Headlines – 1/30/2004

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 30, 2004

Panolian Headlines: January 30, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 1/30/04  issue of The Panolian

Cotillion Holds Winter Ball
Officers of the Batesville Winter Cotillion are (front , l to r) Lindsay Thomas, reporter; Heather Cosby, Sergeant-at-Arms; Laura Burkhalter, Junior Representative; Shea Golden, Treasurer; Magan Lawrence, Photographer; (back, l to r) Kayla Fowler, Senior Representative; Anna Lauren Bowie, Secretary; Madison Kilgore, President; Laura Nabors, Vice President; Mary Jennifer Meurrier, Chaplin; Summer Gee, Sophomore Representative.
The Batesville Sub-Deb Cotillion Club held its annual Winter Ball on Jan. 2, 2004, at the Desoto Civic Center. The theme of this year’s ball was "Starry Nights." All members were presented on stage with their escorts.

Mr. and Mrs. John Howell Jr. served as emcees for the formal presentation. Following the presentation, club members and their dates were free to go to dinner. After dinner the members returned to the Desoto Civic Center to "dance the night away."

Two NPSD Schools
     Meet Requirements
NPSD Supt. Robert Massey, (l-r) Greenhill Elementary Principal Vivian Burkley, Crenshaw Elementary Principal Gilda Thomas and Assistant Superintendent Glendora Dugger take pride in the schools’ accomplishments.
Two schools in the North Panola School District – Green Hill Elementary and Crenshaw Elementary – have met the "No Child Left Behind" requirements.

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That’s according to notification from the Dr. Henry Johnson, state superintendent of the Mississippi Department of Education.

"I am extremely proud of the efforts of Green Hill and Crenshaw Elementary Schools. I commend the administrators, teachers and students for making this possible. I am encouraged that all other schools in our district will meet AYP requirements in 2004," said Superintendent Robert Massey.

The schools met AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) requirements as set forth in the act that was passed in 2001.

In order to meet AYP under NCLB, schools must have a certain percentage of students performing at or above proficient in all content areas tested (reading, language and math) as measured by the Mississippi Curriculum Test that is given to all students in grade two through eight.

In addition, the school must also meet a requirement referred to as the other academic indicator (OAI).

An analysis of data indicated the variable OAI for elementary and middle schools did not function as expected.

Therefore, the Mississippi Department of Education recommended that attendance rate rather than the growth index be used in the AYP model for elementary and middle schools.

This change also reflects the state’s effort to reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rate, which is the OAI for high schools.

County Fires Two Road Workers
BY Jason Maddox
Senior Staff Writer

The Panola County Board of Supervisors is fuming over employees’ alleged misuse of the Fuelman system.

The Fuelman system is a system that allows users to go inside a store to enter an odometer reading and pin number to then fill up with gas.
Board president Jerry Perkins said he and his fellow supervisors believed there was misuse and initiated an investigation.

"I asked to see the monthly statements and noticed the time of the fill-ups and the pin numbers didn’t match up to who was supposed to be in the vehicle," he said.

Perkins said the county suspects that gas station attendants on the shift in question could have been acquaintances of the people getting the gas and cash.

"Right now there are three stations we believe were involved, but we can’t be sure right now," he said.

Perkins said the investigation, conducted by County Administrator David Chandler and Road Manager Lygunnah Bean, led the county to dismiss two employees whose names he would not release.


Lucky Lady…
Alice Lake of Charleston, joined by salesman Larry Hinton, shows how she pushed the OnStar button on a showroom vehicle on what proved to be her lucky day. She will soon take possession of a 2004 Buick Ranier SUV that she won at Heafner Motors Inc. in Batesville after taking part in the GM Hot Button Contest.

The contest, which runs through Feb. 29, is under way at GM dealers across the country. When contestants push the OnStar button, he or she is connected with a live game operator who tells them if they’ve won one of the 1,000 vehicles being given away. A spokesman at Heafner’s said the sticker price on a new Ranier runs in the $40,000 range.

Fingerprints Used to Confirm Prison Escapee’s Identity
By Kate B. Dickson

He is who he is. Not who he says he is.

That’s the outcome of an identity hearing in which a California judge ruled Wednesday that convicted murderer and prison escapee Larry Hentz is not someone else.

Fingerprints were part of the evidence used to determine that the former Panola County resident, who escaped from Parchman on Nov. 17, is indeed Larry Hentz, 54.

Formerly of Panola County, Hentz and his wife, Elizabeth Lacy Hentz, were captured on Dec. 11 at a Motel 6 just outside San Diego after a motel clerk recognized the woman.

Both Hentz and his wife originally gave authorities false names, officials said. She soon admitted her identity, but her husband did not.

Lacy Hentz, who along with her husband was featured on the television show, "America’s Most Wanted," and were the subject of a nationwide hunt, is charged in connection with her husband’s escape.

She’s accused of smuggling a hacksaw and wire cutters into Hentz, a then medium-security prison, and for providing the getaway car once he was out.

Suzanne Singletary, spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Corrections, said a governor’s warrant for the couple has been sent to California as part of the extradition process.

Singletary said she did not know when the process will be complete and the couple returned to Mississippi.

Tax Dollars Fund
     Private Driveway
BY Jason Maddox
Senior Staff Writer

Two county employees were terminated for their alleged involvement in building a private driveway with county materials, Board of Supervisors president Jerry Perkins said.

The employees names were not released, but one is believed to be one of those involved in the alleged Fuelman scheme. See related story at left.

Perkins said a conversation with an attorney asking if the county could put speed bumps on River View Road helped uncover the driveway problem.

"When some of the board members went to look at the road, we found out by talking to neighbors in the area that county workers had accepted cash to construct a private driveway," he said.

"Basically, the workers put down tar and rock for a private drive," he said.

Perkins said, to the best of his knowledge, this had only taken place once.

"The assistant road managers have been told to watch the employees more closely," he said. "We are going to do everything we can to keep this from happening again."