Top 10 New Stories of Year

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2001

Note: The top 10 news stories for Brookhaven and Lincoln Countywere determined by ballots cast my members of the DAILY LEADERstaff and our readers. The number of points each story received isbased on ranking the stories from 1 to 10, with 1 being the mostimportant.

1. Miss. School of the Arts work: Work begins to transform theWhitworth College campus into the Mississippi School of the Arts,slated to open in 2002. State budget woes prompt speculation offunding reductions, but officials say the state is committed toproject. Tobacco attorney Dicky Scruggs makes the first part of$500,000 donation to school. (101 points)

2. Plane crash: Former Brookhaven residents, Dr. Jimmy Barnettand his wife Missy, are killed in the crash of their private planeat the city airport. (88 points)

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3. Student tragedies: At least four Lincoln County students, oneLawrence County student and one Franklin County student are killedin auto accidents. (60 points)

4. BHS building work: Following $7.5 million bond issue approvalin 1999, work begins to restore the main Brookhaven High Schoolbuilding and construct two new educational wings. BHS students aremoved to trailer classrooms for duration of project. (55points)

5. Beat system return: Following a 1999 vote, county supervisorsbegan operating under the beat system in October. The countypurchased several hundred thousand dollars in equipment for thereturn, but supervisors said the equipment was needed regardless ofbeat or unit system of government. (52 points)

6. Lord’s Prayer plans: Bogue Chitto School gets statewideattention for fans’ plan to recite the Lord’s Prayer at footballgames following a Supreme Court ruling banning prayer over schoolpublic address systems. (51 points)

7. Closed meetings: Some area boards — Brookhaven and Wesson –discuss issues such as airport and weather service system behindclosed doors in questionable executive sessions. (42 points)

8. City airport: Following a closed-door meeting, Brookhavenaldermen vote to abolish the airport governing board. Followingweeks of silence, city officials finally cite mismanagement andother reasons in the “City Record” in response to controversy. Thecity assumes operational control and a new advisory board isappointed to assist aldermen. (35 points)

9. New county jail opens: Capable of housing over 125 inmates,the new jail facility opens. Contingency fund spending requires$200,000 on top of library bond issue to complete. County pursueshousing state and federal inmates to help offset cost of operation.(27 points)

10. Tax increases: County operations costs, plus bond issues inthe county for the library and jail and in the city for schoolrepairs, help raise tax bills for residents. County school districtresidents see a net decrease in tax rate. (26 points)