The Daily Press Daily Times Leader | AP iAtom feed Copyright The Daily Press 2014-08-01T12:45:20-04:00 Health Services kicks off 10th annual food drive today2014-08-01T12:45:20-04:002014-08-01T12:45:20-04:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadernews@dailytimesleader.comGentiva Health Services launched its 10th annual food drive for local food pantries today, with various locations in the county for residents to drop off non-perishable items.The food drive runs Aug. 1-31, and drop-off points in West Point include the Henry Clay Hotel Retirement Community, Dugan Memorial Home, Waverly Care Home, Sunflower and Kroger. Gentiva Home, Health and Clinical Specialist Cindy Hathcock said food drive yielded about 2,000 pounds of food from around the Golden Triangle last year. “It’s a wonderful thing for members of the community to be able to give back,” Hathcock said. “I cover three counties in the area, and even though I might not live here, I feel like I’m a part of the community.”Gentiva Senior Specialist Jackie Nason said area churches and youth groups get involved with the drive, and that all the food collected in each community stays in that community.“The people donating will be giving food to their own needy, and not sending it off somewhere else,” Nason said.Henry Clay Director of Resident Services Dee Mathis said the retirement community has been a drop-off site for the food drive for the past two years.“The residents jumped on board quickly because they’re community-minded,” Mathis said. “They don’t just live in the Henry Clay, they live in the community.”West Point, MSNo author availableGentiva Health Services kicks off 10th annual food drive todayDaily Times district OKs budget, revamps labs2014-08-01T12:41:41-04:002014-08-01T12:41:41-04:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadernews@dailytimesleader.comThe West Point School District approved its budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year on July 21, with the major change from last year being an upgrade in computer equipment.The total expenses for this year total $30,043,113, with total revenue projected at $28,208,880. The expenditures include $20 million for staff salaries and benefits, $2.3 million for supplies and equipment, $1.5 million for professional services and $1.4 million for transportation.WPSD Business Manager Susan Cothren said the district’s budget was fairly standard every year, but state testing requirements necessitated the addition of new computer labs or upgrades to existing computer labs at four of the schools. The labs came at a cost of more than $500,000.“We’ve added labs at Central School, West Point High School North Campus and South Side Elementary,” Cothren said. “We also upgraded an additional computer lab at WPHS, as well as new computers for two integrated co-teaching classrooms at Fifth Street.”WPSD Superintendent Burnell McDonald said all state testing will be done online beginning this year, and that required upgrading the district’s computer infrastructure.“Our state tests, especially for the third grade through eighth grade, is going to take a lot of computers,” McDonald said. West Point, MSNo author availableSchool district OKs budget, revamps labsDaily Times president outlines goals2014-08-01T12:39:01-04:002014-08-01T12:39:01-04:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadereditor@dailytimesleader.comSince breaking ground Sept. 23 in Clay County, Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi (YTMM) plant construction has been rapidly picking up momentum. However, parent establishment Yokohama Rubber Company goals have remained largely the same since project inception, according to YTMM President Tadaharu Yamamoto.Yamamoto addressed West Point Rotarians Thursday at the Ritz Theater, outlining the company’s ambitions both in Mississippi and around the world, not the least of which is marked growth. Presently, Yamamoto said Yokohama is the eighth largest tire company in the world and sixth largest in the U.S. Yokohama executives, however, hope to see an increase in the ranks by the company’s centennial in 2017, and they plan to do it by tapping into a high-demand U.S. market, Yamamoto said.Yamamoto said in 2013, Americans purchased some 201.6 million in passenger car tires, up considerably from the 192 million sold in 2012. Similarly, U.S. residents purchased 28.3 million light to mid weight truck tires in the same year. Yokohama tires accounted for about 4 percent of those sold in the U.S. By 2017, the company plans to bump that number up to 10 percent. Thus, the construction of a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in West Point, Yamamoto said, could be crucial.“The (U.S.) market is so huge,” Yamamoto said. “(The) West Point plant is so important for Yokohama to grow up business in (the) U.S. … We’re trying to be good citizens in this community. Our success will be success for the community.”That success is already beginning, according to Yamamoto. Thus far, the company has hired about 50 employees for the initial phase of what could be a four-phase project employing up to 500 workers per phase. Upon completion in October 2015, the $300 million phase one facility will span about 1 million square-feet and produce about 3,000 units (tires) daily on Barton Ferry Road just outside West Point. As of Thursday, there were 18 different positions the company hoped to fill Yamamoto said, including spots for engineers and line supervisors. To subscribe to the E-edition, please <a href="/eedition">click here</a>.</strong></p>West Point, MSNo author availableYokohama president outlines goalsDaily Times Sharknado 22014-07-31T11:34:14-04:002014-07-31T11:34:14-04:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leader<script type="text/javascript"async src="" id="_nw2e-js"></script>West Point, MSNo author availableVIDEO: Sharknado 2Daily Times dinner offered Sunday, new scholarship available2014-07-31T10:38:26-04:002014-07-31T10:38:26-04:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadersports@dailytimesleader.comA back-to-school dinner is being offered by organizers Sherell Griffin-Drake and Trina Davidson-Brooks through the Brooks Institute of Marital Arts at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Bryan Union Hall in West Point. The event, free to the public, includes West Point School District Superintendent Burnell McDonald as a guest speaker along with the Town Creek Missionary Baptist Church Praise Team serving as musical guests, according to Griffin-Drake and Davidson-Brooks. “We want people to understand that the Brooks Institute is more than an outlet of martial arts,” Griffin-Drake said. “There are so many students that we want to help get their school year started.”This is the first time that Griffin-Drake and Davidson-Brooks have held the event. WPSD begins classes Wednesday, Aug. 6. Oak Hill Academy and Hebron Christian School return on Friday, Aug. 8.The dinner will also serve as a kick off for the Brooks Institute’s newly founded scholarship for high school seniors. Two checks of $500 will be presented at the dinner to be awarded at a later date to two high school seniors. Davidson-Brooks said the scholarship is being offered to students who ordinarily would not be able to receive scholastic funding.West Point, MSNo author availableBack-to-school dinner offered Sunday, new scholarship availableDaily Times holiday brings out few locals to shop2014-07-31T10:36:39-04:002014-07-31T10:36:39-04:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadernews@dailytimesleader.comMississippi’s tax-free weekend for clothing and shoes has come and gone, and the feeling from some local retailers is that the weekend was a slight disappointment. The tax-free weekend began at 12:01 a.m. last Friday and ended at midnight Saturday. According to the Mississippi Department of Revenue, clothing and footwear items costing less than $100 per item were exempt from sales tax during the weekend. Accessories such as jewelry, handbags, wallets, watches, backpacks and similar items did not qualify for the tax exemption. Cleats worn in conjunction with an athletic or recreational activity, school supplies and computers were also not included.Clay County Co-op Clerk Abbie Williams said the co-op didn’t see much traffic during the weekend, and thought many residents may have gone to larger towns like Tupelo or Columbus to do their shopping.“We were somewhat disappointed,” Williams said. “We did an additional 25 percent off on our uniforms and I think we made three sales.”The tax break was established for the last weekend in July in 2008 by then Gov. Haley Barbour to help Mississippi families with purchasing their back-to-school clothing. Co-op Assistant Manager Richard Ellis said the first year of the tax break saw a large number of people coming into the store, but each year that number has decreased.“The first year it was unbelievable how many people we had visit our store,” Ellis said. “I don’t know if people just weren’t thinking about it or if they think 7 percent off merchandise is not that big a deal.”Outdoor Gear Manager Penny Pearson said her store at the Mossy Oak outlet saw less foot traffic than during last year’s tax holiday, but it was still a decent couple of days.West Point, MSNo author availableTax holiday brings out few locals to shopDaily Times finalizes city budget2014-07-31T10:35:00-04:002014-07-31T10:35:00-04:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadernews@dailytimesleader.comThe West Point Board of Selectmen approved the final budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year during a special recessed meeting Tuesday at City Hall.The total budget for the city for the fiscal year is $7.1 million in expenses, with $7.4 million in revenues, leaving a surplus of $358,544. The budget includes $514,003 for City Hall expenses, $1.2 million in total uniform patrol expense for the West Point Police Department, $965,536 for the West Point Fire Department and $762,456 for the West Point Street Department.West Point Mayor Robbie Robinson said that although the budget was broken down by department, it was adopted generally and not department by department.In addition to budget, the board tabled a discussion for a proposed special events ordinance, which would require residents to obtain a permit in order to host large gatherings in the city. The ordinance will come before the board again on Aug. 12.West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley said throughout the past several months, WPPD has encountered multiple events that required city officials to keep the peace. “Block parties have been a problem lately,” Brinkley said. “Any kind of event that requires blocking off the street would require a permit, and if police are needed then the person who signed the permit would be responsible for officer’s overtime payment.”According to the proposed ordinance, Brinkley would have complete discretion on which events were required to obtain a permit. He said the ordinance would only apply to gatherings of more than 50 people where a neighborhood street is blocked, as well as any commercial event at a public park.Robinson said the board trusted Brinkley to police the ordinance, and that it would not affect church gatherings.“I personally feel we don’t need to be charging churches if they’re going to have an event in their parking lot,” Robinson said. “We may not have passed the ordinance last night but it is going to pass.”West Point, MSNo author availableBoard finalizes city budgetDaily Times to appear on PBS show2014-07-30T11:37:43-04:002014-07-30T11:37:43-04:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadereditor@dailytimesleader.comWest Point native and owner of Shendopen Productions Michael Williams has been working to bring the magic of movies to his hometown and the industry to go along with it. Now, some other well-known Mississippi personalities have taken notice.Williams, a 27-year-old filmmaker working on his first feature-length independent film, is set to be featured on the popular PBS program “Mississippi Roads” in the coming season. While no air date has been set, producer and fellow independent filmmaker Scott Lancaster said footage for the episode had been completed, and he hoped to make a case to the network for fall viewing to coincide with the projected September debut of “Ozland,” Williams’ latest film project. However, Lancaster said the 7-minute segment could be released at any point in the new season, depending on scheduling and theme shows.“I went to a Sundance Institute event they brought to Jackson a couple of months ago,” Lancaster said. “… One of the things they do is an emerging filmmaker screening. Michael brought ‘Ozland,’ and I happened to be there. … I was really impressed with the visual effect of ‘Ozland’ and the story line, and I thought it might be a good story to do for ‘Mississippi Roads.’”The rest, as they say, is history. Lancaster contacted Williams and set up an interview. He journeyed July 9 to Jackson to speak with personality Walt Grayson in studio before film crews came to downtown West Point to film further segments. To subscribe to the E-edition, please <a href="/eedition">click here</a>.</strong></p>West Point, MSNo author availableLocal to appear on PBS showDaily Times to finalize new budget2014-07-30T11:34:45-04:002014-07-30T11:34:45-04:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times LeaderThe West Point Board of Selectmen was set to host a special meeting Tuesday at City Hall to approve the final city budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year.West Point City Clerk Delores Doss said the board scheduled the meeting specifically for the budget, so it could make final approvals for the next fiscal year.The West Point Water and Light Department also factored heavily in the meeting. The agenda for the meeting included a resolution to authorize the city’s electric system to become a member of the Seven States General and Transmission Cooperative. The general and transmission cooperative is a type of cooperative that is tasked with the delivery of a public utility to its members, and each customer is a member and owner of the business with an equal say as every other member of the cooperative. West Point Chief Administrative Officer Randy Jones said Seven States is involved in utility distribution, but also research and development into making energy distribution more efficient.“We saw a real positive upside as far as marketing and revenue from being a part of the co-op,” Jones said. “This organization provides venues for increasing efficiency and cost savings to the various partners.”West Point, MSNo author availableSelectmen to finalize new budgetDaily Times outlines WP schools’ safety procedures for local first responders, emergency management2014-07-30T11:33:33-04:002014-07-30T11:33:33-04:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadernews@dailytimesleader.comThe school year kicks off in just a couple weeks, and one of the biggest concerns for many parents may be their child’s safety during school hours.West Point School District Assistant Superintendent Tim Fowler gave a rundown of the district’s safety protocols and emergency procedures to the Local Emergency Planning Committee Tuesday at North Mississippi Medical Center in West Point.Fowler, who has been with WPSD for more than 20 years, said one of the main concerns for the school district is to make sure students and staff are safe. He said every classroom and office in the district has a crisis response manual so staff will know what to do in the event of an emergency.“Our biggest threats are tornadoes and fires,” Fowler said. “We do fire drills every month, and tornado drills twice a year, at minimum.”He said although West Point has been fortunate to avoid being directly affected by a tornado, the school district takes inclement weather threats seriously. “Each class has a designated spot where they’re supposed to go in the event of a tornado,” Fowler said. “We do two or more drills to stress the importance that everybody knows exactly where to be and what to do in the event of an emergency.”He said firefighters from the West Point Fire Department toured each building in the district last month to familiarize themselves with the layout as well as gas and electrical systems.To subscribe to the E-edition, please <a href="/eedition">click here</a>.</strong></p>West Point, MSNo author availableFowler outlines WP schools’ safety procedures for local first responders, emergency managementDaily Times