Education, court work make news FIRST IN A SERIES
While Hurricane Katrina has dominated the news towards the endof 2005, the year at other times was full of achievements, honorsand some disappointments.
The year started with the return of some old debates and newfears, but also the emergence of new hopes and greataccomplishments.
Lawmakers, facing a large state budget deficit, consideredclosing the Mississippi School of the Arts and the MississippiSchool for Mathematics and Science. Both schools were eventuallyfunded.
Public school officials statewide, also worried about notreceiving the amount from the Legislature they requested, beganstaging awareness campaigns to bring attention to theirconcerns.
Flu shot fears were eased early in January when the MississippiDepartment of Health announced it had “plenty” of the vaccineavailable to dose unvaccinated residents. The elderly and otherswith weak immune systems stood in lines for hours in the waningmonths of 2004 after a severe shortage of the vaccine wasannounced.
A trailer home was destroyed and two homes damaged during apossible tornado strike in southeast Lincoln County Jan. 7. Therewere no injuries.
The Mississippi Court of Appeals Jan. 11 upheld a lower courtdismissal of a lawsuit against the city of Brookhaven and itspolice department over false arrest and other charges following aJanuary 2001 pursuit.
With The Lincoln County Area Celebration, local ministers joinedforces to provide a series of activities to strengthen families,draw the community together and spark a spiritual revival. Theevents, staged in January and April, drew large crowds.
The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors approved the issuance of$2.24 million in bonds Jan. 18 for the county’s portion of theLinbrook Business Park. The approval was the second major stepaccomplished in establishing the park on approximately 400 acresnear the end of Brookway Boulevard near Interstate 55. The city hadapproved a $1.8 million bond late in 2004 to meet itsobligations.
The program manager and three members of the MississippiDevelopment Authority’s Hometown Retirement Community AdvisoryCommittee toured Monticello Feb. 2 as the town continued make a bidfor inclusion in the exclusive program, which reopened forapplicants in 2005 for the first time in 10 years. Although thetown made the short list for inclusion, it was ultimatelydenied.
Gov. Haley Barbour named Brookhaven attorney Michael Taylor asthe new 14th District circuit court judge Feb. 3. Taylor replacedJudge Keith Starrett, who began his duties as a federal court judgeearlier in the year. Starrett had been the circuit court judgesince 1992.
Taylor’s appointment as 14th District circuit court judge lefthis position as 15th District chancery youth court referee open.Brookhaven attorney Lesa Baker was appointed to that position thesame day as Taylor accepted his appointment.
Law enforcement officers swarmed a swath of Lawrence County nearTopeka Feb. 9 in a search for two men suspected of an earlyafternoon armed robbery at a Highway 27 country store. They crashedduring a pursuit by the homeowner and visited two residences insearch of a ride before slipping through the net and stealing arelative’s truck. They were apprehended the next day at a McCombmotel.
Brookhaven Academy hosted the Mississippi Private SchoolAssociation Class AA Tournament Feb. 15. The Lady Cougars defeatedSimpson County Academy 64-38 to capture their fourth consecutiveMPSA Class AA championship. The Cougars also won their game againstClarksdale Lee Academy 68-59 to help the school win a double-billchampionship. The Lady Cougars lost in the Overall Tournament 54-50to Pillow Academy in late February.
A fire in New Hebron shut down one of Lawrence County’s majorindustries Feb. 16, but owners were back in full production byApril. Total damage to the Lee’s Pigskins plant was estimated atover $500,000. There were no injuries.
Sgt. Timothy Osbey, 29, of Magnolia was one of two MississippiArmy National Guard soldiers killed during a rollover accident inIraq in mid-February. Osbey was a member of the 155th InfantryBattalion of McComb, an element of the 155th Brigade CombatTeam.
A bill to transform Highway 84 into an interstate was revived onCapitol Hill in February, but no action had been taken by the endof 2005. The interstate would link Natchez to Augusta, Ga., and hasthe support of legislators in all affected states.
Former WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers took the stand in his owndefense Feb. 29 during an accounting fraud trial in New York.Ebbers, of Brookhaven, was convicted on March 14 on one count ofconspiracy, one count of securities fraud and seven counts of falseregulatory filings.
Two children taken from a northern Florida home were found safein Brookhaven March 1 after an Amber Alert was issued. Thechildren’s alleged abductor, Edkah Marshall, 19, was arrested andextradited to Florida, where he also faced charges in the slayingof his grandmother.
Brookhaven aldermen voted unanimously March 1 to rename HamiltonStreet in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Brookhill on Natchez Avenue hosted its first collegiate tennismatch March 6. The match pitted the men’s teams of Samford (Ala.)University against the University of Southern Mississippi. SouthernMiss won the match 5-2.
The Commission on Judicial Performance recommended Justice CourtJudge Judy Case Martin be publicly reprimanded and suspended over acharge of judicial misconduct March 14. However, the state SupremeCourt on Dec. 15 rejected the commission’s recommendation sayingMartin made a mistake, but it did not warrant sanctions.
Brookhaven gas prices topped $2 a gallon on March 21 to follow anational trend of escalating costs. Gas continued to climbthroughout much of the year – and even topped $3 a gallon afterHurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29 – but byDecember prices had dropped back to March levels. Customers wereskeptical prices will ever return to the $1.50 levels of 2004.
Bogue Chitto residents began grumbling in March about delays incompletion of a $2.8 million bridge across the river. The bridgewas finally reopened in November.