Clarion-Ledger from Jackson, Mississippi on June 4, 1998 · Page 13
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Clarion-Ledger from Jackson, Mississippi · Page 13

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Jackson, Mississippi
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Thursday, June 4, 1998
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Page 13
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COMMUNITY NEWS 2 DEATHS 4 TO SHARE TIPS, IDEAS: Contact: Debbie Skipper, metro editor B Jackson area: 961-7101 Toll free: 1-800-222-8015 Fax: 961-7211 E-mail: dskipperjackson.gannett.com o THE CLARION-LEDGER JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI THURSDAY, JUNE 4, 1998 mmd dime oim MI!IW Jackson a dp EnaiinnieeO s&ato wets Board of Animal Health picks James Watson to replace Frank Rogers By Tony Plohetski Clarion-Ledger Staff Writer A Jackson animal clinic owner will succeed Dr. Frank Rogers as state veterinarian, the state Board of Animal Health voted Wednesday. James Watson, part owner of Ani-mal Medical Center on 995 S. Also-rans mum about support None of 4th District ex-candidates endorses Davis, Hosemann in runoff By Emily Wagster Clarion-Ledger Start Writer One played golf. One worked on his dairy farm. Most spent the day talking to supporters and closing their campaign offices. But on Wednesday the day after seven Republicans saw their congressional hopes dashed in the 4th District none of the defeated candidates came forward with endorsements. Some said they might throw their support behind Delbert Hosemann or Phil Davis before the June 23 party runoff. Hosemann, a Jackson tax lawyer, finished first in Tuesday's primary, and Davis, a Magee banker, finished second. The eventual nominee will face Democrat Ronnie Shows and three smaller-party candidates in the Nov. 3 general electioa Art Rhodes of Magnolia, who finished a close third Tuesday, said he has no endorsement plans. "We've spent basically the whole day talking with our supporters and encouraging them. We would have liked a different outcome, but we're at peace with what happened," said Rhodes, who said plans to resume his job as chief of staff for retiring 4th District U.S. Rep. Mike Parker in a couple of weeks. Parker endorsed Rhodes in the primary but said he won't back either remaining candidate before the runoff. "The reason I endorsed Art is because he worked for me for 10 years," the congressman said. Tuesday's fourth-place finisher, Dunn Lampton of McComb, said he'll support the eventual GOP nominee, but he doubts hell offer an endorsement before the runoff. "Endorsements are certainly overrated," said Lampton, district attorney for four south Mississippi counties. "They're both good men." '.Heath Hall of Natchez, who finished fifth, relaxed on a golf course Wednesday. He said hell talk to Hosemann and Davis. !The rule of thumb on endorsements is they're supposed to translate into campaign dollars, but it really doesn't here. It's a small state," said Hall, who had the backing of his former boss, Gov. Kirk Fordice. -Sixth-place finisher Doug Sullivan, a former Brookhaven mayor, hasn't ruled out an endorsement. "I think we have two very fine men who are going to run," he said. ' Seventh-place finisher Ken Stri-bling, a state representative from Jackson, said he might back one or the other. Accountant Erik Hearon of Jackson, who finished eighth, said: "I anticipate making an announcement in the next few days." Dairy farmer Wilburn Fortin-berry of Osyka, who pulled out only a couple hundred votes to finish ninth, chuckled when asked about endorsements: "I don't think they'll be wanting mine." City Council Armstrong dropped his potential lawsuit when others wouldn't join By Arnold Lindsay Clarion-Ledger Staff Writer Jackson City Council President Louis Armstrong, the lone holdout for repaying misspent city funds to the State Department of Audit, settled his account Tuesday. Armstrong paid $3,834.4 to satisfy the $4,699.59 debt that State Frontage Road, received nine votes from the 17-member board during its regular monthly meeting. Watson was selected over veterinarians Dr. Robert Kennedy of Mendenhall, Dr. Lorraine Dozier of Forest and Dr. H.D. Stokes of Philadelphia. Nine applicants were initially considered Rogers was recently the center of an investigation by the Joint Legislative Performance Evaluation and o , r '" , ! ! " ': - M u&4 V nil Jk O - 3 J r , - , s Covered in protective clothing, a Jackson firefighter is decontaminated after he assisted in the removal of a body trapped in the venting of a business in the Junk Yard Popular wrestler Sylvester Ritter dies in crash near Forest By Thy rie Bland Clarion-Ledger Staff Writer Sylvester Ritter had no doubts he would be watching his youngest daughter's high school graduation the last weekend in May. "He said, 'I don't care if it's the last thing that I do, I am going to see that graduation,' " said Guy Walters, owner of the International Wrestling Federation in Yazoo City. Ritter, a wrestler better known as Junk Yard Dog, was killed Tuesday in a one-car crash nine miles east of Forest. He was driving to Yazoo City from Wades-boro, N.C, where the graduation Intercepted Accused killer's friend says she was asked to implicate victim's ex-husband By Pamela Barry Clarion-Ledger Staff Writer Ronnie Johnson asked a girlfriend in letters from jail to help him implicate someone else in the stabbing death which he is accused of, the girlfriend testified Wednesday. Teresa Robinson said she planned to help Johnson until she learned president is last to repay Auditor Phil Bryant said he owed toward the total $29,099 debt incurred by the previous council. Armstrong had refused to pay when Kenneth Stokes of Ward 3, Margaret Barrett of Ward 7 and four former council members paid their portions by the April 30 deadline. Armstrong had vowed he would fight the demand in court because the funds were spent with the advice of the city's legal staff. He also had said agreeing to the settlement would be tantamount to agreeing to Expenditure Review committee, or PEER, which found diagnostic lab violations that could have potentially threatened the state's food supply. He reapplied for Watson the position but wasn't among the finalists. He will be ousted July 1. Dog's death was held. "Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week he was Junk Yard Dog," said wrestler Playboy Mike Rhodes."He was full of hfe. We figured Junk Yard Dog would always be there. It's rocked everybody's world." Ritter apparently lost control of his vehicle and flipped on 1-20, said Cal Adams, spokesman for the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol. "He was pretty much killed on impact," Deputy Scott County Coroner Steve Wilbourne said. An autopsy was scheduled Wednesday at Mississippi Mortuary Services in Pearl. Ritter retired from wrestling in 1988, but Walters said in recent years he has been wrestling with his IWF promotion. He also worked part-time repossessing cars. Ritter formerly wrestled in the letter shows from prosecutors that he'd sought help from other girlfriends as well. "I know I was wrong," Robinson said, during questioniong from Hinds County Assistant District Attorney John Davidson. "I'm hurt, disappointed and upset. I feel like a fool." Robinson was among several prosecution witnesses in the second day of Johnson's capital murder trial in the 1997 slaying of Angela Parker. Two other former girlfriends also provided damaging testimony before the prosecution some wrongdoing that did not occur. But Wednesday, Armstrong said, "My attorneys advised me that was the best thing to do given the fact that no other council Armstrong member would join me in a lawsuit in regards to this matter. All the other council members igreed to pay, and I didn't want to be the lone ranger on this." Rogers said he plans to retire or go back into private practice after July 1. He worked in Eupora six years prior to becoming state vet in 1991. The board interviewed each candidate for about 15 minutes during a closed meeting and made a selection after 30 minutes of discussion. Also during Wednesday's meeting, the board would not de J.D. SchwalmThe Clarion-Ledger 1400 block of Blair Street Wednesday evening. Store owner Carlee Palmer found the body around 6 p.m. while checking the premises. rocks sport Stamford, Conn.-based World Wrestling Federation, one of today's most popular wrestling promotions. "He was a legend," said Jay An-dronaco, a WWF spokesman. "He was one the more popular characters in wrestling. I think it was his attitude, looks, his ability and personality." Ritter was known for his trademark head butts, his finishing move, "The Thump," a body slam, and his theme music, Another One Bites the Dust. Walters said Ritter had stopped performing "The Thump" because of the possibility of injuring opponents. Ritter, sometimes called JYD, remained popular. This was obvious at an Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion in Georgia a month ago, Walters said. defendant tried scheme rested in Hinds County Circuit Court. Johnson, testifying in his own defense, said two of the women were lying. The 27-year-old contends police arrested the wrong man for killing Parker, 36, and burglarizing her 531 Hartfield St. home July 21, 1997. Testimony shows prosecutors' case against Johnson, of 320 Magnolia St., is largely circumstantial. Robinson, a key witness, testified that Johnson asked her to finger Parker's ex-husband, Daron Parker by sending a confession letter and his share of misspent funds to auditor Bryant had initially demanded $88,260 in funds misspent spent mainly for transporting students on trips and purchasing meals. Council members accounted for all but $20,275, plus $5,108 in interest and $3,716 in fees. Bryant said he was glad to have the matter resolved. "I am very pleased that Councilman Armstrong chose to repay these misspent funds in order to avoid costly and lengthy litigation at the expense of the taxpayers of Jackson," Bryant said. cide the validity of an employee's termination. That decision will be made by a newly appointed committee governing the lab's operation. Bacteriologist Theresa Love, accused by Rogers of insubordination and interfering with hiring a job applicant, faced a board termination hearing last week and was told a decision concerning her employment would be made Corpse discovered in building's vent Man became stuck in vent atop building, died there, police say By Jill Farrell King Clarion-Ledger Staff Writer Carlee Palmer went to check on his closed Midtown business Wednesday evening and found a decomposing body stuck in a vent. Police believe Cedric B. Lock-hart, 31, of North Mill Street entered the building from the roof and became lodged in the vent above the stove. "We are leaning toward the theory that he might have been trying to rob the store," police spokesman Robert Graham said, based on a preliminary investigation by homicide detectives. Lockhart had been dead for about four days when Palmer found him at Palmer's Tamales and Snack Shop, 1400 Blair St. and Ross Alley, about 6:30 p.m., Hinds County Coroner Robert Martin said. Palmer said it appeared that Sylvester Ritter: WWF spokesman calls wrestler "legend" He didn't wrestle, Walters said, but "they had to stop the show three different times because of the crowd hollering JYD." Ritter's funeral is scheduled for Saturday in North Carolina, Walters said. The Associated Press contributed to this report. signing Daron Parker's name to it. Johnson wanted her to copy the letter in her handwriting and then mail it to his attorneys, Robinson said. Robinson never received the letter because jailers at the Hinds County Detention Center intercepted it Robinson sobbed uncontrollably as she read to jurors portions of the letter in which Daron Parker allegedly taunted Johnson. lley inmate. How does it feel to be in jail for something you didn't See TRIAL, 5B Since Bryant's demand was made July 23, 1997, the council has abandoned using $70,000 a year in recreational funds. The money is now placed in the city's general fund. The funds had been donated in most cases to non-profit agencies and others for community programs that benefited children. Armstrong said safeguards will prevent misspending from ever happening agaiij. "I still don't think we did anything improper," Armstrong said. in three days. Love, 38, said at last week's hearing she believes Rogers wants to fire her because she assisted PEER. "It will be to my advantage for the new board to take it up," she said. "I'm just in limbo, and my stress and anxiety level is really up there." "Everybody is just ready to get all this behind us and ready to get to See JOB, 5B someone had tried to tear the screen off of a back window, and he saw the vent on the roof ripped off. "When I went inside I smelled something, a foul odor, and I saw some hands sticking out of the vent," Palmer said. Arson Investigator Vernon Hughes said Lockhart had to be cut out of the vent. Hughes was called because police initially thought Lockhart may have been burned. Martin said an exact cause of death was not known late Wednesday, but a preliminary autopsy revealed Lockhart could not escape from the vent and died there. Graham said police believe Lockhart removed part of an exhaust fan on the building's roof and slid down a chute into the building. Palmer said the business has been closed since April 1997. He only keeps equipment and supplies inside, he said. Martin said the police told him that Lockhart's family members said they hadn't seen him in a week. Hinds County flooded with health claims By Jimmia Gates Clarion-Ledger Staff Writer Hinds County employees began using a managed health care program in March, but claims under the old self-funded plan continue to arrive in staggering amounts. The county has about $438,000 in claims pending from the self-funded plan. That comes after about $440,000 in claims was paid earlier this year, finance and budget director Charlie Bonds said. "The cost has been astronomical," Bonds said. To help pay the last installment of claims, the county will use money from savings from readjustment of Entergy power rates at the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond and borrow money from other county departments. Bonds said the latest payment, mainly from routine claims, should be the last major one under the old plan because May 26 was the deadline for claims to be submitted. On March 1, Integrity Health Plan of Mississippi, an HMO organized through Methodist Healthcare physicians, took over the county's insurance plan. Hinds County signed a two-year contract with Integrity with a one-year option for about $2.6 million a year. Under the managed care plan, employees pay a $10 co-payment per visit, and get 100 percent of medical costs covered. Under the previous plan, employees had to meet a deductible before having 80 percent of costs covered. "Other governmental agencies are doing the same for young people. Jackson was targeted." Other payments made: Dent Anglin of Ward 1, $4,815.71. Barrett, $3,865.82. Credell Calhoun of Ward 4, $3,470.99. EC Foster ofWard 5, $4,878.35. Stokes, $576.42. Marcf a Weaver of Ward 6, $5,041.12.

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