Meridian Star

Local News

January 2, 2013

A look back at 2012


MERIDIAN — The passing of a legend

    On March 17, former Meridian Mayor Al Rosenbaum died of natural causes at his home. He was 92 years old.

    Rosenbaum served as mayor from 1977 to 1985, was an accomplished  businessman and was instrumental in establishing NAS Meridian more than 50 years ago.

    In one of his last interviews, Rosenbaum said NAS Meridian was one of the things of which he was most proud.

    "That is maybe the biggest accomplishment I've been associated with in my life," Rosenbaum said. "There were others I'm proud of but that one really was a turning point."

    He also helped preserve NAS Meridian during three rounds of Base Realignment and Closure hearings and helped recruit companies like Lockheed Martin to East Mississippi.

    Rosenbaum won many awards in his lifetime, including the Sertoma Service to Humanity Award, the Lauderdale County Bar Association Liberty Bell Award, and the J.H. Johnson Memorial Award for Distinguished Service to the Insurance Profession.

        Along with his jobs as mayor of Meridian, founder of Meyer and Rosenbaum insurance, and in military service, Rosenbaum was the vice president, treasurer, and CFO of Riley Development Systems, the president, treasurer and CFO of the Riley Foundation, and the director of First United Bank.

        The list of organizations he served on includes Congregation Beth Israel in Meridian, the Girl Scouts, the United Way, local and state Navy Leagues, the Lauren Rodgers Museum, and the state and national associations of insurance agents.

    In 2011, Rosenbaum was presented the Medal of Service award by then Gov. Haley Barbour. The Medal of Service award is presented annually to Mississippians who throughout their lives have made significant contributions to improving their state.

City buses quit running

    In April the Meridian Transit System stopped all local bus service in Meridian, impacting local residents and students at Naval Air Station Meridian, who used the buses to visit the city.

    At the time, MTS Board President Bo Hawkins said cuts in funding from the city prompted the move.

     "It's real simple. It's a lack of funding," Hawkins said at the time. "We've been cut in the last three (city) budgets."

    Council members pointed out during a March meeting that MTS had been evaluated by an expert who provided them with a list of cost-cutting recommendations. They also pointed out that MTS was allotted a certain amount of money at the beginning of the fiscal year, and had not been hit with any surprise cuts.

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