Headlines – 2/7/2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 7, 2006

The Panolian: HEADLINES – February 7, 2006

  From the 2/7/06 issue of The Panolian       

Coroner’s report confirms murder
     A mobile home at 1068 Carlisle Road was the scene of an apparent murder Friday night that took the life of Taiwan Oby, 28. No one is in custody for the killing. The county coroner had confirmed the victim died of gunshot wounds, but few details have been made public due to the ongoing investigation, sheriff’s investigators have said.
By Billy Davis

The Panola County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a homicide that occurred over the weekend.

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Sheriff’s investigator Barry Thompson confirmed Monday that Taiwan Oby, 28, was killed Friday night at his home at 1068 Carlisle Road.

"We can’t say more than that because the investigation is ongoing," Thompson said.

No one is in custody for the murder, the investigator said.

The trailer home is located north of Courtland, south of Shiloh Road, west of Highway 51.

Panola County coroner Gracie Grant-Gulledge also confirmed the death, saying an autopsy report showed Oby died of gunshot wounds.

"He received two fatal gunshot wounds," the coroner said.

The autopsy was performed over the weekend, Gulledge said, and the body was returned Sunday.

Any funeral arrangements for Oby had not be submitted to The Panolian by press time Monday.

After fees put ‘in line,’ no more line
By Jason C. Mattox

Increases to fees for permits and variances in the City of Batesville seem to have slowed requests for variances.

A moratorium imposed by the Batesville Board of Aldermen on variances to the city’s zoning ordinances ended February 1. It began the first of October, largely due to constant requests for larger signs at businesses.

At that time, aldermen asked Code Enforcement Office Administrator Pam Comer to check the city’s fees against those of other cities in the area.

"We have had contractors come in here for variances that have told us we were a good bit cheaper than a lot of the other cities," she said. "Once I called around, it became necessary for us to get our fees in line."

Comer said the new variance fees implemented by the city are in line with cities like Olive Branch, Senatobia and Oxford.

"This way, all of the contractors know they will be paying about the same when they are in this area," Comer said.

Since the new fees took affect last week, Comer said one variance has been requested. Air Evac has requested permission to put a modular structure on the property near Tri-Lakes Medical Center.

"As of right now (Monday morning) that is the only request we have had," Comer said.

The cost for sign variances has increased from $100 to $500.

Ward 1 Alderman Bill Dugger argued for an increase during the months leading up to the new fee structure.

"We have too many signs popping up," he said. "An increase in the fees may help deter that."

In addition to changes to the sign variance fees, fees for additions (garages, carports and living areas) increased from $20 per square foot to $40 per square foot.

A full list of changes to variances and fees can be obtained at the Code Enforcement Office on College Street.

History tab in this issue
By Rupert Howell

Inside this issue is a section dedicated to Black History Month that highlights several African Americans with ties to our community.

While our community has many talented African-American citizens, we could feature but a select few in this issue.

We salute all those who have made a difference and planted seeds for the betterment of our entire community and hope that we can one day salute you in these pages.

Bake Sale
     Not only do they cheer competitively, they spend some cold Saturday mornings "hawking" goodies in front of the local Wal-Mart to raise funds for their competitive travels. The South Panola cheerleaders will compete nationally February 10-14 in Florida. 
     They are: (from left) Bianca Smith, Kristin Geeslin, Ashleigh Austin, Krystin Allen, Haley Crawford,
Keila Duarte
, Chasity Jones, NeNe Woodall and
Joy Boyette
County customer begs for help
     with $1,400 bill
By Billy Davis

Panola County supervisors heard a tearful plea for mercy from a solid waste customer who said her overdue garbage fee is hurting her family.

Susan Hyde told supervisors that she owes $1,400 in garbage fees but is unable to pay the bill, which means she can’t purchase a car tag.

The overdue fee is just one of several financial woes the family is enduring, said Hyde, who has filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy after her husband survived a heart attack but is unable to work due to his medication.

"People are hurting everywhere. I’m not the only one going through this," said Hyde, who sobbed through most of her 10-minute appearance.

Responding to the plea, Board of Supervisors president Robert Avant told Hyde the board would study the situation and someone would contact her later in the day.

The county’s garbage fee is $11 a month, which covers the cost of a weekly pickup at each residence by a solid waste department garbage truck.

Garbage bills that are $44 past due are given to a collection agency and the customer’s car tag purchase is "flagged" by the county.

Hyde told supervisors she believes the car tag flagging is illegal since it prohibits her from doing something that state law demands she do.

"You shouldn’t be able to stop me from paying tax," Hyde told supervisors.

In other county business:
Supervisors unanimously accepted the recommendation of Jackson attorney John Brunini that the county withdraw a Curtis locale from the county’s solid waste plan.
     District 2 Supervisor Robert Avant, who represents the area, made the motion.
     More than 50 Curtis residents spoke against the proposal at a December public hearing that was held at the county courthouse in Batesville.
     A second proposed site, located just north of the Tallahatchie river, is owned by Evans Sand and Gravel.
The supervisors hired Brunini to help the county meet requirements made by the state’s Dept. of Environmental Quality.
Supervisors voted to re-advertise a bid on materials and labor for renovating the heating and air system at the county courthouse in Batesville.
     Panola County Administrator David Chandler recommended the county re-advertise after two bidders failed to include interest rates for their proposed multi-month purchases.
     "I think the only way to be fair is to re-advertise," Chandler told the board.
     Tri-Star Mechanical was the lowest of two bids at $10,044 for 60 months, which totals $602,640.
     The second bidder, who was not named, bid $10,864 monthly.
County road manager Lygunnah Bean reported that Bell Road is open again after a culvert was installed last week to replace one that collapsed due to fast-moving rainwaters.
     A culvert on Dees Road that also collapsed due to rainwater should be installed this week, he said.
Supervisors unanimously accepted solid waste bids for roll-off dumpsters and truck equipment totaling about $65,000.
The county will purchase the new equipment through a 36-month lease purchase agreement.
The board welcomed District 1 Supervisor James Birge, who had returned from hospitalization for an aneurism.
"I’m sorry I didn’t come to see you, but I was thinking about you," Supervisor Mack Benson told Birge.
Supervisors met in executive session to discuss the selling of county-owned property.
Tate County hunter bags the big one
11-point nets top points
By Billy Davis

A Tate County man put down his cigarette long enough to bag a monster buck that earned him the top spot in The Panolian’s 2006 Big Buck Contest.

James Cornelius, 52, bagged an 11-point buck at 4:50 p.m. New Year’s Eve, placing first in the annual contest with a score of 60.50.

He wins Winchester’s .25 WSSM Model 70 from Batesville Pawn Shop, which co-sponsored the contest and measured bucks during the season.

Cornelius was eligible for the Big Buck Contest because he resides in a county that adjoins Panola.
The winning hunter beat out Larry Walters of Batesville, who scored 60.25 and placed second with a 10-point.

Cornelius, who drives a truck for FedEx, called from the road near Dallas, Texas to relay his story. He shot the buck on private land near Holcomb with a .270 Ruger M77.

"I was in a box stand watching a food plot, and he came out of some pines on the path that leads to the stand," the hunter said.

Cornelius shot the buck as the deer was walking away from him. When the deer ran off, he sat down to wait for someone to help him track it.

"I sat back in my seat with a cigarette and when I looked up, he was looking at me," the hunter said. "So I shot him again."

The buck weighed 195 pounds.

The measurements included an 18-inch inside spread, main beam length of 25 and 1/2 inches, base circumference of six inches, and 11 antler points.

Cornelius said the winning deer earned a "rough" Boone and Crockett score of 154 7/8. He plans to enter the deer in the state’s Magnolia Records Program.

The 2005 winner of the Big Buck Contest, Chip Schiele, bagged a massive 14-point that earned him 65.50 points in the contest.


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