Sears store closing in Gautier

News Briefs From Across The State

By Monica Land

Stores in Columbus and Jackson also closed

The Sears and Sears Auto Center in Gautier will be closed for good in mid-October.

Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications with Sears Corporation, said in a press release received by The Sun Herald the store will begin a liquidation sale July 26.

Riefs says the 71 employees will have an opportunity to apply at other Sears and Kmart stores in the area.

He says store closures are part of a series of actions the company is taking to reduce ongoing expenses.

The news comes on the heels of an announcement of mall redevelopment, where Singing River Mall will be transformed into an open-air shopping center as part of Gautier’s new town center.

Sears stores in Columbus and Jackson have also closed recently.

Man pleads guilty to abusive sexual contact

Gurdy Farmer  Jr., 25, of Choctaw, pleaded guilty in federal court this month to abusive sexual contact of a minor, U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis announced.

The offense occurred within the boundaries of the Tribal Lands of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

Farmer will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate on September 19, and faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Choctaw Police Department.

Barbour-pardoned man wants name cleared

A Vicksburg man has asked a Warren County judge to wipe clean his criminal record.

Clarence Jones received an indefinite suspension of his life sentence and was released from prison in 2004 from Gov. Ronnie Musgrove. Jones had served as trusty at the Governor’s Mansion. He was pardoned by Gov. Haley Barbour in 2008.

The Vicksburg Post reports that in asking Circuit Judge M. James Chaney for an expungement, Jones want the conviction removed from is criminal record. Jones, now 46, had been convicted in 1992 in the stabbing death of his ex-girlfriend, 22-year-old Clara M. Smith.

However, prosecutors told Chaney during a hearing this week that murder is not included among the expungeable offenses listed in state law regardless of a gubernatorial pardon.

Goble fraud trial is set for October

The trial of a Georgia businesswoman on federal charges of paying bribes to a former superintendent of schools in Greenville, has been rescheduled for Oct. 7 in Oxford.

The Delta Democrat Times reports that Edna Goble’s attorneys had sought time to review more documents provided by the government. Her trial had been set for July 22 in Oxford.

Goble, of Conyers, Ga., faces 10 counts of providing things of value to former superintendent Harvey Franklin Sr. in exchange for a consulting contract with the Greenville Public School District. She has pleaded not guilty.

Franklin pleaded guilty last August to accepting $47,000 in bribes from Goble. He has not been sentenced. He resigned last May.

Goble is founder and president of Teach Them to Read Inc., a reading-intervention company.

Building permits up in Olive Branch

Olive Branch could be on track to issue more single-family building permits this year than in six years.

The Commercial Appeal reports Olive Branch issued more single-family building permits through June – 80 of them – than during the same period last year. Last year, 54 had been issued.

If Olive Branch, which issued 140 single-family building permits in 2012, does as well during the second half of this year, the number would still not rival its record. The record was 693 permits in 2005.

B.J. Page, Olive Branch planning director, said the figures indicate the city’s permit applications will finish a little bit ahead for the year.

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