Headlines Cont. – 12/20/2005

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Panolian: INSIDE STORIES – December 13, 2005


Developers plan 18 homes in Autumnwood neighborhood
By John Howell Sr.

The Autumnwood development on the west side of Eureka Street will include 18 home lots in a semi-gated community, partner David Morgan said.

Batesville aldermen approved by a 3-1 vote the preliminary plat and construction plans during their December 6 meeting. Alderman Bill Dugger voted against approval. Aldermen Teddy Morrow, Bobbie Jean Pounders and Rufus Manley voted for it. Alderman James Yelton is undergoing rehab following a recent stroke.

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The property was formerly owned by the family of the late Van Palmertree.

Construction on the first two out-parcel lots adjacent to the street will begin soon, Morgan said. The homes will average 1,400 to 1,600 square feet and are expected to sell for under $150,000, he added.

Homes will be custom-built. Terza Land Company, Inc., in which Morgan and Jeff Autrey are partners, is developing the site through the home construction process, Morgan said. A homeowners’ association will be organized for residents which will handle mowing and landscaping duties, he added.

In other business related to residential development during the December 6 meeting of the Batesville board of mayor and aldermen, a January 3 hearing was set for amendments to a zoning ordinance governing Reeves-Williams property along Keating Road, the meeting’s minutes stated.

The zoning changes requested by David LaVergne, Casey Lipe, Larry Pratt and Frank West seek change from C-2 commercial district to R-3 multiple family dwelling district.

Zoning variance approved for air ambulance operation base
By John Howell Sr.

Actions by the Batesville board of mayor and aldermen on December 6 will apparently pave the way for a subscription-based air ambulance company to establish an operating base at Tri-Lakes Medical Center.

City officials voted 4-0 on two measures, one to allow a zoning variance for the air ambulance operation in a C-2 commercial zone and a second to allow placement of a mobile home there to house the operation, the minutes of the December 6 meeting stated.

Air Evac Lifeteam was previously turned down by the Panola County Land Use Commission when the company requested a land use variance that would allow it to place an operation on Highway 6 East near Wildwood subdivision.

Residents of the subdivision protested the establishment of the air ambulance in close proximity to their homes because of the noise of helicopter takeoffs and landings.

Air Evac Lifeteam is a for-profit air ambulance company which typically sells annual membership for its services for $50.

"The membership program allows Air Evac Lifeteam to serve smaller communities that otherwise might not be able to support an air ambulance service," according to its Web site. The company seeks no additional payment from members beyond what the patient’s private or public insurer pays, according to its Web site.

The company operates over 50 bases in nine central and southeastern states. Its only present Mississippi base was established in September in Corinth.

Man injured in drive-by shooting; police investigating
By Billy Davis

Batesville Police detectives are still investigating a December 15 drive-by shooting that left one man wounded.

Larry Robinson Jr., 28, was hit in the left hand and legs by a single round of birdshot fired from a shotgun.

The suspects included a driver and a shooter, Deputy Police Chief Tony Jones said.

The shooting occurred about 7:25 p.m. on Martin Luther King Drive, said the deputy chief.

The victim was transported to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford, where he is in stable condition, said Jones.

"From the x-rays I saw at the hospital, it looked like birdshot," the deputy chief said.

The incident occurred between Patton Lane and Armstrong Street, near the home of Robinson’s father.

Police urge citizens to be alert following intersection incident
By Jason C. Mattox

The Batesville Police Department is cautioning residents to be aware of their surroundings following an incident Friday evening when a woman, stopped at an intersection, was approached by masked men.

According to Lt. Col. Tony Jones, the woman was on her way to work from her home and noticed a car sitting at the intersection of Trianon Road and Keating Road.

As the woman came to a stop behind it, a second car came up behind her and boxed her in.

"At that time, two suspects wearing gloves, bubble jackets and ski masks came up to the doors of her car," Jones said. "Thank goodness she had her doors locked."

The suspects fled the scene when another car came to the intersection.

"We don’t know what their intentions were," Jones said. "We can speculate the worst, but the truth is we just don’t know what they wanted.

"We just want people to be as careful as possible," he added.

In other police business:

Investigators are looking into a pair of burglaries which took place late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

Unclaimed Furniture, located just off Highway 6 East near Powell’s Country Store, was burglarized after suspects gained entry by kicking in the front door.

"We aren’t really sure what items might be missing at this point," Jones said.

The second burglary occurred at Catalog Sales. A trailer was stolen from the business.

"We are still investigating both of these incidents," he said.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Jones at 563-5653.

Calvary Baptist Church members back home again
     The Calvary Baptist Church choir sings during a worship service Sunday, marking the congregation’s return to their property at the corner of Trianon and Keating Road. A new building has been completed which replaced the one destroyed by fire in April, 2003.
By Angie Ledbetter

Members and visitors of Batesville’s Calvary Baptist Church got to enjoy the first worship service in the new church building on Sunday, December 18 after waiting two and a half years.

Approximately 500 attended the morning worship service with special music, a sermon presented by Pastor Paul Middleton and a special slide show.

The slide show began with pictures of the fire that destroyed the relatively new church building in April of 2003. Tears were flowing from many in the congregation’s as pictures were shown. The pictures reflected each week’s progress as the new church was being built.

The original Calvary Baptist Church was organized in October of 1952 on Stage Coach Road in Batesville, according to Boyd Perkins. Perkins and his wife, Martha Rose, are the only remaining charter members of the church.

He remembered that the church had a sawdust floor and they did not have a pastor.

"This building is the fourth one that I have been in and it is beautiful," Perkins said. "We have come a long way. The Lord sure has blessed us."

The first pastor was L.G. Camp in 1953, according to Perkins.

The next ones to join the church after it was organized was James "Shorty" and Corrine Johnson in 1953, Perkins said.

Johnson didn’t get to worship in the new building Sunday, but his funeral service was the first to be held in the new building.

"Mr. Shorty" had been a big part of Calvary Baptist for years and was always very special to the children.

Known as "Tootsie Roll Man," he gave Tootsie Rolls to children for years. He was giving them out 46 years ago and has continued for generations. Amanda Ledbetter, 21-years-old, got them from him as did her daddy, Jamie, 46 years ago while growing up in Calvary Church.

Contractor Glen McCain said construction on the building began in June 2004. He said that it took 16 months to build.

"We guessed that it would take about 14 months, so it took about two months longer than what we thought," said McCain.

"We were real happy with the results. It pretty well came out like we expected it to," he added

Several changes were made from the other building, according to McCain.

Basically, the church went from 23,000 square feet to 53,000 square feet.

"So we more than doubled the size and added the fellowship hall," McCain, who is also a member of the church, said.

"We doubled the capacity in the sanctuary and we probably doubled the amount of Sunday school rooms," he added. "Basically, we doubled everything that we had"

The church contains a choir rehearsal room it never had before.

"The children’s area is top notch," McCain said. "It includes security and space for everybody and space for activities in the rooms."

The builders went an extra step on the sound system.

"That was one of the things that we wanted to make sure that it was first class," the contractor said.

Deacon Calvin Keeton said the church members have kind of been like the children of Israel.

"For two and a half years we have roamed and hadn’t had a home," Keeton said. "This is our home on this hill. We lost it and we were scattered all over Batesville, but the good people of Batesville First Baptist Church, First United Methodist Church, The Civitan, The Security Bank, and Mr. Polk has helped us out and we really appreciate it very much.

"But this morning, we came home," Keeton continued. "This is our home, we love it, and we love our people. We are one big family and our whole family got to come home this morning."

Sherry Elmore served on the building committee. She said the committee had to be very committed to meet every single week.

"It really got us focused not on our personal wishes, but what the church would benefit most from and what would bring Glory to God more," she said.

The pastor, Paul Middleton said that the last two and a half years have not been easy.

He praised the community including First United Methodist Church, Civitans and First Baptist Church who shared their facilities and paid utilities.

"They just opened up their doors and said ‘here’. First Presbyterian Church was one of the first to come to us after the fire and say we want to help," Middleton said.

On Sunday night, the church enjoyed fellowship with food Sunday night, the first time in their new fellowship hall. Afterwards, everyone went into the sanctuary and enjoyed the slide show one more time.

Other building committee members besides McCain and Elmore include Joe Havens, Ken Bloodworth, Janice Dulany, Marcia Kilpatrick, Brady McMillen, and Larry Pratt.

Scammers ask for contributions in name of Boys and Girls Club
By John Howell Sr.

Officials with the Sardis and Como Boys and Girls Clubs are concerned that scammers are using their name to solicit funds.

Sardis and Como Boys and Girls Club secretary Joann Wesley said she received reports that two or three young boys had visited several businesses on Main Street in Sardis last week seeking donations to the club. No one representing the club is seeking donations, she said.

Sardis police and banks have been notified, Wesley added.

The boys may have also visited homes in Sardis soliciting funds. Another Boys and Girls Club official received a report that people were visiting residential areas, asking for donations.

Wesley encouraged anyone who is approached by individuals asking for donations for the Sardis and Como Boys and Girls Club to call police.



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