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All of the National Guard’s AH-64 Apache helicopters are scheduled to go to the active Army, apparently including Apaches based at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Tupelo, but the decision is not a popular one, several national news sources report.
There’s nothing the Guard’s top brass can do about it.
“None of us like what we’re having to do,” National Guard Chief Gen. Frank Grass told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 8, the military website Defense One reported. “My big concern right now is figuring out how I’m going to move, and how many states I’m going to have an impact on, and what’s the cost of facilities and to retrain pilots. I’ve got to tackle that because the decision’s been made.”
The Apaches lost to the active Army, it was reported, will be replaced by Black Hawk and Lakota helicopters redeployed from the active Army.
Phone calls to the Tupelo facility about the decision were not immediately returned, and the state spokesman for National Guard affairs was not immediately available for comment.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation has planned a “regional dialogue” at The Link Centre in Tupelo on April 22 to discuss “mobility” issues – more precisely defined as various kinds of bus service that might be needed in the area.
The event at the Link Centre Reception Hall, 1800 W. Main St., begins at 10 a.m. and continues in several 90-minute intervals until 6 p.m. The public transit division of Mississippi Department of Transportation will be available 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The target participants include local elected officials, business owners, human service organizations, students and other people who have interest in those transportation/mobility issues.
The session is designed to provide information about regional community/public transportation and give the public a chance to discuss mobility options with MDOT transit professionals. The meeting will not deal with highway or railroad issues.
MDOT’s Kenny Foote said, “The meeting will be centered around a needs assessment of the region through the community’s input. That input will help build visibility of the geographical areas where public transportation can be improved and where MDOT can assist; e.g., helping a transit organization build a new maintenance facility for repairing transit vehicles or bringing transit routes to areas where it was previously unavailable. There are a few examples where meetings such as these have had a huge impact on communities – such as Oxford, Natchez and Choctaw, Miss.”
Foote said funding “is not part of these discussions.”
Several cited programs in the division’s brochure include specialized functions for smaller cities like Tupelo, which has an active working group dealing with bus transit but which has not made concrete recommendations.
The brochure also describes programs that could help older people and those with disabilities.
Other programs cited deal with purchase of equipment, transit management and rural transit.
It also lists an Appalachian Regional Commission program for public transit assistance, but ARC Mississippi executive Mike Armour in Tupelo said he is not familiar with the program.
MDOT is doing its job in scheduling the series of meetings about mobility/transit issues, but the general problem nationwide is that government funds for transit programs don’t stretch far enough or often don’t last long enough.
Finding out about the programs, however, is the only way to access them.
If the lingering cloud cover prevented you from seeing Tuesday morning’s “blood moon,” a total lunar eclipse where the moon turns a copper color due to sunlight filtering through the Earth’s atmosphere before going completely dark, there’s plenty of video of it to be found online. Granted it’s not the same as being there but, quite frankly, if you’ve seen one total lunar eclipse you’ve pretty much seen them all.
And you’ll have three more chances to catch a repeat over the next year, an unusual occurrence known as a tetrad where four “blood moons” happen within a year. The next occurs Oct. 8 and then two more on April 4 and Sept. 28 of next year. The next tetrad won’t come around until 2032.
If you’ve never seen a total lunar eclipse before, it’s worth staying up for. The videos don’t do them justice. However, if you have, there are lots more things even more interesting to see “out there.”
For instance, while most people start their day by booting up their computer and checking their email, Facebook page or catching up on the latest news, I start my day by going to Mars. I know what you’re thinking, “Why don’t you just stay there?” Well, because I have to visit Mars vicariously each morning through the rover Curiosity, which just completed its first year of driving around the Red Planet.
I start each day by clicking on the raw images link on the Mars Science Laboratory’s website, mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/.
Then, as I enjoy that first cup of coffee of the day I get to peruse the images Curiosity has sent back from the previous day, usually hundreds of them in black and white and color and often in 3D. I get to play explorer, checking out the latest views the small SUV-sized rover is seeing as it makes it way toward its ultimate destination, Mt. Sharp. Each morning I think I’ll be the first to catch that first glimpse of a Martian hiding behind a rock or a gas station Curiosity can pull into for some new wheels, the old ones are getting pretty worn. When I don’t – and I haven’t – I’ll Photoshop a picture of Marvin the Martian from Looney Tunes into an image just for fun.
But it’s something new and different every day from Mars. And just the thought that someone here on Earth is driving that thing is incredible given that the terrain it’s in has more hazards than Augusta. I sometime play backseat driver thinking I’ve spotted a shortcut to Mt. Sharp although it’s probably lucky I’m not driving since I’d likely get the thing stuck in some dead end.
So if this week’s lunar eclipse piqued your curiosity in the cosmic neighborhood and, unlike lunar eclipses which have been viewed and photographed for years, add the Curiosity website to your morning checklist. Who knows, you might be the first to spot Marvin.
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Special to the Journal
PONTOTOC – The division-leading Pontotoc Warriors were not getting the hits they felt they should be getting in the early innings Tuesday.
But some late inning heroics by Delvin Zinn, Will Howard, and Jacob White turned base runners into runs and the Warriors pulled out a 5-4 victory over Amory.
The Warriors scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to maintain its Division 1-4A top spot.
“We’d had base runners early, but couldn’t get the hit,” Pontotoc head coach Casey James said. “The boys never gave up.”
In the midst of a rebuilding season, the Panthers (6-17, 3-4) were trying to insert themselves in the playoff hunt early. Amory plated four runs in the fourth inning, which included a bases loaded walk to Austin Grubbs and an RBI hit by Drake Wallace for a 4-0 lead.
“To sum up the season, we do not do anything easy,” Amory head coach Chad Williams said.
Pontotoc (13-7, 6-1) bats became effective in the fifth inning, with Zinn producing a two-run hit to cut the Amory lead in half. Amory starting pitcher Cole Robinson basically held the Warriors in check for six innings, striking out 11 over that span.
But in the bottom of the seventh, Pontotoc loaded the bases with one out, and Howard delivered a two-run hit to tie the score. Then with the bases loaded again, Whte delivered the game-winner past a diving third baseman.
That made a winner of Hayden Kennedy for Pontotoc, who relieved Ryan Watts in the fifth inning.
“I thought Hayden Kennedy stepped in a pressure spot for us,” James said.
Both teams continue division play Thursday at Amory.
MADISON – Mississippi State successfully defended its BancorpSouth Intercollegiate tournament championship with a strong finish on Tuesday at the Reunion Golf Course.
The Bulldogs jumped over 12 teams by shooting 1-under par on the back nine.
“I am so proud of this team for the way they battled today,” Coach Clay Homan said. “On a day where it was so easy to get frustrated and lose focus, we showed a tremendous amount of determination.”
MSU finished at 12-over 588. No. 15 Vanderbilt was second at 592 and No., 10 Houston was third at 593. Ole Miss finished fourth at 596.
Bulldogs senior Axel Boasson (74-71–145) finished in a tie for fourth. Fellow senior Joe Sakulpolphaisan (73-73–146) tied for seventh.
Also: senior Chad Ramey (Fulton; 73-79–152), sophomore Ben Wood (81-71–152) and senior Barrett Edens (76-77–153).
“I believe our maturity and senior leadership made a huge difference today,” Homan said of the comeback.
Pep Angles (73-68–141) was the medalist. For Ole Miss, Blake Morris (71-73–144) finished in a tie for second.
Southern Miss finished in a tie for seventh at 604.
Heavy rains postponed the opening round until noon on Monday, forcing tournament officials to shorten the Intercollegiate into 36 holes.
The SEC championship is next week at St. Simons Island, Ga.
Los Angeles Times (MCT)
Not a perfect finish for the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.
On Tuesday evening, Boston police evacuated Boylston Street near the marathon’s usual finish line and took an unidentified man into custody after two suspicious backpacks were left lying on the street.
Shortly before the evacuation, local media posted video of a barefoot male wearing a black veil and a floppy black hat marching toward the marathon’s finish line carrying a large, heavy-looking backpack while shouting, “Boston strong! Boston strong!”
“Boston strong” is, of course, the slogan popularized after last year’s April 15 bombings at the marathon, which killed three people and wounded at least 260; the two bombs used in that attack were pressure cookers concealed in backpacks.
Earlier Tuesday, the finish line had been packed with mourners marking the anniversary of the attack.
But as of Tuesday evening, police had cleared the site to examine the backpacks.
The bomb squad was on the scene, and police asked the news media not to show live images of the backpacks, citing officer safety.
After investigating, Boston police decided to safely blow up the bags “for precautionary reasons,” according to a statement made on the police’s Twitter account. It was not immediately clear whether the bags contained any explosives.
The National Weather office in Memphis has issued a freeze warning for all of Northeast Mississippi’s counties, beginning at 1 a.m. Wednesday and extending until 9 a.m.
The temperature is expected to fall to 31 degrees or lower, posing a threat to young vegetation.
The NWS archives show that the latest freeze in Tupelo was recorded on May 4, 1976.
Unseasonably cold temperatures could drop temperatures in some normally colder areas into the mid-20s, and frost is expected.
By Antonio Gonzalez
AP Sports Writer
BERKELEY, Calif. – A more relaxed fan base, milder weather and a chance to coach at the top-rated public university in the country added up to Cuonzo Martin making the decision to leave Tennessee for California.
Cal hired Martin as the 16th men’s basketball coach in school history Tuesday, a decision that stunned Volunteers administrators and players after he had reaffirmed his commitment to Tennessee just two weeks ago. Martin said it was a difficult move but the opportunity at Cal was too much to pass up.
“It’s a beautiful place. I got off the plane and I just said, ‘Ahhh,”’ Martin said during his introductory news conference in Berkeley. “I think it has a chance to be special here. I think that’s the most intriguing thing to me. It’s a place I could spend the rest of my life.”
Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour said Martin’s contract, which is still being finalized, is for five years. Financial details will be released at a later date.
Martin also said he will bring “quite a few” of his assistant coaches from Tennessee to Cal once his contract is complete.
Martin replaces Mike Montgomery, who retired last month after six seasons in Berkeley. Martin went 63-41 in three seasons at Tennessee, including a 24-13 mark and an appearance in the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament this season. He also was previously the coach at Missouri State.
Martin succeeds one of the most successful college coaches in the history of the San Francisco Bay Area. Montgomery finished his career with a 677-317 record, having also spent 18 years at Stanford and eight at Montana.
Replacing a revered coach is nothing new for Martin.
Martin, a 42-year-old native of East Saint Louis, Illinois, took over a Tennessee program under NCAA investigation in 2011 and has averaged 21 wins per year. But, at times, he struggled to escape the shadow of former coach Bruce Pearl, who led the Volunteers to NCAA tournament appearances in each of his six years on the job.
“For me, as a coach, your style is your style,” Martin said. “I don’t mind following guys. I like learning from guys.”
The decision left players, administrators and fans back in Knoxville stunned. Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said he didn’t know Martin was involved in the Cal job until they spoke Tuesday morning.
“We did have a conversation. He was very emotional,” Hart said. “The bottom line is he said in his heart he believed this was best for (him) and his family.”
Hart said he wishes Martin “nothing but success” at Cal and understands why he left after a “tough year.”
When Tennessee was struggling earlier this season, disgruntled fans started an online petition to bring back Pearl, who has since been hired by Auburn. Martin began to silence his critics when Tennessee revived its season by winning eight of nine games before falling 73-71 to Michigan in the Midwest Regional semifinals.
Martin also spoke with Marquette about its coaching vacancy a few weeks ago, but he pulled his name from consideration. Hart said soon afterward that the university was reworking Martin’s contract. Martin also released a statement through the university on April 1 reaffirming his position at Tennessee, saying “Tennessee is where I want to be. That has never changed.”
Two weeks later, it did.
Many of Martin’s former Tennessee players expressed support for the coach on Twitter. Some even referenced the fan backlash as a reason he left.
“Can’t treat people any kind of way and expect good in return,” wrote Vols guard Jordan McRae.
Martin, for his part, downplayed the petition. He said he didn’t pay attention to it at first, then tried to use it as motivation for his players during the season’s stretch run.
“They just woke up a hungry bear,” Martin said. “It wasn’t a big deal at all.”
Hart said he did not believe Martin left because of money. Martin was set to make $1.35 million the next two years, which ranked him in the bottom half of Southeastern Conference coaches, but Hart said Tennessee offered him a two-year extension worth $1.8 million in each of the next four years. Martin’s buyout option from Tennessee dropped from $2.6 million to $1.3 million on April 1.
Martin is not the only one changing his tune about Tennessee, either.
Kingsley Okoroh, a 7-foot-1 center originally from England who played this season for Westwind Preparatory Academy in Phoenix, announced on Twitter that he has switched his verbal commitment from Tennessee to California. Okoroh had verbally committed to Tennessee on Monday.
Martin previously served as coach at Missouri State, going 61-41 in three seasons, including win totals of 24 and 26 in his final two seasons. In 2010-11, Martin guided Missouri State to the regular-season Missouri Valley championship and was named the conference’s Coach of the Year.
As a player, Martin earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 1995 at Purdue when he averaged 18.4 points per game and made 91 3-pointers. After playing two seasons in the NBA, he served on the staff at his alma mater from 2000-08 — first as an assistant coach under Gene Keady and in his final year as associate head coach.
AP Sports Writer Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tenn., contributed to this story.
By Bill Draper
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Kansas prosecutors filed state-level murder charges Tuesday against the white supremacist accused in shootings that left three people dead at two Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City.
Frazier Glenn Cross has been charged with one count of capital murder for the deaths of 14-year-old boy and his grandfather outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said at a news conference. Cross also faces one count of first-degree, premeditated murder for the death of a woman who was gunned down while visiting her mother at a nearby retirement complex.
The capital murder charge carries the death penalty as possible punishment, Howe said. Cross is being held on $10 million bond, and is scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in Johnson County District Court.
Cross, a 73-year-old Vietnam War veteran from southwest Missouri, founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in his native North Carolina and later the White Patriot Party. His activities have long drawn the attention of hate-group monitors, and federal prosecutors say there’s enough evidence to warrant putting the case before a grand jury as a hate crime. Moving the case from state to federal prosecutors would likely mean tougher punishments if Cross is convicted.
He’s suspected of killing 69-year-old physician William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, outside the community center of Greater Kansas City. Both were Methodist.
Moments later, Terri LaManno, a 53-year-old Catholic occupational therapist and mother of two, was gunned down outside a Jewish retirement complex where she was visiting her mother.
Cross shouted “Heil Hitler” at television cameras as he was arrested. Sunday’s killings shocked the city on the eve of Passover and refocused attention on the nation’s problem with race-related violence.
ABERDEEN – Monroe County has been named as the defendant in a complaint filed in Monroe County Circuit Court.
Plaintiff Joshua Brook Page, of Aberdeen, alleges that unnamed Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies tackled him to the ground, placed him in handcuffs and proceeded to mercilessly beat him while calling him an obscenity, according to the complaint.
The incident allegedly occurred Oct. 17, 2012, after deputies were dispatched to Page’s residence for an alleged domestic dispute call where Page was standing in the backyard.
The court order was filed Dec. 20, 2013, and the board of supervisors was informed last week that the county had been served.
The complaint continues to claim deputies covered Page’s head and face with a sweatshirt so that his family would not see the damage they had inflicted.
According to the complaint, Page suffered severe injuries from the beating including fractures to his head, chipped and loosened teeth and swelling and bruises in multiple locations.
Page is asking for actual damages in an amount to be determined by a jury, but no less than $500,000. He is further asking for actual and punitive damages against the individual defendants in an amount to be determined by a jury.
T.K. Moffett is the attorney for Page.
A lawsuit is only one side of a legal assessment.