Rotary Club six-year scholars are, front row, from left, Lily
Roper, Zoe Hendrick, Camille Bautista, Laura Zhang and Lindsay
Hopkins, and back row, from left, Archi Prasad, Ethan Belcher and
Adam Robison | DAILY JOURNAL
Eighth graders from Tupelo Middle School are recognized as
Rotary Scholars on Monday night at the Tupelo Furniture Market
Adam Robison | DAILY JOURNAL
Tupelo High School seniors wait at their table during the Tupelo
Rotary Club Scholars event on Monday night at the Tupelo Furniture
Market Building 5.
Adam Robison | DAILY JOURNAL
TUPELO — The Rotary Club of Tupelo honored eight six-year Rotary Scholars, along with the Top 30 Tupelo Public School District students from seventh through 12grade, during a banquet at the Tupelo Furniture Market Building 5 on Monday night.
The Top 30 students (and ties) from each class in grades 7-12 are recognized as Rotary Scholars. Selection is based on students' grade point average for the first three nine weeks of the current school year, and points are added for pre-advanced placement, advanced placement, dual credit and accelerated courses.
"This recognition represents the highest academic honor that this community can bestow upon a young person in our school district," TPSD Superintendent Rob Picou said. "This and all of the other recognitions that you achieve throughout your time in school really mean something."
He thanked parents and guardians for the support they give their kids and told students the honor of being named Rotary Scholars is a testimony to their character, perseverance and discipline.
Lindsay Hopkins said it was an honor to be named a Rotary Scholar for all six years.
"You have to work really hard and sometimes you feel like you might not make it, but all these classes end up being worth it when you stand up there for six years," Hopkins said.
She will be majoring in English at Mississippi State University this fall and hopes to later attend law school or pursue a master's degree in education.
Matthew Curry said it feels like a miracle to achieve the feat of being a six-year Rotary Scholar.
"It's hard to get six years in a row without messing up," he said. "I feel I've done enough to earn this reward the right way."
Curry will attend Itawamba Community College this fall and plans to earn a degree in coding from Mississippi State University.
Lily Roper said being a six-year Rotary Scholar has been a rewarding experience.
"When I was in the seventh grade, I made it a goal to be able to stand up on that stage all six years, receive the plaque and get recognition for all of the hard work," she said.
Roper will attend the University of Mississippi this fall and plans to become a dentist.
TUPELO – A Tupelo woman charged with capital murder in the January death of her 5-year-old autistic son has been denied bond by a circuit court judge.
Attorneys for Brianna Nichole Young, 27, argued on Monday that she had no felony record, had cooperated with authorities in the investigation and was not a flight risk in arguing that she was entitled to bond.
Prosecutors submitted photos of the boy’s injuries, along with the preliminary autopsy report that showed the non-verbal autistic boy had ingested fentanyl sometime before his death.
“The photos show how severe the child was abused, tortured and beaten. The child was severely abused and died from the abuse,” Senior Circuit Judge Paul Funderburk said at the end of the one-hour hearing. “The proof is evident and the presumption great, therefore the defendant is not entitled to bond.”
Young was initially charged with child abuse in the death of Kaleb Bogan and released on a $1 million bond. When the preliminary autopsy showed the abuse led to his death, the Tupelo Police Department upgraded the charge. In late January, Tupelo Municipal Court Judge Willie Allen ordered her held without bond. Young’s four other children have been in the custody of Child Protection Services since her initial arrest.
Attorneys Tyler Moss and Rob Laher filed a writ of habeas corpus in mid-March on Young’s behalf, asking circuit court for a bond hearing. The defense called one witness to the stand — Young’s father, John Young of Mooreville.
“She was a good kid. She was a good mom. I ain’t had no complaints about her,” he said.
Young said his daughter was neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community. Under direct questioning from Laher, he said Young had no felony record and only had minor charges, like speeding tickets.
But since 2014, Young has been charged with at least 30 misdemeanors in city court, including three child restraint violations that were retired. She was also charged with simple assault on two different occasions for attacking her boyfriend’s former girlfriends. One charge was dropped, she was found not guilty of the other. Young currently owes Tupelo Municipal Court nearly $14,000 in unpaid fines.
Assistant District Attorney David Daniels called a single witness — Tupelo police detective Jacob Whitlock. He said the preliminary autopsy report showed Bogan died of multiple blunt force and thermal injuries. There were burns on his face from hot bath water. There were scarring and welts on his back and legs from Young whipping him with a switch. There were also burns on his buttocks.
“She initially said that was from a bicycle tire, but she later said she hit him with a curling wand because he used the bathroom on the floor and smeared it on the walls and floor,” Whitlock said.
The detective said the toxicology report showed the child had remnants of the synthetic opioid fentanyl in his blood. A state pathologist also said the child had broken ribs and brain bleed. Whitlock said Young admitted to living alone at the home with her children, and she never said anything to police about someone else abusing or injuring Bogan.
While the autopsy did not specify a timeline when the multiple injuries occurred, officials believe it was within the child’s final two months. Bogan had lived with and was cared for by an aunt for most of his life. Bogan only went to live with his mother full time at the end of November 2022. He died on Jan. 15.
If the grand jury indicts Young for capital murder, she could face the death penalty under state law.
Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre speaks with reporters prior
to his induction to the Mississippi Hall of Fame in Jackson, Miss.,
Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015.
Rogelio V. Solis I AP
JACKSON — A Mississippi judge has ruled against former NFL quarterback Brett Favre’s request to be removed from a civil lawsuit that attempts to recover misspent welfare money in one of the state’s largest public corruption cases.
Hinds County Circuit Judge E. Faye Peterson on Monday denied the former quarterback’s request to be dismissed from the litigation because she found his arguments were “unpersuasive and inapplicable.”
Prosecutors and investigators argue that millions of federal welfare dollars intended to help Mississippi’s poorest residents were instead wasted on projects promoted by wealthy or well-connected people, including Favre.
No criminal charges have been brought against the NFL Hall of Famer, although other people connected to the welfare scandal have pleaded guilty to federal and state charges.
The Mississippi Department of Human Services, which is responsible for disbursing the welfare dollars, last year civilly sued Favre and more than 30 other people or businesses to recoup money from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
The suit specifically accuses the former NFL quarterback of reaching a “handshake deal” with the University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation to provide necessary funds to build a new volleyball facility at the university.
But Favre, according to the documents, could not get enough donations from his athletics connections to cover the full cost of building the new facility. The former athlete instead turned to John Davis, former MDHS director, and Nancy New, director of the Mississippi Community Education Center, for funding. All agreed on a "sublease" where welfare dollars were allegedly used to finance the facility’s construction.
Federal regulations prohibit the federal dollars from being used to build brick-and-mortar facilities.
Favre’s attorneys argued the Department of Human Services is suing someone as famous as Favre to redirect attention from the agency’s own role in allowing the misspending to happen.
Kaytie Pickett, an outside attorney for the department, argued that Favre’s request amounted to a press release, rather than a sound legal argument.
Favre has also filed a defamation lawsuit against State Auditor Shad White and sports commentators Pat McAfee and Shannon Sharpe over comments the three figures have made about his role in the welfare scandal.
White and McAfee have asked the judges assigned to their cases to dismiss Favre’s suit. Sharpe has not responded to Favre’s initial complaint in court.
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