Headlines – 9/7/2004

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Panolian Headlines: September 7, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 9/7/04  issue of The Panolian
Local Reunited with Birth Family
Parents, Siblings Lived Close
John Burchfield was reunited with his birth family last year. Pictured are (back, l to r) Eddie Church, Royce Church, Burchfield and (front, l to r) Penni Schuetz, Jeana Burchfield and Sylvia Church.
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

More than 30 years passed before one Batesville man learned who is birth parents were.

John Burchfield said he has known he was adopted, but never decided to go looking for his birth parents.

"I have known I was adopted ever since I was old enough to know and understand what that meant," he said. "But I never really wanted to go out and look for my other parents."

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Burchfield said fear played a large part in making his decision not to seek out his birth parents.

"I think every adopted child will spend time wondering if their mother and father are out there are why they gave them up," he said. "I was no different.

"It’s kind of scary," he said. "Through the years I have seen all of these families reunited stories on TV and I always wondered if I had brothers or sisters and where mother and dad were, but it was something that was really easy to put on the back burner."

Burchfield said he might have considered seeking out his birth parents if and when anything ever happened to his adoptive family.

"I always thought I might start looking then, but I was always kind of hesitant," he said.

Burchfield said the one thing he learned from seeing so many similar stories on television was to be prepared.

"You never know when someone might walk through the door looking for you," he said. "So I was always kind of ready for that and it is exactly what happened."

On August 21, 2003, Burchfield was going through a normal day at work at Bancorp South when his life was changed forever.

"I was walking through the bank and some people came in," he said. "I had been in a meeting and when I came out of that meeting I ran head on into my mother.

"I didn’t know it at first," he said. "She saw me and started freaking out. I thought it was just a customer having an attack of some sort."

Burchfield said his brother was sent back into the bank where he waited for an opportunity to meet with him.

"I walked in and sat down with this guy and he told me the story of how they had been looking for me," he said. "I was kind of prepared for something like this, but I had know idea it would be that day.

"It was kind of shocking," Burchfield said.

Burchfield said his mother and brother had been able to find him thanks to help from an aunt that lived in Clarksdale when he was growing up.

"She just kind of watched me while I was growing up," he said. "She kept clippings out of the paper and other stuff.

"It wasn’t hard for her to find out I was adopted," he said. "It was a small town and pretty much everyone knew."

Burchfield said he also has an understanding of why his birth parents put him up for adoption.

"My birth mother and father had six kids from other marriages," he said. "They were also having some problems because of a divorce. They didn’t feel like they could provide for me the way they wanted."

Burchfield said his parents have been married since 1966 and have two more children since he was born.

"That’s the unique thing," he said. "I have met my full brother and sister, but I have not met all of my half-siblings.

"They are all living in different places and we just haven’t been able to get together yet," he said.

Burchfield said another interesting thing is that his mother, father, brother and sister all live in Southaven.

"It’s pretty neat to live that many years as an only child and then find out you have this massive family," he said.

Burchfield said the relationship between his adoptive parents and himself has not changed.

"As far as I am concerned they are still my parents," he said. "They have been divorced since I was three, but they are still my parents.

"My mother has met my birth parents and has been to several get-togethers with them," he said.

Burchfield said he is glad to now know about this part of his life.

"We all get together about every week for something," he said. "I am very glad to know I now have two families.

"It’s wonderful to be able to put a face with my birth parents," he said. "It’s nice to start filling in the gaps."


NRG Energy, Inc. Sells Facility
Batesville Plant will Provide Power to Out of State Companies
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

There is now a new producer of electricity in Batesville.

Three year-old Batesville company NRG Energy, Inc. saw 100 percent of its interest in the electric generating facility purchased by Complete Energy Holdings, LLC.

According to published reports, NRG originally purchased the facility in 2001 as part of a package of about eight plants at a total price of $658 million. NRG owns and operates a diverse portfolio of power-generating facilities.

The purchase price, confirmed by the website, was $27.6 million. The purchase also included absorbing an estimated $300 million in outstanding debt.
The two parties involved agreed to the sale of the 837-megawatt natural gas-fired generating facility in May and final details of the purchase were just completed.

"We are very pleased with the execution of the Batesville purchase, and we are energized about the possibilities that lie ahead for this facility and for Complete Energy," Complete Energy Managing Director Milton Scott said. "The Batesville plant will serve as a valued foundation for Complete Energy, as we pursue future acquisitions of both contracted and merchant power generation assets."

According to Scott, there will be very little change at the facility other than the creation of two new positions.

One of the new positions will handle the day-to-day operations of the engineering side of the business and the other will assist with establishing a working accounting network.

"Our main goal is to make sure we are managing this business effectively," he said.

Scott said the company, which provides power to the wholesale level of the industry rather than directly to the consumer, has already inked agreements with Virginia Power and Aquila.

Virginia Power will draw the most energy from Complete Energy (two-thirds of the energy produced.). While Aquila will only draw one-third of the facility’s power.

Mayor Bobby Baker said he is not concerned with the plant’s change in ownership.

"The plant is an important asset to the city and its people," he said. "That’s not going to change no matter who the owners happen to be."

As for the enormous debt of the facility, a majority of it is removed from the books by the terms of the deal and the remaining portion is the responsibility of the new ownership.

"There is no way Complete Energy would have made this deal if it wasn’t a financially sound investment," Scott said.

Seventeen from County Travel to Honduras
This group, including 17 Panola County residents spent part of their summer helping out in Honduras and other countries.
A group of 17 Panola County residents sacrificed their summer vacations to spend time in the mission fields of Honduras and other countries.

The group, comprised of members from the First United Methodist Church and Calvary Baptist Church provided medical and dental care to the impoverished citizens of the countries all while sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

According to figures received, more than 5,000 people came through the clinics and some 2,000 received four to five prescriptions apiece.

On top of receiving much needed medical and dental care, approximately 700 received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Those taking part in the trip from Panola County were:

Erik Broome, Terri Broome, Sadie Broome, Abigail Broome, Will Thomas, Rebecca Thomas, Candice McMillen, Bradie McMillen, Angela Summers; Suzanne Garrott, Andy Garrott, Anderson Garrott, Joshua Garrott, Randy Willis, Robbie Willis, Ryan Willis and Stan Woods.

The group would like to thank Dr. Deck Stone, Dr. William Haire, Dr. John Smoot, Dr. Lee Linder, Beth Thomas, Patsy Keating, Randall Sullivan, Jerry Knotts, The Lester Bible Class, Project Light and the Presbyterian Church Youth Group for their support of this trip.