Meridian Star

February 17, 2013

Star adds citizen representatives to editorial board

The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     As far as we know, The Meridian Star's editorial board has always been comprised of the paper's employees. Not any more.

    The Meridian Star's editorial board has five new members who have graciously agreed to sit in on weekly meetings to discuss the news of the week, choose topics to write about in our editorial pages and determine the paper's take on the chosen topics.

    All five of The Star's new editorial board members are residents in Meridian or Lauderdale County and none have any affiliation with the paper.

    Our feeling is that we want our editorials to reflect the views of our community as a whole and not just that of The Meridian Star staff.

    The Meridian Star is still well represented on the editorial board. Publisher Tim Holder, Executive Editor Michael Stewart, Managing Editor Steve Gillespie and Accounting Manager Sherry Chaney will continue to sit on the board. But board members from the community at large outnumber those from the paper.

    The five men and four women that now comprise our editorial board all have diverse viewpoints and political beliefs, which is exactly what we wanted. We are excited about the addition of the new editorial board members and believe they will help us to better serve the communities we cover.

    We thank the new board members for volunteering their time for this effort.

    We also want to take this opportunity to introduce our new editorial members to our readers. They are:


    Born and raised in West Enterprise, Miss., Laura Croft-Jordan has a love not just for teaching, but for learning. She graduated from Boyd Elementary and Harris High School, received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Jackson State College. After graduating, she worked in the Meridian Public Schools for 10 years. Jordan was granted a fellowship to The University of Mississippi and received a Masters of Arts Degree in Elementary Education and a Specialists Degree in Reading. She returned to the Meridian Public Schools System and retired after 40 years.                                                                                                                        She volunteers at Anderson Regional Medical Center and the MSU Riley Center, has served on the Lauderdale/Meridian Public Library Board and presently serves on Mississippi Action for Progress Board (MAP).

    She is a contributor to the Accountability Performance Test, Test Item Review Committee for Basic Skills Assessment Program and co-author of "Soaring High with Test Taking Tactics." Her passions include traveling, baking, and listening to music.


    Joe Clay Hamilton is an attorney with The Hamilton Law Firm in Meridian.

    He has a long history of public service, including a four-year stint as a member of the Mississippi Senate representing District 33 from 1992-96.

    Hamilton was the Lauderdale County Prosecuting Attorney from 1964-71 and District Attorney for the 10th Judicial District from 1971-75.

    In 1989, Hamilton and David H. Linder formed The Hamilton Law Firm.

    He has also been a member of: Lauderdale County Bar Association (President, 1971) and American Bar Associations; Mississippi State Bar (Commissioner, 1970-1972); Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association (Member, Board of Governors, 1977-1978; 1980-1982); American Association for Justice (formerly The Association of Trial Lawyers of America).


    Karen Rooney is an artist and art teacher who lives with her husband, Kevin, her children, Alex and Kristen, and the family's dogs on a lake in Lauderdale County.  

    Rooney and her family enjoy homeschooling, boating, and working for their church, Lauderdale United Methodist. Rooney is an avid supporter of the Civil Air Patrol cadet program of which her son, Alex, is a top recruiter and a Chief Master Sergeant. She is also supportive of the local homeschooling community and is passionate about doing anything she can to help bring jobs to Meridian.

    Originally from New Orleans, Rooney and her husband have resided in Michigan, North Louisiana, Texas and now Meridian. Karen has a BS in Marketing and has worked many years in marketing, advertising and sales.

    During that time, Rooney and her husband traveled to Romania and Guatemala to adopt their two children.

    The family moved to the Meridian area five years ago and have come to appreciate the warmth and generosity of the people here.


    Ida Bea Todd Tomlin is a seasoned professional with more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience in the cultural arts.  

    She has served as Chief Operating Officer for the Detroit Zoological Society and the Detroit Science Center in Michigan. Tomlin has also served as administrator for university and secondary schools.  

    Her volunteer activities include museum accreditation and grant reviewer, consultant and board member for regional and national cultural organizations. A member of St. Joseph Church, she is a volunteer catechism teacher for the Catholic Community of Meridian   

    After attending St. Joseph Catholic School for her primary education, and Meridian High School, class of 1970, Tomlin received a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications/Media from Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Michigan.

    Tomlin moved back home to Meridian in May 2011. She is a mother of two children and a grandmother of four.


    Meridian businessman Robert F. Ward is well known in the area, having served on committees and boards of several prominent civic organizations.

    Ward, who earned a masters degree in marketing from the University of Alabama in 1974, was president and general manager of WTOK-TV from 1975-1989; owner and president of Jadabec First Aid and Safety Co. from 1990-2000; and a partner in both Broadmoor Development Co. and Alabama Development Co.

    Over the years, Ward has served as chairman of United Way; chairman and president of the Phil Hardin Foundation; Meridian Community College Foundation president; chairman of the MSU-Meridian Advisory Council; president of the Meridian Chamber of Commerce; president of the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters; president of the Rotary Club; commissioner for the Association of Colleges and Schools; and member of the Trustmark Advisory Board.