Headlines – 3/7/2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 7, 2006

The Panolian: HEADLINES – March 7, 2006

  From the 3/7/06 issue of The Panolian       

Grand opening Thursday for new Tri-Lakes
By Rupert Howell

Tri-Lakes Medical Center will hold an official grand opening this Thursday from 1-3 p.m. when the center will ceremoniously open with the new Batesville Specialty Hospital that is located within the Tri-Lakes Center.

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Three labor and delivery rooms furnished by local financial institutions will also be featured during the festivities.

The former county- and city-owned facility was sold last year and is now managed by Batesville Hospital Management Co., Inc.

The Batesville Specialty Hospital is a 35-bed long term acute care hospital (LTACH) located within the Tri-Lakes complex that focuses on extended hospital care, filling the gap for patients requiring longer care than short-term acute care facilities presently offer for specialized healthcare.

Conditions requiring the LTAC include: acute care, critical care, pulmonary rehabilitation, post-operative care, physical and other types of rehabilitation and wound management and treatment.

The official ceremonies will open the Medical Center at 1:30 p.m. followed at 1:45 by tours of three labor/delivery rooms sponsored by local financial institutions. Official opening of the specialty hospital will begin at 2 p.m. when refreshments will be served.

Tri-Lakes Medical Center is located in Batesville at I-55 and Highway 6 on Medical Center Drive next to Wal-Mart.

Panola legislators back state anti-abortion bill
By Billy Davis

Panola County legislators in the state House of Representatives voted in favor of an anti-abortion bill last week that passed overwhelmingly.

Senate Bill 2922 passed 94-25 in the House and now heads back to the state Senate. Gov. Haley Barbour has said he will sign the bill into law if it reaches his desk.

An "aye" vote from Rep. Leonard Morris joined Rep. Warner McBride, who told The Panolian last week that he supported the legislation.

On Friday, Morris said debate on the House floor lasted more than two hours Thursday as legislators argued over an amendment that would allow abortion in a case of rape or incest, or if the mother’s life is in danger.

The exemption passed in the final version of the bill, The Clarion-Ledger newspaper reported last Friday.

McBride said during House debate that the rape and incest allowance was a necessary part of the bill, the newspaper reported.

"I don’t think it’s the place of the state of Mississippi to tell one of these young girls who may be raped that they can’t deal with that," McBride was quoted as saying, referring to female pages who were present in the House chamber.

"I would say that it’s between them and their Lord," McBride added.

Reached Friday, McBride said the Jackson newspaper quoted him correctly.

"My position is I do consider myself to be pro-life but at the same time I think we do have to protect the life of a mother and need exclusions in the case of rape and incest," McBride told The Panolian.

Margie Casey, executive director of Panola County’s pro-life Sav-a-Life organization, said Friday she was aware of the bill but was unaware that it had passed Friday.

"I think it’s a long time coming," Casey said. "I think it’s very exciting."

Asked about the abortion bill, Sen. Nolan Mettetal said he is hesitant to discuss a bill he hasn’t seen since the language can change quickly.

"I’m pro-life period. My record shows that," Mettetal said. "But I’m not going to say there aren’t instances like (rape and incest) in which you have to weigh that affect on a mother."

The state of Mississippi has one abortion clinic, located in Jackson.

The abortion bill has made national headlines, coming just weeks after South Dakota legislators passed a similar bill that will likely wind its way through the courts. A Mississippi law would likely have that same fate.

Lil’ Cowboy
     Kyle Dennison, 7, of Louisiana served as a pick-up man during last weekend’s Bill Lipscomb Memorial Rodeo at the Batesville Civic Center. Kyle is the youngest pick-up man on the Lone Star Rodeo Company’s Mega Bucks Tour.
     Approximately 2,000 people were in attendance over the two nights of the event.

Eagle Scout
     Friends and family of (l. to r.) John Tapp, Joshua Ratliff and Wesley King are invited to attend the Eagle Scout Court of Honor Saturday when the trio will receive the Scouting’s highest honor, the Eagle Scout Award. The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Calvary Baptist Church on Keating Road. A reception will be held immediately afterward.
Disaster workshop will train leaders
By Billy Davis

Panola County will be the site of a disaster preparedness workshop April 27 that will host officials from throughout the community, Panola County supervisors learned Monday.

Panola County civil defense director Son Hudson and deputy director Daniel Cole announced the event Monday at the supervisors "first Monday" meeting in Sardis.

The official title of the meeting is Senior Officials Workshop, named for its purpose in better preparing local leaders in overseeing natural and man-made disasters.

"This is designed for the decision makers," Cole told supervisors.

Speakers at the event include FBI hostage negotiator Byron Sage and Oklahoma City Police Chief Sam Gonzalez. Gonzalez was the city’s top law enforcement officer during the 1993 terrorist attack. Sage participated in the standoff at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas.

The program will be held at Batesville Readiness Center.

Reached after the supervisors meeting, Hudson said the event will hopefully draw representatives from county school districts and municipalities, Panola County government, the Miss. Department of Transportation, and the Miss. Highway Patrol.

The program will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"A meal will be served," Hudson told supervisors.

"That sounds better," responded District 3 Supervisor Mack Benson.

A "condensed" program will be offered from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for officials unable to attend the day-long meeting.

Troopers get help for lights, tint gear
By Billy Davis

Panola County supervisors voted Monday to assist state troopers within Batesville’s Troop E headquarters by purchasing emergency blue lights for cruisers as well as tint meters.

State trooper Master Sgt. Mike Wilkie appeared at the supervisors’ "first Monday" meeting to make the request formal after telling supervisors of his plans in past days.

At Wilkie’s request county supervisors voted to purchase dash-mounted lights and grill lights for nine cruisers as well as seven tint meters, all from Fleet Safety Equipment of Memphis.

The total cost of the blue lights is $5,349.65, and the seven tint meters total $1,015, a Fleet Safety invoice provided by Wilkie shows.

Wilkie told supervisors the last purchase of blue lights from Troop E occurred about 25 years ago when Panola, Tate and Quitman counties pooled their money for the purchase.

"Twenty-five years on a set of lights is a long, long time," Wilkie said.

Supervisors voted unanimously to purchase the equipment for Troop E after a motion from District 4 Supervisor Jerry Perkins.

"I say we do it," Perkins said in making the motion.
Regarding the need for the tint meters, Wilkie said troopers who are writing citations for too-dark tint are finding the process a challenge, especially in justice court.

State law forbids vehicle window tint that is too dark.

"Without a number as far as reading on (the) tint, we’re putting the judges in a terrible position," Wilkie told supervisors.

"The meters are $145 apiece but one citation will pay for it, and that money goes back to the county," added state trooper Huey McDaniel, who appeared with Wilkie at the supervisors’ meeting.

After the supervisors’ meeting, County Administrator David Chandler said the county has helped state troopers and other state agencies with purchases in the past.

Chandler said the purchase is allowed by state law.

"I remember we bought cell phones for the game and fish officials and Mag lights for the state troopers," Chandler told The Panolian.

In other county business:
Supervisors postponed a decision until next week to hire an appraiser to assess the value of the North Panola Hospital in Sardis.
     The need for an appraisal comes after Batesville attorney Richard "Flip" Phillips requested his contingency fee for wresting control of the public hospital from its former owners on behalf of the county. The fee is based on the value of the property.
     Supervisors agreed to postpone that decision until District 2 Supervisor Robert Avant returns from a trip to Washington, D.C. later this week.
County road manager Lygunnah Bean told supervisors he planned to bid on an asphalt spreader owned by Attala County Monday at 10 a.m.
     Supervisors agreed the machine would benefit the county’s road department if purchased at a maximum price of $50,000.
Supervisors voted to purchase a new county truck for District 1 Supervisor James Birge.
     Bean made the request, saying the county had spent about $2,000 on transmission work in past weeks.
Supervisors agreed to a bid from Vulcan to provide the county with white rock and also to haul it. The bid beat out F.W. McCurdy by $1 to $2.49.
Sheriff Hugh "Shot" Bright received permission from supervisors to donate an obsolete finger print machine to the Tallahatchie County Sheriff’s Department.
     A newer machine is replacing the older model at the sheriff’s department, Bright said.



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