Williams seized methamphetamine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and $1300 in cash.

As the two officers were conducting a check-point on Highway 84, Officer Browning observed suspicious activity from three individuals in a red 2012 Toyota Rav.

After asking the individuals to exit the vehicle, the officers discovered the drugs and cash.

June 22

The Jefferson Davis County School District has a realignment plan in place that will soon become a reality. Due to a decline in the number of students, the district is not able to maintain both schools efficiently. Ten years ago, the district educated 2500 students. Presently, there are 1500.

The realignment will take place in the 2017-2018 school year, which will allow a full year to work out the details and logistics.

Nita Griffith has been hired as the front office administrator at Prentiss City Hall. “I’m excited and looking forward to this new endeavor,” said Griffith. Griffith will be handling water payments, payroll and customer service.

The 9 under Prentiss All Star team  played in the sub- district in Collins this past weekend. The 9 under team played three games in three days, winning all three to win the championship. They will be playing in the district tournament this weekend in Prentiss with hopes of advancing to the state tournament in Mendenhall.

June 29

The building that was once Smith’s Market, affectionately known as Emmett’s, was torn down Monday.

According to Diane Smith Daughdrill, the building was originally Bush’s Restaurant, later becoming City Cafe. City Cafe was owned at the time by the Reese Polk. Emmett Smith bought the cafe in 1963 and turned it into a meat market. Emmett’s officially closed its doors July 3, 2008.

The Prentiss Headlight brought home two awards from the 150th annual Mississippi Press Association conference in Biloxi Saturday. The newspaper won first place awards in the Front Page and Editorials category. The judges described the Headlight’s ‘From the Center’ editorials as a  “Unique perspective & great read. Applicable to the average person. Likable, not too heavy content-but well thought out and communicated.” The judges noted “Great graphic design” as the determining factor for the Front Page category win.

Fireworks will fill the sky this Fourth of July as people across our nation, and citizens here in Jefferson 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 fourth annual Fireworks Celebration at Longleaf Trace Park in Prentiss on Monday, July 4 from 6 to 9 p.m.