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Area anxiously watched close presidential election Final in a Series

The presidential election dominated the news in late 2000 as thenation, and area, waited for the result. Unsure of its leadershipand busily preparing for the holidays took up most of theresidents’ time and energy. Here’s a recap:

October

C.H. Lipsey Middle School Principal Rita Rich was in Washington,D.C., Oct. 4 to be recognized as one of 66 principals nationwide tobe chosen as a National Distinguished Principal by the U.S.Department of Education and the National Association of ElementarySchool Principals. Rich has been the principal of Lipsey for fiveyears and this was the first year she was eligible for thehonor.

Ferguson Federal Credit Union in Monticello was robbed of anundisclosed amount of cash Oct. 6. The search for three suspectscontinues and the case is still under investigation.

Michael Wayne Russell, 51, of Monticello, died at LawrenceCounty Hospital Oct. 15 after being involved in a two-vehicleaccident on Highway 84 East. Russell was a well-respected privateeconomic developer and businessman and had a hand in bringing tothe community businesses like Fred’s, the pizza restaurants andmany convenience stores, among others.

November

Southwest Mississippi residents interested in watching theconstruction of Lake Okhissa in Franklin County received adesignated observation area Nov. 1 that overlooks a large part ofthe 1,000-acre lake. The observation area includes a gazebo,walking trails and a parking area.

Area voters turned out in droves Nov. 7 to cast their ballot inthe closest presidential race in the nation’s history. Areacounties and the state went with the eventual winner, Texas Gov.George W. Bush. Bush was not declared the winner until Dec. 13after three Florida recounts and numerous lawsuits flung at eachother by both sides.

Tragedy struck the county again Nov. 9 when another high schoolstudent was killed in an automobile accident. Rebecca Wallace, 17,was killed in an accident less than a mile from West LincolnAttendance Center, where she attended school.

Tommie L. Butler, 49, of Brookhaven, was killed Nov. 11 in ahouse fire on Dunn-Ratcliff Road. A brother, who was also in thehouse at the time, escaped without injury.

December

Christina Sibley, 16, of New Hebron, was killed Dec. 8 in ahead-on collision on Highway 84. Sibley, a Lawrence County HighSchool student, swerved into oncoming traffic to avoid a deer andwas struck by a loaded dump truck. The dump truck driver was notinjured.

Harvey C. Bridges of Hazlehurst was arrested Dec. 14 and chargedwith armed robbery after allegedly carjacking a Lincoln Navigatorfrom a woman at gunpoint at a Brookhaven shopping center earlier inthe day. He was arrested in Copiah County.

Winter weather struck the area early Dec. 18, bringing freezingtemperatures and a rush on cold weather items at area stores.

Two weeks later than expected, the December term of CircuitCourt came to close Dec. 18 in Lawrence County with a record numberof cases. The grand jury returned 54 true bills on indictment,containing 86 counts on 46 individuals.

The Bogue Chitto Volunteer Fire Department got something whitefor Christmas Dec. 26 in the form of a new fire truck. The $132,661truck became ready for use Friday. Fire officials said they chose awhite truck to increase visibility.