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Checking up on readers' questions

By By Suzanne Monk / Managing Editor
May 26, 2002
I've had a lot of phone calls from readers over the last two weeks. Some had heard something and wanted to know if it was true. Some had comments about things in the newspaper. Some suggested new avenues of inquiry.
The one that made my day was from a lady whose ex-husband was murdered in 1985. She had grown increasingly frustrated with the Mississippi Department of Corrections over the years as she tried to get information about the man convicted.
She found out about the MDOC's new Web site in this column, and called to say it changed her life.
Quick takes
on other questions
Pepper spray: Police Chief Benny DuBose has confirmed that pepper spray was used May 15 on a city school bus. The incident occurred in the afternoon as senior patrolman Steve Early worked an accident at Vally Street and 30th Avenue.
DuBose said Early noticed as a bus pulled over and walked over to see what the problem was. Two teen-age boys 15 or 16 years old were fighting.
Dr. Sam Thompson, head of security for Meridian schools, said the driver had already pulled over once to separate the boys seating one in the front of the bus and one in the back. Thompson said the driver made the second stop, the one Early was involved in, after the fight resumed.
Early used pepper spray to stop the fight. The two students were not arrested, but they were taken to the police station, DuBose said, where their parents picked them up.
Prison stabbing: Warden Aaron Jagers of the East Mississippi Correctional Facility at Lost Gap has confirmed that an inmate was stabbed late at night on May 16. Jagers said the attacker used a piece of sharpened metal broken off a cyclone fence to stab another inmate.
The victim was treated at Rush Foundation Hospital for a puncture wound to the chest. Sheriff Billy Sollie said the attacker was not arrested, but the case is expected to be presented to a Lauderdale County grand jury in July.
Administrative leave: DuBose confirmed that police officer Chuck Fowler was placed on administrative leave pending a complaint that he was abusive to a person under arrest.
Asleep on the job: The sheriff has fired correctional officer Jerry Gordon for sleeping while on duty in the jail's watch tower. Gordon has taken steps to appeal the termination, appearing at Lauderdale County supervisors' work session and reportedly meeting with County Administrator Rex Hiatt.
Double-take: A lot of people have asked about a front-page photo on May 16 showing Lt. Al Brown of the Meridian Police Department saluting at a ceremony for officers killed in the line of duty. He bears a remarkable resemblance to, but is not, radio personality Al Brown who bills himself as "Most Hair on the Air."
Citizens Bank: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had rejected an appeal by Citizens National Bank over whether or not The Citizens Bank of Philadelphia can use its very similar name in the Meridian area. Meanwhile, Charles Young, president of the Philadelphia bank, says his company has purchased land in Meridian for expansions.
Out-of-town judge: Retired judge Hardy Stennis of Macon was in town Thursday to try two cases in which Municipal Judge Lester Williamson Jr. recused himself. Williamson and I played phone tag at the end of the week, and I never reached him. But, I can tell you both cases involved DUI arrests.