Headlines – 12/12/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 12, 2003

Panolian Headlines: December 12, 2003

For complete stories, pick up the 12/9/03  issue of The Panolian

Tips Promising in Hentz Search
AMW Plans to Air Second Segment
     on Panola Couple
By Kate B. Dickson

The days of freedom for Parchman escapee Larry Hentz and his wife Elizabeth Lacy Hentz may be getting short thanks to some promising leads.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

That’s what a spokesman for the television show America’s Most Wanted told The Panolian on Thursday.

Likewise, Mississippi Department of Corrections spokesman Suzanne Singletary says, "We’re very encouraged with some of the leads we are getting."

That encouragement has prompted the national television show to schedule a second airing of the couple’s fugitive status, said Avery Mann of AMW.

"When there’s a good hope of a capture and law enforcement thinks it is getting close we try to rearrange our show to accommodate that," Mann said.

"In this case the police think they are getting close," he said. "With another airing maybe they will be able to close this case."

CMS Gets Bomb Threat
By Kate B. Dickson

Como Middle School was evacuated Tuesday morning following a bomb threat.

According to Investigator Mark Whitten of the Panola County Sheriff’s Department, deputies were called to the school about 10:15 a.m.

"When deputies arrived on the scene, the school had been evacuated," Whitten said.

Whitten said law enforcement and school officials checked the school over and students were allowed back into the building shortly thereafter.

"At this point we have no suspects," Whitten said. "But anyone with any information about the incident is encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Department at 563-6230."

District Superintendent Robert Massey would not comment .

Man Halts Adult Video Store Plan
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

A standing-room-only crowd at the Sardis courthouse erupted with applause when a prospective business owner withdrew his request for rezoning and a special exception.

Had the requests been granted by the Panola County Land Development Commission, Chris Smith would have been able to open an adult video store on Highway 6 East just outside the Batesville city limits.

Smith originally told commission members he needed the property rezoned because it was classified agricultural instead of commercial. He said he needed the special exception to rent or sell any sexually-themed materials.

"I don’t think anything else can be done with the property," Smith’s attorney Mark Clayton said before his client’s change of mind. "It isn’t good for anything other than commercial use."

Clayton told the commission if the request was granted, the property would be used for an adult video store with other adult merchandise.
"This is not something that isn’t being done in other retail businesses in town," Clayton said. "You can rent or purchase X-rated videos in a couple of video stores in town," he said. "And some of the other merchandise is available at places like Wal-Mart, Spencer’s Gifts and various party supply places.



Holiday Cheer

The Batesville Rotary Club held its annual Christmas for Kids on Tuesday. Twenty-nine children from the Batesville Elementary School were treated to a pizza lunch. Afterwards, all received a gift from their Rotary sponsors along with a sack of treats from Ol’ Saint Nick himself who made a surprise visit. The bag contained a new pair of tennis shoes and a winter coat.

Above, Toney Roberts, Frosty The Snowman, and Briggs Smith enjoy some time with "their" child, 7-year-old Cameron Morgan.

Sports Programming Costs Concern Cable One
By Kate B. Dickson

Cable One rates in Batesville haven’t gone up this year but rising costs to cable companies for sports programming don’t bode well for the future.

That’s according to a letter sent to Mayor Bobby Baker from Cable One’s general manager Walter L. "Pete" Peden in Cleveland.

The biggest issues in the fight, Peden says, are:

  • The cost of sports programming, including ESPN and Fox Sports
  • The fact that sports programmers do not allow and do not intend to allow us to offer their very expensive programming on either a per channel or tier basis so that only those people who want to watch their programming have to pay for it

Peden says Cable One has had no rate hikes this year in spite of the fact "…that our cost of programming rose by more than $1.50 per subscriber per month, with the two major sports programmers being responsible for more than half that amount.

Coroner-elect Recommends
Rhea, Teasdale as Deputies
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

Panola County’s newly-elected coroner and the two deputies she recommended were to attend a 40-hour death investigation seminar in Jackson this week.

The cost to the county for the training is $400 for registration and $55 a night for hotel accommodations.

County Administrator David Chandler told the Board of Supervisors that coroner-elect Gracie Grant-Gulledge had selected the two people she wanted to serve as deputy coroners.

"Gracie has said she wants Charles Rhea and Donna Teasdale as her deputies," Chandler said.

Rhea serves on the Batesville Fire Department and works for Cooley’s Mortuary. Teasdale is a nurse.

After some questions about needing two deputy coroners, board attorney William McKenzie tried to set the supervisors at ease.

"You are not paying three people to do the same job," he said. "Whoever answers the call is the one who will receive pay."