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WCBI NEWS AT SIX - OCTOBER 31, 2019

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Published on October 31, 2019 -
WCBI NEWS AT SIX - OCTOBER 31, 2019
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WCBI NEWS AT SIX - OCTOBER 31, 2019

Thanks for joining us... the state auditor's office is releasing more information about the arrest of aberdeen mayor maurice howard.

In a press release, state auditor shad white says howard was arrested wednesday after being indicted on five counts of embezzlement.

Howard is accused of embezzling city funds meant to pay for travel expenses related to city business.

According to the release, howard sought and was paid advance checks for attending meetings and conferences on behalf of the city of aberdeen but did not actually attend the events.

By depositing the checks into his personal bank account and not returning the unused money, howard allegedly stole nearly 35 hundred dollars from aberdeen taxpayers.

A demand letter worth over 11- thousand dollars was delivered to howard at the time of his arrest.

Mayor maurice howard spoke with us last night shortly after bonding out of the monroe county jail on embezzlement charges// it's the latest controversy in aberdeen since aldermen questioned whether or not the mayor should be allowed to carry his gun to meetings// our scott martin joins us live in aberdeen with more from the mayor and the state auditor on the investigation.

As you said earlier, howard faces five charges of embezzlement.

He told us last night he's stunned at the charges brought against him.

The charges stem from questions where some money went in 2016 and 2017.

Howard tells us, this isn't the first time he has been questioned about it.

Mayor maurice howard has one message he's spreading to folks in aberdeen.

"the mayor is not, nor has every been a thief."

However, an investigation by the state auditor's office alleges howard deposited city funds into his personal bank account.

The allegations stem from trips in 2016 and 2017, in which howard says board of alderman tried to address then.

"the board tried to impeach me using these same alleged offenses.

I was aware of them in 2017 but i wasn't aware there was still anything going on with the alleged offenses.

" an investigation by the state auditors office alleges otherwise.

State auditor shad white accuses howard of going to board members to get money for trips that he didn't actually go to in an effort to pocket the money.

"he found a way by doing that over and over again, he found a way to give himself a nice little second pay check."

White also alleges howard used his official vehicle for personal business.

Back in april of 2018, howard's vehicle was found 140 miles away in linden, alabama that raised red flags.

This is what howard had to say about that in an april interview... old sound...."i was there doing a housing development project for the city of aberdeen is under housed band we need some new subdivisions in aberdeen and there is a company that's looking at doing some new subdivisions for the city of aberdeen and that's who i was there meeting with.

I was also going to look at other subdivisions in which they have developed" that investigation was handed over to the state auditors office.

As far as trips go, howard says he has receipts showing when and where he was.

He claims the board of alderman have a vendetta against him.

"this is what they want.they want maurice vernon howard to quit, but i'm not quitter.

I never will.

I'm still here.

I'm still they mayor.

Wcbi reached out to every alderman.

They declined to comment on the matter.

In the meantime, howard says he'll fight for his innocence.

"the line has been drawn.

It's wartime.

It's wartime.

Howard was released on a 10- thousand dollar bond.

He has a court appearance set for december.

Reporting live in aberdeen - scott martin wcbi news..

From mayors to sheriffs, over the past year accusations of political corruption have made the news in our area.

Our rylie livingston talks with a political science professor about what can lead politicians to these alleged situations..

She joins us live in the studio with more.

Public corruption..

The use of public resources for personal or political gain.

And while most of the time safeguards are in place to prevent it.... sometimes they're just not enough.

Temptation... it's something everyone faces.

But for public officials with access to public resources... usually money... and sometimes without much monitoring, that temptation can be a stronger pull.

"it's very difficult to regulate the use of resources.

You know we have a state auditor's office we have other controls, maybe even some at the local level, but they can't be there 24 seven.

And if somebody wants to be crafty they can they can conceal what they're doing.

They can misrepresent it, and they can get away with it at least for awhile."

Not everyone succumbs to the temptation.

Dr brian anderson thinks it sometimes comes down to validation.

"i think some of them it's a personal belief that they deserve a little more than they're getting in their office and and some folks out there be it a sheriff or even somebody behind the scenes and an administrative capacity who works a really tough job and might get a lot of flack for what they do.

They might feel like the official compensation for what they're doing is not enough."

And when that official is caught.... the public trust can be broken.

"there's this assumption of integrity that goes into being a public servant.

In fact, the name itself, kind of, you want to feel good for this person, and then you feel slimed when you find out that they've been abusing their power, especially for a personal purpose."

Dr. anderson says it's always important to hold officials accountable.

"we always have to fight against getting sloppy and against assuming that just because somebody is really doing a great job in their first couple years that they won't sort of slouch their way into a bad situation later in their career."

Transparency is key.

Dr. anderson says it's good to have outside agencies check in.

Have them look at quarterly reports and meetings... and if something doesn't add up they can help figure out what's going on and if there is a problem get the bottom of it.

First look stinger first look thursday night: freeze warning in effect!

Lows in the low 30s with clear skies.

Gusty winds relax during the night.

Protect tender plants because a damaging freeze could occur.

Friday-sunday: sunny skies during the day with clear conditions at night.

Highs will be mainly in the 50s with over night lows in the low 30s.

Weekend outlook 2 shot downtown tupelo is bracing for large crowds tomorrow's visit from president donald trump..

While limited parking and street closures are causing some businesses to adjust their hours, allie martin reports, many of them are looking forward to the potential spike in sales.

At the downtown reed's department store, the hats, coats, gloves and other winter wear are being put on display, not only for local shoppers, but also for anyone coming to the president's rally who needs to bundle up against the cold.

"one of our mottoes is make people warm again, it's going to be so cold, wind chill below freezing tomorrow, we will be right here."

Like other downtown businesses, reed's is expecting heavy traffic in the area.

The store will provide lunch for its employees so they don't have to battle the crowds.

Reed says it will be a unique day for retail.

"people that needed to do some christmas shopping will probably avoid tomorrow, but people usually not here, and a lot of visitors from out of town will be walking around, experiencing downtown tupelo for the first time, i'm sure restaurants will be packed."

Nats grill fairpark grill will have a full staff on hand.

The restaurant is in the same block as the arena.

Employees will be shuttled in from another location because of limited parking available.

Owner bernard bean expects to have a big day.

"we've heard from similar events elsewhere in the country , restaurants near a president visiting, a lot of people wait in line, they send people to local restaurants to get to go orders so we anticipate getting a lot of to go orders."

Standup there are already people waiting in line, to be sure they get a prime spot inside.

They may be from different states, but they know each other and help each other out.

"they leave the line, we save their spot, we go to lunch, dinner, we live a more civilized life on the road than people think we do."

Mr snowden encourages people to get to the arena as early as possible if they want to be inside for the rally.

In tupelo, allie martin, wcbi news centred up doors to the arena are set to open at 4 tomorrow afternoon for the public stinger mississippi students are leading the way in some national standings..

We take a look at some of the numbers when we come back... mississippi is making some positive news in public education... the national center for education statistics says mississippi showed the highest improvement across the country for fourth-grade reading scores.

Back in 1992 , mississippi scored 16 points under the national average.

Now, the state surpassed the average with 32- percent of students testing proficient or higher in reading.

" i think across the state with different resources that have been available and the different programs that we have been able to utilize,not only here but across the state have been has helped that.

I think it's something we got to build on.

You set a foundation you keep building on it for 5th grade, 6th grade , and 3rd.

" mississippi also saw growth in math scores for fourth and eighth grade students.

Telling a parent about the death of their child is one of the most difficult jobs law enforcement face.

That is the driving force behind the mississippi highway patrol's "stop the knock" campaign.

Troopers put together this accident simulation in louisville, this morning.

High schoolers from across winston county there to learn how one decision, such as drinking and driving or texting behind the wheel can be deadly.

"in hopes these kids will see an accident scene here in a control environment and not have to be a part of it on the side of the road.

I think it's n eye opener to some of them to see what's involved in a car crash.

Some of them don't know the severity and depth of how gruesome a car crash is."

"it's a very, very serious nature and an issue that we stress about, drunk driving and distracted driving.

And experiencing it and going through the whole play today, really opened my eyes and i hope it opened everybody's eyes in the audience not to drink and drive or text and drive."

Mhp has made the campaign an annual event.

Stinger wx open sunny, drier, and cooler weather will continue for the end of the week now that the cold front has pushed through the area.

Rain chances slowly increase through the weekend and into early next week as our next cold front approaches.

Monday will be our best chance for showers and storms. wednesday night: cooler air will continue to move in overnight tonight with lows in the low to mid 40s.

Winds will be out of the north at 5-10 mph.

Thursday-friday: we'll see plenty of sun for the end of the week with highs in the upper 60s to low 70s.

A nice breeze out of the north will help to keep us comfortable through the day.

Morning lows will be in the 40s, so you may have to add an extra layer as you head out the door.

Saturday-sunday: temperatures will return to the mid to upper 70s for the weekend as a few showers slowly creep back into the area.

We'll keep rain chances lower for saturday, but there could be a few more showers on sunday as a cold front approaches.

Either way, the weekend overall will be pretty nice as many of us won't see rainfall and will see plenty of sunshine.

Monday: showers and storms will develop through the day and will likely last into the evening.

Stinger mississippi state women's basketball gearing up for the start of the season...more on the bulldogs when we come back spx the expectation for mississippi state women's basketball is comprised of sec championships, top 25 rankings, and consecutive appearances in the big dance as different squads come and go throughout the years, that expectation holds strong including this season..

Msu might only have six upperclassmen on its roster...that's no different than last season,..the team with only five juniors and seniors... who brought an sec championship back to starkville and made a run to the elite eight in march with the season just beginning there's still a long way to go "we've all come together, and slowly over time we'll build that chemistry just playing with one another.

We get along really well off the court, so i definitely feel like that helps translate onto the court.

It's still going to grow, and we obviously have a lot of work to do, but i think we'll get there and that chemistry piece will come together pretty soon."

"i feel like we've been stepping up to the plate though, when times get tough, we get going.

We don't back down from anything.

You know, jamya with the jump shot, jayla with the rebounds, aaliyah going to the hole, i feel like everyone brings their own aspect of the game in.

We're all so tough, and we're probably the most competitive freshman class there is."

"is it a championship team?

Probably not today, but we're not supposed to be today.

Can it be?

Absolutely.

Ya this team is really good.

They're reallyry special.

It's a special group.

I think that's what i'm excited about is to know what the growth of this team is and to watch it happen.

That's why we get into coaching."

Junior guard bre'amber scott was missing from the portion of practice open to the media coach schaefer saying in terms of scott's status, msu is dealing with something internally it seems that ole miss head coach matt luke will have to rearrange the depth chart... freshman quarterback grant tisdale has entered the ncaa transfer portal tisdale, a four start recruit out of texas, served as the number three...behind freshman q-b's matt corral and john rhys plumlee since, luke is utilizing a 2 quarterback rotation this season...there was not much hope of tisdale seeing game action tisdale is one of six rebels to enter the portal midseason...luke saying that's just the way things go sometimes luke: "you knew with the amount of freshman quarterbacks we had that something could potentially happen.

So, was i surprised?

No.

At the same time, we're here to support him.

He felt like it was best to explore his options.

Grant is a phenomenal kid.

He handled it the right way and was a professional about it.

I have nothing but praise for grant.

He's a great young man.

He'll land somewhere good and we'll support him in that."

The term "must- win" in sports is a huge cliche... however, in mississippi state's case...heading to arkansas ..it's no longer a cliche, it's a fact.

With arkansas, alabama, and ole miss remaining on m-s-u's schedule, arkansas is arguably the most important because it's the most winnable msu heads to fayetteville riding a four game losing streak..and 1-4 in sec play the only team worse than m-s-u in the sec west is arkansas...the hogs have zero s-e-c wins, are #7 out of 7 teams in the west losing its last five games of the season msu heads to fayetteville riding a four game losing streak here's how you can watch missisippi state as they search for the team's second sec win..

3 pm...sec network ole miss vs #11 auburn...6 pm espn when we return...chief meteorologist keith gibson will have a last look at your forecast.

You are watching wcbi news cannon ford lincoln of starkville officially is welcomed to the community today.

A ceremony was held at what some may remember as starkville ford.

The cannon motors company bought the dealership earlier this year.

It now has 17 dealerships in mississippi and arkansas.

Cannon has been in business since 1956.

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