Headlines – 12/19/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 19, 2003

Panolian Headlines: December 19, 2003

For complete stories,
pick up the 12/19/03  issue of The Panolian

40 Years of Service

South Panola School District superintendent Dr. C.L. Stevenson (l) presented retiring board of trustee member James Hal Moore with a certificate of appreciation marking his years of service. Moore has been a member of the board of trustees for 40 years. A reception was held for Moore Tuesday night at Pope School.

Land Dispute Trial Likely
    After Efforts to Settle Fail
By Kate B. Dickson

The City of Batesville and James S. "Doc" Whitaker appear headed for a federal court jury trial as the most likely resolution to a land dispute.

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That’s what the city’s lawyer, Ben Griffin of Cleveland, told the Mayor and Board of Aldermen this week.

The trial date has been set for Nov. 15, in U.S. District Court in Greenville before U.S. District Judge Allen Pepper, Griffin said.

Whitaker filed suit claiming the city failed to live up to an agreement with regard to construction of a road on his property on the south side of Highway 6 east of the Civic Center site.

Previously, City Attorney Colmon Mitchell said the road (House-Carlson Road) was built but was built where it was because access was needed to Tri-Lakes Medical Center.

Principals: Pupils Need Help
     Writing Sentences
Three schools in the South Panola School District are interested in a new writing program to help students learn to put together sentences.

Batesville Elementary School Principal Carolyn Graham told school board members she and fellow principals Betsy Ferguson (Batesville Intermediate) and Willie Chapman (Batesville Middle School) all have an interest in a computer program that will help teach sentence structure.

Although the name of the program was not given, it was noted that one copy of the program with needed materials can be purchased for $2,900 and networked to all three buildings.

Actor on Board …
Award-winning Hollywood actor and producer Morgan Freeman was in Batesville recently to check out the vintage Beechcraft King Air he and other celebrities will be flying on a fundraising trip around the world, planned for Aug. 2004. The first-ever built of its kind is being restored at The Hangar Inc. (THI), at the Panola County Airport.

On hand recently to check out the aircraft were (l to r) Ruben D. Correa, Dennis Springer, Bill Luckett, Freeman, Kurt D. Gossett, Michael E. Wruk, John C. Cooper, Lonnie D. Chrestman, Bradley W. McElhannon, Mark C. Still, Robert W. Tubbs and Larry Freeman.


12-Year-Old Dies in One-Car Crash
BJH Classmates Mourn
By Kate B. Dickson

Family and classmates today are mourning the death of 12-year-old Monica Pride who was killed Wednesday when the car in which she was riding slammed into a utility pole.

Although Panola County Deputy Sheriff Albert Perkins, who worked the one-vehicle wreck, refused to release the name of the victim, school and funeral home representatives confirmed the girl’s identity.

Details were sketchy as the deputy would not release the names or ages of anyone involved nor say much more than the auto, a 1995 Dodge Neon, struck a utility police. He did confirm all four involved were "juveniles."

The crash, which happened at 4:39 p.m., occurred on Curtis Road west of Macedonia Road, the deputy said. No one was ejected and seat belt use is part of the continuing probe by reconstruction experts at the sheriff’s department.

Monica, of 6884 Curtis Road, was the daughter of Willie James Chapman and Josephine Pride. Cooley’s Mortuary is in charge of services.

Perkins would not say how many of the youths were hurt or airlifted but said the driver, at the deputy’s last checking, was hospitalized in the Regional Medical Center at Memphis in "critical" condition.

Perkins was assisted by Deputies Otis Griffin, John Still and Zabe Davis, he said. Also at the scene were ambulance personnel from Tri-Lakes Medical Center and Emergystat. Also on hand were members of the Batesville Fire Department.

At Batesville Junior High Thursday morning, students and teachers were met with the news though many youngsters were aware of Monica’s death, said guidance counselor Sandra Wilson.

"She was such a sweet little girl and she had lots of friends," Wilson said.

Especially hard hit were her fellow band students in the first-period class, Wilson said.

"Mr. {William} McEwen was so good with them," Wilson said. "A lot of the children were upset. I was in the room and he was so kind and compassionate with the students."

McEwen is the head band director for South Panola Schools and like his assistants all work with each band class, Wilson said.

"When I got home Tuesday I read the paper and saw the memorial {for Christopher Todd]," she said. "I was hoping we’d get through this year without a student killed … and then this happened. It’s so sad and tragic."

Christopher and his mother, Amy Robison, were killed Dec. 18, 2001, in an automobile accident.

In addition to Wilson, counselor Nils Lundgren also meet with students and both remained available to the youngsters all day.

Teachers, Wilson said. "have been wonderfully supportive" and were keeping watchful eyes out for youngsters who needed help from the counselors.

There were meetings in the classrooms with students where counselors and teachers "tried to be factual" with the youngsters in an age group that Wilson described as "very emotional."

Black ribbons were placed on doors in a show of sympathy for the death of Monica.

Grand Jurors to Get Murder Case
Teen’s Bond $250,000
By Jason c Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

A man charged with "simple murder" will go before the Panola County Grand Jury to determine if there is sufficient evidence for an indictment.

Lois Lee Hudspeth, 17, Sardis, was bound over to the Grand Jury following a preliminary hearing this week before Justice Court Judge James Appleton in Sardis.

Hudspeth is accused of murdering Sardis woman Jennifer Russell Young whose body was found at the Askew Wildlife Refuge in Tunica County.

Gaines Baker served as prosecutor for the case while David Walker served as counsel for the defendant.

"We are here to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to send this matter to the members of the Grand Jury," Baker said.

Investigator Mark Whitten of the Panola County Sheriff’s Department was the only witness interviewed during the hearing.

Whitten pointed out the facts he had leading to the affidavit against Hudspeth.