1. Double heartache hits Attala County – In two days, Attala County was hit with the deaths of two very community-driven men. On May 6, Kosciusko Medical Clinic’s Dr. Gary Holdiness, 54, was killed on the Natchez Trace Parkway when he was struck by a vehicle. An investigation continues into the case. On May 7, Attala County Sheriff William Lee, 59, died of organ failure in a Jackson hospital.
2. Leonard’s shuts doors – After 107 years in business, Leonard’s Department Store in Downtown Kosciusko closed its doors in June. Chevas Thompson, owner for the past several years, has closed the doors after holding a sale to liquidate the stock.
3. Choctaw County Schools consolidation – The Choctaw County School Board modified its consolidation plan in October during a special called meeting in Ackerman, voting to close Weir High School. Students will attend Ackerman High School. CCSB is waiting to hear from the Justice Department on the matter.
4. MJMH opens new wing – The doors to the new east wing addition of Montfort Jones Memorial Hospital officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, May 11. The entire project included renovation of 20,000 square feet of the hospital’s existing space and the addition of 60,000 square feet, costing $18.5 million.
5. Sharkey murdered in county – Two Attala County men have been charged with murder following the Saturday after noon shooting death of Cedric Montae Sharkey, 24, of Sallis. According to Sheriff William Lee, Barry Ware, 42, and Frankie Barber, 52, both white males, were taken into custody following the incident. The case is still awaiting trial.
6. KHS student named Gates scholar – Kosciusko High School senior Juan Rodriguez was chosen as one of 1,000 students selected nation-wide as a Gates Millennium Scholar in May. He thought he had a “good shot” at getting the scholarship, which is considered a “full-ride” to the school of his choice and includes an undergraduate college degree and graduate degree.
7. Sagging pants – In September, the City of Kosciusko has followed a trend of Mississippi municipalities and outlawed “sagging pants” by passing an ordinance prohibiting public indecency during their meeting at City Hall. Kosciusko Mayor Jimmy Cockroft said there was a lot of public support for the ordinance.
8. Trial date set in Tavarse case – The man accused of murdering Danny Tavares was transported from Shelby County, Tenn., to the Attala County Jail in September by Kosciusko Police Department and the Attala County Sheriff’s Department. Theodus Barnett was served with the indictment of the 2007 murder. Barnett was charged in February 2011 after the evidence collected at the car dealership linked him to the crime. A trial date of February 4 has been set.
9. Mrs. Kelly restored – Laura Mitchell Kelly’s hand has been restored – to the statue marking her grave in the Kosciusko City Cemetery on South Huntington Street. For a time, the statue was marred by the missing hand and a portion of the anchor to which it was attached. Thanks to a number of Kosciusko residents and others interested in the preservation of the cemetery landmark and the story surrounding it, Laura Kelly has regained her right hand.
10. Splash pad opens – The new children’s water play area was opened on September 21 at Jason Niles Park in Kosciusko with a ribbon cutting. The splash pad, a designated area with water springing upward from portals in the concrete area, cost approximately $150,000. Monies came from a bond issue for city park improvements. The area was designated for children ages 12 and under. Picnic tables and benches will be placed in the open-air pavilion that features restrooms and ceiling fans.