Headlines – 2/13/2004

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 13, 2004

Panolian Headlines: February 13, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 2/13/04 issue of The Panolian

Deputy Back After Tour as MP
Panola County Sheriff David Bryan (left) was presented with a commendation from the 114th Unit of the National Guard by Earl Burdette.
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

Home for less than one month after a year of being stationed in Fort Hood Texas, one Panola County Sheriff’s Deputy is already back to his old routine.

Earl Burdette returned to work with the sheriff’s department on Jan. 19 after serving as a member of the military police unit at Fort Hood since January 2003.

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"That took care of the one year I was required to serve as part of my enlistment with the 114th out of Clinton," he said. "But, if I was called and asked to serve again, I would do it in a second."

Burdette said his initial feelings about leaving for the post last year were mixed because of his children, and the question of job security.

The job security issue was quickly resolved when Sheriff David Bryan told Burdette he would have a job waiting for him when he returned.

"That really meant a lot to me," he said. "The sheriff didn’t have to do that, but he even went one step further.

"He told me that if my wife and kids needed anything during the time I was gone all they had to do was give him a call," he said. "That was very touching for someone to put themselves out like that.

"It was a tough move right at first," he said. "But I think everyone goes through that.

FuelMan Card Scam Probe
   Grows Larger
County Had No Usage Policy
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

More firings are possible in the Panola County Road Department as the investigation into the FuelMan card scam broadens.

However, a lack of a county policy is being cited as helping to make the thefts possible in the first place, according to Panola County Board of Supervisors President Jerry Perkins.

He said the lack of a policy may keep officials from determining just who and how many employees may have been involved.

The FuelMan system is a system that allows users to go inside a store to enter an odometer reading and pin number and then fill up with gas.

Perkins said several entities, including the sheriff’s department, are continuing to investigate the matter.

Two road department workers were fired last month.

Neither of them exercised their right for an appeal.

Talking Parrot Sounds "Alarm"
By Kate B. Dickson

A "talking parrot" is being credited this week with alerting residents their dwelling was on fire.

"I’m not kidding," Bynum VFD Chief Tony Ragon said about the blaze at 5:30 Wednesday morning on Pope-Water Valley Road.

It was the second fire in less than 24 hours that had the firefighters busy, he said.

Tuesday afternoon a mobile home on Snider Road was "fully involved" when a passerby saw it and called authorities, Ragon said. The mobile home, owned by Barbara Pearson, was destroyed. It was not being lived in and was used for storage.

When he spoke with The Panolian, Ragon did not have the report on the Wednesday fire with him to identify the residents but said the couple’s parrot may well have saved the pair’s lives.


Police Promotions …
John Miller (right) was promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant with the Batesville Police Department during a ceremony at City Hall on Thursday. Pinning the new brass on Miller is his wife Connie.
Troy Moses Jr. (right) was promoted to the rank of Sergeant with the Batesville Police Department during a ceremony at City Hall on Thursday. With Moses are wife Tanya (left) and daughter Kennedy.

Firm Makes Another Try
     for Asphalt Plant
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

Memphis Stone and Gravel’s latest plan to build a new asphalt plant in Panola County is getting the same response as the first try – neighbors in the area don’t want it.

Meanhile, before any decisions are made, the Panola County Land Development Commission will tour the 75-acre plot on Shiloh Road.

Memphis Stone and Gravel representatives appeared this week before the commission with a second attempt to the plant approved. The first, a proposed site on Highway 35, was turned down a few months ago.

Hal Williford, who spoke on behalf of Memphis Stone and Gravel, told the commissioners the company has big plans for their property at 3596 Shiloh Rd.

"We have already received a mining permit," he said. "We got it back in 2001.

"Our big plan is to move our office from the current location of Farish Gravel Road and open an asphalt plant," he said.

If the company is allowed to construct the new asphalt plant, construction would begin in the summer of 2004 and operation would begin in spring of 2005 and would supply ready mix materials to companies in the area.

American Pop Returns
South Panola students are in daily rehearsals for the return of American Pop, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27 and 28. The performances will be at the Batesville Jr. High School auditorium. Practicing were (l to r) Denisha Walls, Te’Shawn Harmon, Jessica House, Brittany Helmes and Saraka Chapman.