Meridian Star

November 25, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Councilman's remarks


    This is in response to the article written Monday, Nov. 19 concerning the debate over the gang presence in Meridian and the “lack of leadership” of our newly appointed police chief.

    Chief Reed brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and fortitude to this community as a law enforcement officer and leader. We recognize that there is systemic crime activity in our community which involves the entire Meridian community, not just Red Line and South Side, but every aspect of our community.

      We as citizens must join together in an effort to divert the rise of crime in our community.  There are only 102 police officers on the Meridian police force … the budget for officers was predetermined before Chief Reed was hired and if more officers are needed it is up to the city council to find a way to  increase his budget for additional officers.  

    Chief Reed has less than a six month tenure and when he came into office the crime and shootings in the city were on the rise throughout our community.    

    The comments made by Councilman Bobby Smith stating that Chief Reeds leadership is "nonexistent" was both premature and unfairly stated. I’d like to know what the councilman is doing to help increase the chief's budget and what leadership steps he taking in solving this problem.  

    Where is the councilman when community meetings are being held to discuss the issues at hand? What programs have been implemented by the councilman to give our troubled youth an alternative?  

    Our elected city officials should also be held accountable regarding their role in helping end the violence and not just simply pass the blame.  

    The Meridian Coalition of Organizations stands with Chief Reed in his effort to work through these pressing issues in our community and he deserves our collective effort in working with him and not against him.


Rev. Gary D. Houston, president Coalition of Organizations

Thanks for giving to MIDD

    MIDD Meridian is a Department of Mental Health facility that serves adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities. MIDD has had many reasons to be thankful over the years, but 2012 may rank at the top.  

    MIDD is celebrating 30 years of service to Lauderdale County, which is an accomplishment that is the result of the effort of many people in the county. For the first time in the organizations’ existence, with the support of local businesses, civic clubs and individuals, the facility installed air conditioning in the work area.  

    MIDD has been the recipient of numerous donations that have gone directly to benefit the individuals served in the program. Also, three new work opportunities for the individuals have begun during 2012. Finally, MIDD has been the beneficiary of excellent media coverage and now more people than ever know of the work done in the program.  

    The staff and individuals at MIDD Meridian want to say thank you to everyone who has shown support throughout 2012.

Bryan Burt, director, MIDD Meridian

Violating the Golden Rule backfires

    Before the election there was grave concern over voter suppression going on, especially in the "swing states," but this tactic to rob people of the right to vote has been the norm since the beginning.

    The Founding Fathers were wealthy and/or slave owners and only wealthy early Americans were allowed to vote. It was against the law to teach slaves to read and write, much less to vote.

    In my generation Dad struggled to care for his family and we often had to wear ragged clothes and worn out shoes, but he always managed to pay his poll tax — designed to prevent ex-slaves from voting.

    When my wife and I registered we were supposed to be tested to determine if we understood the Constitution, but only one question was put to us, "You are white ain't ya?"

    The massive voter suppression tactics used in some places leading up to, and during the election, turned out to be a big mistake by the perpetrators; instead of keeping the "undesirables" from voting, it only motivated them to stand in the cold and rain for hours to demonstrate their loyalty to the principles the nation is supposed to stand on.

    "When will they (we) ever learn?" When we treat others in ways we wouldn't want to be treated, we not only violate the principle that is the foundation of any truly civilized society — the Golden Rule — but it is a very unwise thing to do because it doesn't work and eventually comes back to haunt us.

C.E. Swain, WWII vet and

retired UMC minister

Make sure vets get

needed treatment

    Many people believe Vietnam veterans injured in the war receive health care from VA hospitals. This is not true.

    Any veteran who served offshore Vietnam is denied health care and lost wage compensation for any disease or disability caused by Agent Orange - dioxin.

    These veterans are dying of the same conditions as troops who served on land, from the cancers, diabetes and heart diseases related to dioxin poisoning. But they are not eligible for the same VA benefits.

    This is an issue the American public needs to know about so they can demand their Congressional representatives support legislation currently before the House and Senate. We must end this travesty!

    Only the American public can bring the needed changes by demanding their senators and representatives vote for S-1629, the Agent Orange Act of 2011, which will help solve the problems of offshore Vietnam veterans while they are still alive.

    Yours respectfully,

James E. Mills, USN retired, Collinsville

Bring back The Hub

    Wednesday Nov. 28,  2012 marks a major milestone in the landmark history of the city of Hattiesburg: the dedication of the massive four-story electric city "Slogan Sign" — the famous and spectacular "Hub Sign", was first lighted on Thanksgiving night, Nov. 28 1912!

    The iconic Hub Sign is the exact origin of Hattiesburg being widely known as "The Hub" or "The Hub City," a foundational event in our community Identity and heritage, and so I sincerely thank Mayor Johnny DuPree for officially proclaiming Nov. 28, 2012 from now on as "Hub City Day" in Hattiesburg!

    But the original Hub Sign has been gone for over 60 years. If you support our efforts to erect a full-size Hub Sign replica downtown in time for HubFest 2013 (Saturday, April 6), inform your civic leaders at City Hall, the Convention & Tourism Commission, and the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association. Let's restore "The Heartbeat of the Hub"!

    Human beings are very much visual creatures — we are influenced, inspired, and motivated by symbols such as flags, emblems and signs, and therefore, we should recognize, acknowledge and celebrate the fact that our magnificent Hub Sign definitely helped Hattiesburg actually become and remain the transportation, cultural, economic and educational "Hub" of South Mississippi, not only in name--but in reality!

    For more information, visit the Facebook homepage "Hattiesburg--1912--2012--Bring Back The Hub!"

    100 Years of Hub! Bring Back The Hub! Long Live The Hub!


R. Scott Farris, former Hattiesburg City Councilman

Credit due for work towards

health care exchange

    Commissioner Mike Chaney and the members of the health insurance exchange advisory board deserve credit for their work in establishing an online insurance marketplace for Mississippi families.  

    This exchange will serve an important function in helping Mississippians obtain insurance coverage where such coverage is not available through an employer, Medicare or Medicaid.

    While Commissioner Chaney and I have not always seen eye to eye on the specific terms of an exchange, we agree that a plan drafted by Mississippians and tailored to the specific health care needs of Mississippians is far better than a one-size-fits-all federal plan.

    I applaud the commissioner for foresight and leadership in moving forward with a health care exchange and believe all Mississippians, Democrat and Republican alike, should work together to help create the best plan for our state.


Brandon Jones, executive director,

Mississippi Democratic Trust