4-County sends second crew to assist Florida in hurricane restoration efforts

A second 4-County Electric Power Association crew is on its way to West Florida Electric Cooperative to assist in restoring power to residents suffering in the wake of Hurricane Michael. The employees, who left Columbus before 7 a.m. Friday, will join the recovery efforts at West Florida Electric, based in Graceville, and serving 28,000 meters in four counties. The 10-man 4-County team leaving today will relieve an 11-man team that left Oct. 17 to assist the Florida co-op. That initial team is arriving home tonight. West Florida estimates that there were 8,500 poles damaged due to the hurricane. About...

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CPD Seeks Help Identifying Victim in Illinois Cold Case

In an unusual case, Columbus Police have been asked to assist in identifying a homicide victim from 1976 that was found in Morris, IL. The victim is believed to have ties to Columbus and Lowndes County. “We have been asked by officials with the Grundy County Coroner’s Office in Illinois to release this information and this sketch to see if anyone can help identify this victim,” said Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton. “This unidentified black female was found in a ditch in a rural part of Grundy County and we hope that someone in Columbus and Lowndes County can...

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Councilman Implicated in Embezzlement Case

[This story has been modified since its original posting to include new information. – Ed.] A Columbus city councilman and his wife have been named in an embezzlement investigation involving Bargain Hunt, located at 2312 Highway 45 North. A clerk at the store, Sharon Smith, who had been named as the subject of the investigation, turned herself in to CPD late Tuesday afternoon. She has since been charged with one count of felony embezzlement. Ward 5 Councilman Stephen Jones and his wife, Stephanie, are among seven customers who were not charged correctly for items that they purchased, said Police...

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Man Hit By Train

A 20-year-old Columbus man is hit by a train and investigators aren’t sure how he got to the tracks or why. A crew member on a northbound Alabama Gulf Railroad train noticed Joseph Anthony Paone, of 480 E. Ellis Road, on the tracks just before 3:20 a.m. Thursday and realized the train may have hit him, according to Lowndes County Sheriff Mike Arledge. Paone was about 250 feet from Matson Road off Military Road just north of Columbus along the tracks owned by Burlington Northern. When emergency responders reached him, Paone was largely unresponsive, only able to mumble and...

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Inmate Dies at Lowndes County Jail

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has been called in to investigate the death of a 56-year-old Lowndes County native found unresponsive in his Lowndes County Jail cell Thursday morning. Johnny James Payne, of 3579 Jess Lyons Road, would have celebrated his 57th birthday Sept. 19. He’d been arrested Sept. 2 at about 1 a.m. on Blaylock Road for possession of methamphetamine and just had a bond hearing Thursday before he was found in his cell at about 11 a.m., according to Sheriff Mike Allege and Coroner Greg Merchant. He was rushed to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle where he was pronounced dead. The recent meth arrest was the...

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