OUR VIEW: Crowns and Frowns

U.S. Marine Corps photo

Staff Sgt. Clayton Vaughn

A FROWN FOR CERTAINTEED CEILINGS, the company that added insult to injury by filing a civil suit against Lauderdale County Nov. 27 in 10th Circuit Court to have its property tax assessment reduced.

CertainTeed, a ceiling tile maker, closed its facility off Highway 11 near Meridian Regional Airport earlier this year, sending almost 100 workers to look for new jobs.

This came after the Mississippi Development Authority contributed around $1.1 million to entice the company to reopen in 2014 with a promise of creating 110 jobs. In addition, Lauderdale County and the City of Meridian borrowed $700,00 at that time to make infrastructure and rail improvements to benefit CertainTeed. Not stopping there, the county approved a 10-year Ad Valorem Tax Exemption for the company in 2017.

The city and county, meanwhile have 76 monthly payments of $6,759.25 each remaining to pay off that loan.

Sadly, it’s become standard practice for businesses to come courting with hands extended for public money as they promise to create jobs. The intoxication of that promise, maybe the desperation for that promise to be fulfilled, leads to regretful decisions.

That car, now with an upside-down loan, sure looked great in the showroom window a few years ago.

At best, we had those jobs for a few years and now we have a cautionary tale for when the next suitor comes calling with a promise.

A CROWN FOR STAFF SGT. CLAYTON VAUGHN who played cello with the “President’s Own” Marine Corps Chamber Orchestra on Wednesday at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. at the funeral of President George H.W. Bush.

Vaughn, a 2002 Meridian High School graduate, studied cello at the highest levels, earning a doctorate from the University of Colorado in 2012, and played in numerous orchestras around the country. But he said he wanted do be part of something with a deeper purpose. He was successful on his second audition for the “President’s Own” and enlisted in the Marine Corps this summer.

Now he plays around Washington, D.C. and the United States for his country. Congratulations to one of Meridian’s own.

A CROWN FOR KAYDENCE PATTON for realizing her wish of becoming an actress with national exposure.

Kaydence, a 13-year-old from Meridian, had a speaking role Tuesday night on the ABC television series “The Rookie” and topped it off with a red-carpet welcome and watch party at the Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience.

Crowns, too, to the Make-A Wish-Foundation and all those who helped make her TV appearance and special night happen. Kaydence was born with hypoplastic-left-heart syndrome, a critical condition that has required three surgeries and continuous treatment.

Kaydence was offered other appearances but held out for a speaking part to demonstrate her acting potential. Word is, she nailed it.

A FROWN FOR THE COLLAPSE of the sale of the old Meridian Police Station to Threefoot Brewing owner John Purdy.

Purdy abandoned his plan to purchase the building for $45,000 because of litigation that could delay his proposal to turn it into a tasting room and other business spaces. Meridian architect Mitchel Marshall filed a bill of exceptions appealing the sale in June, saying the city didn’t follow state statutes in approving the sale.

Fingers may be pointed in many directions, but for now the building remains vacant as it’s been for the last five years, off the tax rolls and back in city hands.

The city says it will pursue another sale. Purdy says he’ll find another downtown venue. We hope both are successful soon.

A FROWN FOR A DAMPENED CHRISTMAS SPIRIT.

With the exception of City Hall Lawn and Dumont Plaza, spirits seem less bright in Meridian this holiday season.

We seem to remember a more festive appearance in earlier years, like the decorative look in Newton to the west and many other Mississippi cities.

Maybe the wet weather or a tighter city budget is making the difference. Either way, it feels like “the kids have all left home so why bother decorating this year?”

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