Headlines – 11/28/2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Panolian: HEADLINES – November 28, 2006

  From the 11/28/06 issue of The Panolian   –   

SP whooped some ‘Quistors
Kick-off is 7:30 versus Meridian
     South Panola football fan Dexter Chapman holds aloft a "championship belt" he made to cheer on the seemingly unstoppable Tigers, who downed Olive Branch High’s Conquistadors 35-13 Friday night in front of Chapman and thousands of other Tiger fans in Olive Branch. With the win, the Tigers clinched the Class 5A North Half championship and will travel to Jackson Friday night to face Meridian for the state championship.
By Myra Bean
and Billy Davis

"Fifty-five South! Fifty-five South."

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South Panola Tiger fans Friday night chanted the destination of their beloved Tigers: another trip south to Jackson to the Class 5A State Championship.

With a 35-13 blowout of Olive Branch Friday night, the Tigers (14-0) earned their fifth straight trip to the 5A State Championship. Winning this rematch with the Quistors set up another rematch for the 5A state championship between the USA Today No. 13 nationally ranked Tigers and the Meridian Wildcats (11-3).

The state championship game will be played Friday, December 1 in Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson.

Kick-off is 7:30 p.m.

Meridian came from behind Friday night to upset Oak Grove 27-20 in the South Half Championship.

South Panola, meanwhile, did not repeat its September 29 12-7 nail-biter, this time pulling away early with a 64-yard touchdown run by senior tailback Jeramie Griffin on only the second play of the game.

The state championship games will not be televised this year, according to Phyfa Eiland, director of development at the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) in a press release.

"Fans will not be allowed to bring video equipment into the stadium," Eiland added. "DVDs will be available for purchase."

Tickets will be on sale at South Panola High School office from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. and at the school district office on Booth Street from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. for $10 Tuesday through Thursday.

One-half of local pre-game ticket sales goes to South Panola. Tickets will be $12 at the gate Friday night.

In 2005 South Panola handily defeated Meridian 56-14 to take a third straight 5A State Championship. Since last year, Meridian has a new head coach in Lance Weems.

South Panola set a record winning three straight championships. This season the Tigers broke the state record for the longest win streak of 51 and thus has set another one.

With the win over Olive Branch, the Tigers have claimed their 59th straight win since the first game of the 2003 season.

South Panola is the only returning state champion from 2005 from the five classes.

Clarksdale downed West Point 33-0 to earn a match with Wayne County in the 4A contest Saturday night at 7 p.m. Wayne County shutout Terry 32-0.

In 3A, Nettleton beat Ripley 55-22 to face Franklin County. Franklin County defeated last year’s state champ Hazlehurst 21-7. That game will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The 2A match will be between Calhoun City and East Marion at 11 a.m. Saturday. Calhoun City defeated Baldwyn 23-20 and East Marion defeated St. Andrew’s 26-21.

In 1A, East Webster knocked off Vardaman 39-24 to earn the right to face Puckett who narrowly defeated Lake 7-6.

The 1A game will be played at 2:30 p.m. Friday before the 5A game.

Tallahatchie buck puts hunter in lead
By Billy Davis

A new leader in The Panolian’s Big Buck Contest has posted the biggest points in recent memory, 63.5, easily knocking an early Big Buck leader into second place.

Randy Dunnigan of Charleston harvested a 14-point on November 22 at a hunting camp in Tallahatchie County, earning him a first place position over Victor Bailey of Batesville. Bailey had led the contest with 59.25 points.

The Big Buck Contest is co-sponsored by Batesville Pawn Shop. The first place prize, besides bragging rights for a year, is typically a hunting rifle.
Dunnigan said the buck walked into an unharvested soybean field where he was hunting with his wife, Debbie. He shot the deer with a .280 Browning at about 175 yards.

The buck weighed in at 225 pounds, he said. The teeth suggested its age at 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 years old.

"I can’t tell you just how big this buck really is. Any pictures won’t do it justice," said Dunnigan, who said the main beams were a quarter-inch from achieving a 19-inch spread.

Dunnigan’s score puts him ahead of the 2006 Big Buck winner, James Cornelius, who scored 60.50 after downing an 11-point on New Year’s Eve. The hunter-to-beat is still the 2005 winner, Chip Schiele, who bagged a massive 14-point that earned him 65.50 points in the contest.

Victor Bailey’s 11-point, which he bagged in Quitman County November 18, had led the contest last week with a score of 59.25. That score barely beat out Josh Vick of Pope, who scored 59 points with a 14-point he bagged on family land located southeast of Pope.

Bailey and Vick both bagged their respective bucks on November 18, the opening day of gun season.

Bailey said he was hunting at a family farm with his 4-year-old son Alex when the buck emerged atop a ditch bank about 300 yards away.

"He saw us. He would take a step and then stare at us," Bailey recalled.

While the hunter fixed his scope on the buck, Alex, meanwhile, was throwing sticks, talking to his dad and basically doing what young boys do.

The buck wouldn’t turn for a broadside shot, so Bailey shot it straight-on with a shot to the chest with a Browning 300 Magnum.

Vick said he bagged his buck at 400 yards with a Browning 30/06. The 150-grain bullet dropped about 10 inches but still impacted the buck behind the shoulders after the hunter compensated for the yardage.

Vick was hunting in a box stand with his wife, Emily, who was holding the Browning rifle when the buck came into view.

"I asked Emily if she could shoot one that far away, and she said, "I don’t know if I can hit him, but I can get close,’ so I said, ?Give me the rifle.’"

The Big Buck contest ends January 17, 2007.

Opera Guild founder dies
David Durrett, founder of the Como Opera Guild, died Sunday at Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto after a lengthy illness. He was 55.

Family members said that his body has been donated to be used for medical research, and plans for a memorial service will be announced at a later date.

Obituary information will appear in the Friday, December 1 edition of The Panolian.

City’s supervisors seek fresh look, better policies for pay
By John Howell Sr.

Batesville city officials on December 5 will again discuss pay policy with supervisory employees following remarks at the November 21 meeting by William Wilson, David Karr, Rick Shirey, Teddy Austin and Tim Taylor, supervisors, respectively, of the gas, waste water treatment, water and sewer, streets and fire departments.

Issues include the city’s policy for pay when workers are called out for after-hours and weekend work. Fire Chief Taylor’s concern was about pay policy for career fire fighters.

Currently, when a sick day or vacation day has been used during the 40-hour pay period, after-hours or weekend work is not paid at the overtime rate until 40 hours of actual work is exceeded.

The supervisors said that overtime provides incentive for employees to turn out for after-hours and weekend work, often in adverse conditions.

Wilson said that he and one of his employees alternate on weekends and after-hours emergency calls that involve the gas department. Austin said that he goes out whenever street department crews are required.

Shirey and Karr also raised questions about applied accrued longevity to health insurance eligibility following retirement. Current city policy allows an employee who retires after 25 years of city employment to be eligible.

Shirey requested that previous years of employment in a state-retirement-eligible agency such as the Mississippi Department of Transportation or another city also be counted. He said that the previous employment years were considered for purposes of retirement and annual leave.

"Why can’t we do the same for health benefits?" Shirey asked.

The fire chief said that overtime regulations governing fire fighters are unique, involving a 28-day pay period. Under the city’s current policy, " if they take any days off, they’ve shot the possibility of overtime," Taylor said. He presented pay policies from several surrounding municipalities to allow the mayor and aldermen to compare Batesville’s overtime policy for fire fighters.

Accountant Bill Crawford of the Will Polk and Associates firm attended the November 21 meeting at the request of city officials to help clarify city policy and overtime law.

Assistant city attorney Colmon Mitchell told city officials that the recurring questions from employees need to be addressed.

"Rather than piecemeal this thing, let’s get it all on the table," Mitchell said. "City policy needs to agree with what’s written (in the city personnel handbook)," Mitchell said.

Developer answers board questions
By Jason C. Mattox

The preliminary plat for a proposed subdivision on Lakewood Drive was approved by the Batesville Board of Mayor and Aldermen last Tuesday after they were provided with additional information about the project.

The proposed subdivision will be located on Lakewood Drive near I-55 and the Batesville Post Office.

Aldermen had asked developer Wade Aldridge to explain some specifics about the proposed subdivision at their meeting November 7.

McBride Engineering representative Blake Mendrop was instructed to send a letter to Aldridge with the board’s concerns, most of which were brought up by Ward 4 alderman Bobbie Jean Pounders who was absent from the meeting due to an illness in the family.

"You wanted some additional information," Mendrop said. "So I outlined what you requested and they are present to answer any questions you might have."

Project engineer Paul Costalino of Oxford and Aldridge were present at the meeting.
One of the biggest questions raised by Pounders was the style of homes Aldridge plans to build.

Aldridge passed out photographs of homes similar to the ones he plans to construct during the first phase of the project which calls for 10 single-family homes.

"My plan is to build 1,200 to 1,400-square-foot homes," Aldridge said. "The plan is for this to be kind of a retirement community."

Aldridge estimated the cost per home in the initial phase between $150,000 and $170,000.

Assistant city attorney Colmon Mitchell stressed the importance of having a home owners’ association and covenants set up prior to selling the first lot.

"Wade is working with an attorney to develop a set of covenants that will be filed with the city before the first home is ever sold," Costalino said. On the subject of gating the subdivision, Costalino said Aldridge had decided against it.

"It was something that was seriously considered," he said. "But after researching it further, the developer is leaning towards not gating the development.

With those questions answered, aldermen voted 3-0 to approve the project’s preliminary plat.

Aldermen Pounders and James Yelton were absent from the meeting.

Sweet taters good for deer, bad for hunters
By John Howell Sr.

Hunting game over bait, trespassing and failure to wear sufficient hunter orange while hunting deer continue to create problems for Mississippi hunters, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Conservation Officer Willie Harris said.

Harris, speaking at the Tuesday, November 21 meeting of the Batesville Rotary Club, said that officers the previous weekend had issued "baiting" citations to 32 people who were found hunting in a 200-acre site near Como where sweet potatoes had been placed in five locations to attract deer.

Baiting is the practice of placing feed to attract game. Although baiting for deer is on trial in southeast Mississippi as a pilot program and is legal in other states, "Every year it comes up (in the Mississippi Legislature) they shoot it down," Harris said.

The wildlife officer said that planting food plots to attract wildlife does not constitute baiting nor does the naturally occurring spillage of agricultural products while they are harvested.

Harris said that the most frequent violations that wildlife officers are called to investigate are trespassing during the daytime and headlighting – hunting during darkness with the use of a spotlight – at night. Headlighting is charged when there is a weapon in possession. If no weapon is in possession, the violator can be charged with harassment of wildlife, the conservation officer said.
Harris is a 1978 graduate of South Panola High School who made a career in the military before retiring and becoming a MDWFP Conservation Officer. He initially served in the Natchez area before he and his family returned to his native Panola.

"People are going and getting into other people’s stands," Harris said. The officer advised deer stand owners not to confront trespassers.

"Call the S.O (the Panola County Sheriff’s Department), they will call us," Harris said.

Harris also encouraged hunters who think that they may need to track a wounded deer onto an adjoining landowner’s property to make contact with the landowner prior to the season and ask permission.

Mississippi hunting regulations require deer hunters to wear a minimum of 500 square inches of unbroken hunter orange, Harris said. Hunter orange vests with mesh and hunter orange broken into camouflage patterns don’t comply, he said.

In response to a question about the overpopulation of deer in Mississippi, Harris said that among changes in law under consideration is a requirement that a hunter must take three does "before you can shoot a buck."

Harris said that he had investigated four non-fatal shootings of turkey hunters by other hunters during his MDWFP career. In each, "the shooter thought the other was a turkey," he said. In at least one of the incidents, the two hunters had "called" each other prior to the shooting, he added.


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