Headlines – 10/5/2004

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Panolian Headlines: October 5, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 10/5/04  issue of The Panolian
Let’s Play
Attending the signing of the Worldwide Day of Proclamation were (l to r) Marquis Oliver, Devin Hubbard, Beri Glover, Victoria Pride, Dennis Hoskins and (front) Mayor Bobby Baker.
    
Armory to Remain Empty
     Until Legislation Passes
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

editor@panolian.com

The county and city have delayed allowing the Batesville/Panola County Boys and Girls Club usage of the now vacant armory on Highway 51.
"We have had a lot of people asking for use of the armory in some way, shape or form for the past several months," Board of Supervisors attorney William McKenzie said. "The county just took possession of the facility on October 1."

McKenzie said he requested and received Attorney General’s opinions and copies of proposed local and private legislation.

"When the Boys and Girls Club came in here and asked for the building, they thought they had local and private legislation that would have allowed them to occupy the building," he said. "The legislation passed in the house, but it was not passed by the senate."

McKenzie said he has discussed the matter with Belinda Morris of the Boys and Girls Club and they have reached and understanding that the club cannot gain use of the building until the legislation is passed.

Boys and Girls Club board member Lygunnah Bean said the club has spoken with Rep. Warner McBride and Rep. Leonard Morris and will propose the same legislation when the next legislative session begins.

"At this point all we have in writing is that the county is not allowed to donate office space to organizations," McKenzie said.

"They understand that the legislation has to be passed before the county can be allowed to give them the building, so they are going to come back and ask for it in January and maybe the legislation will have passed," he said.

"It sounds like a great idea," he said. "But without the local and private legislation or an AG’s opinion there is no way for the board to be covered on the donation."

In addition to future occupants of the building, the board also discussed maintenance of the facility.

Board president Jerry Perkins said he was told by National Guard representatives that there are some problems with the building.

"We know there are some leaks in the roof," he said. "At this point we don’t know just how bad it is."

Perkins said he has asked a local roofer to look at the building and report back to the board at its next meeting.

"When he comes to us next week he should be able to tell us just how bad the roof is," he said. "So now we just wait and see what he finds out."
    

State-Aid Funds Cut
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

editor@panolian.com

A $250,000 cut in funding from the state aid road program will cost the county several planned projects in the future.

"They are trying to take away a total of $18.3 million in funding has been cut out," Supervisor Jerry Perkins said. "They are taking it away as installments.

"And Panola County will lose approximately $250,000 because of the cuts," he added.

County engineer Pete Sullivan said he has heard that the state legislature plans to meet again in hopes of finding a way to fund the program that helps counties in the state by paving and overlaying roads.

"The final decision has to come from the legislature not the governor," he said. "They have the ultimate say in wether or not the program continues."

Supervisor Robert Avant asked if the county could keep money in the road department by doing the overlay work themselves rather than contracting out the work as they have done in the past.

"We can really do all of the work and stuff for overlays of roads with our county workers and put the extra money back into the road funds," Avant said.

"Several other counties in the state do work like that themselves and we have the same equipment they do," he added. "I don’t see why we should contract it out."
    

     
Supervisors Discuss Cleaning County
Board Could Begin Adoption Program
Trash like this on Bethlehem Road is common throughout county roadways. The county is exploring ways to clean up the problem.
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

editor@panolian.com

County supervisors are mulling over the possibilities for a county-wide clean-up initiative following Monday’s meeting in Sardis.

Supervisor Robert Avant said he wanted to the board to come up with some way of cleaning up the county.

"I would like to see each supervisor pick a couple of roads in your district that are the worst and see if we can get them cleaned up," he said.

Avant said one way he thought more people would assist in cleaning up the roads was by offering them some sort of financial compensation for trash.

"We could give them like 25 cents per ton and 25 cents for each old tire they turn in," he said. "I think a lot of people would help us out if there is a chance they will be paid.

"And it will make the county roads look a lot better," Avant said. "You can’t even drive down Old Panola Road without seeing all of the trash that people have thrown out.

"There are McDonald’s bags, beer cans, bottles and tires all over the side of the road," he continued. "That just makes Panola County look really bad if you ask me."

County Road Manager Lygunnah Bean said he is working with a group that wants to clean up Nash Road, but they want some assistance from the county in return.

"They are willing to clean Nash Road, but they want the county to provide the trash bags and a sign that says they are responsible for cleaning it up," he said. "Sure it will cost the county a little bit of money on the front end, but it is a good way to get the communities to show some pride in where they live."

Bean said he hopes once word gets out about the residents of Nash Road that more people in the county will want to clean there roads.

"If this works the way it can, the people living on other roads will develop a stronger sense of community pride and want to do something to keep their roads clean as well," he said.

Board president Jerry Perkins said he has been to several other counties near Panola and the trash issue is not just happening here.

Junk Angers Residents
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

editor@panolian.com

A pair of concerned citizens do not want their community to continue on its junky path.

Barbara Armstrong and her brother Larry Davidson, who both live on Ernest Baker Road, told the Panola County Board of Supervisors they were tired of the junkyard already located in the community and concerned about a second that is in the beginning stages.

"We know there is already one junkyard in the area and we do not want to see another one," Armstrong said. "It is making the value of our property continue to go down.

"It also doesn’t make the community a desirable place for other people that might be looking to move into Panola County," she said.

In addition to the junkyards in the community, Armstrong and Davidson said they are concerned with the abandoned houses in the area.

"There are two houses that I know of that are just sitting there about to fall in," Davidson said. "We would like to see the county come in and tear them down or either come in and do some work to them if you want to keep them up.

"It doesn’t matter which one you do," she continued. "But they are eyesores that reflect badly on our community and we want something done about it."

Board president Jerry Perkins said he knew the county had a junk car ordinance that could help relieve the junkyard issue, but added that the county did not have anything on the book pertaining to condemned property.

Armstrong said the owner of the new junkyard has been seen moving old cars in on several occasions.

"He is hauling them in all the time and just scattering them around the property," she said. "There has to be something that can be done."

"I know we can help you out with the new junkyard that is popping up because of the junk car ordinance," he said. "But as for the old junkyard and the houses, I don’t think there is much we can do about it."

Board attorney William McKenzie said the old junkyard has been located on the road for so long that there are no laws that can govern it.
"I has been there for so many years that none of the new laws can effect it," he said.

McKenzie suggested getting together with other members of the community to file a nuisance charge about the old houses and the oldest junkyard.

"You will probably have to get an attorney and take the matter to court," he said. "That might be the only option you have."

Supervisor James Birge said he would meet with the owners of the junkyards to see if something could be worked out in the matter before anything has to proceed to court.

No action was taken on the matter. It is expected to be discussed at a future board meeting.