Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday, September 23

Saturdays in the Fall are reserved for College Football...Sundays are for the NFL. But this weekend, I have virtually no football to watch. My Golden Eagles play Tuesday night and this is the bye week for the Chiefs. Tuesday night will be the first chance I've had to watch Southern Miss play this year. I will get to go to a couple of games, I'll be taking two Saturdays off next month.

I haven't watched a whole lot of football today, but one of the games I did see a little bit of was the Colorado/Georgia game. Colorado led the Bulldogs 13-0 going into the 4th quarter. But thanks to two late touchdowns, Georgia came out on top. That would have been quite the upset for the Buffs. UGA is ranked ninth and undefeated. Colorado came in oh-for-three (one of those losses was to Division 1-AA Montana State).

Now, for a little news:

One story that we're continuing to follow occurred early this morning at the Shell Gas Station on Highway 19 North. Around 2:30 am, Meridian Police found the clerk dead in the store. She had been shot once in the chest. The investigation is still in its early stages, so there is no photograph of the suspect available yet. Keep watching WTOK for the latest in this case.

Some other news I covered this morning...

A benefit Poker Run was held in honor of Jackie Abercrombie today. The Meridian Police Officer lost his battle with cancer a little over a month ago. After a few early morning showers, the weather cooperated with the bikers and they were able to get going around ten.

Lauderdale County Volunteer Firefighters were out at the Training Facility finishing up some training on the Jaws of Life. For many of the people out there it was the first time that they had used the equipment.

The Choctaw Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America are having a camporee at Bonita Lakes this weekend. It is something they do twice a year. Officials say it is a time for fun as well as learning. The theme for the camporee was "Pirates of the Bonita Lakes." Lots of water activities were available for the boys including kayaking, canoeing, and water balloon dodgeball.

There is a team roping event going on at the Lauderdale County Agri-Center. This is probably the largest event to ever be held there. More than 2,200 teams are competing for $85,000 and a brand new truck.

Check out Newscenter 11 at Six and Ten for these stories and more...

And on a personal note, just wanted to wish my sister a Happy Birthday!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Football Friday

Another Football Friday has come and gone...

My travels took me to Clarke County this evening. I started out in Quitman, where the Panthers were taking on West Jones. Penalties were the name of the game...at least at the beginning. Before the first offensive play there were 4 penalty flags thrown. Quitman kicked off three seperate times to begin the game. It started out pretty slow, by the time I left with only a couple of minutes left in the first quarter there was no score. Both teams did eventually score, Quitman put up 8...but West Jones won it by scoring 26.

My next stop was at Enterprise. Coach Joel Speed has his Bulldogs off to a great start. Going into the Scott Central game tonight, my alma mater was 4 and 0. I got there with only a couple of minutes to go in the first half. The Rebels got deep into Enterprise territory, but the Dogs were able to stop them before as the clock ran out. Enterprise had the 14 to 6 halftime lead. Scott Central came out in the second half a different team, they were able to move the ball on Enterprise during the third quarter eventually scoring. Their two-point conversion attempt failed leaving the Bulldog lead at two. On the ensuing kickoff, Marquez Goodloe returned the kick for an apparant touchdown, but a penalty brought it back to midfield. The Rebels would not score again and Enterprise won. Looking ahead at their schedule, I think Enterprise could make a run at an undefeated season. And that's a good sign not only for this year, but for the future. Enterprise is a fairly young team...they will only lose two seniors this year.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering September 11, 2001

I think it goes without saying that September 11, 2001 is a day that none of us will ever forget. And with that in mind, the terrorist attacks on September 11 are obviously the subject of tonight's post.

In 2001, I was a Junior in my first year at The University of Southern Mississippi. On the morning of September 11, I was not in my Hattiesburg apartment. Instead, I was in Meridian because that morning I had a dentist appointment. I got in my truck around nine o'clock that morning to head to the dentist's office. After a commercial break, I heard on the radio that a second plane had hit the other tower of the World Trade Center. I continued to listen to the radio coverage and didn't want to turn it off when I got to my destination.

While the dentist was doing what dentists do, someone came in and told us that another plane had hit the Pentagon. By this point, I, much like everyone else, was wondering what was going on.

The first time that I was able to get to a television, I turned on one of the news channels just in time to see the first tower collapse. With the exception of having to go to one class, I spend the rest of the day watching the news coverage or listening on the radio while I was driving.

I think it's amazing that so many of us can remember exactly what we were doing on that day, when we can't even remember what we ate for breakfast last Thursday.

How do you remember September 11, 2001? I encourage you to leave comments on this blog with your thoughts and memories of that day.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Week's Worth of Posts in One...

OK, so it's been a couple of days (or more like a week) since I've put anything up here. Let's do a little catching up since the last post.

First let me address one of the comments that have been made...On the Newton Shooting / Kidnapping case. There have now been a total of 4 people arrested: Christopher McCune, Kafien Kidd, Jonathan Evans (aka Johathan Perilliat), and Anthony Arrington. And as far as the alleged kidnapping was concerned, no kidnapping charges will be filed according to Police Chief Curry.

Now, since my last post...

Wednesday - My story was about an ongoing project that Atmos Energy has going on. They are replacing all of the old gas lines in Meridian with plastic lines. They have already completed more than 160,000 feet of line. That puts the project at about 75 percent complete.

Thursday - My one day off last week. No details will be provided.

Friday - Ah, one of my favorite times of the year is Football Friday. Last week was the first show this year, and oh how much fun it was (surprisingly enough for anyone who knows the tone of voice that I often use, that is not sarcasm). I love Friday nights in the fall. My two games were Philadelphia/Neshoba Central and Union/Choctaw Central. Let's start with the one I shot first...Philly/Central...I probably should have gone to the other game first. It took both teams a little bit to get going in this one. Central came out looking like they were ready to dominate. And there's something to be said for a team that won only one game last year expecting to run all over a playoff team from the previous year. And Central proved they were ready...on the first drive Philly ended up with a 4th and 25. But then Philly's D did the same thing to the Rockets. After a couple of back and forth series', late in the first quarter Neshoba Central drove down the field and put up 7. The drive was highlighted by a couple of runs by QB Tyler McNeal (One went for 38 and the other for a 10 yard TD). As soon as the extra point was kicked, I was off to the reservation. As I'm driving up, I look at the scoreboard. Doh! only 4 minutes left in the first half. And being 45 minutes from the station, there's no way I can stay through half-time. I needed some luck. And I got it. I turned the camera on, and on the first play I shot...Touchdown! I finished out the first half and headed back. Just a reminder...don't forget to check out our Football Friday page on the website. You can get team schedules and on Friday nights we update the scores.

Saturday - The biggest thing that happened for me on Saturday was after the news. I went on a ride-along with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department. It was a story for Sunday about the DUI crackdown. During the ride-along, there was also a car chase (that resulted in a DUI arrest) and an accident that we went to (car vs 2 horses - not a pretty sight). A passenger was pinned inside the car. He was freed after about 15 minutes and he and the driver were taken to a hospital.

Sunday - Pretty uneventful day, especially after the night before.

Monday - Conehatta. If you've never been there, I probably know why. It's way out in the middle of nowhere. But, now I can say I have been. My story was about a murder case that was solved. A 17-year-old was found shot on McDonald Road two years ago. Now three suspects have been arrested.

Tuesday - The one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I went to Neshoba County for a couple of stories, including a job fair. Ate at Peggy's. I had the only local, non-Katrina related story in our newscast.

Today - My story was about the role that faith-based organizations played in the hurricane recovery process. Dr. Raymon Leake, the pastor at First Baptist Church, told me that on the road to recovery, "...we'd be nowhere near where we are without faith-based organizations."

I know that some of these are kind of short, but if you want to know anymore about any of the stories that I have done this week, just shoot me an email... chris.brennaman@wtok.com.

Oh, and tomorrow is my off day, but I have to come in. And I'm really looking forward to my assignment. I am flying with the Air National Guard as they refuel some F-22 Raptors. If you're from Meridian, you know that in-air refueling was started in (or should I say above) the Queen City. I'll be taking a look at the history of air-to-air refueling as well as how it is done now. Look for this story sometime next week on Newscenter 11.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tuesday, August 22

After a long day yesterday, I was really looking forward to a long night of sleep. And here's the part where you would expect me to say something along the lines of "I got called in to work early" or "I didn't get to bed until late, because I was working." Well, that stuff didn't happen. By 10 last night, I was in bed and was able to sleep until 8. If my math is correct, that is roughly 10 hours of sleep. Happy me!

Newton County School District Shines:
And speaking of math...last year's Newton County Elementary School 2nd Graders were good at it. Every one of them scored at the proficient lever or better. More than half made it to the highest level. NCES was one of only 15 2nd grade classes to do that last year.

Also out in Decatur, a couple of Jordan's did pretty well for themselves on the state subject area tests. Jordan Clark is a Senior at NCHS. He made a 500 (out of 500) on the U.S. History test. It is the 2nd time that he has made a perfect score on a subject test. When he was in 9th grade, he did it on the Biology I test.

Not only do Jordan Clark and Jordan Hammons share the same first name, they also share a perfect score on the Bio test. Hammons, a sophomore, said on last year's test, there were some questions that he wasn't sure about, but it was pretty simple.

While I was in Newton County this afternoon, I stopped by the Newton Police Department to speak with Newton Police Chief Harvy Curry about the murder case from earlier this month. And when I pulled up, another story just kind of fell into my lap.

Tennessee Murder Suspects:
A detective from the Nashville PD was there picking up a couple of murder suspects (Tonya Jackson and Phillip Gregory). The two were wanted for the murder of 55-year-old Michael Nimmo of Nashville. According to Detective Brad Corcoran, Jackson and Nimmo were friends. She had been living with the victim for a couple of months. During (at least part of) that time, her boyfriend (Phillip Gregory) was in jail. When Gregory got out of jail, he went to live with Jackson and Nimmo. About three days later is when the homicide occurred. Corcoran said that police do not know if there was an argument or "some type of jealousy problem that they had."

As for how the city of Newton is involved...Jackson and Gregory were stopped for a traffic violation in the city early Sunday morning. The Newton PD found that Gregory and Jackson were in a vehicle stolen from the murder victim. The pair was arrested for the outstanding warrants for Motor Vehicle Theft and because they were wanted for murder.

As Phillip Gregory was being put in the car to be transported back to Tennessee, he asked if he was allowed to say anything to the camera. Of course, I accommodated his request. Click here to see what he had to say.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Government Official Arrested in Meridian

A United States Government official was arrested in Meridian on Monday. Here's a little more about this strange story...

Several months ago, Paul David Bucher began making contact (via the internet and telephone) with an area teenager. The conversations were apparently regarding Bucher helping him start a modeling career. At some point recently after the young man's 18th birthday, Bucher wanted to meet with the teenager. The parents of the teen became concerned when Bucher said he wanted to meet the teen without his parents around. The parent then contacted the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department.

Through an investigation by the East Mississippi Drug Task Force, the Sheriff's Department arrested Bucher on Monday. He faces charges on two counts (both are misdemeanors):

* Contributing to the delinquency of a minor - This charge stems from the conversations that Bucher had with the teen prior to his 18th birthday.

* Possession of a scheduled drug - That drug was Xanax.

Now, for the government twist...An email that I received from the United States Department of Commerce reads "We confirm that Paul D. Bucher is a Deputy Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce." The appropriate officials could not be reached regarding Bucher's current employment status.

Bucher was released from the Lauderdale County Jail after posting a $726 bond. He will have his initial court appearance on September 16.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Newton Shooting / Kidnapping

Alright, it looks like the last post finally decided to update. Sorry about the double.

The story that I did today was on the shooting/kidnapping in Newton over the weekend. This is really two separate stories in one. In my opinion this is a very complex case, so bear with me while I try to make sense of all of this for you.

I first heard about this story last night around 6 o'clock. We got most of the details from the Newton Police Department, then I headed out to where the incident happened.

Let me give you a little background as to what happened. Around 3 a.m. on Sunday morning J.J. Bolton was travelling west down Oak Street in Newton. At the intersection of Oak and Wilson Avenue an altercation took place. A gun was pulled and someone fired multiple shots into Bolton's Cadillac Escalade. At least three bullet holes are in the driver's side door of the Escalade. Bolton was later pronounced dead at the scene. There was a female passenger (who's identity was not released) also in his vehicle. Apparantly she was also shot at, but not injured. She fled from the scene during the incident. The two suspects in the shooting are Christopher McCune and Kafien Kidd.

At some time after the shooting, the Newton Police received a call from Casonya Ellis' father, Rudolph Ellis. He told police that his daughter and granddaughter could not be found. Her car was later found in the Newton Wal-Mart parking lot. Surveillance video showed that around 6 a.m., her car pulled into the parking lot. The driver got out of that car and into another one. Authorities believe that the other vehicle could help lead to finding Ellis, her daughter and the kidnappers.

Now, you're probably wondering how these two cases are related. According to police, Casonya Ellis and her 10-month-old daughter were allegedly taken against their will from Ellis' apartment in Newton. Police believe that McCune and Kidd may be involved in this incident as well. McCune is said to be the boyfriend of Ellis.

"We (have) gained some information that the kidnap victim possibly may be with our homicide suspects," said Lt. Brian Kelly of the Newton Police Department.

I spoke with Rudolph Ellis this afternoon, he told me that he has been in contact with the kidnappers and with his daughter. He pleaded with them not to harm his daughter. Ellis told me that the kidnapper gave him his word that he would not. He went on to say that she would be returned safely sometime today (Monday).

According the NPD, the FBI and some other agencies are currently aiding with this investigation.

I talked with Newton Police Chief Harvey Curry a few minutes ago (around 7:00 p.m.) , he told me that Ellis was still missing. Keep watching Newscenter 11 for the latest details on these cases.

I apologize for the length of this post, but I hope that I have been able to clear up some of the details of this story. If you have any questions that I may be able to answer, shoot me an email...chris.brennaman@wtok.com.
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