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Dec. 17, 2000

By Staff
Designated drivers wanted
To the Editor:
As a distributor of Miller Brewing Company products, Magnolia Beverage is a part of the brewing industry's efforts to prevent drunk driving, stop alcohol abuse and eliminate underage drinking.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that we're making progress in this important effort. Drunk driving fatalities, for example, declined 41 percent from 1982 to 1998. But we still have a long way to go, which is why we are asking our customers and your readers for their help.
Anyone can help by volunteering to be a designated driver this holiday season. The Harvard School of Public Health reports that 93 percent of Americans are aware of the designated driver concept and that 91 percent believe it is a good way to reduce the problem of drunk driving.
The importance of these numbers is underscored by a 1998 Roper Poll indicating that 53 percent of Americans have either served as a designated driver or been driven home by one.
In short, the designated driver concept works. What we need now are more people making it work for them in our community. When we're out at holiday celebrations, let's all designate a driver or use alternative transportation programs like cab rides that may be available through local bars or restaurants.
As a concerned member of this community, Magnolia Beverage wants legal drinking age consumers to enjoy the products we distribute, and to be responsible when consuming these products. Designated drivers, alternative transportation and responsible consumption all help make our streets safer.
By working together as a community, including elected officials, law enforcement agencies, community groups, businesses and individuals, we all can make this holiday season a joyous and safe one.
Michael M. Davis
Magnolia Beverage
Meridian
City, county conflict not a new phenomenon
To the Editor:
For 50 years, I have lived in Meridian and I can not remember when city and county officials have ever agreed to work together on anything, so what's the big fuss about the E911 Center?
The E911 Commission members have been knowing for three years (or more) that the city dispatchers would be offered a position at the city at one point or another, so why did they wait until the last minute to worry about it. Why weren't they prepared ahead of time for this day? Do you wait for a tornado to hit before you sound the sirens?
The fact that county officials can't decide whether to raise the surcharge does not surprise me. They're afraid a voter may get upset about 50 cents on their phone bill, when in reality they would probably rather pay the 50 cents so they don't have to see the bickering and fussing on TV and in the paper everyday.
As far as the E911 Commission getting upset because there is not enough coverage in dispatch and the suggestion of putting officers in there to fill in, I have one thing to say to that, "DUH?"
Police officers and deputies are not trained dispatchers and taking them off the street (with the shortage they already have) would certainly anger the citizens of Meridian and Lauderdale County and slow down response time to calls even more than it is now. Leave the officers on the street. We don't need any more problems than we already have.
The E911 Center may be short a few dispatchers right now, but there's not a citizen in Lauderdale County that can say they have suffered for service. The dispatchers are highly trained, conscientious, caring people who work in one of the most stressful professions there is. They never get the recognition they deserve and it's time they get an "Atta Boy."
It won't hurt anybody to say "Thanks" once in a while.
We have elected officials who need to stop fussing about who's got the most power and fix the problems and leave personal feelings out of this. Raise the surcharge, find a solution to hiring some new dispatchers, and make the E911 consolidation a success. Isn't that the final goal!
Vicki Cooley
Meridian
Future rests in willingness to adapt and change
To the Editor:
I constantly review The Meridian Star Online everyday even though I no longer live in Meridian. This is solely because I still find comfort in calling Meridian my distant home.
In reference to the poll question Has education in Meridian improved? I have to say I feel animosity for Meridian educational system because Mississippi's system doesn't prepare its citizens for an academic future outside its boundaries.
Take into consideration that I haven't always believed Meridian's educational system was poor. That didn't come about until I left Mississippi and discovered a new world. Education in Meridian needs reform and more monies should be allocated for this to happen.
Mississippi is at the bottom of the barrel and will continue to stay there unless a revamp of the educational system, along with other things, is conducted.
In other words, out with the old and in with the new. Mississippi's future lies in its ability to change and adapt to a technological world.
D.L. Cullins
Wilmington, N.C.
Blowing the flag out of proportion
To the Editor:
I have watched the state flag controversy blow out of proportion. If this flag truly represents defamation of the black man, then I have something even worse to talk about. That would be the genocide of the American Indian, of which I am one, under the U.S. flag.
Weren't the Buffalo soldiers sent to kill ALL Indians in the West? Didn't the U.S. pay a bounty for Indian scalps? How about the Trail of Tears? Was this crime any less than Hitler with the Jews? After all, we were starved, abused, raped, mutilated, killed much in the same way, just a different time. All of our lands were stolen and we were herded to whatever worthless piece of property the government wanted, with no thought of our rights!
I am not advocating we should strike the U.S. flag here, but I am trying to say that the flag is Mississippi's history, good or bad.
Let it go and take up a worthy cause such as education, housing, or any number of things that will help others. How can they be more ashamed of an old flag then they are of the fact that Mississippi education is almost dead last in the U.S.?
Lloyd Trammel
Meridian
We all need a branch from the money tree
To the Editor:
How soon we all forget! Was it not just a few months ago that we were hearing battles over the
local city and county budgets?
Did we not hear that belts would have to be tightened for the upcoming fiscal year?
The answer is yes, we did, and it was only a few months ago. Listen … what do we hear now? We hear that money will be spent for this project, for that project, to give raises based on surveys. Where did the money come from, or do we know yet. Oh, I know the taxpayer.
I encourage everyone to be in search of the money tree, it has to be around somewhere, and with all the proposed spending, we will all need a branch from it.
Tal Robinson
Meridian

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