Wilk-Amite saw several court battles last year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Triumph, tragedy, politics and progress are elements that shaped the top news stories from Wilkinson and Amite Counties in 2003. Following is a recap of some of the year’s top events:


4After fighting his dismissal for more than a year, Amite County High School Principal Charlie Floyd was reinstated in October.

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A judge ruled the Amite County School Board failed to properly consider testimony in Floyd’s appeal hearing.

4Following new construction and renovations to existing buildings, the William Winans campus in Centreville was re-opened by the Wilkinson County School District in August as a middle school.

The school had been vacant since 1990.

4Facing a low enrollment and mounting debt, stockholders at Pine Hills Academy in Gloster voted in November to close the school after 33 years.

Forty-one students have since enrolled in a Christian home-schooling program at the campus.


4Wilkinson County supervisors voted 3-1 in September to cut the county’s property tax rate by 6 mills.

The tax reduction means the county will operate with $276,000 less revenue during the 2004 fiscal year.

A third of the cut was taken from the county-wide road fund.

4A close race for District 2 Supervisor in Wilkinson County landed in court after challenger Richard Hollins complained that absentee and affidavit ballots were improperly rejected in an Aug. 26 runoff election.

Though incumbent Supervisor Kirk Smith was certified the winner by local officials, a Hinds County judge later ruled Hollins the winner after hearing testimony in the case.

The Mississippi Supreme Court has agreed to hear Smith’s appeal.

4The Town of Woodville was awarded a $131,750 grant by the Delta Regional Authority in April to build a multi-purpose community center. The center will include space for the police department, municipal court and a town meeting room.

The grant requires $10,000 in local matching funds.


4An Amite County jury found Jennifer Bordelon guilty of felonious child abuse in October for failing to protect her 12-year-old daughter, Courtney LeBlanc.

Courtney had complained that her stepfather, convicted sex-offender Gerald Bordelon, had molested her when the family lived near Gloster.

Gerald Bordelon was later accused of murdering Courtney in Louisiana.

Calling her a mother &uot;in name only,&uot; Sixth Circuit Judge Forrest Johnson sentenced Jennifer Bordelon to a suspended five-year term and ordered her to write a letter of apology to Courtney each year on the child’s birthday.

Those letters must be filed with the court.


4Amite County native Darrah Johnson became Mississippi’s first contestant on the CBS reality TV show Survivor.

Johnson, a 22 year-old mortician, thrilled her family and friends by winning three straight immunity challenges and remaining in the competition until the show’s final episode.

4With a $375,00 grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, construction began on the Centreville Museum.

Located in downtown Centreville, the museum will focus on the local history of Camp Van Dorn, an Army base near Centreville where 40,000 soldiers trained during World War II.


4The Wilkinson County Industrial Development Authority announced plans for a 166-acre recreational park along U. S. 61 north of Woodville.

Touting the project as a means of diversifying the area’s economy, officials said plans for the park include fishing lakes, hiking trails, a rodeo area and amphitheater.

The project will be funded in phases by two federal grant sources.

4Under an agreement between Wilkinson County, the state Department of Environmental Quality and local landowners, area fishermen will forever have access to sport fishing in Foster Lake.

Fishermen must enter the lake legally through navigable waterways or with permission from landowners.