Headlines – 10/15/2004

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 15, 2004

Panolian Headlines: October 15, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 10/15/04  issue of The Panolian
Good Hope Baptist Celebrates 150 Years
Speakers and Musicians Ready for Special Worship Service
Pastoring the church today is Bro. Gerald Walker and his wife Janise.
    
Good Hope Baptist Church located at 1516 Good Hope Road in Batesville will celebrate it’s sesquicentennial on Sunday, October 17, 2004.
The one hundred fifty-year old church was organized in 1854 with both owners and slaves of those charter members comprising the church body. Following the Civil War, the freed slaves formed a separate "Good Hope Church" which today bears the name "New Hope" and is located on Mount Olivet Road.

A day of worship, praise, and fellowship has been planned with the first "full time" pastor and three men licensed to the ministry by the church bringing the messages. Music will be provided by current and former instrumental and choir directors.

The initial session will begin at 10 a.m. followed by one at 10:30. The pre-lunch service will begin at 11:15 a.m. with the afternoon service starting at 1:30 p.m.

Speakers in order of appearance will be Dr. Lee Hudson, Bro. Al Mullan, Bro. Charles Stubblefield, and Dr. Bobby McKay.

Musicians will be Ryan McBride, Linda Merriman, Jane Morris, Ceara Bullington, Lynelle Payne and Suzy Morris.

Choir directors to lead congregational music and provide specials are to be Carolyn Steinwinder, John Kilpatrick, Johnny Rogers and Rachel McKay.
    

Sales Tax Collection Increases
      Over ’03
By Rupert Howell
Contributing Writer

howell@panola.com

City of Batesville sales tax collections for the month of August increased approximately eight percent over August of 2003 according to figures obtained from the State Tax Commission.

Sales tax collections are often used as an indicator of the health of retail sales in a given municipality.

A total of $279,537 was diverted back to Batesville for the month of August. Last year’s total for August was $258,883.

Batesville is approximately four percent above the previous fiscal year-to-date totals which began July 1. Last year’s total after two months was $556,375 compared to $576,091 this year.

Batesville’s Tourism and Development Tax collections decreased in August 2004 compared to August 2003 according to State Tax Commission figures. August 2003 collections were reported as $63,411 compared to August 2004 collections of $62,245, a decrease of approximately three percent.

The Tourism and Development Tax is a three percent special levy on hotel/motel and restaurants paid in the City of Batesville.

Despite plant closings and a lackluster national economy, the Batesville sales tax collections have constantly increased (in the past five years) – minimally from fiscal years 2000-2002 and considerably in years 2003 and 2004.

Figures indicate one percent increases in 2001 and 2002 with 10 and 14 percent increases respectively in fiscal years 2003 and 2004.

The sales tax in the City of Como increased almost 35 percent in August to $12,590.09 from $9,354.97 in August of last year. Como’s sales tax collections are up approximately eight percent for the current fiscal year from $22,019.49 to $23,670.76.

Sardis sales tax collections indicated an eight percent drop from August of this year compared to August of 2003. For the two months reported of the current fiscal year, a 13 percent decrease was reported.

The state’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 31.

The state’s total increased for the month of August approximately six percent. The year-to-date total for the state is down less than one percent for the fiscal year at $56,232,063.

Other Panola County municipalities recorded sales tax collections for August 2003 and 2004 respectively as: Courtland, $1,047 and $1,175; Crenshaw, $4,018 and $3,771; Crowder, $1,186 and $587; Pope, $1,563 and $1,730.

Other nearby municipalities’ sales taxes for August 2003 and 2004 respectively were: Bruce, $32,254 and $32,126; Calhoun City, $27,848 and $23,632; Charleston, $24,396 and $27,335; Clarksdale, $235,723 and $211,553; Grenada, $308,285 and $326,725; Oakland, $2,966 and $3,013; Oxford, $310,672 and $367,529 Senatobia, $161,190 and $162,819.
    

Flu Shot Shortage
Hundreds of people were waiting in line early Tuesday morning in front of Medicap Pharmacy in Batesville to get one of the rare flu vaccines available. Medicap was the only pharmacy in Batesville to have the vaccine. Approximately 230 people received the vaccine on Tuesday. It is not known whether there will be any additional vaccines available this year due to industry cancellations.
    
 
     
Bypass Plans Discussed by Highway Dept.
Danny Walker (front) and Dan Ferguson Jr. discussed one of the proposals presented during a recent meeting at the Mississippi Highway Department in Batesville. Several bypass options were presented to the public for input.
    
By Rupert Howell
Contributing Writer

howell@panola.com

A crowd of over 100 poured over detailed maps and quizzed engineers concerning alternate proposals for State Route 6 (Highway 6) at an open forum public meeting held Tuesday afternoon in Batesville.

The estimated $160 million project (with $60 million estimated for construction of the Batesville bypass) would alleviate through traffic on Highway 6 heading east and west or widen the existing route.

A similar meeting was held the previous day in Marks, but those attending Tuesday’s meeting were concerned with the Batesville bypass portion of the proposal.

Bypass alternate plans B and C would have restricted access and run south of Batesville and the current route of Highway 6, beginning approximately at Darby Stone west of Goodhope Road on Highway 6 east, entering back into Highway 6’s existing route approximately one-quarter mile west of North Delta School west of Batesville.
    

  ALTERNATE E
    Alternate E would use the existing route of Highway 6 with widening throughout and other modifications at major intersections. Some of those modifications, such as the widening of the Highway 6 overpass, will be done regardless of which plan is chosen.
    

MDOT District Engineer Jimmy Dickerson explained that the higher cost of commercial right-of-way through the existing route could offset construction cost on the other proposals.

The meetings were held by the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Federal Highway Commission to provide a view of the proposals and hear concerns and opinions of the public.

Those present Tuesday included state and local elected officials as well as residents, landowners, business owners as well as others who may be affected by the alternate bypass sites.

"It is anticipated that the study on this proposed project will be completed in the coming year," according to information provided by MDOT.
The District Engineer predicted a public hearing in January with a mid-summer 2005 decision barring any major obstacles being found during the present environmental stage of the project.
 
Dickerson explained that the four-laning of Highway 6 to Clarksdale would complete an east west corridor that would result in increased traffic, especially trucks.

"We haven’t seen the like of traffic, especially trucks, that will be using Highway 6," Dickerson said and added that the addition of proposed Interstate 69 to Clarksdale will further increase the east west traffic flow.
    

  ALTERNATES B & C
    Alternates B and C take the same route from Highway 6 to I-55.

Those plans would have the bypass leaving the current Highway 6 at an intersection and crossing Mt. Olivet, Billy-Brent (Pine Lodge Road Extd.), and Eureka Roads.

The bypass would cross Eureka at Will Road (just south of what longtime residents remember as the Pauline Smith place) and continue to a new intersection on I-55 between Eureka and Shiloh Roads.
    

  ALTERNATE B
    At that point alternate B would go west toward Highway 35 and include an interchange near Shiloh Road. From there, alternate B goes northwest through Farrish Gravel Company Road and ties back into the existing Highway 6 west of North Delta School.
    
  ALTERNATE C
    Alternate C would also cross I-55 at a new interchange between Shiloh and Eureka Roads.

It would cross Highway 51 just south of the Pope-Courtland water tower, south of Batesville, and travel through an interchange, located between existing Highways 35 and 51, with a new relocated Highway 35 route.

From there it would cross existing Highway 35 near First Assembly of God Church heading in a northwesterly direction over Farrish Gravel Company Road and back into existing Highway 6 below North Delta School.
     

Maps of the proposals may be seen at the MDOT District Headquarters on Highway 51 in Batesville and those interested should call in advance to insure an engineer is available.