Headlines – 2/20/2004

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 20, 2004

Panolian Headlines: February 20, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 2/20/04  issue of The Panolian

Billboard Design Salutes Tigers
New Signs Will Go Up on I-55
Carl Brown discusses his sign design with Batesville aldermen.
By Kate B. Dickson

A new billboard design to replace the old one on signs that flank either side of the city on Interstate 55 has been given the go-ahead.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The signs will pay tribute to the South Panola High School football team which captured the state 5-A championship after an undefeated season.

The Batesville Mayor and Board of Aldermen appropriated $6,000 on Tuesday to pay for the cleaning, light repair and other costs associated with the change.

Carl Brown presented two design choices for aldermen to consider and recommended they choose the one with the white, rather than blue, background "because it stands out more and is easier to see."

Brown noted it is especially important for the sign north of the city to "stand out" because the location is next to an "overpowering" auto dealership billboard.

In an interview after the meeting, Mayor Bobby Baker said Brown was asked to design the sign after the City Board agreed it wanted to pay tribute to the winning team.

"Our school system won the state championship," Baker said. "We were going to have to replace the existing signs and repair the lighting … and the City Board decided to compliment the football team."

Nightclub Owner Pledges
     to Curtail Noise, Chief Says
By Kate B. Dickson

Batesville’s police chief says he’s "optimistic" that the owner of a city nightspot will put a stop to the loud music that’s plaguing nearby residential neighbors.

Chief Roger Vanlandingham told members of the City Board this week that Mike Fudge, owner of The Underground on U.S. Highway 51 South, has assured him and residents alike that he’ll take the necessary steps to quiet things down.

Aldermen were given copies of complaint letters from some Willa Street residents and with a letter from Fudge pledging his cooperation.

"He’s given his assurance that he will do whatever it takes," Vanlandingham said of the club owner.

"We did our part," the chief said with regard to talks with Fudge. "We are looking forward to and hoping he’ll follow through. We will be watching the situation very closely."

Fudge provided telephone numbers in the letter and asked residents to call him if they have any more problems.

Vanlandingham said Fudge had also visited with those who live close to the club to talk about their concerns.

So far, since the club opened last year, the chief said police have logged six noise complaints.


Reports Awaited in Death of Man
    Found on Roadside
No foul play is suspected in the death of a Senatobia man who died after being found near death on the side of a road in Panola County.

Steven Rudd, 26, formerly of Sardis, died shortly after he was found at 7:42 a.m. Monday near Como on the side of Old Panola Road near the county line.

Sheriff’s Investigator Barry Thompson said Rudd’s body was sent for an autopsy and for toxicology screening.

"Rudd was alive when deputies found him," he said.

Thompson said Rudd was transported to the Senatobia Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

"We do not suspect any foul play," Chief Deputy Craig Sheley said. "The cause of death will be known after we get test results back."

A friend and fellow classmate of Rudd’s at North Panola High School, Jessica Willie, said of Rudd, "This was a good guy. He worked two jobs."

She said Rudd’s aunt and uncle, Pamela and George Gassion, are in need of money to help pay for their nephew’s funeral.

Willie said anyone wishing to assist the family with funds could send them to the Gassions at 705 W. Pearl Extended in Sardis, MS 38666.

Willie said she’d bought her friend and fellow Class of 1997 graduate clothes to be buried in – "a white tuxedo."

Cooley’s Mortuary in Batesville is in charge of services.

Chase Ends When Deputies
     Force Car Off Road
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

When a Courtland man wouldn’t stop his vehicle during a chase by law enforcement officers, sheriff’s deputies forced him off the road in order to arrest him.

According to Investigator Barry Thompson of the Panola County Sheriff’s Department, Ricky Roberts was then charged Sunday with grand larceny (auto theft) and attempted aggravated assault.

"Apparently, Roberts was going to see his kids at Hosanna Church," Thompson said. "When members of the church saw him, they called the sheriff’s department.

"They knew he had been in trouble before and thought he was wanted for another offense, so they called us to check it out," he said.

Thompson said a check by the department showed Roberts was wanted in Arkansas for auto theft.

"He was driving the stolen car last Sunday," he said.


Tri-Lakes’ Pediatric Clinic
     has New Physician on Staff
Dr. Jamie Warnick checks out Desmond Connor during his recent visit to the Tri Lakes Medical Center’s West Campus.
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

The doctor is in. Tri-Lakes Medical Center has a new pediatrician on staff at its West Campus.

Dr. Jamie Warnick joined the Tri-Lakes family recently coming here after leaving a successful private practice in Southaven.

The driving force behind her decision is due to the rising costs physicians must pay to insure themselves against lawsuits.

"The malpractice insurance for Medicaid patients was outrageous," she said. "The rates on insurance have quadrupled for doctors."

Now, her insurance is covered by Tri-Lakes.

Although Warnick admits she has a smaller workload here, she says it is a benefit for her right now.

"In Southaven, I was seeing about 50 people a day," she said. "Here, I think we see about 30.
"That works out quite well for me," she said. "In Southaven, I knew all of the patients, I am just getting to know these.

"So, yeah it is a little bit slower here,