Future looked bright for Tunica in 1993
Tunica County opened the year 1993 with one casino up and running – Splash, but that one venue proved enough to attract notice from the nation’s gaming industry. Soon, developers were clamoring to enter the market here, and local officials were soon overwhelmed with the demands of a boom economy.
This January 7, 1993 story from television journalist Dennis Turner, “Delta gambling town copes with too much of good thing,” opened The Times’ coverage:
Life in this small Delta town has always been slower than the big city, but recently things here have slowed down, even more. Gambling in Tunica is pumping a lot of money into the county, but it’s also creating a lot of traffic problems. Now, residents like Kathy Whittington are trying to cope with the town’s new-found success. She says the worst problems are on narrow Highway 61 which runs through the county. “61 has become hard to maneuver on, especially if you’re behind a long line of trucks or cars, it becomes almost impossible to pass,” she says. 61 is known as “Death Highway” in these parts because of the numerous accidents which take several lives a year here between Memphis and Tunica.
The opening of Splash Casino a couple of months ago has put hundreds more cars on the road, as people drive from three states to the Delta’s first riverboat gambling establishment.
TA Lady Blue Devils are North State Champs
In 2015, the Tunica Academy Lady Devils softball team made history. First, they powered through the regular season and were named district champs. Next, they fought their way through North State and captured that title too.
History has repeated itself in 2016, but this time, the team is twice as hungry for a state title.
The girls in blue and white will play their opening round in the Class A Fast Pitch tournament at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct 1 at Shiloh Park in Brandon. Head Coach Chad Kelly said they will meet Tensas Academy, the #4 seed from the South.
Tunica Academy’s road to the North State championship began with an impressive regular season. The Lady Devils cinched first place in the district after topping Marvell 10-0 on Tuesday, Sept. 20 in Tunica.
‘Highway killer’ convicted in retrial
A man who went on a spree of murder and mayhem in 2012 will spend the rest of his life behind bars, without parole.
James D. Willie, 32, was convicted Thursday, September 8, of the murder of Lori Anne Carswell of Hernando. The body of the 48 year old casino employee was found by her car on the shoulder of MS 713 in Tunica County in the early morning hours of May 11, 2012.
District Attorney Brenda Mitchell successfully prosecuted the case last week in Cleveland, MS, before Circuit judge Albert Smith. Willie was defended by Clarksdale attorney Richard Lewis.
Fifteen Years Later
One Tunican’s special connection to a victim of the 9/11 terrorist attacks lent extra poignance to Sundays’ remembrance in downtown Tunica.
Arena manager, businessman and volunteer firefighter Steve Sosebee honored a fellow firefighter from New York City 15 years ago by flying the American flag at his business. He sent the flag and other memorabilia to the widow of Carl Binie and has since kept in contact with the family.
Sosebee said Sunday he picked Bini for his memorial when he discovered striking similarities in his and Bini’s lives: both the same age (44 in 2001), both emergency responders, both with parents named Raymond and Lillian.
Christine Bini was invited by Sosebee and Patriot Day organizer Danny Smith to attend Tunica’s 15th anniversary program. Mrs. Bini was unable to attend (as she explains) but sent the letter that was read at the program and is reprinted below, a touching reminder of her late husband and the loss her family still feels.
Mrs. Bini wrote:
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