Headlines – 9/3/2004

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 3, 2004

Panolian Headlines: September 3, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 9/3/04  issue of The Panolian
Ledbetter attends HOBY training
Ledbetter (r) pauses for a photo with Hugh O’Brian during the HOBY training recently.
Amanda Ledbetter had the honor of being chosen to attend the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Training Institute in Orlando, Fla.August 12 through 15.

Ledbetter has been actively involved with HOBY for five years. Sponsored by the Batesville Woman’s Club, Ledbetter attended the conference during her sophomore year of high school. Believing in the organization and its mission to seek out, recognize, and develop leadership potential, she decided to stay involved. She has returned each year as a junior counselor and is now ready to take on a bigger role.

The purpose of the Leadership Training Institute was to train her to possibly take on the role of Director of Recruiting or Seminar Chairperson in the future. Ledbetter also had the honor of meeting the founder himself, Hugh O’Brian.

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The Mississippi Conference this past June was proud to hold the honor as the largest in the nation with almost 220 sophomores. Because the program relies solely on donations, Ledbetter and the rest of the volunteers have already begun the planning and fundraising process for the 2005 conference. Each year it is held at Millsaps College in Jackson.

The Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership was founded by Hugh O’Brian in 1958. That year O’Brian had the unique opportunity to spend nine inspirational days with the great humanitarian, Dr. Albert Schweitzer at his clinic in Africa.

There, Dr. Schweitzer impressed upon him that "the most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves."
That thought became the cornerstone for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, which Mr. O’Brian founded two weeks after his return to Los Angeles. HOBY achieves this goal by providing interactive opportunities for critical thinking, promoting democracy and America’s incentive system, and encouraging social responsibility among individuals and participating corporations.

Generous gifts from constituents together with the support of more than 5, 200 volunteers, provide the backbone of programs in all 50 states, Canada, and Mexico.
Ledbetter is a junior at the University of Mississippi where she is majoring in biochemistry/psychology.

She is the daughter of Jamie and Angie Ledbetter of Batesville and the granddaughter of A. B. Darby and Jamie and Mary Evelyn Ledbetter, all of Batesville.    

Darby Recounts Marina Project
The city of Sardis, Skipper Marine Development and Atlantic-Meeco Inc. have joined forces to bring a long-awaited marina facility to Sardis Lake.

Sardis Lake, built over 60 years ago by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is a popular recreational area to over five million visitors each year. But without a marina, boaters were forced to trailer their boats in and out each day.

That all changed with the opening of a new marina that includes 140 boat slips with electricity, water and sewer service. The marina, built and managed by the Illinois-based Skipper Marine Development, also offers fuel facilities.

"It’s a great day," Darby said, in a recent interview with The Daily Mississippian. "The economic impact will be felt in the entire area, not just in Sardis, but in Oxford and Batesville and other areas." Darby has worked for this day since being elected mayor of Sardis in 1989, the same year that the Corps of Engineers gave the okay for a marina, hotel, conference center and golf course to be built on 1,067 acres at Sardis Lake.

Skipper Marine selected Atlantic-Meeco to manufacture and install the marina facility, which includes both covered and open slips. The open slips accommodate boats up to 28′ in length while the covered slips can house or hold boats up to 50′. The fuel dock, in addition to providing fuel and sewer pumpout services, doubles as a floating wave attenuator for the entire marina.

"We are extremely excited to be a part of this project and are very happy that Atlantic-Meeco joined the team as dock manufacturers and installers. We have a good working relationship with them and are very pleased with their dock products," said Bob Rashleger, director of engineering for Skipper.

"This lake is a beautiful recreational and tourist destination, and we are proud to have been selected as the dock builders," said Daniel Adams, Atlantic-Meeco’s sales group leader for Skipper Marine’s projects.    


Partnership Reception
Friends from all over helped to welcome the Panola Partnership’s new CEO, Blair Jernigan (center) and his wife Dale on Tuesday. The event was part of the Main Street Design Committee’s quarterly Art Reception.

From left, John Fleming, Quitman County Democrat; Michelle Adams, Panola Partnership; Jernigan; Glenda Bailey, Panola County Ambassador, and local artist Jackie Jones.    

Strough’s dream comes true
Recalls meeting Rockies third baseman Castilla
Kelly Strough shows off her autographed Vinny Castilla baseball.
Until you have been near a great baseball player, you haven’t realized that you made the baseball show. I have had just one dream for three years, and that dream was to meet a Colorado Rockies player named Vinny Castilla.

We saved up all of our change to come to one hundred forty-four dollars. And a friend of ours named Camille joined us in the trip to Marietta, Ga. In the meantime I got my camcorder, some cassettes that had been dubbed for my tape recorder, and my walkman. I had a new tape in the camcorder and our game tickets were in my purse. That was the 23rd of August. We were on our way to a Braves/Rockies baseball game on the 25th of August.

Well, Mom taped a short part of our movie here as we prepared to leave. Camille was here to pick us up at 10 a.m. I had my walkman in hand, my purse was on my left shoulder and I had my Braves jersey ready. And with our medicine in a green/white bag and three outfits per person, Mama had the camcorder and we were ready for our trip to Marietta, Ga. It was a long car trip. And we were 363 miles away from Georgia.

We arrived at the Comfort Inn in Marietta at 7 p.m. At exactly 9 a.m. the next day, I woke up and Mama woke up. Since leaving our house, Mama said that she’d forgotten all her problems for one day. We ate breakfast at the Cracker Barrell there. We were determined to have a great day. I wanted my dream of three years to come true, though.

And it turned out to be a trip I will never forgot. So we asked if we could use the camcorder for the game. Though we’d used our camera for a little tour at Turner Field that morning, we wanted to use it for taping the game.

We were told that we couldn’t use the camcorder for the night game. I’d been in the Braves shop just recently, and we shopped to our heart’s content to the price of $80 worth.

After we did that, the time was 4:45 p.m. I asked, "Can we watch the game practice?" "Sure," the usher said. So, Mama and Camille and me looked at the field. Turner Field is a big place! Mama started the camcorder recording again, and we were able to film the Braves in practice and the Rockies in practice session. More than that, we were able to get Vinny Castilla on tape in practice! Vinny Castilla was on our camera for close to 10 shots of fielding practice. Victory in the creation of motion pictures was my thought at that particular moment.

The autograph crowd was to the right of the Rockies dugout, and I took the Rawlings ball along. Camille unwrapped the ball first. After that, Mama and me made our way down there. I was in very high hopes of having my dream come true.

Vinny Castilla waved at me and Mama as he walked by. And the wave meant that he’d be out as soon as he could. So, I stayed there in my seat. "Mama, you forgot your pen," I said. Mama rushed back to our seats and got her pen. At 5:30 p.m., Vinny Castilla got into his Colorado Rockies jacket. I believe that his jacket was nearby in the team resting place. He was still in his sunglasses, and this was a way I would recognize him.

At 5:37 p.m., Mama called, "Hey, Vinny! I got a daughter who wants to meet you." And the next minute Vinny Castilla happily made his appearance. This was for me, and I believed it. And Mama refers to this as the old Mississippi field holler. It got Vinny’s attention, to my surprise. I took over the talking from there. "My name’s Kelly Strough, and I waited one year to meet you, Vinny!" I said. Well, Vinny just stopped by my seat in front of me. To me, Vinny needed not introduce himself.

"Well, I’m very happy to meet you, Kelly" Vinny said. And he held his hand out and we shook hands. I was a very happy girl indeed. His hands are soft! I was in the presence of my favorite baseball player. This was the great Vinny Castilla talking to me!