Headlines – 3/2/2004

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Panolian Headlines: March 2, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 3/2/04  issue of The Panolian

100th Anniversary
Calvin Flint, Peoples Bank and Trust Company president, was joined by employees Mary Reeder (l) and Jennifer Woodard last week as they and other bank staff members prepared to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the local financial institution.

Lawyer: Supervisors Have
     Donation Limits

By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

Unless legal issues can be resolved, the Panola County Board of Supervisors cannot assist with the Answered Prayer Benefit on May 1.

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Board attorney William McKenzie said he didn’t believe the supervisors could legally make a donation to the event.

"As a government entity, there are only certain things you can donate to," he said. "This event does not fall in to any of the categories."

Charles West, who organized the first Answered Prayer in 2000, told the board how he came up with the idea.

"I heard about a family who had a child with some major medical problems, and I was wondering how I could help them," he said. "I prayed about it that night and within 15 minutes I knew I had to have some kind of a benefit.

"Back then I planned on it being just a small event, but it has really snowballed into the large fund-raiser since then," West said.

West said the organizers of Answered Prayer are very careful in the families they select.

"We do a very thorough preliminary background check," he said. "We are trying to help people who are hard working families who want to help their families, and, for lack of a better term, have been dealt a bad hand."

West told the board things have changed a lot since he grew up, but some people still know the old-fashioned value of hard work.

"I worked on a farm when I was growing up, and I have worked hard ever since," he said. "I know that these parents work hard and still need help, and it is my job to help.

"We are trying to do the best that we can do to make the lives of these parents and, more importantly, these children, a lot easier," West said.

Info Centers Report Como
     Tourist Pamphlets Hot Item
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

Information about the Town of Como is moving like hotcakes at visitors bureaus around the state.

For that reason, a pair of Como residents approached the Panola County Board of Supervisors about financial assistance with printing costs. Their request was granted.

According to Martha Francis of the Como Civic Club, Visitor and Welcome Centers in the area are each asking for at least 1,000 pamphlets.

"The welcome centers in the state are giving them out as soon as they can get them," she said. "We have had requests from some private welcome centers in the area as well."

Francis said Tunica’s Visitor’s Center recently put in a request for 1,000 of the pamphlets that focus on the town’s walking tour.

"The tour has become very popular," she said. "We are providing pamphlets to the Panola Partnership and several of the local businesses, and they can’t keep them."

Monroe Pointer Jr., who accompanied Francis at the meeting said the problem now is that the Civic Club does not have the pamphlets to supply the welcome centers and various other locations who want them.

"The Civic Club sent its last 300 pamphlets to DeSoto County’s Visitor’s Center," Pointer said.

Pointer said employees at the DeSoto County Visitor’s Center were very happy to have gotten the pamphlets.

"We were told that most of the things they have to give out are in central or southern Mississippi," he said. "They were very happy to have something that is close to them."

Pointer said the Civic Club needs the county’s help to get pamphlets out to the centers.

"The Civic Club has raised about $600, and we are asking the county for $500 now and an additional $500 in six months," he said.

Pointer said in six months, the Civic Club will submit an application for a matching funds grant that would help pay for the cost of the pamphlets.

According to board attorney William McKenzie, the board has the authority to advertise the resources of Panola County.

"Legally, there is nothing that says you can’t do it," he said.

Hearing that, the supervisors voted unanimously (with Robert Avant absent) to give the Como Civic Club $500 now and $500 in six months.



Head-On Collision
An emergency worker tapes still the head of a victim as Batesville firefighters hold the backboard on which they placed the man after freeing him from an auto Monday.

The Buick and a green Dodge pickup collided head-on. The accident happened about 7:45 a.m. on Hwy 35 just north of the Highway 51 overpass, said BPD Major Tony Jones.

Names of victims, which include women drivers of both vehicles, the man and a 6-year-old child were not available by press time. Jones said he assumed there were "serious injuries" due to the severity of the crash.

The child was taken to LeBonheur Children’s Medical Center in Memphis and the adults were taken to Tri-Lakes Medical Center. Below, the driver of the car is shielded from rain before she was taken away by ambulance.

Both vehicles, Jones said, bore Panola County licenses. Sgt. Troy Moses is the investigating officer.

Hospital Gets $750,000 Claim Notice
By Kate B. Dickson

Dr. George Quesnel was forced last month by two armed city police officers to leave Tri-Lakes Medical Center after he was given "papers" by Ray Shoemaker, the hospital’s chief operating officer.

That information calling the conduct "outrageous" was contained in a notice of a pending $750,000 lawsuit. The claim notice was received last week by hospital and city and county officials.

Contacted Monday afternoon, Shoemaker withheld comment saying he was in a meeting at that time with the one of the hospital’s attorneys who had asked employees not to comment on the matter.

Also on Monday, Clarksdale attorney William O. Luckett Jr., confirmed he sent the claim letter pursuant on behalf of his client, Quesnel.

The Batesville physician is an obstetrician/ gynecologist who formerly worked, under contract, for Tri-Lakes Medical Center.

Fatality Accident
     Prompts Litigation
By Kate B. Dickson

A fatality accident that claimed the life of Mitch Legge, 44, is the subject of a wrongful death suit filed in Panola County Circuit Court.

The defendant in the suit is Samuel Tidwell, the driver of a car that, the suit says, "crashed" into Legge’s vehicle on Jan. 16.

No specific dollar amount of damages is specified in the petition.

Batesville attorney Briggs Smith filed the suit on behalf of Legge’s mother, Mathello Legge; his father, Robert Legge; his brother, Bill Legge and his sister, Debbie Legge Abernathy, according to court records.

The wreck occurred, the suit said, on Good Hope Road as Legge began to turn his vehicle west onto Campground Road and was hit by Tidwell’s vehicle.

Among the claims of negligence against Tidwell are that he failed to maintain proper control, was traveling at an excessive speed and failed to yield the right of way.

Another recently filed suit is seeking $500,000 in connection with a two-vehicle crash on Dec. 5.

The suit names Ralph L. Smith of Courtland as the defendant.

He’s being sued by Napoleon, Clarice, Keontray and Kenshay Jackson, according to court records. They are represented by Tommy W. Defer of Watter Valley.

The suit says Smith’s vehicle rear-ended the Jackson car causing it to overturn in a nearby yard.

The Jacksons, the suit said, required "extensive" medical treatment and the document said they face future medical care needs.

The crash was on Shiloh Road near the intersection of Ruby Road, according to court records.

The plaintiffs say that Smith is negligent in causing the accident, in part, for failing to decrease his speed, for violating traffic laws and for driving in a reckless manner.