Monday, July 06, 2015
   
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The Tunica Times • P.O. Box 308/986 Magnolia Street, Tunica, MS 38676

Tunica Times

Town, county wait to hear judge’s ruling

After a half a day of proceedings on June 18, Judge Henry Lackey said he would first review the transcript and then issue a ruling, the initial skirmish in a battle among three local entities for gaming tax revenue.

Last week’s hearing brought attorneys and witnesses to the Tunica County Courthouse to present their arguments on motions for injunctive relief from Tunica County and also filed on behalf of the Town of Tunica.

The town asked the judge to order the county to pay the gaming taxes it has withheld since last fall and to resume paying the town its share of a 3.2 percent local tax assessed on gaming. The county asked the judge to rule that it does not have to pay the town or the school while their lawsuit makes its way through the courts.


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Board splits over Chandler evaluation

On June 10, the Board of Education awarded Superintendent Steve Chandler a perfect evaluation for the year 2014. Some say it was justified while others say it was undeserved.

Board president Tomaka Henderson Cotton said the board followed a model used by the Mississippi School Boards Association and that the evaluation covers a calendar year, instead of school year. Board members were each given a copy of the evaluation to fill out in December 2014, according to minutes from the Board of Education’s Dec. 10 meeting.

In their April 8 meeting, the board took up the matter in executive session. Cotton said District 1 school board member Marilyn Young recused herself from the discussion. Participating members were: Cotton, Larry Braziel of District 3, Delois Hardiman of District 4 and Rev. Joe Anderson of District 5.

Three of the four, Cotton, Anderson and Hardiman, awarded Chandler satisfactory marks in all areas. Braziel gave Chandler unsatisfactory marks in all areas. The board utilized the ratings from the majority of the members, giving Chandler an overall evaluation of excellent for 2014, Cotton said.

Young said in a recent interview she did not recuse herself but told members that she would not participate in the awarding of a perfect evaluation. She said she did not have her evaluation with her on April 8 because she brought it to several previous meetings  and the matter was not discussed.


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Kirkland tapped for Coaches’ Hall of Fame

The winningest boys basketball coach in Rosa Fort High School history will be tapped into the 2015 class of the Mississippi Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Gerone Kirkland, who led the RFHS Lions to state titles in 1985 and 1995, is one of five inductees to be honored at the MAC’s annual Hall of Fame Banquet at 6 p.m. tonight (Friday, June 26, 2015) at the Hilton Hotel in Jackson, MS.

Other 2015 honorees are Ronnie Cuevas, Doug Hutton, Brenda Lewis and Robert Williams.

Coach Kirkland led championship boys basketball teams at Central High in Coffeeville, Rosa Fort High in Tunica and H. W. Byers High in Holly Springs. A native of Carthage, he was an All-State basketball player for Harmony Vocational High and has the distinction of being selected to the state’s first ever All-Star team in 1961.

His coaching career spanned 40 years, from 1965 to 2006, and began at Central High in Coffeeville, where he guided his team to a district title.


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Hercules

Hampstead Stage players mesmerize over 90 children and adults at a June 23 performance of “Hercules and the Heroes” at the R.C. Irwin Library in Tunica.


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Supervisor candidate debates nearing final installment on July 7

What could have been the largest debate in the county thus far with eight candidates vying for the seat of District 2 Supervisor ended up being yet another sparsely-attended event with less than half of the candidates showing up to present their platforms and debate matters on June 8 at the G.W. Henderson, Sr. Recreation Center.


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Lynn Henson, Barbara Tuchel, and Edward Walls were the only candidates of the eight on the ballot to participate, as Michael Eugene Johnson, Rodney Foster, Perry Turner, Robert Leflore Jr., and Major Taylor Jr. did not attend the event.

And, once again, the event organizer, Pastor Roman Fullilove, publicly expressed his disappointment with the low turnout of candidates.

“You put your name on the ballot, you need to be here,” he said.

Nevertheless, members of the panel, Janie Bonds and Yvonne Herring, went forth with questions for the three candidates present and raised several concerns including the county budget, unemployment, and community development.

County Finances

Herring presented the first question of the debate, and it focused directly on the county budget.  Tuchel suggested that the county stop allowing tax abatements and expand its economy to include distribution companies.

Herring also asked if the current millage rate was sufficient to fund public education.  Walls responded that the rate is essential to increasing productivity in children but did not clearly answer if the rate was sufficient.

“I think it needs to be addressed.   I think it needs to be tapped into.  Yes, I do,” he said.

As a part of his response to Bonds’s question about his primary focus, Henson said expenditure cutbacks is something he wants to immediately review if elected.

“We need to prioritize,” he said.  “Look at the money we have, use that money wisely.”

Unemployment

When Herring asked about unemployment, all the candidates expressed some interest in being more selective about the stipulations for companies invited to build in the county.

“We need not write any more plans for companies to come here that do not hire our citizens,” Tuchel said.

Walls said accountability measures need to be in place for those companies to train Tunicans.

“Take care of home first,” he said.

Community Development

Bonds asked about community development efforts, to which Tuchel responded that a community is currently in the process of being built.

However, Henson pointed out that medical facilities, the local utility district, roads, sewer, gas, and water are all matters that need attention to further develop communities.

Though it wasn’t clear if the question stemmed from community development concerns, the last inquiry for the evening came from the audience. Candidates were asked if they intend to do what’s best for the county or make decisions based on the majority of the board.

“I can’t say that I will always go with the majority,” Henson said.

“I’m not going to vote in favor of anything that’s not in the best interest of Tunica County,” Walls said.

“I believe in one person, one vote.  I will vote for the best thing for the county as whole,” Tuchel said.

The next debate is for District 1 Supervisor, and it’s scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on July 7 at the Robinsonville Community Center.

   

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