in Delta turns scary on New Year's
wasn't exactly the Bates Motel, but it was almost as scary.
revelers were staying on the second floor at the rear of the Best Western
in Clarksdale, Miss. Not long after dark on New Year's Eve, they were
congregating outside their rooms on the walkway overlooking the parking
There were at least a dozen men outside, and they were partying early.
There was no telling how many more were still in their rooms, or how
many women they had with them, or if they had any children with them,
for that matter.
The men looked like they could have played updated versions of Norman
Bates, the psychopath who ran the family motel in Alfred Hitchcock's
"Psycho." Guests who had rooms nearby probably wished they had booked
a room down the road. They decided to stay put, like the ill-fated
Janet Leigh in "Psycho."
There was no turning back now. They parked
their cars some distance from where the partygoers were congregating.
Seeing the wild bunch up above, the other guests bravely entered their
rooms below, then went out to eat and celebrate New Year's Eve, all
the while wondering about the guests on the second floor of the motel.
Returning to their rooms after midnight,
the guests looked apprehensively toward the second floor, where the
party had gotten much bigger and rowdier. As they say in police reports,
you could smell the distinct odor of alcohol and worse. Broken beer
bottles littered the parking lot, which was all the more reason to park
as far away as possible. The revelers were getting louder as the night
wore on. A bunch of them had gone downstairs and were shouting and cussing
in front of the downstairs rooms.
Amid all the noise, somebody was screaming,
"Where is she?" "Don't you call me that!" a woman shouted back after
someone hurled an insult at her. It was now close to 3 a.m. The noise
of breaking beer bottles could be heard when the revelers stopped screaming
at each other momentarily. What if someone reached for a gun and started
shooting and a stray bullet landed inside one of the rooms where guests
were trying to get some sleep?
Someone called the front desk to suggest
it was time to call out the police. The clerk at the front desk said
she didn't want to get involved. "Call 911," she suggested. Fearing
a bullet might land in his room, someone called 911 from a bathroom
and told the operator that 50 people were screaming their heads off
and things could turn violent at any second.
"They're shouting and things could turn
violent?" the 911 operator asked because 911 operators always repeat
what they're told. "Where is this again?" "At the back of the Best Western."
"The Best Western?" "Yes." "We'll send someone out," the operator promised.
A squad car must have driven up in about a minute, and the revelers
were suddenly quiet. It seemed as if they had gone in their rooms as
soon as they saw a squad car approaching.
It was quiet for a few more minutes, and
then, after the police left, the shouting started again and went on
until almost dawn, when the revelers must have passed out. They were
gone after daylight. The parking spaces near the windows were littered
with broken beer bottles. New Year's Day was quiet, and as the day wore
on, new guests checked into the motel. Many of them were Pentecostal
worshippers who were attending services that evening and next morning.
The guests from the night before were relieved to see them.
They were quiet, didn't throw beer bottles
and didn't threaten anyone.
seek more openness on pardons
you talk to prosecutors around the state, many of them will tell you they're
unhappy that Gov. Huckabee pardons criminals without letting law-enforcement
officials or victims' families know why he's doing it, as he's required
by law. [FULL
prosecutors go on offensive
trade jabs over sentencing, pardoning of killers, other thugs
prosecutors around the state are upset with Gov. Huckabee for grant- ing
clemency to violent criminals, but he is blaming the prosecutors for often
not seeking the maximum penalty and keeping felons locked up longer.
B.B. goes home then to funeral
King didn't seem his usual old self last weekend when he was performing
in his hometown of Indianola, Miss.
___ He put on two fine shows in one evening,
but he seemed a bit distracted. [FULL
Clintons in lovefest with Bush
there's anything more unappealing than watching politicians mud wrestle,
it's watching them pretend they like each other.
insincerity, Presi-dent Bush praised his predecessor on Monday during an
unveiling of the Clintons' official (and utterly mediocre) White House portraits.
World-class blues played near here
couple of great blues musicians showed up at Sticky Fingerz in Little Rock
on Thursday night.
___ Michael Burks, probably Arkansas' most talented
young bluesman, dropped in to catch Deborah Coleman and her band and he
was impressed. [FULL
Reagan had won in '76
of words and thousands of images have filled newspapers and television screens
since the passing of Ronald Reagan on Saturday.
colleagues, politicians and scholars have discussed every facet of his remarkable
life: How he started out poor, became a Holly-wood star, found a second
career on television, then a third as a corporate spokesman, and yet another,
more spectacular career as a politician.
His life has been thoroughly examined this week, but one crucial period
and its consequences are virtually overlooked: His losing out to President
Ford for the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 1976, which,
it could be argued, helped the Soviets stay in power for several more years.
These Vets couldn't go to unveiling
Albert Jonikas couldn't make it to the dedication of the World War II memorial
over the weekend.
an 84-year-old veteran of the Second World War who saw action in the Pacific
- Iwo Jima, Saipan, Okinawa, which was near where the Japanese surrendered
- but he doesn't get around much anymore. [FULL