Headlines – 5/3/2005

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 3, 2005

The Panolian: HEADLINES – May 3, 2005

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

Prayers Answered
     Shown above enjoying a concert by the South Panola Symphonic Band at Saturday’s Answered Prayers Benefit are (l. to r.) Debbie Redwine, her son Chris Gray and Tami Herron. Chris is one of the three beneficiaries of the event. He had just performed with the SPHS Concert Band.
Voters decide on Dems today
By Billy Davis

One race for Batesville alderman will be decided today and another could progress to a runoff when voters cast ballots in the party primary.

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Other city races, meanwhile, will begin anew like a political checkerboard, this time readying for the June 7 general election.

The race for Ward 1 alderman will be decided today between two Democrats, first-term incumbent Rufus Manley and challenger Ted Stewart.

A May 17 runoff is possible in the Ward 3 race, where incumbent James Yelton faces opposition from Jerry Cooley and Leonard McGhee.

All three candidates are running as Democrats.

The runoff is necessary if the candidates fail to pull in at least 50 percent ? plus one vote ? of the total vote.

In other races:

Mayor’s race
       The mayor’s race will narrow to three after voters choose between Democratic candidates Jerry Autrey and Hudson Still.
     The winner between Autrey and Still will move to the June 7 general election to face independent Gary Kornegay and Republican Dr. Richard Corson.
Ward 4 race
  Incumbent Alderman Bobbie Jean Pounders faces opposition from challenger Wayne Thompson. Both of them are Democrats, and the winner will face Michael Harbour in the general election.
Alderman-at-large race
  The field will narrow to two candidates after voters choose between Democrats J. Boyd Ingram and Teddy Morrow.
     The winner will face Republican Ed Allen in the general election.

Only the Ward 1 race will show zero action today at the polls. In that race, incumbent Bill Dugger will face Republican challenger Danny Jones in the general election.

Four GOP candidates in the wings
By Billy Davis

As Democratic candidates fight for a top spot in today’s party primary, Republican candidates are doing more than "waiting in the wings" until the June 7 general election.

They’re blanketing the "wings" with signs, flyers, handbills, cards…

"My shoes aren’t worn out, but they sure are dusty," said mayoral candidate Dr. Richard Corson. The 73-year-old retired OB/GYN said he’s visited almost half the city.

"Dr. Corson is the only candidate to drop by and visit us," said hair stylist Annie Ruth Putman at Angela’s Hair Designs.

Corson is among four GOP candidates on Batesville’s ballot. The other candidates are:

-Danny Jones, who is running for Ward 1 alderman

-Ed Allen, who is running for alderman-at-large

-Michael Harbour, who is running for Ward 4 alderman.

Another non-Democrat candidate is Gary Kornegay, who is running for mayor as an independent.

The general election is five weeks away.

Jones said his run as a Republican alderman has made little difference on the campaign trial.

"I had one man who wanted a yard sign and said, ‘You are running as a Republican, right?’ Everybody else tells me it doesn’t matter," Jones said.

Jones is running against incumbent Democrat Bill Dugger, who did not draw a primary opponent.

The slate of Republican candidates is the first batch of Republicans to run since 1984, when Glenn McKittrick won an alderman’s seat.

Republican Party member Anne Lynam, who is involved in the county GOP, said she is impressed by the hard work on the Republican candidates.

"I’m proud of all of them for working so hard," Lynam said. "The county party doesn’t have a lot of money to spend, so they’re doing most of the work on their own."

According to Jones, he won’t blame the "R" behind his name if he loses.

"If I lose, it’s because I didn’t work hard enough to get it," said Jones, who is reportedly running a clean race against Dugger.

All voters can fill out primary ballot
By Billy Davis

Batesville voters will go to the polls today in the Democratic primary, where they will narrow down their choices for mayor and alderman-at-large, and also choose the representatives for four alderman’s seats.

Although the primary is for Democratic candidates, it’s not just for Democrats.

All registered voters, whether Democratic or Republican, can vote in today’s primary.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The voting locations include:
Ward 1 – Batesville Fire Station No. 2
Ward 2 – Patton Lane Community Center
Ward 3 – Panola County Extension Building
Ward 4 – Batesville City Hall

A May 17 runoff election, if needed, follows today’s primary.

The election will end with a general election on June 17.

For more information about voting, contact:
– Batesville City Hall. 563-4576.
– Panola County Circuit Clerk’s office. 563-6210.
– Miss. Secretary of State’s office. 1-800-829-6786.

Poll workers for Ward 1 will be:
Thurmond Stone, Jerlene Stone, Pauline Scruggs, Latitia Trusty and Dorothy Barnett.

Poll workers for Ward 2 will be Willie B. Townsend, Ronald McMinn, Annie Lou Curtis, Ricky Brown and Deborah Gardner.

Poll workers for Ward 3 will be Percy Bruce, Barbara Bruce, Barbara Stevens, Frank Waycaster and Marguerite Williams.

Poll workers for Ward 4 will be Clayton Johnson, Lillie Johnson, Marjorie Carson, Olive Fitch, Gaynell Gates and Ada Dugger.

Candidates for mayor are
     Jerry Autrey (D),
     Dr. Richard Corson (R),
     Gary Kornegay (I) and
     Hudson Still (D).

Candidates for Ward 1 alderman are
     Bill Dugger (D) and
     Danny Jones (R).

Candidates for Ward 2 alderman are
     Rufus Manley (D) and
     Ted Stewart (D).

Candidates for Ward 3 alderman are
     Jerry Cooley (D),
     Leonard McGhee (D) and
     James Yelton (D).

Candidates for Ward 4 alderman are
     Michael Harbour (R),
     Bobbie J. Pounders (D) and
     Wayne Thompson (D).

Candidates for alderman-at-large are
     Ed Allen (R),
     J. Boyd Ingram (D) and
     Teddy Morrow (D).

Supervisors agree on contract, move closer to Tri-Lakes sale
By Billy Davis

The contract for the sale of Tri-Lakes Medical Center is on its way to Dr. Bob Corkern after winning approval from the Panola County Board of Supervisors Monday morning.

Corkern now has 14 days to return the contract to the county with any noted changes requested by him and/or his attorneys.

The sale of Tri-Lakes, therefore, could be finished by June 30.

County supervisors unanimously approved the contract after a 35-minute discussion, requesting only one change: bump the price of the "west campus," the former hospital site, from $2.5 million to $3 million.

On page 21 of the contract, the west campus is listed as selling for $2.5 million.

"I thought we all had agreed on $3 million, and it’s in the contract for $2.5 million," Board of Supervisors President Jerry Perkins said, directing his words at consultant J.C. Burns.

Burns said the mistake arose from a miscommunication between him and County Administrator David Chandler.

Corkern converted the west campus into a drug and alcohol rehab clinic called Tri-Lakes Behavioral Health, which has since become a money maker for Tri-Lakes.

The $3 million sale of Behavioral Health would be in addition to Corkern’s $28 million bid for Tri-Lakes, but his purchase of the entire hospital hinges on the sale of the west campus, Perkins said during the meeting.

After the meeting, Perkins explained that comment further. He was told by Burns that Corkern’s financial advisors believe the west campus is vital to the sale of Tri-Lakes.

"I’m assuming that’s because so much revenue is coming out of the west campus," Perkins said.

Burns and several partners from his consulting firm were present to explain the contract and answer questions. Batesville CPA Bob Crawford was also present.

Perkins also asked about the impact of the Tri-Lakes sale on hospital employees who have invested years into the state’s retirement system known as PERS.

Burns’ partner Mike Chaffin said the contract with Corkern requests that the benefits for those employees is comparable to the benefits they currently enjoy.

"According to the contract, the buyer is going to do everything he can to bring (the employees) up to speed on a non-PERS retirement plan," Chaffin said.

Although the supervisors once discussed leasing those employees to the private hospital, that can’t be done legally, Crawford said.

"I can’t see how you lease these governmental employees to a private concern," Crawford told Perkins.

The county supervisors and Burns’ partners also addressed any hospital litigation for which Corkern would assume the liability.

According to Chaffin, current litigation includes a medical malpractice suit, a hospital malpractice suit, two worker’s compensation cases, and a lawsuit from nursing staff agency Prime Care.

County will tear down old jail in Batesville
By Billy Davis

Panola County’s old jail is coming down.

The county Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 Monday morning to tear down the old jail, agreeing to use its chunks of concrete as rip-rap in creeks.

The old jail was built in 1955 when James L. Travis was the sheriff, County Administrator David Chandler told The Panolian.

Further plans for the jail went unannounced, though the county could use the property in the future to add onto the courthouse.

District 2 Supervisor Robert Avant suggested using some of the new space for extra parking.

The old jail, located at 200 Broadway Street behind the courthouse, sits on about two acres, Chandler said.

"It’s vacant. The county’s drug task force doesn’t use it anymore," Chandler said.

The county began using the current facility that houses the jail and sheriff’s department in 1995. That facility is located at the county airport on Hwy. 35. North.

The late Sheriff David Bryan and his family moved into the adjoining home of the old jail, as was the custom with the reigning sheriff, in 1976 when he won election, said his widow, Ida Bryan, who is serving as the interim sheriff.

The family moved out in 1995 into their Batesville home when the new jail was nearing completion.

The new sheriff’s department is known as the David M. Bryan Justice Complex.

County road manager Lygunnah Bean said work would begin after the area is roped off as a construction site, and utilities are turned off.

"I think we could have the job finished in four days," Bean said.

In a related matter, Ida Bryan asked for and received permission from the supervisors to name James Rudd as "under sheriff" while she serves until the November special election.

Rudd, the department’s former chief deputy, is working alongside the interim sheriff as she leads the department until the election.

Craig Sheley, an investigator at the department, replaced Rudd as chief deputy about two years ago.

Also at the supervisors meeting, the board agreed to Sheley’s request that the county rename Airport Road after the former chief deputy.

"What’s his full name?" Perkins asked.

"I think it’s Jesse James," Sheley said.

"Maybe we shouldn’t call it that," Perkins said.

The supervisors agreed on the name "James Rudd Drive."

In other county business:
Supervisors agreed to work on an improved schedule that will accommodate county justice court sessions with chancery court and circuit court sessions.
     Justice Court Judge James Appleton and court clerk Carrie Ann Davis made the request. Justice court meets four times per month, they said.
     At the county courthouse in Sardis, justice court sometimes gets booted out if other court is scheduled, Appleton said.
     "I don’t like all this arguing and I wish something could be worked out," Appleton told supervisors.
Supervisors tabled a request from the North Panola School Board to move its meetings to the courthouse.
Supervisors promised work will begin soon on improving the road and embankment near homes on Ballentine Road.
     Alvin Duncan and two neighbors from the area made the request.
     A contractor is responsible for the problem and will fix up, supervisors said.




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