Headlines – 1/20/2006

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 20, 2006

The Panolian: HEADLINES – January 20, 2006

  From the 1/20/06 issue of The Panolian       

Shaffer proposes 9th grade building
By Rupert Howell

A separate building adjacent to South Panola High School for ninth grade students was proposed to school trustees by Superintendent Keith Shaffer at the January school board meeting Tuesday.

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Shaffer said the proposed building would be next to the high school library and be self-contained although it would allow students access to the present cafeteria and advanced classes in the current high school.

A preliminary drawing displayed by Shaffer showed 10 classrooms in the new facility as well as an auditorium. Shaffer emphatically stated that an auditorium would be a "luxury" item and said the recently air conditioned junior high auditorium would serve most auditorium needs.

Shaffer explained that increased numbers in lower grades and high student to teacher ratios would necessitate additional classroom space within the next two years at the high school.

Board President Lygunnah Bean told board members that Superintendent Shaffer had shown the need and would now have to come up with a recommendation for funding the additional classroom space.

Shaffer mentioned several possible funding mechanisms but was not specific past the anticipated need for classrooms.

In other school business:

Shaffer mentioned property near the high school for sale between Oak Ridge Road, Tiger Drive and Keating Road priced at $15,000 per acre.
     Trustees implied they were not interested in the property.
Board members heard a report from Junior High Principal Darrell Tucker that his building had no leaks and that work was still being done on air conditioning in the building.
Also mentioned was lack of classroom space at Pope, roofing issues at different buildings in the district and wants for some in the district including a baseball field, soccer field and a press box.
Car chase leads to felony charge,
   trooper wreck
By Billy Davis

A Curtis man is facing a felony count and several misdemeanor charges after allegedly taking law enforcement officers on a high-speed car chase through Batesville.

Johnathan C. Inman, 1833 Curtis Locke-Station Road, lost control of his vehicle west of Batesville to end a Saturday night pursuit, said Miss. Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Scott Swanson.

Inman’s vehicle bumped into a cruiser driven by state trooper Bubba Bryan, Swanson said, then swerved off Highway 6 near Dummy Line Road.

"Bubba went up beside him to get him to pull over, and the subject swerved and hit him, and off in the ditch he went," the spokesman said.

The Batesville Police Department is charging Inman with felony fleeing, reckless driving, and two traffic citations for running red lights.

The highway patrol is charging the suspect with first-offense DUI.

The police department case against Inman was bound over to a grand jury Wednesday in Batesville City Court.

The police department will push for the felony charge against Inman after he put lives at risk, said Deputy Chief Tony Jones.

"The felony fleeing law is a relatively new law, and we’re glad they passed it because fleeing from police puts people’s lives in danger," Jones said.

The deputy chief said Batesville police officers began to pursue Inman on Highway 6 East in Batesville and ended the chase at the city limits, where state troopers involved in the chase continued the pursuit.

State trooper Sgt. Tim Douglas collided with a vehicle while in pursuit of the suspect, Swanson also confirmed.

The driver of that vehicle, Tim Whitworth, said he had slowed to make a left turn at the WBLE radio station when Douglas’ cruiser hit his Dodge truck near the left front tire.

Whitworth said he is sore but otherwise uninjured after the wreck.

Douglas, who was also unhurt in the wreck, described his highway patrol cruiser as "close to totalled" following the wreck.

If Inman’s alleged flight from police had caused bodily injury, he would have faced a minimum three-year prison sentence for the felony fleeing charge, state statutes show.

Since no one was injured, however, Inman faces a maximum $5,000 fine or five years in prison, or both, with no minimum sentence or fine.

Livestock show this weekend
     at Batesville Civic Center
The Panola County Livestock show begins at 9 a.m. Saturday with the Goat Show followed by Beef Breeding at the Batesville Civic Center at I-55 and Highway 6 E.

Sponsored by the Panola County Cattleman’s Association and other contributors through the county’s Extension Service, there is no charge for admission and a concession stand will be open during the event.

The Northwest Mississippi Livestock Association will sponsor the district meet the following weekend.

Aldermen agree (again?) to name street
     for Deck Stone
By Jason C. Mattox

A street behind the Wal-Mart Supercenter will be named Stone Drive in honor of retired physician Dr. Deck Stone.

Batesville’s mayor and board of aldermen unanimously approved the name at their Tuesday, January 17 meeting.

The vote came after Daniel Cole, deputy Panola County civil defense director, requested that city officials give names to several un-named streets in the city.

After closely examining a map Cole provided, assistant city attorney Colmon Mitchell said he believed the only public street on Cole’s list was the one located behind Wal-Mart.

Ward 4 Alderman Bobbie Jean Pounders said she thought the city had already named the road for Stone.

"I know we have discussed it at one time or another," she said. "But since it hasn’t been done, I think we should."

Cole asked whether another road behind Tri-Lakes Medical Center was public, saying it needed to be named so Air Evac, the air ambulance service currently establishing a base near the hospital, could proceed with permits.

"I know the city has been handling the upkeep of the road," Pounders said. "But I don’t know if it is our road or not."

Mitchell said he was unsure if the road was included in the 25 acres the city and county sold with the hospital.

Ward 2 Alderman Rufus Manley suggested approaching the hospital about dedicating the road if it is private property.

Board members instructed Mitchell and engineer Blake Mendrop to look into the ownership of the road.

All Smiles
     Tyler Riley, a pre-schooler at Batesville Elementary School, mugs for the camera in Harriet Gorove’s art class on a recent morning. Gorove was teaching the students a matching game of famous artworks.
Civic center needs 5 flexible part-timers
By Jason C. Mattox

Batesville aldermen on Tuesday authorized Civic Center Director Roy Hyde to hire five part-time workers to replace workers who have resigned.

The part-time employees are called upon to clean the building between and before events.

"It is hard to keep people for a long period of time if you can’t offer them something full-time," Hyde said. "We also have to find people that can fit the hours into their schedule, because the hours we need them can be a little crazy."

"Basically, I want permission to hire five part-time employees to get a new crew together," he said.

Aldermen granted Hyde’s request to hire five part-time employees and also authorized him to advertise for part-time help as needed.

This weekend the center will host the Panola County Livestock Show, and next weekend the Northwest District Livestock Show will be held at the facility, Hyde said.

On February 4 an arena cross event is planned and March 3-4 the center will host a rodeo. The final event discussed was a monster truck rally on March 17-18.

Would-be thieves thwarted by bigger, stronger door at Highway 51 pawn shop
By Jason C. Mattox

There was a breaking – but no entering – at the Hock It To Me pawn shop Thursday morning in Batesville.

According to Col. Tony Jones, the suspect or suspects broke out the door window but never gained entry into the building.

A second door of iron bars was locked behind the glass door.

"The owner called in the incident at 7:39 a.m.," Jones said. "The only thing reported missing was a boat seat from out back of the business."

Jones said no arrests were made and the incident remains under investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police department at 563-5653.

Got a backhoe? Trackhoe? Dump truck?
Aldermen vote to re-readvertise for bids
By Jason C. Mattox

Batesville city leaders again voted to rebid materials and hourly machine rates for which only one bid was received. Bids on several items were taken under advisement.

The decision came at Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

City leaders first voted December 20 to readvertise for bids for supplies and services for which only one or no bids were received.

Aldermen reconsidered bids on the following supplies: coated precast manholes, metal pipe and culverts, polyethylene pipe and culverts, gas meters and regulators, chlorine, sodium fluoride, insecticide for mosquitoes, concrete, three bulldozers (hourly rate), motor patrol (hourly rate), three trackhoes (hourly rate), two tractor and pans (hourly rate), tractor and a lowboy trailer (hourly rate), large trench box (weekly and monthly rates), dump truck (hourly rate) and 65 percent granulated chlorine.

"We rebid the items last time that only got one bid," Ward 2 Alderman Rufus Manley said. "So I think we need to do the same here."

Ward 1 Alderman Bill Dugger asked what the city would do if they continued to rebid and only received one bid.

"You would be able to handle that situation as an emergency," Assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell said.

Aldermen also voted to re-advertise for several items at the Batesville Civic Center including: the enclosure of the staging area and the south ramp, 70 round banquet tables, and an electronic messaging center.

"After inspecting the bids for the tables," BCC director Roy Hyde said, "I believe we need to rebid them to make sure everyone is bidding the same item. We need to be able to compare apples to apples."

"I think rebidding might attract more interest and get us a few more bids to look at," he said.

Burn ban, fires still going strong
By Billy Davis

A county-wide burn ban remains in effect despite recent rains.

More than two inches of rain have fallen since the ban was put in place January 9, but dry winter vegetation and high winds make grass fires very likely, deputy civil defense director Daniel Cole said Thursday.

Unless stopped by the Panola County Board of Supervisors, the burn ban will continue through February 9.

Cole said the ban has greatly slowed the number of grass fires in the county, though volunteer fire departments in the Bynum and Mt. Olivet communities fought grass fires during the first weekend of the ban.

Firefighters Thursday were also battling several wind-swept grassfires apparently started by a roaming arsonist.

"The good thing about the rain is that maybe things will start to green in the next month or so," Cole said. "But right now everything on top of the ground is dead, and some pretty strong wind gusts are predicted for the weekend."



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