Enterprise-Journal from McComb, Mississippi on December 19, 2007 · Page A001
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Enterprise-Journal from McComb, Mississippi · Page A001

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McComb, Mississippi
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007
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Page A001
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HIGHLIGHTS n Columbia man killed in truck accident A Columbia man was killed early Tuesday morning when the 18-wheeler he was driving went offa steep embankment on Highway 568 near the Louisiana line south ofGillsburg and overturned. Stuart W. Barnes, 47, was pronounced dead at the scene, Gillsburg Volunteer Fire ChiefClayton Callender said. Barnes was driving a tanker truck filled with saltwater for Stringer Oil Services in Columbia. The accident occurred about 8:11 a.m. Tuesday. According to reports from the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Barnes was southbound on Highway 568 when his truck went off the road on the right side. He apparently attempted to correct the problem, but oversteered, and the truck went back on the road and then offthe right side again, going down the embankment, where it overturned, landing on the driver’s side. “The truck was in a ditch,” Osyka volunteer firefighter Renee Deck said. Osyka and McComb firefighters assisted at the accident. Deck estimated that the truck fell about 12 feet from the road. “There’s not much ofa shoulder on the road,” she said, adding that Barnes was wearing his seat belt. She said firefighters from McComb and Osyka worked together using the Jaws of Life to cut Barnes out ofthe truck. Officials said Barnes’ delivery was not related to an Amite County well blowout. DEATHS n William O. Ashley, 72 Dorothy Mae Bates, 77 Eugene Bates, 74 Tommie Lee Bates, 58 A3 JACKSON (AP) — Mississippi Republican Trent Lott officially resigned from the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, ending a 35-year career in which he reached the ofheight ofpower before falling from grace and climbing his way back to the top, a spokesman said. Lott, 66, had announced in his home state Nov. 26 that he would step down by year’s end, saying he wants to pursue other opportunities. He submitted the paper work Tuesday to make it official, his spokesman, Lee Youngblood, told The Associated Press. “U.S. Sen. Trent Lott has informed Vice President Dick Chaney, the president ofthe U.S. Senate, that he is retiring as the U.S. Senator for the state ofMis- sissippi effective on the close of the Senate’s business today, Tuesday Dec. 18, 2007,” Youngblood said. Youngblood announced the resignation about 10:45 p.m. He said the resignation came so late because Lott had to resign the day before the Senate recesses, likely today, but he wanted to vote on important bills that were being considered well into the night. Saying farewell to Washington colleagues earlier in the day, Lott drew upon his modest background as the son ofa GulfCoast shipyard worker. “We had a class motto that has lived with me since those years at Pascagoula High School in 1959. ... ‘The glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time you fail,”’ Lott said during a ceremony on the Senate floor in Washington. “I’ve had opportunities to fail and I’ve had opportunities to persevere,” he said in remarks broadcast on C-SPAN2. Enterprise- Journal 117TH YEAR n NO. 211 www.enterprise-journal.comMcCOMB, MISSISSIPPI WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2007 50 CENTS Walk the talk Study shows people who get automated reminders exercise more. A6 Stolen bikes: Gifts intended for needy Pike County children taken on eve ofdistribution. NEWS A3 UNITEDWESTAND Enterprise- Journal The one newspaper in the world mos t inte rested in this community BY ERNEST HERNDON ENTERPRISE-JOURNAL Ironically, a “Christmas tree” has disrupted Christmas for some local families and dozens ofoil- field workers and government officials. The “Christmas tree” — oilfield slang for the device atop a producing oil well — blew out Sunday, resulting in the evacuation ofnine people in the Smithdale area. “I’m supposed to be home making pies,” said Cleta Brewer, who was evacuated with her husband Bob and is staying at Hawthorn Inn & Suites. Officials accompany evacuees to their homes as needed to pick up clothes, medicines and other items. Mrs. Brewer is glad she’s already cooked her chicken pies and stored them in the freezer so she can get them when needed. She’s a bit concerned about her two cats, though. The Brewers left them in the house the first night, and “they about climbed the walls.” They let them out Monday and fed them on the car hood so the dog couldn’t get the food. A reliefwell is noisily spewing carbon dioxide about 100 yards from their house, which is a quarter mile from the actual blowout. “I’m not worried about it, but they’re worried for me,” Mr. Brewer said, referring to officials. “They’re keeping me away from here.” Mrs. Brewer said everyone she has met during the ordeal has been “super-nice.” Evacuation, clean-up interrupt holiday plans BY ERNEST HERNDON ENTERPRISE-JOURNAL Oilfield workers have lassoed an out-of-control well and cabled it tight to bulldozers, but it’s still spewing so much carbon dioxide, saltwater and oil that officials have closed a state highway and imposed a five-mile no-fly zone indefinitely. “Well control operations can be over in hours, or they can take very long periods oftime,” said Randy Robichaux, who is health, safety and environmental manager for well operator Denbury Resources Inc. Robichaux, along with officials from federal, state and local agencies, held a press conference Tuesday afternoon at Hawthorn Inn & Suites about the blowout that occurred Sunday morning on Springhill Road a quarter mile south ofHighway 570 in Amite County. Robichaux and government officials said there is no danger offire or natural gas release, but some levels ofbenzene have been detected, and the CO2 pressure is so high that nearby residents say it sounds like an airport. “They (gases) tend to hug low depressions, hollers in woods, low spots,” said Dean Ullock, on- scene coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “You could accumulate dangerous concentrations ofthis gas if conditions were right, and that’s a risk that’s not worth taking.” That, and the amount of equipment, vehicles and workers is why officials have closed Highway 570, Springhill Road and Dykes Road. “It is a work zone down in there right now,” said Mississippi Highway Patrolman Albert Johnson, describing workers and equipment clogging the highway. A Denbury field operator discovered the blowout at a “Christmas tree” wellhead around 9:30 a.m. Sunday. “It was coming through a valve that we could not close,” said Lonnie Ashley, Denbury’s area operations manager. Under pressure NEW YORK (AP) — Another Spears baby is reportedly on the way — and it’s not Britney’s. Jamie Lynn Spears, the 16- year-old “Zoey 101” star and sister ofBritney, told OK! magazine that she’s pregnant and that the father is her boyfriend, Casey Aldridge. Aldridge, a 2007 graduate of Amite School Center, is the son ofJoyce and Mark Aldridge ofGloster. The honor student- athlete was tailback/corner- back for the ASC Rebels and was on the baseball team. As a senior, he was named Most Handsome in 2006-07. She has attended Park- lane Academy, where she was a cheerleader and softball player, and she’s been home-schooled as well. “It was a shock for both of us, so unexpected,” the young Spears said. “I was in complete and total shock and so was he.” Spears, who said she is 12 weeks along, initially kept the news to herselfwhen she learned ofthe pregnancy from an at-home test and subsequent doctor visit, she told the celebrity magazine. What message does she want to send to other teens about premarital sex? “I definitely don’t think it’s something you should do; it’s better to wait,” she told the magazine. “But I can’t be judgmental because it’s a position I put myselfin.” After she found out from a doctor that she was pregnant, she said, “I took two weeks to myselfwhere I didn’t tell anybody.” “Only one ofmy friends knew because I needed to work out what I would do for myselfbefore I let anyone’s opinion affect my decision. Then I told my parents and my friends. I was scared, but I had to do what was right for me,” she said. Spears, who will be 17 this spring, broke the news to her mother, Lynne, just before Thanksgiving, OK! reported. Spears’ teenage sister pregnant OUTSIDE n Thursday Partly cloudy High: 72 Low: 58 Rain: 20% Wind: SW, 5 A2 TO SUBSCRIBE 684-2713 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday NEWS, ADVERTISING 684-2421 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday CONTACT US n CLASSIFIEDSA14 COMICSA13 LOTTERIESA2 OBITUARIESA3 OPINIONA4 SPORTSA10 STOCKSA11 INSIDE n BY KAREN FREEMAN ENTERPRISE-JOURNAL Philip Pandolph, the chiefop- erating operator at Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center, has accepted a hospital administrator’s job in Pennsylvania. Pandolph, 38, will be administrator ofMeadville Medical Center, a 250-bed hospital that is on Modern Healthcare’s Top 100 list ofthe best hospitals in America, according to Southwest Health System chiefexecutive officer Norman Price. “We’ll miss him, but I’m hap- py for him,”Price said today. “He was selected from 100 applicants for that job. We knew he was special. He’s the third administrator here who has moved on to bigger and better things. We’re proud ofthe fact that other institutions around the country recognize the expertise of people that work here.” Pandolph has been at Southwest for five years. The private Pennsylvania hospital he’s joining in February has 100 doctors on staff. Price said Pandolph will be the fourth administrator for the 125-year-old hospital. Pandolph, a Pennsylvania native, will be closer to his father, who has been diagnosed with heart problems. Price said Southwest’s board oftrustees approved on Tuesday the launch ofa nationwide search for Pandolph’s replacement. Pandolph leaving SMRMC for Pennsylvania position Bob Brewer and his wife Cleta listen in on a news conference Tuesday. The Brewers were evacuated after the blowout. AARON RHOADS | ENTERPRISE-JOURNAL A well clean-up crew member monitors a relief well releasing a controlled amount of C02 Tuesday along Highway 570 near the Dykes road intersection about a mile from the Springhill site. AARON RHOADS | ENTERPRISE-JOURNAL No end in sight for Amite oil well blowout repair Lott Lott exits Senate, ends 35 years in politics Spears Aldridge Robichaux • What: Uncontrolled release of carbon dioxide, oil and saltwater from a producing oil well. • When: Discovered at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. • Where: 6101 Springhill Road a quarter mile south of Highway 570 in Amite County. • Who: Denbury Resources Inc. oil well. • Why: Unknown. • What’s involved: 40 to 80 workers, 20 to 30 pickup trucks and other vehicles, 28 vacuum trucks, two backhoe-trackhoes, a crane truck, three bulldozers, a dozen temporary storage tanks and two mobile command trailers. WELL BLOWOUT n SEE PLANS, PAGE A5 SEE BLOWOUT, PAGE A5

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