Headlines – 3/12/2002

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Panolian : March 12, 2002

For complete stories, pick up the 03/12/02 issue of The Panolian

Pittman "Woman of the Year"
Works to help county children

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She could be called the voice of the people.
Mona Pittman describes herself as “a lawyer, sure, but first I’m a mom. I’m a wife, and I’m a daughter.”

She has no problem taking the proverbial bull by the horns for the causes she believes in and holding out for the victory.

Pittman is a Mississippi State graduate and a 1989 graduate of Cumberland Law School at Samford University in Birmingham.

She met her husband, Adam, on the first day of law school. They married their last year in law school in 1992. From there they moved to Daytona Beach, Fla., where she represented the defense in personal injury cases. In Mississippi, she represents the plaintiff in personal injury cases.

They moved back to Batesville in 1994 to help take care of her sister, who was suffering from a rare strain of diabetes, and who later died in 1995.

They work in the law firm with her mom, Helen Kelly, but does not know if she is a partner or not. “Since it is a family affair, it’s nice that we all work together,” Pittman said.

The Pittmans have three children: Emma, 6, a student at Batesville Elementary; Anne Elizabeth, 2, “who is just like her mother – bad”; and Cady, 5-months-old.
In her work, Pittman said she mostly deals with cases involving juries. She has not had any cases to go on appeal in Mississippi, but she did argue a few in Florida.

In personal injury, Pittman sees mostly injured people. “That’s hard to deal with,” she said. “We have a lot of difficult situations we have to deal with diplomatically because it is no fun when someone has his foot cut off or is killed in an accident. That’s what I enjoy doing for some reason.”

She also has to take some insurance companies to task in order to get her clients the damage relief to which they are entitled. 

Another aspect of Pittman’s life is approaching the legislature on areas of interest to her personally, as a citizen, and areas in relation to her clients.

Pittman does defend her profession on the charges of the country being “sue happy.”

“We try to educate people,” she said. “You can take two sides of a story and make both of them sound like roses. There are some problems with litigation. I don’t think there are a lot of frivolous lawsuits. I don’t think people are just going out there suing people for no good reason.”

Pittman is also involved with the local Boys and Girls Club, and serves on the board of directors.

Pittman accompanied her mom to a Rotary Club meeting the week Boys and Girls Club executive director Dennis Hoskins was speaking. “That was just a heartstring thing,” Pittman said. “Sometimes you just feel pulled. I completely believe it was divine intervention telling me this is something to do. I have been wanting to get involved and help children in our area.”

Pittman reiterates what a great organization she thinks the Boys and Girls Club is. “I would love to see us with a two-story building, swimming pool and a tennis court,” Pittman added. “One of my biggest pet peeves is that people say it is for black people. It is located where it is because Mt. Zion said we could have the building for free. No one else came up and said that.

“Thank God for them,” Pittman continued. “Thank God for us having that place over there. Maybe it will get to another area and people will feel more comfortable about it. But it’s working. I want my kids to go. When my kids get school age, I want them to be able to go after school and in the summertime.”

Pittman believes it is the greatest place for children to be. “I just want people to wake up and smell the coffee,” Pittman said.

As a board member in the beginning, Pittman said everybody did everything. It is a non-profit organization. Pittman did the paperwork to get the Boys and Girls Club set up legally correct, so it can receive donations tax free. 

As a woman lawyer, as in other fields, Pittman has had to confront some inappropriate behavior and discrimination of some form from male counterparts. She said she took care of those situations as diplomatically as possible and advises others in her situation to do the same.

At last count, there were over 47 percent of women enrolled in law schools across the nation. In Mississippi, that number is around 30 percent.

The Hangar: Unique to the county; unique to the state

Unbeknownst to most everyone that drives past the Panola County Airport on Hwy. 35, just on the outskirts of the Batesville city limits, sits one of the most unique businesses in the state of Mississippi.

Located within the confines of the airport, passersby may glance to their left and see the big, blue building. Well, that’s exactly what it is, but it is officially called, The Hangar. 


Three critically injured
Two vehicle accident occurs at intersection

BATESVILLE – A two vehicle accident left three people critically injured Saturday afternoon, March 9. 

According to Major Tony Jones, with the Batesville Police Department, at approximately 1:23 p.m. a 1999 white Ford pickup truck driven by David Honnoll of Batesville, was traveling south on Hwy. 51. 

According to the report, the truck had apparently cleared the intersection of Hwy. 51 and Hwy. 6, when a 1990 Dodge vehicle, driven by Jackie Miller of Como, apparently pulled out in front of Honnoll and was struck by the Ford pickup.

Drainage problem called health risk; Assistance requested
Staff Writer

SARDIS – A Panola County resident asked supervisors for help with a drainage problem to insure his property is not flooded again. 

Dalton Martin, who lives in the Lower Sardis Lake area, made the request of the Panola County Board of Supervisors. 

His house has already been flooded once, Martin said, and he hopes supervisors will help with some of the drainage problems.

Sites narrowed for new Nat’l Guard Armory

BATESVILLE – The funding is in place for the new National Guard Armory, says Panola Partnership Chief Executive Officer Paul Alexander. Both federal and state funds for the project are in place.

Bullet proof vest purchase okayed

BATESVILLE – The Panola County Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of two ballistic vests for Constables Raye Hawkins and Cleve Gale.

Photo submitted

April Moore, of Enid, was crowned Miss Teen Cottonland in the Miss Cottonland Pageant, March 5, in Clarksdale.
By winning this title, Moore qualifies to compete in the National Deep South Southern Magnolia Pageant in Jackson in July.

In addition to winning in her age group, Moore was also awarded the Most Beautiful Eyes and the Best Personality awards.

Moore is the daughter of Wayne and Donna Moore. Her grandparents are Albert and Maxine Moore of Enid, Barbara and Jim Newton and Wayne Shaw, all of Charleston.

Seminar set for grief support
     A Good Grief Seminar will be held Friday, March 15, at noon in the Kroger community room in Batesville. 
     The seminar, sponsored by Hospice South, allows the community an opportunity to attend a grief and bereavement support group. For more information call 563-8894 or toll free 877-304-4499.

Funding for bridge repair sought
     BATESVILLE – The Panola County Board of Supervisors is seeking funding for five county bridges that are in need of repair. 
     All county bridges are inspected annually to determine whether they are structurally safe. Due to structural deficiencies, physical deterioration, or functional obsolescence, five have been listed for necessary repairs. 
    The bridges considered for repair are on Smart Rd., Turner Rd., Central Academy Rd., Cotton Plant Rd., and Hubbard Rd.

Don’t miss deadline for competition
     Deadlines for Panola County Miss Hospitality nominations is Friday, March 15. Nominations should be turned in to Susan Wingert at the Panola Partnership.
      The winner will be announced at the annual banquet April 16 and will represent Panola County in the statewide competition in Hattiesburg. 
     Call the Panola Partnership office at 563-3126 for more information.

Batesville library to be closed
     The Batesville Public Library will be closed this week, according to librarian Molly Gillespie. Because of construction at the site, the library will be closed through Saturday, March 16. It will reopen Monday, March 18, at regular hours. 
     The library is located at 206 Highway 51 North and can be reached by dialing 563-1038.