Headlines – 1/23/2004

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 23, 2004

Panolian Headlines: January 23, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 1/23/04  issue of The Panolian

BPD Lieutenant Graduate
     of FBI National Academy
By Kate B. Dickson

Batesville Police Department has its third officer who can claim membership in an exclusive law enforcement community.

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Lt. Jimmy McCloud, who heads the department’s patrol division, recently graduated from the FBI National Academy Program at Quantico, Va.

McCloud, a member of BPD for 10 years, joins Police Chief Roger Vanlandingham and Major Tony Jones as academy graduates.

It’s no easy task to get accepted into a class as Mississippi can only send eight officers a year to Quantico – two in each of four annual classes.

"It’s management training … that’s what it really is," McCloud told The Panolian, of the coursework that counted as 14 hours of college credit through the University of Virginia.

But that’s not all.

Mixed into classwork that ran from "8-to-5" was physical training, too, said the lieutenant, who lost 28 pounds "getting ready" for academy life.
While there, the 240 class members lost a total of 540 pounds and a cumulative 24 feet, two inches from their waists, McCloud said.

Worker’s Comp Decision Appeal
Made in Woman’s Fatal Accident
An appeal is pending in Panola County Circuit Court after workman’s compensation benefits were rejected in connection with a fatal car crash.

The appeal was filed recently by Chris Duke, the surviving husband of Laura J. Fuller Duke, after the Mississippi Worker’s Compensation Commission voted 2-1 to deny the claim, the suit said.

The defendants are Parker Hannifin Corporation, 1620 Highway 6 East, Batesville, and Underwriters Safety & Claims of Covington, Tenn.

Mrs. Duke, 27, of Brandon, was the computer engineer for Parker Hannifin at the time of the April 3, 2001, one-vehicle accident on Interstate 55 south of Batesville, the suit said. Her car hydroplaned during a thunderstorm.

Attorney Kenneth Coghlan contends that when Mrs. Duke was killed she was driving during the course and scope of her employment.

Coghlan disagrees with the commission’s majority ruling that the "coming and going" rule bars worker’s compensation benefits in the case.

Mrs. Duke was killed while participating in a work-related evacuation exercise, according to court documents.

Before leaving the premises to go to the home of Roger Smith, a computer consultant, Mrs. Duke changed the telephone system to inform callers of the evacuation and took a laptop computer and back-up tapes with her, court filings say. She also called her husband and Smith before leaving.

At the conclusion of the evacuation, a Parker Hannifin representative called her at Smith’s home directing her to return to the administrative office and asked her for information on how to change the telephone message, documents reflect.

On Mrs. Duke’s way back, the accident occurred, court documents say.

City Faces $450,000 Suit in Auto Crash
By Kate B. Dickson

A $450,000 damage suit has been filed against the City of Batesville and a former water department employee in connection with a traffic crash.

The suit was filed recently in Panola County Circuit Court by Joel L. Moore who is represented by Clarksdale attorneys Ralph E. Chapman and Daniel M. Czamanske Jr.

The suit quotes the accident investigation report as saying Mark W. Marshall, who worked for the water department, ran a red light in a city vehicle and struck Moore’s vehicle.

The crash occurred on May 2, 2003, at the intersection of Bates and Highway 6, the suit said.

Marshall was quoted on the accident report, the suit said, as saying he did not see his traffic light was red.

Moore, according to the complaint, suffered property damage, personal injuries, will have future medical expenses and suffered from emotional distress.

The suit claims, among other things, that Marshall was negligent in failing to keep a proper lookout.

The city, it says, is liable in part based upon claims of inadequate training of personnel, negligent selection of staff, failure to supervise staff and failure to correct the habit and custom of [Marshall] who had operated vehicles negligently and far in excess of the speed necessary on such occasions.


Bids In for Road, Soccer Field, Library Lot
James Pfahler (l) of Wagner General Contractors, Inc., Memphis, and Bob Shepard of Shepard Construction, Courtland, record bids.
Three city projects – another road in the Lowe’s area, a soccer field at Trussell Park, additional library parking and erosion control at the wastewater lagoon – are closer to reality now that bids have been opened.

City Engineer Pete Sullivan opened and read the bids at Tuesday’s City Board meeting.

Some of the bids contained wide price disparities and all were taken under advisement for analysis before specific bidders will be recommended.

The meeting was a rare one in that no quorum was present because some members were attending the Mississippi Municipal League meeting in Jackson. The board is set to meet at 2 p.m. Tuesday to consider action on items that could not be considered because there was no quorum.

All of the bids were received in good order, were signed and contained five percent of the amount of the bid as bond.

The road at Lowe’s will run off the road on the west side of the building then turn north, Sullivan said. It is to serve future development of the area.

Batesville Lawyer Cook Dies at 54
By Kate B. Dickson

Known to some as "Mr. Rotary," services for well-known Batesville attorney William L. "Bill" Cook will be at 2 p.m. Friday at First United Methodist Church in Batesville.

Cook, 54, died of heart failure Tuesday at Baptist Memorial Hospital – DeSoto in Southaven. He will be buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Sardis. Wells Funeral Home is in charge of services.

(See and on Page 2)

A Batesville attorney for the past 24 years, Cook had served as president of the Panola County Bar Association. He had been an active member of the Mississippi Bar Association and had served on the Bar’s Ethics Committee.

He received both his bachelor of arts and juris doctor degrees from Ole Miss where he’s been an active alumni.

He was very active in the Batesville Rotary Club, where he was a two-time president, had been currently serving as assistant governor of Rotary District 6800 and had attended international events in Singapore, Argentina and Scotland.

"We called him Mr. Rotary," fellow Rotarians Jim and Billie Breedlove told The Panolian.

He was also known for his love for his family.

"He was very active … he was enthusiastic and was a leading figure in our Rotary club," Breedlove said. "In my opinion, we never had anyone else like him before in our club and I’ve been a member here since 1955."

Mrs. Breedlove credits Cook with having restored "zeal" to the local club when he agreed to serve a second term as president when the club was going through a less active period.

"Bill was a top man in our opinion," Breedlove said. "He was a most wonderful person. He had high principles, was compassionate and enthusiastic."

Tom Womble, who practiced law with Cook for 11 years, said of his friend, "he was one of the friendliest, most outgoing lawyers I ever met."

Traveling and Rotary, Womble said, were both passions of Cook.

"He spent a lot of time with Rotary and I guess he’d seen every corner of the world," Womble said.

Cook was a licensed pilot and another of his interests was music, Womble said.

"We were both big into the Beatles and liked to collect memorabilia," Womble said. "Bill had played in garage bands in high school in Greenwood … he was a singer."

Cook, he said, "Enjoyed life. He got as much enjoyment out of his 54 years as anyone could ever hope to get. He was quite a fellow."

SPSD Gets New Member,
     Picks Officers
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

The South Panola School District Board of Trustees welcomed a new member to its ranks and selected its leaders for the new year.

Dr. Carlock Broome, one-time principal at Pope School, was sworn in by Mississippi Supreme Court Justice and former attorney for the board George Carlson to replace the retired James Hal Moore as the representative of Pope.

"I would like to welcome Dr. Broome to the board," Lygunnah Bean said. "I think we struck gold in selecting him to replace Mr. Moore who was the longest serving school board member in the state of Mississippi."

Following the swearing in that also saw Dr. Joe Gardner take the oath for a new term, the board was required by law to organize itself before conducting the meeting.