Headlines – 2/4/2002

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 4, 2002

Panolian : February 4, 2002

February 4, 2002


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Emergency loans available

BATESVILLE – Emergency loans for farmers, ranchers, and operators are available through the Panola County office of the Farm Service Agency (FSA), said Paul Savage, FSA farm loan manager.

Savage said this authority is pursuant to Administrator Little’s declaration on December 27, 2001, of a major disaster in Mississippi, caused by excessive rain, high winds and tornadoes that occurred from November 24 through November 30, 2001.

As a result of this disaster, Panola County, as a contiguous county in Mississippi is named as an area eligible for federal disaster assistance pursuant to Section 321 (a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act. Applications for assistance in the disaster-stricken county will be accepted by FSA through August 27, 2002.

Farmers qualifying for emergency loans may borrow up to 80 percent of their actual production loss or the amount to restore their operation to its pre-disaster condition, whichever is less The new emergency loan and outstanding principal balance of any existing emergency loan owed by the applicant or any individual member of an entity cannot exceed $500,000.

FSA emergency loans cover losses from designated disasters and are made to qualified farmers who cannot obtain credit from other lenders in the local area.

Two weeks left to apply for assistance

BATESVILLE – Only two weeks remain to apply for state and federal disaster assistance to help with recovery from the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that ravaged Mississippi during November 24 through December 17, 2001. The deadline is Tuesday, February 5.

All that is required for disaster assistance is one toll-free phone call to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). That number is 1-800-621-3362, or 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired.

Failure to apply will close the door on the availability of a whole range of federal and state disaster assistance, including low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). February 5 is also the last day to return completed SBA loan applications.

Assistance is available to any eligible resident of the 17 Mississippi declared counties who suffered uninsured or underinsured losses due to the severe weather. All who incurred damage are urged to register, even if their property was insured, to protect their right to assistance should hidden damage appear after reaching a settlement with the insurance company.

Project awaits passage of bill
BATESVILLE – State legislators are working to draft a bill that will allow the transfer and/or exchange of property from one government entity to another for the civic center project, said board attorney Colmon Mitchell.

"[Rep.] Warner [McBride] is working on this," Mitchell told the Batesville Board of Alderman in a recent meeting.

City leaders are working with Mississippi Department of Transportation officials for the purchase of about five acres of land on Highway 6 East that sits directly south of the former Forestry Commission property.

In exchange, the City of Batesville is providing MDOT with land on which to construct a new facility.

The MDOT property is needed so city officials can construct a main entrance from Highway 6 East to Tri Lakes Medical Center, and to the proposed civic center.

The road will also service other businesses, such as the Wal-Mart Supercenter – that are being constructed or planned for the area.

"Until this bill is signed into law," Mitchell explained, "we will need a long term lease."

Mitchell said he has amended the current lease to extend the lease period to 50 years, with a renewal option at the end of 25 years. MDOT has approved the amended document.

"MDOT is getting ready to advertise for bids to construct a new tower," Mitchell advised.

The new MDOT facility will be located on Highway 35, near the Panola County Airport. It is currently under construction.

The Batesville Civic Center will be a 91,850 square feet facility and is expected to cost $6 million to $7 million to build.

Plans for the Center call for a 150′ x 300′ dirt floor arena, permanent seating for 3,000, and an additional 4,000 in temporary seating that can be placed on the arena floor.

The facility will have two conference rooms, one measuring 34′ x 30′, with a second, larger one that is divisible, measuring 34′ x 76′.

It will also include concession areas and bathrooms on each end of the facility, a kitchen, a staging area and storage area.

Parking will be available for recreational vehicles (RV’s) as well.

Lost, misplaced items could be found at BPD
BATESVILLE – If you’ve lost or misplaced a wallet, purse, eyeglasses, keys, cell phone or your driver’s license, you might consider contacting the Batesville Police Department."  

There are several items at the Batesville Police Department," said Capt. Don Province," that need to be claimed by their rightful owners.

 "We know who most of these items belong to," Province said, "but we have not been able to reach the owners."

"Other items do not have any identification," he continued, "but individuals who have lost or misplaced items of these descriptions can contact our offices to determine if they are rightfully theirs."

The following listed items are in storage the Batesville Police Station:

–  Four wallets, whose owners are Victor E. Thompson of Oxford, Rosemary Wright of Courtland, Malcolm Self of Crowder and Clifford Moreland of Senatobia;
–  One purse identified as belonging to Sherry Connor of Batesville, and three unidentified purses
–  Four pairs of eyeglasses;
–  Several sets of keys;
–  One Motorola cell phone; and
–  Five driver’s licenses, belonging to Albert Tinnel of Crenshaw, Kerryll Anderson of Mound Bayou, Patsy M.Cosby of Water Valley, Dortha L. Briscoe of Clarksdale and Kelly Diann Weaver of Amarillo, Texas.

If you have lost any of the items mentioned above, or are one of the individuals listed, go by the Batesville Police Department at 106 College St. or contact them at 662-563-5653.


Citizen’s Police Academy
BATESVILLE – The Batesville Police Department will be holding its third Citizen’s Police Academy under the direction of Lt. Dean Jones.

The goal of the Citizen’s Police Academy, according to Jones, is to foster a better relationship between community and the police department through training and hands-on experiences, such as learning how to dust and remove fingerprints and certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

The 12-week program will be held on Tuesday evenings, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., beginning Tuesday, Febuary 26.

Classes will be held in the Municipal Court Building, located on the Public Square, near City Hall.

See the Tuesday, January 29, issue of The Panolian in the LifeStyles section for more detailed information about the training program.

To enroll in the Citizen’s Police Academy or for further information, contact Lt. Dean Jones at the Batesville Police Department at 563-5653.

Stamp price to increase

The United State Postal Service has received preliminary authorization to increase the cost of first- class stamps from 34 cents to 37 cents.

Periodical mailing rates are expected to increase by 10 percent, instead of the proposed 15 to 20 percent hike proposed for Labor Day. If approved, the 10 percent increase will take effect June 30.

The proposal includes a fast-track approval process. The proposal must be approved by the 62 parties and their objective filed with the Postal Rate Commission.

If none objects, the proposal will be sent to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors for final action. If there are objections, the regular approval process would begin, and the postal service would be free to revise the proposal.

The current proposal was devised during negotiations between the USPS and periodical mailers, including newspapers, magazines, parcel shippers and greeting card companies.

The postal service reported a $1.68 billion loss during 2001.

New program approved: Surcharge to be added

BATESVILLE – A program that will allow wireless communication between government entities has been approved by Batesville’s Board of Alderman.

Board attorney Colmon Mitchell said he reviewed the Intergovernmental Wireless Radio Communication Program documentation and it looked like a good program.

There will be a $10 surcharge added to each ticket for each city violation," Mitchell explained. "This surcharge is put in the pot towards the purchase of wireless communication equipment.

This means any conviction in city court for moving violations," he said, " would be subject to the $10 surcharge. This does not include convictions for parking and registration violations," he added.

"Who will be overseeing this program?" asked Alderman James Yelton.

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety," responded Batesville Police Chief Roger Vanlandingham. "They keep 1 percent of the funds for administrative costs. The rest will go to the City of Batesville.

The Dept. of Public Safety sends out status reports on the funds," he said. "They keep the interest earned on the funds, and the city gets the principal back."

Board members voted to allow participation in the program.

Over $280,000 in bids placed

BATESVILLE – Over $280,000 were bid for the purchase of five backhoes for use by the city’s public works department.

Bids were opened during a recent meeting of the Batesville Board of Aldermen.

Bidding on the purchase or one year lease of one to five backhoes were the following:

–  Hood Equipment Company of Batesville bid $284,350 for the purchase of five backhoes, or $56,870 each. They also bid $42,500 for the lease of five backhoes, or 8,500 each.
–  Power Equipment Co. in Memphis, Tennessee, submitted no bid.
–  Thompson Machinery in Tupelo bid $288,375 for the purchase of five backhoes, or $57,675 each. They also bid $43,800 for the lease of five backhoes.

Following a review of the bids, city officials accepted the low bid of Hood Equipment for the lease of five backhoes.

Bids for the lease or lease/purchase of one to four police sedans with police package were also opened.

Bidding on the items were the following:

–  Kirk Auto Co. in Grenada bid $20, 918.10 each. The bid was voided as it failed to meet the advertised specifications to include a police package.
–  Heafner Motors in Batesville bid $19,130 each for the lease, or 76,520 total. They also bid 27,055.44 a year on a three year lease/purchase.
–  Pride Ford, Lincoln, Mercury in Clarksdale bid $18,358 each. The bid was voided as it failed to meet the advertised specifications to include a police package.

Following a review of the bids, city officials accepted the low bid submitted by Heafner Motors.