APRIL 26: Updated Flood info
Tunica County will open a shelter at the G.W. Henderson Recreation Center, 1165 Abbay Drive, at 6 p.m. today to Tunica Cut-off residents displaced by Mississippi River floodwaters. Evacuees should bring their personal bedding, towels, toiletries and medications.
At a meeting at the Emergency Operations Center Monday night, Emergency Coordinator Randy Stewart said the most recent updates forecast a crest of 45 feet at Memphis on May 10.
Various facilities at Tunica's Paul Battle Arena are available to evacuees: more than 34 RV spaces with hook-ups; showers at the south end of the arena complex; and stalls for house pets and other domestic animals in the barn area. Pet owners are responsible for food, water and clean-up. Cut-off residents wishing to avail any of these services should come to the arena's third floor to fill out paperwork. Call Steve Sosebee during regular business hours at 363-3299 or call the EOC after hours.
A Sheriff's Department command center has been established in the polling place at the base of the levee off Fox Island Rd. Evacuees can check at the command center for bulletins. Security is also being provided at that location.
Storage for evacuees' personal belongings is being offered at the old Pillowtex building; call Lyn Arnold at the Chamber of Commerce, 662-363-2865. Jimmy Eubanks has also proffered storage space; come to Tunica Pharmacy to make those arrangements.
The levee will close to vehicular traffic beginning Friday, April 29.
Breaking News: County on top of rising water
Tunica County supervisors have declared a state of emergency effective April 25, giving officials broad authority to take actions "deemed necessary," in the face of worsening forecasts for flooding along the Mississippi River.
Emergency Coordinator Randy Stewart met with representatives from Tunica Cut-off on Saturday and will meet again Monday at 6 p.m. at the Emergency Operations Center on Highway 61 in Tunica.
Stewart said the Henderson Recreation Center will serve as a shelter for people displaced by flooding; the shelter could open as early as Tuesday. Stewart said the Red Cross has been contacted and that parking space has been readied for Cut-off residents at the base of the levee along Fox Island Road. Security is in place, he added.
Stewart said forecasts are being issued every 24 hours and that conditions are worsening. At this time, predictions are for a May 8 crest as high as 44 feet, some 10 feet above flood stage in Tunica County. Flood stage at Memphis is 34 feet.
The Mississippi and Ohio rivers are well above flood stage already at every National Weather Service station from Cincinnati, Ohio south to New Orleans, with a record high crest of 60 feet forecast at Cairo, IL.
Although a mandatory evacuation of Tunica Cut-off has not been issued, officials are strongly urging people to leave now. Access roads to the four camps will likely be under water by Thursday or Friday. Entergy will soon decide when to stop electrical service to the area.
Those needing updated information are asked to call the EOC at 662-363-4012 during regular business hours. Emergencies should continue to be reported to 911.
Sowers guilty on ten voter fraud counts
After two days of testimony and an hour of deliberation, a Tunica County jury returned a guilty verdict in the case against community activist Lessadolla Sowers.
Sowers was convicted of 10 counts of voter fraud and was sentenced to five years for each count. Circuit Court Judge Charles Webster ordered Sowers to serve her terms concurrently with no possibility of parole. She was also ordered to pay restitution and court costs.
The verdict came after the state presented evidence that Sowers committed voter fraud in the weeks leading up to the democratic primary in 2007.
In his opening remarks, prosecutor Bill Gresham said 31 absentee ballots were seized by the Mississipi Bureau of Investigation in 2007 after allegations of misconduct. Those 31 ballots led to 31 counts of voter fraud in the initial indictment against Sowers. During court proceedings, 21 counts were dropped for various reasons and 10 remained.
Lucky No. 11?
On the heels of announcements concerning a potential tenth casino in Tunica County, another investor group has started the process to build and open an eleventh gaming resort here.
GW/LUX Tunica Project LLC, a Seattle, WA-based company founded in 2008, this week placed a Notice of Intent to seek site approval for about 80 acres just east of Hollywood Casino on land owned by Shea Leatherman LLC and a gaming license for a proposed casino tentatively named Paradise Found, a four-star hotel, an indoor water park, a second on-site hotel geared toward families, a Kid’s Quest, movie theatre, bowling facility and entertainment center.
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