Headlines – 9/10/2004

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 10, 2004

Panolian Headlines: September 10, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 9/10/04  issue of The Panolian
The Big 103
Louise Burford Wallace celebrated her 103rd birthday on September 1 with family and friends at Western Sizzlin in Batesville. As she blew out her candles, she wished for "another hundred years."
Sardis Resident Charged
   After Meeting Antics
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor


According to Sardis Police Chief Sonny Stepp, accusations of an officer’s misconduct are completely unfounded.

During Tuesday night’s meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, a visibly shaken individual, later identified as Gene Lee, entered the board room amid heavy breathing and uncontrollable emotions.

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Lee entered the board room through the back entrance and made it past Stepp to the board.

Unable to utter a word, Mayor Richard Darby ordered Stepp to remove him from the room. Stepp and Alderman Mike Wilson escorted Lee outside.

"When he walked in, I could not tell at first that he was intoxicated," Stepp said. "As soon as he moved past me, you could smell the alcohol in his path."

Stepp said he was unable to make out what Lee was saying, but Wilson translated it to be that he had been shaken by an officer at the police department.

"I don’t know if that is what he said or not, but that is what Mike [Wilson] was telling me," he said.
"I know he kept saying that he was done wrong, but that’s about all I could understand on my own."

Stepp said Lee continually said he was going to speak with the mayor, but he was never allowed to re-enter the board room.

"I told him that he wasn’t going to speak to the mayor when he was drunk," Stepp said.

The chief said from what he understands about the events of the evening, Lee went to the police department to press charges on an female, but did not have the right name.


A Sign of Things to Come
Workers finished securing the signage to the Batesville Civic Center on the front of the building Thursday afternoon. A roadside sign will be located near Highway 6.
Woman Says Condemned House Remains Occupied by Grandson
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor


Two women appealed to the softer side of Sardis aldermen Tuesday night when it came to the condemnation of a house on Percyville Street.

Genella Bobo and Shameka Butler told the board that they were told to do some work on the house and it would not be condemned.

"I did what work I could do," Bobo said. "I put up some paneling, put some tin on the roof and put up some siding."

Bobo said the problem now is that the electricity and water have been shut off at the house and her grandson still lives there.

"He wasn’t there for a couple of weeks because he was on lock down," she said. "But he still lives in the house."

Darby said the house was condemned in 2002 and at that point nobody was living in there.

"We told you when you got the new house through the grant that the house would be condemned, but that we would leave it standing until you got your furniture out," he said.

Bobo said she understood the house was still on the list of condemned property, but wondered what she could do next.

Darby suggested she meet with building inspector Robert Earl Wilkie to see what it will take to bring the house up to the building code standards.

"Let Mr. Wilkie look at the house and you will know what needs to be done to make the house safe again," Darby said.

Bobo said she would meet with Wilkie, but doubts she has the money to bring the house up to code.

"I’m just worried because my grandson and his wife and kids live there," she said. "If you tear down that house and kick them out, they don’t have anywhere else to go."

Darby said another option for Bobo was to deed the home over to her grandson so he could qualify for the home improvement grants.

"Your grandson came in and I told him what he needed to do to get into the grant programs," he said. "He just hasn’t done it."

Bobo said she would do whatever she could to get the home into better shape.

"I will clean it up because he hasn’t got nowhere else to go," she said.

Darby said her grandson would have to do work on the house as well if he wanted to continue living there.

"He is going to have to make some investment in the property by bringing it up to code if he wishes to continue living there," he said.

Resident Wants City
    to Budget Clean Up
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor


During a public hearing concerning the 2004-05 budget for the City of Sardis, aldermen were told they needed to do something with some funds to clean up the city.

Jo Cross, speaking on behalf of the Sardis Womans Club, told Mayor Richard Darby and the Board of Aldermen that they had several issues to address with the board before the final budget was adopted.

Cross said the club’s first concern was the cleanliness of the town.

"We have had visitors saying they have come through town and that the town looks bad," she said. "There needs to be someone taking pride in this town and cleaning it up."

Another key issue was maintenance of the Heflin House Museum’s grounds.

"We have worked hard to reach a level we are happy with inside the building, and we need some help making sure the outside is kept up as well," she said.

Cross told the aldermen the club would like to see the clean up of the grounds as a budgeted item.

"We aren’t talking about the city maintaining the home, we just want someone to cut the grass and remove the tree limbs," she said. "We have removed a lot of tree limbs from the property, but most of us are getting too old to do that kind of work."

Alderman JoJo Still asked for a dollar figure of what the club felt it would take to handle the maintenance of the museum.

The next item Cross took issue with was Christmas lights to decorate a portion of Lee Street for the holidays.

"Last year I thought the downtown looked very nice with the refurbished lights," she said. "I want to know if there is anything the city can do about downtown during the Christmas season."