Headlines – 3/7/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 7, 2003

The Panolian Headlines: March 7, 2003

For complete stories, pick up the 3/07/03  issue of The Panolian

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SPSD Seeks to ID Disabled
The South Panola School District is participating in an ongoing statewide effort to identify, locate, and evaluate children birth through the age of 21 who have a physical, mental, communicative and/or emotional disability.

Early identification of children in need of special educational experiences is most important to each child. This information gathered from contacts with parents and other agencies will be used to help determine present and future program needs as progress is made toward the goal of providing a free appropriate education to all children with a disability.

Contact Mary M. Bennett, Child Find Person for South Panola School District, if you know of any children who may have a disability, by calling or writing her at the following phone number or address: 563-9361, 209 Boothe, Batesville, Miss. 38606.

The Child Find Person implements identification, location and evaluation of children, birth through 21, who have a disability, regardless of the severity of their disability, and who are in need of special education and/or related services.

The Child Find Person works with local Head Start, Human Services, Health and Mental Health agencies, as well as local education agencies, physicians, and other individuals to identify and locate children out of school and in school who may need special education services.

We now have 41 special education classes in our district which provide services to students who have a physical, mental, communicative and/or emotional disability.

Police To Use Ticket Writing "Discretion"

Rather than acting with "zero tolerance," Batesville officers will soon have the discretion to issue traffic violation warnings instead of always writing a ticket.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, Police Chief Roger Vanlandingham asked that police be able to issue some warnings.

Vanlandingham said officers are now operating under the theory that the City Board wants "zero tolerance" practiced when it comes to traffic law violators.

But board members said their intention had not been to take away all officer discretion when they previously asked for strict enforcement of handicapped parking.

After presenting a sample warning ticket, Vanlandingham told the board officers had been "told to write tickets" and now he’s asking for "discretion" in doing so.


"High" Natural Gas Costs Catch Up Incorrect Billing Follow Wrong Small Bills

A meter reader who "wasn’t doing his job" and has been terminated created problems for the city and put some natural gas customers into a financial crunch, Mayor Bobby Baker told the City Board.

"There’s been a lot of confusion and some unhappy customers," the mayor said Tuesday.
Incorrect meter readings were turned in which resulted in a number of customers receiving bills that "were too low," Baker said. "This went on for a month or two" starting with December readings.

The streets affected on the west side of town include College, Broad, West, Garden Drive, Pearson, Holly Cove and Pearson.

Because residents who received the low bills didn’t report that something seemed amiss, Baker said once the meters were properly read some weeks later the amounts billed were high.

To worsen the situation, the low readings came during the coldest part of the year so far.

Once the problem was discovered, Baker said the city sent letters to customers in the area warning them their bills would be higher once proper calculations were made.

"The staff {at city hall] is doing a great job," Baker said, in dealing with complaining customers.

For those who can’t pay the higher "catch-up" bills, Baker said a payment plan has been worked out.

"Still," he said, "the customer is responsible for what goes through the meter whether we read it one time a year or every month."

"But the customer expects for them to be read correctly," said Alderman Bill Dugger.

Alderman Bobbie Jean Pounders tries out seating proposed for the city’s new Civic Center. The seat she’s sitting in was the low bid, most liked and the one selected Tuesday by the City Board. There will be 3,062 seats in the new facility. Seating, to be purchased from School and Office Products of Arkansas in Little Rock, will cost $203,020. The chair color or colors has not been picked.

Como Post Office Operating After Fire Claimed Building


Come rain, sleet or snow, the postal service delivers. You can now add fire to that list.

Following a fire last Wednesday morning that destroyed the Como Post Office, postal service employees have found a temporary home.

Customers of the Como Post Office can find its staff in the Como Senior Citizens Center across the street from the burned P.O.

According to Becky Smith, the Post Office is in the process of getting some boxes for those customers. Until the boxes are available, box mail is being delivered general delivery.

"People will be able to get their mail," Smith said.

There has been some concern for mail lost in the fire. Smith said only mail not picked up on Tuesday, Feb. 26, was lost to the fire.

"If people did not check their mail on Tuesday, that is the mail burned," she said.


"Big Ballot" Has 54 Local Hopefuls Seeking Election

With qualifying over, the campaign season is about to be in full swing.

"This ballot is going to be a big one," Circuit Clerk Joe Reid said of the 54 candidates seeking election.

Four of the final qualifiers (Rick Hoseney, Timothy Holliday, R.J. Loveberry and Fred Ira Butts) will run as independents.

Candidates filed in both the Batesville and Sardis Courthouses

In order for a candidate to run as an independent in a county-wide election he/she is required to submit a petition containing at least 50 signatures.

For those seeking offices not county-wide (supervisor or constable) only 15 signatures are needed for independent status.

In addition to having a field set for the county election, state qualifying has also ended.

Sardis Board Grants Business Exemption for Magnolia Manor


A Sardis woman requested and was granted a special exception to use her home for a business following a public hearing.

Pam Bullard, owner of Magnolia Manor at 510 South Main St., told Mayor Richard Darby and the Board of Aldermen this week she wanted a special exception to allow her to operate a business out of the house which is zoned R-2 residential.

Bullard explained to the board she wants to use the house as a location for hosting bridal showers, baby showers, weddings, receptions, small parties, etc.

"The business would essentially be a reception hall," she said.

This was the second attempt from Bullard, but the first time she requested rezoning the house rather than a special exception.