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franklin county times

July 29, 2001

By Staff
Armstrong had monumental task
To the Editor:
What a wonderful tribute to Mr. Armstrong (The Meridian Star, July 22). I was so sorry to hear of his death, and your words brought tears to my eyes. I am sure I didn't realize at the time, what a monumental task he had in 1970. Thanks for sharing that with all of us.
Belinda (Herrington) Alman
The Woodlands, Tex.
Armstrong made transition easier for all students
To the Editor:
I just heard about the passing of Mr. Armstrong and I looked up his obituary in The Star's archives. I was born and spent the first 18 years of my life in Meridian. I saw many changes to our city and was part of the generation that saw racism and intolerance threaten to rip our state and city apart.
The desegregation of the Meridian Public Schools has to be one the most prolific times I can remember. My whole family had attended Harris High School and when I could no longer claim to have graduated from there, it was a terrible blow to me.
But I'm so glad that God put a man like Mr. Armstrong in our lives. He made the transition so much easier then it could have been. He really went out of his way to make the black students feel like they were part of the Meridian High tradition.
It was as if he knew that we black students felt out of place, that we were losing a part of our own tradition and heritage and he gently pulled us into a new era in the Meridian educational system. He made sure that we were included in every facet of campus activities. We had equal representation on the student council, the band, Mr. Porter's Choir, (which I was a part of) and every activity on campus.
If there was a problem, he was fair, he listened to the problems of both the white and black students during this transition period. He made sure that the black instructors and teachers were active in the programs and campus organizations. This was important, because we black students needed to see that we could be part of what was going on at the school.
Because of Mr. Armstrong's leadership and dedication to educating all students, (and that's all we were to him, whether black or white, we were all his students), Meridian High showed the city, the state and perhaps the rest of the nation, that if we worked hard and just gave each other the respect we deserve, we can make this world the place it should be.
I was home a few weeks ago to bury one of my best friends and classmates, Willie Wade. I brought my wife and 9-year-old daughter with me. I took her to the Meridian High campus. I wanted her to see my school, because it was there where teachers actually cared about students and not just a paycheck. It brought back so many memories.
I felt a deep sense of pride and accomplishment. I thank God that we had people like Mr. Armstrong. Please pass on my condolences to his family.
Gerald T. McMillian
Class of 72
Schriever AFB, Colo.
City should work with mobile home owners for solutions
To the Editor:
I would like to say a few things about my parents, who are mobile home owners.
My parents moved to Meridian to be near their family in January 1979 and bought the lot they are now on in August 1979. I have never heard of any bad experiences they had with their neighbors.
My father and mother have always kept the large corner lot neat with flowers, trees and well-mowed grass. My parents have worked hard all of their lives and have served Meridian and their county well. They bought their lot and their mobile home in good faith and were not told at the time of purchase they were not going to be able to upgrade or put another mobile home there at all.
Laws have been changed since 1979. They have been and they can be again. Mayor Smith, what is trying to be done with these people with mobile homes would be like voting you into office, deciding we don't like you, changing the laws so we could get you out of office early. Doesn't sound legal, ethical or appropriate, does it?
Mayor, you have stated you would like Meridian to be a haven for retired people. Does this apply only to the wealthy retired? Will retirees have stipulations put on them in order to live in Meridian? Wouldn't it be better to put the stipulations on the mobile homes that are in Meridian, such as requiring skirting; if no porches, then require awnings, upkeep, etc. as you do homes that are supposed to be kept up?
But anyone can drive around Meridian and find any number of homes that are not kept up. The yards are not kept up and I hear of no one attacking these people and trying to make them lose their homes and property.
Wouldn't it be better to try to work with people in my parents' situation and try helping them, instead off waiting around like vultures for them to die or their mobile homes to fall down around their ears when all they want it to make improvements.
Everyone deserves a nice place to live, but not everyone has an excess amount of money to draw from. No one deserves to be run off from their home because they are not as wealthy as some others.
Linda Beatty
(Ms. Beatty is the daughter of O.D. and Bonnie Williamson, whose dispute with the city over a proposed change in zoning was featured in The Meridian Star on Sunday, July 22).
Garbage pickup: Just what are we paying for?
To the Editor:
Your editorial ("Garbage contract needs accountability, The Meridian Star, July 23) misses an important point. Residents think that waste management will haul away everything put on the edge of the lawn and more junk that we put on the street for $1.25 a week. Obviously, commercial lawn and tree experts take advantage of this.
I think I can speak for most of the citizens. I put my trash in black bags and cut small limbs to 4 inches and 4 feet and tie them together in small piles. Fall leaves and dead grass are carried away in as many as 12 bags.
The problems, friends, is that our representatives and Waste Management representatives apparently didn't make decisions as to what we are paying for. If they did, it is a secret to the public. With all the publicity in The Star for months, we would think that the details would have been worked out. Dr. George Thomas, councilman, could have done it personally as accounted in the editorial.
Jack Schons