Headlines – 10/8/2004

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 8, 2004

Panolian Headlines: October 8, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 10/8/04  issue of The Panolian
Brand New Instruments
It was like Christmas in October as the Batesville Jr. High sixth grade band students received their new instruments Tuesday morning.

Terri Thomas‘ eyes her saxophone still in the bag as she awaits instructions from the directors to open it. The sixth grade band has 96 students in two classes.

City Allows MS Valley Gas Inquiry
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor


A natural gas supplier expanding its operations spoke to the City of Batesville about possibly providing services to its customer base.

Orrden Williams, Operations Manager for Mississippi Valley Gas, told Mayor Bobby Baker and the Board of Aldermen that his company was there to meet the board and request permission to make inquiries to the Batesville Gas and Water office.

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"We want to ask some questions about the present natural gas system serving the City of Batesville," Williams said.

Williams added that a sample listing of what type of inquiries will be made available.

"Before you can allow this we have to know what they want to look at," Assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell said. "There is certain personal and confidential information they are not allowed access to under the open records law."

Williams said the reason the company wanted to make the inquiries about the city’s gas system is to see if there are ways Mississippi Valley Gas can help the city provide better service to the people of the community.

"It is our hope that, after examining the information gained from these inquiries, that our company would be able to offer service or services to the city that would further enhance the excellent gas service already provided by the City of Batesville," he said.

Williams pointed out that, due to a recent merger, Mississippi Valley Gas is now a division of Atmos Energy Corporation headquartered in Dallas, Texas.

"Atmos is one of the largest natural gas distributors in the United States," he said. "We provide services to approximately 3.1 million customers in 12 states across the country."

According to a press release, Atmos provides services to over 1,000 small to medium-sized communities from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the east to the Rocky Mountains in the west.

Atmos Energy’s non-utility operations, organized under Atmos Energy Holdings, Inc., operate in 18 states.

"In this capacity, the company provides gas marketing and procurement services to industrial, commercial and municipal companies," Williams explained.

"We just want to see if there is any way we can assist the city in providing the best service possible to the people of Batesville," he said.

The board voted 5-0 to allow the inquiries of the Batesville Water and Gas office, but items in question must be approved by the attorney first.

Poll Workers Could Receive Paid Training
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor


Circuit Clerk Joe Reid told the Panola County Board of Supervisors that with the newly delivered election handbook, the election commissioners and poll workers might need additional training.

"When the state had its training, Panola County was the only county that did not have an election commissioner present," he said. "But they have given me the stuff and told me what needs to be done, so I can train them well enough."

Reid said it is very important for the poll workers to get proper training before the election as well.

"We all know what happened during the last county election," he said referring to the tight race for Chancery Clerk. "We don’t want something like that to happen again."

Reid said the county is allowed to pay poll workers for some of the time spent in training, and added that other counties are already doing this.

"Tate and Lafayette Counties are already paying their poll workers," he said. "I think this is something that we need to seriously consider."

Reid said Tate and Lafayette Counties pay $10 per hour for a two hour training session.

"It is hard to find good poll workers sometimes," he said. "I think we will have better luck if we pay them to go through some kind of training."

Reid said the training is important because each person at the polling places needed to know just what his or her job was.

"We are going to have people from the state checking on us this time," he said. "I’ve already been told that personally."

In addition to the matter of training, Reid said the election commissioners would be taking a larger roll in the November election.

"I am not legally allowed to conduct the elections," he said. "That’s what you have election commissioners for.

"They are the ones responsible for running the elections," he added. "All I am supposed to do is print the poll books, and the election commissioners are supposed to handle it from there."

SP Choir Needs Funds for
Trip to Washington, D.C.
South Panola choir members and parents were discussing upcoming choir appearances and fundraising ideas to help the choir go to Washington, D.C. in January.
At the meeting were (sitting, l to r) Tina Crenshaw, Barbra Lauderdale, director Pam Stafford, Judy Brister; (standing, l to r) Megan Brister, Kristen Hentz, Trae Crenshaw and (far, r) Amber Gazaway.
The South Panola choir needs $29,000 more to be able to meet the expenses of traveling to Washington, D.C. around the presidential inaugural time.

The choir needs the help of the community to meet this goal. The total cost of the trip is $36,000 for 79 students at $400 each plus chaperons. The $400 will cover the chartered buses at $12,000 and the hotel rooms for four nights.

"We will be able to see the inaugural parade," said director Pam Stafford. "We will try to get as close to the inauguration as we can."

The main reason for the trip is for the choir to participate in the Presidential Inaugural Heritage Festival Choral competition at the University of Maryland.

"This trip to Washington may be an experience they may never experience again," said Stafford.

This will be the first out-of-state trip for the choir since its inception in 1997.

Since then seven groups have earned superior ratings on the district level and earned the right to compete at the state level where they earned excellent ratings.

Recently, 10 members of the choir participated in the Northwest Honor Choir. This year South Panola will sponsor auditions for the Delta State Honor Choir. Students from all over north Mississippi will be in town to try out for this distinctive choir.

Some of the choir members have been busy participating in the fundraisers and have raised the money needed for themselves.

The choir has sold catalog products, barbecue, held car washes, spaghetti suppers, sold Boston butts and has a concession stand at Ole Miss for each of the ballgames. Dale’s Smokehouse has agreed to cook the Boston butts at no charge for the second straight year.

Upcoming events include:

A big rummage sale at Dale’s Smokehouse on Nov. 6;
SP Idol Talent Show, Thursday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. at Batesville Jr. High auditorium;
Boston butt sale Oct. 22 and 23 for $20. Contact Pam Stafford at the school to preorder, 563-4756 and leave a message;
During the Thanksgiving season the choir will hold a bake sale and take orders for flavors of cake. Stafford said she specializes in caramel and coconut cakes.
Oct. 16, Oct. 30 and Nov. 27, the choir will hold car washes at Dale’s Smokehouse and will take donations.
Dec. 11, the choir will host a Christmas Fantasy Competition for school and church choirs all over North Mississippi. The choirs can sing two favorite songs and be judged.

Even though these activities will be held, time is winding down in order to get the money raised. Community businesses and individuals are also asked to make financial contributions to the choir. Donations can be made to help specific students finance their trip.

"All students have chances to earn money with fundraisers," Stafford said.

Puttin’ Down the Bricks
Workers for Century Construction recently began laying the memorial brick around the fountain that will be the center of the new downtown park.
BIS Sponsoring Family Walk Night
Friends and family of Batesville Intermediate third graders are invited to come out and "be fit" together as part of the school’s Family Walk Night, which will be held on Tuesday, October 12, from 5 p.m.-6 p.m.

The Walk is a part of the Triple F: Food and Fitness Frenzy program at BIS, which focuses on educating students and their families on nutrition and fitness.

Families are encouraged to come out and show their support for the program by walking together around the newly designed walking trail at BIS. The walking trail is a welcome addition to the BIS campus, and is located in the Pecan Grove.

Students are being encouraged to walk during their daily recess in order to become more physically fit. Parking for Family Walk Night will be located on the north end of the school, in the side parking lot by the grove.