Headlines – 1/28/2005

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 28, 2005

Panolian Headlines: January 28, 2005

  From the 1/28/05 issue of The Panolian :             

County: Bidders ‘comfortable’ with new board
Corkern denies accusations of being uncooperative
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.

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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.

City works to control erosion of Sand Ditch
By Jason C. Mattox

Batesville residents who live along the Sand Creek Ditch will soon have to worry less about their yards washing away.

City engineer Warner McBride said the city leaders had been anxious to get this project done for a number of years, but the funds were not available.

"The mayor and board wanted to see this project done to stabilize the erosion along the Sand Creek Ditch," he said.

McBride said several areas along the ditch were experiencing some serious erosion, and, when it was learned that there might be money available during this grant cycle, the city moved quickly in an attempt to get the $378,000 matching grant.

"It’s pretty common for cities to run into problems finding funding for projects sometimes," he said. "But the city kept looking for ways to get this project done, and it finally all came together."

When the engineers found out about the money, the firm photographed the area to justify the project, he explained.

Mayor Bobby Baker said the city is very excited to finally be able to get this project moving.

"This will really help control the erosion of the sand ditch," he said. "It has been getting wider and wider over the years, and this project will help put a stop to that."

"The money is coming to the city from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)," McBride said.

The city is matching the grant with "in kind" contributions of labor and materials, McBride said.

Baker said employees in the street department will be assisting with the labor on the project.

"We think with Street Superintendent Teddy Austin and his crew doing the work, it will be done properly and with less cost to the city," he said.

The mayor said the city will use a track hoe they got on a bid price to help with the work.

"We have the people and the equipment to take care of this project in-house without having to go out for bids from contractors," he said.

Work will be done in the hardest hit areas, McBride said, explaining that areas near J.P. Hudson Park, Pebble Creek subdivision and behind Batesville Intermediate School were the areas most effected by the erosion.

McBride said work on the project will begin in early March and should take two to three months to complete.

"Basically what is going to happen is the city will go in, clean the area, move and replace any dirt that might be needed," he said.

To keep the dirt from washing again, work crews will put down filter cloth to hold it in place and then the rock and grass will be put into place, McBride explained.

"We are really excited about this project and feel like it will be a big help to a lot of the residents of Batesville," he said.

Power Check
     LSP Business Manager Sandra Darby presented a check for almost $2 million on Tuesday to Panola Chancery Clerk Jim Pitcock to pay the energy-generating facility?s annual tax bill. By law, 70 percent goes to the South Panola School District, 20 percent goes to Panola County and five percent goes to the City of Batesville, Pitcock said.
Livestock show continues
By Jason C. Mattox

Unlike recent years when the District Livestock show was held in the old Show Barn, weather should not affect attendance as this year’s show will be held at the Batesville Civic Center.

"Attendance for the show has been down in recent years due to cold weather," Judd Gentry of the Mississippi State Extension Service said. "With us being in an indoor facility this year with climate control, we really hope people will come out and show their support for the young people who are showing this weekend."

Gentry said 90 hogs, 17 lambs, 30 market goats, 24 dairy goats and 166 head of beef are entered in the district show.

"This is the highest number of entrants we have had in several years," he said. "But not all of these will show up."

Winners for each category will be named throughout the three-day event, and the Grand Champions will be named on Saturday.

The show kicked off with the hogs yesterday and will continue with the goats and lambs at 3 p.m. today, and beef to be shown tomorrow beginning at 10 a.m. Admission is free.

Gentry said spectators will be allowed to bring in snacks and drinks due to the lack of a concession stand.

Giving doesn’t hurt a bit
DeGarria Crockett with Mississippi Blood Services takes a pint from Batesville Police Lieutenant Dean Jones who took time to donate blood at MBS Annual Batesville Drive. The drive began Tuesday morning at South Panola High School and lasted through Thursday.
Blood donors down from 2004
By Jason C. Mattox

Blood donors at this week’s Panola County Blood Drive have been in shorter supply than last year, Jackie Starks of Mississippi Blood Services said.

Starks said the community has shown solid support of the blood drive, but the number of units collected are down from the 2004 drive.

"We collected 231 units over the first two days this year," she said. "We did much better than that last year."

Starks said most of the people donating blood this year have been coming in after 5 p.m.

"A large number of our donors came in after they got off work," she said. "We want to thank those people for helping out with our drive."

And the support from South Panola High School where the event was held? Starks said she has been pleasantly surprised by the number of students who donated blood.

"We had a student day on Tuesday where they could give blood," she said. "Approximately 80 – 90 students donated blood."

A total of donations for the drive will be included in the Tuesday, Feb. 1 issue of The Panolian.



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