Mississippi troopers work 5 traffic fatalities over Labor Day weekend

Mississippi Highway Patrol Master Sgt. Johnny Poulos

News Briefs From Across The State

By Lonnie Ross

Mississippi Highway Patrol Master Sgt. Johnny Poulos

Officers deal with deaths and write 163 DUIs over holiday weekend

JACKSON, Mississippi — The Mississippi Highway Patrol says it wrote 163 DUI citations over the Labor Day holiday weekend and worked 135 accidents, with five fatalities.

Lt. Johnny Poulos, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol, released the figures Tuesday. Poulos said 51 people were injured in accidents worked by troopers over the holiday period.

Poulos says troopers suspect that alcohol was a factor in five of those collisions.

The enforcement period began Friday at 6 p.m. and ended Monday at midnight.

Troopers tallied 5,995 violations over the period.




Culex quinquefasciatus carries West Nile virus.

Mississippi reports 6 new cases of West Nile virus

JACKSON, Mississippi — The Mississippi State Department of Health says there are six new human cases of West Nile virus for 2013.

The reported cases are in Forrest, Hinds (3), Jones and Lamar counties, bringing the state total for 2013 to 23 cases, including one death.

So far this year, cases have been reported in Bolivar, Forrest (3), Hinds (7), Jones, Lamar (2), Leflore (2), Lincoln, Lowndes, Madison, Marion, Rankin (2) and Wayne counties. The MSDH only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public.

In 2012, Mississippi had 247 WNV cases and five deaths.

Psycamore mental health clinic zoning dispute with Ocean Springs headed for Mississippi Supreme Court

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Robert Krebs has overturned the Ocean Springs Board of Aldermen's decision to deny a use permit to the Psycamore mental health clinic to operate at this location on Iberville Drive. (file photo) (The Mississippi Press/Warren Kulo)

JACKSON, Mississippi — The Mississippi Supreme Court will referee a dispute between the city of Ocean Springs and a mental health clinic that wants to locate in the coastal city, according to The Associated Press.

The Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in the case for Sept. 16 in Jackson.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Robert Krebs ruled last December that the city erred in denying a use permit to the Psycamore mental health clinic.

The clinic wanted to locate in an area zoned C-3, or highway commercial area. The company has rented an old house that was converted to an office.

Neighbors have complained that C-4 would be a better zone for the clinic because it specifically allows hospital-related businesses. They expressed concern that the clinic would pose a danger to the area and bring down property values.

Clinic managers said they offer an intensive, day program for working clients dealing with stress and other disorders. They said they aren’t a rehab center, don’t treat the severely mentally ill and won’t have clients overnight.

In his ruling, Krebs said much of the argument by local residents who opposed the clinic was “more speculation than fact.”

In 2011, the Board of Aldermen voted 5-1 to deny Psycamore a certificate of occupancy and a use permit. The clinic claimed the area it wanted to operate in was zoned to allow medical clinics but the city contended it was a largely residential area.

The city also argued that partial hospitalization facilities — which is how Psycamore is described on its web site — are not medical clinics.

Psycamore officials argued that “partial hospitalization” is simply an industry term and that the company operates as a medical clinic.

Psycamore ultimately opened a clinic in Biloxi, but filed an appeal of the city’s decision in Circuit court, which led to Krebs’ ruling.

The case is among dozens before the Mississippi court in its September-October term. Other cases will be decided without oral argument. Among them are:

— Daniel Beasley’s appeal of his murder conviction in the death of his 73-year-old aunt in 2011. Beasley was convicted in Amite County in 2012 and given a life sentence. Prosecutors said the body of Janie Beasley Wilkinson was found in the back bedroom of her apartment in Liberty. Prosecutors say she had been beaten to death.

— Lisa Sandlin’s appeal of her murder conviction and life sentence in the shooting death of her step-son. Sandlin was convicted in Lee County in 2011. Prosecutors said Kirk Sandlin died of a shotgun wound to the abdomen on Sept. 22, 2010, and that an argument led to the shooting.

— Entergy Mississippi’s efforts to quash a subpoena for customer information on 25,000 residents by the Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest. Last September, Circuit Judge John Emfinger denied Entergy’s request to quash the grand jury subpoena, which sought to open the business records. Entergy appealed.

Guest, who is representing the county tax assessor’s office, said the county wants nothing more than the address and name where the services are provided as part of an ongoing investigation into homestead exemption fraud.

Entergy said the county’s subpoena request is “an impermissible fishing expedition that seeks confidential (Entergy) data for general inquiry purposes that are not based on probable cause as to a crime that may have been committed by any particular identifiable person or group of persons.”