Headlines – 11/11/2003

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Panolian Headlines: November 11, 2003

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

Master Sergeant Billy Brooks and his wife Linda, of Batesville, share precious time together before he leaves again on November 22 for Iraq.

Please see the related story and other photos on pages A11-A13.

Missing woman found dead
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

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The body of a Sardis woman was found some 20 miles from where she was last seen, investigators said Friday during a press conference at the Panola County Sheriff’s Department.

Investigator Mark Whitten said the body of Jennifer Russell Young was found inside the Askew Wildlife Refuge Thursday, Nov. 6.

She had been missing from her home at 5689 Old Panola Rd. in Sardis since Tuesday, Nov. 4, Whitten said.

"We are working with officials in Tunica County on the matter because of where the body was found," Whitten said. "This, as one could imagine, is a very delicate situation."

Whitten said an official cause of death was not known, but he speculated it was a "blunt force trauma to the head."

"The medical examiner has not gotten the report out yet," he said.

According to published reports, one witness said she passed by the residence at approximately 4 p.m. on the day of the abduction, and saw a small white car driven by a white male parked in the drive. The witness said Young was walking in front of the vehicle towards her residence.

Whitten said at this point the sheriff’s department believes only one person was involved in the murder, and they do have a suspect, but can not speak with him.

"At this time, we are unable to speak with the suspect due to his medical condition," he said.

Whitten would not expound upon the condition of the suspect.

Local Band Survives Changes;
Readies for Run at "Brass Ring"
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

Through roster changes and even a regional move, the alternative rock band Supernormal has continued to thrive.

Last remaining band member, lead guitarist James Drake, recalls how he came to Supernormal.

Drake of Cleveland, said he was with another band that was on, what he called, its last leg, and met up with some people who wanted to play original music rather than focusing on being a cover band.

"I was really wanting to do originals instead of all covers all the time," Drake said. "At that time, I was approached by bassist Dave Mitchell who had the same ideas."

With two members in place, Drake and Mitchell recruited Chris Beavers for drums and Ryan Wolfe for lead vocals to round out the original version of the band.

"With the group in place, we went on to play our first gig in Cleveland," he said. "Shortly after that gig, we added Carey Jacuzzo on rhythm guitar, and the band went strong for about a one year period."

Drake said after that year was up, Jacuzzo and Mitchell left the band to form Earth Hall, and triggered the second incarnation of Supernormal.

Christmas is coming
Members of the City of Batesville Street Department including Willie B. Ellis and Willie Langston were out early Thursday morning putting up the Christmas decorations around the town, including Highway 51 North in front of The Panolian. The city Christmas Open House will be held Sunday, Nov. 16 from 1 to 5 p.m. See the special section inside today’s issue.

Holiday Open House Nov. 16
The Batesville Main Street Program in conjunction with the Panola Partnership will be organizing a city wide Holiday Open House Nov. 16. Several activities to involve the community and to generate store traffic for the merchants are planned. Some of these include:

Photos with Santa taken by Malcolm Morehead
Horse drawn carriage rides departing from the square
Live entertainment on the square
Holiday Window Decorating Contest

In order to make the Holiday Open House a success, it’s hoped businesses will participate by being open on Sunday, Nov. 16 from 1-5 p.m. For questions, call the Panola Partnership at 563-3126.


City/County Boards Toss Out Corkern Bid
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

The choices for ownership of Tri-Lakes Medical Center are down to two.

Following a meeting of the Panola County Board of Supervisors and the Batesville Board of Aldermen, Dr. Robert Corkern has been eliminated from the running by a vote of 5-0 from the supervisors and 3-2 by the city with aldermen Bobby Jean Pounders and Rufus Manley voting against.

"The next step is to enter into negotiations with Baptist and Triad to see which proposal is in the best interest of the city and county," Pounders said.

The decision came following a proposal from Burns Development Group, the consultants hired by the city and county to determine the best solution to the hospital issue.

J.C. Burns told the boards that he believed the proposal presented by Corkern on Friday, Oct. 31, did not meet the criteria outlined in the requests for proposal.

"On the basis that Dr. Corkern’s proposal fails to answer several questions, I recommend that the city and county eliminate that proposal and proceed with negotiations with the remaining two respondents," Burns said.

The reasons Burns gave include:

No reasonable assurance of adequate health care in Panola County
No reasonable assurance of an adequate financial package
No funds or adequate track record for physician recruitment
No adequate management depth or track record in hospital management

"I genuinely wanted there to be no animosity between any of the parties," Burns said. "And I think we reached an agreement that everyone can live with and that is in the best interest of the county."

Late Breaking News
Hospital Board Speaks:
     Will Oppose Decision

The Tri-Lakes Medical Hospital Board of Trustee acted immediately upon the announcement that the option presented by Dr. Bob Corkern’s firm, Emergent Health, was out of consideration by the City of Batesville Board of Aldermen and the Panola County Board of Supervisors.

"The hospital board has voted unanimously to oppose the sale or lease of the hospital to an outside entity," said Tri-Lakes Board chairman George Randolph Monday evening. "We regretfully reached that conclusion after we saw no amount of facts will make a difference in the mind of the owners."

The hospital Board of Trustees contacted The Panolian Monday night after the board reached this decision.

Opposing the sale or lease of the hospital will put the decision of the fate of the hospital in the hands of the public, according to Randolph.

Randolph said there were some things the board felt the public should be made aware.

"In spite of all the facts that show we are meeting the obligations in excess of the bond payments, the presentation was designed to cast fear in the minds of Supervisors and Aldermen," Randolph said.

Corkern also responded to the hospital owners’ decision.

"We have a vision. We have to hold fast to that vision, whatever our hesitation might be in differing with the conclusion reached by the owners," Corkern said. "If we feel the current owners are not correct, on principal, we must do whatever we can to make the citizens aware of what can be lost."

The hospital board will wait until the city and the county decide between Triad Hospitals, Inc., of Plano, Texas, and Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation of Memphis.

After the city and board make their decision, the hospital board plans at that time to oppose the sale or lease of the hospital.

"At that time the clock starts to tick," Randolph said.

When the board opposes, that will force the issue to a public referendum and the citizens of Panola County would then decide the future of the hospital.

The hospital board also sent out a signed memo to the hospital employees reiterating its support for continued local ownership of the hospital (end of story).


To: Tri-Lakes Medical Center Employees

From: Board of Trustees

You have our complete unwavering support for continuing local ownership of Tri-Lakes Medical Center. We realize that you will be presented with several opinions and rumors over the next couple of months.

We are committed to maintain local ownership. We are dedicating all of our resources in maintaining Tri-Lakes Medical Center for the good of our staff, hospital and our community.

We commend you for your hard work in providing quality care to our patients. We will keep you updated as the situation develops.


          George Randolph
          Kenneth Bloodworth
          Larry J. Pratt
          Mark Larson
          Joseph Thomas