Headlines – 5/2/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 2, 2003

The Panolian Headlines: May 2, 2003

For complete stories, pick up the 5/2/03  issue of The Panolian

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Miss Hospitality
Brooke Carmichael, left, is all smiles at the annual Panola Partnership’s award banquet after outgoing Miss Hospitality Ava Drake, right, crowned Carmichael as the county’s new Miss Hospitality.

Panola Gets Praise for ‘Welcoming Spirit’
MDA Exec Says County Prime for Development
Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Robert J. Rohrlack Jr. was the guest speaker at this year’s banquet.

No longer are state officials sitting back when the national media or national organizations take pot shots at Mississippi.

"We work to show these perceptions are typically wrong," Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Robert J. Rohrlack Jr. told a crowd at the Panola Partnership’s Seventh Annual Meeting and Dinner.

The Tuesday-night affair at the armory in Sardis drew citizens from many walks of life including business leaders, educators and elected officials.

Particularly drawing Rohrlack’s ire is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which he said has Mississippi pegged as a state that’s "terrible for business" as well as one with a poor tort situation.

Although tort reform has been passed and Toyota had Panola County as a top-three site for a new plant, Rohrlack said the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has the state’s business climate tied for last place with West Virginia.


Como Student Collapses, Dies
Teen Was in PE Class


Autopsy results are being awaited today in the wake of the death of a seventh-grader at Como Middle School who died after playing basketball in a physical education class.

"Immediate" efforts Wednesday by school personnel to save the life of Quinton Jones, 15, with CPR were in vain, district superintendent Bonnie Smith told The Panolian.

Jones’ mother, Rita Daniel, confirmed Smith’s statement that the teenager had not been ill or complaining of illness.

"They called me from the school and told me he was having a seizure," Daniel said. "He’s never had a seizure … we are waiting to hear from the autopsy."

Daniel said she and her family are "in shock" today.

She recalled that she had planned to buy Quinton "new shoes" on Wednesday afternoon. They were shoes, she said, she "hoped would last him through the summer."

Instead, today she’s planning her son’s funeral. Henderson Funeral Home in Sardis is in charge of services.

Smith said Quinton was playing basketball when he complained of "being tired" and sat down.

It was then the boy "collapsed," and all efforts to revive him failed, the superintendent said. One of those attending him was the school’s vocational allied health teacher who is a registered nurse.

Smith said she was first notified about the incident about 1:20 p.m.

On Thursday, Smith said the school’s crisis management program designed to deal with such situations was put into effect. It includes having counselors available, additional staff visibility in the hallways and having a separate room set a side for any students who want to talk.

"We’ll try to help them cope with this death," she said.

Quinton had recently transferred to Como from Batesville Junior High School, Smith and his mother said.

Smith said she did not know Quinton well but said he was "quiet and likable."

Daniel said her son loved to play sports especially basketball and football.

Partnership, Main Street
Award Recipients Honored
For photos of award ceremony,
Panola Partnership awards were handed out this week at the Seventh Annual Meeting and Dinner as were awards from the Main Street Program.

Winning Partnership Awards were:
Sadie Kirkwood
  James Hal Moore Excellence in Education Award
Norma Riser
  Citizenship Award
Springs Industries
  Business of the Year Award Robert May, general manager

Winning Main Street awards were:
Mike and Candy Carver
  Outstanding Design Award
 Kim LaVergne
  Volunteer of the Year

While presenting Kirkwood with the education award, Partnership President David LaVergne asked for those in the audience to stand who had been her students during her 60-year career.