BRIEF – CARLOCK TO D.C.

LEE COUNTY

Carlock promotes

help for veterans

n Dennis Carlock of Tupelo, commander of the local American Legion post, was part of a Mississippi delegation in Washington, D.C. recently to lobby for veterans’ health care funding.

He also urged Mississippi’s congressmen to support other veterans issues pending before the 109th Congress.

“VA health care is a delayed cost of war, a small price to pay for the sacrifice of all who have sworn with their lives to protect our freedoms,” Carlock said in Washington.

He also urged the Veterans Administration to rethink its strategy on how veterans pay for health care.

MONROE COUNTY

Mother, child still critical after fire

n ABERDEEN – Cassandra Armstrong and her daughter, Cailin Brown, 8, remain in critical condition in an Augusta, Ga., hospital from injuries sustained in a deadly February house fire.

Two of her other children died of their injuries – Caleasha Brown, 4, and 17-month-old sister Caliyha, according to Monroe County Coroner Alan Gurley.

The fire started when Armstrong attempted to use gasoline in the bathtub to kill lice, said Aberdeen Fire Chief Frank Gladney. The water heater’s flame ignited with the fumes, causing an explosion.

Armstrong and the children were in the bathroom at the time of the explosion.

HINDS COUNTY

Pickering will face

opponent in November

n JACKSON – It appears U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., will face a challenger in the general election, after all.

The secretary of state’s office released a list of candidates on Wednesday, the qualifying deadline for this year’s elections, but Jim Giles’ name was omitted.

Giles, of Pearl, qualified to run in the Third Congressional District in January 2005, David Blount, spokesman for the secretary of state, said Thursday.

“This points out what we consider to be a quirk in the law. While there is a qualifying deadline that closes a qualifying period, there’s no opening of the period,” Blount said. “Generally, people who run for office in 2006, they qualify in 2006.”

Giles will run as an independent against Pickering, who won election in 1996.

Party candidates qualify for elections by paying a fee, Blount said. Independents must get at least 200 signatures, he said.

Party primaries are June 6. The general election is Nov. 7.