Headlines – 2/3/2006

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 3, 2006

The Panolian: HEADLINES – February 3, 2006

  From the 2/3/06 issue of The Panolian       

Wanted man slips past dogs, ‘copter
By Billy Davis

A Panola County man slipped away from a five-hour manhunt Tuesday and is still wanted by the Panola County Sheriff’s Department and the Como Police Department.

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Barcley Lewis, 32, is a suspect in the burglary of two homes on Compress Road, east of Como, and has warrants for his arrest, sheriff’s investigator Barry Thompson said Wednesday.

In Como, an arrest warrant alleges Lewis forged his grandmother’s Social Security checks after she passed away, said Police Chief Cleve Gale.

Thompson described Lewis as a light-skinned black male with a stocky build. His height is 5 foot, 5 inches and his weight is about 180 pounds.

Lewis fled capture after Sheriff’s Deputy Earl Burdette spotted the suspect and performed a traffic stop Tuesday morning in Batesville.

"When Deputy Burdette asked Lewis to turn the vehicle off, the suspect fled," Thompson said.

Lewis then led deputies on a chase through north Panola County, leaving behind his car on Old Panola Road when a deputy blocked the road.

Thompson said law enforcement officers searched the area south of Highway 315 and north of Davis Chapel Road from about 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. before calling off the manhunt.

A helicopter unit and two K-9 units from the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department joined the manhunt, Thompson said, but the suspect had at least a 30 minute headstart when the dogs hit his trail.

"My belief is that he made it to (Highway) 315 and got picked up," Thompson said. "He maybe called someone with a cell phone."

Anyone with information about Lewis’s whereabouts should call the Panola County Sheriff’s Department at 563-6230.

Panola job figures include county’s
     ’05 losses, gains
By Billy Davis

Panola County ended 2005 with an unemployment rate of 9.9 percent in December, which was slightly above the county’s average for the year.

The Miss. Department of Economic Security (MDES) released the December figures last week as well as its Annual Labor Force Report that detailed Panola’s 2005 job market.

The December rate was actually an 11-month high after the county’s unemployment rate in 2005 began at 10.6 percent in January then dropped.

Panola’s unemployment rate dipped to a year-long low of 7.6 percent in September, MDES figures show.

The 2005 average unemployment rate for Panola was 8.9 percent.

According to the labor force report, the largest job increase in 2005 came from retail jobs, which grew by 190 positions during the year and averaged 1,680 jobs, MDES figures show.

Panola County’s manufacturing jobs, which account for one fourth of jobs here, averaged 2,270 filled positions for the year, dropping by 40 jobs from January ’05 to December ’05.

Government jobs, the second largest number in the county, had grown by 80 positions during the year and averaged 2,510 jobs by year’s end.

Among Panola County’s labor force of 15,110, an average of 1,350 people were unemployed during 2005.

SP pre-K program will enter second year
   in fall
     On a field trip to the Batesville Public Library, Batesville Elementary pre-kindergartners Logan Alexander (left) and LaDarrian Smallie listen to children’s specialist Doris Mason read "Penguins 1,2,3" Thursday morning at the Batesville Public Library. South Panola will continue its pre-K pilot program in the fall.
By Billy Davis

Registration for the pre-kindergarten program at Batesville Elementary School will begin in two weeks and run through early March, school principal Carolyn Graham announced this week.

The school will continue in the fall with its current arrangement of two classrooms and an enrollment of 30 children, the principal also said.

Registration will take place in the Batesville Elementary School office from February 17 through March 10.

The South Panola School District began offering the pre-K classes last fall as a pilot program, receiving 75 applications for 30 slots when the program was announced.

"We would love to take more children, but it comes down to money and space," Graham said.

The school’s pre-K program partners with ICS (Institute of Community Services) and its Head Start program, which share materials and staff services with the elementary school.

Graham said the Pre-K students are taught reading and writing, music, art, social skills, and go on field trips.

"These children are like little sponges so they’re taught a variety of subjects," Graham said. "A lesson on sharing may seem simple, but it’s important for a 4-year-old to learn that."

To qualify for the program, students must have turned age 4 by September 1.

Children who qualify for the pre-K program are given a pre-assessment test, which narrows the applicants from the qualifying pool.

To sign up a child for a pre-K class, parents need to provide:

A certified birth certificate
Immunization Report No. 121 from the Miss. Department of Health or a family physician
A copy of the child’s Social Security card
The Social Security number for the head of household
Proof of the family’s gross yearly income for either the last tax year or the past 12 months
Copy of child’s Medicaid or C.H.I.P. insurance card
Two proofs of residency

Parents must also complete an ICS Family Dietary Habit Survey and an ICS Verification of Income.

Walk America
     March of Dimes Community Director Connie Snell led a kick-off meeting at Parker-Hannifin on Wednesday for the annual Walk America event. A team captain training is scheduled for Feb. 21 at Parker. This year’s walk will take place at the track at Tiger Stadium on April 22.
     For information on participating in the event, call 662-844-6901.


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