Headlines – 4/15/2003

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 15, 2003

The Panolian Headlines: April 15, 2003

For complete stories, pick up the 4/15/03  issue of The Panolian

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Investigators Bust Courtland Business for "Chop Shop" Violation
Ben’s Auto & Diesel Repair Shop on Carlisle Road in Courtland was the target of an investigation resulting in the arrest of several residents over the weekend.

Five stolen vehicles and a quantity of crystal methamphetamine were seized in Courtland when Panola County Sheriff’s deputies and members of the Panola County Narcotics Task Force executed a search warrant and made arrests.

Several Courtland residents were taken into custody Friday evening and charges were pending at press time under the state’s "chop shop law," said Sheriff’s Investigator Mark Whitten.

Officers launched the raid on Ben’s Auto & Diesel Repair about 5 p.m., Whitten said. The scene was not cleared until about 3:30 Saturday morning.

Whitten said arrest warrants regarding the stolen autos were still being prepared Monday for the suspects who were being held for investigation.

However, Agent Rick Johnson of the drug task force, said he had filed charges against:

– Ben Chambers Jr., 1205 Carlisle Road, Courtland, possession of drug paraphernalia.

– Ben Chambers Sr., 1205 Carlisle Road, Courtland, manufacture of crystal methamphetamine, possession of crystal methamphetamine and possession of two or more precursors with the intent to manufacture crystal methamphetamine.

– Debbie McClemic, 1205 Carlisle Road, Courtland, conspiracy to manufacture crystal methamphetamine.

– Mimi Patrick, 1204 Carlisle Road, Courtland, remained held for investigation late Monday.

Ernst, Young Picked for Tri-Lakes Study


The Panola County Board of Supervisors received an update on the Tri-Lakes Medical Center situation.

Former Batesville resident J.C. Burns of Burns Development Group, the firm hired to oversee a hospital feasibility study, told the supervisors the study has been contracted to Ernst and Young.

Ernst and Young, an accounting firm, conducts about 70 percent of the studies, like this one, in the country, he said.

"That is one of the biggest reason we chose them to conduct the feasibility study," Burns said.

Under state law, government owners of a hospital are required to conduct a feasibility study if contemplating the sale or lease of the facility. That study will, by law, consist of the following:

– A review of the community’s inpatient facility needs based on current workload, historical trends and projections based on demographic data of future needs;

– A review of the competitive market for services, including other hospitals which serve the same area, the services provided and the perception of competitive hospitals;

– A review of the hospital’s strengths relative to the competition and its capacity to compete in light of projected trends and competition.

Bean Named Road Manager
The Panola County Board of Supervisors hired a new Road Manager during their meeting Monday. Front (l to r) Jessie Lyons, Road Manager Lygunnah Bean, Robert Avant. Back (l to r) Mack Benson, Jerry Perkins and Dennis Lott.

A Batesville man has been chosen as the new leader of the Panola County Road Department.

During a meeting of the Panola County Board of Supervisors Monday morning, Lygunnah Bean was chosen for the position of Road Manager.

Bean, who has 22 years of management experience from his time with the recently closed Batesville American, was the unanimous choice for the job.

During the interview process, the supervisors asked Bean about his experience working with budgets.

"We want to make sure we have someone who will make sure they stay within a budget," Supervisor Dennis Lott said.

Bean said he will have no problem setting and operating on a budget.

Disgruntled Applicant Questions Supervisors’ Hiring Practices
How Were Finalists Chosen?

The interview process of one finalist for the Road Manager job was interrupted Monday by a disgruntled applicant.

As the Panola County Board of Supervisors was interviewing Max Rushing, who lost the position to new Road Manager Lygunnah Bean, Sam Dodd, an applicant not chosen for the interview process, interrupted.

"I want to know why I wasn’t interviewed?" Dodd said.

Supervisor Robert Avant explained the board had gone through all of the applications during a previous meeting and selected the two men they wanted to interview.

"We did not think it was necessary to interview every one of the applicants," Avant said. "So we chose the two we wanted to interview, and you are interrupting one of those interviews now."

"How was it determined who would be interviewed and who wouldn’t?" Dodd asked.

Avant said the board chose the two finalist based upon the applicants meeting all of the board’s requirements.

"Your application did not meet the qualifications the board had set for this position," Avant said.