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The Woodville Republican
Woodville, Mississippi
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March 27, 2014     The Woodville Republican
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March 27, 2014
 

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OLDEST NEWSPAPER- Established 1824 ,.epubliCan Volume 189 USPS 462-260 50 per copy Woodville, Mississippi 39669 Thursday, March 27, 2014 Number 47 i Officials Meet On Proposed Gas Line Closure BOE Member Wants Teachers COMPANY ANNOUNCES PLANS TO CLOSE NATURAL GAS PIPELINE -- Woodville Mayor Gary D'Aquills, third from left, hosted a meeting of area mayors and other officials concerning recently received information that the Mid-Louisiana Natural Gas Pipeline which supplies natural gas to Woodville and Centreville in Wilkinson County, and numerous other communities in Mississippi and Louisiana, would be abandoned leaving all communities served by the line without a viable, economic solution to the plan to shut down the supply pipeline. -- Woodville Republican Photo by Andy J. Lewis OPTIONS OFFERED BY COMPANY TO COST CUSTOMERS The natural gas pipe- line serving customers from north Louisiana, through Mississippi and south into Louisiana near Baton Rouge, was put down in the 1920's, and the new owners of the line have announced plans to close the line due to health and safety reasons. Woodville Mayor Gary D'Aquilla invited the mayors of a number of area towns to the Woodville Municipal Building for a meeting on Thursday, March 20, to dis- cuss all options in the event that this line is actually abandoned and closed. No hard facts have been released to customers along the Mid-Louisiana pipe transmission line, only a statement that the gas line has exceeded its life expec- tancy and would be aban- doned. A written announcement of the closure is anticipat- ed for April 1, 2014, leav- ing a number of Louisiana and Mississippi communi- ties without a viable somv.e to heat homes, cook food or have hot water. The line stretches from Monroe, La., southward through the central portion of Louisiana to cross the Mis- sissippi River in Natchez. From this point it heads south to serve Woodville and Centreville and southward to Louisiana again to provide natural gas to the towns of Slaughter and St. Francis- ville. C. J. Arnold, an officer with Black Belt Energy, was at the meeting as a consul- tant to the group. "Since this transmission line crosses state lines, the matter comes under the au- thority of the Federal En- ergy Regulatory Commis- sion (FERC)," Arnold stated. "And, FERC has stated that the line cannot be aban- doned." Arnold said that the Mid-Louisiana line was pur- chased by an international investment group which has never owned a gas pipeline. 'They want to optimize their investment and getting rid of an old gas transmis- sion line is one of their pri- orities," said Arnold. "If they are allowed to do this, it will create a domino effect for the abandonment of other older gas pipelines in this part of the country. I don't think that FERC will allow this." Slaughter Mayor Robert Jackson stated that 50 years ago Mid-Louisiana Gas be- gan forcing its customers to pay a surcharge for 'main- tenance and repairs" to the pipeline. "After 50 years of paying this surcharge the company is now saying that the line needs too many repairs to be feasible to repair. What hap- pened to the 50 years of pay- ing the surcharge. Where is this money? It should be our proposal for them to retired all of this surcharge money, or the company should pay the cost for all of its custom- ers to tap into another natu- ral gas pipeline." The group made plans to contact their stats and fed- eral elected officials to seek their assistance in staving off the gas line closure. Other officials in atten- dance were Centreville May: " or Larry Lee, Crosby Mayor William Hall, Gloster Mayor Billy Johnson, Woodville Utility Superintendent No- lan Thompson and Wilkin- son County Correctional Facility Asst. Warden Troy Gorganier and Maintenance Manger Michael Essary. Group Attends B0S Meeting On Lake Mary, Jackson Point Roads A contingency of land- long-term plans for these is not an option. We made owners and camp owners with interest in the Jackson Point and Lake Mary areas of Wilkinson County, ap- peared before the Wilkinson County Board of Supervi- sors to discuss all possibili- ties of getting the two coun- ty roads into these areas in good enough condition that normal traffic, mail carri- ers, power company trucks and emergency responders can access the area. Group spokesman Sal Pi- azza, owner of Loch Leven Plantation which is located between Lake Mary and the Mississippi River, spoke to the supervisors stressing the need for short-term and two needs. "These two roads are so bad that people are getting stuck and power company trucks, mail carriers and garbage trucks won't come to service our needs," said Piazza. "These roads have gone so long without prop- er maintenance that they will be expensive to repair and re-build. We know that money is the problem, and this county is poor. We, as landowners and camp own- ers, want to offer our help on these two roads." Piazza continued, "In the short term we need lots of gravel to get these roads passable. Creek sand only temporary repairs to the Jackson Point Road. We pumped the water out of the two main holes in the road and hauled in 50 loads of buckshot mud to fill them up. We now need gravel to finish the project." In continuing, Mr. Piazza said that the county might want to look at the fact that the Corps of Engineers might be held liabile for the damage to the roads in the flood of 2011 because they failed to open the spillway gates in time to lower the river and lessen the flood damage. (Continued on Page 7A) Graded By Student Test Results One Wilkinson County school board member ex- pressed his feeling that all teachers in the district needed, to be graded by what they do and how their students progress. These comments were made at the Wednesday, March 19, meeting of the Wilkinson County Board of Education. Fifth District school board member Johnny Smallwood said, "We need to look at all our teachers and grade them by what they do. If a teacher is not doing a good job, we don't ned to keep them in our district." Superintendent of Edu- cation Timothy T. Scott followed with, "I do fair as- sessments of administra- tors and teachers. This is a business, and we must act like it is. We must do what we have to do and do what we must do. The people of Wilkinson County are tired of giving tax money to the school district and not get- ting their money's worth." Mr. Smallwood also ques- tioned the cost of the school district doing business with Office Automation of Mc- Comb in maintaining the district's computers and software. Mr. Scott replied, "They are the only qualified compa- ny in southwest Mississippi that can handle our needs. This company also services Adams, Amite and Franklin County school districts. They might be a little high, but we don't have an option. School board members questioned Supt. Scott about getting all of the in- formation they need well in advance of the meeting so they have time to look over the material before the meeting and not during the meeting. Documents and reports included in this discussion were financial statements, claims docket, budget information and cash flow reports. Scott answered, "This is hard to do because of when bank statements and bills arrive here at the school district office. We do the best we can, but we have no control over when this in- formation gets to us." Newly hired Assistant Transportation Director Barnetta Hollins reported that the buses with the broken cross bars and stop arms have been repaired. Board member Smallwood reported at the February meeting that several school buses had problems with these safety devices and needed repair. (Continued on Page 3A) Groundbreaking For New Field Hospital Set Thursday, March 27 Serving Southwest Mis- (a subsidiary of Trustmark new $21 million Hospital. sissippi for over 60 years, National Bank), Community The media is invited to Field Memorial Community Hospital will break ground on a state of the art facil- ity thanks to the partnership of Hope Enterprise Corpo- ration (HOPE), Trustmark National Bank, Southern Community Capital, LLC, Hospitality Healthcare Ser- vices, LLC (CHHS) and U. S. Bank through the U. S. Treasury's New Markets Tax Credit program. In addition to the NMTC investment, Trustmark and HOPE part- nered to provide a loan to the attend this event and en- couraged to speak with Field Memorial CEO Chad Netter- ville, local, state and federal officials and leaders of the financial institutions who made this day possible, all of whom will be in attendance. Crosby Teen Caught With Drugs; Officer Stops Burglary Suspects A vehicle driven by an 18-year-old Wilkinson Coun- ty t_ Was:pulled over for traffic:: violations in Wood- ville twice in a span of three weeks, once he was charged with drug possession and the other stop resulted in him being detained as a burglary suspect, reported Woodville Police Chief Jes- sie W. Stewart. On February 28, Wood- ville Police Officers Parker Nettles and William Toll- iver stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation and ended up arresting the driver on two charges as follows: Aaron Nettles, 18, 730 Walnut Lane, Crosby. He was arrested on charges Of possession of marijuana and reckless driving. He posted bond the day of his arrest and was released from custody. Three :: :eks later Officer Nettles, in the early morn- ing hours of Tuesday, March 18, saw a vehicle weaving on First West Street and initiated a traffic stop of the pickup after it had turned onto Main Street. "As Officer Nettles ap- proached the truck he no- ticed that there were a large number of bags containing all sorts of merchandise in the pickup," Chief Stewart reported. "Officer Nettles detained the driver and two suspects in the pickup and took them to the Wood- ville Police Department for questioning. I arrived at the WPD, and Officer Nettles and I interrogated the three individuals at which time we came up with informa- tion that all of the items in the pickup were stolen in the burglary of a number of camps at Lake Mary." Chief Stewart has identi- fied the three individuals as follows: Aaron Nettles, 18, of 730 Walnut Lane, Crosby. Driver of the pickup. Autumn Stout, 21, 8010 Ford's Creek Road, Wood- ville. 15-year-old female juve- nile who has not been iden- tified due to her age. Numerous items were re- covered in the traffic stop which were thought to be taken during the burglary of . several camps on Lake Mary. Included in the very lengthy list were athletic and hunting clothes, shoes, boots, alcohol, assorted food items, binoculars, head- lights, flashlights, game cameras and more. Chief Stewart contacted the Wilkinson County Sher- iff's Department to report that he had three possible burglary suspects in cus- tody. "I called the WCSO be- cause the burglaries took place outside the city limits of Woodville, and thus out of my jurisdiction," the po- lice chief reported. "If any charges are filed, it will be by the WCSO because the thefts occurred in their ju- risdiction." The three were turned over to sheriff's deputies the day they were detained and they were transported to the Wilkinson County Sheriff's Office for further questioning. High Speed Vehicle Chase Ends With Arrest In Wilkinson County A suspected drug courier took Natchez-Adams Coun- ty Metro narcotics agents on a high speed car chase that ended up with the suspect taken into custody in neighboring Wilkinson County. The chase began on Mon- day, March 17, after Metro agents received informa- tion that cocaine was being brought into Adams County on U.S. Hwy. 61, a spokes- man for the Adams County Sheriff's Office said. Agents set up surveil- lance and spotted the sus- pect vehicle, a white Cadil- lac, at approximately 10:30 a.m. When agents ran the license plate for the vehicle, it came back registered to a different make and model vehicle. This gave agents proba- ble cause to stop the vehicle. When agents attempted to initiate the traffic stop, the driver of the Cadillac fled south on U.S. Hwy. 61, and agents witnessed a large quantity of cocaine be- ing tossed out the vehicle's window. "When the packages hit the ground, it dispersed in a white cloud, but we were able to recover about 18 grams of a white pow- der that tested positive for cocaine," Metro Narcotics Commander David Lindsey said. The chase led officers south on Hwy. 61 into Wilkinson County where the Cadillac turned right on the Doloroso Loop Road, turned right back onto U.S. 61 South. The driver eventually turned onto the Pinckneyville Road and drove for about five miles on rural roads in Wilkinson County before agents were able to take the driver into custody behind a house on a gravel road. Adams County officials identified the driver as Ste- ven McQuirter, 37, of Wood- ville, who tried to flee but was stopped when a Metro agent tased McQuirter. The suspect has been charged with possession of cocaine with intent to dis- tribute, felony fleeing law enforcement officer vehi- cles, resisting arrest, reck- less driving, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, driving under suspension, no seat belt and no insur- ance. He was held without bond at the time of his arrest. The Mississippi Highway Patrol, Wilkinson County Sheriff's Department and the Woodville Police De- partment also helped in the chase and arrest. MEETING ON LAKE MARY AND JACKSON POINT ROADS -- At the suggestion of the Wilkinson County Board of Supervisors, voters, taxpay- ers, landowners and camp owners with interest in the Lake Mary and Jackson Point Road areas were asked to meet and come up with suggestions and possible solutions to the vast problems facing this area of western Wilkinson County. Poor road condi- tions of the county roads leading into these two areas were the central topic of discussion as was the need to dredge out Percy's Creek to prevent the waterway from jumping its banks and damaging the Lake Mary Road following heavy rains. At right above, Sal Piazza, owner of Loch Leven Plan- tation, is shown conducting the meet- ing held on Sunday, March 23. Piazza and several other representatives of this group were to attend the Monday, March 24, meeting of the Board of Su- pervisors to report on their proposed solutions to the ever-worsening road problems plaguing these two roads located in the Mississippi River flood plain. About 40 individuals attended the Sunday meeting. -- Woodville Re- publican Photo by Andy J. Lewis