Monday, December 30, 2013

Top Local Stories of 2013 in Winston County

Here are some of the top stories in Winston County during 2013. There are links to our articles on each event. These are just a few of the hundreds of events that occurred that we feel had some direct impact on most of us as citizens of the County.

***Tens of thousands of dollars of damage was done by vandals to Winston Academy on February 16. Multiple buildings were damaged as well as vehicles and property stolen. A prayer vigil was held at the school on the following day to show support. Local law enforcement were quickly able to apprehend the suspects,Vernon Brown and Hunter Glass. In November, Brown and Glass pled guilty to a number of charges and were sentenced on multiple counts related to the vandalism.

***After years of affiliation with the Golden Triangle Crimestoppers, Louisville and Winston County reached agreement to establish the Winston County Crime Stoppers Program.

***Area government and schools improve online presence! Winston County, Emergency Management, Winston County Sheriff, City of Louisville and the Louisville Municipal School District all either added websites or improved their websites and interactive capabilities through the year.  The County added online sites while the City of Louisville and LMSD worked to make their sites more interactive and up to date. Schools in LMSD embraced the use of Twitter for activities and sporting events.

***After years of negotiations, Louisville officials and Jake's Recycling reached an agreement on April
2nd to move the recycling business from the area around Railroad and Vance to a location near the Hwy 25/15 intersection north of Louisville within 2 years. This ended years of conflict and litigation over the property.

*** In April, a former school employee at Nanih Waiya Attendance Center was indicted by a Winston County Grand Jury on a single charge of embezzlement. Lori Young turned herself in to authorities on charges that she took more than $15000.

***Monday, May 13th was a big day in Louisville as dignitaries including the Governor, a U.S. Senator and two U.S. Congressmen gathered to announce Natron Wood Products would be coming to Louisville and providing as many as 200 jobs in the area. The Oregon based company manufactures plywood products and is expected to open their doors in the Spring of 2014.

***Municipal elections on June 4 held few surprises as most Louisville officials were unopposed. Alderman at Large Frances Ball was able to hold her seat in a a hard fought campaign but long term Noxapater Alderman Grady Suttle lost his position and Sammy Carter took office as Noxapater's Mayor.

***The "Open Carry" law that went into effect in the Summer of 2013 presented some headaches for local officials. Interpretation of the law was uncertain and government officials had concern about the carry of firearms in government buildings. After some further interpretation by the State Attorney General and considerable debate, Winston County officials banned open carry in the county courthouse and City of Louisville Officials banned open carry on all city property.

***After a long process and multiple interviews, the Louisville Municipal School District Board selected Ken McMullan as the new District Superintendent to replace the retiring  Dr. Bill Wade. McMullan had been with the District serving in several capacities including Assistant Superintendent.

***By July, major progress could be seen on the
EPA SuperFund Cleanup of the creosote site in Louisville. After years of delay, the 120 acre site cleanup was well underway and considered to be approximately 1/3 complete at that time. Cleanup is expected to continue until well into 2015.

***Through the efforts of the Louisville/Winston County Airport Board and local officials, plans were announced in August for major improvements to the local airport including a new terminal building and runway repair. The project is expected to be completd in 2014.

***On August 26th, LMSD and Mississippi State
Officials announced a $1.9 million dollar, 5 year grant to provide services to LMSD students through the DREAMS program named in honor of local educator Dr. Susan Gregory Dillard who passed away in 2010. The grant and cooperation with MSU will provide after school and summer enrichment programs.

***Winston County Circuit Clerk Kim Ming announced in October that no election would be required for a District One position on the LMSD Board of Trustees. Sheila Hickman was the only qualifying candidate to replace Claire Crowell who is retiring.

*** On October 15, Johnnie Roy Haynes was selected by the Louisville Board of Aldermen as Louisville's new Fire Chief. Haynes replaced Terry Johnson who had resigned earlier in the year.

***A local landmark burned in the early morning hours of Halloween. J.R.'s Restaurant historically known as Warner's Sale Barn on Hwy 15 N suffered severe damage. 

***The Louisville High School Wildcats brought home the school's 8th state title on December 7th as they defeated Hazelhurst to finish the season with a perfect 16-0 record. 

*** Winston Medical Center opened the doors on a new health clinic in Noxapater in December.