Calhoun County

Vardaman man dies in Highway 8 collision

VARDAMAN - A 72-year-old Vardaman man is dead after his truck collided with an 18-wheeler Friday.

Ronald L. Ramage was driving near the Vardaman city limits on Highway 8 around noon Friday when his 1992 Ford Ranger pickup collided with a 1999 Freightliner.

Ramage was alone in the pickup, and the driver of the Freightliner was not injured.

The wreck is under investigation by the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

Lowndes County

TVA eyes Columbus area for $25M plant

COLUMBUS - The Tennessee Valley Authority wants to a build a $25 million plant in Lowndes County that uses chemicals to produce power like a battery, a TVA spokesman said.

A plant, using the so-called Regenesys system, would be the first of its kind in the United States, said Terry Kemp, senior manager of TVA's customer service and economic division in Starkville.

Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce President Jack Marshall said the new plant should "enhance industrial recruitment by offering an abundant supply of electricity."

The northern end of Lowndes County has been studied as a potential construction site, including property at Columbus Air Force Base.

Region

Woman sentenced in teacher test scheme

LITTLE ROCK - A Little Rock woman was sentenced Friday to three years of probation for her role in a scheme to help teachers cheat on a licensing exam.

Linda Easter will serve one of the three years in home detention and 30 days in a halfway house under the sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr.

The former Philander Smith College employee pleaded guilty on Dec. 18. to wire fraud charges. In 1999, she agreed to cooperate with the FBI allowing agents to monitor telephone calls between her and two others accused in the scheme.

Ten people were indicted in the scheme. The fraud involved test-takers from Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. Some people took the Praxis test to become certified as new teachers. Others took the test to gain certification in a new area.

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