Headlines – 3/5/2004

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 5, 2004

Panolian Headlines: March 5, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 3/5/04  issue of The Panolian

223rd Soliders Back From Iraq
     12 from Panola Among Returnees
    
Anna Howard and Olivia Howard waited patiently Thursday afternoon for the bus transporting family to arrive in Charleston. These are family members of Joel Howard who is a member of the 223rd.
   
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

After 14 months apart from their families, several Panola County soldiers are home.

Representatives of the 223rd Engineering Unit of Charleston were to have arrived home late yesterday to a crowd of family and friends.

The arrival, from Fort Campbell, Ky., was expected just after The Panolian’s press time.

According to Sgt. Dan Stewart, recruiter for the 223rd, a total of 12 Panola Countians returned home.

Those arriving in Charleston on Thursday included Dennis Davis, Wayne Flowers, Allen Ragan, Thomas Hailey, Fred Shirley Jr., Wayne Hopper, Gerald Lynn Sledge, John Jones, Carl Sowden, Andrew Key and Alexandra Webster.

"I recruited 10 to 12 of the guardsmen deployed," Stewart said. "So it has been hard on all of us for the last year plus."

Former recruiter Cliff Olson, who recruited over 70 percent of the 112 deployed said it was like waiting on a family member to show up at Christmas.
    


Sardis Nightspot Has Longer
Alcohol Serving Hours on Tap
    
Happy Days are here again for the Sardis night spot after getting longer alcohol serving hours three days a week thanks to a recent vote by the Sardis Board of Aldermen.

The 4-1 vote (Alderman Rusty Dye voted against the extension) means Happy Days Lounge will be able to stay open Thursday-Saturday until 1 a.m. once the ordinance is adopted next month.

Mike Fudge, owner of Knight’s Inn and Happy Days Lounge, appeared before the board for the second consecutive meeting requesting the extended hours and the ability to open the bar from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Sundays citing competition from other bars as the reason.

"People can go up and down I-55 to Grenada or Southaven and buy after I have to close at midnight," he said. "I just want to have the same opportunities those businesses do."

Fudge said he wanted the ability to open on Sundays because Mallard Pointe sells beer to golfers on Sundays.
    


Skating Rink in Sardis Possible
    
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

If all goes according to one woman’s plan, several youth in Sardis could have a new recreation and skating center.

LeShelle Kimmons appeared before the Sardis City Board to get its input before moving forward with the rezoning request needed before the plan can come to fruition.

The building is currently zoned as industrial and needs to be rezoned as commercial property.

Mayor Richard Darby explained that Kimmons had reached a lease agreement with the owner of a building South of the Highway 51 baseball field and wanted to try her hand at a business that would give the youth of the community something to do.

According to Darby, Fred Klyce retired the general obligation bonds for the building and had a 30-year lease on the facility.

"If Ms. Kimmons and Mr. Klyce have worked out a deal, it’s just a decision of whether she should move forward," he said.

"The city has not had any industrial prospects with interest in the building since AirKontrol used it for storage," he said.
    


Open House, Kindergarten Pre-Registration at North Delta
    
Delta School will be hosting a pre-registration and open house for its preschool program on Thursday, March 11, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m

The schedule for the morning’s activities are as follows:
          K3 Session – 9:30 a.m.
          K4 Session – 10 a.m.
          K5 Session – 11 a.m.

Parents of prospective students for these classes are invited to attend the appropriate sessions. ND preschool teachers Jennifer Howell, Suzanne Belk, Gracie West, Katie Yarborough and Connie Baker will be leading the sessions, according to ND Principal John Howell Jr.

"This will be a time to learn about North Delta’s program, meet teachers and administrators, and get information on matters ranging from curriculum to costs," Howell said. Parents who are unable to attend the event are invited to schedule individual appointments.

The school is currently pre-registering students for limited openings for the 04-05 school year.
    


   

Hat Trick…
   
Who is more excited, the Cat, played by Heather Wells, or Cody Jones when the Cat visited Mrs. Lloyd’s kindergarten class at Batesville Elementary?
    

Mom, Daughter, 18,
     Charged in Murder
    
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

A mother and daughter have been charged for their alleged involvement in the murder of a Sardis woman in November 2003.

Investigator Mark Whitten of the Panola County Sheriff’s Department said Samantha J. Smith, 34, and Samantha Faye Smith, 18, both of Hudspeth Hill, Sarah, have been charged with accessory after the fact to murder in the death of Dorothy Russell Young.

Lois Hudspeth, 17, Sardis, is charged with simple murder in the case.

"The women were taken into custody by the Memphis Police Department and were extradited to Panola County on Friday of last week," Whitten said.

Whitten declined to comment on the link the two girls have to Hudspeth or Young due to an upcoming grand jury trial for them.

Whitten said the body of Jennifer Russell Young was found inside the Askew Wildlife refuge Thursday, Nov. 6.

She had been missing from her home at 5689 Old Panola Rd. in Sardis since Tuesday, Nov. 4, Whitten said.
    


City Park Bids Under Study
    
By Kate B. Dickson
Editor

Bids for a downtown park came in "high" according to a city alderman who said she believes the price can be reduced by getting in-kind donations and cash contributions from the public.

The park, sought by the Main Street organization, was proposed last year to provide the historic downtown a gathering place for events and to promote the "heart" of Batesville.

Alderman Bobbie Jean Pounders submitted the grant application to the Mississippi Development Authority which will provide $210,000 for the park.

She said it’s possible to seek donations, such as landscaping materials, and money to make up any grant shortfall.

A few weeks ago when bids were due, no contractors responded but now three have submitted proposals.

The bids were opened at Tuesday’s board meeting and read aloud by project architect Brad Stringer.

The bids are:
     C&M Builders – $303,000
     Panola Construction – $297,200
     Century Contractors – $290,000

The bids were taken under advisement.
    


Democratic Primary Tuesday
    
By Kate B. Dickson
Editor

Chances are you haven’t heard a lot about it but there’s an election Tuesday in Panola County and the rest of Mississippi.

It’s the Democrat Presidential Primary in which voters will go to the polls from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. All the regular polling places will be open.

Panola County Democrat Party Co-Chair David Walker says he doesn’t expect a large turnout but looks for "dedicated" voters to cast their ballots.

Although John Edwards dropped out of the race earlier this week, Walker said the senator’s name will still appear on the ballot. Also still on the ballot, though out of the race, is Gen. Wesley Clark. Missouri’s Sen. Dick Gephardt dropped out early enough that his name was nixed before the ballot went to the printer.

County Democrats are also gearing up for the county convention which gets under way at the Batesville courthouse at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 13, Walker said. The convention is open to the public.