Headlines Cont. – 12/8/2006

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 8, 2006

The Panolian: INSIDE STORIES – December 8, 2006


Mobile home owner gets temporary permit to locate within city limits
By Jason C. Mattox

After denying a similar request earlier, the Batesville City Board granted a permit to allow the temporary location of a mobile home within Batesville city limits at their Tuesday afternoon meeting.

Dorothy Harris was present to make the request on behalf of her mother who has an existing mobile home on Elbert Smith Road just off Harmon Road.

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"We were of the opinion that the property was outside of the city limits," Harris told city leaders.

Code Enforcement Office administrator Pam Comer said unlike a previous request, the area is heavily populated with mobile homes.

"There are mobile homes all around this piece of property," Comer said. "And they are trying to do what they need to for the home to be allowed."
Comer said her office learned of the mobile home after Harris made deposits for city utilities.

"When we learned the mobile home was already on the property, Miss Harris came in and asked what she needed to do," she said. "But they did not know the property was in the city limits."

Comer explained the mobile home is located in an area that was annexed by the city.

"The problem is that part of the road is in the city and part of it is in the county," she said. "But nearly everything out there in that area is a mobile home."

Comer then said she advised Harris to appear before the mayor and board of aldermen to ask for a temporary permit until a rezoning hearing could take place.

"She is well aware that the property will have to be rezoned from R-1 residential to M-1 to allow a mobile home," she said.

Ward 2 Alderman Rufus Manley asked what the property owner would do if the board granted the temporary permit and later denied the rezoning.

"That decision is one the board will have to make," Comer said. "If you deny it, they would have to move the mobile home."

Comer explained that Harris can apply for no more than two temporary permits.

"That would mean they can leave the mobile home on the property for no more than one year before the rezoning has to happen," she said. "The temporary permits are good for six months each."

Comer said there is a possibility the Planning Commission will deny the rezoning, but said Harris had evidence in her favor.

"There is always the chance the planning commission will deny it, but they already have documentation showing that a lot of the area is already populated with mobile homes," she said.

Camper in Crenshaw must be moved
By John Howell Sr.

Crenshaw aldermen on Tuesday voted to require the owner of a camper trailer to remove it from where it has been placed in the city.

"Your ordinance says ?no more mobile homes in Crenshaw unless it is a mobile home lot,’" Crenshaw town attorney Mary Brown told aldermen when they questioned her about the camper trailer. The attorney said that even if the trailer had been previously placed at another location in the city, it could only be moved to an approved mobile home park.

Controversy over the placement of mobile homes within municipal limits has dogged the town officials for most of the year.

The camper trailer issue prompted a rambling discussion among the mayor and aldermen about an unapproved mobile home lot on Levee Street that had sprung up in the town and the one approved mobile home park. When it was over, aldermen decided to require Robert Lee Evans to remove the camper trailer he had placed on a lot in town limits without authorization.

"I make a motion that legally she send him a letter," stating that the trailer must be moved, Alderman Shirley Morgan said. Alderman David Whitsell provided the second, and the motion passed unanimously.

Town officials also discussed "the Cummings trailer."

"He moved it in and he was told to move; he was never pursued," Bradley said.

"If you all haven’t made him move it in two years, he needs it to stay," Brown said.

‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ running at Playhouse
By Jason C. Mattox

The Panola Playhouse debuted their Christmas play last night to a crowd of viewers anxious to see a new twist on the holiday classic "It’s A Wonderful Life."

Unlike the familiar Frank Capra film, this version is a musical featuring several songs that help move along the story.

The cast includes:
     George Bailey – Tom Womble
     Young George – J.C. Martin
     Mary Bailey – Lane Dye
     Young Mary – Abby Sewell
     Clarence – Kevious Blakely
     Joseph – Albert Sewell
     Henry Potter – Chad Martin
     Uncle Billy – Tom Latham
     Bert – Mathew Fletcher
     Ernie – Lee Dixon
     Ma Bailey – Deby Klyce
     Violet Bick – Erika Christ
     Samantha Bick – Tori Tollison
     Gower – Bill Wallace
     Harry Bailey – Vic Henson
     Zuzu – Sloan Garner
     Potter’s Man – Jimmy McClure
     Town Vocalists/Bailey Children –
          Elaine Westfaul, Mary Ruth Womble,
          Addie Tollison, and Cate Amis.

The story of "Life" revolves around George Bailey, played by both J.C. Martin and Womble, on one Christmas Eve when he contemplates ending his own life, wishing he’d never been born. An angel is sent to show him what life would have been like for his family and friends if he’d never been born.

The play shows various important events in George’s life, including when he first meets a young Mary (Abby Sewell of Walls), in order to prepare angelic Clarence (Kevious Blakely) for a mission to save George’s life.

"This is a different take on a story and film that most people have seen countless times through the years," Womble said. "Taking on a musical has been fun, even for those of us who can’t sing."

Henson said during rehearsal he expects some people to walk in expecting the same "Life" they have seen Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed act out for over 50 Christmases.

"It’s a different way of telling the story," he said. "People are going to get the same characters and the same story, but there is some music involved in our production, and that might surprise some people."

"It’s A Wonderful Life" began its run at the Panola Playhouse last night. Performances are scheduled for Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. with an afternoon matinee Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Officials change overtime pay policy
By Jason C. Mattox

The City of Batesville changed its policy on overtime following a work session Tuesday with department heads.

Previously, the city had been paying overtime for hours in addition to 40 worked hours per week.

Street Department Superintendent Teddy Austin suggested the city pay overtime for anything worked over an eight hour day.

"That way, if they work overtime that day, they would be paid for it," he said. "If they didn’t work over the eight hours in the work day, they would simply be paid regular time."

Mayor Jerry Autrey asked what would be done about someone who gets called in to work on a Saturday.

"They would get regular time unless they worked over eight hours," Austin replied.

Alderman-at-Large Teddy Morrow said he agreed with Austin.

"I think Teddy is right," he said. "If someone has to come in at 2 a.m. and worked until 5 p.m., they should be compensated."

That suggestion was not reflected in the change of policy.

Autrey asked Austin if that would help boost the morale among employees.

"It certainly makes them easier to get out of bed when they know they are going to get time and a half," Austin replied.

Board members voted 4-0 to change the policy to include overtime after a 40 hour week whether or not it includes vacation or sick time.

Overgrown Rose Hill Cemetery concerns Sardis aldermen
By Jason C. Mattox

Cemetery maintenance was once again discussed by the Sardis Mayor and Board of Aldermen Tuesday night, but no resolution was reached on the matter.

Rose Hill Cemetery has long been a concern of the city as it has been allowed to become overgrown in certain areas.

"As of right now we don’t have any work being done to maintain that cemetery," Mayor Alvis "Rusty" Dye said. "Carl [Presley] is just not doing anything that I can see."

Dye said the city was nearing a point where either Presley needs to do the work he is contractually obligated to do, or the city needed to find some else who would do the work.

Alderman-at-Large Roy Scallorn said he had recently met with Presley to discuss the matter.

"He came to my office and asked me what he needed to do," he said. "We looked at the bid specifications, and I told him all he had to do was what he had agreed to."

The aldermen instructed Dye to meet with Presley and resolve the problem.

"If we can get him up to the cemetery to do the work, then we will pay him, but until then, he will not be paid," Dye insisted.

No action was taken.

In other board business:
Building inspector Robert Earl Wilkie told the board he had met with Nena Seilor in regards to her home on Dunlap Street and believes she should be given time to make the repairs to a home that has been considered for condemnation during the past months.
Aldermen voted to give businesses 30 days to build a fence around their dumpsters. Restaurants were also given 30 days to have their grease traps installed.
Mendrop-Wages Engineering was given a fee increase of $4,000 for work concerning the office building at Steelmatic Wire.
Dye was given permission to sign a grant application for a $5,000 grant to help pay for overtime in the Sardis Police Department.
Aldermen voted to hired Mary Beth Rickles to the position of part-time dispatcher at the Sardis Police Department.
City officials agree to adjust church’s water bill
By Jason C. Mattox

Water bill problems continue to plague the Batesville City Board.

Luster King addressed the board at its Tuesday meeting and asked for assistance with the water bill for New Jerusalem Church, where he is a member.

"We recently had a major leak and received a $1,200 bill for water and sewer," he said. "We are only there on Sundays and Wednesdays, and we didn’t know there was a leak."

King said the church had paid for the repair.

"We are just asking you to help us out with the bill," he said.

Ward 2 Alderman Rufus Manley said the city’s usual policy is to adjust the bill down to an average cost after proof is provided about the repairs.

"Do you have the repair bill?" Manley asked.

King said he had misplaced the bill and the plumber was out of town.

"He has told me that he would provide me with a new copy of the bill when he got back into town," he said.

Board members voted 4-0 to adjust the bill down after he brings the repair bill into the city clerk’s office.

In other board business:
Bids were received for materials and supplies for the upcoming year.
Bids were opened for a mid-sized truck for use at the Batesville Code Enforcement office. Bids were taken under advisement.
Batesville Civic Center Director Roy Hyde presented a report to aldermen showing an average of over 50 percent growth in bookings since 2005.
Joshua Tate was hired to the position of patrolman with the Batesville Police Department pending successful pre-employment examinations.
City Clerk Laura Herron received permission to advertise for the bank depositories for the upcoming year.
Aldermen voted to advertise for bids on gasoline after receiving notice that the city’s present supplier, Graves Oil, had sold seven of its Rascals gas station locations.
Tornado results in higher invoice from Sardis firefighters
By Jason C. Mattox

A change in procedure, made in 2005, did not stop the Sardis Board of Aldermen from paying its volunteer firemen the full amount for their calls during the year.

The board voted 3-0 to pay an invoice for more than the budgeted amount of $4,000. Ward 1 Alderman Joseph "JoJo" Still and Ward 3 Alderman Mike Wilson were absent from the meeting.

Fire Chief Chuck Moore was present to explain what was first believed to be a simple misunderstanding.

"When I brought the invoice to [City Clerk] Odessa [Johnson], she said she thought the board voted to lower the amount to a set $4,000," he said. "If that is the case that is something that neither I or [former chief] Bo [Holloway] was aware of."

Johnson explained that the aldermen during the previous administration had voted in February 2005, to put a set amount for fire calls in the budget. Previously, firemen received $5 each per call.

The total amount of the invoice presented to the city clerk for payment was approximately $4,800.

Mayor Alvis "Rusty" Dye asked what the amount of the same invoice was last year.

"It was around $3,800," he said. "I can tell you why we are higher this year, but I think everyone already knows."

Moore was referring to the tornado that touched down in the city during the spring.

"We had a lot of firemen out making calls during the tornado, and it just happens that we also had more calls on the weekends when a larger number of firemen was available," he said.

Alderman-at-Large Roy Scallorn said he believed the board should pay the full amount of the invoice.

"We all know there were some unusual circumstances," he said. "But they do a good job for us, and this amount really isn’t that much more than we had budgeted to begin with."


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