A1 A1
Three die in two-vehicle crash north of Houston

HOULKA – Three people died in a two-vehicle crash on Miss. 15 north of Houston Wednesday morning, May 8, according to the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

About 6:51 a.m. that morning, Patrol officers responded to a head-on crash on Miss. 15 north of Miss. 32 extension in Chickasaw County.

A 2007 gray Chevrolet Z71 pickup driven by 25-year-old Tyler Evans Russell of Houlka, was southbound on Miss. 15 when he collided head-on with a northbound 2007 black Acura TSX driven by 19-year-old Jaylin Lamont Smith of Houston.

Mr. Russell was transported by ambulance to Tupelo hospital. Mr. Smith along with his passengers 21-year-old Matthew Dante Hill of Houston, and 21-year-old Malik Dequan Ivy of Houston, were all unrestrained and were pronounced dead at the scene by Chickasaw County Coroner Michael Fowler.

This accident remains under investigation by the Mississippi Highway Patrol, according to Sgt. Derrick M. Beckom, with the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol’s Public Affairs Division.

Houston aldermen hear update on summer tackle football plans

HOUSTON – Houston’s Mayor and Board of Aldermen met May 7 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall and took care of the following items of business.

The board:

--Approved minutes of meetings held April 1, 2nd and 16th.

--Tabled the topic of correcting minutes from a Feb. 5 meeting which had been approved March 5.

--Heard Mayor Stacey Parker say a project of placing speed bumps on Starkville Road, Scott Street and Pittsboro Street was still “in the works.”

--Approved a request concerning the WIN Job Center behind the Fire Station. The city and county contribute about $3,000 each annually to the center.

--Awarded a bid from Stewart’s Sports and More of Grenada for $2,595 for trophies for summer league baseball programs. The bid was one of three received.

--Voted 4-1 to hold a Houston Parks and Recreation Department summer tackle football program this year. Voting against was Ward 1 Alderlady Kellie Kilgore Atkinson.

Atkinson – who has boys ages 7, 8, and 9 “who are begging me to let them play football” – voted against the proposal for several reasons, she said.

“There could be a liability issue for the city if a child is injured. The children’s young ages also mean the potential for long -term injury. Also, some children may not want to play football, but may be pushed into it by their parents,” she said.

The board’s vote came after City Parks and Recreation Director John Gravat outlined plans for the city to hold the program this year.

He said registration is now under way and will continue through the end of June. Each participant will have to pay a $100 fee, with the money earmarked for insurance, purchase of equipment, and hiring referees.

When teams are formed, they will begin practice in July, and begin play on Saturdays toward the end of August, several weeks after school starts. The season, including play-offs, will run through the end of October, and perhaps into early November.

Gravat indicated the program would have the necessary equipment for youngsters, and summer league coaches would instruct them in the proper ways to tackle and otherwise play the game of football.

The program will have concessions, and have restroom facilities available. The restroom facilities will have to be repaired before the program gets under way, he said.

The City Tourism Department is advancing $25,000 toward estimated program start-up costs of about $35,000. The tourism money is to be paid back over five years.

The program is expected to bring thousands of people to Houston, which will economically benefit by the visitors spending for food, lodging and other things while here.

--Tabled the topic of requiring parents of summer youth programs to sign a Code of Conduct, which would outline acceptable behavior at the programs, and set out consequences for unacceptable behavior.

--Agreed to raise field rental from the present $100 to $150 per field for baseball and softball games. The city has five fields.

--Voted to advertise for a survey and appraisal for some city land located behind Hardees Restaurant. The vote followed a request from Jonathan McDaniel for a zoning variance, from the present C3 to a proposed R3. He has about 2.3 acres behind the restaurant but must have 2.7 acres for the improvements – developing several rental units – he is proposing to the land. The city owns adjoining property and will consider selling a potion of it to help him have the land he needs.

--Voted to contact state authorities for help with potential enforcement concerning unsanitary conditions in the industrial park. . The board acted after hearing complaints about an unnamed agricultural company which which is creating a runoff into nearby ditches, leading to possible environmental issues.

--Voted to pay hotel, per diem and travel expenses for city officials wishing to attend a MML conference in Biloxi. City Clerk Lisa Easley said the costs would be about $750 per person.

--Went into executive session to discuss personnel matter, then emerged and took no action.

--Voted to hire Daniel Vaughn as certified water operator for the city.

--Heard department reports.

--Heard claims.

--Adjourned until a possible work session later this month before the board’s scheduled June 4 meeting.