Headlines – 6/27/2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Panolian: HEADLINES – June 27, 2006

  From the 6/27/06 issue of The Panolian   –   

     Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Matthews of Crowder prepares to sound "Taps" at the burial of World War II veteran Leo Franklin at Batesville Magnolia Cemetery last week. Matthews is a member of a National Guard team that provides military honors for funerals. See story on .


Molestation charges levied against Batesville resident
By Jason C. Mattox

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A Batesville man has been arrested and charged with molesting a minor under the age of 16, Col. Tony Jones of the Batesville Police Department said.
Anthony Carter, 20, was arrested Friday, June 23, around 5 p.m. at the home of his alleged victim.

"We were called to the scene by relatives of the victim," Jones said. "When we arrived, Carter was taken into custody.

In addition to the molestation charge, Carter has been charged with possession of marijuana-less than one ounce.

He is being held at the David M. Bryan Justice Complex on $10,000 bond.

City Board listens to pitch for grant funds
By John Howell Sr.

The work session that city leaders held Monday in hopes of streamlining their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday may have shaved off a half hour from their usual regimen.

The Batesville mayor and aldermen ended their meeting about 4:30 p.m. after hearing from bidders, human resources consultants, an architect and an urban planner amid the usual considerations of municipal government.

Architect Belinda Stewart appeared at the invitation of Mayor Jerry Autrey and presented slides of her work on many historical structures in Mississippi including the Yalobusha County courthouses in Water Valley and Coffeeville, the Tate County Courthouse in Senatobia and the Quitman County Courthouse in Marks.

Stewart said that she had driven around Batesville to see historic buildings which could benefit from restorations that would be true to original construction appearance. The architect, who is also mayor of her hometown of Eupora, named grants that she had successfully assisted in application for that had helped to pay for remodeling and restoration in various cities and counties.

Stewart also said that generous state and federal tax credits are available to owners of private property whose restorations meet historic criteria.

"It’s not a deduction, it’s a credit," she said.

Urban planner and engineer Mike Slaughter presented his statement of qualification to city officials. Slaughter had previously guided the city through its most recent annexation process as a partner in another firm. In March, he formed Slaughter & Associates PLLC, he said.

Slaughter is a 1975 South Panola High School graduate who received his civil engineering degree from Ole Miss and a master’s in urban planning from the University of Memphis.

Ken Barlow of the Del-Ken Group presented proposals with options on assisting the city with human resources consulting that includes writing job descriptions, appraisals and policies and compiling employee handbooks. In reply to a question from Alderman Bobbie Jean Pounders, Barlow said that his firm had completed a similar project for the City of Ridgeland and another for the City of McComb was under way.


In other business:
Police Chief Gerald Legge recommended the purchase of three patrol cars from low bidder Hallmark Ford for $67,448.85. The decision was deferred to give city officials opportunity to compare an alternate lease/purchase offered in the bid.
Street superintendent Teddy Austin recommended the rejection of all bids received for a dump truck. He said the truck’s bed specifications had created confusion among bidders. Austin will readvertise for the truck and its bed in separate advertisements, he said.
     Aldermen also approved Austin’s request to hire a part-time worker as a replacement.
Aldermen accepted the bid of $26,200 from Derrick Barton Sports Construction of Memphis for resurfacing six tennis courts at Trussell Park.

BPD makes swift arrest after grab-and-go robbery at Rascals
By Jason C. Mattox

The Batesville Police Department was swift in making an arrest in conjunction with the Saturday morning robbery of Rascals at the intersection of Highway 6 and Highway 51.

Officers arrested John Eric Crain, 40, at approximately 9:45 a.m. the same day, charging him with robbery, possession of narcotics and possession of paraphernalia.

According to Col. Tony Jones, Crain entered Rascals at 5:45 a.m. Saturday, June 24 to make a purchase. When the clerk opened the register, Crain reached over, grabbed a large sum of cash and fled the store.

"The suspect retreated from the location in a tan Ford," Jones said. "From that point in the morning, officers began scouring the city for the vehicle."

Four hours later, officers discovered the vehicle parked on Latisha Street. The suspect was inside a residence.

"Sgt. Billy Sossaman, officers Gray Nichols, Shanika Hudson, Keith Calvert and Det. Capt. Paul Shivers moved in on the house quickly and were able to make an arrest without incident," Jones said.

According to Jones, a portion of the money was recovered.

In addition to the previously mentioned charges, the Batesville Police Department also had a warrant for his arrest.

"We had a contempt of court warrant on the suspect for not paying his court fines," Jones said.

Crain is being held at the David M. Bryan Justice Complex on a $10,000 bond.

Tax increase hearing draws no complaints
By Myra Bean

No one from the voting public was present at a meeting last Friday of the South Panola School Board, which convened for a public hearing on the Ad Valorem Tax Request for the 2006-07 year.

District Finance Director Suzanne Covington gave the school board an explanation of funding from Ad Valorem taxes collected through April 2006 and an estimate of taxes expected to be collected through September 30, 2006, the end of the school’s fiscal year.

The total base of local funding is $6,338,059 and the board is requesting a four percent increase of the base of $253,522.

The net Ad Valorem tax request for operations is $6,379,863.

A shortfall of funding from 2004 and 2005 tax collections is expected in the amount of $105,000. Board president Lygunnah Bean asked about a clarification of the $470,000 increase from last year.

Superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer explained, "The increase is constituted by the four percent increase of the base and our estimation of what the ad valorem taxes of new property will be, and new program money."

The four percent increase of the base plus the new programs money of $4,119 plus the estimated ad valorem tax on new property of $215,388 equals $473,029.

The school board did not vote on the request at this meeting but Bean entertained a motion by trustee Dr. Joe Gardner and a second by Dr. Carlock Broome to vote and adopt the request Friday, June 30 at noon at the Parent Center when another public hearing for the adoption of the budget will be held. The motion passed unanimously.

With no questions for the board, they moved into session to discuss the budget for the next school year.

Covington presented the board with a combined budget for the 2006-07 school year that outlined the projected resources for the school district for the coming year of $36,462,193.29. Expected expenditures were cited at $36,345,072.68 leaving a projected surplus of $117,120.61.

Covington said payroll was 75 to 80 percent of the district’s budget. Workman’s compensation costs were down for administration, teachers and staff but up for the transportation department.

"Workman’s Comp risk rates were based on a five-year cycle we were told," Shaffer said. "Last year was the last year of a big case that had been previously closed but it stayed in our average and in our cycle. It rolled out of our cycle this year and that is why we have a decrease in our workers’ comp premiums."

Friday’s budget hearing will be held at the Parenting Center behind Batesville Intermediate School at College and Atwell Streets at 12 noon.

Panolian earns state press honors
Staff report

The Panolian received six awards in the Better Newspaper Contest sponsored by the Mississippi Press Association on Saturday during the organization’s annual convention in Biloxi.

Also during the meeting, Panolian managing editor Rupert Howell was named to the association’s board of directors. In all, 23 daily newspapers and 85 weekly or bi-weekly publications belong to the Mississippi Press Association.

In the Better Newspaper Contest publisher John Howell was awarded first place in the editorial category in the large weekly division.

commended the South Panola High School football team on their state championship win, while affirming the community’s sympathy for the families of three young fans killed in a wreck while returning from the state championship game December 9.

Howell, who edits The Panolian’s editorial/opinion pages, was also awarded a third place certificate in the editorial page competition.

The newspaper received a second place award in the Freedom of Information category, where competition was among all newspapers in the state. The Panolian’s entry included an editorial by Rupert Howell addressing the confiscation by Coldwater police of the newspaper’s camera from a reporter covering a basketball game there.

Another Panolian staff member recognized was Billy Davis, whose story about in the murder trial of Demetrius Smith, convicted in the murder of Ole Miss student Carnesha Nelson, earned Davis a third place award in the general news category.

Davis’ photo of blues guitarist in Como received honorable mention in the personality portrait category.

Rita Howell was awarded honorable mention in the feature story category for an article about 98-year-old and his brand-new pickup.


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