Headlines Cont. – 9/16/2005

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 16, 2005

The Panolian: INSIDE STORIES – September 16, 2005


Vick dumps garbage service while seeking compensation for customers
By Billy Davis

He was garbage pickup when garbage pickup wasn’t cool, but longtime garbage man Conner Vick has ended his business after a quarter-decade of messy, personal work.

Vick, 74, stopped his private garbage pickup August 31, quitting after 23 years of pickup service.

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The Panola County Board of Supervisors held a recessed meeting with Vick on Wednesday, September 14, where it heard him request "compensation" for delivering his customers to the county.

"I would like three months pay on each customer," Vick told supervisors.

Solid Waste manager Dean Joiner told supervisors Vick had 485 customers when he quit his service.

Vick said he charged $10.50 for customers 80 years and older and $11.50 for everybody else. Some lake customers who lived in weekend cabins got a half-rate on their service, he said.

If Vick gets his wish, a payment to him could be around $15,000 ? the cost of three months’ service at $10.50 each for 485 customers.

The supervisors took no action on the request, however, and District 4 Supervisor Jerry Perkins cautioned Vick that such a transaction is questionable under the law.

District 3 Supervisor Mack Benson told Vick the county doesn’t need to pay him for the customers since they need the service anyway.

"You can’t get anybody to buy (the business) from you?" Benson asked Vick.

"Do you want it?" Vick asked back.

"No sir, I do not," Benson said.

Vick told supervisors he stumbled into the business by accident when he was working under a clean-up contract at Sardis Lake. When he began hauling off garbage, word spread about "ol’ Vick" and his service.

Although Vick’s garbage service was a mom and pop operation, he reminded supervisors Wednesday that he was first in the county to begin a pickup garbage service.

County supervisors at the time had yet to progress to a pickup service and instead allowed dumping all across the county. The county later moved to roadside dumpsters before bidding out the roadside service. The county solid waste department eventually took the place of the contracted business.

"The states made fun of our garbage when they saw what we were doing," Vick said. "I asked the county to furnish garbage cans but they wouldn’t do it."

Prior to his meeting with supervisors, Vick told The Panolian he was quitting due to his age and because he had trouble finding good workers.

"In years past I had workers stay 10 to 15 years," Vick said. "Now it’s hard to find good workers because those without a job don’t want to work."

In recent weeks, the county’s solid waste department has been scrambling to add Vick’s customers to the county’s pickup service, Joiner told The Panolian.

"We’re working as fast as we can. People are being patient with us," he said.

After Vick’s departure from the meeting, Joiner suggested that the county invest in a small vehicle that can retrieve cans in hard-to-reach areas where the trucks cannot venture.

The vehicle is called a "retriever satellite" and could fit on the body of a small pickup. It costs between $50,000 to $60,000, Dean said.

Dean also suggested to supervisors that the solid waste department begin taking off on holidays since their work on those days is confusing customers.

"The last two to three holidays we were working but people didn’t put out their cans," Joiner said.

The supervisors took the vehicle purchase and holiday suggestion under advisement..

SPD arrests Mettesave burglary suspect
By Jason C. Mattox

A Grenada man remains in jail after being arrested by the Sardis Police Department for theft of prescription medications early Saturday morning.

Sardis Police Chief Mike Davis said Gerry Lewis Smith, 44, of Grenada was arrested with approximately $4,100 worth of pills in his possession.

Davis said his department received a call reporting a break-in at Mettesave Drugs at 4:30 a.m.

"Officer Otis Jones responded to the call at Mettesave, and when he arrived, the suspect was still in the store," he said.

Davis said the suspect apparently gained entrance to the pharmacy by breaking the glass of the back drive-thru window.

"The suspect fled the building on foot when Officer Jones arrived," he said. "Jones pursued him on foot briefly."

Davis said Smith soon reached his vehicle, a ?99 S-15 pick-up truck, and attempted to make an escape.

"Officer Jones followed him until the truck crashed near the interstate," he said. "He was arrested at that time and remains incarcerated at the county jail."

Services for Frances Marett are Saturday in Sardis
By John Howell Sr.

 Funeral services for Sara Frances Gammon Bishop Gammon Marett, 96, will be Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Sardis United Methodist Church.

She died Wednesday, September 14 in North Oak Regional Medical Center in Senatobia.

Visitation is today from 5-8 p.m. at Moore Funeral Home who is in charge of arrangements. Burial will be in Rose Hill Cemetery.

(Please see full obituary in Tuesday, September 20 edition of The Panolian.)

Panolian clarifies subscription problems
Many Panolian subscribers whose subscriptions were due in August and September may have been canceled without receiving renewal notices, according to managing editor Rupert Howell.

"We have a very sophisticated computer program that is supposed keep an accurate record of our subscriber list with a lot of bells and whistles," Howell said. "However, we apparently are not sophisticated enough to quickly locate and anticipate problems that can arise from this system."

Subscribers who have not received recent papers and are not sure whether their subscription is delinquent should call the office at 563-4591 and have their subscription date verified. The expiration date also appears on the address label of each paper.

"At least part of the problem began in 2003 during a subscription drive when new subscribers were entered into the system improperly," Howell said.

"Many of those subscribers were not billed in 2004 and were automatically cut off in the last couple of months without notice," he added.

"We are in the process of correcting the problem and hope to send out proper notices for August, September and October soon," Howell said while both apologizing for any inconveniences and asking for patience until the problem is corrected.


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