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The Woodville Republican
Woodville, Mississippi
January 22, 2015     The Woodville Republican
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January 22, 2015

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'"':' '::""' '* )LDEST NEWSPAPER E bli .... ,,,, ::x - sta shed 1824 f~, r : h r,,') ':/ i!~iii',:':i ':r 'i ,~i Iiil.=.'ili i ! i i i i i "" " I t i '"' " II ; i ;t i "i i t . I,. 4. t 4i, Volume 190 USPS 462-260 50 per copy Woodville, Mississippi 39669 Thursday, Janua 22,2015 Number 38 DR. MLK REMEMBERED -- Two events were held in Woodville on Mon- day, January 19, to honor the memory of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a civil rights era peace activist who was born on January 15, 1929, and as- sassinated on April 4, 1968. The first activity was a parade which moved through downtown Woodville, start- ing at 1 p.m. The photo above shows MTC employees marching along the parade route carrying a sign with Dr. King's photo. The second event was a memorial ceremony held at the Wilkin- son County High School gym at 2 p.m. Featured guest at the event was Miss Mississippi Jasmine Murray. --- Photo by Andy J. Lewis .( Former Woodville resi- dent Jaborian "Tip" McKen- zie is expected to take the witness stand in a rape case now underway in Nash- ville, Tennessee, involving McKenzie and three other former Vanderbilt football players. In his opening statement given on Tuesday, Janu- ary 13, during the.-trial of two. ex-Vanderbilt football players charged with rap- ing a female student, Assis- tant District Attorney Tom Thurman revealed sicken- ing details of the acts that allegedly occurred during the summer of 2013. Surveillance video that allegedly shows football players carrying the un- conscious neuroscience stu- dent from her car into the Vanderbilt dorm where the assault took place will be a key piece of evidence for prosecutors. And though four former players were charged in the incident, two of them -- McKenzie and Brandon Banks, who are charged with aggra- vated rape and aggravated sexual battery in the in- cident -- are expected as witnesses. Prosecutors say both were there the night of the rape, and Banks is ac- cused of participating in as- saulting the alleged victim. McKenzie and Banks will testify against Cory Batey and Brandon Vandenburg. The victim was reportedly Vandenburg's girlfriend at the time. Banks, 20, and McKen- zie, 20, have not yet gone on trial. Both have pleaded not guilty. Several current and for- mer students testified dur- ing opening statements, giving a firsthand account of what occurred that June night. In June, 2013, Vanderbilt football tight end Brandon Vandenburg allegedly took his then:girl- friend on a date to the bar Tin Roof, which resulted in a night of heavy binge drinking. The woman was unconscious when she was allegedly carried from the car into the dorm by Van- denburg. Prosecutors say that video footage shows the players dragging the unconscious woman down the dorm's hallway while giggling, snapping photos and video, and pausing to inspect her naked body. Once inside the dolzn room, one player allegedly violat- ed her with an object while another encouraged him. One defendant allegedly urinated on the victim and "made a racial statement." Another passed out con- doms to his fellow players before assaulting her. In their opening state- ments, the defense attempt- ed to cast doubt on the yet- to-be-heard testimonies of McKenzie and Banks, and pinned the blame on a cul- ture of binge drinking and "sexual promiscuity." The victim was seen in the court room in tears, quietly lis- tening to the allegations. Vandenburg and Batey have both been charged with five counts of aggra- vated sexual assault and two counts of aggravated sexual battery, with Van- denburg facing an addition- al charge of unlawful pho- tography and tampering with evidence for allegedly recording the assault and covering up a security cams era set up in the hallway of the Vanderbilt dorm. I i I I I m i i Rim i i in inm I I I I I i- m i i m | i i m m i i m i m i i m m i | m i i me In a matter of a week the Wilkinson County Board of Education met and discussed the need to appoint an in- terim board member to rep- resent the Fii~h Supervisor District. The seat was vacated after the recent redistricting of the county to conform to popula- tion numbers gathered dur- ing the ~10 Census count. Longtime Fifth District member, Johnny Smallwood was moved from the Fifth to the Fourth District as a result in the change of district lines to balancethe populations of the fivesupervisor districts in Wilkinson County. The Wilkinson County School Board, ai~r receiv- ing the information about Mr. Smallwood, has declared the seat vacant. By law, it is now their duty to appoint an interim beard member to serve until an election can be held on the November 3 General Election ballot here in Wilkinson County. The beard met in special session on Wednesday, Janu- ary 7, at which time the four remaining beard members interviewed the three ap- plicants for the seat on the school beard. Applicants were Katrina Anthony andL. C. Clark, who by coincidence, were beth affected by redis- tricting as they were moved from the Third District to the Fii h District. Former board member Smallwood has declared that he has a new residence address back in the District, and also put his name in the hat for con- sideration. At the January 7 meeting the beard interviewed the three applicants and then went inte-executive session behia~losed doors. After re- turning to open session, they announced that a decision would be made at their regu- lar meeting on Wednesday, January 14. The vacancy was brought up and discussed again at this session. Applicant Katrina Antho- ny asked the beard about the selection process they used and why there was a delay in the naming of an interim beard member? She asked, "Did the board use a standard set of question to ask all of the candidates?" She was told by Board Presi- dent Charlie Floyd, "No, we did not. Each beard member had their specific questions to ask each applicant." Anthony continued, "I don't think the process is be- ing done correctly, and I chal- lenge this process as it is be- ing done" Board Attorney Michael Winfield replied, '%Ve follow state laws in selecting a re- placement. We (the board) have 60 days to name an in- terim beard member." The beard voted to go into executive session to continue their discussion on the va- cant seat matter. In a telephone interview ai r the closed door ses- sion, Wilkinson County Su- perintendent of Education Timothy T. Scott stated, "The beard is still looking at all of the qualifications of the three candidates to make sure that their selection fol- lows state law. The beard will meet again in special session concerning the F~h District vacancy when they return for a special meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 21, at which time they plan to make the results of their lengthy consideration pro- cess known." In other action on the Jan- uary 14 meeting agenda, the school beard group voted 4-0 99 acres of mixed hardwood and pine timber. The beard received two bids, but only one was a qualified bid. This was from Jeffrey Lee Logging of Brookhaven for a total of : $205,624. The second bid was from Adams Logging. Due to a failure of Adams Logging to go through with a timber cutting after being awarded a contract at a prior school lands timber sale, this bid was rejected for the prior bad experience. On recommen- dation of County Forester Charles Wellborn, the beard also rejected the Lee Logging bids as being too low. Section 19, T4N/R2W, 54 acres of pine timber. The only bid received for this section was from Adams Logging. And, for the same reason dealing with this company's to postpone the election ofof- bidfor Section 27, the beard ricers until a lair 9 0 ejectL:t heAdams alter the narrang oP the= N offer.: : ..... ::. :. tedm beard member for the The board then voted 4-0 5th District. Board President Floyd asked Superintendent Scott, "Where are my student and teacher absentee reports that we have requested from you?" Supt. Scott responded, 'ff don't have them for you to- day. I have had them for the past couple of meetings, y'all haven't looked at them. I for- got to have them here today, but I will for the next meeting." In a report to the school board on the status of the Wilkinson County School District in general, the su- perintendent said, "Students and teachers are attending school like they are supposed to. Our teachers are doing a better job teaching in their subject areas. We will remain at a grade level of"C" for this year and ~next. That's good news for us. In general, I feel that things are going well." Mr. Floyd stated to the su- perintendent, '2Vm Scott, I want you to talk to all of our p~cipals and ask them to work with our students to cut down on litter in our county Our county is a filthy place with all the litter on our roads. We need to work hard to pro- mote our county and to cut down on our litter problem." Mr. Scott added, "I will be glad to do this. We also need to work with the county and town governing beards to promote what you are ask- ing. We need to have a unified front." Board member Billy Spill- er made the following com- ment during the public com- ments section of the agenda, "I am glad we have reached a "C" grade level. This is very good, but we need to work even harder to move up from here to a better score for our district/' The school beard had ad- vertised for timber sales on two school sections as follows: Section 27, T4N/R1E, for to re-advertise for these two timber sales. The board opened bid of: fers to serve as the school districts depositories for the coming calendar year. Since the two bids offers from Concordia Bank and United Mississippi were al- most identical, on motion by board member Linda Boyd and a second by board mem- ber Spiller, the board voted unanimously to use beth lo- cal banks as needed. Since the school district has improved from a level "F" to a level "C" district, the pay levels for school beard members are to be returned to normal pay scale. When the district was a level "F" the monthly pay of the school beard member was cut from $200 per month to $100. Now that the district is a level "C" the beard members pay will be returned to $200 per month retroactive to Novem- ber, 2014, and forward, re- ported Supt. Scott. Supt. Scott received unanimous beard approval to declare a number of bro- ken or out-dated machines and equipment as "salvaged items" and remove them from the school district's fixed assets list. The school board approved one resignation and one re- tirement and a number of recommendations for hire. Supt. Scott announced that the school district would apply for grant funding from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to replace two 1992 school bus units currently in use. If ap- proved the grant will help the district purchase two brand new school busses. On motion by Boyd and a second by Spiller, the board voted 4-0 to approve the grant applica- tion. The board will meet again in special session at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 21. by Rhonda M. Quirk The Jackson Point Road received 23 loads of gravel on Wednesday, January 14, 2015. The rain held up prog- ress on Thursday but gravel trucks were scheduled to re- sume on Friday. This is a gi- ant step forward for Jackson Point Road, even if private individuals are responsible for spreading and grading the aggregate. The excess monies from the spillway project are being well spent. The weather is a constant reminder that we only have days until the deadline to get the work done so we don't lose the binding. However, it seems once again, we are on our own. Second District em- ployees or equipment haven't graced our road project. Lake Mary Road still has many is- sues. Culverts have not been installed and this is a major issue. I feel like folks are starting to see the big pic- ture, but the fact that fund- ing isn't available is the big obstacle. Wilkinson County doesn't have any major in- dustries. We rely heavily on the outdoor industry (hunt- ing and fishing) for revenue. Yet, Lake Mary and Fort Ad- ams are shunned and cast aside instead of being pro- moted and nurtured. If you plant a crop and never water or fertilize it, its chances of being productive are slashed to less than half. Same with our situation here. The ma- jority of tax monies come from here, and we are still begging for help and private individuals are providing labor, fuel and equipment. Somewhere along the way, The Far Comer was aban- doned, but I believe folks are starting to realize the potential that exists here. I know that if properly man- aged our area could be more profitable to the county as a whole. I know I am singing the same old tune, but the oil ship has sailed and may not return. Wilkinson County must rely on the resources that exist here. It istax time and let me tell you, folks around here are getting hit hard. Lake Mary camp own- er Mr. Donnie Smith's prop- erty taxes for 2 lots (150x100 and 100xl00), a doublewide mobile home (28X80) on a steel structure is $1773.00 per year. This doesn't include taxes he pays on his resi- dence or business. (Thanks for sharing this with me, Mr. Donnie). Now, think about how many camps line Lake Mary Road and Pecan Grove. Imagine, if Lake Mary Road and Fort Adams were in tiptop condition. Wilkinson County is losing lots of tax revenue because folks are tired of the road conditions. I know we can't have a su- per highway to The Far Cor- ner but we can have decent roads that will help attract more landowners and busi- nesses. I can see countless business opportunities. For instance, a deer process- ing facility would be very profitable, but in order to operate a functional busi- ness, the roads would have to be navigable. Folks need to see The Far Corner for what it has to offer. It isn't our fault that the roads here have become a major expense. Folks have been complaining for the last eight years. In many BOS meetings, I have felt like Lake Mary is a curse word to some members tired of hearing it! I don't get it. Take all the tax money you can get and forget the po- tential revenue that could be made by just taking care of the roads. Please use caution on Jackson Point Road. Remem- ber these guys are working make the road better for everyone. LONG OVERDUE WORK -- Wilkin- son County officials requested and received permission to use $70,000 in funding to put down red clay gravel and limestone aggregate on the Jack- son Point Road in extreme western Wilkinson County. This money was a residual of the grant money received for the construction of the new Sam Field Spillway water control struc- ture on Lake Mary. Since the Jackson Point Road is the only access road to the spillway structure, their request was approved. The county has to com- plete the road work by a deadline of January 23 or they will lose the funding. Despite cold, wet weather, the road materials were hauled to the site by commercially-hired trucks and then spread by private individuals who own land on the county gravel road. Second District Supervisor Rich- ard Hollins, in whose district the road is located, nor his road crew, par- ticipated in any way with this repair project. -- Photo Submitted