Headlines – 7/14/2006

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 14, 2006

The Panolian: HEADLINES – July 14, 2006

  From the 7/14/06 issue of The Panolian   –   

Four teens injured in accident
By Billy Davis
and Myra Bean

A two-vehicle wreck in Neshoba County has left four South Panola High students seriously injured.

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Monroe Harrison, Tyler Benson, Brandon Taylor and Jonathan Ware were injured Wednesday morning in an automobile accident about eight miles north of Philadelphia on Highway 19, said state trooper Christopher Boyd, who investigated the wreck.

The four teenagers were in a red Jeep Cherokee that collided with a man driving a white Dodge Dakota truck, said Boyd, who described the wreck as a "near-head-on collision."

Highway 19 is a two-lane thoroughfare in a hilly area of Neshoba County, the trooper said.

According to Patrice Guilfoyle, spokesman for the University Medical Center (UMC) in Jackson, Benson and Ware were in critical condition at that facility Thursday afternoon. Taylor is also at the UMC but the spokesman had no update on his condition.

At press time Harrison was undergoing surgery at Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, said his mother, Mona Harrison.

Boyd said the four teenagers were transported by ambulance from the scene to Neshoba General Hospital. The driver of the Dodge truck was transported to the Choctaw Health Center.

Boyd would not comment on the cause of the wreck. The accident occurred about 10 a.m., he said.

Body found Sunday in Tallahatchie River
By Billy Davis

The discovery of a body that was pulled from the Tallahatchie River Sunday is being investigated as a homicide, the Charleston newspaper reported this week.

The body was found in Tallahatchie County north of Highway 32 near Sheley Bridge, the newspaper reported.

Tallahatchie County Sheriff William Brewer described the body as that of a "middle-aged black man" in a story written by Clay McFerrin, editor of the Sun-Sentinel newspaper.

The Panolian has fielded numerous questions this week about the discovered body, said The Panolian editor Rupert Howell.

A positive ID of the body was made Tuesday via fingerprints, but the name of the person had not been made public, the story stated.

The fingerprints matched those in the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

The FBI, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations and the Mississippi Crime Lab are assisting the county sheriff’s department, McFerrin wrote, again quoting the sheriff.

Fishermen in a boat discovered the body near Sheley Bridge and notified officials about 2 p.m. Sunday.

McFerrin quoted Tallahatchie County Coroner Ginger Meriwether, who suggested that foul play "probably" was involved in the man’s death.

"We always investigate a death that is anything out of the ordinary as a homicide," Brewer was quoted as saying.

City, county hold noses, point fingers at BFI pick-up promise
By John Howell Sr.

Do not put garbage in BFI/Allied waste containers!

That’s the word from Batesville city officials and Panola County Solid Waste manager Dean Joiner after confusion arose over the role of BFI/Allied as its contract with the city ended in June.

The City of Batesville awarded a three-year contract effective July 1 for residential garbage collection to Panola County Solid Waste after the county department underbid BFI/Allied Waste of North Mississippi.

Both Joiner and Batesville Mayor Jerry Autrey said that a BFI representative told them that the former contractor would continue trash collection through the week of July 3 through July 7 and pick up the wheeled household containers at the same time.

"They told me that a trailer would follow the garbage truck and they would put up the cans as they went," Autrey said.

However, when Panola County Solid Waste trucks took to city streets on Saturday, July 8, they found many BFI cans at curbside filled with ripening garbage.

The Fourth of July had delayed the county’s regular Friday pickups until Saturday. Friday is the pickup day for the majority of their new city customers. County workers dumped garbage from all cans they collected Saturday. The left the BFI/Allied cans upside down in an effort to discourage their further use.

But this week some Batesville residents were still placing garbage in BFI/Allied cans, said city clerk Laura Herron. Panola County Solid Waste has said it will be unable to empty its own containers in addition to the other company’s.

The mayor said Wednesday that he contacted a BFI/Allied representative who told him that collection of the BFI/Allied cans may now extend until the end of July.

"That’s not acceptable," Autrey said Wednesday. He said that he had mailed the company a letter which stated that if BFI/Allied cans are not picked up by July 15, the city would pick them up and charge storage until the contractor takes them away.

On Thursday, the mayor said he had received a letter from BFI stating that the cans would be removed by July 21. The letter placed blame on the city for allowing garbage to be placed into the containers after the contract expired on June 28, he added.

Efforts to contact BFI at their toll-free number resulted in the response of a fax tone. But remember: Do not put garbage in BFI/Allied containers.

City attorney sheds light on multi-year appointments
By John Howell Sr.

Batesville city officials postponed reappointing city department heads until Monday, July 17 when they will also consider the amended budget.

Consideration of the appointments was originally scheduled for the July 5 meeting of the Batesville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

The deferral brought up a question to assistant city attorney Colmon Mitchell about the duration of appointments made last July when city officials had been sworn in for new, four-year terms.

"When y’all appoint people in July of a new four-year term, appointments are effective from that day forward until the term ends," Mitchell said. He noted that the office of city attorney was an exception and was made on an annual basis.

Mitchell said that the other appointment are assumed to be for the four-year period that coincides with the elected term unless a different appointment duration is specified. A check of the minute books show that the minutes of the July, 2005 meeting where appointments were made had not specified one-year terms.

Mike Druetto and Charlie Dulany were reappointed to the city’s planning commission. Their terms were expiring as was that of Catherine Hyde’s. Hyde had indicated to city officials that she did not want to be reappointed upon completion of her current term.

Aldermen will appoint another person in Hyde’s place.


     Panola County Humane Society member Beverly Patton gets acquainted with Scamp, a pup now housed at the city pound but awaiting a home with a family. Patton and other Humane Society volunteers are preparing for tonight’s Bow Wow Comedy Night fund-raiser at The Eureka. The show starts at 7 p.m. Call 654-0926 for tickets. The event is for those 21 and older.
Alleged ‘Wal-Mart shooter’ surrenders to BPD
By Emily Williams
and Jason Mattox

The alleged "Wal-Mart shooter," wanted for wounding another man during a botched drug deal last month, has turned himself in.

Marco T. Lamar, 30, of Batesville, turned himself in about 11 a.m. Wednesday, a spokesman for the Batesville Police Department announced shortly after the surrender.

Lamar’s attorney arranged the surrender via a phone call Wednesday morning to Detective George Williford, said BPD Deputy Chief Tony Jones.

"Lamar met Detective Williford at the Panola County Sheriff’s Department, where he surrendered," Jones said.

Lamar’s attorney was present with his client, who did not make a statement to police, the deputy chief said.

The suspected shooter is free on a $250,000 bond.
Lamar’s surrender comes after a June 30 incident in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Batesville that left Eramus Spears, 20, of Grenada, wounded and bleeding as he fled through the store. Spears and two more men were later arrested at Tri-Lakes Medical Center, where Spears was receiving medical attention for his gunshot wound.

Batesville police said the shooting stemmed from a drug deal that went bad.

The charges against Lamar include aggravated assault, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, felon in possession of a firearm, which are all felonies, and a misdemeanor charge for discharging a firearm in the city limits.

Hours before Williford received the phone call, Spears and the other two suspects, Alton Kee, 25, of Scoby, and Demarquese Bledsoe, 24, of Grenada, made their first appearances in court.

Spears, Kee and Bledsoe were referred to a Panola County grand jury on a single charge, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

An affidavit read by Batesville Municipal Court Judge Bill McKenzie stated the suspects possessed seven "bricks" of marijuana.

During the 15-minute preliminary hearing, McKenzie agreed to the defendants’ requests for bond reductions, dropping Spears’ and Bledsoe’s bond to $75,000 and Kee’s bond to $50,000.

Prior to that action, McKenzie asked Williford his opinion of the reduced-bond requests.

"With the large amount of drugs and a firearm being involved, I wouldn’t suggest it," Williford replied.

"And also the other one has not been found," the detective added, referring to the still-on-the-loose Lamar.

Williford did tell McKenzie that Kee had been cooperative with police.

Kee had asked McKenzie for a bond reduction after explaining that the original $150,000 bond was too high and that his bail bondsman would "work with me"if he could get it lowered.

Kee also told the judge he has a three-year-old child "who I need to take care of."

"Who was the one that was shot?" McKenzie asked.

Spears raised his hand.

Williford explained to the judge that Spears was "grazed" on his knee and arm by a shot fired from a nine millimeter pistol.

"You were lucky," the judge told Spears.

(The Panolian staff writer Billy Davis contributed to this story).

Supervisor suggests vote soon on junk cars
By Billy Davis

Panola County supervisors may soon take action on junk cars in the county thanks in part to a whispered comment at a county board meeting.

During a side conversation with Supervisor Jerry Perkins at the county board’s "second Monday" meeting, Supervisor James Birge suggested that the five-man board make changes soon to its junk car ordinance.

The supervisors routinely talk among themselves during meetings, and Birge is among the most softspoken members of the five-person board.

"I just told (Perkins) we need to have a roundtable discussion and go ahead and get something in place," Birge recalled to The Panolian Wednesday.

Panola County municipalities forbid non-running automobiles on residential property, and rural areas of the county are covered by a similar county ordinance that allows a maximum of seven non-working vehicles.

Unlike the city regulations, which allow for fines of property owners in city court, the county version does not include any enforcement of its rules.

The topic of junk cars, which first surfaced at the June 26 supervisors meeting, resurfaced Monday when Black Jack resident Margaret Eubanks complained to supervisors about three vehicles located near her property.

The three supervisors present did not respond to Eubanks, who delivered a four-minute speech, but her words spurred Birge’s comment to Perkins.

The board president normally converses with visitors, but Board President Robert Avant was absent due to a week-long vacation. Supervisor Mack Benson led the meeting.

Supervisor Bubba Waldrup was also absent Monday due to a vacation.

Without mentioning Birge by name, Perkins mentioned the conversation later Monday when he made a surprise appearance at the monthly meeting of the Panola County Land Development Commission.

The commission had met at 6 p.m. at the county courthouse in Batesville, and Perkins arrived about 6:20.

Perkins had come to hear about another topic on the agenda, which had already been acted on, but commission chairman Danny Walker took advantage of Perkins’ presence to ask his opinion of the junk car ordinance.

"It was brought up today that maybe we need to have another meeting and probably have a smaller amount (of vehicles)," replied Perkins, referring to his conversation with Birge.

Reached Wednesday, Perkins said he had heard from only one person since June 26 regarding the junk car ordinance and its seven-car allowance.

Asked if he was surprised by the lack of a response, Perkins said "not really," explaining that those most concerned are the few residents who live next to junky yards.

"In the general county area, people don’t think about it because it’s not around them, or they just don’t mind it being there," Perkins said.

Avant had asked for residents to comment on the junk car ordinance, hoping to gauge public opinion, but said last week that he also had heard only from one person.


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