Charles Ray Nix

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 17, 2008

Wildlife area named after former senator

By Rupert Howell

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The 4,000-acre Wildlife Management Area located in Panola County southwest of Sardis at Davis Chapel will be named the Charles Ray Nix Wildlife Management Area, according to Charles Pittman with the Governor’s office.

Nix served as state senator from 1972 through 1988 before being selected to serve as executive director of the South Panola Area Chamber of Commerce.

Nix served on many Senate committees during his tenure, but was especially close to the Conservation Committee where he served as chairman for two terms beginning in 1980.

During his service as chairman of the Conservation Committee, legislation was passed placing a moratorium on landfills, paraplegics were allowed to hunt with crossbows, hunter education courses were made a prerequisite for obtaining hunting licenses, check offs were authorized on income tax forms to help fund the Mississippi Natural Heritage Program, groundwater quality standards and  monitoring was authorized and hunting from public roads was prohibited, according to Pittman who served with Nix in the Senate.

“He was always trying to improve that agency,” Pittman said.

Nix also served three terms on the powerful appropriations committee and was chairman of the Military Affairs Committee in the term beginning in 1976 when Batesville attorney Cliff Finch was governor.

Nix retired from the senate in 1988 and returned to Batesville where he served as executive director of the South Panola Area Chamber of Commerce and the  Panola County Development Foundation from 1984 through 1996 until his retirement. During his tenure in Batesville’s economic development arena, he helped bring Framed Picture Enterprise, Insituform Techonologies Inc., Crown Cork and Seal, and Batesville Casket Company to Batesville.

He currently lives in Batesville with wife, Pat, to whom he has been married for 55 years. The couple have three children and five grandchildren.

A formal dedication and naming ceremony is expected in 2009 by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Parks according to Pittman who deferred other questions and comments to that agency.

“This is a high honor for this good man from Batesville,” Pittman added.