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Chickasaw
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Houston alcohol special election moved to July

HOUSTON – The Houston Board of Aldermen held a special called meeting to address the special election for the alcohol referendum.

The special election has been moved to July 9, 2019. This is a two-week shift from the initial June 27 election date.

The shift in date is because of the rules involved in organizing a special election for alcohol. An alcohol election has a separate set of rules from all other special elections.

“These laws can be confusing: special elections (which this is) have one set of rules and alcohol elections (which this also is) have a completely different set of rules,” said Sean Johnson, Chickasaw Development Foundation director. “It’s understandable how the clerk misinterpreted the rules, and we’re thankful that Cassandra Pulliam, who is very familiar with the state’s election regulations, was able to to catch the error. If nothing else, this will allow the citizens of Houston another week to consider their thoughts on the matter and vote appropriately.”

The motion passed 3-0 to change the date of the election so the results could be considered binding. Aldermen Frank Thomas and Barry Springer were absent from the meeting, and therefore did not vote.

“We just want to make sure we get this right the first time,” said City Clerk Lisa Easley when addressing the board about the need to change the date.

Absentee voting will be held the two Saturdays leading up to the special election which are June 29 and July 6. Absentee ballots can be dropped off at City Hall on those days from 8 a.m. to noon.


Chickasaw
Dog-gone: Chickasaw K9 Nagod medically retired

HOUSTON – The Chickasaw County Sheriffs Department last week announced the medical retirement of their K9 Nagod, a member of the Department since May 2018.

The announcement was made at the Chickasaw County Board of Supervisors meeting last Monday, June 3, in Okolona.

It was the major news at the meeting. The board –still awaiting further information – didn‘t take any action on a proposed ordinance banning the sale of kratom in the county.

Nagod, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois, was retired after sustaining a spine injury while on duty, according to Chief Deputy Keith Roberson.

A male malinois can weigh 60-80 lbs. They’re highly intelligent, and sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd dog rather than as a separate breed.

The dog was immediately transported to Veterinarian Dr. Joe Duncan DVM, at Duncan Veterinary Clinic in Eupora. Dr. Duncan treated Nagod about a week, and saw some improvement, but finally had to give Sheriff Jimmy Meyers the bad news: The injury that K9 Nagod sustained would affect his ability to perform his duty as a K9.

“We make this announcement with great sadness. We place great demands on our K9 such as agility, long tracks, apprehensions and long hours patrolling. Dr. Duncan believes that Nagod can maintain a high quality of life without such demands. Nagod will retire at the home of his handler, Deputy Bo Yeatman and his family,‘‘ said Sheriff Meyers.

Nagod and handler Deputy Yeatman served the citizens of Chickasaw County with great success. They were responsible for the location and seizure of illegal narcotics, U.S. currency, as well as the location and apprehension of violent offenders, the sheriff said.

Said Yeatman this week: “He comes from the Czech Republic. His name means, basically, to serve and protect.

‘‘It broke my heart to retire him – it was too early in his career. He‘s my partner and like one of my children, though – I want to do what‘s in their best interests.

Nagod can‘t perform at the level he once did. He could get seriously hurt or worse if he were still on duty and a bad situation developed. The county did what was in Nagod‘s best interests, and my hat‘s off to the county for doing that,”Yeatman said.

One of the biggest cases the K-9 helped make grew out of a routine safety checkpoint in Okolona. He alerted on the vehicle, and as a result, officers eventually made an arrest, seized a quantity of narcotics and about $6,800 in cash.

“Nagod‘s a great community relations asset. He shows kids that not all policemen are bad. He‘s also gotten a lot of dope off the streets, and helped us seize a lot of money related to drug activity. Considering all those things, I feel like he‘s well-paid for his purchase price,‘‘ Yeatman said.

The Chickasaw County Sheriff Department is now looking into different options to purchase a new K9. The final result won‘t be cheap: Nagod cost about $17,000, and the cost of his equipment and retrofitting a vehicle to hold him pushed the price still higher.

Sheriff Meyers thanked all of the community partners that have donated money and services to the K9 unit, and expressed the hope that Nagod‘s replacement will serve as capably as he did.

In other area law enforcement news:

--TREBLOC –One person was injured following a two-vehicle crash Thursday afternoon May 30 east of Houston, according to the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

Officer said 47-year-old Jerry Perrigin of Caledonia was eastbound on Miss. 8 in a gray 2010 Toyota Tundra when he collided with 63-year-old Jettie Ware of Aberdeen who was northbound on Miss. 47 driving a black 2009 Lincoln.

Ware was transported by ambulance to Amory hospital with moderate injuries. No other information was immediately available.


Chickasaw
The life and times of Sam Houston

We learn early in school that our little town is named for General Sam Houston who, along with his army, defeated Mexican General Santa Anna in the battle of San Jacinto, on 21 April, 1836, thus winning Texas independence.

We know that the said Houston was a dear friend to a fellow named Joel Pinson, who gave the land for the site of Houston with the provision that it be named for his friend. However, there is not a lot of information out there on Houston’s early life. You are about to be educated on this subject. He had what I would call a rather sad life, with peaks and valleys in his personal life.

Samuel Rutherford Houston was born in 1793 in Virginia. When Sam was about 13, his father died and his mother moved the family to the Tennessee frontier. His brothers were instrumental in getting Sam a job in a trading store, but this was not to Sam’s liking. He ran away and lived for about three years among the Cherokee Indians in East Tennessee, thus learning their language and their way of life.

At the beginning of the War of 1812, Samuel Houston enlisted in the regular army and served in the 39th Infantry Regiment. Promotions came fast due to his courage and military abilities and these traits brought him to the attention of General Andrew Jackson. Houston was wounded two times in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River.

After the war, Houston became a friend and protégé of Jackson and an avid supporter of Jackson politically. Not only did Houston rise quickly in the military world but with Jackson’s friendship and backing, he rose rather quickly in the political world as well.

Jackson encouraged him to return to Tennessee where Houston studied law. He was elected as district attorney in Nashville and in 1823 became successful on the national political stage after being elected to Congress, where he served two terms.

Perhaps this is where Houston’s rowdy and rough ways first hit the national spotlight. An Ohio Congressmen named William Stanbury accused Houston of fraud in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives. (Imagine a politician speaking an untruth on the floor of the House!) When the two men met later on Pennsylvania Avenue, Houston repeatedly beat Stanbury with a, of course, hickory cane.

In 1827, Sam Houston was elected Governor of Tennessee. He was not what you would call a quiet, unassuming man. He was a drinker and a renegade. While governor, Houston courted a very young Elizabeth Allen. She was everything he was not – she was from a wealthy family, genteel might be the right word – she was only 19 when they married at her home near Gallatin, Tenn.

The story is told that within two days of their honeymoon, Eliza watched her husband participate in a snowball fight with the daughters of their host, the Martins, who lived on the Gallatin Pike.

As Eliza watched the snowball fight, Mrs. Martin suggested to her that she go out and join the fight and help her husband to which Eliza responded, “I wish they would kill him!” Seeing the look on her host’s face, she reiterated, “Yes, I wish from the bottom of my heart that they would kill him!”

Obviously, these sentiments did not portend well for Gov. Sam Houston.

Some say Eliza never got over the death of an earlier suitor who had died from tuberculosis. It was also whispered that she confessed to her husband that she had not recovered from this suitor’s death but had married Houston to please her parents.

Sam’s heart was broken. His marriage was over in a matter of a few months and not only was he broken-hearted, he was humiliated as well. Their marriage officially ended on April 11, 1829 and Houston resigned as Governor of Tennessee on April 16. Some say Sam closed himself off and went on a week-long drinking binge. Some also say his friends abandoned him with the exception of Davy Crockett. Sam left Nashville and boarded a steamboat headed west to a new life.

Houston’s new life began with his Cherokee friends in the Arkansas Territory. There, he lived with his friend, Oolooteka, or John Jolly. He later married a Cherokee maiden by the name of Tiana Rogers Gentry in May of 1830. During this time, Sam occasionally represented the Cherokee Nation and other Native Americans in Washington, DC, in Indian affairs.

It was 1832 when Sam Houston moved on again. The Mexican territory of Texas called him. He soon became a prominent voice for the secession of Texas from Mexico. He may have been a hard drinker but he was also an accomplished military leader. He was outnumbered almost two to one, but he and his little rag-tag army were able to defeat the better-armed and better-trained army of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.

Not only Houston, Mississippi, but of course Houston, Texas is named in his honor. The Lone Star Republic elected him as its first President in 1836 and after Texas became a state in 1846, Sam Houston served as a U.S. Senator until 1860.

Sam Houston married a third time in 1840 to a lady named Margaret Lea and with her had several children. He died at his home in Huntsville, Texas, on July 26, 1863.


Chickasaw
Thorn VFD receives $2,500 donation from America’s Farmers Grow Communities program

HOUSTON – County farmer Steve Petit recently directed $2,500 to the Thorn Volunteer Fire Department through America’s Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Bayer Fund.

As part of their mission Thorn Fire Department will use the funds to help start the process of building a new Fire Station to house equipment and providing more emergency services to the Thorn Community, said Thorn VFD Assistant Chief Andy Harmon.

Harmon said this week, “We appreciate Steve applying for the grant for us. A new fire station is the department’s biggest need for two reasons. First, the department has more vehicles and equipment than it can house at the current station.

“Second, a new fire station will help us keep our present Class 8 rating.” If the department’s rating falls to a 9 or 10, fire insurance premiums for area homeowners could rise.

“We’ve got two pumper trucks housed at our present station, and three tankers and several other trucks scattered through the community in barns and farm sheds. We need to get all our equipment under one roof.”

He said the department hopes to raise enough funds through donations and grants “in the next few years” to begin construction of a new fire station.

If enough money is raised, the department will likely look at financing the remaining cost of the building, Harmon said.

Ideally, the new station would be a one- floor metal building of about 2,400 square feet. It would not only house the department’s vehicles, but have enough space for a meeting room for community events.

If a new station is built, the present one would be used for equipment storage.

He said the department already has land for the building on CR 405 (Thorn Road), donated by the Watkins family several years ago. The site is already prepped and ready for dirtwork, he said.

The 18-member department has an area of operation that covers about five square miles and about 600 households. Founded in the 1980s, it is one of the county’s oldest volunteer departments, he said. The department answered 60-80 calls last year, mostly medical calls and structure fires.

Each year, the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program partners with local farmers to provide grants to local nonprofits.

Sponsored by the Bayer Fund, the program provides farmers the opportunity to support and give back to nonprofit organizations they care about in their local communities by enrolling for a chance to direct a $2,500 donation to a nonprofit of their choice.

The Bayer Fund, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where farmers and Bayer employees live and work by providing funding for food and nutrition, education, and community development projects.

Since 2010, the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program has given more than $33 million to over 8,000 nonprofits across rural America.

To learn more about the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, visit www.AmericasFarmers.com or follow on Facebook at facebook.com/AmericasFarmers.


Chickasaw
City Purchases Historic Theater with Tourism Funding

HOUSTON – What used to be known as the Houston Theater, and then in more recent years as Pappa’s Pizza and El Tucan Mexican restaurant, has been purchased by the city to be restored as a theater and community arts space.

The city purchased the building from Athanasios Papadimitriou for an undisclosed amount on Monday.

Located on the east side of the square, facing the entrance of the courthouse, the building was constructed sometime in the 1930’s and operated as a cinema for decades.

“I’m not sure who owned it before, but Inez and Everett Eudy owned it when I worked there as a teenager,” says local businessman Robert Mooneyham.

“We’d have shows on Monday night, and then Friday nights they’d have shows and then the ‘Midnight Show’ for teenagers. It’d start at ten but let out around midnight, that’s why they called it that. And then on Saturdays there’d be matinees, and shoppers would sometimes just drop the kids off at the movies and shop until the movie let out and then come pick them up – we wouldn’t let them out of the theater once their parents dropped them off.”

The building has been vacant for several years.

In 2017, the building caught the eyes of the Mississippi Main Street Association members when they were in town working on a downtown plan for Houston. Their report indicated a need for a theater and performing arts space, and the building fit the bill.

Sean Johnson, director of the Chickasaw Development Foundation began making inquiries about the building several months ago.

“The east side of the square is our weakest side in terms of curb appeal. With the city in the process of spending a considerable amount of money to add sidewalks and pedestrian lighting and further beautify the square, investing into and renovating this property as a theater and performing arts space seems a proper extension of the city’s beautification efforts.”

The city’s tourism committee, chaired by Jason Brooks, agreed and voted to acquire the building.

“When the opportunity to purchase the property presented itself, the Committee recognized the project’s ability to not only provide entertainment for its citizens, but also to entice patrons from out of town to visit and spend money in our local businesses. It was an opportunity the Committee could not pass up,” says Brooks.

The building needs a lot of work, but according to Johnson, there is funding available.

“We’ve been in discussion with several public and private funding sources who will be helping us. Because the building is in a designated historical district, publicly owned, and because it will be used for primarily arts and cultural events, there are a number of grant and other funding opportunities available.”

Brooks continues, “I have fond memories of the Houston Theater. I can remember standing in line to purchase tickets to Rocky IV and as Rocky was just about to win the bout with the Russian, everyone in the theater began chanting, “Rocky, Rocky, Rocky…” It was a memory that I have always remembered. It is exciting to think one day soon, we could be watching movies on the square in Houston again.”

The city and tourism committee will have further announcements on the formation of a theater task force in the coming weeks.