Headlines Cont. – 10/13/2006

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 13, 2006

The Panolian: INSIDE STORIES – October 13, 2006


Crenshaw’s water tested October 6
By John Howell Sr.

Crenshaw’s municipal water sample was properly collected when samples taken from two locations on October 6 were submitted to the health department, according to a report from the Mississippi Department of Health. Both samples showed the absence of coliform bacteria, meaning that the water is safe.

The test results were made public Thursday. The samples were the first that had been properly submitted since July.

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An official with the Region I District Health Office said Tuesday that the health department received no sample for August and that a water sample collected on September 28 was received in Batesville too late to be useful.

"The day you pull a sample you carry it to the health department (in Batesville) and they overnight it to Jackson," Region I health engineer Jeff Williams said, describing the testing procedure. "If you wait a day before you carry it to the health department then it’s going to be too old," Williams added.

The lack of sampling prompted a letter on the town’s letterhead on Wednesday giving notice that water samples had not been submitted. "We should have tested for bacteriological contaminant 2 times in the month of August, stated the letter signed by Mayor Sylvester Reed. The letter made no mention of September water samples.

"Have we had any water samples pulled?," Alderman David Whitsell had asked Mayor Sylvester Reed at the October 3 meeting of the mayor and aldermen. The mayor replied that the samples had been pulled.

Whitsell’s question had been prompted by a letter from former municipal employee Jimmy Frazier who had resigned in July. In the letter prior to the October 3 meeting, Frazier stated that he had been contacted by health department officials about not having received the required monthly samples from Crenshaw’s town water supply.

The health department officials apparently had no knowledge that Frazier had resigned. Frazier’s letter also included an offer to resume collecting water samples on a contract basis or to return to employment with the town.

The October 6 samples were taken by Larry Cotton of the Crenshaw Maintenance Department, the test reported indicated. Samples were taken at Jones Street and at the ICS building.

"We are required to monitor your drinking water for specific contaminants on a monthly basis," Reed’s letter stated.

"During August, 2006, we did not monitor or test for bacteriological contaminants and therefore, cannot be sure of the quality of our drinking water during that time," the letter continued.

Paving project for two schools involves city, county, SP district
By John Howell Sr.

Mayor Jerry Autrey told aldermen that the city, school and county will jointly pave streets that also serve as parking areas at Batesville Elementary and Batesville Intermediate Schools.

The South Panola School District and the City of Batesville will each provide $15,200 for the project. The county will perform the work with its personnel and equipment, Autrey said during his report at the October 3 meeting of the Batesville board of aldermen and mayor.

Assistant city attorney Colmon Mitchell told the city’s elected officials that the city was seeking summary judgment in Panola County Circuit Court in an attempt to resolve a lawsuit styled Lange, et al versus the City of Batesville. Circuit Judge Ann Lamar heard the motion on Thursday, October 5, Mitchell said later. The judge took the motion under advisement, Mitchell said.

If Judge Lamar grants the motion for summary, the long-running lawsuit filed by the late James S. "Doc" Whitaker will not go to trial in circuit court. If she does not, a trial is expected in March.

The assistant city attorney reported the status of several other legal issues including:

  • The recommendation of a letter to property owner Wade Aldridge and others in regard to potential drainage issues on Woodland Drive property;
  • The contract negotiation with Starbucks for its purchase of a city-owned lot near the intersection of Highway 6 and House-Carlson Drive. City officials approved Mitchell’s request to release appropriate ownership information to Starbucks;
  • The attorney is working on a contract between the Batesville Civic Center and advertisers who will buy space on the lighted message sign to be placed near its entrance, he said;
  • Mitchell is also working on a yard sale ordinance and an ordinance which will bring the city’s regulations on hunting within municipal limits in compliance with state law.

City engineer Blake Mendrop of McBride Engineering told city officials that the summer paving project was complete except for overlay of Trianon Street. Culvert work on Trianon delayed paving.

Ward 4 alderman Bobbie Jean Pounders questioned Mendrop about repainting the striping along city streets. "Court’s in bad need of striping," she said, referring to faded striping on Court Street. Ward I alderman Bill Dugger said that Panola Avenue’s striping also needed repainting. Aldermen voted 4 – 0 to allow the mayor to proceed based on restriping quotes he had received.

In other city engineering matters:

  • Ward 2 alderman Rufus Manley said that a tree on Patton Lane was pushing up the sidewalk and street;
  • Mendrop asked for easement guidance with the placement of a sewer lift station at the Covenant Crossing development;
  • Land is expected to be donated by the Neal family and Dunlap and Kyle Company which will allow construction of a road between Highway 51 South and Eureka Street, Mendrop said.

City Clerk Laura Herron received approval for the city to lease the Batesville Intermediate School gym for city league basketball. Herron also reported the completion of leak repairs on the city hall building. Aldermen unanimously approved her recommendation to pay the roofer’s bill.

The city officials heard from two water customers who reported bills inconsistent with current useage and history. The mayor and aldermen agreed to read meters at the home of Margaret Kuebler and Perry Bryant daily until the next meeting to try to identify problems.

City officials told developer John Person that he could receive municipal gas for six homes he plans on Bethlehem Road. Person told them he would pay up to $5,000 for the road bore necessary to bring the city natural gas supply pipe under the road to the edge of his lots.

Batesville police on lookout for lawn vandals
By Jason C. Mattox

The Batesville Police Department is looking for the persons responsible for destroying lawn decorations around the city, according to Police Chief Gerald Legge.

"We have received several calls about people’s yard decorations being damaged," he said.

Legge said the two areas he has received calls about are Dogwood Hills and Johnson Street.

"We believe it is probably younger people who are responsible for this," he said. "What they need to understand is that this is not just a Halloween prank. This is a crime."

Legge said patrols will be keeping a close eye out for future offenses.

"We are going to be watching and anyone we catch will be prosecuted," he said.

The chief urges anyone with information to contact the police at 563-5653.

Legge said the department understands that this type of activity gets worse around Halloween.

"The people also need to know that we have a few tricks of our own," he said.

"We are preparing for Halloween."

Legge said there will be additional manpower on the streets Tuesday, October 31.

The curfew is 9 p.m.

"We encourage the parents out there to speak with their children about activities that might cause damage to another person’s property," he said. "We want this to be a safe holiday for everyone."

Officials set Halloween curfew, address staff vacancies
By John Howell Sr.

Batesville will observe a 9 p.m. Halloween curfew Tuesday, October 31.

Batesville aldermen approved Police Chief Gerald Legge’s recommendation during the October 3 meeting of the city’s board of mayor and aldermen.

Aldermen also gave the police chief latitude in enforcement for people whose job requires thembeing out after the 9 p.m. curfew.

In other police business, aldermen approved a one-year, $10,000 maintenance contract for department computers and an emergency repair of department air conditioning for $22,500.

Chief Legge told the city officials that School Resource Officer Keith Calvert had resigned to move out of the area.

The police chief also made a brief statement regarding the arrest of Batesville officer Michael Roberts, who was indicted by the Panola County grand jury in August for statutory rape. Legge said that his department had cooperated with the district attorney’s investigation and was conducting its own internal investigation into the matter. The police chief expressed his regret that an officer had been charged in a crime.

Batesville Fire Chief Tim Taylor received approval for additional training for himself and three other fire fighters: L. Lee Garner, John Jenkins and Cowles Horton.

Taylor also reported the resignation of fireman Tim Tatum, who has accepted another job.

The fire chief asked aldermen to call and urge an electrical contractor who has partially completed wiring at City Hall to complete the job. A portion of the work that will allow an emergency generator to provide power for both City Hall and Fire Station, he said.

Land commission approves two rubbish pits in county
By Billy Davis

The Panola County Land Commission approved two so-called Class 2 rubbish pits during a two-hour meeting Monday evening in Sardis.

The land commission continued old business from its September meeting when it voted unanimously to allow a rubbish pit at 1715 River Road.

The rubbish pit had been sought by land owner Mike Evans, who requested a special exception to allow rubbish at Evans Sand and Gravel, a gravel pit.

During new business, the commission voted unanimously to allow a rubbish pit at 820 Smith Road, located just north of Sardis, at the request of land owner David Smith.

In Mississippi, a Class 2 rubbish pit allows people to dispose of non-toxic materials such as tree limbs but forbids products such as paint. The pits are regulated and inspected by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality.

Evans told the land commission last month that his planned pit is part of a coming solid waste plan envisioned by Panola County supervisors.

Land commission consultant Bob Barber informed the commission Monday that he had confirmed with Panola County Administrator David Chandler that Evans’ request coincides with the county’s hope to establish a Class 2 pit in Panola County.

Sardis Mayor Rusty Dye spoke on behalf of Smith, saying the City of Sardis currently operates a rubbish pit but "would like to get out of that business" and use Smith’s property.

"Our rubbish pit is 11 acres and it’s almost full," Dye told the commission during the public hearing.

No one spoke in opposition to Smith’s request during the public hearing.

In other commission business, car lot owner John Chrestman was told to proceed with his planned business after he presented needed paperwork Monday to the commission.

The business is located at 22370 Highway 35 near the county airport.

The commission had asked Chrestman last year to install a septic tank system and either pave or spread limestone rock on the parking lot and driveway.


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