Headlines Cont. – 7/11/2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Panolian: INSIDE STORIES – July 11, 2006


Carjacking suspect in jail
By Jason C. Mattox

A suspect remains incarcerated at the Panola County Jail in relation to a carjacking in Sardis Sunday afternoon.

According to Police Chief Mike Davis, Jason Bobo, 23, was arrested soon after an incident at approximately 6:30 p.m., where he showed up at the Flash Store at the corner of Highway 51 and Highway 315, and demanded the victim leave the vehicle. It is unclear if the suspect had a weapon at the time.

City of Sardis considering bidding out trash collection
By Jason C. Mattox

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The City of Sardis may soon find itself out of the garbage business.

During last Tuesday’s city board meeting, aldermen discussed taking bids for once-a-week garbage collection service to replace the current twice-a-week pick-up now operated by the City of Sardis.

"It means we wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not a garbage truck tears up," Ward 1 Alderman Joseph "JoJo" Still said.

During an interview on Friday, Mayor Alvis "Rusty" Dye said one of the biggest reasons the city needs to get out of the garbage collection business is the expense of garbage trucks.

"The bad thing with the garbage trucks is that by the time you get through paying for one, they’re so worn out you need another one," he said.

Dye also said the end of city-provided trash pick-up would free up 16 additional days of work per month for men usually on the garbage truck.

"There is a lot of other stuff in the city that we can use these workers for," he said.

Dye said eliminating trash pick-up will not eliminate city operated brush removal.

"We will continue to run a limb truck on a daily basis," he said. "That is one service we don’t see changing anytime soon."

As for rates, the mayor said he does not expect an increase if the city does bid out the service.

"We charge $17 a month for trash pick-up twice a week," he said. "I don’t see a reason the bill would increase."

As for losing the twice weekly pick-up, Dye said it won’t have much impact.

"Really and truly, we are one of the last cities offering trash pick-up two days a week," he said. "It will take some people a little while to adjust to it, but it won’t be that hard for them."

Dye gave no indication to when the city might advertise for bids on the service.

"All I will say is, the city wants to be out of the garbage business as soon as possible," he said.

Batesville business aiming for ‘world class’ status
     An exercise that required two groups of six men each to "race" with unattached skis illustrated the benefits of teamwork during Friday’s World Class Manufacturing Kick-off at Batesville Tooling and Design.
     The "Bravo" team including (at left, from front)
Todd Hatfield
, Gary Blair, Keith Payne, Dan Blair, Will Harrison, Mitch Daugherty and Chuck Polinski beat the "Alpha" team of (from front, right) Jeff Blair,
Wesley Shultice, Rusty Tedford, William Darby,
Keith Faulkner
, Bryan Jones and Jack Earwood.
By John Howell Sr.

Though the term "world class" is a loosely applied television advertising cliche’, it is an exacting quality standard for the nation’s manufacturers who intend to sell products in international markets.

Batesville Tooling and Design took a step toward the higher standard last week with a World Class Manufacturing Kick-off that brought together the firm’s employees with representatives of a key customer. Chuck Polinski and Jack Earwood of Smith and Nephew joined BTD owner Gary Blair and general manager Bob Edwards and the complement of BTD employees to explore and expand the ground of common interest in high quality standards.

This is not new ground at BTD which has already built a relationship with Smith and Nephew Orthapaedics, "a global provider of leading-edge joint replacement systems for knees, hips and shoulders; trauma products to help repair broken bones and a range of other medical devices to help alleviate pain in joints and promote healing," according to its Web site.

"Our focus is repairing and healing the human body," Polinski said. "We’re really proud of what we do."

Curious alloy objects occupy shelf space in the lobby of the BTD facility in the W. M. Harmon Industrial Complex. A long rod inserted during surgery to rebuild a broken femur is positioned by a BTD-manufactured device, Jeff Blair said as he demonstrated how the instrument directs surgical prongs into place. Another instrument Blair demonstrated is used for biopsies, he said.

"I’ve been able to compare y’all with some world class manufacturers that we’re partnering with right now," Polinski told the BTD staff, "… give yourselves a pat on the back."

BTD president Gary Blair traced the start of his company back to a welder that he bought himself many years ago. His taught himself to weld and developed skills that eventually led to employment in tool and die shops. Then, in 1994, financed by a loan from a friend after banks turned him down, Blair built the original BTD building. Within 11 months, he had outgrown the original construction and added more space. The growth continued as BTD catered to the plastics injection molding industry, making, maintaining and repairing the molds used in the manufacture of everything plastic.

As the decade of the ?90s matured and Blair’s sons Jeff and Dan joined him in growing the business, plastic injection mold making and manufacturing began to move to more distant locations. That shift, coupled with the increasing capability of precision that BTD was realizing in its growing inventory of digital technology, led Blair to seek to fill part of the growing demand for medical hardware.

Friday’s World Class Manufacturing Kick-off was one milestone in that journey.

"I want to be the preferred supplier for our customers so that we can produce world class products consistently, on time and at a reasonable cost," Gary Blair said as he opened the seminar.

Computerized numerical control technician Mitch Daugherty described BTD’s "Project Reliable Method" which has been adopted to improve communications between workers and the customer and to standardize quality control and verification procedures.

"I think it’s great," mold technician Todd Hatfield said. "It helps us plan out and see" using three steps in the communications process – understanding, acceptance and support.

"As an approved supplier, your quality system will become part of our quality system," Polinski said.

Decreasing the amount of time between a product’s prototype and actual delivery while maintaining consistently high quality – "that’s been an area where our company has really excelled," Polinski said.

"I’d like to commend y’all for stepping out there to get world class," said Smith and Nephew representative Jack Earwood. "That’s very important if you’re going to continue to grow the business."

BTD general manager Edwards, who joined the organization this year, moved the employees and guests outside for what he described as "team building" competition between teams of six people each. What they found waiting was two long pairs of four-by-fours with ropes attached.

The object was for the two teams of six to each "race," using the four-by-fours like walking, unattached "skis." It required the participants to hold the ropes to lift the skis and move them forward in a movement coordinated by all six participants on each team. When the "Alpha" team handily beat the "Bravo" team in what Edwards said was the quickest he had ever seen for any team, he quizzed them further and learned that at least one of the alphas had participated in a similar exercise during military training.

But the exercise had very practically illustrated values about teamwork, coordination and competition. For their victory, Alpha team members were allowed to the head of the line to walk to the plant’s break room where a catered meal awaited the group.

"I think Bravo should go first," one of its team members declared, getting in the last word after being denied the victory. "Why? Because we were the smartest; we let the boss win," referring to Gary Blair’s participation with the Alpha team.

The "boss" had also made a few closing remarks prior to the meal, references to "choosing our customers" and such.

"I can tell you that an individual can’t do it himself," he added.

And he harkened back to the first welder he had bought all those years ago and its instruction manual that he used to help teach himself the techniques. ("The first page had the safety instructions, stuff like ?Don’t pick up metal that is extremely hot with bare hands,’" Blair mused.)

Also in that instruction manual was a quotation from the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, a quotation that has served Blair well in the years since, he said, and during Friday’s World Class Manufacturing Kick-off:

"He builded better than he knew;
"The conscious stone to beauty grew."

City leans toward new rates to plug water-sewer deficit
By John Howell

City engineer Blake Mendrop and Warner McBride of Mendrop-Wages and McBride Engineering, meeting with the Batesville Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday, presented results of a water user rate study that could lead to a decision to increase the cost of water to city water customers.

Mendrop made the study at the request of city officials who are trying to eliminate a deficit created by the cost of operating the water and sewer department.

The engineer’s study projected rate adjustments that would eliminate a shortfall of approximately $250,000 annually.

The mayor and aldermen discussed the study but took no action Tuesday on an increase.

Under the proposal, the combined water and sewer rate for a residence inside city limits would rise from $10.03 to $12.03 for the first 2,000 gallons of monthly usage. For a residential customer outside city limits, the rate would increase from $10.96 to $16.03 for the same usage. Commercial customers would increase from $10.03 to $14.03.

Usage rates for 5,000 gallons would increase from $30.25 to $33.75 for residential city customers and from $31.60 to $39.85 for residential customers outside the city. Commercial users at the same volume would increase from $30.25 to $36.20.

For 10,000 gallons, rates would change as follows: $63.95 to $69.95 for inside city residential, $63.95 to $75.95 for outside city residential, $63.95 to $73.15 for commercial.

"We’re just trying to break even," Mayor Jerry Autrey said, following discussion that the only other option to make up a $250,000 annual deficit in water and sewer department operations was a tax increase.

"I’d rather raise water; at least you have the option of using less," Alderman Bill Dugger said.


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