Headlines – 1/13/2004

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Panolian Headlines: January 13, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 1/13/04  issue of The Panolian

Sewer District Promises Cleanup
Raw Sewage Flooding Area Around Lift Station
    
Jason Beard describes overflow problem to Long Creek Sewer District board members.
    
By Kate B. Dickson
Editor

Jason Beard says he and his family are "tired of smelling raw sewage" and want the Long Creek Sewer District to repair a non-functioning lift station behind his house.

Beard was at Pope Town Hall last week for the regular sewer district board meeting. He brought pictures showing sewage on the ground around the lift station that’s in a wooded area 80-to-100 feet behind his home on Foxrun. His street is just east of Highway 51 and just south of the Courtland corporate limits.
Beard says he also has "a video showing sewage coming out of the top" of the lift station if board members want to see it.

"I spent Christmas in my house smelling sewage," Beard said. "And my neighbors say it is 10 times worse in the summer."

Beard bought the home within the past year.

In addition to complaining to the board, Beard says he’s contacted the Mississippi Department of Environment Quality’s North Regional Office in Oxford. He encourages others with health-issue worries to do likewise.
 


Yearly Cash Flow Problem
     Halts Donations
City Waits on Tax Receipts
    
By Kate B. Dickson
Editor

The city’s put all donations on hold until it gets through the current money crunch.

That’s because cash flow is down – something that City Clerk Judy Flint Savage told aldermen Tuesday isn’t unusual for this time of the year.

"We’re waiting on tax collections," she said.

The property tax bills went out in December and payments aren’t due until Feb. 1, according to a spokesman in the tax assessor’s office. Any payments made after Feb. 1 come with a penalty attached.

The City Board took the action after Paul Alexander, CEO of Panola Partnership, and Colleen Clark, Main Street director, appeared before aldermen to request funds.

The city previously budgeted $30,000 for Panola Partnership this year and $20,000 for Main Street’s SpringFest celebration.

Alexander noted the Partnership and Main Street "worked with" the city last year on funding timing and can do so again this year. He said the city made the payment last year in March and that would work again again this year.

In all, Savage said there is about $100,000 budgeted as donations to groups including the Boys and Girls Club, the Humane Society, Answered Prayer and others.
    


Sardis Business Tells Plans for Growth
    
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

A Sardis business is in need of more space, but wants the city’s input before proceeding.

Michael Saripkin, owner of Mini-Systems, told Mayor Richard Darby and the Board of Alderman that his business has experienced tremendous success in Sardis, but needs to grow for that trend to continue.

"On Dec. 31, 2002, Mini-Systems of Sardis opened," he said. "The original estimate was to make $500,000, and as of the one year mark, we have made $1.2 million.

"Needless to say we are happy with the success we have experienced and really want to stay in Sardis," he said. "But in order to do that, we have got to grow."

Saripkin told the aldermen he had investigated the possibility of expanding into the old Liberty Supermarket building which is located in the same shopping center as his current storage facility.
  


Retiree Rudd to Be Part-Time Deputy
    
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

A long-time employee of the Panola County Sheriff’s Department has retired from his position but will come back as a part-time deputy.

James Rudd, who most recently served as Chief Deputy, was replaced by Craig Sheley.

Sheriff David Bryan outlined Rudd’s retirement to the Board of Supervisors on Monday.

"I have a man who has gotten old and decided he wants some time off, and we have to give it to him," Bryan said.

The sheriff said while Rudd intended to retire, he will return to the department in a part-time capacity.

"Basically what he is going to do is take 45 days off," Bryan said. "Then he will come back and work with us on a part-time basis."

Bryan said Rudd will have a job with the county as long as he is serving as sheriff.

  



 

   

Fun with music …
   
Como Elementary School student Joniecya Wiley claps her hands and sways to the music during a concert at the Cannon Center for Performing Arts in Memphis. Joniecya, who is blind, was joined by DaMarius Reynolds (l) and others from the pre-school and kindergarten classes of Barbara Presley, Carrie Beth Brasher, Lakeitha Cole and Holly Stewart.
    

Legislative Session Gets Under Way
    
By State Representatives Clara Burnett
and Leonard Morris

JACKSON — The election of two new leaders for the Mississippi House of Representatives highlighted the first week of the 2004 session of the Mississippi Legislature.

Rep. William J. "Billy" McCoy of Rienzi in Prentiss County, who followed the footsteps of his father into public service at the State Capitol, was elected on Jan. 6 by acclimation as the Speaker of the House, while Rep. J.P. Compretta, a veteran member from Bay St. Louis in Hancock County, won the race for Speaker Pro Tempore, the House’s second-highest position.

Speaker McCoy and Speaker Pro Tem Compretta took the oaths of office for their new roles soon after the 122 members of the House were sworn in by Secretary of State Eric Clark. The House roster for the 2004-2007 legislative term includes 27 new members.

Also taking their oaths during the week in a joint session of the House and Senate were eight statewide elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck. Gov.-elect Haley Barbour will be inaugurated at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 13 on the south steps of the Capitol.

Outgoing Gov. Ronnie Musgrove addressed the Legislature in a joint session on Jan. 7. He stressed the gains in public education made during his term, including a plan to bring the average Mississippi public school teacher’s salary up to the Southeastern regional average and passage of the Adequate Education Program designed to bring funding equity to all districts.

Speaker McCoy outlined five priorities in his acceptance speech after being elected to his new position — protection of life and property, public education, transportation, healthcare and economic development.

He also urged Mississippi not to wait on others to develop alternative energy sources.

"There is inexhaustible energy from the sun, the wind and earth’s thermal zone," he said.

Speaker Pro Tempore Compretta called it a "historic day" after House members elected a Speaker from near the Tennessee border and a Speaker Pro Tempore from the Gulf Coast. "It demonstrates that this House of Representatives is above sectionalism and that we truly represent all the people of Mississippi," said Compretta, who, like McCoy, is beginning his 25th year as a legislator.

We in the House of Representatives now turn our attention to committee assignments, possibly as early as the week of Jan. 12-16.

Members voted the first week to approve the formation of several new committees, including Forestry; Gaming; Marine Resources; Medicaid; Ports, Harbors and Airports; and Tourism.

These issue areas were formerly covered by other committees, but it was felt each was important enough to warrant the attention of a separate committee. Also, some House committees underwent name changes this week, and a few others increased the number of their members.

The House committees will begin organizing shortly after being appointed. The session’s first major deadline is Feb. 23 for the introduction of bills and constitutional amendments. The session will last 125 days this year due to it being the start of a new term. Adjournment is scheduled May 9.

House members are always eager to hear from our constituents. You can reach us by calling the Capitol at 601-359-3770.

You can follow activities of the Legislature on the Internet at .

The website includes a bill status service, a roster of members including biographical information and calendars of committee meetings and legislation to be considered on the House floor.
    


Speaker’s Bid Proves Beneficial
         
By State Representative Warner McBride

It is hard to imagine that we are beginning a new calendar year.

I hope that each of you truly had a joyous holiday season. A holiday season filled with time to enjoy your family and friends.

Last week saw the return by many of you to your jobs and school. As we began 2004, it is also signaled a return of legislators to the state capitol to begin a new legislative session and new term of office. As you know, in 2003, elections were held involving all State, District and County offices. I want to again thank each of you for your strong show of support during the election process. I enjoyed the time we spent together visiting and discussing matters of concern with you.

As most of you know, I was asked by members of the various House coalition to also become a candidate for the Office of Speaker of House. Where this candidacy did not materialize, it nonetheless provided me an opportunity to exhibit my leadership skills in a manner I hope to be beneficial to this community in the future.

With newly elected statewide legislative leaders coming on board, the first legislative session of a new term is 125 days in length instead of the 90 day session – the last three years of a session. We began on January 6th and are scheduled to end on May 9th. Of the 122 members of the House, 27 are newly elected members. We had 15 previous members who retired, 8 who were defeated in the primary election and 3 members who were defeated in the general election. One member, Clayton Henderson of Tunica, passed away and will be replaced by his sister, Clara Burnett. The House will be made up of 76 Democrats and 46 Republicans. There are 104 males and 18 female legislators. There are 86 white members and 36 African American.

This week, members will know their new committee assignments and responsibilities. These are subject to change at the beginning of each new term. Once committee assignments are received, the Legislative process will slowly begin to take shape.

As in the past year, I will remain accessible and available to you as we work hard together to benefit our community. I am excited about the many possibilities for our area.

Please continue to stay in touch as we begin this legislative process.