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Jail celebrates 15th anniversary
by Reggie Ross, Staff Writer
Apr 21, 2014 | 35 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
VAIDEN -- The Carroll-Montgomery Regional Correctional Facility celebrated a milestone this week as the staff marks its 15th year of operation. The official groundbreaking of the correctional facility took place in the spring of 1999 in Vaiden, after several years of seeking options for improved local facilities. In the search for a solution, both Carroll and Montgomery counties found each other and began a partnership that produced the Carroll Montgomery Regional Correctional Facility (CMRCF). Today, the CMRCF is recognized as one of the best correctional facilities in the area and houses close to 300 inmates. To prove it, the facility received exceptional scores five years straight in the American Correctional Association (ACA) audit. According to Carroll County Sheriff Jerry Carver, the jail received perfect scores on mandatory and non-mandatory criteria concerning the facility. "The jail is in excellent condition, and we've kept everything there up to date," Carver said. "The warden, administrators and officers have done an outstanding job there." Six employees, who have been employed at the facility for the past 15 years, were honored with certificates, according to Warden Arther Smith. Those honored for 15 years of service were Murtis Cobbins, Virginia Purnell, Vicky Noah, Mary Bryant, Beth Wiggins, and Betty Jean Johnson. "We've receive the high scores because of the staff we have here," Smith said. "This facility means a lot to the community and the surrounding areas." The facility is an Adult Median Custody male institution. Female offenders in Carroll and Montgomery counties are housed in the Grenada County Jail. The CMRCF housing has a dormitory, two man cells and single cells. The facility is supported by a central kitchen, laundry, medical programs and physical plant maintenance area. Over the years, the facility provided Adult Basic Education and GED classes and vocational skills that are taught through Building Trades classes, and according to Smith, it has added drug and alcohol programs, approved through the Mississippi Department of Corrections. "We had our litter program established recently and our joint county work program assists both Carroll and Montgomery counties," Smith said. "Most importantly, the facility is self-funded and runs through the housing of state and local inmates."
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Bo Surrell: ‘District has financial issues’
by Reggie Ross, Staff Writer
Apr 21, 2014 | 24 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
VAIDEN -- Financial advisor Bo Surrell gave clear reason on why he was appointed by the state to overlook finances in the Carroll County School District during last Thursday's regular meeting of the Carroll County School District. Surrell's message was clear, the school district's financial situation is one that needs help and is not where it should be. "I'm not trying to paint a rosy picture here," Surrell said. "The district has financial issues." Surrell, who is only in his first week as financial advisor to the district, was asked by board president Laura Davis to give a presentation on his reasons for being sent into the district. The retired business manager for the Grenada School District for nearly 30 years, Surrell told an audience of approximately 100 people that he would be working in the district for three months. "I've only been here for a few days," Surrell said. "But when I'm finished, I'll have a number of recommendations for the school district." Surrell informed the audience that a negative balance of $35,463 in 16th Section principal funds caught the eye of the state and led to him being appointed by the Mississippi Department of Education. As advisor, Surrell will approve or disapprove all expenditures and all financial obligations of the district. According to the Mississippi Board of Education, aside from regulating all expenditures by the school district, Surrell will also ensure compliance with statutes and the state's rules and regulations concerning those expenditures. "With 16th Section, you borrow money that you already have," Surrell said. "The school district has been borrowing this money since 2000." According to Surrell, when the audit was completed by Joel Cunningham, a Belzoni certified public accountant, it showed that the district was at fault. The audit stated that a material weakness of the district was a cash transfer of $35,463 between the district maintenance fund and other governmental funds that was not properly recorded causing the cash balance to be overstated. The overstatement was corrected by an audit adjustment. Business manager Mimi Alldread stated the transfer was the problem. Dissecting the finances In his first week, Surrell told the board that he had looked into the payroll, as many times staffing is an issue with districts. "In many cases, payroll and benefits in general represent 75 percent of budgets," Surrell said. "I wanted to see if there are any wild savings." Surrell said he looked at Marshall Elementary first but had not looked into George Middle School and J.Z. George High. "There's one teacher for every 22 students and one teacher for every 27 students, with an assistant at the elementary school," Surrell said. "There are no excess units at the elementary school, and you're doing exactly what's required." Comparisons Surrell compared the Carroll County School District to 13 other school districts in Mississippi, while analyzing its revenue and expenditures. Surrell compared the CCSD with similar districts in Winona, Montgomery County, Oktibbeha County, Enterprise, Aberdeen, Attala County, Leland, Perry County, West Tallahatchie, East Jasper, Amite County, Kemper County and South Delta. He based those comparisons on enrollment, assessed valuation and operating millage rates. Surrell said in the millage rate, the school district was "dead last," and it was seventh in enrollment and assessed valuation. Although last in comparison rankings, at around $64,000, the Carroll County mill is more than the compared counties. Still Surrell said it is too early for any assumptions, and he will work diligently to help the district with their issues. He said the district faces challenges ahead of them, and it will take a combination of increased revenue and decreased expenses. "It's premature to offer suggestions and recommendations," Surrell said. "I will be here until late May or June and before I leave, I will." Harges named new principal Fletcher Harges was hired as principal of Marshall Elementary. Superintendent Billy Joe Ferguson said he had worked with several Marshall Elementary teachers before selecting a new principal, and Harges, an assistant superintendent in the Leflore County School District was chosen. Beat Five Trustee Rubye Miller made the motion while Davis seconded it. The vote passed 3-1-1 with Beat One Trustee Kenneth Deloach voting against the motion and Beat Two Trustee Donnie Wiltshire abstaining. Beat Three Trustee Daniel Vest voted for the hire.
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Winona hosts district track meet today at Harris field
by Reggie Ross, Staff Writer
Apr 21, 2014 | 8 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WINONA -- Today at noon, over a hundred athletes will flock to Winona's George Harris Field in a 1A and 3A district show down. Winona will host the 4-3A district track meet starting today and will also play host to the district 5-1A track and field meet. According to track and field coach Chris McRae, Winona will compete against four other teams in Aberdeen, Kemper County, Louisville and Nettleton. In the 5-1A field, Nanih Waiya, Noxapater, West Lowndes, Ethel and the Mississippi School for the Deaf will compete. For Winona, McRae said he feels the Tigers' chances are great heading into the district and hopes to see some surprises in some of the events. "We're healthy, and we're competing well," McRae said. "What we need is for everyone to do what they're supposed to do. We also need some to be surprises, not any bad surprises, but some real shockers." The 3A 4x4 relay champs of Jaquell Davis, Tommy Burt, Tyler James and Kentrell James ran well last week according to McRae, and they topped last year's state time. "These guys are getting better," McRae said. "They know what they have to do." One of the surprises McRae said would be the competing of D.C. Olton, who will take part in the high jump, long jump and the triple jump. "He [Olton] can get to Pearl this year," McRae said. McRae said he wanted to encourage everyone to come out to the track and field meet to see competitive races and events.
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WCS Stars’ season ends at IA
by Reggie Ross, Staff Writer
Apr 21, 2014 | 5 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WINONA -- The Winona Christian Stars needed the perfect weekend to qualify for the playoffs in Class AA ball. It almost happened. The Stars ended their season at the hands of the Indianola Colonels and finished as the third team in 1-AA behind Bayou and IA. "This was a tough one," head coach Shannon Self said. "This is an excellent group of seniors, and it was tough for them." The Stars finish the season at 17-7 and approached the final three games of the season needing to win two games over Clarksdale Lee and the last game of the season against the Colonels. Behind the pitching of Brooks Lott, the Stars got a 13-3 win over the Lee Colts in a complete game for the senior. Bailey Lott pitched a complete game in the second game at Clarksdale, but the Stars fell 4-2. In the season finale with the Colts, senior Devan Murphy pitched a complete game, an 8-4 victory leaving the playoff picture open against Indianola. The Stars started Morgan Mills on the mound, and the junior would only give up two hits in the contest. Unfortunately, the playoff season streak ended for the Stars in the 2-0 loss to the Colonels in Sunflower County. "Baseball is a tough sport," Self said. "I told the players it was nothing to hang their heads about. It was a good year, and we played in an extremely tough conference. This was a conference where you had to bring it every game." Seniors Bailey and Brooks Lott, Lane Boyette, Devan Murphy, Will Amason, and Devin Roberts played their final game of their Winona Christian careers.
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Rebels head into post season play
by Reggie Ross, Staff Writer
Apr 21, 2014 | 12 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CARROLLTON -- The Carroll Academy Rebels will begin their quest for a Class A title as the playoffs are set to begin on Good Friday at Hebron Christian. The Rebels are 6-9 overall after dropping a pair of games to Benton Academy Thursday. The Raiders won District 4 with an 8-0 record, and the Rebels came in second at 6-2. The Eagles are the number one team from District 3 and went 11-3 overall. The Rebels had the ideal opportunity to clinch a district title Thursday at home when Benton came to Carrollton. The Rebels weren't able to capitalize and were swept at home by the Raiders 7-3 in game one and 13-3 in game two. Jake Streater (2-4) got the loss in game one as he allowed five runs on eight hits, walking five and fanning six. Junior Payton Neal started on the mound, but only went 22/3 innings. He was removed with a blister on his middle right finger. Neal gave up two runs on two hits, walking one, hitting one batter and fanning one. Carroll led 1-0 after the second frame when Justin Farris reached by error, stole second and scored on two consecutive wild pitches. Benton came back with two runs in the top of the third. The Rebels made it 2-2 when Jordan Bell drove in Streater from third base with a single to right-center field in the third. Both teams plated a run in the fourth inning. Farris scored from third on a fielder's choice by Tristan Wiggins. Carroll only had three hits in the first game. Andrew Montgomery, Farris and Bell had a single each. Austin White, who had three singles and scored two runs at the plate, was the winning pitcher. He went the final three innings, striking out three. In the second game, Benton scored six runs in the second and seven in the fifth to claim its 13-3 win. Carroll scored two in the first and one in the fifth. Colby Harper (2-3) got the start on the mound as he walked seven and struck out four.
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