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I could almost hear Mrs. Betty fussing when I made the rounds delivering the newspapers last Wednesday morning. She wasn’t a fan of Daylight Savings Time – by mid-March the sun would be coming up early enough that she wouldn’t have to drive in the dark. Then comes the time change, and it will be dark again at the start of the paper route for another month. Mrs. Betty did not like moving the clocks forward, and she didn’t mind sharing her opinion in the Herald.
While we are on Betty’s week, I am going to continue her tradition of correcting mistakes and issuing apologies in a personal column. I must apologize to Water Valley attorney Will Phillips. Last week in cutlines under his picture, I gave Will a new last name – THREE TIMES.
I have enjoyed getting to know Will since he joined Tommy Defer’s law firm in 2021. I felt an immediate connection, as Will also has Panola County roots. His grandfather, the late David M. Bryan, served as sheriff in Panola County from 1976 until his death in 2005. Sheriff Bryan was a friend. I was only a year old when he was elected in 1976, but by the time I was a teenager he was one of the most respected sheriffs in the history of the county. And for the first seven years
I was in the newspaper business after college, I had the privilege of working with Sheriff Bryan for stories that involved his department. I remember the first time I ever saw a meth lab. Sheriff Bryan called me one Saturday morning to come take a picture. I also remember he would often note crime knows no jurisdiction. Sheriff Bryan worked hard to build partnerships and coalitions with neighboring agencies as well as state and federal agencies to fight crime in and around Panola County. That connection included a strong bond with Yalobusha County Sheriff Lloyd Defer, as the two sheriff’s terms coincided for many years.
Sheriff Bryan’s wife, Mrs. Ida Bryan, is also a friend. For many years she worked as a victim assistance coordinator for the district attorney’s office. She always lights up your day when you see her.
Speaking of sheriffs and investigations, I can report that a family in West Memphis, Arkansas is extremely grateful for the work by Sheriff Jerimaine Gooch and his department. We are all familiar with the murder of Fredarrious Wilson and the hard work it took to make arrests in the case. Fredarrious’ mom, Shirley Smith, reached out to me last week to say that words can’t express how she feels about the law enforcement officials in Yalobusha County. She said the connection she made with the deputies here make them feel like family. She also noted that she will be forever grateful that justice will be served for her son.
Sheriff Gooch and Chief Deputy Thomas West explained that every participating agency had an important role to play in this investigation, especially the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the West Memphis Police Department. The best way they could describe it was that different investigators were able to provide different pieces of the puzzle to help make the arrests. It made me think of the cooperative police work that Sheriff Bryan was such a strong advocate for.
Again, my apologies, Will. And like I said before, my Lord keeps me humble. When I make dumb mistakes, several thousand readers have a front-row seat.