Headlines Cont. – 5/26/2006

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 26, 2006

The Panolian: INSIDE STORIES – May 26, 2006


Groundwork laid for June Job Fair in Batesville
Second annual event coming to civic center
By John Howell Sr.

Joe Buckner’s enthusiasm is contagious.
Buckner is director of the Governor’s Job Fair Network and is busily helping to coordinate the June 15 Northwest Mississippi Area Job Fair along with local government, employment and economic development officials.

Or maybe the enthusiasm in the room was spontaneous as about 20 people gathered at Western Sizzlin’ restaurant for the next-to-last planning session for this year’s job fair.

Last year’s NMA Job Fair was the first and planning for the event started late. Yet, 50 employers signed up and over 2,000 people looking for jobs descended on the then-recently completed Batesville Civic Center.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The 2005 event attracted 2,718 resumes, 525 on-site interviews were conducted; 804 job offers were made on the day of the job fair and over 1,100 people were projected to have been hired during the last year as a result of their visit to the fair.

"There was just electricity in the air there was so much excitement," said Batesville Mayor Jerry Autrey, who attended the 2005 job fair as as mayor-elect.

Autrey and his elected colleagues, Sardis Mayor Rusty Dye and Panola Board of Supervisors President Robert Avant, joined the session where Buckner reminded the group: "The reason we do this is to help the unemployed to get a job."

Thirty-four employers have already signed up for Job Fair booths in the Batesville Civic Center. They pay $150 for a booth where they can showcase their industry, place of business and employment opportunity. The registration fees cover the cost of the Job Fair.

"We really don’t use tax dollars to do this," Buckner said.

"We insist on everything for those applicants to be free," Buckner continued. There is no admission charge at the center, no charge for parking, no charge for photocopies.

"Anything we can do to further the hiring process for an employer, we’ll do it," Buckner continued. At one job fair in another area of the state, an employer requested facilities to allow pre-employment drug screening. It was provided.

"The event is really so much bigger; … it’s an excellent showcase for our community," said Cindy Martin, office manager for Batesville’s WIN Job Center.

"We do have a lot of employers from outside the area and they were really impressed with the treatment they got last year."

That treatment will include greetings and assistance from the Ambassadors of the Panola Partnership, a hospitality room, lunches.

"We want to feed those employers the best meal we can," Buckner said.

The appeal of bringing employees and job seekers together at a specified time and place eases the process for everyone, the Job Fair Network director continued.

"It cuts through all the red tape that a person would have to go through to apply for a job," he said.

"If you know anybody looking for a job, the place to be on June 15 is the Batesville Civic Center," Buckner said.

Employers who have reserved space at the Job Fair so far include Ablest Staffing Services, ACI Building Systems, Advanced Distributor Products, AFLAC, Avon Industries representatives, Avon Independent Sales, Batesville Casket Company, Batesville Tooling and Design, BellSouth, Beverly Healthcare of Batesville, Carlisle Corporation, Cracker Barrel, Gardner Institute, High Tech Institute, Holland Employment, Manpower, Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp., Minact, Inc. – Batesville Job Corps Center, MS Army National Guard, MS Highway Safety Patrol, MS Dept. of Employment Security, MS Department of Health, North Miss. State Hospital, Northwest MS Community College, Primamerica, RFT Management Inc. – Taco Bell, Schwans Home Service, Inc., SEACOR Marine, Steelmatic Wire USA, Inc., The University of Mississippi, Tower Loan, Tri-Lakes Medical Center, Union National Life Insurance Co. and Woodmen of the World.

Hero’s Welcome
     Sgt. Robert Langley was treated to a hero’s welcome at Batesville Elementary School May 18 after returning home from Afghanistan. His daughter, Maci Kirkland, attends kindergarten in Teresa Lloyd’s class. Classrooms filled the hallways of BES to applaud Langley’s return.
Sardis man’s story airs Sunday
By David Howell

A documentary will begin airing May 28 on The Learning Channel about the unique life of Jessie Stitcher

Stitcher, who has no legs, was filmed in February by a British camera crew. The crew filmed Stitcher working and shots around Sardis including Stitcher’s store on Main Street. The crew worked for 10 days filming the documentary.

"Remember," Stitcher said, "When you see me in a canoe it was the middle of February and 32 degrees outside," he said with a hearty laugh. "They even tried to make it look like it was spring time."

This shot was captured on Sardis Lake.

Stitcher was born with lumbosacral agenesis, which left him without a spine below the thorax vertebrae. He uses his upper body for maneuvering including driving, and even installing a satellite.

Stitcher said he will be offered a sneak preview of the production Friday, two days before it is aired.

"It will include my life story, and the wear and tear on my body doing the things I do," Stitcher said.

"They even flew a high school friend of mine from South Carolina," Stitcher continued.

During the filming Stitcher underwent surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow.

The documentary comes after Stitcher was "discovered" at the Sturgis biker rally last year in which he acted in a circus sideshow routine.

"They had things like the Bearded Lady and the Lizard Boy," Stitcher said. "I climbed up a ladder and did a handstand, and chased the women in the audience."

In the routine, Stitcher was known as "Half Boy."

Stitcher, who was born and raised in Cave City Arkansas, moved to Mississippi in 1999. He is 31.

"I married into this town," Stitcher said with another deep chuckle. His wife, Tarra Toliver Stitcher, is a native of Panola County. Her mother, Carolyn McCaa, lives in Sardis and her father, Jerome Toliver, lives in Lambert.

Jessie and Tarra have a daughter, 21-month-old Sterling, who was adopted by the couple. The family makes their home on Old Panola Road.

Jessie, who has been in the satellite business since 1997, opened his business, Stitcher Satellite Service, in 2005.

"In 1997, I bought my first satellite off the radio for a dollar and installed it myself," Stitcher said. He then called his grandfather, who installed the older 12-foot dishes, and said he found a satellite that he could handle.

Business can be slow in a small town, but Stitcher advertises across north Mississippi. He also opened a thrift store to pass the time when he is not installing satellites. He installs Dish Network units.

The show will begin airing on Direct TV channel 280 and Dish Network channel 183, starting May 28, at 8 p.m It will air again on May 29, at 11 p.m.; and May 31, at 7 and 10 p.m. The show will air again on June 7, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

On the local Sardis cable network, TLC is on channel 21.



Copyright 2005-2006 by The Panolian, Inc..  All rights reserved
Copyright 2001-2004 by Batesville Newspapers, LLC.  All rights reserved
Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission  is prohibited.