CROWNS TO VOTERS, FROWNS TO STAY AT HOMES: Primary elections are Tuesday and Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Housemann is predicting a low turnout based on the number of registered voters who have requested absentee ballots – about 6,000 across the state.

That is unfortunate. At a time when some see a threat to our democracy, nothing could damage it more than our lack of participation.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and we encourage you to do your research and cast your votes.

East Mississippi voters will make choices for U.S. Senator and 3rd Congressional District representative.

We publish a refresher on the candidates and their races today and we’ve provided more detailed local and news service reports over the past couple of weeks. Additionally, The Star joined with WTOK and the Lauderdale County Republican Party to sponsor a forum for the GOP candidates at Meridian Community College and conducted video interviews with the Democratic candidates, Michael Aycox and Michael Ted Evans. Recordings of these videos and previous news reports are available at meridianstar.com.

CROWNS TO THE CANDIDATES for offering themselves for public service and the scrutiny that goes with it.

In an age of attack politics, it takes courage and commitment to enter the public debate. We may disagree before and after elections, but thank you to those willing to serve.

A FROWN FOR THE LAUDERDALE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS for spending close to $100,000 for more consultations to repair or replace the county courthouse while not yet spending money on tangible repairs to the courthouse or relocation of its workers to safer conditions.

The checkbook seems open-ended for research, but not to actual solutions.

The Meridian Star reported this week on payments to W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company and LPK Architects, P.A. since July 2017. Their bills come on top of $85,000 paid to Belinda Stewart Architects for a study released in December, 2016.

Supervisors tout their stewardship of county funds, but we again remind them that stewardship of their workers’ safety has a greater value.

A CROWN TO LAUDERDALE COUNTY DISTRICT 2 SUPERVISOR WAYMAN NEWELL for his dedication to maintaining local cemeteries.

As reported by Whitney Downard last Sunday, Newell takes more than 100 flags to the graves of 96 veterans buried at the historical Tenth Avenue Masonic Cemetery each year. In addition, Newell worked with Boy Scout Troop 16 this year to cleanup a cemetery overrun by brush at 10th Avenue and 33rd Street as he has worked with other groups previously.

We salute Supervisor Newell for his dedication to honoring the dead. His work is not done, and we can use more like him to help.

A FROWN FOR LACK OF SIGNS TO THE MAX.

Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience President and CEO Mark Tullos says the 5,000 or so people who have visited the new museum has the museum on course for its projected 150,000 visitors in its first year.

By all accounts, once inside visitors are enthralled by its contents and explore the museum for hours.

Our wonder is how the spontaneous visitor — or even those who planned the destination — can find it. There are no attraction signs for the Max at Interstate 20/59 Exit 153 at 22nd Avenue and no guidance once leaving the exit.

Worse, the Jimmie Rodgers Museum is closed at its old location, however, those attraction signs remain.

The Max was under construction for two years. Signs telling people how to find it shouldn’t have been an afterthought.

CROWNS TO THE MANY WHO ARE CELEBRATING: College graduates, high school graduates, newly ordained Catholic priests Nick Adam and Aaron Williams, Golden Apple Teacher of the Year Sheila Hodge, new Lauderdale County School Superintendent John Mark Cain and the 2018 Max Hall of Fame honorees Jimmy Buffett, William Eggleston, Willie Morris and Charlie Pride.

FINALLY, A CROWN TO OUR OWN IDA BROWN. On Monday, June 4, Brown will celebrate her 35th anniversary of working at The Meridian Star. Better put: she’ll be marking her 35th anniversary of serving this community.

Brown has covered every kind of news event in Meridian and Lauderdale County as a reporter and editor. Currently, she plans and writes content for The Star's Life section, Meridian Home & Style Magazine and any other assignment an editor or publisher may dream up for her.

Serving your community and putting your work out for all to judge each day can be a challenge. To do it for 35 years in one place is an accomplishment worth celebrating.

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