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Nearby Grass Fire Burns Local Farmer’s Barn To The Ground

Owner Has No Insurance, Loses Tractor, Hay, Corn, Everything

Most people will know Mr. Jimmy Craddieth when they see him. He often sold produce (corn, tomatoes, etc.) at the local Hitching Lot/Farmers Market in downtown Columbus. He had become a regular there, often providing good produce deals for shoppers, produce he raised himself. His chances of continuing that practice became sickeningly improbable, Tuesday, when a nearby grass fire moved over onto his property and burned his barn to the ground.

A tractor sits among the ruins of Jimmy Craddieth’s barn.

Rebecca Garner Swain was delivering mail on her U.S. Postal route Tuesday when she rounded the corner on Sand Road and saw a fire. She said she immediately knew it was a barn belonging to Mr. Craddieth. She watched helplessly with Mr. Craddieth as the fire engulfed his barn, taking his stored hay that fed his horses, his corn, all of his belongings in his barn…and his tractor. Rebecca said she winced along with Mr. Craddieth as each tractor tire popped under the intense heat of the flames. She was heartbroken for Mr. Craddieth. When asked by Swain if he had insurance, she said he sadly shook his head, no.
Swain took several pictures with her cell phone. She said later that she noticed Packet Reporter Debbie Milliern as she showed up to take photos. Swain put a post on Columbus, Ms Facebook Watch later and her post was shared by Stevie Pyle. Those posts started a firestorm of Facebook Watch members who wanted to help this local farmer. Emergency responder Sharee Karg then put this post on the page: “Looks like we may need to have a good old fashion community “Barn Raising.” It was the post by Karg that really set things in motion. Donations are being offered. There’s also plans in the works to have a benefit at The Junction that could include karaoke challenges, Jumpers Inflatables, food and a possible performance by the Junction band or even others. We’ll let you know about that as the plans progress (This all was happening as presstime for The Packet was near. – RW).
A Facebook site was set up immediately to garner ideas and gather info, take donations for Mr. Craddieth, etc. The idea is to raise money, get support from carpenters, business people and the general public to help Mr. Craddieth rebuild his barn and possibly purchase another tractor. As of Wednesday afternoon, many Facebook Watch members had donated hay and other items to Mr. Craddieth so he could feed his five horses. The Facebook site, “Facebook Watch Barn Raising,’’ inspired by Karg, can be accessed through the Watch page. Karg said she had no idea, when she first posted about a barn-raising, that the response to her idea would be so overwhelming. “God put that idea in my head, and I just wrote it on the page,” she told me by phone.
Katie Ryan Burchfield began an online auction of items she owned on the site. Bidders were still bidding Wednesday afternoon, money that will be donated by Burchfield to help Mr. Craddieth. Barber and Facebook Watch Administrator Dawn Clausen, owner of 45 Barber Shop, were auctioning off shaves and haircuts. Alarm One owners Stevie and Jeff Pyle donated $100. David and Angii Stephens was auctioning off a one-day Jumpers Inflatables house bounce rental to help Mr. Craddieth as well. Many others were offering help and donations.
For those who wish to donate their time, services, items or money to help Mr. Craddieth rebuild his barn, you can call Theresa Bell at 662-364-1174. We’ll reveal more info as it becomes available.

Dark Minds “Mississippi Five’” TV Program Airs on Discovery
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Program Deals With Possible Serial Killer Involving Columbus Cold Case Murders in Late 90’s

A television investigative program aired on Investigation Discovery (ID) Channel last night (Wednesday) involving the 5 fivemurders of elderly Columbus residents back in 1996. The program includes segments and footage of interviews with current Columbus Police Chief Selvain McQueen, former Chief Joseph St John and former Columbus Police Investigator Gary Moore, as well as others. A trailer can be seen online at http://investigation.discovery.com/tv/dark-minds/
In case you missed the program, it will be rebroadcast Saturday afternoon, March 10 at 1 p.m., Central (local time) on ID Channel. ID Channel can be seen on Channel 192 if you have Dish Network. And on Channel 285 if you have DirectTV. Check your local listings.

Retired CPD Investigator Helps Watch Neighborhood

Speaking of former CPD Investigator Gary Moore, he recently offered residents of his neighborhood an offer they can’t refuse. On Facebook Watch, Moore posted that he would be patrolling the streets of his neighborhood watching out for his neighbors. He cited the recent burglary of nearby homes as his reason. Many Facebook Watch members quickly heaped praise on the longtime investigator, for his unselfish kindness. Facebook Watch member Janet Westbrook offered up, “once an officer, always an officer. Thank you, Gary. Thank you!” Member J Dee Mckay added, “Those people are blessed to have you live near them.”
It’s unselfish acts like Gary Moore is offering that reminds us what Columbus still can be…

Bernard Buckhalter

Columbus CVB board member Bernard Buckhalter was appointed by The Columbus City Council to serve as a board member for the CVB representing the food industry in Columbus. He was appointed because at the time, Buckhalter was an Assistant Manager at one of the Columbus Wendy’s Restuarants. I had been hearing for some time that Buckhalter no longer worked at a Columbus Wendy’s.
Last Sunday evening I was in Starkville and grabbed something to eat at the Wendy’s Drive-thru window. It was Buckhalter that handed me my food. This all means that Buckhalter still works for a Wendy’s Restaurant, but not working at a Columbus Wendy’s. A call to the local Columbus Wendy’s on Highway 45 and a talk with the manager confirmed that Buckhalter no longer worked at the Columbus Wendy’s.

Ron Williams

Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you@aol.com

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