Meridian Star

March 16, 2014

Letters: Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — The house that Boatner built

    Many eyes have seen the glory,

    of a school's "diamond in the rough,"

    Be built into a revered program of excellence,

    to be disciplined and to be mentally and

    physically tough.

    It came one step at a time

    by dedication and non-relenting toil.

    It came thru sweat and sacrifice,

    and by burning the midnight oil.

    Coach Jerry Boatner dared to dream,

    He inspired his players to high ideals,

    He instilled character and life's principles

    to be applied both on and off the field.

    Thru perseverance and encouraging each other as a team,

    Twelve Mississippi State Championships were won.

    He guided the Knights of West Lauderdale

    As they earned their place in the sun.

    He emphasized academic excellence,

    He taught respect, humility, honor, integrity,

    and sportsmanship.

    Players learned how to make a positive contribution

    to mankind in the house that Jerry Boatner built.

    So to Coach Boatner, we say a heartfelt "Thank You,"

    You've influenced future generations and homes,

    Meanwhile the West Lauderdale Knights continue to win,

    and your truth is marching on!


    Coach Jerry Boatner - Knight in Shining Armor

By Mary Ruth Briggs

Teachers should be

on merit system

    The article in Thursday's Meridian Star concerning a bill in the Mississippi Legislature about teacher's pay is upside down. And, it has been upside down for the last 25 - 35 years.

    Common horse sense says our schools and parents require our students to get a good education. And, their payment or reward is good grades. Good grades, good students and good schools are a direct result of good teachers.

    And, I am all for paying good teachers a good wage. But, the way our legislators, and the teacher's union treats teacher's pay is more like an entitlement. And, I say that is totally wrong, and idiotic.

    All jobs should have a base starting pay. After that increases in pay should be based upon time on the job, added experience during time on the job and a quarterly grading system for all teachers. And, this type of system should be standardize across the nation.

    And, those who do no measure up should be fired. Our students are on a merit system, our teachers should also be on a merit system. And, the teacher's union should be reined in, whereby they are less concerned about teacher's pay, and more about student.

    I have only been involved in one union in my life of work. Anybody can argue the point of the good and the bad of unions. I don't like them. Why? It is stupidity that tells an individual to strike for more pay, when each striker will not get a regular paycheck during those weeks/months on strike.

    Does the union pay for the groceries, the utility bills or even the milk for the children for each striker's family? No, they won't. During that time, people suffer.         Now, I will the first one to agree that unions have done a lot of good. Example, better working conditions, job safety, just to name a couple.

    But, no teacher should be allowed to keep their job, if their students aren't performing adequately. A "good" teacher has their mind, body, heart, and spirit into their student's accomplishments.

    And, when the students are happy, the teachers, and the schools are happy. This is my opinion.

    Thank you,

    Floyd T. Killebrew, Jr.



needs attention

    Several months ago an East Lauderdale High School bus was crossing the intersection of Stennis Boulevard and Highway 39. A southbound pickup truck plowed into the side of the bus, seriously injuring the driver, and causing injury to several children on the bus.

    Fortunately, no one was killed, but death has visited this intersection on more than one occasion in the past.

    Stennis Boulevard has stop signs at the intersection while Highway 39 has no signage. It's been demolition derby at the intersection for decades. The MDOT seems unconcerned. After observing a mishap there earlier this year, I wrote my county supervisor and the supervisor in whose district the intersect lies ... neither could help me — it was a state issue.

    So I wrote my state senator and apparently my letter had an impact. Within a week, two yellow caution signs appeared under the Stennis stop signs: "Cross Traffic Does Not Stop."

    What a revelation! Someone at MDOT either has a firm grasp of the obvious or a peculiar sense of humor; I doubt anyone who traverses the intersection is unaware of that fact.

    The new signs were in place when the bus crossed the intersect. I'm quite sure the bus driver thought the way was clear (lighting conditions can sometimes make oncoming traffic difficult to discern). The bus was still hit by the truck. One more mishap at the intersection.

    Evidently the hazards of this particular location are beneath the threshold of MDOT interest.

    Given the frequent mayhem at this particular intersection, it would appear obvious something more compelling than a caution sign is required. Ideally, an overpass could be constructed, but that's expensive and not likely in the cards.     

    Perhaps a traffic light similar to that where Briarwood Road crosses 39? At the very least, a four-way stop should prove feasible; that's the solution at a similar intersection of Highway 19 and Collinsville Road and it appears quite successful.

     But I seriously doubt any action will be taken. If a school bus mishap was below MDOT's radar, is there ANYTHING that might get their attention?


John Carrier, Bailey

Thanks Meridian

for you kindness


    On Monday, March 3, 2014, my husband and I were driving from Canton, Texas. We had lodging reservations to stay in Meridian that night.  On Tuesday morning, we had our vehicle serviced and had driven approximately six miles east when our pickup developed a mechanical problem and we immediately returned to Meridian to get help.  

    This letter is one of appreciation and my husband and I both want to comment on several of the folks we encountered while waiting for our vehicle to be repaired.

    Ryan Clifford, a young man whom, while sitting next to us in the Nelson Hall Chevrolet dealership, came to our rescue with some of the kindest efforts. We had wonderful assistance from David Rosenbaum, of Nelson Hall and the technician and mechanic, I didn’t get their names, who took time to analyze our problem.   

    The concern was that the repair would require a three to four day stay in order for them to tear out and repair the rear end. We needed to be at the VA Hospital in Birmingham, Ala., the next morning at 8 a.m. for my husband’s appointment and this created some concerns.

    Without making this too lengthy, Ryan assisted us by helping us get to U-Save rental car agency, where Suzette took care of our needs; he drove us to another mechanic, Stephon Price, who was able to expedite the repairs and get us back on the road; and he made contact using his phone to get us into the Drury Inn for the night.   

    It goes without saying that the folks at Drury Inn, the conversations with all the staff members and their service to take care of us was exemplary. The southern graciousness of the Mississippi folks can’t be overlooked.

    It is heartwarming to know that in today’s world, when circumstances happen to folks that are unavoidable, you run into “Angels.” We have no doubt that we were in the Lord’s hands.   

    Although it seemed many times that day that efforts to move forward resulted in closed doors … we never failed to find an open window and a solution much better.

    Thank you Meridian, Mississippi. Thank you to all the folks not named in this letter because we do appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness. It is something we won’t forget. Your impression is lasting for us and we plan to PAY IT FORWARD.


Max and Angelyn Holley,

Enterprise, Ala.


Too many people unaware about


of agriculture

    Where does your food come from?

    If you're like many Americans, the answer is the grocery store. And frankly, that disturbs me. The grocery store is just the distribution point; it isn't where food comes from. In reality, far too many people are unaware of the role of American agriculture in their daily lives . . . and what it really takes to have food on their dinner table.

    Just a few generations ago, most people were a part of and had friends or relatives involved with agriculture. Today, that's no longer the case. That's why I'm writing, because agriculture is responsible for providing the necessities of life . . . food, fiber, clothing, and shelter.

    And it's about time Americans recognize that contribution!

    American farmers are working harder than ever and it shows. Today, each American farmer feeds more than 155 people. And the need for food produced in the United States is dramatic. Agriculture is this nation's No. 1 export and vitally important in sustaining a healthy economy.

    And it's not just the farmer who makes our food possible. The entire agriculture industry, from the field all the way to the grocery store, is vital to bringing food to every U.S. citizen and millions of people abroad.

    Frankly, it's easy to take agriculture for granted in America. Our food is readily accessible and safe. For this, we're unbelievably fortunate … but that doesn't mean we don't have an obligation to recognize how it's made possible.

    This March 25, 2014, is National Ag Day hosted by the Agriculture Council of America. Ag Day is a good time to reflect on, and be grateful for, American agriculture!

Randy Knight

President, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation