Headlines – 5/21/2004

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 21, 2004

Panolian Headlines: May 21, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 5/21/04  issue of The Panolian

New Company Interested in Sardis
Interested in Purchase of Air Kontrol Building
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

As many as 80 could find new jobs in Sardis if negotiations between the city and an unidentified industrial prospect go well.

During a special called meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen last Thursday, Mayor Richard Darby said he had been contacted by a company with interest in the vacant Air Kontrol building.

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"From what they told me, they are interested in a lease-purchase agreement on the facility," he said.

Darby said the city owed more than $550,000 on the cap loan Air Kontrol used to build the facility.

"Some of the payments were made by Air Kontrol, but the city has been left holding the bag quite some time now," he said.

"If I am not mistaken, Air Kontrol made 19 payments on the loan before closing down," he said.

Springs had operated the facility for storage under a short-term lease they chose not to renew after the initial period, Darby said.

The mayor said he believed the company would go to MDA in an attempt to get financing.

"The state financing could help release the city of the debt we are holding on this building," he said.

Alderman Rusty Dye asked if the city would be left holding the bag if this company folded.

"Everyone wants a manufacturer to make it, but if they don’t, will we be hung out again?" he asked.

Darby said that could happen, although the city and company believe it will not.

Dye said he believed it was in the city’s best interest to let the interested party purchase the building rather than lease.

NP Choir Brings Home Superior
     Rating from New York
Members of the North Panola Choir who traveled to competition in New York recently include (first row, l to r) director Art Miller, Anterior Ballentine, Erica Partee, Jessica Wilson, Shakita Bagwell, Nisa Lewis, Tamesha Stinson, Corlisha Presley; (second row, l to r) Yolanda Thompson, Phelius Hill, Whitney Whitehead, April Smith, Tana Sykes, Daniella Jones, Kelisha Smart, Dominique Lee, Shenika Conrad, Laura Faulkner; (third row, l to r) Earl Presley, Trenton Moore, Christopher Lewis, Jarvis Vance, Dexter McKinney and Richard Buck.
The North Panola High School Choir under the direction of Art Jery Miller traveled to New York this May for the "Music Festival of America" Choir and Band Competition.

The group’s performance was so impressive that the adjudicators were astonished and mesmerized to render superior rating. The North Panola choir also received trophies for best rhythm section and best choreography group.

High rating is not a stranger to this group because in 2003 at another national festival in Dallas, Texas NPHS Choir received a rating of "EXCELLENCE".

Mt. Zion, Askew Grove, and Cistern Hill were among the local churches and private individuals that helped under gird the overwhelming expeditures that the choir encountered.

Springs Industries, Inc. was also a major contributor for this auspicious occasion, and FM 102.1 Radio Station was supportive through the media.

Director Miller says New York is not a final destination for our musical organization. We will continue the trend to set our aim to the next level.

California is our next comprehensive and prestigious festival site. This will continuously provide exciting opportunity to perform before nationally respected adjudicators whose comments will prove educational and beneficial.
North Panola High School choir we salute you with all reverence and respect. You represented the state of Mississippi with all dignity, clout, and talent.

Choir members include: Chaveasta Merrell, Whitney Whitehead, Laura Faulkner, Dominique Lee, Yolanda Thompson, Chakela Merrell, Jessica Lyles, Earl Presley, Temeshia Stinson, Lakevia Oliver, Koeisha Smart, April Smith, Nisa Lewis, Daniella Jones, Dexter McKinney, Chalencia Merrell, Phelius Hill, Shakita Bagwell, Shenika Conrad, Erica Partee, Colissa Presley, Reginald Buck, Kerrance Johnson, Trenton Moore, Tana Sykes, Anterior Ballentine, Mirium Watson, Jessica Wilson, Troy Eppenger, Justin Burnette, Stephanie McGhee, Candace Armstrong, Aquanna Llyod, Chris Lewis and Jarvis Vance.


Troops Honored
CSM Thomas Keith Ales spoke to fellow honorees during a dinner for local troops sponsored by the Batesville Lions Club Tuesday night.

County Disposes of
     113 Illegal Guns
Panola County Sheriff’s Department Investigators Mark Whitten (left) and Barry Thompson showed off the truckload of guns to be destroyed. The 113 illegal guns were cut up at Martin Brothers.
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

A total of 113 illegal guns are off the streets after being confiscated and destroyed by the Panola County Sheriff’s Department.

The guns, all evidence in court cases involving drugs or violent crimes, have been through the mandatory three year waiting period and were destroyed last week.

"We have to wait until a case has been disposed of for three years before we can destroy the guns because they are evidence," Investigator Barry Thompson said.

Investigator Mark Whitten said a large number of the destroyed guns were illegal.

"We had a lot of guns like sawed-offs that could fit under coats and Tech-9s that are automatic," he said. "It’s illegal just to have those kinds of guns."

Thompson said the types of guns destroyed were about 50/50 long to short guns.

"I would say we had just as many pistols as we did rifles and shotguns," he said.

Whitten said out of the 113 guns, one was stolen.

"The one gun that we discovered to be stolen was returned to Lafayette County," he said. "We try to return stolen guns to their owners."

Downtown Park Contractors Ready
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

Work could start on the Batesville Downtown Park earlier than originally planned.

During a pre-construction meeting held on Wednesday, project architect Brad Stringer said the contractors may be able to get an earlier start now that Springfest activities are over.

The downtown park will be constructed on a site that is now the small parking area near the veteran’s memorial by the railroad tracks and in front of Stubbs Department Store.

Whether or not the project moves ahead of schedule, contractors are facing a 100- day work schedule to complete the task. That would put the park opening some time around Labor Day.

"Unless we have a summer full of rain, there is no reason we shouldn’t be able to complete the project within that time frame," Stringer said. "We want to make sure the city is happy with the project."

Batesville City Clerk Judy Savage said merchants on the square have been made aware of the upcoming construction.

"The store owners on that end of the square know this project is coming," she said. "And they are all prepared for it."

Branyan Johnson of Century Construction said the contractors and subs might work earlier or later during a day to get the project completed on schedule.