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Annexation, school of arts top 3rd quarter

The third quarter of 2003 was dominated by ongoing issues ratherthan than new events.

City officials continued to struggle with garbage and budgetissues while being confronted by the problem of whether mosquitoescould be classified as a health hazard.

Meanwhile, the 296th returned from combat operations in Iraq andthe Mississippi School of the Arts welcomed its first students.

July

Citizens concerned about Brookhaven’s annexation efforts beganto formally organize in July when approximately 65-70 residentsattended a meeting July 10 to discuss their options.

Farmers were warned of the “Perilla Mint” plant in July after aCaseyville farmer lost six cows to the toxic plant. The plant istoxic to cattle, sheep and horses.

Alton Shaw was elected mayor of Wesson during a special electionJuly 15. Shaw replaced former Mayor Bill Tigner, who resigned May19 because of work conflicts.

The on-again, off-again plans for a new city hall were canceledJuly 15. Aldermen cited a lack of funds for the many city projectsas the reason for canceling the plan. Mayor Bill Godbold, whoopposed the cancellation, said if the new city hall was canceledthe Multi-Modal Facility plan should also be stopped. Plans for a”scaled-back” Multi-Modal Facility are continuing to moveforward.

Mosquitoes buzzed into the headlines in July when residents inBrookhaven’s Ward 4 requested the city spray a drainage ditch forthe pesky insects, which can transmit the potentially fatal WestNile virus to humans. The complaints prompted an ongoing disputeabout whether the city can spray for the insects on privateproperty.

August

Students moved into the Mississippi School of the Arts’ StudentLife Center Aug. 3. The MSA’s first class included about 63 highschool juniors.

Election primaries were held Aug. 6 and many incumbents retainedtheir office or advanced to the second primary to facechallengers.

The Secretary of State’s Office was asked to investigateelection proceedings here Aug. 12 after two candidates demandedrecounts and discovered some minor voting irregularities. The stateoffice declined. Recounts revealed some minor vote total changes,but no election changed significantly enough to alter theresults.

The Wesson Trustmark National Bank branch was hit Aug. 12 by anarmed robber. The robber brandished a gun and escaped with anundetermined amount of money, believed to be less than $10,000. Therobber and another man, who stayed in the car, were laterapprehended.

Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck visited the Mississippi School of the ArtsAug. 13 and voiced her support for the school. She also spoke tothe crowd about the importance of education.

The Wesson Board of Aldermen sparked a controversy Aug. 19 whenthey voted a pay raise for themselves of $100 a month to takeeffect Oct. 1. The board later rescinded the raise after numerouscomplaints by Wesson residents.

Several elected officials found themselves without jobs afterthe second primary Aug. 26, including four term Sheriff Lynn Boyte,while others had to wait until the Nov. 4 general election to facetheir other opponents.

September

A stretch of Highway 84 from the bypass to the Lawrence Countyline reopened as a four-lane highway Sept. 2. The 7.5-mile sectionwas under construction since 1997.

Insurance benefits for city employees were looked at moreclosely in September by city officials and residents both. The cityfully funds insurance benefits to its full-time employees “to helpoffset lower salaries that some employees make.” In some cases, thecost of that benefit was equal to or more than an employee’s hourlysalary. Later in the month, aldermen approved the insurance plan,but added some requirements that would save the city nearly $72,000in costs without limiting those who qualify for the benefit.

Lincoln County and Brookhaven schools earned passing grades whenthe the state accountability testing results were released inSeptember. Several schools posted significant improvements and WestLincoln attained the highest possible rating, Level 5. The twodistricts were also included among the few state schools that meteach requirement in the federal No Child Left Behind mandates.

The Army Reserve’s 296th Transportation Company, based inBrookhaven, returned home from service in Iraq Sept. 6 with allhands. The unit hauled more than 9 million gallons of fuel overmore than one million miles while supporting combat operationsthere, and did it without any loss of life.

Work began on a new long-awaited $2.6 million Bogue Chitto Roadbridge in September. Construction was expected to take twoyears.

Tuesday: October through December.