Local News Compiled and Edited by Our Staff
Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said the city would probably pass an property tax increase of up to 4 mills for the coming fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. Grennell has directed the city attorney to word a resolution for aldermen that would meet statute requirements for the increase.
Most Natchez-Adams County taxpayers will see an increase in their property taxes this year, as assessments have risen. But assessments have risen closer to market values. The increase will vary from property to property, but most homes will see an increase of $100-$250. The city is also considering a millage increase. Commercial properties will experience larger increases. Adams County Tax Assessor Reynolds Atkins said the biggest increase will be felt by Van Drehle. The company has added a large amount of equipment at its plant.
Adams County reports a jobless rate of 8.9%. 10,410 people have jobs, down 110 jobs from a year ago. Concordia Parish has an unemployment rate of 8.5%. 6,668 people are employed, down 149 jobs from last year. Statistics are compiled monthly by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security and the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
Natchez Aldermen and Adams County Supervisors are fighting over the costs of paying for E-911 dispatchers and fire protection. Supervisors want the city to pay $292,000 for its share of the dispatch center. And aldermen are peeved, saying they would in turn add that $292,000 price tag to the fire protection agreement which the county pays the city for protection. The dispatch center, police and fire departments are also having trouble with compatibility of systems and the filing of reports. What should be computerized reports are sometimes hand-written.
The agreement to manage the convention center between the city of Natchez and New Orleans Hotel Consultants is set to expire at the end of September. Mayor Darryl Grennell said the city should ask for requests for proposals to run the center. Aldermen have taken no formal action as yet to ask for proposals or bids from other companies.
Deandre Davis, 39, a Wilkinson County prison inmate, was mortally injured in a fight with a fellow prisoner. He died on the way to the hospital. Davis was originally from Arkansas and was serving a life sentence for murder, armed robbery and arson. The prison has been placed on lockdown. Officials have not announced who killed Davis.
Jocquez Ivory, 18, of Natchez, was shot, killed and robbed by unknown persons on Scenic Highway in Baton Rouge. Police said he was shot eight times and tried to run away from his assailants.
A team of alligator hunters from the Jackson area, led by Colby Acy of Canton, killed an alligator on the Mississippi River near Natchez. The animal was 14 foot 3/4 inches long and weight 766.5 lbs., a state record according to Mississippi wildlife agents who certified the catch. (See photos below at the bottom of this page.)
Dondrell Holmes, 29, of Ferriday, was charged with attempted armed robbery, aggravated battery and possession of a stolen firearm after he tried to rob a man at Concordia Apartments. Holmes hit the victim on the head with his pistol. The victim fought back and escaped, reported the crime and then sought treatment at Riverland Medical Center. He is recovering.
Concordia Parish declared a state of emergency as rains from Tropical Storm Harvey approached. The declaration was precautionary as Concordia Parish is expected to receive 5-8 inches of rain over several days.
Concordia and Catahoula parishes reported near record corn harvests this year. But heavy rains from Tropical Storm Harvey will impact soybean and cotton crops. Farmers rushed to get their soybeans out of the field, but most couldn't be harvested in time for the rain.
The Natchez-Adams School Board placed a resolution in its minutes authorizing a $9 million bond issue for repairs to the local schools. But school officials played coy with the minutes, not including language to detail when the bond would be actually be issued, this year or next year.
Dr. Norris Edney Sr. died last week. Edney served as Alcorn's interim and acting president and as president of the Natchez-Adams School Board. He also served as president of SWAC. He was 81.
An Adams County jury found former ACSO jailer Victor Smith not guilty of aggravated assault and conspiracy. In March 2017, two inmates beat up fellow inmate Joseph Sturdivant. The state alleged that Smith conspired with the inmates in the attack. The defense said Smith left the cell open in error.
The Miss-Lou area is raising money and accepting donations for the people of Texas who have suffered from Hurricane Harvey. Natchez City Council Chambers will accept donations of clothing and non-perishable foodstuffs for transport to the Houston area.
Natchez aldermen voted to prohibit police officers from working part-time as security for bars and clubs. The aldermen did so based on the recommendation of Police Chief Walter Armstrong.
A Lloyd Songe Marine dump truck full of gravel was so heavy, it collapsed the Artman Road Bridge in AdamsCounty. The driver was uninjured. County Road Manager Robbie Dollar said the truck probably weighed more than the bridge's 8,000 pound limit. While the driver was not cited for destroying the bridge, supervisors said they will consider trying to collect for the damages from the company.
Adams County Supervisors have talked about asking the port to repay a $2 million loan the port owes from years ago. But Port Director Tony Hauer said his budget is tight and revenues do not allow for the repayment at this time. Supervisors assumed the original loan for $3 million back in the late 1990s, because the port was having trouble with cash flow. In recent years, county leaders have often said the port was doing well and making money. But apparently, it hasn't been doing well enough to take over the remaining payments.
The Concordia Parish Police Jury agreed to pay $18,900 for geotechnical work for the Brushy Bayou drainage project. The engineering is needed as part of a $4.6 million FEMA grant that covers design and construction costs for the project.
The Adams County District Attorney's Office has asked the circuit court to increase the bail amount or rescind bail for Charoyd Bell, 37, of AdamsCounty. Bell was recently arrested for stealing dogs. He's been arrested in the past for dog fighting, horse stealing and domestic violence and was out on bond when he was recently arrested for stealing puppies from a Natchez home.
Joseph McGowan, 29, of Adams County, was arrested for burglary of a dwelling. As he tried to break into a home on Lower Woodville Drive, a neighbor fired shots into the air, scaring him off. But deputies were able to find McGowan, trying to hide, lying face down at the bottom of a bayou and placed him into custody.
Adams County Supervisor Dist. 4 Ricky Gray complained he wasn't getting good information on the county's waste collection contract and costs, even though supervisors voted to renew Waste Pro's contract at $9.25 per month per household. Supervisor Mike Lazarus, County Attorney Scott Slover and County Administrator Joe Murray tried to reassure Gray that AdamsCounty's garbage pickup costs are so low compared to other counties. That didn't seem to satisfy Gray. He said the board needed to do a better job of sharing information.
Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell asked the Board of Aldermen to approve an audit of convention center finances. As part of its contract with the city, New Orleans Hotel Consultants is supposed to file an annual financial report with the aldermen. The company has failed to do so for years. The aldermen agreed to let CPA Wallace Collins perform the audit. Only Alderperson Joyce Areceneaux-Mathis did not vote in favor of the move, abstaining in her vote. The mayor and board responded to pressure from the community in ordering the audit. A petition drive had been started by Paul Benoist to force the city to act.
Adams County deputies raided a Watts Avenue address and found drugs, stolen weapons and cash. Kendrick Smith Sr., 25, and Darren Washington, 25, of Natchez, fled from the scene but were later captured. Both were arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute near a school zone, possession of a firearms, possession of a stolen license and other charges.
Adams County Supervisors may give county employees a 5% salary increase. The move would cost about $400,000. The county has enough money to include pay for the raises because tax assessments and revenues have increased.
U.S. Census estimates reveal Adams County's population is 31,248, down 3.2% since 2010. Concordia Parish's population is 19,220, down 4.3% since 2010.
A construction worker was found dead on the scaffolding of the Mississippi River Bridge. He was reported missing at the end of the day from his job and his body was recovered later in the evening. Foul play is not suspected. An autopsy will be performed.
Vidalia Police Officer Lane Vestal stopped a man driving on Carter Street for not having a license plate. Vestal smelled marijuana in the car and Alfred Dunn, 29, of New Orleans, showed the officer a small bag of the drug. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed there was 8.5 pounds of marjiuana in the car. He was charged with improper equipment and possession of the drug with intent to sell.
Adams County deputies are looking for Cartrell Harris, 62, of Marin Avenue, Natchez, after they seized three marijuana plants at his residence. Harris has been previously arrested for theft and is a registered sex offender.
Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong reported a 16-year-old and 17-year-old have been arrested for a string of car burglaries. Most of the break-ins occurred near Auburn Avenue and Park Place. The chief said his own car was one of those victimized.
Vidalia residents and businesses may get a $100-$135 rebate from hydro revenues at the end of the year. The mayor and aldermen believe there will be enough extra money to issue checks to ratepayers.
Adams County Supervisors will spend $38,000 more in the coming year for its local road and bridge budget, topping $3 million. The county will also lease-purchase four dump trucks.
Tests of water in the Enterprise community of Catahoula Parish showed higher amounts of fecal matter than allowed for safe drinking. Bottled water has been trucked into the community. The town of Jonesville arranged for water to be transported to Enterprise for families in need.
Two men were shot at a club on East Franklin Street. The club, Spies, has been the scene of at least three shootings in the last month. The latest victims were treated at Merit Hospital and released. Police Chief Walter Armstrong said the owner of the club must improve his security arrangements.
Cathedral School will name its football field after retired coach Ken Beasley.
Riverland Medical Center has filed a pre-application with the USDA for a low-interest loan to build a new hospital on the Ferriday Highway. The Louisiana Bond Commission has already approved the hospital for a new line of credit.
Adams County Supervisors decided to renew their agreement with Waste Pro for one more year. Board President Mike Lazarus said locals are paying less that the going rate for trash pickup and the board felt the contract should be renewed.
Natchez aldermen formally renewed their contract with the Natchez Convention Promotion Commission. The commission will retain the right to hire and fire its employees including the executive director.
Burglars broke into the Bellemont Shake Shop in Natchez. Police said only money from the tip jar was stolen.
Atmos Energy donated a new bus to AJFC. The anti-poverty agency will use the bus as a mobile office in the nine counties it serves.
Natchez police arrested Phil Wilson, 38, of Adams County, after he tried to break into the Corr Williams roof on Highland Blvd. After placing Wilson in handcuffs in a patrol car, he escaped on foot and was recapture at the Doctors' Pavilion on Sgt. Prentiss Drive.
The Adams County Sheriff's Office has applied for a grant that would allow the operation of a victims' advocacy program in the county. The county has already received a $175,000 grant to establish a crisis intervention team for victims of crime.
MPB and Walt Grayson visit Natchez
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