| Local Yokel Show gets world-wide audience
Swindle takes show to the web so troops can have a taste of home
| Local Yokel Show host Ricky Swindle is taking his show world-wide thanks to help from Complete Computers. The show can now be heard on the Internet in a streaming audio simulcast. The show is on the air on Country 101 (100.5) every Saturday morning.
|By Jason C. Mattox
Has anyone ever wondered what would happen when a good ol’ boy went world-wide? Thanks to some help from a local internet provider, you can find out on Saturday mornings.
Ricky Swindle’s Local Yokel radio program, which airs every Saturday morning beginning at 7:30 a.m. on WBLE Country 101 FM, went world-wide on the web thanks to help from Julie Ferguson and Complete Computers.
Swindle said the idea came about as a means of staying in touch with members of the local National Guard units now deployed in Iraq. They can listen to the show via the Internet while it airs locally. That’s 4:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon in the Middle East.
"While my son-in-law (Nick Hughes) and nephew (Nick Swindle) were at Camp Shelby, we sent them a couple of the shows that my mother records," Swindle said. "Those tapes got passed all over Shelby, and I got to wondering if there was anything we could do to give them a little bit of what they were leaving.
"We have a lot of soldiers over there, and I thought they might want the chance to hear something from home."
Swindle said he approached Ferguson about the idea and offered to pay for the space on , but Ferguson refused to allow payment.
"This was something I just really wanted to do, and I told her I was willing to pay for it," he said. "But this is a super-nice woman, and she said she wouldn’t even think about taking money for it."
Thanks to the help from Complete Computers, Web surfers can go over to the site, click on a button, and hear the show live in streaming audio.
In addition to offering the troops a chance to hear what is going on in the local communities, Swindle also accepts e-mail to read on the air.
"This gives them a way to let their families know they are OK," he said. "That is very important to a lot of mamas and daddys."
While the original idea for the Internet venture was to help the troops, Swindle said he is receiving a lot of input from people all around the United States who discovered the show.
"Since we started on the web-site on January 8, we have received calls from people in Alaska, Texas and other states," he said.
The Local Yokel show will celebrate it second anniversary in March, something Swindle is very happy about.
"When the show first started, it was me and (station manager) John Ingram," he said. "A few months ago, Johnny Pace became my co-host.
"But I want to thank John and (station owner) J. Boyd Ingram for the faith they had in the show," Swindle said. "They have been a driving force in this show from the beginning, and now we are able to be heard by so many more people."
John Ingram said taking the show to the Web was a good move.
"While the core audience will always be the local people here in Panola County, the web-site button makes it possible for people that have moved away to listen to the show and keep up with what is going on at home," he said.
"I expect that the response will get bigger the more people realize the show is available on the net," Ingram added.
In another effort to help give the troops a taste of home, Swindle said he will be shipping over some of the new Local Yokel CDs when they are completed.
"The Local Yokels are going world-wide," he said. "We want our troops to know we appreciate what they are doing, and this is our way of telling them."
| Downtown, crossings may get upgrade
|By Jason C. Mattox
Railroad crossings in downtown Batesville will be completely renovated and overlayed by the spring, according to the city’s engineering firm, while the Mayor and Board of Aldermen are considering a complete asphalt overlay to the downtown square.
During the meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen on Tuesday, Mayor Bobby Baker asked for permission to have the city’s engineering firm get them a price for the asphalt.
According to Ron Merville of McBride Engineering, the cost of materials for a two inch overlay of the downtown square would total $26,000.
"That is just the cost of the material," he said. "That doesn’t include labor."
Baker said the city also needed to look at an overlay project in front of City Hall.
Ward Three Alderman James Yelton said he was all for the improvement of the downtown square, but he felt like there were other areas that needed to be looked at before a decision is made.
"We’ve got some streets that are in a lot worse condition than the square," he said. "I think we need to take a look at other streets before we decide on what to do."
Ward Two Alderman Rufus Manley said he did not think other people in the city would be happy with the decision to overlay the square and in front of City Hall.
"I think there are people in other areas of the city that will think downtown is getting all the attention while the rest of the town is being ignored," he said.
Ward Four Alderwoman Bobbie Jean Pounders said she would support the overlay, but wanted to see the city consider other areas as well.
"There is no question that I am all for it," she said. "This is something the city has put off for quite some time, and it needs to be done, but there are other streets we need to look at closely as well."
"We just don’t need to forget about the neighborhoods," Manley said.
Baker said he understood resurfacing one area and not another would cause conflict.
"I know if we do one street and not another there will be people complaining, but that’s just the way it is going to be," he said. "You can’t make everybody happy.
One major concern about the overlay was the repair of the railroad crossings.
"How is this going to work with the crossings when they get completed?" Yelton asked.
Merville explained that the railroad crossings on the downtown square are expected to be finished by March, and he believes they will work well with the overlay.
"The railroad’s owner [Canadian National] wants to get the crossings done during this time of year while they aren’t busy," he said. "So you can look for those to be completed by the end of March."
The city will advertise for the cost of the overlay and striping in the near future.
In other board business:
||Bids for concessions at the Civic Center were received from The Dog House and Boston Culinary Group. The Bids were taken under advisement.
||The city voted unanimously to send Det. Paul Shivers to polygraph school in June. The city also voted to purchase a polygraph machine once the training is completed.
||Brad Clark was appointed to serve as a member of the Batesville Planning Commission.
| Three killed in accident
|By Billy Davis
Two Como residents and a Senatobia man were killed Tuesday night in a head-on collision in north Panola County.
Panola County coroner Gracie Grant Gulledge confirmed that Como residents Albert Whitehead Jr. III, 21, and Lee Andrew Williams, 46, died in the car wreck on Hammond Hill Rd.
Edward Reed Jr., 39, of Senatobia was also killed, she said.
A spokesman for the Panola County Sheriff’s Dept. was not available for comment regarding information about the wreck.
The accident happened about a mile south of the Tate County-Panola County line, said Paul Shipman, a Hammond Hill Rd. resident.
"There’s plenty of room for two cars to pass, but it’s on top of a hill," Shipman said of the spot where the wreck occurred.
The wreck occurred about 9 p.m., Gulledge said.
Two individuals survived the wreck and were transported to a Senatobia hospital for treatment, Gulledge confirmed. Their status was unknown by press time.
| 2004-05 South Panola DECA Beauty Review
Rooftop Serenade, January 14, 2005
| Most Beautiful Brittany Helmes
| Top five finalists of the South Panola DECA Beauty Review include (l to r) Bethany Harris, fourth runner up; Allie Ware, second runner up; Brittany Helmes, Most Beautiful; Brandis Shaw, first runner up; and McKenzie West, third runner up.
| Qualifier list still growing
| By Jason C. Mattox
The field for the upcoming municipal election is beginning to take shape as four offices are now being contested.
A total of 14 candidates are seeking the six positions available in the City of Batesville. Four will seek the mayor’s office, three are in the running for alderman-at-large, three are campaigning for Ward Three’s alderman seat and two have their sights set on Ward Four’s position. All incumbents have qualified to seek re-election. Two remain unchallenged.
Mayor Bobby Baker, who has served the city for 29 years, has announced he will not seek another term.
The list of candidates for that office remains unchanged from last week, with Jerry Autrey and Hudson Still running as Democrats, Dr. Richard Corson running as a Republican and Gary Kornegay running as an independent.
With the at-large incumbent seeking the mayor’s office, Democrats Teddy Morrow and J. Boyd Ingram, along with Republican candidate Ed Allen, will face off for that seat.
The race for Ward Three’s seat will be between the Democratic trio of incumbent James Yelton and challengers Leonard McGhee and Jerry Cooley.
In the only other contested race so far, Ward Four incumbent Bobbie Jean Pounders will face challenger Wayne Thompson in her bid for re-election. Both are running as Democrats.
Ward One incumbent Bill Dugger and Ward Two incumbent Rufus Manley have qualified for a re-election campaign but have no challengers at this time.
| Old school building gets face-lift
| Construction worker Alberto Becerra tosses sand into a mortar mixer outside the old two-story building at Batesville Elementary School. The historic school is undergoing a $1.1 million renovation. The carport behind Becerra will serve as drop-off point for child development students.
| By Billy Davis
Renovation work is nearing completion on the historic "red brick building" at Batesville Elementary School.
As part of a phase-one project, the "outside envelope" of the two-story building is being completely redone, and the first floor is being readied to house the district’s child development center, said South Panola Schools Superintendent Dr. C.L. Stevenson.
A new roof and a new heating and air system are nearly complete, the superintendent said. Restoration of the windows is the final job.
The project’s price tag is about $1.1 million.
To move forward with the renovation, South Panola matched its district funds with a $450,000 historic preservation grant from the Miss. Dept. of and History.
Panola Construction Co. won the bid to renovate the old school, which dates back to the early 1900s.
Panola Construction owner Billy Burnett said he attended the school in the ’50s, graduating from the eighth grade there in 1954.
"I spent my very first day of school there," Burnett said.
The old school may be the oldest remaining building in Panola County, Stevenson said, and even if it’s not, many Panola Countians remain loyal to the building and its history.
"It means a lot to a lot of people," Stevenson said.
Regarding the school’s century-old architecture and construction, architect Girault Jones said the style was common to courthouses, masonic lodges and other large buildings of that period.
"Many people might not know that there were two substantial additions to each end," Jones said. "Before those additions, it really wasn’t that big."
Regarding the school’s famed tubular fire escape, the agency requested that it remain with the building. The school district happily agreed, Stevenson said.
"It’s not going anywhere," the superintendent said of the fire escape.
Regarding a move-in date for the center, now located behind Batesville Intermediate School, Stevenson is hoping for a move during the week of spring break, which is the second week in March.
"We’re not pushing (Panola Construction Co.) to finish in a hurry. We want to give them plenty of time to finish the job," Stevenson said. "If we miss the date, then we’ll move in the summer."
Regarding district plans for the building now occupied by the child development center, a pilot program for pre-kindergarten students will likely kick off there, the superintendent said.
The child development center will occupy most of the first floor, with a few classrooms left available for other uses, Stevenson said.
Phase two of the project is renovation of the second floor, where an auditorium will be constructed and classrooms will be renovated for teacher training.
The elementary school presently shares auditorium space with the intermediate school.
A student drop-off for handicapped children will be located on the east side of the school, where a carport is under construction. An elevator is being installed just inside the front doors.