Headlines – 2/6/2007

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Panolian: HEADLINES – February 6, 2007

  From the 02/06/07 issue of The Panolian   –   

Local soldier receives Silver Star for service
Anderson ran through streets to save others
     (From right to left) On Jan. 28, Staff Sgt. David S. Anderson of Batesville, Miss, with 1st Platoon, B Company, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry with Task Force 1-37 under 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, was awarded the Silver Star for his actions in a Sept. 24 incident in Ramadi. Spc. Edward Reyes of Coral Springs, Fla., and Staff Sgt. Jason P. Trumpower of Norwalk, Ohio, distinguished themselves in the same Sept. 24 incident and were awarded Bronze Stars with Valor.
RAMADI, Iraq – A local soldier who helped pull his wounded men from a burning vehicle and ran alone through the streets of Ramadi to get them evacuated was awarded the Silver Star Jan. 27.

Staff Sgt. David S. Anderson of Batesville, 29, a section leader with 1st Platoon, B Company, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry with Task Force 1-37 under 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, was also presented the Army Commendation Medal with Valor during a ceremony on Camp Ramadi.

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Anderson is the son of Jerry and Wanda Anderson of Batesville and is a 1996 graduate of South Panola High School.

Two other soldiers from the same unit, Staff Sgt. Jason P. Trumpower of Norwalk, Ohio, and Spc. Edward Reyes of Coral Springs, Fla., distinguished themselves in the same Sept. 24 incident and were awarded Bronze Stars with Valor.

Anderson said he doesn’t care for the publicity surrounding his award.

"I’m just glad I was there to take care of my soldiers and bring them home safely," he said. "To me, I was just doing my job and what I was trained to do."

The incident began when a dismounted team was attacked during an operation and several men were wounded.

Trumpower, a section leader, led his Bradley Fighting Vehicle in an attempt to evacuate the soldiers after a tank accompanying him had trouble negotiating the narrow streets.

The vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device, disabling it and critically wounding the driver. Trumpower, pinned in the vehicle, maintained security and notified higher headquarters of the situation.

Anderson, who was also responding to the call for aid in his Bradley Fighting Vehicle, linked up with Trumpower and began evacuating the crew as another vehicle dealt with the dismounted casualties. Anderson was directing his vehicle back to Camp Ramadi when it, too, was disabled by an IED, wounding five inside.

The explosion knocked out communications and caused a fire in the rear compartment. Anderson, who had been outside checking his gunner and driver, attempted to let down the rear ramp and the troop door, but both were jammed.

Trumpower, with severe wounds to his hands and face, tried to get the cargo hatch open. With Anderson’s help, the two men were able to open it wide enough to evacuate the vehicle. Reyes, although also wounded and disoriented by the flames, found the fire suppression handle and doused the blaze long enough for everyone to escape.

Once everyone was out, Anderson took a rifle from the vehicle and single-handedly made sure there were no insurgents within a nearby building, while Trumpower guarded the wounded and Reyes, a medic, evaluated and stabilized them.

After they moved the wounded into the building, Anderson attempted to retrieve a radio and smoke grenade to signal their location, only to find both destroyed in the vehicle. Knowing the wounded driver was going into shock and could bleed to death without immediate evacuation, Anderson ran about 400 meters to try and get the attention of a nearby tank crew.

Unable to get the attention of the tank, he ran farther down the road to wave down a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, then led it back to the wounded soldiers, and subsequently supervised the loading of his men.

Col. Sean MacFarland, commander of 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, presented each of the men their awards and praised the heroism they exhibited. He cited their actions as examples of living the "Warrior Ethos."

"They didn’t give up," MacFarland said. "They did not leave their comrades behind."

Trumpower said after the ceremony that he counted himself lucky for the other soldiers present who helped take care of the casualties. He said he remembers the incident "like it just happened yesterday."

"Sometimes I guess I would rather not have the award and not have those things happen," Trumpower said.

Reyes said he hasn’t thought much about the incident, but he was grateful his actions were held in high regard.

"We were pretty much alone out there," Reyes said. "It could have gone dramatically different than it did."

Both Reyes and Trumpower were also presented the Army Commendation medal during the ceremony.

Big Buck Contest winners announced for 2006-2007
By Billy Davis

Tate County hunter Kenny Crockett, who bagged an 18-point buck on Christmas Day, is the winner of The Panolian’s 2006-2007 Big Buck Contest.

Crockett jumped into the lead December 27 when he measured his trophy buck at the contest’s co-sponsor, Batesville Pawn Shop. He stayed in the lead until the contest ended January 31, the last day of the ’06-07 season.

The Tate County farmer and rancher bagged his buck with a Browning .270 Automatic. It scored 68.25 points.

Besides bragging rights, Crockett wins a Remington .270 from Batesville Pawn Shop for his first place finish.

The contest ended with David Bridgers of Oxford finishing second place. He bagged an 11-point that earned him a score of 64 points and wins a 16-foot, two-person deer stand.

Tied for third in the contest are Matt McGraw of Oxford and Randy Dungan of Charleston, who had tied for first place with 63.5 points.

NP trustees begin search for new superintendent
By Jason C. Mattox

North Panola School District trustees began their search for a new district superintendent last night, reviewing 13 applications submitted by the January 31 deadline.

"The board plans to discuss how we want to proceed during the meeting," board president Pearl McGlothian said. "Every decision will be made by the board as a whole."

During last month’s regular meeting of the board, members of the community voiced their concerns about not being included in the selection process. Neither McGlothian nor Superintendent Glendora Dugger would comment on potential community involvement.

"That is a good pool of applicants," Dugger said. "They will have a lot of people to choose from and will do their best to find the right leader for this district."

McGlothian said she is happy with the response the position received.

"We had a good number of people express interest in the job," she said. "Now we have to begin reviewing the applications."

The new superintendent will be the third in four years for the district.

Former superintendent Robert Massey was terminated from the position in October 2005 and was replaced with Dugger, who announced in December that she would be retiring effective June 30.

BPD investigating rape; suspect, victim juveniles
By Jason C. Mattox

Batesville police are investigating a Saturday, Feb. 3 rape involving juveniles, BPD Col. Tony Jones said.

"The suspect is a 17-year-old male and the victim is a 12-year-old female," he said.

The BPD has a standing policy of not releasing names of juvenile offenders or victims and The Panolian has a policy against publishing them.

Jones said the BPD is still unsure where the incident happened, but said it was reported by a member of the victim’s family.

This is the first rape case the department has investigated during 2007.

"Not only is this the first rape case of the year, it is the first one we have seen in several months," Jones said. "We want the family of the victim to know that we have every intention of prosecuting this case to the fullest extent of the law."

In other police business:
The BPD is investigating the theft of a pair of generators stolen from a truck parked at Lowe’s around noon on Saturday.
     Jones said the estimated value of both generators was $700.

"Anyone with any information regarding either of these cases is encouraged to contact Det. Lee Martin at 563-5653," he said.

No arrests have been made. Both cases remain under investigation.

Department head wants new trucks for dependable service
By Rupert Howell

Panola County Sanitation Director Dean Joiner wants four new garbage trucks to replace the 2005 model Internationals that are spending "too much time in the shop."

Joiner reported to Panola Supervisors Monday that at least one of the trucks is in the shop every week causing his department to run behind with curbside service that includes all of rural Panola County and most of the municipalities.

Joiner said the trucks are under warranty for parts, but that doesn’t cover labor and towing cost. A similar truck was leased when two of the county trucks broke down and it broke down, also.
Joiner and Panola County Administrator David Chandler had discussed the constant break downs prior to Monday’s First District meeting of the Panola County Board of Supervisors in Sardis.

They agreed that the options were to buy backup trucks or buy new ones of a make and model with less maintenance problems and sell the existing trucks. Of the four trucks presently used, two are purchased and two are still being paid for.

Joiner explained that the sanitation department usually works four days a week but has been able to keep up with the week’s collections by working on Friday. He said January was the largest garbage collection month with 1,300 tons taken to a Tunica landfill, with usual months averaging approximately 1,000 tons.

Joiner said that the sanitation department averages approximately 50 calls per day when the trucks are not all operating.

He emphasized that the county shop maintains the vehicles more stringently than recommended with each truck being serviced once a month, before recommended mileage is accumulated. He also said mechanical problems are "all roughly the same."

Joiner and Chandler agreed to have cost figures and recommendations at a meeting scheduled next Monday in Batesville.

Special election down to handful of candidates
By John Howell Sr.

Absentee ballots for the Tuesday, February 13, special election will be available Wednesday,
Feb. 7, Panola County Circuit Clerk Joe Reid said.

Mississippi House of Representative District 11 voters will select a successor to fill the unexpired term of Representative Leonard Morris, who died last month. A committee composed of the governor, the secretary of state and the attorney general met to approve the ballot on Monday, Reid said.

Five candidates’ names will appear –
    – Kay Buckley-Houston,
    – Joe C. Gardner,
    – Myrt B. Price,
    – Steve Richardson and
    – Teresa Wallace.

A sixth candidate, Michael Cathey of Senatobia, was not included after the state officials determined that he does not live in the district, Reid said.

District 11 includes southeast Tate County and a wide swath of Panola County, including a portion of the cities of Sardis and Batesville. Reid urged voters who have questions about their voting eligibility to contact his office.

Meeting on skatepark is Thursday
A meeting to discuss a proposed skatepark will be at Batesville City Hall on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 6:30 p.m., confirmed Mayor Jerry Autrey.

Plans will be discussed for organizing a committee to work toward building a skatepark in Batesville.

Anyone interested in being on the committee or helping with the project should attend this meeting.


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