Headlines Cont. – 6/2/2006

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 2, 2006

The Panolian: INSIDE STORIES – June 2, 2006


Sardis leaders updated on Marina Project
By Jason C. Mattox

The Sardis Mayor and Board of Aldermen were given an update on several projects in conjunction with the next phase of the Sardis Lake Marina during a meeting with engineer Amad Turk Wednesday, May 17.

Turk, whose contract with the city is set to expire in the near future, said the developer interested in the hotel/conference center and golf course portions of the marina project would be in town the following week to take another look at the proposed site.

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"The developer (Southern Realty) is very excited about the project," he said. "They understand, and you should too, that putting all of this together is a long process.

"You should also know that we are in an excellent position to get the next phases moving," Turk added.

Turk said since his last meeting with aldermen in March that letters have been sent to congressional delegates and he and Mayor Alvis "Rusty" Dye had met with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials in Vicksburg.

"We were given three major concerns from the developer and we took them to Vicksburg to see if they could be addressed," he said.

Those concerns were:
– Desire for a longer lease
– Approval of potential time share properties
– Approval for as many as 500 residential

The Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg told us that the private property on public lands was an issue they could not address at their level," he said.

Turk said research has shown that similar developments are being considered on Corps properties in other states.

Most notably, Turk spoke of a situation in McCormack, S.C., where property was deemed as not needed for flood control and was transferred to the city.

"It literally took an act of Congress for that to happen," he said. "But that means what we are asking for is not unheard of.

"Changing these things will take some time, and it will take a lot of work, but it is something we are working on," Turk added."

The major objectives that must be done prior to meeting with congressional delegates and the Corps include:

– Determining the elevation of property that
  is not needed for flood control.

– Determining a need for more property.

"At this time you have 1,000 acres and about 600 acres of that is not needed for flood control, but you will need more property," he said. "If you are looking at 500 residential lots, that will eat up most of that space."

Turk said in addition to Southern Realty, Skipper Marine, who operates the Sardis Lake Marina, has expressed interest in developing an indoor water park and 400 room hotel.

"It is a good thing for this project when you have two developers that are looking to spend more than $50 million each," he said.

Turk said one important thing would be that both developers work together.

"You are eventually going to have to go to Jackson and Washington for money to pay for water, sewer and roads," he said. "It is better to go to them for big money at one time rather than a little bit at a time."

No action was taken on the matter.

NP refunds trip money
By Jason C. Mattox

Concerned parents and North Panola High School seniors who expressed concern over funds raised for a class trip earlier this month at a meeting of the district board of trustees in Crenshaw may rest easier as some of the money has been returned.

At that time, parents who appeared before the board during the public comments portion of the meeting and asked what would happen to the students’ money were told it would be returned upon request.

"I don’t think it is fair that these kids raised this money for their trip only to have it cancelled before they could go," one parent said. "If they weren’t allowed to go on the trip they should get their money back.

"These kids are about to go out into the world and start their journeys," she added. "They need the money back."

NP Superintendent Glendora Dugger said the reason the trip was cancelled was because the proper procedures were not followed.

"Any out of state trip must receive approval from the board," she said. "The students never brought this to the board, and we could not allow them to go."

Dugger said the cancelled trip was to Six Flags theme park in St. Louis.

As for the money being returned, district finance manager Lavette Upshaw said the district had a list of who paid their money for the trip and who received donations to take the trip.

"All we ask the students to do is submit the request to the district office in writing, and we will gladly refund the money," she said. "Also, any of those who gave donations that would like their money returned can do the same.

"We just want to make sure the right people get their money back," Upshaw added. "Any money that is not returned will remain in the high school’s activity fund."

Upshaw told The Panolian last week after a called meeting of the board that all of the money had been returned to students who paid the money themselves.

"We had a list of people who had donated the money to help pay for the trip who have not asked for their money to be returned," she said. "But all of those who have asked to have their money returned have received it."

In other board business during the May 15 meeting:

– Residents of Como were told to submit a written
  proposal for summer activities at the Como
  Elementary baseball field and gymnasium.

– Trustees accepted donated items from Wal-Mart
  and Nissan for use at the Vocational Career

Bluesman Slick adds gospel flavor to setlist; will perform at New Life Church
By Rita Howell
and Ben Floyd

Daniel "Slick" Ballinger is trading the blues for gospel, he said this week when he phoned The Panolian from a rest stop in Oklahoma, on his way home from a gig at a Colorado blues festival.

The 21-year-old singer and recording artist, who came to Panola County from North Carolina several years ago to learn authentic blues, said he has felt a pull to devote his talent to gospel music exclusively, especially since he was recently baptized.

"I know He wants me to sing gospel," Ballinger said.

"I learned to sing in black churches. People used to tell me, ‘You’re going to be working for the Good Lord.’"

Ballinger still has contractual obligations to play concerts and blues festivals, but he has found that blues fans like to hear gospel, too.

"Most of the time they don’t mind me doing gospel," he said, noting that he had played all gospel at one of the Colorado venues.

"I feel like I’m doing more good, not just for myself," he said. "I’m more happy than I’ve ever been. I know it’s going to get better."

Ballinger said he is engaged to a young woman from his home state of North Carolina and they plan to wed in the next few months.

He still has concerts scheduled this summer in New York, Maine, Wisconsin, Missouri, and other places.

On Friday night, he’ll be performing a free gospel concert at New Life Church in Batesville. The church is located on Highway 6 East, across from Western Sizzlin. The concert starts at 7 p.m. Everyone is invited.

Ballinger came to Panola County as a teenager to learn about the blues from musician Otha Turner and others in the Como area. Ballinger stayed with Turner for three months, and, after Turner’s death, decided to stay and make his home in North Mississippi.

Ballinger has performed concerts in places ranging from country stores, Como restaurants and Oxford clubs, to the Bahamas and Jamaica. He has shared the stage with blues legend B.B. King.

His first album, "Mississippi Soul," was released March 14 and contains mostly original songs.

Pollworkers named for Tuesday’s Democratic primary
Poll workers for the June 6 Democratic Primary have been announced by Panola County Democratic Executive Committee Secretary Cheryl James by precincts as follows:

Anne W. Garrison, Brenda B. Gates, Earnestine Carter, Ester Lewers and Rebecca Floyd.

Pleasant Mount:
Martha T. Garrison, Franklin Bowden, Charlean Bowden and Georgia Callicutt.

East Sardis:
Hal C. Johnson, Charles Blakely, Edna Miles, Sylvia Lantern and Mary Paula Webb.

West Sardis:
Lucille Webb, Earlean Freeman, Joseph Wesley, Christeen Jones and Ella Jackson.

Cold Springs:
Annie Perry, Mattie Spears, Liddie Kimmons and Delorise Shaw.

South Sardis:
Luella Wesley, Quanisha Clay, Mattie Sandridge, Rosie J. Perry and Naomi Pearson.

Pleasant Grove:
Rebecca Watson, Candace Armstrong, Deborah Armstrong, Damon Andrews and Dorothy Polk.

Betty Tillman, Vernice Avant, Frances Parks, Dorthy Ruffin and Lakisha Ruffin.

J.C. Bradley, Catherine Phipps, Frances Dye, Alberta Bradley and Mike Avant.

Macedonia / Concord:
Adriana Griffin, Arnetta Brown, Earnestine McCain, Christine Franklin and Leatha Bean.

Maxine Thaggard, William Parker Jr., Blandenia Burgess, Tammie Lamar and Teresa Thorton.

Batesville #3:
Rex Houston, Ben Benson, Margie Pearson,
Mary Sanford and Joe Pearson.

Linda Bean, Clara Olson, Lee Andrew Blackburn and Marian Kincaid.

Margaret Pope, Rebecca Pinkard, Jared Pope and Margaret Cosby.

Sandra Darby, Betty Hudson, Janie Snider and
Doris Morris.

East Batesville #4:
 Pat Whitehorn, Frank Waycaster, Lorene Moore, Nell Baker and Clayton Johnson.

James Barnett, Perry Massey, Clara Henderson, Martha Hubbard and Dot Watson.

North Springport:
Hilda Wilson, Lonnie Ales, Alta M. Terry, Annie Ruth Copeland and Betty Kelly.

South Springport:
Bonnie Thornton, Wesley Peppers, James Webb and Betty Webb.

Cole’s Point:
Martha Crestman, Lonnie Crestman, Donald Skipper, Mark Shuford and Gail Shuford.

East Batesville:
Ricky Brown, Ann Womble, Cheryl Jackson, Barbara Smith and Mary Keating.

North Batesville A:
Barbara Broome, Janie Womble, Gloria Menzie, Annie Lou Curtis and Tonya Tutor Clay.

Doris Abson, Bennie Abson, Debra Roberson and Harold Houston.

North Batesville B:
Nina Kimble, Latara Lawson, Aslean Lawson, Deborah Lou Gardner and Willie B. Townsend.

Officers of the county Democratic executive committee, in addition to James, are
     Dorothy Kerney-Wilbourn, president;
     David Walker, vice president;
     Polly Gordon, treasurer and
     Robert Avant, parliamentarian.



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