News Briefs From Across The State
By Monica Land
Details about drownings being withheld
Marion County officials are releasing few details about a weekend drowning incident that left two adults and a young child dead.
The Hattiesburg American reports County Coroner Norma Williamson identified the victims as 44-year-old Juan Rodriguez, 23-year-old Samantha Shell and 18-month-old Waylon Shell.
Sheriff Berkley Hall says authorities received a 911 call Sunday after a woman noticed two unattended children on the bank of a local swimming hole.
Hall says the bodies of the three victims were found in the water, but he declined to release any more details about the incident.
No injuries from grass fire in Pontotoc Co.
A grass fire spread and eventually scorched more than 35 acres in Pontotoc County on Monday. No injuries were reported.
Beckham Assistant Fire Chief Donnie McCarty tells WTVA that one home was scorched and stained by the flames.
McCarty says what started the fire has not been determined.
He says the wind and dry conditions have made grassy areas almost like a “tinder box.”
Those weather conditions are expected to continue. McCarty says firefighters are recommending a burn ban for Pontotoc County.
The Pontotoc County Board of Supervisors could take up the burn ban issue on Friday. In the meantime, firefighters are asking residents not to burn anything.
Rikard won’t seek re-election
Olive Branch Mayor Sam Rikard will not run for re-election next year.
Rikard tells the Commercial Appeal that after 16 years as mayor, he is looking forward to having more time for family. The 58-year-old Rikard served eight years as alderman before being elected to a first term as mayor in 1997.
Olive Branch has only had three mayors since 1961. Clay Herrington and Milton Nichols preceded Rikard.
Rikard expects to remain involved in politics behind the scenes. He does not expect to endorse anyone publicly for the job he has held all these years.
Hazardous waste program receives grant
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has given Harrison County a $22,000 grant for its household hazardous waste collection program.
Harrison County has run a household hazardous waste collection program since 1995, collecting more than 300 tons of hazardous waste that otherwise might have been improperly discarded and could have polluted the environment.
The Sun Herald reports the county was the first in the state to create such a program and the first to create a permanent collection site.
Its program has been recognized with awards and has served as an example for other counties.
The program accepts household waste such as paint, batteries, oil, gas and tires, old electronics and small appliances, refrigerators and microwaves and fluorescent light bulbs.
2 charged in burglary of FBI vehicle
Two Hattiesburg men are accused of stealing guns, ammunition and a bulletproof vest with FBI placards from an FBI vehicle parked outside an agent’s house.
The Hattiesburg American reports that federal court documents show Cameron Undrae Eatmon was arrested at Fort Benning, Ga., where he was in basic training, and has been ordered back to Mississippi.
It also said 18-year-old Chris Rhyan Burkett was arrested Saturday on a state burglary charge. A sworn statement by agent Nathan Lewis Songer says Burkett implicated Eatmon.
Eatmon is accused of theft of government property worth more than $1,000, and possession, concealment, storage, bartering, selling and disposal of stolen firearms and ammunition.
Songer’s affidavit says the equipment was found missing on June 6.