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Logger could be fined for cutting on wrong land

Determining whether a logger owes the Lincoln County School District a fine of more than $42,000 for what he calls a “human mistake” will take more than one board meeting to decide.

Kurt Smith, a Brookhaven businessman, addressed the board Tuesday to ask for leniency for a violation in a logging contract.

Smith admits he set up on the wrong side of a blue cut line used to mark parcels of district-owned 16th section land used for timber production.

“It’s my fault to a point,” he said.

Smith explained that when he discovered the mistake — that he was cutting timber that had been contracted by someone else — he stopped the cutting and notified Howard Stogner with the Mississippi Forestry Commission immediately.

“I made a human mistake,” he said.

Smith said he lost $21,000 on the sale of the 92 acres of timber he had contracted to cut so he could make it right with the other logger. He also still owes the school district for the sale of the timber he accidentally cut.

Smith doesn’t dispute the money he owes, but asked the board if they could forgive the fine of $42,791 for the logging contract violation of breaching a designated cut line.

Stogner said he has to honor the contract, but Smith argued that the board has the authority to disregard the penalty and accept his payment for its share of the timber sale without the fine attached.

Board members questioned how much timber was cut and what amount, if any, did the district lose in the deal.

Since that information was not available Tuesday, the board voted to table the issue until the next meeting on Sept. 19.

Prior to hearing Smith’s request, the board entered into two executive sessions — the first to discuss a student matter and the second to discuss a personnel matter.

After an hour behind closed doors, the board reopened the meeting.

The board tabled the student matter until more information is available.

In the personnel matter, the board voted to move forward with the recommendation of Lincoln County Superintendent Mickey Myers and the board attorney.

Myers also presented board members with information concerning admission prices charged at sporting events in neighboring districts or at schools with similar enrollment.

He said the information should be studied for discussion at a future board meeting.

In other business, the board approved the following consent agenda items:

• John Knight’s resignation as teacher and coach of the junior high and high school boys’ basketball coach at Enterprise Attendance Center. Knight is leaving to become the headmaster at Amite School Center in Liberty, Myers said.

• Shane Adams’ resignation as assistant football coach at Enterprise.

• Enterprise Principal Terry Brister’s recommendation to hire Shane Adams for the head coach position for varsity boys’ basketball, junior high girls’ basketball, junior high boys’ basketball and junior high baseball as well as assistant varsity baseball coach.

• Brister’s recommendation to hire John R. Gray for the head golf coach position.

• Brister’s recommendation to hire Emily Pollard as a teacher and Tyrone Samson Legget as a custodian.

• Cliff Graham’s resignation as janitor at Bogue Chitto Attendance Center.

• West Lincoln Principal John Shows’ recommendation to hire Luke Addison as cross country coach, to remove Joyce Cothern from the substitute list and to add Marla Nottingham, Rusti Magee, James Patt, Hannah Mason, Roderick Young and Susann Altman to the list.

• Myers’ and Assistant Superintendent Letha Presley’s recommendation to hire Kenneth Gee and Deborah Smith as part-time teachers for four hours a day at West Lincoln Attendance Center; to create an additional special education teacher position because of student overload and to transfer Rachel King to that position, and to hire Ashley Lynch as a fourth grade math teacher.

• Bogue Chitto Principal Jay Rayborn’s recommendation to add Joe Brown, Kayla Golman and Deborah Sassone to the substitute list, and to remove Stephanie Hargett from the list.