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Headlines – 10/3/2003

Panolian Headlines: September 19, 2003

For complete stories, pick up the 10/03/03  issue of The Panolian

Committee Orders New Election
Second Chandler-Pitcock Runoff Oct. 28
    
David Chandler’s attorney, Ellis Turnage, and Jim Pitcock’s lawyer, Richard "Flip" Phillips (r), look over the inactive voter roll.
    
BY JASON C MATTOX
SENIOR STAFF WRITER


Voters will have to go back to the polls.

That is the decision of the Panola County Democratic Executive Committee in the Chancery Clerk’s race.

Following two days of presentations from attorneys for David Chandler and Jim Pitcock, a new election was ordered for Oct. 28 to determine who will win the job that pays up to $80,000 per year.

Pitcock, who entered the hearing with a 10-vote lead over County Administrator Chandler, saw his lead shrink from 10 to three votes.

"We believe there were several voters on the county’s inactive voter role that did not get counted," Chandler’s attorney Ellis Turnage said. "We believe those votes should be counted because a person never loses their right to vote once they have registered."

Turnage also argued that some votes had been thrown out because the committee determined the voters were convicted felons.

"There are only certain offenses that cause a person’s right-to-vote to be revoked," he said. "We believe some of these [felon voters] did not commit such offenses."

One affidavit ballot was originally rejected because the voter had been convicted of sexual battery.

Affidavit ballots are those cast by voters in wrong precincts or who otherwise cannot be found on the voter roll at a polling place.

    

Soldiers Need Help with
     "Operation Magnolia"
    
BY KATE B DICKSON
EDITOR


Mississippi Army National Guard Sgt. Eric W. Hopper of Pope hopes Panola Countians will pitch in to assist him and other state guardsmen and reserves in helping children in two villages in Iraq.

Pope, a dozer operator and a member of the Charleston-based 223rd Engineers, recently told his mother, Fay Hopper of Pope, about "Operation Magnolia."

Members of the 223rd have teamed up with other Mississippians in the 285th, 229th and 463rd guard and reserves to make life better for children there.

The engineers have adopted four elementary/secondary schools and two community villages – Al Hamra and Al Mahazim. The schools and villages are in Tikrit, the birthplace of former dictator Saddam Hussain.

To accomplish their "mission of hope," Hopper says items are needed in four separate categories (see box) for ease of delivery and separation.

The father of two little daughters, Mrs. Hopper says her son is particularly concerned about the plight of girls in Iraq.
    

 
   

SP Homecoming Cour
    
The South Panola homecoming court will be "Kickin’ Sand" as it celebrates Homecoming 2003. Members of the court include (first row, l to r) seniors Latoya Hentz, Tiffany McKinney, Jessica Cain; junior Camille Willis; sophomore Nicole Douglas; (second row, l to r) freshmen Allie Ware, La’Kamaree Pride; junior Lynette Williams; senior Britni O’Conner; (third row, l to r) sophomore Candace Conner; senior Erika Wilson; junior April Flowers; freshman Jessica Cannon; and sophomore Erica Draper.

The homecoming queen will be crowned during halftime Friday night from the senior maids.

    


Inactive Voter List Issue
     in Deciding Valid Votes

    
BY JASON C MATTOX
SENIOR STAFF WRITER

Panola County’s inactive voter roll was put under a microscope during this week’s hearing on the Chancery Clerk’s runoff outcome between David Chandler and Jim Pitcock.

In that runoff, Pitcock was the victor over Chandler by 10 votes. Chandler, however, challenged that result. (See related story).

While arguing on behalf of Chandler, Cleveland attorney Ellis Turnage scrutinized the inactive voter rolls.

He also questioned Circuit Clerk Joe Reid regarding how the inactive voter roll is maintained.

"If a person does not vote in two consecutive federal elections, the election commissioners purge that name from the active roll," Circuit Clerk Joe Reid said. "Once a person votes, they come off of the inactive roll."

The Democratic Executive Committee determined that some ballots were cast by what it termed "unregistered" voters.

The committee maintained that an "unregistered" voter is a person not listed on the active voter registration roll.

Turnage disagreed.
    

Crown Lays Off 51 Workers Here
    
BY KATE B DICKSON
EDITOR


Fifty-one production line workers at Crown Cork and Seal are without jobs today but it’s expected they will be called back to work in six months.

That’s according to plant manager Larry Outlaw who blamed the layoff on the "economy and seasonal reductions" in the soft drink industry.

The layoffs, which leave 188 employed there, were effective on Monday, Outlaw said. The workers were told last Wednesday and Thursday and those cut were the ones with the least seniority.

"It’s tough …. it affects families," he said. "But we do anticipate bringing them all back."

Meanwhile, the workers are eligible to draw unemployment benefits.

"It’s happened once before," Outlaw said of layoffs. "We had some seasonal layoffs last November and we brought everybody back."

Crown Cork and Seal has eight manufacturing plants in the U.S., Outlaw said. The nearest one to Batesville is in Chicago.

The Batesville plant makes cans and end pieces for Coke and Pepsi.

The cutback in demand has the local plant producing about half as many cans as it usually does and about 75 percent as many ends, Outlaw said.