Headlines Cont. – 8/8/2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 8, 2006

The Panolian: INSIDE STORIES – August 8, 2006


First Security Bank issues ‘Bluejeans Friday’ challenge to community
     On hand to welcome Tyler Benson home from the hospital on Friday were some of his friends. Shown are (l. to r. in front) Benson and Chris Patton; (standing, l. to r.) Nikki Dillion, Josh Boren, Dane Broome,
 Dillon Dubois, Ethan Murphree, Adam McCachren, Courtney Abston
Employees of First Security Bank have "upped the ante" in fund-raising for the four Batesville teenagers injured in a July 13 auto accident in Neshoba County.

August proceeds from the bank’s "Bluejeans Fridays" will be donated to a fund established to help Tyler Benson, Monroe Harrison, Brandon Taylor and Jonathan Ware and their families meet the expenses incurred as a result of the accident, bank spokesman Tracy Goforth said. First Security Bank employees who wish to wear blue jeans to work on Fridays pay $5 each week for the privilege.
The bank is challenging other businesses in the community to allow their employees to wear blue jeans to work on Fridays and pay $5 each week to support these men. "We want to see who can raise the most money," Goforth said.

Bluejeans Fridays are an ongoing fund-raising effort for First Security employees. "We have worn blue jeans for the March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, missionaries and various other causes," she said.

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The August 4 bluejeans turnout was complemented by pink or blue "We Love Our Boys" tee shirts designed by McKenzie West and sold as part of the fund-raising effort. The tee shirts are $10 for youth through size extra large; $13 for 2 and 3 XL.

Orders for tee shirts can be placed by calling 934-3620 or 563-8614 or in person at the bank’s main branch.

And any business whose employees want to accept First Security’s "Bluejeans Friday" challenge can contact Goforth at 563-9311 or The Panolian at 563-4591.

Como Opera Guild receives grant
By Rita Howell

Como Opera Guild has been awarded a matching fund grant of $2,630 from the Mississippi Arts Commission. The Panola County group received their portion from $1 million in grants the MAC will award this year.

The Como Opera Guild will use the funds to present a five-city tour of the opera "Little Red Riding Hood" for school children in Northwest Mississippi, according to David Durrett, artistic director of the guild.

A fund-raiser on July 29, a performance by Memphis entertainers The Bouffants, netted the guild $3,000, enough to match the MAC grant, Durrett said.

The guild, now entering its fourth season, was founded as a professional, non-profit performing arts company dedicated to bringing "the joy and beauty of opera and musical theatre to the children and populace of Northwest Mississippi," according to Durrett.

In addition, the guild provides performance and production opportunities for young artists in the area, he noted. Productions are staged with professional singers.

The guild offers free performances for school children, scout groups, Boys and Girls Clubs and other organizations for children.

With each production, one performance for the general public is planned.

Presently all performances are in English with piano accompaniment.

Among other planned presentations this year are: "I Pagliacci," a number of concerts, a recital for Black History Month and the free "Opera Under the Stars" event, planned for September 16 in the Mitchell Meadow in Como.

"Organizations across the state who receive grants from the Mississippi Arts Commission continue to prove that arts programs are vital to the cultural and economic development of our community," said Malcolm White, executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Crenshaw board restricts mobile homes
By John Howell Sr.

Crenshaw aldermen voted unanimously last Tuesday night to adopt a new ordinance prohibiting the placement of mobile homes anywhere in the town except for designated mobile home parks.

The action stemmed from ongoing unrest by citizens of the northwest Panola County town about the appearance of mobile homes placed within corporate limits and the presence of abandoned homes and overgrown lots.

In addition to restricting placement of mobile homes in the city, the ordinance presented to the mayor and aldermen by town attorney Mary Brown allows new mobile homes to replace mobile homes that are removed or destroyed by fire. The ordinance also repeals any previous ordinance which conflicts with the provisions of the new ordinance, which will become effective 30 days following its publication.

The unanimous vote on the ordinance was followed by another on a motion from Alderman David Whitsell to allow no more trailers in town before the next monthly meeting.

Whitsell’s proposal was apparently in reference to recent attempts by at least two mobile home owners to place their mobile homes in the town.

Jenourous Brooks spoke to the mayor and aldermen and cited what he described as "contradictory language in the ordinance." He asked how he could determine if the trailer met the board’s approval if he was purchasing it from an out-of-town dealer.

Crenshaw Mayor Sylvester Reed called for Alderman Marvin Phipps to respond. Phipps is the alderman who oversees mobile home placement in Crenshaw. Phipps said that "according to the board, he (Brooks) must come to the meeting," referring to existing policy that a permit for mobile home placement must be obtained from the town board prior to its placement.

"He’s all right to bring it in as far as I can see," Phipps added.

The alderman said that he had recently turned around another mobile home slated for placement in Crenshaw.

"It made it to Jones Street. There wasn’t but one thing to do until he had come to the board meeting to get a permit," Phipps said.

The mayor and aldermen took no action on an apparent impasse with mobile home owner Jerry Jennings who has placed a rental trailer in Crenshaw. In a meeting Saturday, July 29, aldermen voted to require Jennings to add a shingle roof and vinyl siding.

The town attorney told aldermen Tuesday that Jennings had told her that he would construct the shingle roof but had requested that he be allowed to paint the trailer with aluminum siding paint. Jennings had also requested a year to bring his trailer into compliance, Brown said.

Police seek purse snatchers
By Jason C. Mattox

The Batesville Police Department is looking for two black males who apparently orchestrated a purse snatching last Thursday afternoon.

According to Col. Tony Jones, the victim, whose name he would not release, was in the parking lot at the First Security Bank main branch on Highway 6 and Eureka at approximately 5:30 p.m. when two subjects drove up in an "older model maroon Oldsmobile."

"The car is missing its back glass," Jones said. "The subjects are best described as being black males in their mid-20s."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Lee Martin at the Batesville Police Department at 563-5653.

Sardis Lake Drive in line for resurfacing
By Billy Davis

A U.S. Senate appropriations bill that is winding its way through the capital includes $500,000 for the resurfacing of Sardis Lake Drive.

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran included the road improvement monies in one of 12 appropriations bills that have passed out of the appropriations committee, said his press secretary, Margaret Wicker.

Cochran serves as chairman of the senate committee.

Wicker said Cochran is "cautiously optimistic" that the bill will pass the full senate in coming weeks.

Sardis Lake Drive is located southeast of Sardis Lake, where it serves as the main road in the Cole’s Point area.

District 2 Supervisor Robert Avant announced the possible road funding last week, saying he helped secure the monies during a trip made in April to the U.S. Capital.

If the federal money is secured, it would be used to resurface the 5.2 miles of Sardis Lake Drive, said District 2 Supervisor Jerry Perkins, who represents the area.

"I’ve been working on this since 2001," Perkins said of the funding.

Playhouse holds auditions
The Panola Playhouse, located at 212 S. Main in Sardis, will hold auditions for roles in an up-coming autumn production of "Dracula" on Monday, August 14 and on Tuesday, August 15 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Director Rick Crick has parts for men and women in grades 10, 11 and 12, and for adults of various ages. No singing or dancing will be required of the actors in this drama. Volunteers of all ages are invited to come to the auditions to sign up for backstage duties, as well. Call (662) 487-3975 for more information.

Extra ’emergency’ pay proposed for firemen
By Jason C. Mattox

The idea of a separate bank account for unspent fire rebate money that was briefly discussed at last month’s meeting of the Sardis Mayor and Board of Aldermen was squelched in favor of a new line item on the budget sheet Tuesday night.

Fire rebate money comes to the city from the State of Mississippi based on the city’s insurance rating, and can only be used to purchase equipment for the department.

Sardis Fire Chief Chuck Moore told aldermen he didn’t know if a separate account was necessary, but he did want a way of knowing how much money remained each month.

"It’s an issue of making it easier for anyone looking to know how much money there is," he said. "Because it might not get spent during one budget year."

Moore said a new round of rebate money was about to be disbursed this month.

"I can tell you if they are about to cut us a check this month, there is no way that money will be spent before the end of this budget in September," he said.

Moore said after speaking with several other fire chiefs, a line item on the budget printout should suffice.

"There just needs to be some way of knowing what is left over from one year to the next," he said.

A line item is a separate listing of accounts and payments used to track remaining funds in the city’s budget.

City Clerk Odessa Johnson said the money would remain in the general fund but would be listed separately.

"So the money will be coming to the city?" Ward 3 Alderman Mike Wilson asked.

"It’s city funds," Mayor Alvis "Rusty" Dye replied. "But it can only be spent for certain approved items for the fire department."

Dye asked Johnson if the addition of a line item would be a difficult task for her.

"I understand what the city wants," she said. "It will be much easier to account for this way."

With that settled, Dye and Moore said they had discussed budgeting money to pay fire department personnel in the event of an emergency like a hurricane or tornado.

"We had firefighters who were willing to stay at the department during the hurricane and tornado," Moore said. "And they worked a lot of hours."

Dye said the money could be placed in the budget and earmarked for emergency use only.

"We might be able to get reimbursed for the money," he said. "But we need to do something to take care of these men who might be there for 24 hours or longer."

No action was taken.


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