Headlines – 8/24/2004

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Panolian Headlines: August 24, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 8/24/04  issue of The Panolian
Tri-Lakes Administration Visits Texas
Corkern Talks to Borger Community About New Hospital
By David Bowser
Globe-News Correspondent

BORGER, TEX. – Service is the key to a good hospital, according to an emergency room doctor from Mississippi.

Almost 200 people crowded into the Borger Middle School auditorium Thursday night to hear Dr. Robert Corkern, dressed in a white lab coat with stethoscope, tell about turning around a bankrupt hospital in Batesville, Miss.

Borger is split on building a new $25 million hospital and financing it with a bond issue to be paid off by tax money.

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While the two major civic groups battling on the fractious issue seem to agree the city needs a new hospital, the question is how much and who will pay for it.

Brandi Hannon, secretary of the Borger Betterment Committee, said she found Dr. Corkern and invited him to come to Borger.

"Our hospital facility is old," Hannon said.

Another Borger group, Invest In Yourself, has proposed building a new hospital.

"We want to explore other options," Hannon said.

She said she called a number of hospitals and management groups and finally talked to Ray Shoemaker, a hospital administrator and partner in Tri-Lakes Corp., a health-care management firm in Batesville, Miss.

"I called them because I heard they had a beautiful new facility," Hannon said.

She said she also heard that they had gone through the same problems Borger is facing with its health-care facility.

"The situation sounded so much like ours," Shoemaker said, "We wanted to come here and share our experiences with the people of Borger."

Corkern said Batesville faced similar bonding, emotional and financial issues as Borger. He said he’d like to help Borger navigate through those problems.

"We’re staying neutral," Corkern said. "We’re not taking sides. We’re here to discuss the issues."

Corkern said a hospital must be service-oriented.

"You have to provide service to people," he said. "If you keep that up, people will come. If not, you will fail."

Corkern recommended that the residents of Borger talk to their doctors about what the problems are at the hospital.

"A new building does absolutely nothing to fix the problem," Corkern said.

It only exacerbates the problem because of the additional debt, he said.

"I’m not saying not to build a new building," he added, "but you’ve got to fix the problems first."

He told the crowd at the Borger Middle School that the town needs a new building.

"This town is going to have to have a new hospital," Corkern said.

Norman Lambert, president and chief executive officer of Borger’s Golden Plains Community Hospital, said the original part of the hospital was built in 1937. The latest addition dates to 1968.

After meeting with Shoemaker, Corkern and Missy Hutto, a registered nurse and third partner in Tri-Lakes, Lambert said the trio told him the key to a successful hospital is getting doctors to support it, a message Corkern repeated Thursday.

Corkern was asked to run the Batesville hospital, he said, because he was the only one speaking to everybody when the city and county decided to sell it.

By the end of the first six months, the hospital was meeting its obligations, Corkern said. By the end of nine months, the hospital was paying some of its back obligations. By the end of the first year, Corkern said, the hospital was able to meet its $1.5 million bond obligation.

Borger resident Lee Dunham wanted to know whether Corkern was available to come to Borger.

"I would love the chance to come here and do what we did in Batesville," Corkern said. "This one isn’t going to last long."

Saying he didn’t object to a new hospital, Roy Haley asked whether Borger needed a $25 million hospital.

"When the service is there," Corkern told him, "you’re going to need more room than you think."

City Hears from
Civic Center Expert
Bennett Tells Aldermen Decision to Build was a Good One
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor


In its efforts to learn as much about civic center operations before the Batesville Center opens its doors, the Board of Aldermen heard from the director of the Forrest County Multi-purpose Building in Hattiesburg.

Chuck Bennett, who was in town as a favor to Rep. Warner McBride (D- Miss.), told city leaders some of the things they wanted to know and a few they didn’t.

Bennett first told the board that the decision to construct a civic center was a good one for the people of the city and the surrounding area.

"Whoever made this decision made a great one," he said. "Things that would never have come to Batesville will be looking at you as a serious option once the doors to this center open."

Bennett said it is highly unlikely that events at the center will be able to pay for the facility, adding that most facilities of this type have other funding sources in place.

"The center isn’t here to make money," he said. "The center is here to improve the quality of life for the people of Batesville, and, if it is handled right, it will do so."

Bennett said the big money generated by the center will be from the money spent in the community.

"You have no idea how much impact one event can have on a community," he said. "A small event can pull in hundreds of thousands of dollars for the community.

"That is the real financial benefit, and that is the reason you will have to accept the fact that the center is going to lose money," Bennett added.

Bennett said one very big thing the city has going for them right now is that the civic center isn’t opened.

"My advice to you is to sell everything that isn’t tied down to a sponsor," he said. "Make someone bid for the right to be the official soft drink, hot dog or beer.

"Those people will bid against each other to get the rights to be an exclusive vendor," he said. "By all means, use that to your advantage."

In the area of hiring a center director, Bennett had one suggestion for city leaders- hire a marketing person.

CAP Cadets Learn Good Leadership
Colby Wilson (from left), Joshua Locke and Ann Rhodes look over papers concerning eye injuries with safety officer David Brannon during a meeting of the Civilian Air Patrol. The local squadron meets at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday at Ole Miss.
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

For youngsters wishing to improve their leadership skills or serve their country before the age of 18, they need look no further than the Civil Air Patrol.

The Civil Air Patrol is in no way a new organization. It has bee in existence since just prior to U.S. involvement in World War II.

The CAP was founded in 1941 when the volunteer members took to the air to assist with patrolling the coastal areas of the country.
Many young Americans have enlisted in the CAP, an Air Force Auxiliary unit, because of their interest in aeronautics or the military in general.

"This is a lot like the ROTC, but it is in no way affiliated," CAP spokesperson Irene Rhodes said.

"People can be involved in the CAP from 12- years old and up."

The CAP meets on the Ole Miss Campus monthly and are instructed by Maj. Hugh Sloan, a retired member of the United States Air Force.

Rhodes said there are three members in the CAP from Panola County at the present time, but the group is always looking for new members.

"We are always looking for motivated people that want to learn what it is like to be involved with something that serves such a purpose," she said.

The Oxford squadron has 15 total members and the state has 160 members of the Civil Air Patrol.

"The Oxford unit is very ground oriented," Rhodes said.

"If a plane goes down, this is the group that will be out there looking for you."

In the years following World War II, Rhodes said the CAP has become active in search and rescue missions when planes go down.

"We have to be called out by the Air Force before we can do anything," she said.

"A person that has not been through the search and rescue portion of the program is not allowed to assist with the hunt."

Rhodes said the cadets of the CAP were heavily involved in the search and rescue following the 9/11 attacks.

In addition to search and rescue, CAP cadets can also take part in a two-week flight school and para-rescue school.

In addition to the valuable training, the CAP provides annual scholarships to deserving members.

"The CAP scholarships can be very helpful with college tuition," Rhodes said.

NP Test Scores Follow State-Wide Trend
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor


Robert Massey, Superintendent of the North Panola School District, stated this week that test results for the schools in the North Panola School District followed trends statewide. While most of the areas tested showed gains from last year, there are areas that will need continued attention. Mr. Massey pointed out that overall there was improvement in student achievement in the school district. However, he was quick to assert that teachers, administrators, and others are in the process of analyzing the 2004 test results to see where the strengths are and where the weaknesses are. Massey said, "Based on that analysis, appropriate instructional decisions will be made where needed. Our goal is to educate each child in our district to the full extent of his or her capabilities."

According to Massey, Como Elementary School showed gains in third grade and sixth grade Reading. Crenshaw Elementary saw gains in fourth grade Reading. Green Hill Elementary School posted gains in all grades except fifth grade. Massey said, "We will continue to place emphasis on reading instruction. We are still not where we want to be, but I want to commend the staff for the progress that has been made. In the three elementary schools, district level scores increased in reading in all grades, except second grade. I am hopeful that this coming year our district can expand on that success."

Mr. Massey pointed out that two of the district’s elementary schools, Como Elementary and Green Hill Elementary, demonstrated gains in all grades in language. The school district’s third elementary school, Crenshaw, achieved gains in Language in all grades except third grade and fifth grade.

In math, Como Elementary had gains in all grades except sixth grade. Crenshaw Elementary had gains in math in fourth grade, fifth grade and sixth grade. Green Hill Elementary had gains in math in all areas except sixth grade.

In reviewing the 2004 test results, Massey reiterated, "While there is still a lot of work to be done in our elementary schools, overall we are moving in the right direction. Our greatest challenge is to move more of our students from the minimal and basic levels to the proficient and advanced levels."

The seventh grade at Como Middle School showed gains in reading, language and math. The eighth grade gained in math, but declined in reading and language. Massey said, "I’m encouraged by the gains in seventh grade. Our staff will continue to emphasize improvement in all areas."

At the high school, there were declines in Algebra I, Biology I, US History, English II Multiple Choice, and English II Writing. Massey emphasized, "The staff at the high school is not satisfied with these results. They have begun the process to put in place an improvement plan that will move them back on track for increased student achievement."

Mr. Massey added, "Education is very important to this community. It’s important to each student and each family. I want to thank those parents and community members who have played a vital part in helping us move our schools in the right direction. I want to express my appreciation to those classroom teachers and administrators who are working hard to improve our schools. If we can stay the course for a little while longer, I believe that all areas of our schools can experience success."