Tag Archive for: Lee County MS

NEMiss.News Hail stone May 2, 2022


A fierce late spring storm roared through several northeast Mississippi counties between 3 and 4 p.m. Monday May 2.

A 3:26 pm severe thunderstorm warning from the National Weather Service reported a severe thunderstorm located over New Albany, moving north at 30mph with a maximum of 1″ hail and gusts less than 50mph. This warning proved to be somewhat understated. Wind speeds of 50 mph and hail stones two inches or more in diameter were widespread.

NEMiss.News Hail accumulation in New Albany

Hail accumulated in drifts in New Albany.

The ground in many places was covered with hail stones. Millions of leaves were knocked from trees.

Widespread reports of damage to the roofs of buildings and tops of motor vehicles are to be expected.

However, so far NEMiss.News has no reports of significant structural damage thus far.

NEMiss.News leaves stripped from trees

New spring leaves stripped from many trees.

New Albany Lights, Gas, and Water (NALGW) Manager Bill Mattox said NALGW electric power was lost to a few customers in the Blue Springs area, but was being restored.

Sheriff Jim Johnson of Lee County said he had no reports of significant damage there.

Union County Emergency Management Director Curt Clayton reported no significant damage in his county.

Homeowners will no doubt be calling their insurance companies to assess insured damage to roofs and motor vehicles. Those, in aggregate, could result in insurance claims of several hundred thousand dollars or more.


NEMiss.News Northeast MS March 30 storms


The system of thunder storms, high winds and possible tornados that blew through Wednesday evening caused scattered but significant property damage, but no reported injuries in Northeast Mississippi.

There was some significant damage to buildings in Calhoun County. A tree was down across Highway 9, but no serious injuries were reported in Calhoun County,

There was an unconfirmed report of a tornado on the ground in Monroe County, with no reports of major damage or injuries to people there.

A tree fell on a house and caused significant damage in Oxford.

Some people lost electrical power in Tupelo; most power was apparently restored by late Wednesday evening. Public safety officials in Lee County reported no major damage or injuries there.

Bill Mattox, manager of New Albany Lights, Gas, and Water, said there was one electrical power circuit knocked out that runs from the post office to the BNA Sportsplex. The outage was caused, not by wind, but by a lightning strike. That damage has been repaired. Mattox said there were scattered instances of customers losing power.

Union County Emergency Management Director Curt Clayton told NEMiss.News he did not know of any serious damage or injuries in the county.

Information in this report came from official sources Wednesday night, but more damages may be reported after daylight tomorrow.

NEMiss.News Brush fire



Relatively dry conditions and high winds kept at least four Union County volunteer fire departments busy Tuesday afternoon. The county volunteer departments put out fires in structures, brush and grass from one end of the county to the other.

The most destructive fire was fought just across the Lee County line by equipment and personnel from the East Union and Alpine Fire Departments.

Near Ray Ray’s store in the 200 block of Highway 348 a shop building containing numerous electrical machine tools, a nearby metal shed, an RV trailer and other property was either a total loss or badly damaged. The shop owner had been using a metal cutting saw. He left the project to go to his house, and the shop was ablaze when he returned.

East Union and Alpine backed up fire fighters from Lee County’s Cedar Hill and Guntown Fire Departments in extinguishing that major fire.

Four pieces of equipment and nine personnel from East Union were involved in fighting the fire on Highway 348.

When East Union left the Highway 348 location, they got a call about a brush fire near a home on County Road 194 in the Red Hill community.

East Union Fire Chief Tim Hatcher said no one was at the home, but the call was made by a passer-by. East Union responded with the brush truck that had been at the Highway 348 fire and extinguished the fire in a stand of trees on CR 194.

In that instance the homeowner had apparently been doing some intentional burning a few days earlier and the earlier fire, thought extinguished, was rekindled by the gusty winds Tuesday afternoon. There was no damage to structures.

At the other end of the county the West Union Fire Department fought a grass fire on County Road 302. West Union was assisted at the CR 302 fire by the Pinedale Fire Department.

Then late Tuesday afternoon the New Albany Fire Department was dispatched to the Factory Connection Store at 128 Chrystal Plaza Drive. A motorist had driven a vehicle into the front of the building causing damage to the structure. Reports were that no one – occupants of the vehicle, people in the store, or bystanders – was injured in the incident at Factory Connection.

Although Union County is not currently under a “burn ban,” grass and brush are dry and stiff winds are expected to continue at least through Wednesday, February 16.  The National Weather Service has issued a strong caution against any kind of outdoor burning anywhere in North Mississippi.

Fire at the Snyder Bridge quickly extinguished: https://newalbanyunionco.com/construction-fire-at-snyder-st-railroad-underpass-quickly-extinguished/

NEMiss.News BNA Bank, New Albany, MS


New Albany, Mississippi: On behalf of the BNA Bank board of directors, James R. Collins, Chief
Executive Officer, announces the following promotions:


NEMiss.News Brad Kennedy, BNA Bank

Brad Kennedy, BNA Senior Vice President and Trust Officer.

Brad Kennedy has been promoted to Senior Vice President and Trust Officer. A
graduate of East Union High School, Brad received his Master of Accountancy
from the University of Mississippi. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a
graduate of the Southern Trust School in Alabama. Brad joined BNA Bank in
2001 and oversees credit analysis and loan underwriting from the BNA Bank
Financial Services Center in New Albany. He is a past president of the
Northeast chapter of the Mississippi Society of CPA’s. He and his wife, Cathy,
have two children, Anna and David. Brad and his family attend New Harmony
Baptist Church, where he serves as treasurer.



NEMiss.News Jonathan McCoy, BNA Bank

Jonathan McCoy, BNA Senior Vice President, Lee County
Business Development.

Jonathan McCoy has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Lee County
Business Development. A graduate of Pontotoc High School, Jonathan
received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of
Mississippi. Jonathan joined BNA in 2009 and currently serves as a
commercial loan officer in Lee County. He is active in the Tupelo tennis
community and is a former Kiwanis and Civitan club member. Jonathan and
his wife, Hope, reside in Saltillo. They have three boys, Jonathan Thomas, Eli,
and Clayton. Jonathan’s family attends Mayfield Church of Christ.




NEMiss.News Mike Nobles. BNA Bank

Mike Nobles, BNA Senior Vice President, Business

Mike Nobles has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Business
Development. A graduate of New Albany High School, Mike received a
Bachelor of Arts in Finance and Management from Huntingdon College. Mike
joined BNA in 1998 and specializes in consumer and small business lending.
He is a current member and past president of the New Albany Kiwanis club
where he served as chairman of the Hotbed Classic for several years. He is
currently a corporate board member of the North Mississippi Boys and Girls
Club. He and his wife, Sonya, have two children, Logan (Katie) and Madison.
They attend Fredonia Baptist Church in Ingomar where Mike serves as a deacon and treasurer.



NEMiss.News Donna Weeden, BNA Bank

Donna Weeden, BNA Senior Vice President, Business

Donna Weeden has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Business
Development. A graduate of West Union High School, Donna received a
Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Banking and Finance from
the University of Mississippi. Donna joined BNA in 2013 and specializes in
consumer and small business lending. She is a founding board member and past
treasurer for West Union Endowment for Public Education. Donna served as
the accounting chair for the Union County Relay for Life for five years and is the
current President of the New Albany Kiwanis Club. She and her husband,
Narshal have two children, Kelsey (Chris) McCluskey and Katie (Jake) McDonald, and one
grandchild, Archie McDonald. They are members of Bethel Baptist Church.

BNA Bank, established in 1896, is a state-chartered bank with approximately $675 million in assets. It
is one of the few ‘A’ rated banks by Weiss Bank Rating Services and was inducted into the Seifried and
Brew Top 15th percentile of community banks. BNA has seven locations in Union and Lee counties
and one loan production office in Lafayette county.

NEMiss.News Lee Co. Sheriff Jimmy Johnson

A 14-year-old juvenile was arrested Monday in Lee County for telephoning a threat of a violent attack at a North Mississippi public school.

The telephone threat was not specific as to which school in which north Mississippi County was threatened. One official source told NEMiss.News that the call was “pinged” from a cell phone tower close to the intersection of Highway 348 and Highway 45. That location is in northern Lee County, not far from the Prentiss County line.

Federal law enforcement authorities picked up the threat through its routine monitoring of phone calls, social media and other electronic traffic. Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said he got the call from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about 8:30 p.m., Sunday, January 6, 2022, telling him of the threat. Edwards said he had Chief Deputy Baron Baker relay the threat to the New Albany Police Department. Lieutenant Scotty Reedy of the Lee County Sheriff’s Department confirmed to NEMiss.News Monday that his department also received the information from the FBI Sunday night.

Following up on the information received from the FBI, investigators of the Lee County Sheriff’s department arrested the juvenile Monday morning. Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said, “We were able to track down the suspect fairly quickly with these resources and the suspect has been taken into custody without incident this morning around 9:30.” Johnson also said, “There was no indication that the suspect had any means or any ways to carry out this threat. However, any threat made towards schools, students or staff is taken very seriously and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent. We want to give a special thanks to the FBI, the Lee County Sheriff’s investigators, and Lee County Schools. Their dedication to help the community and schools helped solve this case and protect our children…”

Although School Resource Officers (SROs) and extra police officers were  deployed this morning at many schools in several counties within a wide radius of the cell phone tower, most schools opened on time without incident. New Albany Schools Superintendent Lance Evans said school began normally and continued after being notified of the arrest late Monday morning.

NEMiss.News BNA groundbreaking, Tupelo MS



BNA Bank, headquartered in New Albany, hosted a groundbreaking ceremony this morning, August 7, for its third bank location in Tupelo.

Construction is already underway for the 18,000 square foot building located at 105 East Main Street in downtown Tupelo.

The first floor of the new building will house BNA’s latest full-service banking center in a state-of-the-art open floor plan. There will be an additional 4,500 square feet on the ground floor available to tenants. The 9,000 square foot second floor will be office space and has been leased to the Phelps Dunbar Law Firm. The building will also have a rooftop venue for events.

The new building will house BNA’s third location in Lee County, joining the Belden and Barnes Crossing Banking Centers, which opened in 2007 and 2015 respectively.

“We are excited to expand in the Tupelo and Lee County market,” said BNA Chief Executive Officer James R. “Bo” Collins. “This location further demonstrates our commitment to serving the people of Tupelo and Northeast Mississippi.”

The building is scheduled to be completed and open for business by Spring/Summer 2022.

“We know digital and online financial services have experienced significant growth, which has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Collins. “While our new full-service banking center will still offer traditional transaction-based bank services, the widespread acceptance of digital financial services has shifted the branch bank focus to assisting customers with solutions to their unique financial needs. The bankers in our downtown center will be equipped to assist customers with a wide variety of needs, from digital technology issues to planning for retirement to starting a small business.”

BNA Bank, established in 1896, is a state-chartered bank with approximately $678-million in assets. It is one of the few ‘A’ rated banks by Weiss Bank Rating Services and was inducted into the Seifried and Brew Top 15th percentile of community banks. BNA has seven locations in Union and Lee counties and one loan production office in Lafayette County.

BNA Bank groundbreaking ceremony 9-7-2021:

NEMiss.News Snow plows by the dozen


By Nicole Milev


The mass murder of three young Tupelo residents nine days earlier was a major topic at the Tupelo City Council meeting of August 3.

Early in the August 3 council meeting, Ward 3 Councilman Travis Beard remarked on the tragic slayings of three Tupelo youths on July 24, asking that attendees keep the families of those affected in their prayers. Ward 4 Councilwoman Nettie Davis added that it is more important than ever for Tupelo “to remember the young people.” In addition, Mayor Todd Jordan commended the Tupelo Police Department for their work thus far on this ongoing case.

During the meeting, the council also discussed the matter of approving the 2021-2022 North Mississippi Narcotics Unit [NMNU] interlocal agreement, which Councilwoman Rosie Jones challenged. The NMNU spans over seven cities and five counties in the state and its mission is to combat drug trafficking in these areas. Jones questioned Interim Police Chief Jackie Clayton about the representation of minorities on the governing body of the NMNU unit. Clayton responded that the members are elected by the sheriffs and police chiefs of their respective counties, and that Tupelo’s only non-white member had been a lieutenant who recently retired.

Clayton is Interim Chief while the search continues for a permanent replacement for Police Chief Bart Aguirre, who retired.

Councilman Beard also remarked on the increasing number of Covid-19 cases with the spread of the Delta variant, asking Tupelo residents to “be careful and faithful” and “wear a mask and get vaccinated.”

Despite the hardships of the coronavirus pandemic, the city of Tupelo continues to offer resources to better the lives and education of its young people. During public hearings, Jeff Thomas of the Lee County Library thanked the City of Tupelo for its support. Upon reopening in May of 2020, the library amassed 20,000 visits and has over 23,000 library cardholders. Thomas mentioned his excitement over the Bookmobile, which is coming soon to the library, and emphasized the importance of reading during the pandemic for families with young children.

Also appearing before the Council was Robby Portman of the Regional Rehabilitation Center (RRC). He expressed gratitude for the city’s support for his organization, which offers services such as occupational, physical, and speech therapy free to those who need it. Portman asked the board to continue its support for RRC during the coming budget year

Alongside Portman, spoke Phil Hodgson, the father of two boys, one of which was struggling quite a bit with his studies before he started going to the Regional Rehab Center. Hodgson remarked that while entering the 4th grade, he noticed that his son spent quite a bit of time on homework. After just four years of working with the staff at the center, his son transformed from having difficulty with reading to having the highest math, English, and science scores in his classes. He stated with conviction, “Your money simply cannot buy the love and the attitudes of the staff working at Regional Rehab.”

Tupelo resident Carlos Conde had asked to be on the agenda and spoke to the board. Conde expressed anger that the city failed to clear snow from his street during the week of February 14, 2021. Born in the South, Conde relocated to the Midwest, apparently living with his Wisconsin-born wife in her native state before retiring to Tupelo. Conde said his Tupelo street was not promptly cleared of snow, which led to his trash not being picked up for the entire week.

Conde suggested that the city of Tupelo create a fact-finding committee to research the extent of the storm’s damage and to plan to prevent future winter road closures. City Council President Buddy Palmer of Ward 5 told Conde that the matter would be investigated.

According to the National Weather Service, the city of Tupelo experiences an average of 1.3 inches of snow per year compared to the United States’ average of 27.8 inches.  It may be notable that Madison, Wisconsin has an average of 42.4 inches of snow every year. It appears unlikely the City of Tupelo will be able justify the acquisition of many millions of dollars of snow plows to match the kind of snow removal operation Conde may have observed in Wisconsin.


NEMiss.News Former Lee County Sheriff, Harold Ray Presley


By Brandon Presley

I’m pretty sure if you listen close enough you can still hear those cowboy boots walking in the halls of the Lee County Jail in the wee hours of the morning when everything is still. I know that I can still remember the exact sound of his voice on the radio as a teenage dispatcher. Strong and deep, he would say,” Lee-1 to Lee S.O.” For y’all that don’t know law enforcement lingo, the Sheriff of the county’s badge number is #1 and “S.O” stands ‘Sheriff’s Office.” That break in the silence on the radio made every deputy sit up a little straighter and we all knew that the Sheriff was out working. He was always out working and that would eventually be the reason we lost him twenty years ago this week.

My uncle, the late Lee County Sheriff Harold Ray Presley was a gentle, kind, strong and grounded man who’s epic story ended way too early on July 6, 2001, while protecting the people of Lee County. In classic Harold Ray fashion, he was going to be where the action was and was going to be the leader of the pack that hot July morning which would be his last. His rise to be the highest law enforcement officer in Lee County was not one of careful life preparation for the top job, it was really the opposite. The truth is, Harold Ray as young man probably thought the last place that he ever would be was on the right side of the law. In those days he and my daddy fought and drank at every bar in Lee County. In those days, no one would have thought Harold Ray Presley could become Sheriff of Lee County and attain the status of a legend among law enforcement.

On his first day as a Deputy Sheriff, he joked that he had never seen the front seat of a patrol car. In those early years, Uncle Sam sent him to the jungles of Vietnam, he never finished high school and returned to his beloved East Tupelo to work with lifelong friend Buddy Palmer at his grocery store. Luckily for us, and unfortunately for many criminals and drug dealers, his story didn’t end there, because in the late 1970s, Harold Ray got religion. He said that when he met the Lord and put down the bottle, Miller Lite lost so much business in Tupelo that they had to fire a truck driver. He decided to get his G.E.D. and when Sheriff Jack Shirley offered him a job, he took it and went through the police academy as a middle aged man. Five years later, he would be elected Sheriff and go on to be re-elected time and again. There is no doubt in my mind that, but for the bullet that took this giant from us or the voters rejecting him at the polls, he would still be working. Because Harold Ray had, all too well, seen the tragedy of alcohol and drug abuse up close and personal, he felt it was his mission to do his part. He did it until the end.

On this 20th anniversary, I’ll go to his grave and spend a few moments thinking about the good he brought into my life. My daddy (his brother) was murdered when I was eight years old and Harold Ray stepped in the gap and let me tag along and run his first campaign for Sheriff. Until the day he died, he was a constant sense of comfort for me and of protection for the people of Lee County. His story is one of a comeback with some major help from above. As tragic as his murder was, he ended well and achieved heights he never would have dreamed. At his funeral, Bro. Wayne Thorn read a poem that he was inspired to pen when heard of Harold Ray’s death. “Admired by many and hated by some, Harold Ray would take whatever come. Then came July 6th that final day, Harold Ray Presley was called away.” Twenty years later we still miss this giant.

Brandon Presley is the Northern District Public Service Commissioner and nephew to the late Lee Co. Sheriff Harold Ray Presley

Snow & ice in New Albany NEMiss.News



An unprecedented winter storm had many Mississippians south of here still without electrical power Thursday afternoon, Feb. 18.

However, much of north Mississippi appeared to have “dodged a bullet” so far as freezing rain and loss of electrical power were concerned.

Watching the weather radar during the last few days, it was hard to believe how frequently bands of freezing rain missed Lee and Union Counties.

“Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than to be smart,” commented Bill Mattox, general manager of New Albany Light, Gas and Water (NALGW). Mattox said NALGW had had no problems with customers losing electrical power because of the storm.

“We had sleet and snow, but no freezing rain, so no ice collected on trees,” said Mattox.

Tupelo Water and Light (TWL) reported few if any loses of power by its customers. The same was true in Houston in Chickasaw County.

There were reports of power outages in Monroe County.

Unfortunately, a hundred miles south of here in Winston and Neshoba counties, freezing rain broke tree limbs, which dragged down power lines. Many customers lost power.

Most Louisville and Winston County customers had power restored by nightfall Thursday.

However, NALGW is sending one or more crews to hard-hit Philadelphia in Neshoba County early Friday to help restore electrical service to customers there.

NEMiss.News Sadie Holland



Her family is famous in Northeast Mississippi for treating all people equally.

Rich or poor, regardless of race, religion or pedigree, the Hollands of Lee County are famous for stubbornly insisting that everyone be treated alike and treated well. They are a radically egalitarian bunch.

Yet, Sadie Monts Holland, the matriarch of this numerous tribe of democratic Hollands, had a bearing, a gracefulness, that invariably made me think of royalty. Her graciousness came not from wealth or power, but from fundamental decency, keen intelligence, kindness, and a dazzling smile. She was little more than five feet tall and petite, but her presence filled every room she entered.

Sadie Monts Holland died Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. She was born Jan. 31, 1933 and grew up in the Palmetto community of Lee County, the daughter of sharecroppers.

She married J. C. Holland and together they raised six sons on the “Sadie J. Farm,” an operation that, at one time, included more than 9,000 acres in three north Mississippi counties. J.C. died in 2016.

Sadie J.’s career of public service spanned half a century.

She was the first female school bus driver in Mississippi,

She served a term as mayor of Nettleton.

She was Tupelo court administrator for eight years.

In 2003, at age 70, Sadie J. Holland was elected a Justice Court Judge in Lee County. She was re-elected three times and retired a year ago this month when nearly 87 years old.

I last saw her about a month ago, dropping by unannounced at Holland Funeral Directors on Cliff Gookin Blvd. in Tupelo. She did not know me well, but she treated me as she would a long-treasured friend.

The earthly reign of Sadie J. Monts Holland has ended.

Long may she reign.


J. W. Shiverdecker


J.C. Holland’s last earthly party: http://newalbanyunionco.com/john-clarence-j-c-holland-flesh-and-blood-faulknerian-mississippian-attends-his-last-earthly-party/


Tupelo- The Lee County Sheriff’s office released a statement saying that they have received several calls about a new scam. The scammers are telling residents that they are with the Sheriff’s Department. People are being told they have outstanding warrants that need to be paid. Citizens are then being told to go to retail stores and place money on prepaid cards. After loading the card, they are instructed to call the scammers and give them the card numbers.

The Sheriff’s Department has assured that this is a scam. They are advising people not to go through with these instructions if called.

A detective for the department, speaking to NEMiss.news, said that if citizens are contacted, they should report the call to the local police or sheriff’s department. He said, “If you haven’t been scammed, no crime has been committed.”  He then told citizens to report these calls so local law enforcement agencies are aware of the problem.

animal neglect glidewell lee county

Lee County, MS – From the Lee County Sheriff’s Office comes a sad tale of animal neglect. Unfortunately, one animal was found to be beyond assistance.

Maridee Glidwell, 44 years of age, was charged with four counts of animal neglect. Her arrest came after the Lee County Sheriff’s office was notified of a group of horses located in a pasture without food. One of the horses was reported to be dead.

Deputies, along with the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society went to the property at CR 1057 to investigate.

Upon arrival, 3 horses were taken. This was in compliance with a seizure order obtained by officers. One horse was found to be deceased from neglect.

The three surviving animals were taken to a facility to be tested and treated as needed.