Headlines – 10/12/2004

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Panolian Headlines: October 12, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 10/12/04  issue of The Panolian
Prominent Businesswoman Ends Battle With Cancer
Patsy’s Life was Achieving, Loving and Sharing
By Rita Jean Howell
Contributing Writer

Last Friday night, as the first rain in weeks fell on Panola County, our friend Patsy slipped away. For a large segment of our community, her first name was sufficient identification. She was a pharmacist and a friend to multitudes in this community, and many of us had followed closely her battle with cancer, which, for a long time, she appeared to be winning.

Patsy Keating had made a friend in 1969 at South Panola High School in Miss Whitten’s Latin class, where she, a senior, was kind to a lowly, clueless freshman. She even signed my yearbook, teasing me about being a "greenie." She’s featured in that volume in the 1970 SPHS Hall of Fame, among other honors. She was, as my husband Rupert would categorize her, "an overachiever." They were classmates and through their school years often sat next to each other in alphabetized order, "H" then "K," and have remained friends through the years.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Patsy went on to overachieve, receiving a degree in pharmacy from The University of Mississippi, where she was a member of Rho Chi and Mortar Board honor societies.

She first went to work in the Jackson area, but came home to work when she had the opportunity. Her parents, Ralph and Mary Keating, still live here. She continued to overachieve, opening her Medicap Pharmacy and receiving corporate awards for excellence from her company. 

The Panola Partnership has recognized her with its Business of the Year Award and just last spring the Partnership presented her its Citizenship Award for her contributions to this community. That award was evidence that her overachieving was not limited to her business, but extended beyond to involvement in her church and her community.

Among her contributions at Batesville First United Methodist Church, she played the piano for the Jim Bates Bible Class to sing each Sunday. That wasn’t enough. She bought Bibles for all the older gentlemen in the class to use at Sunday School, and she entertained the class members and their wives with dinners in her home. The major achievement, though, was getting my daddy to sing, which she did.

She was a member of the Kiwanis Club, served as a preceptor for the Ole Miss School of Pharmacy, and was involved in helping students at the Batesville Job Corps Center.

She’d been on African safaris and had the trophies to prove it. It wasn’t unusual for her to bring an exotic wild game dish to a church supper.

But mostly, she was an overachiever in helping and loving other people.

"We’ll never know how many people she’s helped in this community," a friend commented after her funeral on Sunday. "And she didn’t want anybody to know."

"She loved her customers and even in her sickest times, she was concerned for them in every aspect of their lives," her family wrote in the funeral program.

Many of those customers, friends, family, coworkers and classmates were gathered together as she was laid to rest in the cemetery at Curtis, just across the road from her ancestral home Sunday afternoon, as the rain continued. The weather seemed to testify of the sadness and loss we felt.

Collectively we grieve the loss, but understand, too, that her achievements will be visible still in the enriched lives of those she touched.

Boys & Girls Club Helps Kids
    Achieve Goals
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor


Boys & Girls Club of Batesville, The JC Penney After-school Fund and Boys & Girls Clubs of America are helping students achieve realistic, educational and career goals. Two organizations have teamed-up to make possible Goals for Graduation, an academic goal-setting initiative, that encourages students to set achievable goals for their studies, and perhaps more importantly, for their futures.

Boys & Girls Club of Batesville has received a $1,000 grant to implement Goals for Graduation in 2004. This year alone, the JC Penney Afterschool Fund will provide 200 Goals for Graduation grants to Clubs around the United States. Goals for Graduation is a proactive initiative for members (ages 6-15). This academic goal-setting program provides members with a variety of one-on-one, small-group and large group activities to support academic goal setting, learning and success in school.

Goals for Graduation is designed to fuel kids’ desire to strive toward new and exciting goals, while providing them with moral support and encouragement," said Walter Boney, Manager of JC Penny Store in Oxford. "Children are our most valuable resource. They are the future leaders of our country. What better investment can we make in our future than in our

Working with Boys & Girls Club staff, participants develop three sets of goals: achievable Know-I-Can goals, more challenging Think-I-Can goals and yearly Believe-I-Can goals. A fun and motivational I Can Achieve academic pledge rally kicks off the goal-setting process, with a pledge from participants to commit to the goals they have set.

"The JC Penney Afterschool Fund has provided us with the resources we need to create a comprehensive and effective curriculum that encourages kids to excel." said Dennis Hoskins, Executive Director of Boys & Girls Club of Batesville. "We know from research and firsthand experience that kids need support in order to excel. Otherwise, they accept lower standards of academic achievement which can result in lower aspirations for higher education."

Goals for Graduation and the I Can Achieve academic pledge rallies have been implemented by Boys & Girls Clubs of America to help Club members link their future aspirations with their present actions. The JC Penney Afterschool Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and sponsor of after-school programs, has made Goals for Graduation and the I Can Achieve academic pledge rallies possible by awarding grants to Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide over the past three years.

Goals for Graduation is another effort to help the nation’s children – and their parents – prepare for the future. "My husband and I both work full-time," said parent Nyanthia Townsend. "We are grateful to have this additional support for our son. We are seeing a tremendous difference in his ability to stick to his goals, no matter how difficult, while at the same time succeed at things he never thought possible."

Boys & Girls Clubs are safe places to learn and grow – all while having fun, thanks in part to Goals for Graduation. To find a Boys & Girls Club in your area, visit or call 1-800-854-CLUB.

Crowd Turns Out for Sav-A-Life Dinner
AFA Founder Educates, Entertains
American Family Association founder Donald Wildmon spoke to the crowd of more than 150 about topics ranging from family values to politics during the Sav-A-Life banquet held last week at Seafood Junction on Highway 6.
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor


Supporters of Batesville’s Sav-A-Life turned out to hear the American Family Association’s founder offer his insights on important issues in society.

Donald Wildmon made a rare speaking engagement last week and told Sav-A-Life friends that the words might not have been good, but "the message is still clear."

"I have spoken maybe three times in the last year," he said. "So there might be a little rust on the pipes, but my message is still just as good as it has always been."

Wildmon’s message was to support the traditional family and old fashioned American values.

"Look at some of the junk that is out there in the media and on television," he said. "This is not a Christian society and don’t fool yourself into thinking it is.

"What we live in is nothing more than a heathen society," he added.

Wildmon said it was important to show that there are still people out there that support the Christian upbringing and live it in their daily lives.

"Our children need to know that we are doing what we tell them to do," he said. "They need a good Christian influence on their lives."

During a brief moment, Wildmon walked over to take a child into his arms. He looked out into the crowd and spoke against abortion.

"Who would want to kill a little baby," he said before returning the child to her mother. "They have done nothing wrong. They deserve the chance to live their life."

Wildmon said he realizes there are times pregnant mothers will consider and even follow through with abortion, but added that, if they prayed about it first, they would know it is not in God’s plan.

"God knows each and every one of his creations personally," he said.

"From the time of conception the child is a human life and should be valued as such."

Sav-A-Life is a non-profit organization that helps council pregnant mothers and offers parenting classes.

For more information on the organization call 578-2277.

County Hopes to Find
     Road Sign Thieves
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor


Lost road signs, a popular item of discussion for the Panola County Board of Supervisors, were once again brought up.

Road Department Manager Lygunnah Bean told the board that during trips in certain areas of the county he had discovered more than 15 signs broken or missing.

"We have lost so many signs," he said. "A lot of the time they are broken and cannot be repaired.

"I don’t think people realize just how bad it is when a road sign is missing," Bean added. "In some instances it can mean life or death."

Bean said he has heard of occasions when emergency personnel are unable to find a fire or ambulance call because the road signs are missing.

"The EMS people do not carry a road directory with them," he said. "So, if a road doesn’t have a sign they might get to a call too late and it could cost someone their life."

Bean said after attending a meeting with road manager from the entire country, he believes stealing road signs has become a fad.

"In most states, the people that are stealing them are using them for decorations in their dorm rooms," Bean said. "I’m not sure that the kids here are doing that."

Bean said he was notified of missing signs over the weekend when deputies of the Panola County Sheriff’s Department discovered them dumped on roads near Sardis Dam.

"The Sheriff’s Department contacted me and said they had found a lot of signs dumped on the road near Skatetasia," he said.

Chief Deputy Craig Sheley said the matter is being investigated.

"If you find the kids that are doing this, call me," Bean said. "I want to give them a good talking to."

Board Attorney William McKenzie said the county had fines and jail time that could be levied.

"If these problems involve people under the age of 17, they will have to go through the youth court system," he said. "Other than that the judges have guidelines in the state statute about destruction of public property."