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Natchez News

       by Peter Rinaldi

Mall premiere: Moviegoers enjoyed a red carpet opening of the film ďGet On UpĒ at the Natchez Mall. Locals mixed with the stars, including Hollywoodís Chadwick Boseman and Tate Taylor. Critics say the film is a good one, helped by appearances by Dan Aykroyd and Mick Jagger. ďGet On UpĒ had many of its scenes filmed in Natchez and Jackson. Director Tate Taylor has a home in the Natchez area.


Jobless rates: The regional economy is not as strong as last year at this time. While jobless rates are slightly lower, the number of actual jobs has declined, as the numbers in the workforce have dropped. The latest unemployment percentages show a softening in the economy. Adams County has 9.3% jobless, Jefferson 16%, Claiborne 15.4%, Franklin 9.9%, Amite 9.4%, and Wilkinson 11.6%. Concordia Parish reports 10% unemployed, Catahoula 7.2%, and Tensas 9.8%.


Superintendent hires sis: Wilkinson County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Timothy Scott got the approval to hire his sister, Sharon Robinson, as principal of Finch Elementary School. School board attorney Michael Winfield said Robinson could be hired, if someone other than Scott recommended the hiring and that a district employee other than Scott would be her supervisor. Itís not likely the school board will ask for a formal attorney generalís opinion. But the legality of the hiring is questionable. Robinson served as interim principal at Finch for part of the last school year.


Man stabbed to death: A domestic dispute escalated after Tere McGraw, 30, of Natchez, allegedly attacked his girlfriend, Lavonda Jackson, 45, choking her. Jackson responded, taking a butcher knife from the kitchen and stabbing and killing McGraw. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Jackson has been charged with manslaughter.


Jury responds: The Louisiana Attorney Generalís Office said it was not legal for the Concordia Parish Water Works District to force landlords to pay tenantsí water bills after the tenants had left the properties. The Concordia Parish Police Jury had received complaints from the landlords. Now it will ask the district to repay the landlords for monies improperly collected.


Regional update: Community Health Systems of Nashville, Tenn., is expected to be the sole bidder for Natchez Regional Medical Center. Under a deal worked out between the parties, CMH will pay $18 million for the hospital, with $10 million attributed to the purchase and $8 million prepaid in property taxes. Since the potential sale has been designed as state economic development project, CHS may qualify for additional tax incentives and loans. Adams County Supervisor David Carter said he believes the purchase will pay Regionalís debts and vendors. However, if it turns out the hospital owes than supervisors will receive, the county can borrow the difference. The federal bankruptcy court judge has indicated he will approve the formal sale, which should take place at the end of this year or early next year.


Forest revenues: The Homochitto National Forest has contributed millions of dollars over the years to local communities as part of a revenue sharing plan. But the money distributed has declined as the formula for distribution has changed. Franklin County Chancery Clerk Jill Gilbert said when she took office in 2008, the U.S. Forest Service gave $1.2 million to Franklin County. Today, that amount is $600,000, which is split between the schools and the county.


If the county canít: The Jackson Point Road in Wilkinson and Adams counties has gotten so bad, private residents have used their own equipment and materials to improve the thoroughfare. Locals call the road, ďthe mud pit,Ē as it becomes impassable during rainy conditions. Many trucks and cars have become stuck in the mud and had to be towed. Wilkinson County Supervisors havenít allocated enough funds to keep the road in good repair, in part because they donít have the money to do the job right.


Appointment: Ruth Nichols has resigned from the Natchez-Adams School Board. Supervisors are considering Jim Franklin, Amos James or Diane Good for the seat.


Gun play: A man making fun at a teen, pointing a gun at the boy, pulled the trigger, not realizing the gun was loaded. Henry Plain, 21, of Ferriday has been charged with the manslaughter death of Lakitress Williams, 15, also of Ferriday. Judge Leo Boothe


Old Man River: The Mississippi River at Natchez-Vidalia is at 30.3 feet. Typical of late summer river level patterns, forecasters say the Mississippi will continue to drop, reaching 20.8 feet by Aug. 20.


Not ready: The Concordia Parish School Board and Superintendent Dr. Paul Nelson met in closed door session to discuss Nelsonís contract which ends next year. After the meeting, no renewal was announced. However, itís expected Nelson will get another contract after the terms have been negotiated.


Ferriday budget: Ferridayís budget for 2014-2015 calls for a surplus of $290,000. Revenues are expected to be $2.74 million and expenses $2.45 million.


Grass-cutting: Jonesville police officers will now cite property owners who let their grass grow too high. Officers have the option of giving a warning first. Town officials have received many complaints from residents whose neighbors donít care enough to cut the grass. Jonesville has also opened its new town hall on Lilly Street.


More jobs: Enersteel in the Adams County port has changed its name to Great River Industries. The company will move its headquarters to Natchez, adding 25 jobs. Since business is good, Great River will add 12,000 square feet of additional manufacturing space, spending $4 million.


Accident deaths: Marjorie Moore, 72, of Columbia, La., was driving her Ford pickup near the intersection of Hwys. 84 and 28 in Catahoula Parish, when she came close to rear-ending another car. She pulled into the oncoming line and was struck by a Cadillac driven by Judith Hewitt, 68, of Ferriday. Moore and her passenger, Bluith Moore, were killed. Hewitt and the passenger, an 8-year-old-child, were taken to Rapides Regional Medical Center with moderate to severe injuries.


New headmaster: Donna Loomis of Natchez is the new headmaster at Wilkinson County Christian Academy. She has been an educator for 29 years


Judge candidates running: Attorneys Jack McLemore and John Reeves have announced they will challenge Judge Leo Boothe this fall. Boothe has indicated he will qualify for re-election. Qualification dates are Aug. 20-22. Judge Kathy Johnson is expected to run for her seat. No one has publicly announced a challenge to her re-election so far.


Internet policy: Adams County Supervisor Mike Lazarus said the county should look at its policy concerning the use of the internet by employees. The countyís IT director said employee computers are picking up hundreds of viruses because of personal browsing not related to county business.


Teacher arrested: Stephanie Adams, 39, of Adams County, a teacher at ACCS, was arrested for touching a child for lustful purposes, after she had an inappropriate dating relationship with a 17-year-old female student. Adams has been fired from her teaching job.


Co-Lin classes: Registration continues for the fall semester at Co-Lin Natchez. Orientation for new and returning students will be Aug 14 at 1 p.m. at the multi-purpose center. The first day of school is Aug. 18. Co-Lin offers academic, vocational, special interest and online classes. For more info, call 601-442-9111 or log on to


December 16 tax initiatives: Voters in Concordia Parish will consider whether to renew a quarter cent sales tax for Riverland Medical Center. Ferriday votes will be asked to renew a one cent sales tax to help cover town expenses.


Community Alliance: Centreville Police Chief Jimmy Ray Reese, David ďDocĒ Walker and local volunteers have formed a community alliance program to help fight crime and improve community conditions. For more info, call 601-645-5917.


Sanders trial: Thomas Steven Standers, 57, will stand trial on Aug. 18 in federal district court in Alexandria, accused of the 2010 murder of 12-year-old Lexis Roberts of Las Vegas. Robertsí remains were found in the woods outside Harrisonburg.


Passing: Dr. Dick Field, 87, of Centreville died recently from complications of Parkinsonís disease. He was remembered as an advocate for improving rural healthcare and emergency medical services. He was a U.S. Navy Veteran and named Teacher of the Year multiple times from the Tulane Medical School.





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