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Headlines – 5/9/2003

The Panolian Headlines: May 9, 2003

For complete stories, pick up the 5/9/03  issue of The Panolian


Arrest Made in Courtland Murder
    
BY KATE B DICKSON
EDITOR


The son of a Panola County Sheriff’s jailer is behind bars today charged with the capital murder of Alvin Herring as well as armed robbery and burglary.

Edward Dickson Jr., 20, was arrested about mid-day Tuesday by Panola County Sheriff David Bryan.

Herring, 84, was shot in the head and killed Saturday at his Courtland home during what Bryan said was "a home invasion."

The home is behind Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church which sits at the intersection of Shiloh Road and Carlisle.

Herring’s wife, Verlena, 75, who was shot in the arm and the bullet lodged in her chest, "is making a remarkable recovery," the sheriff said. She is at The Med in Memphis.

"I’m really proud of my men and the others who helped on this case," Bryan said. "They worked hard and put in some long hours."

Bryan said tips from the public were "instrumental" in leading to the development of Dickson as a suspect.

The sheriff said Dickson "has no prior record that I am aware of."

With regard to the fact his father is a jailer, Bryan said, "It’s unfortunate … but that is just the way it is."

But because of the connection, Bryan said the prisoner, who is being held without bond, was to have been transferred Thursday afternoon to an area county jail.
    


Hospital Feasibility Study Under Way
    
The feasibility study to analyze the current operating condition of Tri-Lakes Medical Center could be finished "as early as July."

That was the word this week from Mayor Bobby Baker who told the Board of Aldermen accountants from Ernst and Young have started their work though he doesn’t know if the team is on site yet.

Such a study is required by Mississippi law when a public entity is contemplating the sale or lease of its hospital.

Meanwhile, aldermen unanimously approved payment of a third bill from Burns Development Group of Ridgeland, Miss.

Headed by former Batesville resident J.C. Burns, the firm was hired by the city and the county to coordinate the hiring of the accounting firm and to make status reports and recommendations to aldermen and supervisors.
The latest Burns bill is for $9,840.54, bringing the total to date to $46,462.94, according to the billing documents.

Ernst and Young, Baker said, is to be paid $106,000, plus expenses for the Atlanta-based auditors.

Study-related expenses are being divided based on the percentage of hospital ownership – 60 percent county and 40 percent city.

Once the study is completed, the city and county will have the option of keeping the now financially-ailing hospital as is or selling or leasing it or entering into a joint venture, Baker said.

If the city and county opt to go the sale, lease or joint venture route, Baker said Burn’s firm will put packages together seeking purchase proposals from profit and non-profit hospital firms.

If that happens, Baker said the Burns firm will then make a recommendation to the city and county based upon the proposals received.

If the scenario plays out this way, Baker said the Burns’ recommendation could come in December or January.
    


 
   

Dog Ban in Parks Proposed

It may be a good thing CiCi prefers four-wheeler-riding to walks in the park as aldermen are considering banning all canines from city parks. With CiCi is owner Christy Keeton. The pair was taking a break during spring yard cleaning.
    

BY KATE B DICKSON
EDITOR


Dogs – including those on a leash – may soon be banned from all of Batesville’s city parks.

Assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell was directed Tuesday by the City Board to prepare an ordinance to that effect. It is scheduled for debate, and possible passage, at the board’s 2 p.m. meeting at City Hall on May 20.

Alderman Rufus Manley asked for the ban saying pet owners do not clean up after their dogs thus children and other parkgoers step in the messes left behind.

Manley said the dogs are a "menace" in the parks.

"Some people go to the parks to walk their dogs," said Alderman Bobbie Pounders. "How are we going to address this?"

Park Director Ronald McMinn said some of the dog walkers who use Trussell Park "clean up after their dogs."

Mitchell told aldermen he’ll prepare the ordinance that initially may have more restrictions in it than the final version "because it’s easier to take things out than add to it."
    


Bank Has Eye on City Land
As Site for Branch
    
BY JIM BEAVER
PUBLISHER

First Security Bank wants to build a branch east of Interstate 55 and wants the city to sell them a parcel of land or give them an opportunity to bid on it.

Bank president and CEO Frank West said First Security has its eye on city-owned land at the southwest corner of Highway 6 and John R. Lovelace Drive.

John R. Lovelace Drive is the road that runs south off Hwy. 6 toward Tri-Lakes Medical Center and the Wal-Mart area.

The city, according to Mayor Bobby Baker, has about eight acres of property there.

It’s land that didn’t come from the county as part of the Civic Center property.

Due to restrictions imposed as part of a $500,000 agriculture grant connected with the Civic Center financing, that land can’t be sold for 10 years from the time of the grant agreement, Baker said.

Alderman James Yelton asked Assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell to find out if the city can put the parcel the bank wants "up for sale at auction" rather than by sealed bids.