The Daily Press Daily Times Leader | AP iAtom feed Copyright The Daily Press 2014-11-26T11:15:38-05:00 What to watch for - Keys to the 2014 Egg Bowl2014-11-26T11:15:38-05:002014-11-26T11:15:38-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leader<script type="text/javascript"async src="" id="_nw2e-js"></script>West Point, MSNo author availableVIDEO: What to watch for - Keys to the 2014 Egg BowlDaily Times Scouts plan holiday food drive2014-11-26T11:13:26-05:002014-11-26T11:13:26-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadernews@dailytimesleaderWith the holidays drawing near, many local organizations are looking at ways to give back to the community and provide a helping hand to those less fortunate. One such organization is West Point Cub Scout Pack 118. The Cub Scouts will host a canned-food drive for the West Point Food Pantry during the city’s Christmas parade Dec. 8. Pack leader Stacy Berry said Kroger donated six shopping carts to the pack, which the Scouts will push along the side of the street during the parade to collect food.“We’ll decorate the carts and the Scouts will push them along the route next to our float,” Berry said. “The folks at the parade will be able to just lay their goods in the carts, and our people will do their best to move the cans from the carts to the back of our truck.”Pack committee member Laura Hollis said the Scouts began collecting food from their neighbors about a month ago. The idea to integrate the food drive into the Christmas parade came from a similar drive in Tupelo, according to Hollis.“We’d heard about a Cub Scout pack doing their food drive in conjunction with the Christmas parade in Tupelo, and we thought that was a great way to get donations,” Hollis said. “I think our scouts will have fun with it, and it will give them an opportunity to be closer to the people of the community.”West Point, MSNo author availableLocal Scouts plan holiday food driveDaily Times Alliance raising money for new city lights2014-11-26T11:11:25-05:002014-11-26T11:11:25-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadernews@dailytimesleader.comChristmas has been on the mind of local officials for the past couple weeks, specifically the need to update the city’s Christmas decorations.The displays that adorn light poles on Highway 45 and Main Street were purchased 31 years ago, and West Point Clay County Growth Alliance Director Lisa Klutts said she was making it an immediate priority to begin raising money to purchase new lights for next year. “It’s been talked about for years, and previous Growth Alliance directors have looked into getting new lights,” Klutts said. “The problem is that when the lights come down after Christmas, people tend to forget about them and the issue falls through the cracks.”Interim West Point Water and Light Superintendent George Hinnant said the decorations were in dire need of replacing. “The ones we have now are just too old,” Hinnant said. “We keep them up as best we can, but there’s only so long things like that can last.”Klutts said one of the biggest obstacles in obtaining new Christmas lights for the city was cost. A new light display for the 75 light poles the city decorates would cost about $35,000, according to Klutts.“There’s no money in the city’s budget for new lights, so we’re looking at setting up a campaign where we take donations from the community,” she said. “It’s still in the gestation process, but I’m looking at mailing out some letters and accepting donations at the Growth Alliance.”Lynda Koch, of Coon Tattoo in West Point, assisted Klutts in looking into new Christmas lights, and she said they’d check with many companies to gauge prices.To subscribe to the E-edition, please <a href="/eedition">click here</a>.</strong></p>West Point, MSNo author availableGrowth Alliance raising money for new city lightsDaily Times police seeking leads on burglaries2014-11-26T11:08:44-05:002014-11-26T11:08:44-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadernews@dailytimesleader.comWest Point Police Department investigators are looking for information on three burglaries from October.n About noon on Oct. 6, officers responded to the C complex of Jim James Court off of East Morrow Street in reference to an alleged home burglary. According to the incident report, the homeowner arrived to discover the home broken into and a window air-conditioning unit allegedly stolen. The owner also reported a DVD player, about 15 DVDs and $25 in cash. The owner was not able to provide a brand name or serial number for the DVD player.n On Oct. 14 officers were dispatched to the 600 block of Hillcrest Road in reference to an alleged burglary. According to the incident report, a suspect broke into a storage shed next to the home and took various carpentry tools. The owner reported that a cordless tool set, a Kraftteck palm sander, a halogen work light and a table bandsaw were allegedly taken from the shed.West Point, MSNo author availableLocal police seeking leads on burglariesDaily Times tops state in unemployment 2014-11-26T11:07:27-05:002014-11-26T11:07:27-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadereditor@dailytimesleader.comClay County has again topped the state in unemployment according to a report issued Tuesday by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES). According to the report, Clay County held the state’s highest unemployment rate of 15.1 percent for October, which was down from previous months. At its highest for the year, the county peaked at 18.3 percent in June. The county’s lowest rate hit in April, when it fell to 14.8 percent.Statewide, Mississippi posted an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent for October, decreasing from 8.2 percent in October 2013. According to the report, Rankin County held the best jobless rate with 4.6 percent, followed closely by DeSoto County at 4.9 percent. Nearby Noxubee County came in just above Clay County on the list with 14.1 percent.West Point, MSNo author availableClay tops state in unemployment Daily Times secures school board spot2014-11-25T21:58:45-05:002014-11-25T21:58:45-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times LeaderWest Point, MSNo author availableColeman secures school board spotDaily Times decision leads to riots2014-11-25T10:45:05-05:002014-11-25T10:45:05-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times LeaderFirefighters were dousing the blackened remains of some businesses and at least one was still ablaze. Some Ferguson stores that weren't burned had smashed display windows, but the streets of the St. Louis suburb were mostly clear.Monday night's protests were far more destructive than any of those that followed Brown's Aug. 9 death, with more than a dozen businesses badly damaged or destroyed. Authorities reported hearing hundreds of gunshots, which for a time prevented fire crews from fighting the flames.There were 61 arrests in Ferguson overnight, many for burglary and trespassing, St. Louis County Police spokesman Brian Schellman said. There were 21 arrests in St. Louis, where protesters broke some store windows along South Grand Avenue, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said.Jon Belmar, chief of the St. Louis County police, said that unless his agency could bring in 10,000 officers, "I don't think we can prevent folks who really are intent on destroying a community."At least 14 people were injured during the overnight protests, including two people who were admitted to Barnes-Jewish Hospital for treatment of undisclosed injuries. That hospital treated and released five people. Six people were treated for minor injuries at Christian Hospital, near Ferguson. Saint Louis University Hospital treated and released another. Other hospitals didn't immediately respond to phone messages and emails seeking comment.Meanwhile, many Ferguson-area districts cancelled classes out of concern about the safety of getting children to and from school.The grand jury's decision means that Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, will not face any state criminal charges for killing Brown, whose death inflamed deep racial tensions between many black Americans and police.Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch said the jury of nine whites and three blacks met on 25 separate days over three months, hearing more than 70 hours of testimony from about 60 witnesses, including three medical examiners and experts on blood, toxicology and firearms."They are the only people that have heard and examined every witness and every piece of evidence," he said, adding that the jurors "poured their hearts and soul into this process."In the first flash of unrest after the grand jury announcement, Belmar said he told officers to back off, suggesting they handle the situation as if it were a festival or baseball game. But the situation quickly "spun out of control," as protesters looted businesses and set fire to numerous vehicles, including at least two police cars. Officers eventually lobbed tear gas from inside armored vehicles to disperse crowds.As McCulloch read his statement, Michael Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, sat atop a vehicle listening to a broadcast of the announcement. When she heard the decision, she burst into tears and began screaming before being whisked away by supporters.The crowd with her erupted in anger, converging on the barricade where police in riot gear were standing. They pushed down the barricade and began pelting police with objects, including a bullhorn. Officers stood their ground.Speaking for nearly 45 minutes, a defensive McCulloch repeatedly cited what he said were inconsistencies and erroneous witness accounts. When asked by a reporter whether any of the accounts amount to perjury, he said, "I think they truly believe that's what they saw, but they didn't."The prosecutor also was critical of the media, saying "the most significant challenge" for his office was a "24-hour news cycle and an insatiable appetite for something — for anything — to talk about."McCulloch never mentioned that Brown was unarmed when he was killed.Brown's family released a statement saying they were "profoundly disappointed" but asked that the public "channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen."Shortly after the announcement, authorities released more than 1,000 pages of grand jury documents, including Wilson's testimony.Wilson told jurors that he initially encountered Brown and a friend walking in a street and, when he told them to move to a sidewalk, Brown responded with an expletive. Wilson then noticed that Brown had a handful of cigars, "and that's when it clicked for me," he said, referring to a radio report minutes earlier of a robbery at a nearby convenience store.Wilson said he asked a dispatcher to send additional police, and then backed his vehicle up in front of Brown and his friend. As he tried to open the door, Wilson said Brown slammed it back shut.The officer said he pushed Brown with the door and Brown hit him in the face. Wilson told grand jurors he was thinking: "What do I do not to get beaten inside my car.""I drew my gun," Wilson told the grand jury. "I said, 'Get back or I'm going to shoot you.'"He immediately grabs my gun and says, 'You are too much of a pussy to shoot me,'" Wilson told grand jurors. He said Brown grabbed the gun with his right hand, twisted it and "digs it into my hip."Asked why he felt the need to pull his gun, Wilson told grand jurors he was concerned another punch to his face could "knock me out or worse."After shots were fired in the vehicle, Brown fled and Wilson gave chase. At some point, Brown turned around to face the officer.Witness accounts were conflicted about whether Brown walked, stumbled or charged back toward Wilson before he was fatally wounded, McCulloch said. There were also differing accounts of how or whether Brown's hands were raised. His body fell about 153 feet from Wilson's vehicle.Thousands of people rallied — mostly peacefully — in other U.S. cities on Monday night, and President Barack Obama appealed for calm and understanding, pleading with both protesters and police to show restraint."We are a nation built on the rule of law, so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury's to make," Obama said. He said it was understandable that some Americans would be angered, but echoed Brown's parents in calling for peaceful protests.About 10 St. Louis-bound flights were diverted or canceled Monday night because of concern about gunfire being aimed into the sky, a Lambert-St. Louis International Airport spokesman said, but the restrictions expired at 3:30 a.m.The Justice Department is conducting a separate investigation into possible civil rights violations that could result in federal charges, but investigators would need to satisfy a rigorous standard of proof in order to mount a prosecution. The department also has launched a broad probe into the Ferguson Police Department, looking for patterns of discrimination.Regardless of the outcome of those investigations, Brown's family could also file a wrongful-death lawsuit against Wilson.The August shooting heightened tensions in the predominantly black suburb that is patrolled by an overwhelmingly white police force. As Brown's body lay for hours in the center of a residential street, an angry crowd of onlookers gathered. Rioting and looting occurred the following night, and police responded with armored vehicles and tear gas.Protests continued for weeks — often peacefully, but sometimes turning violent, with demonstrators throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails and police firing smoke canisters, tear gas and rubber bullets. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon briefly summoned the National Guard.Ron Johnson, the Missouri State Highway Patrol captain who oversaw Ferguson security during the summer protests, said the community must take some responsibility for the looting that took place Monday night. There were about 25 fires set overnight, and 10 cars burned at a dealership, Ferguson Assistant Fire Chief Steve Fair told local media. A pizza shop, beauty supply store and two auto parts stores were among those burned.West Point, MSNo author availableFerguson decision leads to riotsDaily Times arrest assault suspect2014-11-25T10:41:41-05:002014-11-25T10:41:41-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadereditor@dailytimesleader.comWest Point Police Department investigators have made a third arrest in connection with an August assault that left a local man hospitalized with a brain injury. Police arrested Constance Levail McFarland, 21, of Aberdeen, Wednesday on suspicion of aggravated assault after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was taken to Clay County Detention Center without incident, where he was still housed as of Monday on a $250,000 bond. The charge stems from an incident that allegedly took place Aug. 23 at the Huddle House parking lot in West Point. In a previous interview, West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley said about 1 a.m., officers responded to the West Point Waffle House in reference to a disturbance among the restaurant’s patrons. Reports indicate the man — later identified by family members as 32-year-old Ralph Weems IV, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of West Point — was asked to leave the establishment, along with several others engaged in the dispute.West Point, MSNo author availablePolice arrest assault suspectDaily Times school board runoff today2014-11-25T10:40:18-05:002014-11-25T10:39:54-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadernews@dailytimesleader.comThe runoff for the District 2 spot on the West Point Consolidated School Board is today, and polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for voters to cast their ballots. Tommy Coleman and Cameron Boyd will face each other for the position, after Coleman failed to receive the necessary 50 percent of the vote during the Nov. 7 general election. Coleman received 48 percent of the vote to Boyd’s 34 percent.State legislation merged the West Point and Clay County School Districts into a new district in 2013. The new five-member board will have three members from inside the city limits, to be appointed by the West Point Board of Selectmen at its Dec. 9 meeting, and two elected members from the county. The county was split into two districts, with a board member elected from each district. Gene Brown was elected to the District 1 seat during the general election. Clay County Circuit Clerk Bob Harrell said only seven of the county’s 14 voting precincts will participate in the runoff election. Only voters who live outside the city limits were able to cast ballots for the two county board spots.“For this election, only the precincts in Tibbee, Cairo, Siloam, Pheba, Pine Bluff, Cedar Bluff and about 13 voters at the south West Point precinct will participate,” Harrell said. Clay County Election Commission Chairman Tommy Bryan said it wasn’t unusual for some voters in city precincts to take part in county elections.“East West Point has about 500 voters who live outside the county, though for south West Point there are only 13,” Bryan said. “So we have a few city precincts with county voters, but we don’t have any county precincts with city voters.”Eligible voters were able to cast absentee ballots until noon Saturday if they were 65 or older or would be out of the county today. Bryan said absentee voting had been slow for the runoff.“We’ve only taken about 17 absentee votes for the whole county,” he said. “We may have a few more come in the mail post-marked, but it seems to show the level of interest.”West Point, MSNo author availableConsolidated school board runoff todayDaily Times convenience store robbed twice in 24 hours2014-11-25T10:36:26-05:002014-11-25T10:36:26-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times LeaderThe West Point Police Department is looking for information regarding a convenience store robbery. The Handy Mart, on Highway 45 North in West Point, was allegedly robbed on two separate occasions within a 24-hour period. West Point, MSNo author availableLocal convenience store robbed twice in 24 hoursDaily Times