Alderman clarifies RR comments

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, May 13, 2003

WESSON — Wesson Ward Four Alderman Hollis Cowen Jr. hasclarified comments he made during a board of aldermen meetingconcerning the controversial Seventh Street railroad crossing.

Cowen said he has received negative feedback from some Wessonresidents unhappy with his position and comments he made during themeeting. Cowen also disputes several items as reported by The DAILYLEADER.

The board and town residents held a hearing with railroad andMississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) officialsconcerning the proposal to close the crossing, which was deemeddangerous by the railroad.

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Cowen was quoted in a DAILY LEADER news story last weekcomparing the railroad company to the United States invading Iraq.The alderman says that he meant the railroad was acting like”bullies and tyrants,” not the United States, by trying to forcethe town to close the crossing.

Further, Cowen said that his reference to a train accident abouta Wesson woman, whose body he described following her death on therailroad tracks, died in Wesson not in Brookhaven. The articlestated that the woman died several years ago in Brookhaven, butCowen was referring to a death at the Spring Street crossing in the1960s rather than an incident in Brookhaven several years ago inwhich a Wesson woman was killed.

“I was pointing that out because after that the railroad put upcrossings,” said Cowen.

He also said that not everyone in the crowd the night of themeeting was in favor of closing the crossing. The article statedthat the board voted against the apparent sentiments of the crowdwhen it voted to keep the crossing open. Cowen said he felt thestatement in the news story was misleading as he was voting thesentiment of his ward. Cowen added that only three people in hisward had called him requesting closure of the Seventh Streetcrossing.

The town of Wesson is awaiting a final decision by railroad andMDOT officials regarding the fate of the crossing.