Headlines – 9/23/2003

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Panolian Headlines: September 23, 2003

For complete stories, pick up the 9/23/03  issue of The Panolian

North Delta Queen Crowned
    
Lindsay Thomas was crowned North Delta’s 2003 Homecoming Queen last Friday night at the annual football game. She is crowned by last year’s queen Jeri Boren while her father, Tripp Thomas, looks on.
    

Rental Home Project Land
     Sold to Another
    
BY KATE B DICKSON
EDITOR

"Upscale" condominiums and patio homes are the most likely plan for land off Keating Road that once was the site for a development of 80 rental houses.

That’s according to Batesville builder and developer Larry Montgomery who said he bought the 19.1 acres earlier this month from Sam and Earnestine Dodd.

The land is east of Keating Road and south of Fairfield Assisting Living.

Earlier this year, Derrick Neal of Superior Development Group, Inc., Clarksdale, said he was going to build rental homes on the site.

Those homes, Neal said previously, were to be designed to increase "home ownership" by removing "obstacles" such as down payments and poor credit. A portion of the rent would go into a fund that could be built up for an eventual down payment and purchase.

Neal’s plan elicited complaints from area neighbors, including those in the new Keating Grove subdivision, who said Neal’s project would cause area property values to drop.

Neal told The Panolian previously he had a "private lender" for the project in which he was seeking a $4.6 million loan guarantee from the USDA’s Rural Development program.
    


No Dumping
    
Showing no regard for the law, polluters have been adding to an illegal dumpsite that cropped up around this sign across from Meacham Tree Farm on Bethlehem Road. Not far away, an old couch was tossed out beside a cotton field. The illegal activity at both spots are just two of many such locations in Panola County.
    

PTA Backs After-School
     Computer Program at BMS
    
BY JASON C MATTOX
SENIOR STAFF WRITER


In a day when so much relies on computers, one group thinks middle school students need more instruction when it comes to computer usage.

The Batesville Middle School PTA received blessings from the South Panola School District Board of Trustees to move forward with a potential after school computer course.

Ryna Smith of the PTA told the trustees last week there are still some things that need to be done before the program becomes a reality.

"At this point, we still plan to send out a survey to parents," she said. "That will allow us to see just how many people have an interest in their children getting more computer knowledge."

Smith said the PTA came up with the idea because so many students don’t have a basic knowledge of computers.

"We know that students at the middle school have a computer class one day a week," she said. "We think adding a program like this after school would greatly benefit the students."
    


 
   

North Panola Homecoming Queen
    
Brittney Lowe was crowned North Panola’s Miss Homecoming by 2003 Miss Homecoming Tatiana Gordon. North Panola held its annual Homecoming Coronation last Wednesday night.
    

Missing Cousin Found Murdered
Funeral on Wednesday
    
BY KATE B DICKSON
EDITOR

The Panola County family of La Shonia Yvette Austin received the news it had been fearing – that, like her cousin, Sherlena "Penny" Rena Burgess, 23, La Shonia, 24, had been murdered, too.

Austin’s body was found Friday afternoon about four blocks from Temple Israel Cemetery in Memphis near where Burgess’s body was found on Sunday.

Both had been shot in the head.
In life, the two young women had never been far from one another and, in death, that will be the case as well when Austin joins Burgess in the same cemetery.

Her funeral is set for 2 p.m. Wednesday at Second Concord 4-Way Church on Nash Road. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Cooley’s Mortuary in Batesville is in charge.

"We’re are just puzzled," Austin’s aunt, Linda Austin told The Panolian Monday. "This is just so hard … the police still haven’t told us anything."

A Memphis homicide squad spokesman said Monday afternoon there have been no arrests and there "nothing new" to report on the case that is "still under investigation."

Linda Austin said word filtered through the family Friday afternoon that another body had been found.

"We were getting ready to go to Memphis when we heard," she said.

Panola County family members, Linda Austin said, were to have joined some of La Shonia’s co-workers and friends on Beale Street to hand out missing person flyers.
    


Chancery Clerk Race Hearing Set
"Illegal" Votes Alleged
    
BY JASON C MATTOX
SENIOR STAFF WRITER


A hearing has been scheduled Sept. 30 to determine the outcome of the Panola County Chancery Clerk’s race.

A petition filed by attorney Ellis Turnage of Cleveland on behalf of David Chandler alleges that legal votes were rejected and illegal votes were accepted during the counting of the affidavit ballots.

No definition for illegal votes is given in the petition.

According to the petition, the final vote of 3,498 for Jim Pitcock and 3,488 for Chandler that was certified by the election committee was incomplete, fails to include legal votes, includes illegal votes and is wrong both factually and legally.

"The final vote tally shown on the Aug. 26, official recapitulation sheets received by the candidates are inconsistent with the total number of legal ballots cast by legal voters at the polling place in Panola County," the petition reads.
    


Downtown Park Closer to Reality
    
The Batesville Mayor and Board of Aldermen gave the go-ahead last week for the Main Street board to seek proposals for construction of a park on the city’s square.

The city recently received a $209,000 state grant for the park which is expected to be built with other contributions given by local business, industry and service clubs, said Adam Pittman, board member.

The city board has agreed by consensus not to appropriate any city funds for the project.

The plan includes a gazebo, amphitheater, fountain and veteran’s memorial in addition to green space.