Headlines – 4/13/2004

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Panolian Headlines: April 13, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 4/13/04  issue of The Panolian

SP to Host Drumline/Guard Competition
Members of the South Panola High School indoor color guard and drumline include (first row, l to r) Summer Dover, Stephanie Dye, LaToya Reed; (second row, l to r) Dillon Swindle, Jessica Lloyd, Tavis Turner, Jennifer Westerfield, Tatiana McKinney, Anita Morgan, Jimeca Scott, Terri Hubbard, Shaquito Hoskins, Amanda Cruse, Jamie Jones, Jessie Lloyd, Jamie Cox; (third row, l to r) Holly Henning, Lynneshia Kuykendoll, Amber McCain, David Baker, Brandon Capwell, Thomas Shroads, Wade Cosby, Iyonna Ellis, Jessie Martin, Courtney Jones, Rashad Bell, Rumeal Bell, Ebony Shegog; (fourth row, l to r) Megan Tutor, Erica Daper, Holly Holland, Morgan Winters, Lisa Legge, Shannon Vick, Kellen Fowler, Kayla Fowler, Erika Wilson, Chancie Bramlett, Trakeidra Wilson, Nashunti Kuykendoll, Tamara Townsend and Amanda Arnold.
The South Panola High School Band will host the fourth annual Indoor Drum and Guard competition Saturday, April 17, in the high school gymnasium.

The first band will perform at 5:50 p.m.

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Seven color guards and five percussion units will compete. The South Panola eighth grade guard and drums and the high school guard and drums will perform host exhibitions.

Groups from Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Pennsylvania are scheduled to perform. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Mother Upset With Remarks
     From SP Driver

By Myra Bean
Sports Editor

BATESVILLE – Amma Gleason admitted she was very frustrated when she read the story regarding her son and South Panola School district’s former bus driver, Walter Corner, Friday morning.

She took issue with many points Corner said, but could only say what her son said since she was not admittedly a witness to the alleged physical altercation between the two.

After the altercation, Gleason said her son was handcuffed and taken to the Batesville Police Department and cuffed to the bench. Malicious mischief and simple assault charges were filed against the 13-year-old seventh grade student by South Panola School, listing Robert Chapman on the police report.

Gleason said no one in the school district wanted to take responsibility of filing charges against her son.

"I wouldn’t have had any problems with this if he [Corner] had been sitting next to my child handcuffed to the bench also," she said.

Even though Corner has been relieved of duty as a bus driver, he is still employed with the school district in areas in which he is not to come in contact with the students.

"I’ve heard he works in the cafeteria where my son goes to school and I have a problem with that," Gleason said.

Also, Gleason said she has complained against Corner in the past when other children were picking on her three children.

"I complained to the superintendent. Since an earlier incident, there has been a conflict between my son and the bus driver," Gleason said.

"I admit my son was wrong arguing with an adult and kicking out a window," Gleason said. "He has been punished by the school and by his parents."

Gleason had to pay $45 to replace the back window of the bus.

Gleason reported her son’s jaw was swollen following the incident.

"If it had been me, I’d been in jail for child abuse," she said.

To that end, Gleason said she has pursued some avenues to have Corner charged with child abuse but the child abuse center was not willing to pursue the charges she was told.

Gleason described her son as a straight A, well-behaved boy who has no troubles at school or home. She said he has been a term student for two nine weeks in a row.

"I told the superintendent that my 99 and 100 average student brought home an 89 in history, his favorite subject," Gleason said. "My son is calm and does not raise his voice. He is a typical 13-year-old boy."

The case is scheduled to go back to Municipal Court next Wednesday, April 21. During the week of spring break, Gleason said she went door-to-door asking the parents’ permission for their children to write down what happened on the bus.

These letters were presented in the initial court appearance, but the judge ordered the witnesses to appear during the upcoming court date.

"The police never asked my son what happened," Gleason said. "They told me to go get my own statements."

Gleason said she will do what she can to get some relief for her son. She said all during spring break he cried instead of being out having fun like the other children.

"Kids need someone they can go to who will believe them," Gleason said. "They [school officials] could care less as long as they get their paychecks."

In each one’s accounting, the student is claiming that Corner hit first and Corner is claiming the student hit first.

In a written police statement of the event, the student said, "I walked on to the bus and was being forced to sit in seat one. I told the bus driver that it was wrong. The bus driver started to argue. Me and the bus driver got into an argument. During this argument, I threw my hands up in disgust and knocked his hat off. In a matter of seconds, the bus driver drew up his first and backhanded me across the right side of my face. I took a step backward in amazement. I looked at the bus driver and started to hit him four or five times in the right side of his face. A student….broke it up by grabbing me around the waist and held me in seat one. The bus driver then unbuckled his seatbelt and pushed the student out of the way and continued to hit me. I hit back. For a second time, …(the other student) broke it up again. I then walked to the back of the bus and shattered the back glass by kicking it. Then Mr. Tucker got on the bus and told me to get my stuff and get off the bus. Then I was arrested and transported to the police station."

Throwing up his hands in disgust is a typical action of the child, according to Gleason.


Chocolate Tasting
(l to r) Nancy Thomson, Margot Wingert, Glenda Bailey and Nancy Holmes enjoyed some sweet treats during the Friends of the Library’s annual Chocolate Tasting.

Gas Prices Fuel Talk of Four-Day Week
County Road Crews Would Work
Two Additional Hours Daily
Rising gas prices have Panola County Supervisors considering a four-day work week.
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

Rising gas prices could have Panola County road department employees working a different schedule in the near future.

Board of Supervisor president Jerry Perkins said the county should consider going to four 10-hour days in an effort to save money.

"The big question facing us right now is knowing whether or not the work can get done in four days instead of five," Perkins said.

Under the proposed four-day schedule, county employees would have Friday through Sunday off.

"At this time of year, I don’t think there will be a lot of calls coming for work to be done on the weekends," he said.

"And if there are, there will be people on call to take care of it."

Perkins said the reason he wants to see a four-day work week is because of the rising fuel costs.

"The cost of fuel is just too high right now," he said.

"Losing one day of trips in a week could save the county a tremendous amount of money.

"I don’t think anybody budgeted for gas prices to go this high," Perkins said.

"We have to find some way to cut back, and I think this might be the best method to do that."

The supervisors asked Road Department Manager Lygunnah Bean to come up with a plan to make this idea work.

Bean said one concern he heard from employees was overtime after eight hours.

"We pay overtime after 40 hours in a work week," County Administrator David Chandler said.

"We don’t pay it after eight hours."

Bean said one way he thinks it could work well is if the employees are sent home on rainy days.

"If we had a day where it rained and the rest of the week looked good, we could give them that day off and work on Friday," he said. "But this is just one of the things we could try."

Bean said he would draw up a plan and give it to the supervisors individually.

No start date was announced for the four-day week.

City awards contract for downtown park


By Jason C.Mattox
News Editor

Bids for the proposed downtown park in Batesville were scrutinized by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen last week before they officially let the contract.

The low-bidder, Century Construction of Tupelo, beat out Panola Construction causing concern to some members of the board.
A key issue to the argument was Century’s decision to tack on an additional $10,000 to its original bid.

"Under the instructions offered for the bidders, they could make changes but the addition had to be on the outside of the envelope and signed," assistant city attorney Colmon Mitchell said. "The big issue is the addition was not signed it was just initialed and we don’t know who did it."

Mitchell said Century still won the bid even with the addition of $10,000, and he did not see the procedural error as a reason for the city to reject the bid.