The Daily Press Daily Times Leader | AP iAtom feed Copyright The Daily Press 2015-03-03T11:59:42-05:00 names Hodge EMA director2015-03-03T11:59:42-05:002015-03-03T11:59:42-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadernews@dailytimesleader.comThe Clay County Board of Supervisors appointed Treva Hodge to serve as Clay County Emergency Management Agency Director at its meeting Monday.Kerrie Gentry-Blissard had served as the county's EMA director since June in the absence of former EMA Director and Fire Chief Johnny Littlefield. She was appointed as interim EMA director on June 2, and promoted to director on Aug. 4. Blissard will continue to serve as deputy EMA director.District 4 Supervisor Shelton Deanes said this change was meant to provide better coordination between EMA and county government."Emergency management is a county responsibility and all the grants go through the county," Deanes said. "The director should be from the county instead of the city."He said that Hodge, who has served as the county's E911 director since 2008, would report directly to the board."Nobody in the EMA department was doing anything wrong, we just think having our 911 director also be the EMA director makes it so much easier to coordinate," Deanes said.District 3 Supervisor R.B. Davis said the change was a matter of convenience, and not due to any problems with the current administration."Since the EMA grants come through the county, we just felt like we should handle it in-house," Davis said.Hodge said the EMA director was responsible for emergency management response in Clay County and West Point."The director also serves as a direct link between the county and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency," Hodge said. "EMA services the entire county."Deanes made the motion to appoint Hodge as EMA director, with a second from District 2 Supervisor Luke Lummus. The motion passed unanimously.West Point, MSNo author availableCounty names Hodge EMA directorDaily Times exhibit to open at LCCA2015-03-03T11:57:25-05:002015-03-03T11:57:25-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times LeaderA new exhibit from a local artist is set to open March 8 at the Louise Campbell Center for the Arts in West Point.Ben Rosenkrans' "A Southern Perspective" watercolor exhibit features paintings of old barns, homes and landscapes. The exhibit is sponsored by the West Point/Clay County Arts Council and will hang until April 17. Arts Council Secretary Kathy Dyess said staff will be on hand on Wednesdays from 1-4 p.m. to allow visitors to see the show."This exhibit captures the wonderful character of some of these buildings," Dyess said. "Ben's keen eye for detail and exacting perspective captures the essence of these familiar scenes."Rosenkrans is set to give a gallery talk during the 2-3:30pm opening reception, which is open to the public."Having lost much of my left peripheral vision, I'm making adjustments in how I draw," Rosenkrans said. "Thankfully, I'm learning that it's something I can still do.'West Point, MSNo author availableNew exhibit to open at LCCADaily Times school board hosts first meeting2015-03-02T17:36:48-05:002015-03-02T17:36:48-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadernews@dailytimesleader.comThe new West Point Consolidated School District Board of Trustees is set to host its first meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday.State legislation merged the West Point and Clay County School Districts into a new district in 2013. The new five-member board has three members appointed by the selectmen and two elected from the county. The county was split into two districts, with a board member elected from each district. Gene Brown, who served as chairman for the WPSD board, was elected to the District 1 seat during the Nov. 4 general election, and Tommy Coleman, who previously served on the Clay County School District board, won the District 2 set in a runoff election on Nov. 25.The West Point Board of Selectmen appointed three members from the city at its December meeting. The board unanimously approved Shay King, Nita Keys and Elizabeth Bailey to serve on the new board. King and Keys currently serve on the West Point School Board, while Bailey will be a new West Point, MSNo author availableNew school board hosts first meetingDaily Times approves tax break for golf course2015-03-02T17:33:06-05:002015-03-02T17:33:06-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadernews@dailytimesleader.comWith the new Mossy Oak Golf Club looking to open its doors in 2017, the West Point Board of Selectmen voted to authorize a tax exemption for the new club at a special meeting Friday at City Hall.The George Bryan family, founders of Old Waverly Golf Club, announced last week that it joined forces with golf course architect Gil Hanse and outdoor brand Mossy Oak to create the Mossy Oak Golf Club.The new club will feature a 7,400 yard, par-72 golf course, a clubhouse and guest cabins to accommodate golf travelers. West Point Mayor Robbie Robinson said the city would continue to receive a baseline sales tax from the golf club, but the club would be allowed to keep 80 percent of any revenue above that baseline."The city is not giving up any sales tax revenue under this exemption," Robinson said. "The exemption is based on the total expenditure of the project."Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said the tourism rebate ad valorem tax exemption wasn't common in Mississippi, because many organizations don't qualify."To qualify for the exemption, it's required to be an attractor of tourism," Higgins said. "When people think West Point, they think Old Waverly. This new golf course would be a generator of income, and the exemption doesn't cost the city anything out of pocket."West Point, MSNo author availableCity approves tax break for golf courseDaily Times snow causes power outages2015-02-27T15:25:09-05:002015-02-27T15:25:09-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times LeaderWest Point Chief Administrative Officer Randy Jones said the Water and Light Department received about 48 service calls Wednesday night and Thursday morning.“There were about four primary three-phase service lines taken out due to falling branches,” Jones said. “A tree in one yard fell across the street and took out a power pole and transformer on Broad Street and those residents were without power until about 6:30 a.m. Thursday.”He said other major outages occurred in Clark Circle, Marston Court, Southern Colony and Converse Drive. According to Jones, crews were still working on restoring power to some individual homes as of Thursday.“There were some folks who had limbs fall on their service lines and it only affected their house,” he said. “Some had enough damage that they had to have electricians come in and do some repairs before we were able to reconnect their electricity.”He said the electric department ran three line crews throughout the night, including alternates and two retirees who were called in to assist.About 5,000 4-County Electric Power Association customers were also powerless throughout the evening, according to 4-County’s Facebook page. As of press time Thursday, there were still about 600 4-County customers in Clay County without power.Clay County Emergency Management Director Kerrie Gentry-Blissard said she coordinated with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency throughout the night, as well as law enforcement and utility crews. “We got the word out later in the evening for residents to stay off the roads because we were having so many wrecks,” Blissard said. “Altogether, it wound up not being too severe.”Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott said there were no major accidents or injuries in the county Wednesday night.“We had about 14 assists where folks slid off into ditches and needed help getting out,” Scott said. “We made about five transports to assist medical personal and dispatchers in getting where they needed to go.”He said it was a busy night for the Clay County Sheriff’s Department, and all emergency responders, but that the community was lucky.“We were very fortunate,” Scott said. “As bad as the road conditions were, we didn’t have anyone get seriously hurt.”West Point, MS JOSH PRESLEYHeavy snow causes power outagesDaily Times to move ahead to advertise fire truck bids2015-02-27T15:23:55-05:002015-02-27T15:23:55-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times LeaderThe board was originally supposed to meet Wednesday, but, according to Chancery Clerk Amy Berry, it decided to postpone the meeting due to the winter weather. Berry said the board would vote whether to approve advertisement for sealed bids for the trucks, which would be paid for with a combination of grant money and notes.“We received a Rural Fire Protection Assistance Program grant totaling $140,000,” Berry said. “Once we show the state proof that we’ve paid for the trucks, they will reimburse us the $140,000.”Volunteer Fire Coordinator B.J. McClenton said the two trucks would come from Emergency Equipment Professionals, Inc. of Horn Lake.“Purchasing two together lowered the cost a little bit,” McClenton said. “We got $70,000 for two applications and per the grant we have 90 days to purchase the trucks and then they will deal out the funds to the county.”He said the trucks were 2015 models with Cummins engines, 1,000 gallon pumpers and interior ladder storage. He said the new trucks would replace outdated trucks in the fire department’s fleet.“These trucks only stay in National Fire Protection Association compliance for about 15 years,” McClenton said. “They have to be able to pump a certain amount of water in a certain amount of time, and some of the trucks we have are really not up to par.”Berry said the trucks had been needed since about 2011, and the notes used to purchase them would be five-year notes.“It’s first come, first served,” Berry said. “The funds weren’t there in 2012, and then in 2013, there was such a backlog of applications that we were at the bottom of the list, so we were happy to be approved this year.”McClenton said one of the trucks was ready to be delivered as soon as possible, while the second would be available in March or April.“We look to have the delivered by the beginning of May if not sooner,” he said. West Point, MSJOSH PRESLEYCounty to move ahead to advertise fire truck bidsDaily Times pets warm during cold weather2015-02-27T15:22:11-05:002015-02-27T15:22:11-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leader“Technically we don’t close,” Lisa Henley, director of the WPCCAS. said. “Someone is at the shelter checking on the animals at least twice a day. During the cold weather, we keep an eye on the water for the dogs to make sure it hasn’t frozen over.”Henley said the pipes at the shelter were all replaced last year after the temperatures plunged to 3 degrees and the pipes split and burst. She said it made everyone aware that the dogs need to be kept dry during cold weather. The blue barrel dog houses have a material called “felt” that was donated by Weyerhaeuser that keeps the house warm and the dogs cannot chew through.“We have industrial pooper scoopers to keep the kennels clean without having to hose them out,” Henley said. “The small dogs have coats to keep them warm plus blankets and dog beds in the houses contained in the kennels. You won’t see any of our dogs shivering.”Henley said the cats are always kept inside the facility with the exception of the feral cats who have taken up residence on the property.“If we could tame the outside cats, they would be inside too,” Henley said. “They might paw at your hand, but that’s as close as they come to any of us. They have small houses with beds to get into when it’s cold. They know this is a place to be warm and fed. All of them have been trapped and altered after coming here. We don’t need feral kittens running around.”Henley said if someone drives by the shelter and it appears no one is there, someone has probably just left.“We treat the animals here just like our own pets at home,” Henley said. “Right now all our puppies are in foster homes being kept inside by loving families. We had plenty of people who offered to foster them and we are taking advantage of their generosity.”Dr. LeAnn Simpson of the West Point Animal Clinic works with the animal shelter testing the animals that are brought in for infectious diseases.“When people ask what I recommend they do with their pets during the cold, I tell them to bring them inside,” Simpson said. “If it’s too cold for you to be comfortable, it’s too cold for a pet.”Simpson said outside animals need shelter from the wind, cold and rain. If an animal is wet and cold, it is miserable and may become sick. Simpson said it helps to have doghouses face away from the wind and have some sort of windbreak at the entrance of the doghouse to keep the warmth inside. “Doghouses need blankets, hay or something in them to help the dog stay warm,” Simpson said. “Heated water bowls are great to keep the water from freezing. It won’t over heat the water. It will just keep it from freezing.”Simpson said if people will treat animals the same way we want to be treated ourselves, they would be welcome inside the home during inclement weather.For more information, like the WPCCAS on Facebook. West Point, MSDonna SummerallKeeping pets warm during cold weatherDaily Times honors Vietnam Vets2015-02-25T12:45:22-05:002015-02-25T12:45:22-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leader Regent Gaynell Duke presented the group with a flag recognizing the veterans of the Vietnam War. “At our state conference earlier this month, every regent was presented a flag in remembrance of those brave men and women who served during the unpopular war,” Duke said. “Mississippi Regent Billie Breedlove asked all members of the DAR to recognize those veterans who did not return to the hero's welcome they so richly deserved.” Duke said veterans were in attendance at the conference and were pleased to be honored for the service they gave their country almost 50 years ago. “We ladies of the DAR want to do something to let these members of our military know we owe them a huge debt of thanks for their service,” Duke said. “So many young men fought and died for this country and were never appreciated for their sacrifice. That was a sad chapter in our nation's history.” Duke said the DAR will plan something special for veterans this November to show the DAR's respect for all those who've served so bravely. The February meeting was also in honor of President's Day. Lucille South, DAR member. presented an “Interview with George Washington.” “I asked President Washington a lot of questions which history has so graciously answered,” South said. “ I have the answers that the president would have given if he were able to today, let me share a few with you.” Duke said that if asked about the “Cherry Tree Incident” Washington would have said the story is a myth. It was published in 1809 after his death by biographer M.L. Weems. “When asked about having wooden teeth,” South said. “Washington started losing his teeth in his 20's. By the time he was president at age 57, he had lost all but one. Over the years he had four sets of false teeth, none of them wooden.” South said there had long been a rumor that Washington was bulletproof. She said he had been shot several times during his military career but none of his wounds had been serious. These were only a few of the questions that South answered for the late president. South is a treasure trove of knowledge and information about the history of the United States. For information, visit Follow Donna Summerall on Twitter @life_donnas or @dtleader.West Point, MSDonna SummerallDAR honors Vietnam VetsDaily Times marks 20 year anniversary at the Wellness Center2015-02-24T13:02:04-05:002015-02-24T13:02:04-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leader “We had more than 200 people visit us this morning,” Tracy Stebbins Arnett, director of the Wellness Center said. “We have been thrilled with the turnout. We had a lot of people come to take advantage of the free week we're offering. We saw a lot of new faces come in the door that were ready to feel and look their best.” Arnett said the facility could not have reached the 20 year milestone without support from the community to keep it going. “We looked back over our 20 years and found the first person to join,” Arnett said. “Nancy Hall was the first member and has been with us the entire 20 years.” Arnett said Mary Ann Shows and Becky Brabham had come in at 4:45 a.m. to blow up balloons and decorate the building. She said the ladies had volunteered to do the job without being asked. Arnett said her entire staff is always ready to pitch in whenever they are needed. “I've been coming to the Wellness Center for almost 3 years,” Lynn Jantz, a client, said. “I have back problems and started coming for therapy. I can tell when I've missed a few sessions and I get back to my exercise routine to feel better.” Katie Ballard has been a member of the Wellness Center for more than 10 years and said she works out to maintain her fitness level. “I run half marathons and participate in triathlons,” Ballard said. “I come to stay in shape. I did cardio and abs as my workout today. It's a wonderful facility and the trainers help you reach your goal and maintain it.” Arnett said she loves being part of the Wellness Center. She said the center offered a social atmosphere for all ages and races. It's very much a microcosm of West Point itself, she said. It offers something for everyone. “I've been coming here for 4 years,” Larry Brownlee, a member, said. “I workout to build muscle mass. It's a great stress reliever. I do free weights and super sets to help build endurance. I love coming here. Everyone welcomes me by name when I come in the door and makes me feel at home. It's the perfect place to come to stay in shape. Wellness Center hours are 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, like the Wellness Center on Facebook Follow Donna Summerall on Twitter @life_donnas or @dtleader. West Point, MSDonna SummerallMonday marks 20 year anniversary at the Wellness CenterDaily Times Ellis talks legislation2015-02-24T11:55:11-05:002015-02-24T11:54:25-05:00Copyright 2010 Daily Times Leadernews@dailytimesleader.comWest Point and Clay County residents had the opportunity to learn about the ins and outs of state legislature during the last month as part of the West Point Clay County Growth Alliance's "Issues and Eggs" forum.The four-week event, which featured 8 a.m. question and answer sessions with local representatives and senators at City Hall, concluded Monday with a visit from Rep. Tyrone Ellis.Ellis provided attendees with an update on the current legislative session, and discussed topics ranging from economic development to inmate rehabilitation. "Anything I tell you today invariably will change," Ellis said. "We're just receiving sentence bills in the House this week, and we don't know what's going to happen between the House and the Senate in the next 10 days."He said one of the items on the agenda for this legislative session was to tweak House Bill 585. The law, which took effect on July 1, was intended to avert prison population growth and was projected to save the state $266 million a year.Ellis said that state legislature came to the conclusion that some inmates were spending too much time in the Mississippi Department of Corrections."If someone goes to prison for 30 years for buying or selling drugs, the cost of that comes out of your pockets," he said. "Citizens have to pay for food, housing and health care. We decided that we should be more intense with our rehabilitation programs instead of just warehousing humans."He said the bill needed tweaking due to its effect on parole dates for individuals who were in MDOC prior to the law taking effect."The law retroactively removed parole dates for inmates who were already incarcerated, which you technically can't do," Ellis said. "One of the big things we're working on is a way to reinstate those parole dates."West Point, MSNo author availableRep. Ellis talks legislationDaily Times