| Mayor praises ‘jewel on the hill’
| Batesville Job Corps Center culinary art students prepared and served dinner to the center’s community relations council last week. Working under the instruction and supervision of Mrs. Joyce Mister (standing in background) were BJCC students (from front) Jonathan McDonald, Jocelyn Phillips, Quortisha McLain, Kelly Hill, Rodney Washington, Ashley Campbell and Edward Sargent.
| By John Howell
The Batesville Job Corps Center continues to improve its academic and vocational accreditation, deputy director Dean Kindle told members of the community relations council at their bi-monthly meeting last week.
"Our strength has always been vocational; now we’ve added to that the academics," Kindle said.
Kindle cited increases in the numbers of students receiving GEDs, enrollments in online high school courses that began in September and enrollments of BJCC students in Northwest Community College.
The Batesville center has also earned the second highest rating for safety of students of any job corps center in the nation, Kindle said.
The deputy director described a newly-adopted behavior management system which rewards positive behavior. "What we found is that we spent a whole lot of time addressing negative behavior, and we now devote more time to reinforcing positive accomplishments."
Kindle addressed council members along with Vernetta Price and Cordella Smith.
"My father was a great cheerleader of the Job Corps," community relations council member Batesville Mayor Jerry Autrey said in brief remarks at the meeting.
Autrey’s father, the late F. J. "Jelly" Autrey, was a member of the first BJCC Community Relations Council.
"When I became mayor, I knew this was a jewel on the hill," he said, referring to the Batesville center.
Autrey cited projects completed and underway during the first 17 months of his administration, including $250,000 in street repaving which has resurfaced the Square and city streets. He said that he hopes that an additional $300,000 will be available for street resurfacing next year.
Construction to build a Starbucks will begin in January, the mayor said; negotiations are underway with Chili’s Restaurants and other developments at Covenant Crossing and, at the building immediately south of the BJC Center, Letten Bush is manufacturing high-quality utility trailers, and in the old Wal-Mart building PHNS will soon establish a medical records and billing operation that could employ up to 150 in high-paying jobs, Autrey said.
The city is searching for grant money to help fund construction of a skateboard park and has applied for $500,000 in grant money for sewer rehabilitation, the mayor continued.
"The county is working with the city now and Batesville and Sardis are working together," Autrey said. He cited the recent three-way effort between the county, South Panola schools and the city to repave parking and street areas at Batesville Elementary and Intermediate Schools. The city and county are jointly seeking to build a humane shelter, the mayor said.
Percy Bruce is chairman of the BJCC Community Relations Council.
| Permission sought to open night club in Sardis
| By Jason C. Mattox
The Sardis Mayor and Board of Aldermen are seeking more information before rendering a final decision on a proposed night club in the city.
Clifford Davis appeared before the city leaders Tuesday night requesting permission to open a night club in the old Liberty Supermarket building on East Lee Street.
"What I want to do is put in a respectful night club in your city," he said. "I’m not talking about a juke joint. I mean a real night club."
Davis explained that he presently operates a club in Charleston.
"Since I opened that club in Charleston, we have had no problems at all," he said. "We have never had any violence and the police have never been called."
Davis said he would provide private security for the establishment and would comply with the city’s hours of operation if allowed to open.
"I want to run a clean and operational night club that will give people a place to go with their friends and have a good time," he said. "The only thing I am asking the city to do is not close me down before I get the chance to open."
Mayor Alvis "Rusty" Dye said the city has had problems with similar establishments in the past.
"We have gone through this with several other people," he said. "In the past, we have had to close places down within two weeks of them opening their doors."
Ward 2 Alderman Bill Smith asked what days the club would be open and whether or not liquor would be served.
"We would like to be open on Friday and Saturday nights only," Davis said. "And we do not plan to sell liquor, just beer."
Alderman-at-Large Roy Scallorn asked when Davis would like to open the business.
"I would like to be opened before Christmas," Davis replied. "There are a lot of people wanting to have Christmas parties, and I would like them to have them in my place of business."
Scallorn said he was not prepared to vote on the matter because he wanted time to consider the matter.
"That location is close to a residential area, and I would like the opportunity to speak with some of the residents and get their opinion on it," he said.
| Property owner told to clean up within 30 days
| By Jason C. Mattox
A Sardis business man was told last Tuesday night that if he did not have his property on East Lee Street cleaned up with in 30 days, the city would clean it and attach the fees to his land taxes.
Mike Fudge, who owns several pieces of property, appeared before the Sardis City Board to discuss property he is presently developing that is located near the old BP station on East Lee Street.
"Mike, you know what the problem is," Mayor Alvis "Rusty" Dye said. "We have sent you two letters explaining our concerns, and you have done nothing about it."
Dye told Fudge that the city was constantly getting complaints from home owners near the property who were concerned.
"We are hearing a lot about your property over there," he said. "You haven’t done anything we asked you to, and there is a lot you need to do."
Among the concerns, Dye said the city wanted him to do a better job with erosion control .
"You have mud spilling out into the street," he said. "The silt fence you are using is just not cutting it.
"When that mud started getting into the street it became a problem we had to make the Mississippi Department of Transportation aware of," Dye added. "And trust me, we have been a lot easier on you than they will be."
Fudge told city leaders he had been cleaning the property and volunteered to accompany any of them to the site if they wanted to view it.
"All of the trees have been cut down," he said. "All there is left is about eight or nine stumps, but I can’t find anyone with the equipment to remove them."
Dye reminded Fudge that the city had agreed to allow him to put the stumps in the city’s landfill.
"But it doesn’t look like you have done anything over there," he said. "And this is not just me telling you to clean it up, it’s the people sitting on this board."
Fudge again said he has been cleaning up the property.
"What are you doing, cleaning it at night?" Dye asked. "This has become the biggest eyesore in the city and our patience is running out.
Fudge said he would be happy to comply, but wanted the city to explain to him exactly what needs to be done.
"Mike, the letters have explained what you need to do," Dye said. "You are really pushing it with us, and it is going to get cleaned up."
Alderman-at-Large Roy Scallorn said he would be in favor of the city giving Fudge 30 days to comply with their request.
"If you haven’t cleaned it up by that time, I would be in favor of the city going in there and cleaning it up for you and adding the fees to your property taxes," he said.
Aldermen took no action on the matter.
| Sardis city board ponders church’s sewer problem
| By Jason C. Mattox
While officials in the City of Sardis are unsure what they can do to help a local church with a recurring sewer problem, they told members they would do whatever they could to help them find a solution.
Barry Bradford, an elder at Rock Hill Church, informed the city board of the sewer problem during a meeting last Tuesday night.
"This problem started a few months back, but we thought we had it solved," he said. "It seems like the problem is coming from the houses who are on the same sewer line."
Bradford said the church had paid for previous repairs to the sewer line feeling it was a problem at the church.
"We paid someone a lot of money to come out and fix the problem, and we thought that was going to be it," he said. "But last Saturday, I was watching a ball game and got a call that the problem was back."
Bradford said the sewer problem is not affecting the entire structure, just the back side of the building.
"I want to give them some relief," Mayor Alvis "Rusty" Dye said. "But I really don’t know what we can do to help them."
Bradford further explained that, in cleaning up the leaks, church members noticed soap suds in the floor.
"We spoke with people that have houses on the same line and they said they are having problems," he said. "That makes us think the problem might actually be on their end of the line."
Building inspector Robert Earl Wilkie said there was a solution the city had yet to discuss.
"That church needs to be on a separate sewer line," he said. "If they can come in from the west side and run a new line, that might solve their problem."
Dye said he would get former public works employee Billy Smith and the two of them would examine the problem in the near future.
"I know it’s not real nice having to clean up sewer off your floor before you can have church," he said. "We are going to do whatever we can to help you out."
No board action was taken regarding the matter.
| Playhouse plans encore
| By Jason C. Mattox
After four successful performances, the Panola Playhouse announced Monday there would be an encore performance of "It’s A Wonderful Life: The Musical."
The playhouse will open its doors for an encore performance Friday, December 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Director Vic Henson told The Panolian via telephone Monday morning that the crowds for the four performances convinced them to hold one more.
"We had a full house Friday and Saturday night, and had to turn people away on Sunday," he said. "After the Sunday showing, we decided to put it on one more time to allow more people to see this show."