Headlines – 9/17/2004

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

Panolian Headlines: September 17, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 9/17/04  issue of The Panolian
FBC Sardis Turns 160
On Sunday, Sept 26, First Baptist Church, Sardis will celebrate its 160th year of existence. The church was organized September 28, 1844, in a schoolhouse built on Main Street. The church, first called Lebanon, could possibly be older than the town itself.

Morning worship will begin at 10:30 a.m. with Rev. Jim Didlake speaking. Bro. Didlake and pastor, Rev. Jerry Sanford, have been closely associated in the Mississippi Baptist Disaster Relief Program.

At noon a pot-luck meal will be served in the East Annex Fellowship Hall.

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Around 1:30 p.m. an afternoon service in the sanctuary will consist of songs, hymns and special music by former music ministers and the FBC choir. Testimonies and a time of sharing meaningful experiences over the years will also take place at this time.

This celebration promises to be one the town will long remember. Everyone is invited to attend.

City Pledges Support
to Industrial Prospect
By John Howell Sr.
Contributing Writer

While extra property is needed to firm up a deal, Batesville has an undisclosed industrial prospect looking to come to town.

During a recent meeting with the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, Panola Partnership CEO Blair Jernigan and Rep. Leonard Morris offered insight on the possible industrial recruit.

"I will just cut to the chase," Morris said. "We are here for some money."

Morris explained the prospect is an international business that has interest in a facility located in the industrial park.

"They are very interested in the location, but they will be needing some additional land for future expansions and warehousing," he said.
Jernigan added the lack of additional land could play a major part in whether or not the city remains a viable option for the company.

"They have every desire to come to the table," he said. "But the lack of extra land might very well be a deal breaker."

According to Jernigan and Morris, the company is interested in four acres to the east of the building and approximately 80 feet on the west side.

"[Neighboring property owner] has said they would be willing to give up more property if the city is willing to help them move to a new location," Jernigan said.

Jernigan added that while there may not be thousands of jobs, all of the jobs will pay competitive salaries.

"These jobs could come in at about $50,000 t0 $60,000 per year," he said. "About 200 of them."

Jernigan said a $100,000 commitment was needed from the city to help this deal come together.

"We will be going to other funding sources for commitments as well," he said. "We have to show them that we are serious about this project."

Jernigan said there are a couple of other companies looking at the same property, but none would create this many jobs.

The aldermen voted unanimously to pledge $100,000 to the efforts.

"The people of Batesville need these jobs," Mayor Bobby Baker said. "Let’s get this thing done without giving away the kitchen stove."


County Ready for Ivan, Storm Misses
Area Hotels Full Due to Hurricane
Thousands of cars and trucks, as far as the eye could see were fleeing from the wrath of Hurricane Ivan on Wednesday. All Panola County motels were booked solid, and many area churches were open as shelters. See page 5A for more.
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor


Panola County missed the full effects of Hurricane Ivan, but local agencies were prepared for the worst.

"With areas along the northern Gulf Coast now being threatened with Hurricane Ivan, BellSouth is ready as ever to help our customers in every area of the state stay connected," said Rick Stewart, BellSouth Regional Manager.

"We are tried and true with experienced teams of technicians and a supply of generators," continued Stewart. "BellSouth technicians have been working 12-hour shifts to restore all telecommunications services to Florida, and we’re prepared for Ivan."

With very little rainfall attributed to Ivan, residents in Panola County never lost any utility service.

Officials with Entergy Mississippi were closely monitoring the path of Hurricane Ivan as they prepared for a major storm restoration effort this weekend.

"We are prepared for this storm," said George Cossar, III, customer service manager for Entergy in this area. "All Entergy Mississippi crews are back from Florida and we have secured hundreds of additional linemen and support staff to handle the expected impact."

Ivan made landfall early yesterday in the vicinity of Mobile, Ala. Entergy expects the storm to impact its Mississippi and Louisiana service areas.

"Hurricane Ivan could have come ashore as a Category 4 storm," said Cossar. "A storm that strong typically spawns tornadoes and strong wind gusts hundreds of miles from the initial impact area. We have to be prepared to respond to damage that could cause outages lasting for days – even weeks," he said.

If the threat to Entergy escalates, Entergy will escalate its response by securing even more workers from other utilities and contractors to assist potential restoration. The company already has linemen and support staff from its Arkansas subsidiary in Mississippi ready to respond if they are needed.

"One advantage of being a multi-state utility is our ability to quickly move crews across our service territory," said Cossar. "Having the Arkansas crews in Jackson will give us a tremendous advantage if the storm hits us hard."

Whether Hurricane Ivan hits Entergy Mississippi directly or turns and impacts other Entergy subsidiaries, the company is committing tremendous amounts of personnel and equipment to the storm.

"Customers in unaffected areas will experience longer response times due to the resources we must commit to this powerful storm," said Cossar. "All of our customers can be assured though that we are working hard to meet all of their service needs. We appreciate their understanding and support during this emergency."

In light of the hardships caused in other parts of the state, area churches and civic organizations worked diligently to help the victims by setting up food and clothing drives along with temporary shelters.

Local hotels reported a full occupant load because of people evacuating Ivan-effected areas.

"We were at our maximum capacity," Nola Jones of the Amerihost Inn said. "Tuesday and Wednesday night, we didn’t have a room to spare.

"People have started checking out because they are hearing they can get back home," she said.