Headlines – 8/13/2004

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 13, 2004

Panolian Headlines: August 13, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 8/6/04  issue of The Panolian
City Hunts for Civic Center Head
With construction nearing completion and the city expecting the keys to the civic center by the start of October, the Batesville Board of Aldermen will soon begin its search for a center director to oversee the day-to-day operations of the facility.
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

One message was clear during a special meeting of the Batesville Board of Aldermen on Tuesday- don’t make the same mistakes Tupelo made with its civic center.

"The Coliseum in Tupelo has been somewhat surrounded in controversy," City CPA Bill Crawford said.

Mayor Bobby Baker said he had asked Crawford to get information about centers in the area so the city would not make similar mistakes.

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Crawford said one reason the BancorpSouth Center is having trouble is because of an apparent lack of communication between city leaders and the Tourism Bureau.

"I think the best thing for the city to do is hire a manager and not create a board of directors," he said. "That way the city will know what is going on with the facility."

Crawford said he believed some of the problems the BancorpSouth Center is having might have been caused by the city having three separate funds to operate the facility.

"They have a debt service fund, a convention center bureau fund and they use money from the general fund," he said. "That’s in addition to the increase in tourism tax that generates $1 million for the operating expenses."

The next matter of discussion for the aldermen was the naming of the center.

Hospital Future Goes to a Vote
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor


In addition to helping select the next president, Panola County residents will also decide the fate of Tri-Lakes Medical Center during the Nov. 2 General election.

Both the Panola County Board of Supervisors and Batesville Board of Aldermen were informed that more than enough signatures were verified to force the hospital’s future to a vote.

The signatures were verified by the Panola County Election Commissioners and Circuit Clerk Joe Reid’s office. A total of 1,500 were needed to bring the sale to the public.

The city and county each own 50 percent of the hospital and had opened five proposals from parties interested in purchasing the hospital.

While negotiations between the owners and bidders can continue, the sale can not be finalized until the election is complete.

"There were enough signatures to put the sale to a vote," Board of Supervisors attorney William McKenzie said. "They basically will vote yes or no on the sale and we will proceed from there."

Remember Truancy Law
     for School Year
As the new school year begins, the Mississippi Department of Education, Office of Compulsory School Attendance Enforcement would like to remind area parents about several laws governing school attendance.

Under the Mississippi Compulsory School Attendance Law, parents and guardians are required to enroll their children in a public or private school. This law applies to children who have reached the age of six and have not exceeded the age of 17 by September 1.

Children who have attained or will attain the age of five years on or before September 1 and have enrolled in a full-day public kindergarten will be under the Compulsory School Attendance Law.

Parents interested in teaching their children at home are required to complete a certificate of enrollment card and to provide a simple description of the education that will be provided in the home.

If a child misses a total of 12 unexcused absences during the school year a petition will be filed.

Any parent or guardian who fails to comply with the compulsory school attendance laws may be found guilty of contributing to the neglect of a child and may face criminal charges and a fine up to $1,000 or jail for up to a year, or both.

Charles Blakely and Terissa Williams, County School Attendance Officers, are available to assist parents and guardians of school-age children to ensure that they regularly attend school.

There will also be a daytime curfew law in effect. It is unlawful for any child to be in the street, public park, or other public place within the city between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. each Monday through Friday.

For more information, call Charles Blakely at 526-0333 or Terissa Williams at 563-6079.

Wishes Granted for Locals
Katy Gordon enjoys singing along with her favorite singer, Shania Twain, as she enjoys her new big screen television with her family and friends.
Batesville sisters, Amanda Gordon, 14, and Katy Gordon, 10, were granted their wish on Monday when Make-A-Wish officials showed up at their home with a big screen television and new swing set. The gifts were donated by Grand Casino of Tunica. From left, Phis Herback and Joe Maloney, Grand Casino, Amanda, Kim and Ernie Gorden, parents, Katy, Valarie Morris and Gary Bisbee of Grand Casino.
By Jim Beaver

It was a very rare event for the Make-A-Wish Foundation on Monday. To grant wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions is something Amanda Sexton, communications coordinator with the foundation, is used to doing, but rarely are there two people in one family granted. On Monday, wishes for sisters Katy and Amanda Gordon were granted.

Katy received the gift of her dreams, a 55-inch big screen television, delivered that morning.

Earlier that day, a huge swing set was set up in the back yard, making Amanda’s dreams come true.

"It is rare that we have two siblings who both qualify for a wish," said Sexton. "This is sure to be a dream come true for both girls, but I can only imagine the emotions of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon as their two daughters’ dreams come true," she added.

The grantings took place at the Gordon’s modest home on Draper Street in Batesville.

The wishes were donated by Grand Casino of Tunica, a member of Caesar’s Entertainment, which also owns The Sheraton and Bally’s.

When representatives arrived, Amanda and Katy were taken outside to enjoy their new swingset while the television set was installed.

The girls swung high and proud, joined by the Tunica donors and the proud parents, Ernie and Kim Gordon.

After enjoying the swing set, the television was ready.

Katy, who loves to sing along with Shania Twain, was brought to the living room, where the excitement was overwhelming. She promptly sat down in front of the large screen and sang along with her favorite singer.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation requests range from a puppy, shopping spree, computer, newly-decorated bedroom, trip to Disney World, or meeting the President of the United States. Whatever that special child’s wish may be, Make-A -Wish attempts to move heaven and earth to make it come true.

The average cost of granting a wish is $5,000.

For more information, please contact Amanda Sexton at 901-494-7038 or visit the website at .

Time to Play
Ms. Weldon and Ms. Ware’s first grade class enjoyed recess on their first day of school. All Schools in Panola County are now in session.