Headlines – 3/8/2005

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Panolian Headlines: March 8, 2005

  From the 3/5/05 issue of The Panolian :             

Lester Street shooting leaves victim at The Med
     Olivia Bean points to the sofa where she was sitting Saturday when a ricochet bullet landed after traveling through her apartment window. A gunshot victim is in The Med. A 20-year-old suspect has been arrested.
     Cleo Towns was sitting outside his Lester Street apartment Saturday when gunfire erupted. Gunshot victim Kenya Burkes used his apartment as cover.
By Myra Bean

The sounds of children laughing and the elderly reminiscing was rudely shattered by gunshots Saturday afternoon, March 5.

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Between 1 and 2 p.m., Cleo Towns was sitting outside his Lester Street apartment for senior citizens when he heard the shots.

After Towns instinctively hit the ground to dodge bullets, a gunshot victim, Kenya Burkes, dove through his door for cover.

Burkes was airlifted to The Med in Memphis, where he remains at press time.

Shawn Wheeler, 20, of Henry Heafner Road is charged with aggravated assault in the Saturday shooting.

Just a few minutes before the shooting, Olivia Bean had called her brother, Master Bean to ask where the Sunday school materials could be found.

The call was recorded as coming in at 12:54 on the caller ID box at Master Bean’s house.

She was sitting on her sofa when a bullet came through the upper part of her window. It landed less than two feet from where she was sitting.

"They told me the bullet was a ricochet," Bean said.

The bullet did not go through the covering, but the investigative officer found it laying on top of the cover, according to Bean.

"The police also told me this incident stemmed from something that happened last (Saturday) night," Bean said.

Bean and Towns were still shaken up after the incident but did say they would be okay.

Jones latest and last in Batesville elections
By Jason C. Mattox

As of the qualifying deadline at 5 p.m. last Friday a total of 17 candidates are seeking the six offices in the City of Batesville.

Republican candidate Danny Jones qualified to run in Ward One against Democratic incumbent Bill Dugger — the last city race to be contested.

Other races remain unchanged since our last publication.

Party primaries will be held on Tuesday, May 3. If a candidate doesn’t garner 50 percent of the vote plus one, a run-off election will be held May 17.

In races with more than one party represented, the primary winners will face off in the general election on June 7. The winners will take office July 4.

Jerry Autrey (D)
Dr. Richard Corson (R)
Gary Kornegay (I)
Hudson Still (D)
Ward One Alderman
Bill Dugger (D) *
Danny Jones (R)
Ward Two Alderman
Rufus Manley (D) *
Ted Stewart (D)
Ward Three Alderman
Jerry Cooley (D)
Leonard McGhee (D)
James Yelton (D) *
Ward Four Alderman
Michael Harbour (R)
Bobbie Jean Pounders (D) *
Wayne Thompson
Ed Allen (R)
J. Boyd Ingram (D)
Teddy Morrow (D)
Tri-Lakes gets extension to answer lawsuit
By Billy Davis

The county’s hospital trustees have additional time to answer a lawsuit filed last month against Tri-Lakes Medical Center, county supervisors learned Monday.

County Administrator David Chandler informed supervisors that the hospital’s Board of Trustees asked for and got a 30-day extension to answer charges made by Prime Care Nursing, Inc. of Greenville.

The nurse staffing company filed suit against the county-owned hospital February 7 in Panola County Circuit Court, alleging it’s owed $718,124 in past-due payments.

Chandler, who is also the board of trustees chairman, said last week that he learned of the lawsuit on February 25, meaning the trustees faced a five-day deadline for responding.

The hospital administrator, Dr. Bob Corkern, admitted last week that he did not inform Chandler or the trustees about Prime Care’s lawsuit.

Updating the supervisors on the lawsuit, Chandler said Tri-Lakes owes Prime Care about $485,000, not $718,000 as the business alleges.

"The company basically wanted to get on record that it’s owed," Chandler said regarding the lawsuit.

Tri-Lakes has been faithfully making weekly payments to Prime Care, Chandler also said, a claim that Prime Care denied last week to The Panolian.

Corkern also said last week that Tri-Lakes has been making weekly payments to alleviate its overdue bill.
After the supervisors meeting, Chandler told The Panolian he’s relying on the hospital’s bookkeeping department regarding both the $480,000 figure and the claim that Tri-Lakes is making weekly payments.

"That’s what I understand, but that’s not confirmed," Chandler said.

In other supervisors business:
Supervisors voted 4-0 to deny insurance to election commissioners after learning it would cost the county about $30,000 a year.
     District Two Supervisor Robert Avant was absent for the supervisors "first Monday" meeting. He is in Washington, D.C.
     "We’ll maybe look into their salaries," Board President Jerry Perkins said.
     Prior to the vote, Chandler said he had already met with election commissioner Bonnie Land, who asked for the insurance, and explained the costs to the county.
The Panola County Humane Society, which apparently hopes to use the old National Guard Armory, can’t use the facility for its work, supervisors learned.
     Rep. Warner McBride explained that, in order to use the facility, the organization must utilize "local and private" legislation, which must be introduced into the state legislature.
     McBride noted that the Batesville Boys and Girls Club is close to securing use of the facility through similar legislation. That legislation isn’t guaranteed to pass, he said.
     "Nothing’s guaranteed anymore," McBride told the supervisors. "The internal politics are as bad as they’ve ever been."
Supervisors approved a request from McBride to prioritize 14 county roads that need maintenance work and return with a proposed list.
     The names of the roads went unmentioned although McBride said Avant added two roads, Curtis and Nash, to the original list of 12 roads.
     Funds for the maintenance work will come from State Aid funds and applications must be turned in soon, McBride told the Board of Supervisors.
     McBride will make a recommendation about the roads at next week’s supervisors meeting, he said.
Supervisors approved a one-year lease on a dump truck and tractor from equipment company Deanco.
     The lease utilizes a clever allowance of government purchasing that will allow Deanco to buy back from the county the vehicles it leased.
     Deanco will sell the truck for $86,966.66 and buy it back for $93,550.
     The company will sell the tractor for $83,189.67 and buy it back for $89,000.
Supervisors approved the hiring of a new sheriff’s department dispatcher and agreed to boost the salaries of two more, all at $1,937 a month.
     The requests came from jail administrator Hugh "Shot" Bright.
     Supervisors also approved the hiring of a part-time trusties bus driver at $8 an hour.
Land’s retirement ‘landmark’ at
     First Security Bank
     Louise and George Land may have more time to spend riding horses with her retirement. She will be honored with a reception at First Security Bank Thursday, from 5 to 7 p.m.
By John Howell Sr.

Louise Land is not exactly riding off into the sunset.

Though during recent months she has been retiring gradually from her employer of over 36 years, she still plans to stay on the job at First Security Bank for two days a week.

But she will ride off into the sunset. Or into the sunrise, or for that matter just about anywhere else her horse, Nin?, will take her.

By the time Louise started with what was then Batesville Security Bank in 1969, bank leaders were nearing a decision that they had outgrown their original facility on Thomas Street in downtown Batesville. The bank had opened for business there in 1952 with the completion of the one-story, non-rectangular building of blond brick. Almost 40 men, most from Panola County, had worked since 1950 to organize the bank. They adopted the motto "Growing by Serving."

Their efforts were well received in the community. By the time of Louise’s employment there, assets had grown to $6.2 million, and by 1973, the building that now serves as the bank’s headquarters had been constructed at Eureka and Highway 6.

Louise started as a teller, and during these 36 years has worked almost everywhere in the bank – installment loans, mortgage loans, student loans – and marketing. Perhaps she has been most visible to us in that latter capacity.

Louise has been present at almost every ribbon-cutting, new-business-opening event and other community milestone celebration for most of 36 years.

The list of other community activities in which she has been involved is lengthy. For many years she served as chair of the chamber of commerce’s Art Mart Committee. She was active in the Panola County Chapter of the American Cancer Society and she has been liaison from the bank to local schools.

Land will continue to serve in the school liaison capacity as a part-timer. She’s a member of the South Panola Advisory Committee for Career and Technical Development. As part of the bank’s outreach into the local student community, she has also provided "Banking on Your Future" student and teacher books from the Mississippi Young Bankers, and she teaches a "Credit Education for Young Adults" course provided by the American Bankers Association, conducting tours through the bank facility as part of the course and for other interested groups.

The now-semi-retired banker expressed appreciation to bank management and to the board of directors for their support. "The bank provided me the time to do community things; … I got paid for a lot of things I enjoyed doing," she said.

The list of activities she has planned for her extra time is also long, but at least some will be devoted to riding.  Louise and her husband, George, both enjoy riding their horses, and both are involved around their farm with the fencing and pasture maintenance involved in equine care.

But their love for horseback riding has taken them far. George built a trailer that allows them to carry their horses with them when they camp. They have found many people with similar interests at horse camps in places in Montana and Iowa where, "we’ve met the most interesting people," Louise said.

With George Land, you are going to meet interesting people. He’s the kind of guy who knocked on a stranger’s door at an eastern Montana ranch and announced to the unsuspecting respondent: "I have two problems."

When George told the stranger that his problems were that his wife needed a place to ride her horse and that he needed a place to hunt pheasant, the ranch owner directed them to his barn where he would find an electrical hookup for their camper. Both problems were solved for that visit and for subsequent visits in later years, Louise said.

The Lands moved from Batesville to their farm in the Davis Chapel community in 1984 and soon became active in the historic Davis Chapel Methodist Church. They enjoy participating in All Congregations Together (ACT) which brings their small congregation in fellowship with congregations of other small churches in north Panola and in Tate County.

"It lets us meet together for things that each individual little church wouldn’t be able to do," she said.

Louise will continue to participate weekly in the Explorer’s Bible Study as she has for many years.

"I plan to volunteer at the Sardis Library because of what the library meant to me growing up in Sardis," she said. She now finds herself spending more time visiting the Sardis nursing home.

"There are some special people there; a former teacher of mine, a fellow church member and friend, and a former fellow employee from the Sardis Luggage Company," she said.

Louise also spends time with their children, Martha Goodwin of Senatobia and John Land of Sarah, and two grandchildren

That job Louise mentioned with the old luggage company was a step after her first job as a "soda jerk" at the old William and Pasley Drug Store in Sardis where she first honed her people skills. She has seen the bank grow from 13 employees in 1969 to 184 last year, and that number has certainly increased with the planned opening of First Security Bank’s 13th branch, this one in Southaven.

The change in 1993 from "Batesville Security" to "First Security" preceded rapid growth into the northwest Mississippi regional market. Assets have climbed to more than $390 million.

Banking has changed drastically during her career.

"When Louise started working at the bank, every aspect of banking, making loans, opening accounts, posting checks and balancing were manual processes," FSB President Frank West said.

"Now all of these functions are automated and highly regulated by government mandates," he added.

"There were no ATM machines, Internet banking or telephone banking," West continued.

Gone also is the bank’s original building on Thomas Street, destroyed by fire in 1999. Of the bank’s 40 original incorporators, only one survives today.

Still in demand, however, are those people skills. "Louise has a special touch with people that time hasn’t changed. She’s one of a kind." the bank president said.

Burglars raid three stores over weekend
By Jason C. Mattox

The Panola County Sheriff’s Department and Batesville Police Department have charged two men for their alleged involvement in three burglaries over the weekend.

Donta Malcom, 23, 2405 San Paula, Dallas, Tex., and Antonio Banks, 24, 701 Delmar St., Ruleville, have been charged in the burglaries of Bull Market, Jiffy No. 3 and Bilbo’s. They remain in custody at the Panola County Detention Center where they are being held without bond.

BPD Major Tony Jones said officers were called out to a burglary at Bull Market at the intersection of Highway 6 and Eureka Street at approximately 3 a.m.

"A call came in through dispatch and Captain Paul Shivers went to the scene," he said.

While Shivers and other officers were working the scene at Bull Market, a call came in that Bilbo’s on Highway 6 West had been broken into as well. BPD and Panola County Sheriff’s deputies responded to that call.

Jones said the burglary of Jiffy No. 3 on Whiskey Shoot Rd., located near the Highway 6 railroad overpass, was discovered at approximately 5:30 a.m.

Investigator Mark Whitten of the Panola S.O. said an undetermined amount of money was taken from all three locations, but it is believed that most of the money has been recovered.

Neither he or Jones would say how the burglars gained entrance to the businesses.

Jones said a pursuit beginning in Quitman County led officers to Shelby, where Malcom was apprehended and evidence was recovered.

"The investigators knew the other suspect was headed towards Texas," he said. "We put out a BOLO (be on the look out) on Banks and learned he had purchased a bus ticket.

"The bus was detained in Vicksburg until the suspect was picked up by our officers," Jones said.

Both Jones and Whitten expressed appreciation to the Cleveland Police Department, Bolivar County Sheriff’s Department, Quitman County Sheriff’s Department and Shelby Police Department for their assistance on this case.



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