| Supervisors name Franklin to hospital board
|By Billy Davis
The Panola County Board of Supervisors named a third person to the county hospital board Friday afternoon, January 21, marking the supervisors’ third and final pick to the five-person board.
District Two Supervisor Robert Avant pushed for and got the board appointment of Greg Franklin, district human resources manager at the Miss. Deptartment of Transportation in Batesville.
At the Friday meeting, Avant made the motion to appoint Franklin and received a second from District 1 Supervisor James Birge.
Avant said the appointment of Franklin, who is black, was needed to add racial diversity to the board while it deals with the pending sale of the Tri-Lakes Medical Center.
Franklin, 46, told The Panolian he’s eager to work for the community.
"I’m delighted to serve in a capacity where I might be a benefit to the residents of Panola County and surrounding communities," Franklin said.
Following a January 13 joint executive session, the Batesville Board of Aldermen named city clerk Judy Savage to the hospital board while county supervisors appointed Patricia Tramel, a Batesville retiree.
The city and county’s action effectively restructured the hospital board, removing trustees Ken Bloodworth, Joe Thomas, Mark Larson and George Randolph.
The supervisors appointed County Administrator David Chandler to the hospital board in December, putting him into a vacant seat once held by trustee Larry Pratt.
The supervisors voted 4-0 to appoint Franklin, who lives in the Concord community in Avant’s district.
District Five Supervisor Bubba Waldrup was absent for the January 21 meeting due to a death in the family.
Board President Jerry Perkins told Avant that he, too, supported naming a minority to the hospital board but wanted to give the City of Batesville more time to name its second pick.
"I want to give the city a little more time to find their person," Perkins told Avant. "We would have three appointments and they would have only one."
"We own sixty percent of the facility," Avant responded, referring to the 60/40 ownership split between Panola County and the City of Batesville.
After the meeting, Perkins acknowledged that Avant’s nomination caught him by surprise.
"I did not expect to discuss appointing anybody," Perkins said.
The supervisors originally met to discuss leasing Mack trucks. The board acted on that issue, voting to accept the lease program, and afterward Avant announced his intention to nominate Franklin.
| County-wide cleanup gains section captains
|By Billy Davis
A county-wide cleanup of county roads is slowly gaining ground, with volunteer captains now in place to lead the clean-up troops.
The Cleanup Panola Program, or C.U.P., is scheduled to kick off in early spring after volunteers organize through January and February.
One of the cleanup captains is Curtis resident William Parker, who plans to attack Nash Road before advancing on Seven, Curtis and other roads in the area.
Couches, tires, beer bottles, and soda and beer cans litter the roadsides, Parker said.
"Every last one of them is bad, and Nash Road is one of the worst," Parker, 55, said of the roads around his home.
The C.U.P. Program is still in its first phase and is still on schedule, said organizer Lygunnah Bean, Panola County’s road manager. The first step is organizing a "foundation" of volunteers, beginning with leaders such as Parker.
"The volunteers are going to be the anchor to the whole thing," said Bean, "If people see a well-organized operation with capable people in place, then they’ll be eager to help."
The C.U.P. captains will meet next week to discuss the next phase, which is calling for volunteers, Bean said.
The names and phone numbers of the captains will be ready for publication next week.
The list of C.U.P. captains began with four and has since grown to six, a change due to the sheer size of Panola County. The county has about 900 miles of paved and unpaved roads.
Bean and co-leader Dean Joiner originally divided the county into four sections, with Hwy. 35 and Hwy. 51 serving as dividing lines.
Each captain would have been responsible for one area.
"We had to back up and take a second look because it’s such a big county," said Joiner, who heads the county’s solid waste department.
The two new C.U.P. captains will handle county-road cleanups in the middle area of Panola County, roughly around Hwy. 35.
| Blood drive begins in high school library today
|Due to the overwhelming interest in this week’s Panola County Community Blood Drive, Mississippi Blood Services (MBS) is extending the drawing hours from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Tuesday, January 25 and from 12 – 8 p.m. on Wednesday, January 26 and Thursday, January 27. The drive will be in the library at South Panola High School.
All donors will receive a specially designed T-shirt.
Mississippi Blood Services’ costumed character, Buddy the Bloodhound, visited Batesville Elementary School on January 19. During his presentation, Buddy and an MBS representative explained the four life-saving components of the blood, how they are used inside the body and the importance of donating blood. All students who recruit an adult to donate will receive a miniature Beanie Buddy the Bloodhound.
Door prizes were donated by Dale’s Smokehouse, Thermos, Maria J. Prather Designs, Stubbs Department Store, Framed Picture, Cracker Barrel, Blossoms, The Candle Shoppe, Perry’s, Lakeway, BancorpSouth, Entergy, Gold Strike Casino, First Security Bank, the VFW, Fitzgerald’s Casino and Lowe’s to be given away throughout the three-day event. More local businesses will be donating items to be given away during the blood drive.
Nearly 130 National Guard troops from Panola County have been deployed to serve in Iraq. The local Army National Guard will be collecting supplies at the blood drive to send to these troops. Items being collected include AA and D batteries, disposable razors, Tylenol, Wet Wipes, Blistex, sunscreen, stationery, black ink pens and phone cards consisting of a minimum of 120 minutes. Each "care package" will cost $15 to ship. Those wanting to make a monetary contribution to help offset the cost of shipping may do so at the blood drive.
All donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and have a valid ID.
"Mississippi Blood Services receives phone calls from families who have loved ones in the hospital in need of blood and blood components weekly," said Todd Sing, MBS donor resources director. "We are asking Panola County to help us answer their calls and to protect the blood supply in Panola County this week."
MBS offers a "mini physical" before each donation to ensure the donation process is safe for the donor and the recipient. A full round of blood tests is performed after each donation.
For more information, call (800) 817-7449.
| Bully for You
| Panola County Livestock Show judge Lance Newman discusses the finer points of livestock with two and half-year-old Adison McCurdy who won second place in the "seven and under" showmanship category last Saturday. She was assisted by her aunt, Meredith McCurdy.
The district livestock show begins Thursday, January 27 and continues through Saturday at the new Batesville Civic Center at Highway 6 and I-55.
| Civic Center to host District Show
| The 2005 Northwest District Livestock Show begins Thursday, January 27 at the Batesville Civic Center with the Market Hog Show beginning at 3p.m. and concludes Saturday with the beef animal events.
4-H/FFA judging contest begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday followed by the Market Lamb Show at 3 p.m.
The Market Goat Show follows and the Dairy Goat Show will conclude Friday’s events.
The Market Steer Show will lead Saturday’s events beginning at 10 a.m. The Commercial Steer Show will follow before the Beef Breeding Show.
Beef Showmanship will conclude Saturday’s events according to information provided by the Northwest Livestock Association.
The Civic Center is located on Highway 6 east of Batesville and I-55 near Wal-Mart and Tri-Lakes Medical Center.
| Election qualifiers remain unchanged
| By Jason C. Mattox
With no new qualifiers at Batesville City Hall by press time Monday morning, the field for the upcoming municipal election seems to remain unchanged.
Here is a list of qualifiers and the offices they are seeking.
ALDERMAN WARD 1
Bill Dugger (D)*
ALDERMAN WARD 2
Rufus Manley (D)*
ALDERMAN WARD 3
Jerry Cooley (D)
Leonard McGhee (D)
ALDERMAN WARD 4
Bobbie Jean Pounders (D)*
Wayne Thompson (D)
Ed Allen (R)
J. Boyd Ingram (D)
Teddy Morrow (D)
Jerry Autrey (D)
Dr. Richard Corson (R)
Gary Kornegay (I)
L. Hudson Still (D)
* Indicates incumbent
| Two die in wreck on Curtis Road
| By Billy Davis
Funeral services will be held today for two brothers-in-law who died in an automobile accident over the weekend.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. at Wells Funeral Home in Batesville for Calvin Eugene "Bubba" Russell, Jr., 31, and Thomas Bob "Bubba" Anthony III, 28.
Interment will be at Forrest Memorial Park in Batesville.
Russell and Anthony were killed at midnight, January 22, when their vehicle collided with an 18-wheeler on Curtis Rd., said county coroner Gracie Grant Gulledge.
Russell was the driver of the vehicle, a Ford pickup truck, said Chief Deputy Sheriff Craig Sheley.
The driver of the 18-wheeler, whose name was not released, was uninjured in the crash, Sheley said.
No charges are pending against the driver, Sheley said.
Russell and Anthony were self-employed construc-tion workers.
| Project Homestead offers assistance to the community
| By Jason C. Mattox
A relatively new group in Panola County is working to provide assistance and information to those in need.
Project Homestead of Panola County is part of a statewide initiative forming partnerships to protect vulnerable children and adults from abuse, according to literature provided by the organization.
The organization is sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Human Services’ division of Family and Children’s Services.
"Project Homestead also supports family preservation and community living while working to prevent family violence and disruption," Project Homestead committee member Michelle Keel said.
Keel said the goal of each Project Homestead community task force is to have representatives like local school officials, doctors, public officials, consumers, law enforcement officers and parents working together.
"Project Homestead is people working together to provide families with safety and well-being," she said. "The individuals involved work together to combine skills and resources with others who have the same concerns. "
Keel said the task force committee members will meet and determine if there is a need and will work to find a way of meeting that need.
"There are things we think the people of Panola County might need help with or information about, and we work to make sure the community is served in the best way possible," she said.
One thing Project Homestead works to provide is legal advice for those at the poverty level or over the age of 60.
"The legal advice is provided by Rural Legal Services and is free to people that meet the criteria," she said. "We want to be able to do as much as we can to help those that need us."
Keel said the task force really stepped up at Christmas after it was made aware of children in the community who were not going to have a Christmas.
"Some of our members from DHS called and told us there was still a large number of children who hadn’t been adopted at Christmas," she said. "When we were made aware of this we immediately went to work.
"We went door-to-door to local businesses and solicited assistance," she said. "When we were done, businesses had contributed almost $3,000 to the cause."
In addition to the legal services and the project at Christmas, Project Homestead recently held a seminar to inform local citizens about the changes coming to the state’s Medicaid program in 2006.
"The whole idea for this was brought up because we felt like people needed to be made aware of the cuts and changes that were coming to the program," she said. "We work with a lot of the people who are on Medicaid and we wanted to help them get their questions answered."
For more information about the Medicaid cuts, Keel encourages people to contact Latrice Reed at 1-877-489-6911 or Linda Clark at 662-561-4100.
"We want the people of this community to be taken care of in every way possible, whether it is providing services or just answering questions," she said.