Headlines – 2/17/2004

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Panolian Headlines: February 17, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 2/17/04  issue of The Panolian

Thanks, Rosie!
Rosie the Parrot is responsible for waking Lou Bennett (l) and Earnest McCoy in a trailer fire last week as reported in The Panolian Friday, Feb. 13.

Fire Station Building Bids
     Will Be Sought
By Kate B. Dickson

Firefighters at Station No. 2 hope they’ll soon have new living quarters so they can stop sleeping in the kitchen and sitting on the end of a bed in order to wash in the sink.

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Toward that end, the City Board voted 5-0 to allow the project, as outlined by Fire Chief Tim Taylor, to go out for bid.

Station No. 2 was built in 1985 and is on Woodlawn near the Sonic Drive-In.

Taylor noted the project funding was carried forward to the current year budget.

"Just because it is in the budget doesn’t mean we will finance it," Mayor Bobby Baker said during last week’s meeting.

Taylor, who reviewed two financing options and a scaled-down project from that originally proposed, said his current plan calls for financing the construction over two budget years.

The original plan as presented by Grenada architect Girault W. Jones called for a two-story addition that would cost $443,845.

"I tried to cut out as much as we could," Taylor told aldermen, saying the new plan cuts $110,000 from previous estimates.

He said the second floor, which was to have provided physical fitness space, has been dropped from the proposal and square footage has gone to 3,100 from 3,500.

Springfest …
McComas to Headline
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

Much like in years past that have featured the likes of Steve Azar, this year’s headliner for Springfest is one of the hottest new vocalists in country music.

Batesville Main Street Manager Colleen Clark announced Brian McComas has signed on to headline the second night of Springfest.

"We are thrilled to have gotten him for Springfest," she said. "He had a big year in 2003 with ‘99.9 Percent Sure.’ "

In a press release from William Morris Agency, which represents McComas, the artist says he believes playing music is his calling in life.

"Just like a race car driver or a doctor, this is my calling," he said in the release. "For me, music is like breathing."

A McComas biography credits his big break to country music star Paul Overstreet.

The story goes that McComas, then 16, was standing outside of an amphitheater in Branson, Mo., near Overstreet’s tour bus. Overstreet walked over and talked to McComas who asked if Overstreet would listen to some of the songs he had written.


Special Trip …
Shenika Ford, 13, (l) and Dakevia Hentz, 15, both of Pope, learn about a bat’s hearing at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. The two toured the Museum while serving as pages in the Mississippi House of Representatives for Rep. Leonard Morris. The current exhibit Masters of the Night, The True Story of Bats continues through May 9 at the Museum of Natural Science.

Wanted: Bidders for Park
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

Proponents of building a city park in the downtown square have been "beating the bushes" to find builders who are interested in the project.

That was the word from project architect Brad Stringer who said no one had submitted bids by the due date.

The project is being re-bid as a result and bids are set to be opened at the March 2 board meeting at 2 p.m. at City Hall.

The park is a project of Main Street and will be funded in part from grant funds and from private donations, supporters said previously.

Stringer told aldermen that recent contacts with builders are resulting in some interest from several as well as some subcontractors who may want to work on the project.

In an interview, Stringer said the fact the project was bid in the early part of the year may have had something to do with the lack of interest.

Now, he said, "I think we’ll get four bids from general contractors and some from subcontractors, too."

Hotel Developers
     Express Interest
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

Three major developers have expressed interest in opening a hotel/conference center as part of the Sardis Lake Marina project, Sardis Mayor Richard Darby said.

Darby said once the marina opened in August 2003, the city sent out requests for proposals for the hotel/conference center portion of the project.

"We were in strong negotiations until the attacks on September 11," he said. "At that point all of the negotiations broke off because the company held off of new developments and focused on stabilizing its existing properties.


Como Opera Guild
     Has It Going On!
By Kate B. Dickson

There’s lots going on with the Como Opera Guild with a special event – Guild at the Grille – on tap Sunday, Feb. 29, at Windy City Grille on Main Street in Como.

That’s when there will be a big Sunday dinner and lots of great music from noon until 4 p.m., according to Guild spokesman Martha F. Taylor Garrison.

There will be paid professional opera singers on hand who will sing opera arias and Broadway show tunes which the guests can request. Guests are also invited to bring their own music and have a chance to sing, too.

This event is not part of the yearly Guild subscription but is a fund-raising benefit. Tickets are $30 each and space is very limited.