Headlines – 11/4/2003

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Panolian Headlines: November 4, 2003

For complete stories, pick up the 11/4/03  issue of The Panolian

Officials Hear Hospital
     Lease, Buy Proposals
Among those listening to hospital proposals Friday were (l-r) Bill McKenzie, attorney for the Panola County Board of Supervisors, Batesville Mayor Bobby Baker and Batesville Aldermen Bill Dugger and Hudson Still.

Later this month, city and county officials should have a recommendation before them as to who should buy or lease Tri-Lakes Medical Center.

On Friday, city aldermen and county supervisors heard from representatives of the three entities that submitted proposals.

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Panola County owns 60 percent of the hospital and the City of Batesville owns 40 percent. The hospital is financed with a $22 million bond issue.

While a lease arrangement was the preference expressed in the requests for proposals, not all of the proposals are for a lease.

The proposals as outlined are:

Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation of Memphis wants to buy the hospital for an estimated purchase price of $25.7 million. They propose to leave the owners $6.1 million in assets and $1.1 million in liabilities thus bring the purchase price to about $30.7 million. The bond payoff is included in the price.

Because Baptist is a not for profit company, no taxes would be paid to the city and county.

Triad Hospitals, Inc., of Plano, Texas, seeks a 30-year lease with an option of an additional 30 years. The annual lease payment to the city and county would total $1,350,000. Combined with some up-front funds and the sale of some assets, the total value over 30 years would amount to $46 million. The city and county would remain responsible for the bond indebtedness. Because Triad is a for-profit company, it would pay an estimated $485,000 in city-county taxes per year.
The Tri-Lakes Medical Center and Dr. Bob Corkern seek to continue operation of the hospital for the next two years with Corkern’s company, Emergent Health, buying Tri-Lakes at that time for $30 million or more if the value is above that. The bond payoff is included in the price. If purchased by Corkern, taxes would be paid. He promises not to sell the facility for at least 20 years and to reinvest all profits until the facility becomes a regional medical center.

Union Road Repair Set

New signs and markings will be placed around a hole on Union Road according to the Panola County Board of Supervisors.

During their first Monday meeting, the supervisors were again approached with complaints about a gaping hole caused by erosion under the road.

Beth Wyatt, an area resident, told the board that the hole presented a "very dangerous" and potentially deadly situation and wondered why something has not been done.

"Members of the community met with you in July and you agreed to go out and put up signs and markings around the hole," she said. "Whatever markings were put up around the hole at that time are long gone."

Wyatt said the board told residents in July that plans to repair the road would be ready by the first Friday of the month.

"The water association had requested a copy of the plans so we could determine where the water line that is uncovered needs to be moved," she said.

"Here we are in November and we have not seen a copy of the plans," Wyatt said. "We just want to know if they are finished."

County Engineer Pete Sullivan told Wyatt the plans are completed and the county will open bids during the meeting.


Henderson’s death puts sister on ballot

The death of Rep. Clayton Henderson (D-Miss.) has sent shockwaves through the state legislature and the community.

According to published reports, Henderson, 49, of Sardis, died of heart failure Thursday, Oct. 30, at Baptist -DeSoto Memorial Hospital in Southaven after being hospitalized for 11 days with an unspecified condition.

Henderson was first elected to the Miss. House of Representatives in 1979 and took office in 1980. One of the many people Henderson worked with during his time in office was Rep. Warner McBride of Batesville.

"I knew Clayton was sick," he said. "Even knowing that, I am deeply saddened at the loss.
"He was a good colleague to work with," McBride said. "He, Sen. [Nolan] Mettetal, Rep. [Leonard] Morris, and I had a great working relationship, there was never a cross word had between any of us.

"I think the fact that he worked well with others contributed greatly to the success this area has had during his time in office," he said.

McBride called Henderson an effective legislator who was able to get a lot of things moved through the House, but also a great friend.

"His seniority in the House made him very successful," he said. "But from a personal standpoint is where I will miss him the most," he said. "He was a very good person, I will forever miss his smile and sense of humor.

"He always had a way of taking a very tense situation and lightening up the tension with his wit," he said. "He was just a very good man."
Belinda Morris, wife of Rep. Leonard Morris, said the two families were close and she, too, is saddened at the loss of Henderson.

"Clayton was a very good friend to everyone he knew," she said. "He was someone that everyone liked, and he will be missed.

"He made his community a great place because he truly cared about the people he represented," she said.

The Mississippi Democratic Party has selected Henderson’s sister, Clara Henderson Burnett, to fill her brother’s seat in the house.

Burnett is assured of a four-year term in the House as the Republican Party chose not to make a nomination for the position.

"I think very highly of everyone in the Henderson family," McBride said. "I have never heard an unkind word about any of them.
"I truly believe she will continue her brother’s work and do a very good job," he said. "I am looking forward to working with her."

Services for Henderson were held Sunday at Lane Chapel in Tunica. Henderson Funeral Home had charge of the arrangements.

Ready for action …

Gena McCullar (l), Paragould, Ark., awaits her turn to compete in the youth class of the Mid-South Cutting Horse Association contest Saturday at Lee Garner’s Ranche One outside Batesville.

Gena, aboard 21-year-old Doc’s Red Lynx, took third place. "She’d sleep in the barn with him if we’d let her," Gena’s mother, Laura McCullar, said of her daughter and the horse. Gena’s dad, Brent, also competes and little brother, Tyner, 4, rides, too.

Gena’s horse has $160,000 in lifetime earnings, "but not with us," Laura said with a laugh. Laura’s going to take up the sport next and says the family recently got three buffalo weanlings on which to work the horses. "They don’t sour as quickly as cattle do," she said. "I guess they aren’t as smart." Cutting competition continues this week at Garner’s.