Burn ban still in effect
The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to extend the county’s burn ban until its next meeting in December at the request of Lafayette County Fire Coordinator Jerry Johnson.
Last month, Gov. Haley Barbour issued a state-wide burn ban which supersedes the county’s. However, Johnson said if the governor decided to remove the ban, he felt the county was still too dry to remove its ban.
The National Weather Service forecasts rain today through Wednesday. The board granted Johnson the ability to rescind the ban on the recommendation of the Mississippi Forestry Commission if conditions improve before the next board meeting.
The board also voted to allow the Lafayette County Volunteer Fire Department to advertise for bids on a new storage facility at Johnson’s request.
Sheriff’s Department new computers
The board voted to approve the purchase of six laptops of the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department that will be placed inside patrol vehicles. It will also allow deputies to be connected to the CAD system and the LCSD record system.
The county received a $65,000 grant from the Department of Public Safety for the purchase of the equipment for the software and the laptops.
Homeland security grants
The board voted to allow Tisaby & Associates to assess the county’s fire department, sheriff’s department and EMS services to see if any or all would be entitled to federal grants from the Department of Homeland Security. The company would not be paid by the county but would receive grant administration fees from the government.
The Board of Supervisors met with the Oxford Board of Aldermen in executive session after the board’s regular meeting Monday to discuss the future of Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi.
In August 2009, Baptist announced its plans to replace the current hospital with a new $300 million regional referral center. The corporation is requesting to purchase the existing facility and buy its way out of a lease with the city and county, which currently own the hospital. That lease isn’t set to expire until 2034.
The new facility is expected to cost about $300 million and will provide a comprehensive, state-of-the-art environment that will accommodate future health care technology.
The two boards agreed to meet again at 10 a.m. Nov. 19 in executive session, which means the meeting is closed to the public.
No other action was taken. (November 2, 2010, Page 2)
The Lafayette County School Board is considering turning away from traditional class scheduling and implementing a block schedule at the high school.
On Monday, the board voted to allow Lafayette High School principal Rodney Flowers to make a formal presentation at the Dec. 7 meeting.
On Monday, the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors agreed to pay the bill for Natalie “Nicki” Coleman, who died Thursday, under the county’s pauper burial policy.
Coroner Rocky Kennedy asked the board to consider paying for the cremation since he was unable to find next of kin of Coleman who were able to pay.
Midterm elections generally don’t bring high percentages of voters out to the polls.
“Typically in the past it’s been fairly low,” said Lafayette County Circuit Clerk Mary Alice Busby.
But this year, Busby expects the turnout to be higher.“We’re had a much large amount of absentee voters for this election,” she said.
All 18 voter precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. The deadline to register to vote has passed and Busby said there are no last minute registrations.
There are 24,235 people registered to vote in Lafayette County. (November 1, 2010, Page 1A)
The 90-second film will be played at the end of half-time during Saturday’s game on the “jumbotron.” The 3D glasses will be placed on each seat in the stadium Friday night and Saturday morning by a local Boy Scout troop. The theme of the promo had been kept tightly under wraps until recently. However, a poster made to promote the event gives away some clues the film will feature Ole Miss athletes as giants.
Lafayette County Board of Supervisors
Monday, 9 a.m.
Lafayette County Chancery Building
1. Call to order
2. Approve agenda
3. Approval of the minutes from the October meeting
4. Approve claims docket
5. Approve manual checks and utilities and debt service payments
1. Approve Order of the Board of Supervisors authorizing the transfer of $12,000 additional LSBP funds to complete project LSBP-36. (Larry Britt)
2. Approve pay application No. 2 in the amount of $8,815 to D. Carroll Construction for Four-mile Branch project. (Larry Britt)
3. Approve pay application No. 2 in the amount of $30,040 to D. Carroll Construction for Toby Davidson Creek project. (Larry Britt)
4. Road manager’s report. (Jerry Haynie)
5. Spread on the minutes the hiring of road department employee James Stone at $2,200 per month. (Jerry Haynie)
6. Approval request for September 2010 Solid Waste Write-offs. (Bobby Jones)
7. Spread on the minutes the hiring of solid waste employee Kerry Delbridge at $2,100 per month. (Bobby Jones)
8. Volunteer Fire Department update. (Jerry Johnson)
9. United Way presentation by Kathy Sukanek. (Joseph Johnson)
10. Approve payment of $40 for Clerk of Board’s attendance at Oct. 4 meeting. (Sherry Wall)
11. Approve payment of $4,205 to Circuit Clerk for Circuit Court costs. (Mary Alice Busby)
12. Training request for Sheriff East to attend the Mississippi Sheriff’s Association 2010 Winter Conference in Choctaw for travel expenses only. (Sheriff East)
13. Approve budget transfer in the amount of $64,037 to Sheriff Department for COPS technology grant expenditures. (Joseph Johnson)
14. Approve request for sole source purchase of Global Software products for COPS Technology grant at a cost of $36,220. (Joseph Johnson)
15. Approve deletion of fixed assets from Chancery Clerk and sheriff’s departments. (Joseph Johnson)
16. Spread on the minutes the Veteran’s Day holiday, Nov. 11. (Joseph Johnson)
17. Spread on the minutes the Thanksgiving holiday Nov. 25 and 26 as proclaimed by the governor. (Joseph Johnson)
18. Spread on the minutes the Christmas holiday Dec. 24 and Dec. 27 as proclaimed by the governor. (Joseph Johnson)
19. Spread on the minutes the New Year’s holiday Dec. 31 and Jan. 3 as proclaimed by the governor. (Joseph Johnson)
20. Approval to purchase three service trucks at State Contract price for Road Department. (Joseph Johnson)
21. Approval to purchase six police vehicles at State Contract price for Sheriff’s Department. (Joseph Johnson)
22. Approve personnel budget amendment for Solid Waste to include vacant position omitted from budget. (Joseph Johnson)
23. Approve no cost letter of intent with Tisaby & Associates for possible grant proposal. (Joseph Johnson)
24. Spread on the minutes the 2010 County Fire Funding Compliance form. (Joseph Johnson)
25. Approve renewal contract for Cafeteria Plan Administration between Southern Administrators and Benefit Consultants Inc. and Lafayette County. (Joseph Johnson)
26. Approve renewal contract for detention center spent cooking oil removal with Griffin Industries Inc. (Joseph Johnson)
27. Approve transfer of surplus funds from Allied building and Courthouse renovation funds to General County. (Joseph Johnson)
28. Consider accepting bid for the sale of five backhoes. (Joseph Johnson)
29. Consider accepting bid for the sale of one excavator. (Joseph Johnson)
30. Consider accepting bid for the sale of one bulldozer. (Joseph Johnson)
31. Consider accepting bid for the purchase of five backhoes. (Joseph Johnson)
32. Consider accepting bid for the purchase of one excavator. (Joseph Johnson)
33. Consider accepting bid for the purchase of one bulldozer. (Joseph Johnson)
34. Consider accepting bid for the purchase of one asphalt paver. (Joseph Johnson)
35. Consider accepting bid for the general depository. (Joseph Johnson)
36. Approve DHS employee Marlayna Blissett as receiving clerk. (Joseph Johnson)
37. Consider executive session. (Lloyd Oliphant)
38. Adjourn/recess (October 29, 2010)
18th District Chancery Judge
Ed Roberts Jr., incumbent
Roberts has served eight years as chancery judge in Lafayette County, along with 32 years in the military and retiring a two-star general. He has practiced law since 1972. He believes modernizing the court system and allowing for electronic filing of documents would speed up the docket and that courtroom security needs to be increased.
“My goals as your chancery judge have been to be fair, honest and impartial while serving the people of the 18th District and looking out for the best interest of children. Even though my affirmed opinion rate is 96.5 percent, there is no illusion on my part that all of my decisions are correct. I do my best to listen to the evidence, apply the law and when I do decide, I believe in my heart that I have made the right decision. Check me out. Ask about my reputation as a Christian, father, grandfather, veteran, lawyer, public servant and judge.”
Helen Kennedy Robinson
Robinson of Oxford believes her experience as a practicing attorney in chancery courts in multiple districts for 19 years, being a guardian ad litem and a mother of two makes her a good candidate. She believes decisions shouldn’t take weeks or months to be made after the court hearing or trials are over and that trial continuances should be limited.
“My experience in chancery court, as well as my experience as a mother, makes me the best choice for chancery judge. I will never lose sight of the impact any decisions made by me will have on your lives. All decisions rendered by me will be fair and impartial. The best interest in our children is very important to me. I do not hunt, fish or pursue other hobbies. Devoting my time to the citizens of the 18th Chancery District will be my first priority.”
3rd District Circuit Court
Robert Elliott, incumbent
Elliott has practiced law for 40 year and is a retired lieutenant with the U.S. Navy. He is seeking his first re-election for place No. 2. He believes his hard work, dedication and experience makes him the best candidate. Elliott said the circuit court disposed of more than 1,500 criminal cases this year.
“I have the legal ability, experience and work ethic to be a good circuit judge. Explore the background and judicial records of both candidates; talk to your friends, attorneys, circuit court and law enforcement personnel and then vote for the candidate you believe will do the best job.”
Byers is the Marshall County prosecutor and has a private practice in Holly Springs. She previously served as a circuit judge in Greenville, where she was defeated for re-election in 1998. She believes there needs to be more courtroom security and claims she will help move along the busy docket by setting both the civil and court dockets simultaneously.
“The citizens of the 3rd District deserve a judge who is experienced; hardworking, dedicated and fair and who is guided by the slogan, ‘Justice is Blind.’ I appreciate the importance of moving the court’s dockets and making fair and impartial rulings. A vote for me is a vote for swift justice.”
Rozier has practiced in civil and criminal law for 23 years and believes the circuit court could benefit from e-filing of court documents. He served as a municipal judge for 10 years and is a certified drug court judge. His firm, Rozier Hayes, has locations in Oxford and Southaven.
“After this election, the winner will no longer be an advocate for his clients. Rather, he will be charged with the duty of weighing the fact and applying the law to see that justice is served. This is no small task and it is one that begs for experience. As the only candidate in the race with judicial experience, I am the most qualified to serve as the next circuit judge.”
Gregory has served as an assistant district attorney for 30 years and as attorney for the Chickasaw County Board of Supervisors, city of Okolona and Okolona School District. He was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stokes V. Robertson from 1977-78. He is a former Ole Miss Rebel football player. He believes it takes hard work to move dockets along.
“I have qualified myself through avenues of experience and education which will benefit all who use our circuit court. My trial experience is extensive in both criminal and civil law. I will work hard for the people of this district and serve with honesty, integrity and fairness.”
Levidiotis earned his law degree at 40 years old and has worked as a public defender and prosecutor in the 3rd District. He says his primary goal in running is to stamp-out corruption on the bench. He believe a wider use of house arrest for non-violent offenders and drug court could help reduce the court docket.
“I am not a career politician and represent real change. I am energetic and am willing to debate the issues and answer live questions in each courthouse of the district. Being a trial judge means being able to think quickly and correctly and I am able to demonstrate my ability to do so.”
Court of Appeals
Donna Barnes, incumbent
Barnes was appointed to the court of appeals in 2004 by Gov. Haley Barbour and elected in 2006 to remain in the position without opposition. She has authored more than 325 majority opinions and participated in more than 2,700 decisions. She worked as an attorney for 18 years in Tupelo before taking the bench.
“The person you choose to sit on the this court must be a person of learning, experience, courage and conviction, but of restraint. I have been, and will continue to be, that kind of person, that kind of judge … My experience, records and commitment to fairness prove I can provide a non-partisan, level playing field for all citizens who come before the court.”
Mims practices law in Lee County where he serves as the public defender. He served in the U.S. Army National Guard for 22 years. He believes the circuit court needs judges who understand what it means to work within a tight budget and tight time restraints.
“As a father and head of household, I know how to operate on a fixed income … I know what it’s like to work under pressure … We need judges who have actual courtroom experience, not just someone who has done legal research for insurance companies. I am the only candidate who has practiced criminal and chancery law, the two most frequently heard appeals the court handles.” (October 29, 2010)
LaVera Hodges is now cancer free and taking life one day at a time. To help other survivors feel as good as she does, she is holding the second “Struttin’ Pretty in Pink” breast cancer fashion show to raise awareness and donations as well as give survivors a chance to simply feel pretty.
The fashion show will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Tallahatchie-Oxford Missionary Baptist association building off Highway 334.
The models will be survivors, current cancer patients and family and friends of those dealing with cancer. (October 29, 2010, Page 11A)
If the outcome of an election can be based on the amount of friends someone has on a Facebook page, the race for Lafayette County coroner seems neck-and-neck.
Rocky Kennedy, currently serving as the county’s interim coroner, has 267 “friends” on his “Rocky Kennedy for Coroner” Facebook page, while Richard Shivers has 262 on his Facebook page.
Lafayette County voters will decide Tuesday who the next county coroner will be: Kennedy, Shivers or Lonnie Weaver. (October 29, 2010, Page 1A)
Four Oxford men have been arrested and charged with committing several burglaries in the city of Oxford and Lafayette County.
On Oct. 5, a deputy responded to a burglary at a home off Old Highway 7 North, Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Scott Mills said. While the deputy was interviewing the victims, he obtained information about the suspects and their vehicle.
A short time later, a Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper pulled over a vehicle that matched the description and searched the vehicle where he found stolen items from the burglary on Old Highway 7 North.
Arrested were Steven Obermeier, 19, Lee Earnest Liggins, 23, Shawntez D’Angelo Draper, 19, and Corey Terrell Moody, 21, all of Oxford. (October 28, 2010, Page 2)