Headlines – 10/13/2006

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 13, 2006

The Panolian: HEADLINES – October 13, 2006

  From the 10/13/06 issue of The Panolian   –   

Vocal residents help scrap plans for recycling plant
By Billy Davis

An organized group of Chapeltown residents has helped stop plans for a recycling plant near their homes.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Panola County Land Development Commission voted down an application by scrap metal businessman Chris Aldridge to turn a former concrete plant into a recycling site for metals such as aluminum and copper.

The commission met Monday evening in Sardis, where Aldridge and 11 residents spoke during the public hearing.

Aldridge was seeking a special exception to conduct commercial activity in an area zoned agricultural. The site, which he said he purchased five months ago, is located west of Batesville on Chapeltown Road.

Aldridge said he runs a similar scrap metal business at 20 Dell Street in Batesville.

During the public hearing, Aldridge promised that any commercial activity would take place inside a metal building already located on the five-acre site. Work hours would be five days a week and end at 3:30 p.m., he said.

"This is not cars or piles of scrap iron laying around outside," Aldridge told the commission.

"So you’re telling me there would be no storage outside? Nothing seen at all?" commission member Tim Holliday asked Aldridge.

"Yes, sir," the business owner replied.

The activity of the concrete plant seemed to be a factor in the commission’s vote, however, after residents recalled traffic tie-ups and automobile wrecks, and a noisy and dirty work yard, repeating a theme that they wanted to avoid a repeat of those problems.

"It took me two years to get them to quit running that plant at night, and I don’t want to go through that again," said resident Guy Walker.

Walker, who spoke first to oppose the recycling site, also named off concerns about traffic, noise and cleanliness.

Nearby residents John and Amy Thomas apparently convinced Sardis scrap iron businessman Henry Martin to attend the public hearing, where he questioned Aldridge’s claim that the site would remain clean.

"The material will have to be outside the building if he wants to stay in business," Martin said. "There’s only 480 minutes in a day. Maybe he can do it. We can’t do it."

After the public hearing, commission chairman Danny Walker noted that other businesses are located in the Highway 6 corridor where the former concrete plant is located.

Commission chairman Sledge Taylor pointed out, however, that the plant site is the only business without access to the highway, hence creating the the traffic problems on Chapeltown Road.

"My concern is the number of homes that depend on Chapeltown (Road) for their primary ingress and egress," Taylor said. "I can’t see creating another problem for these people after this concrete plant."

"This would be different if the property had access to Highway 6," agreed commission member Danny Jones.

Jones made the motion to deny Aldridge’s application, and commission member Bob Haltom seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous.

Concrete coming at new Habitat home
    Workers from Craig Martin’s Cross Concrete prepared footings at mid-week for the first of three Panola Habitat for Humanity homes planned for Lincoln Street in Sardis. Habitat officials are asking volunteers and supporters to come to the site Saturday morning to further clear the site. "We need somebody with chain saws," Habitat spokesman Mary Murphey said.
By John Howell Sr.

Preparation for concrete work at Panola Habitat for Humanity’s site on Lincoln Street in Sardis began Wednesday when workers from Craig Martin’s Cross Concrete of Como began digging footings.

Scott Bryson of Memphis, who supervised the workmen, said that workmen would clear the way to allow plumber Myron Hall to place the pipe and fixtures. "We’re going to try to get back in here as soon as possible so they can get moving," Bryson said.

Habitat plans to build three single family homes on the large tract.

Panola Habitat for Humanity chapter spokesman Mary Murphey said that volunteers are needed this weekend to help further clear the lot sites. A big pecan tree needs to be taken down, and low limbs near the site of the first home need to be cut away.

"We need somebody with chain saws," Murphey said.

Other Habitat needs and events include:

  • Tuesday, October 17, a safety workshop will be held for Habitat volunteers and supports. The workshop begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Batesville Public Library.
  • Panola Habitat needs hard hats and hammers for its volunteers. The organization is seeking a donation of these items.
  • Applicants are needed for Habitat homes. Habitat is a Christian-based organization which helps low-income families own their homes. No down payment is needed, but applicant families are expected to invest at least 300 hours of "sweat equity" alongside Habitat volunteers to help with the home construction. Anyone interested in an application can pick up a copy at the office of Dr. Andy Garrott on Eureka Street in Batesville.
Plus regular PANOLA PEOPLE features:
Dope toss little late for couple
     Batesville Police Department officers (left to right) Greg Jones, Michael Hardin and Scott Cagle recovered several gallon-size zipper bags of marijuana and an undetermined amount of cash during an arrest Sunday night.
By Jason C. Mattox

Two suspects fleeing from Batesville police Sunday night were sighted apparently throwing their contraband out of the vehicle as they tried to evade police.

"While they were trying to get away, the suspects began throwing marijuana out the window," BPD Captain Jimmy McCloud said. "They were just breaking off large chunks and throwing it out the window."

Eric Montgomery of 214 Tubbs Rd. and his passenger, April Turner of 118 Alred Rd., Courtland, were eventually arrested at the Yalobusha County line after a chase that began at a routine roadblock in Batesville.

Montgomery was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, failure to stop, reckless driving, no seatbelt and running a stop sign. Turner has been charged with possession of a controlled substance.

According to McCloud, officers first noticed the vehicle at a driver’s license checkpoint late Sunday night when they saw a Suburban turn around to avoid the roadblock.

"Officers followed him and got him to pull over at Panola Plaza," McCloud said, adding that the officers detected the smell of marijuana in the vehicle and asked for back-up.

"When the back-up arrived on the scene, they could also smell the marijuana odor in the car," he said. "They asked him to turn off the engine but he fled."

When the suspects were apprehended at the county line, officers confiscated 12 gallon zipper bags filled with marijuana and a large sum of cash.

During the pursuit, marijuana tossed out by the suspects landed in the grill of the pursuing patrol car.

"It took quite a while to get all of the marijuana out of the grill of the car," he said.

"It’s hard to say just how much the street value is because we haven’t been able to weigh it yet," Maj. Don Province said. "The evidence is at the crime lab, and this case will be going to the Panola County grand jury."

The Batesville Police Department was assisted in its investigation by the Panola County Sheriff’s Department and the Panola County Drug Task Force.

Rolando will miss Oct. date
By Billy Davis

As a start-up date nears for coming Crenshaw employer Rolando Foods, county supervisors have set a date for the company to follow a hiring deadline.

Supervisors voted unanimously Monday to set November 15 as the deadline, meaning Rolando is required to hire a certain number of workers within 90 days from that date.

The stipulation comes after supervisors officially signed over the county-owned property to Rolando in September as an incentive to relocate its operation from Maryland.

Panola County government inherited the property when the former owner, Dana Corporation, declared bankruptcy and closed the doors.

Board of Supervisors president Robert Avant, who represents the Crenshaw area as supervisor, urged his fellow supervisors to agree to hand over the property in order to bring Rolando Foods to Panola County.

Crenshaw is an isolated Delta community situated in northwest Panola County, where it also sits on the Quitman, Tate and Tunica County lines. When Rolando opens, it will be the town’s only industrial employer.

Rolando CEO Roland Butler has said the company will employ as many as 250 workers when it reaches full production in coming years.

When Rolando kicks off production, it will begin with a bottled water line and be required to hire 30 employees within 90 days, Avant told The Panolian Monday.

The October target date for operation is slipping by, however, and Avant asked the board Monday to set the deadline by the date food production equipment reaches the plant.

Board attorney Bill McKenzie balked at that suggestion, however, advising Avant and other supervisors that a firm deadline date is needed rather than a vague reference to the equipment’s expected arrival date.

"That’s not legally enforceable," McKenzie said, referring to Avant’s suggestion.

After the warning from McKenzie, supervisors set the 90-day deadline from Wednesday, November 15.

In other county business:
Batesville Mayor Jerry Autrey sought and received cooperation from supervisors to pave the roadway around Batesville Elementary School.
     Autrey said the City of Batesville and the South Panola School District are splitting the cost of materials, which will cost each of them $15,500.
New equipment that will update Panola County’s E-911 emergency system will arrive January 3, 2007, said Daniel Cole, deputy director of Panola County Emergency Management.
     Cole said BellSouth is preparing plans to begin electrical upgrades at the sheriff’s department and the police departments in Sardis and Batesville.
Supervisors approved a resolution congratulating the South Panola football team for the historic 52-0 winning streak it achieved October 6. The streak breaks the 51-0 record set by Hamilton High School.
Bring hard hat, some patience to courthouse
By Billy Davis

Visitors with business at the Panola County Courthouse in Batesville will need to bring some patience with them in coming days while the facility undergoes a major renovation.

Improvements will begin Saturday morning to the courthouse’s antiquated heating and air system, electrical system, and lighting, said County Administrator David Chandler.

"Basically this will be a construction site for 30 to 40 days," Chandler said. "We’re just asking for a little patience from the public."

Construction on the current courthouse began in 1967.

The public can expect some offices to be closed at times, beginning Monday morning, as county employees uncover and unpack equipment that was in storage over the weekend to protect it from damage.

The courthouse will likely open around noon on Monday while the offices are put back in order after the weekend of work, and the procedure will be repeated the following weekend, the county administrator said.

Batesville company Tri-Star won the bid to renovate the courthouse at an approximate cost of $440,000. Panola County is paying for the renovation through a five-year bank note.

A renovation to the county courthouse in Sardis is coming in a "couple of years," Chandler said.


Copyright 2005-2006 by The Panolian, Inc..  All rights reserved
Copyright 2001-2004 by Batesville Newspapers, LLC.  All rights reserved
Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission  is prohibited.