Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Top Local Stories in the Third Quarter of 2022

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor

alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com

This week, Hotty Toddy News is covering the top stories of 2022 for each quarter of the year, ending on Saturday with the Top Story of the Year. Today is the third story in the series with the top stories from July, August and September.

The third quarter of 2022 was a hot and trying summer for the LOU community, which was reflected in many of the headlines in July, August and September.

Jay Lee went missing July 8. File photo

The tone for the third quarter was set at the end of the first week in July, when University of Mississippi student Jimmie Jay Lee, 20, was reported missing. Lee was last seen leaving his Campus Walk apartment in the early hours of July 8.

His vehicle was located three days later at a local towing company after it was removed from the Molly Barr Trails apartment complex.

Two weeks later, Sheldon Timothy Herrington Jr., 22, of Grenada, was charged with Lee’s murder; however, Lee’s body has not yet been discovered. Herrington is out on bond. His case is expected to go before a grand jury in January.

*

In the middle of July, some local folks were happy to learn that Hall Construction had announced that the ground had been broken for Oxford’s new Waffle House, the eventually opened in November.

In April 2019, Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill used the power of social media, along with law professor David Case, to let the corporation know that the restaurant would be a great addition to the Oxford community.

The Twitter conversation between Tannehill and Case caught the attention of Waffle House corporation who joined in on the fun Tweeting “There’s a steep competition between Oxford and San Antonio for the most passionate city for us…”

In September 2019, Bobby Garner, senior vice president of Waffle House and Ole Miss alumnus of 1978, said Waffle House was “aggressively looking at sites to build a Waffle House location in Oxford.”

*

A heartwarming story brightened things up in July. Lafayette County native Libby Bauer saw a TikTok video from a woman in Cordova who was upset no one had RSVP’d to her 8-year-old sister’s birthday party.

Chloe Sexton has been caring for her younger sister, Charlotte since their mother died in April from brain cancer.

Bauer dolled up her 22-year-old quarter horse, Gracie and with the help of her father, Ty Bauer, the two drove Gracie to the Sexton’s home for Charlotte’s birthday party.

*

However, tragedy struck again when Ole Miss senior Caroline Roth, 22, was killed in a wreck on July 14.

Roth had plans to graduate in the spring of 2023 with a degree in Hospitality Management. She was a member of the Alpha Phi sorority. She was working as an event intern with The Mill-Plein Air.

The wreck occurred on Highway 7 South near Fire Station No. 3, according to the Oxford Police Department.

*

The late Jimmy Allgood

The city of Oxford mourned the loss of its Emergency Management Director Jimmy Allgood who died from a heart attack on July 22.

Allgood, 60, served as the city’s emergency management director since 2008, “guiding “Oxford through a pandemic with wisdom and a steady hand,” said Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill in a statement on Facebook.

Prior to working for the city, he served as Lafayette County’s emergency management director.

Allgood was post-humously named the 2022 Christmas Parade Marshal. His wife, Linda, rode at the front of the parade in December in his honor.

*

Two men were arrested in July after a Snapchat video was posted that showed four kittens being killed.

Carl Travis Jr. and Dontavious Smith were arrested on July 26 and charged with felonies. Travis was seen in the video killing the kittens while Smith recorded the video. The video was allegedly filmed in Oxford.

In October, animal-rights activists presented the Lafayette County prosecutor’s office with 17,000 signatures calling for tough sentencings for the men from an online petition.

The two men are awaiting trial.

*

In August, Lynndy Hurdle was named the 2022 Oxford School District Citizen of the Year.

The annual award is given to recognize a community member who contributes to the success of schools and to the betterment of our students.

Hurdle facilitated an adult education program for parents of English Learner students in which she taught them to read and speak the English language. Hurdle also hosts an after-school kids club and provides school supplies to a local apartment complex.

Hurdle is a former employee of the school district and was the librarian at Oxford High School for four years. She was named the District Employee of the Year in 2016-2017.

*

As school started back up in the first week of August, many parents were caught off guard by the Oxford School District’s attempts to strictly enforce its dress code for the first time since before the pandemic.

By the second day. social media lit up with parents who were livid after learning their child was “coded” for violating the dress code.

Some parents complained that some school officials’ decisions seemed to be arbitrary. Others claimed that there seemed to be no consistency in what was considered a violation – other than it seemed to be primarily girls who received violations.

Several discussions were had publically at OSD board meetings and between parents and school officials over the next several weeks before the OSD changed how the district was enforcing the policy.

*

In the second week of August, Chick-fil-A fans were told that they may not be able to enjoy their favorite chicken for several months.

The store closed on Sept. 1 for a major renovation and remodeling project. In August, the owner said the store should reopen by November; however, the project has taken longer than expected and the West Jackson restaurant is still closed.

*

The historic College Hill Presbyterian Church was destroyed in a fire in August.

On Aug. 13, a fire broke out in the historic College Hill Presbyterian Church, destroying the sanctuary.

The sanctuary, built in 1844 under the direction of Francis Timmons, is the oldest Presbyterian structure in north Mississippi and the oldest church building of any denomination in the Oxford area.

The grounds of the church served as an encampment for Union troops under Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman.

It was also the place where Mississippi author, William Faulkner, married his wife, Estelle, in 1929

It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The cause of the fire appeared to have been electrical.

The church is currently fundraising to rebuild the sanctuary and continues to have weekly Sunday services in its Fellowship Hall.

*

While it didn’t happen in Lafayette County, the story of a plane flying erratically over north Mississippi was certainly of interest to local residents.

On Sept. 3, at approximately 5 a.m., Cory Patterson of Shannon started flying the plane of Tupelo, apparently making threats to crash it into the Walmart on West Main. He then flew between Ripley and Faulkner for four hours before landing the plane in Ripley.

He was taken into custody after the plane landed. No one was injured.

Patterson died on Nov. 11 while in custody in a prison in Florida where he was receiving a psychological examination.

*

On Sept. 6, the city of Oxford announced that Oxford Police Lt. Shane Fortner will continue to protect and serve the citizens of Oxford as the city’s new Emergency Management Director.

Fortner, a University of Mississippi graduate, worked at the Oxford Police Department for the last 10 years and has served as the lieutenant over investigations for the last two years.

He was named Police Officer of the Year in 2015 and Supervisor of the Year in 2020. In August, he graduated from the 2022 Leadership Lafayette Class.

He is a Section Sergeant in the Mississippi National Guard where he has served since 2007.

*

On Sept. 26, Oxford and Lafayette County high schools were two of the 46 Mississippi high schools that received the prestigious 2022 College Success Award from GreatSchools.org, the nation’s leading nonprofit providing school information to parents and families.

Both schools were also named A school districts by the Mississippi Department of Education that week.

*

September left another hole in Oxford’s heart with the death of Jason Busby, a Lafayette County native who served the citizen of Lafayette as a 911 dispatcher for more than 21 years.

Busby, 47, died on Sept. 25. He graduated from Lafayette High School in 1993 and was a member of Shiloh Baptist Church.

He worked at Big Star, now known as CashSaver, for several years before following his passion for law enforcement.

*

The third quarter ended on a better note than it started.

On Sept. 28, the University of Mississippi celebrated the school’s integration anniversary at the Gertrude Ford Center with the “The Mission Continues: Building Upon the Legacy” event.

James Meredith, the first African American man to enroll at Ole Miss, was the guest of honor.

On Oct. 1, 1962, Meredith registered for his classes. The day before, on Sept. 30, a riot broke out on campus in protest of Meredith attending the university, ending in the deaths of two bystanders, 206 U.S. Marshals and soldiers wounded and 200 individuals arrested.

He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in August 1963 and earned his Bachelor of Law degree in 1968 from Columbia Law School.

During the 60th anniversary event, Meredith was given several awards and gifts from various campus organizations and the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

James Meredith speaks Wednesday (Sept. 28) at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts during ‘The Mission Continues: Building Upon the Legacy,’ a signature event honoring the 60th anniversary of Meredith’s enrollment at the University of Mississippi. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

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