| Miley takes reigns of Sardis Police Department as interim chief
Aldermen tap veteran law enforcement officer to replace Davis
| By Jason C. Mattox
For the second time in three years, the Sardis Police Department is under new leadership.
Bruce Miley, 46, was named interim chief of police by the board of aldermen February 26 to succeed Mike Davis who left to accept a school resource officer position at the Panola County Sheriff’s Department.
Miley is single and has no children. He is presently living in Memphis, but is looking for a home in Sardis.
Miley will serve in the position while city leaders conduct the search process for a permanent replacement.
"We believe he will do an excellent job leading the department while we go through the process of selecting a new chief," Mayor Alvis "Rusty" Dye said.
Miley had served on the Sardis Police Department as an officer for 15 months prior to being named interim chief.
"I have been in the State of Mississippi for over nine years," he said. "I have worked in DeSoto County as a corrections officer and with the youth court system, and became familiar with the Sardis Police Department while I was serving as a sergeant with the Como Police Department."
Prior to entering municipal law enforcement, Miley served as an MP in the Army.
"I started my career as a military policeman as a second lieutenant in 1985," Miley said.
Miley served as an MP for 14 years and left the Army with the rank of captain in the military police.
"I was commander of my own battalion and worked in nuclear and chemical/biological warfare," he said.
After leaving the military, Miley began working as a corrections officer in Shelby County prior to moving to Mississippi.
"I went from there to DeSoto County working with the youth court system and then went to work with the Como Police Department for about two and a half years," he said.
Miley said he received a call from a friend on the Como Police Department and was informed about an opening within the department.
"My friend and I were talking on the phone one day and he told me they had an opening at the Como Police Department," he said. "He asked me if I might be interested and I decided to give it a shot."
After those two and a half years where he made the rank of sergeant, Miley transferred to the Tunica County Sheriff’s Department where he also reached the rank of sergeant.
"I was responsible for supervising the 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. shift on that department," he said. "During all of my time in the military and in the private sector I have served in leadership positions, and I believe that has helped me become better prepared for the position as [interim] chief."
Miley said he submitted his application for consideration to become the permanent chief when Davis announced his intentions to resign the position.
"I am very interested in becoming the permanent chief," he said. "That is actually the position I applied for, but the city needed someone to lead the department while they moved forward with advertising and interviewing, and I was asked to serve in the meantime."
As far as morale, Miley said it is important that the department found a leader quickly.
"I love the City of Sardis and the community," he said. "The officers here needed someone to keep up the standards that Chief Davis has established here."
Miley said some of the things he wants to work toward in Sardis are better training for officers and the establishment of a neighborhood watch.
"This department has some good officers," he said. "There will be problems everywhere you go, but it will all go back to good leadership, and we are going to work hard to reconnect to the community.
"Morale is a key to getting respect," Miley said. "It is my job to serve as an example. If we are fair and just with everyone, the perception to the public will take care of itself."
| New voting machines on display
| Representatives from Secretary of State Eric Clark’s office will be at the First Security Bank on Highway 6 in Batesville on Friday, March 9 from 11 a.m. until noon to show Mississippi’s new touch-screen voting machines to all interested voters.
"We want everyone in Panola County to have a chance to see and touch the new voting machines," Clark said. "We’re traveling to all 77 counties which are receiving the new machines purchased by the state. This is the most thorough and complete voter outreach program ever undertaken in Mississippi. We’ll be happy to answers questions, let folks go through the voting process, and get acquainted with these new, more accurate machines."
The touch-screen machines were used for the first time in the 2006 elections and will be used in the 2007 state elections. Changing to new more accurate, accessible machines was mandated by the Federal "Help America Vote Act," passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in 2002.
Every touch-screen machine comes with an external printer so that the voter can see a paper ballot of his or her choices before casting a ballot.
For more information about getting familiar with the new touch-screen voting machines, please call the Secretary of State’s Office at 601-359-6349.
| Monster Trucks will compete at Batesville Civic Center
| The Extreme Monster Truck Nationals are coming to the Batesville Civic Center Friday and Saturday March 16 and 17. This show will feature the Equalizer, a $200,000 truck all new for 2007, the Ragin’ Rebel, the Georgia Invader, the Hot Tamale – driven by the 2006 rookie of the year, the Get R Done – Larry the Cable Guy’s favorite truck – and the Reaper, owned by the Grim Reaper himself.
"They will compete in non-stop, car-crushing action, a wheelie contest, drag racing and free-style," said Jim Morris of B. M. Promos.
Draco, the world’s largest fire-breathing dragon-robot, will be coming in fresh from his live shot on the Jimmy Kimmel Show.
"At 40 feet tall, he is one awesome force," Morris said.
Bobby Cox, the world’s best motor sports clown, will keep them laughing and monster truck rides will be available in Sgt. Smash, the world’s largest monster truck.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. each evening and the shows will begin at 8 p.m.
Tickets are available at NAPA stores in Batesville, Sardis, Oxford, Senatobia, Water Valley and Marks, at Big Delta Honda in Batesville and at the Batesville Civic Center. Tickets can be ordered online at or by phone at 1-877-548-3237.
Tickets start at $10 for ages 3-12.
A special VIP ticket is available which will entitle the holder to preferred seating and the pre-show pit party where they can meet drivers, get autographs and take photos with trucks and meet Superhero "Spiderman" in person.
| Volunteers spend week in Honduras
| Fitting the last sheet of metal onto the roof of the cafeteria are (clockwise from top left) Malcolm Morehead, Dennis Mangrum, Mitch Scott, Hugh Sewell, Ken Williams and Walter.
| By Rita Howell
Eight local men and women traveled to Honduras last month to help with a construction project that will ultimately benefit some of that small country’s 250,000 orphans.
"We put the roof on the cafeteria," explained Randy Willis, who has made multiple mission trips to the central American country where the orphanage complex is being built on a wide meadow donated by a Honduran businessman.
Teams from North Mississippi have been traveling to the impoverished mountain region near Yamaranguila, Honduras for years, and eventually plans came together to develop the campus to serve needy children there.
Batesville dentist Andy Garrott helps direct the effort through New Vision Ministry. Though Garrott did not make this most recent trip, the volunteers included Batesville friends and ministry supporters Greg and Vicki Johnston, Dennis Mangrum, Malcolm Morehead, Jim McCurdy, Ken Williams, Hugh Sewell and Willis. Others came from Jackson, Aberdeen and Colorado Springs, Colo., to help for a week.
The cafeteria building is the fourth on the campus. There are two housing units and a large shop building.
And there are already three orphans there.
"We’re expecting two more next week," Willis said. "Two girls. The goal is to house 100."
The complex is being built with much volunteer labor and in stages. After the Panola group installed the roof, trim, gutters and downspouts, another came to put in windows and paint.
The construction is being done on a "pay as you go" system.
"We don’t owe anything," Willis said.
Some equipment needs are being met by groups like the Sunday School class at Batesville First Baptist Church who sent money to purchase two badly-needed washing machines, Willis said.
The long-term maintenance of the orphanage, he said, will require far-reaching commitments on the part of supporters.
"What we need is a lot of people doing a little bit," Willis said.
Contributors who would pledge to send $25 per month could help provide staff members and otherwise sustain the facility as more children come to live there, he said.
Anyone who is interested may visit the ministry’s Web site at
Donations may be sent to New Vision Ministry, P.O. Box 350, Batesville, MS 38606.
| North Panola trustees give nod to revised plans for senior trip
| By John Howell Sr.
A revision in a proposed senior trip received conditional approval from North Panola School District trustees at Monday night’s monthly meeting.
The trustees had approved the trip during an earlier meeting, but District Superintendent Glendora Dugger brought the request for reconsideration after she discovered that she had failed to inform trustees in the earlier request that the trip included an overnight cruise to the Bahamas.
The discussion that followed included questions and comments from all of the trustees, Dugger, trip coordinator Yolanda Underwood-Cox, NPHS Principal Anthony Barnes, Curriculum Coordinator Jennifer Mock and several school patrons who attended the packed meeting.
Thirty-six seniors have signed up for the trip.
"That’s a week during subject area tests," Dugger said of the trip schedule for Thursday through Monday, April 26-30. However, "no one who is taking the test" scheduled for Friday, April 27 is planning to go on the trip.
"We will be in need of a lot of help that Friday," said curriculum coordinator Mock, noting that teachers and administrators would accompany the students as chaperones.
"We have a policy in place: ‘no field trips during tests,’" trustee Cecil Dowden said during the discussion. However, board members were reminded that they had initially approved the trip during those dates.
"They have raised the money; they’ve got their parents’ permission; what are they going to do?" trustee Rosa Wilson asked.
During the discussion Underwood-Cox said that the final decision had to be made by Friday. Board members finally approved the trip’s revision with a 4-1 vote pending the securing of a sufficient number of administrators to accompany the seniors. Trustees Wilson, Dowden and Tracy Thompson supported the measure; trustee Billy Russell voted against it.
The only other item for action that produced a divided vote among trustees was a request for district employees to attend the Southern Association of School Business Officials’ 56th annual conference in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Employees of the school’s financial office are scheduled to attended.
"Is it mandatory?" Russell asked.
"Not mandatory, but it was suggested at the state meeting that it would be good to go to national," Superintendent Dugger replied.
Russell and Dowden voted against the trip’s approval. Wilson and Thompson voted for it. Board president Pearl Lean McGlothian broke the tie with a vote for the trip.
A request that trustees approve removal from inventory $35,000 worth of equipment that had been determined to be missing from the Vo-Tech Center over a period of years prompted a question from Wilson.
"Do we have a routine way of checking?" she asked.
"We do now," Superintendent Dugger replied, explaining that the equipment was probably missing before the district adopted a fixed asset tracking system. She said that they had been unable to determine when the equipment went missing.
The financial report presented by district finance officer Levette Upshaw prompted a request from Dowden that trustees be provided a breakdown of utility bills by location.
"Do we have a set budget for travel?" Russell asked.
"Yes, but they are separated by funds," Upshaw replied.
"We’re spending between $3,500 and $4,000 a month for travel," Russell said. He asked if a vehicle could be purchased for district travel and suggested that the cost of the vehicle and fuel would amount to less expenditures under the current travel policy.
"Could the school purchase a vehicle to be paid for from various funds," Wilson asked.
Upshaw said that policies for expenditures from federal money might prohibit the purchase of a vehicle. She said she would research possibilities.
Thompson asked a question about funds still allocated to Como Middle School which was discontinued last year. Upshaw said that the money, which remained in a food service account, could be combined at the request of the food service director.
Personnel matters during the open session included accepting the resignation of Fletcher Harges, assistant principal at North Panola High and Debra Brown, parent liaison at Green Hill Elementary.
The trustees also accepted the superintendent’s recommendation to allow a maternity leave for a Crenshaw teacher and the hiring of Keith Barnes as assistant teacher at Como Elementary.
In executive session following the rest of the business at Monday night’s meeting, Klater Ward was rehired by the district after appearing before the trustees with his attorney. No additional information was available.