Steve Rogers

About Steve Rogers

Assistant News Director/Assignment Editor; degree in finance and administration from Yale University; 35 years experience in journalism.

NEWS BRIEFS: Columbus, Vardaman, Starkville

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — Columbus school leaders are tired of being in the real estate business and hope a pair of open houses next month might help them get rid of at least one big unwanted property.

The district will hold open houses at the old Lee Middle School twice next month to show off the building, property and related assets.

The property has been on the market for 18 months and despite interest from two churches, school administrators say they’ve been unable to get an offer that falls within state guidelines for meeting appraised values.

School leaders say the cost of maintaining thE property is minimal but getting rid of it would both save money and provide some needed cash flow.

Dates for the open houses have not been set.

School officials say its location along Military Road near Bluecutt and Highway 82 make the 15 acres an attractive site for everything from an apartment complex to a hotel-retail complex.

LAWSUIT DROPPED

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) — A discrimination lawsuit against Oktibehha County and Circuit Court Clerk Glenn Hamilton is dismissed. Long-time clerk’s office employee Regina Evans filed suit in July of last year after Hamilton fired her when he was preparing to take office in December 2011.

Evans claimed she was fired because she supported Hamilton’s opponent in that year’s election. Even though she was an at-will employee, she claimed the firing violated her free speech rights.

Federal Judge Sharion Aycock dismissed the suit because Evans failed to properly serve notice of the lawsuit on Hamilton and the county. Evans had sought delays because she couldn’t afford to hire a replacement attorney.

WATER RATE INCREASE

VARDAMAN, Miss. (WCBI) — Vardaman residents will pay more for water when they get their bills in November.
The Calhoun Journal reports Vardaman aldermen are raising rates from $14 to $16  a month for the basic 2,000 gallons of water. The increase starts Oct. 1. and will show up on November bills.

Heavy water users also will pay 50 cents more per month for each additional 1,000 gallons used.

However, aldermen rejected a recommended two mill increase in city property taxes. Aldermen meet next week to decide whether to give city workers a pay raise and will have a public hearing on the 2014 budget on September 3.