Meridian Star

March 2, 2014

Letters: Sunday, March 2, 2014


The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — City's sidewalks

need attention



    With the efforts to revitalize and beautify downtown Meridian there is an area that has been neglected.

    Friday night as I was carefully walking on the sidewalk on 5th Street going to the MSU Riley Center from near the courthouse a couple from out-of-town was walking behind me. I overheard the husband say to his wife, "We couldn't get away with this where we live."

    He was talking about the condition of the sidewalk. In talking to him, in addition to the broken concrete, he pointed out the fallen pods from the trees, and such. He said the roots from the trees damage sidewalks and that can cause the irregularity in the concrete.

    Turns out he is over the department that maintains streets, sidewalks and landscaping where they live in South Mississippi. He added that his crew regularly blows off the trash or debris from the sidewalks and keeps them safe and clean.

    He told me of a man in a Mississippi town who slipped on that same kind of debris and was very seriously injured.

    I hope the people who can do something about this problem read this and take action before such an incident occurs here.

    Activities in downtown Meridian are attracting a lot of patrons from out-of-town, as well as residents from our area. Just as we want the buildings to be beautiful and to provide an overall pleasant experience in our city, we must not neglect safety issues such as walkways.



    Carolyn Starnes



The value of community pharmacists



    To the Editor:

    As a local community pharmacist, I wanted to call attention to a troubling lobbying effort by big health care in Washington. Pharmaceutical companies and chain drug stores are trying to limit the coverage of seniors with Medicare Part D plans.

    Regulators at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are considering new rules that would expand pharmacy choice for those on Medicare. However, opponents of this rule are misleading policymakers and patients and disregarding the value that community pharmacists provide.

    CMS should allow any pharmacy that adheres to their standards to participate in Medicare’s preferred pharmacy networks. And our health care industry must continue to embrace the critical role of providers, including pharmacists.

    It makes good medical sense for local pharmacies to continue to provide hands on advice and even better for patients’ well being and health.

     If patient choice is important to you, I ask you to urgently contact Senators Cochran and Wicker and tell them you deserve to be able to get your prescription medicine from any pharmacy you choose.  

    Just as you are allowed to choose a repair shop for your vehicle, you should be allowed to choose who you trust your prescription needs to. The timing is critical as the comment period ends March 7, 2014.



Sincerely,

Patricia C. Westberry, Rph

Owner, D & B Discount Drugs, Morton, Miss.



Public Transportation ‘at what cost’



    During Meridian City Council meetings discussing the termination of city buses, the following information was presented. The annual operational costs were in excess of $500,000 dollars. This amount did not appear to include the value of city provide assets like office and maintenance space and some equipment repair.     No one could or was willing to provide a true total. Ridership was given as 18,574 for the previous year with some routes only serving one or two riders. Americans are generally in a hurry and won’t wait long on a bus before they find another ride.

    The cost per rider was estimated anywhere from $25 to $40. I believe it cost $1 a trip unless you were disabled or bought a pass then it was less. If this was true, the system only generated $18,574 at most. I assume that additional revenue was generated by selling advertising space on buses and bus stops.

    The reasoning to have bus service is to support people getting to work, students at NAS Meridian, medicinal appointments and the elderly. If 20 people rode the bus, say 200 days a year to work that would be 8000 riders a year. If 20 students rode it on weekends at 100 days a year that is another 4,000 riders a year.     If another 200, people used it as few as 30 times a year that would account for the 18,000 riders.

    Therefore, it is not inconceivable that we could spend over a $500,00 supporting 70 to 100 people.

    Although public transportation is an asset, business and individuals are more likely to look at things like the available skilled work force, school standings, taxes, crime and availability of health care.

    Unfortunately, Meridian is attractive in only one of these areas. I think the money could be better spent improving the other areas. I am sure we will hear terms like grants or subsidies to fund it but they are just another term for taxes.

    I never rode the bus so all my information is from those who did, the paper or meetings. If better factual information is available please feel free to provide it.



John Martin