Round 1 done
in municipal voting
Northeast Mississippians made their primary choices Tuesday as the municipal election process began in most communities.
In Tupelo, the mayoral primaries went according to script, with Jack Reed Jr. easily winning the Republican primary and Doyce Deas earning the Democratic nomination.
But incumbents were ousted in Pontotoc, where Jeff Stafford defeated three-term Mayor Bill Rutledge; in Okolona, with Louise Cole unseating Sherman Carouthers; in Baldwyn, which voted in Michael James over Danny Horton; and in Starkville, where Dan Camp finished third in a three-person primary behind Matt Cox and Parker Wiseman.
In Tupelo, turnout was below that of the 2005 elections, possibly because the mayoral primaries were less competitive than the contests four years ago.
Another reason could have been the realignment of the city’s wards for this year’s vote. The redrawn lines created confusion among voters who weren’t sure of their polling places.
Next up for candidates and voters are the May 19, followed by the general election on June 2.
More on the elections, including runoff candidate, on Page 1A and XXXX.
A recess worked once to break one legislative logjam. Legislators expect it to work again on another.
The first time, the regular session recessed on April 1 to give House and Senate negotiators a chance to agree on an increase in the state cigarette tax.
They eventually landed on 50 cents per pack, and after returning to work Wednesday, both chambers approved the suggested tax.
But they got stuck again while trying to finish their work on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1.
One of the major sticking points is a tax on hospitals supported by Gov. Haley Barbour. Opponents of the tax argue that the state’s federal stimulus funds eliminate the need for the tax.
With the two sides at loggerheads, House and Senate leaders agreed to recess until May 26, leaving negotiators in Jackson to decide how state government will be funded in 2009-10.
Last defendant pleads
in Brown murder case
A final guilty plea brought an end to the legal proceedings surrounding the 2007 murder of Travis Brown.
Christopher Hughes pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison for the killing of Brown, a former Marine who worked for his mother and stepfather.
Brown, 27, died when he opened the door at a friend’s house, an unintended victim in an armed robbery attempt.
Five other people were sentenced earlier for their role in the shooting and robbery attempt.
Prayer Day crowd
meets at City Hall
The theme was “Prayer, America’s Hope,” and the participants showed that it was more than just a slogan.
Hundreds of people participated with heads bowed in Northeast Mississippi’s National Day of Prayer observances.
In Tupelo, about 150 people showed up outside City Hall, while First Baptist Church in Plantersville hosted about 50 participants. They prayed for unity, repentance and guidance.
“If the city and state government are going to get any better,” said the Rev. Tony Hereford of Living Word and Praise Sanctuary in Tupelo, “God has to do it.”