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Sunday, Jan. 7, 2002

By Staff
Firefighters choose own career path
To the editor:
This letter is in response to Tracy Tucker's (Captain, Meridian Fire Department) letter to the editor on Dec. 30, 2001.
Let me begin by saying I wholeheartedly support and encourage his opinion concerning the local fire department, with the exception of one item. I do believe choosing a career as a fireman is a calling and most choose it to help others. This in itself is a commendable and respectable decision.
I do not agree with his criticism of the city for not providing cost of living raises to any city employee. Although I believe firemen and other civil servants are underpaid and under appreciated. I believe that is the price they pay for choosing their career path.
I have found in my short 33 years of life that in any career path if you want to achieve financial success and freedom the method is not through asking, cajoling, begging, etc. for pay increases. I believe you must do your chosen job well and update and improve your education continually while at the same time constantly offer your services to the highest bidder!
Employer loyalty, no matter whom it may be, is never going to provide financial stability. I believe if I choose a career path as a ditchdigger then I have also chosen a career with very little financial reward.
Although I do not personally know the current fire chief I would be willing to guess that he has mastered this procedure and for whatever reason it is evident in his salary.
Jesse M. Welch
Meridian
Bonita Lakes threatened
To the editor:
Once again, and to my surprise and disappointment, I read about more plans to develop remaining portions of the public land at Bonita Lakes. This time it is to be a golf course which will take up an extensive tract of land on the upper end of the lakes property.
I personally am sickened at the thought of losing another piece of beautiful timbered public land to development. We have already lost one section to the Ag Center, the Arts and Entertainment center is slated to be built adjacent to the lake on the northeast side and now a golf course is planned on the upper end.
Does no one in this community see or appreciate the value of Bonita Lakes property as it now exists? Does land have to be graded, paved, built upon and bring in a dollar to have value?
Let me share with you some of the things that Bonita Lakes currently offers this community that no other public place in this county offers its citizens collectively in one spot.
1. It is one of the few remaining examples of mature pine/hardwood timber left on public (and I dare say private) land in this city where our citizens can experience a natural woodland environment. Woodland plants and animals that are currently being observed and enjoyed by the public will be lost or displaced as more trees are sacrificed for a golf course and conference center.
2. The diversity of plant and animal life along with the variety of habitats and landforms represented has made this an excellent environmental education center for some local environmental groups and schools.
3. It currently provides outdoor recreationists a place to enjoy miles of back country hiking, biking, and horseback riding through a beautiful setting that is free from the distractions and obstructions of artificial landscaping and buildings.
4. The lakes that are central to the property provide Meridianites a relatively undisturbed and natural setting in which to enjoy a quiet day of fishing, boating, or waterfowl viewing that is close to home. Have city planners considered the impact that grading of the steep hills adjacent to the lake could have on lake clarity and fishing if siltation occurs??
I want to be clear about one thing. I am all for economic growth and prosperity for Meridian. The plans that the city has coordinated with Cooper Land Development to buy, refurbish and develop the
old Lakeview Golf Course makes good sense particularly for a public facility that has seen better times.
But to put another (including Lakeview there are four local courses) course at Bonita would be a duplication of golfing facilities (though private) available elsewhere in our community.
Bonita Lakes as we now know it offers a unique opportunity for a different type of outdoor experience for the public and it's all within our city limits. Remember, we already have golf courses, ball parks, soccer fields. We already have malls. We have a city full of on going development and more planned, and our only other "park" (Highland Park) is too small with too many structures to ever again provide opportunities for environmental recreational activities .
Let's be careful not to lose this beautiful park to more of the same old things. Contrary to what some city leaders believe, Bonita Lakes does receive a great deal of use by outdoors recreationists.
Don't our interests also deserve consideration by city planners? If you use Bonita Lakes for any of these activities and you don't want to lose it to a golf course then you are going to have to do something about it NOW. Call Mayor Smith. Call your city councilman. It is not too late! The next city council meeting is planned for Tuesday, Jan. 8, 9:00 in the morning.
Nell Covington
Meridian
Exciting programs in our community
To the editor:
Recently during our Leadership Lauderdale Class of 2002 training sessions, our class was afforded the opportunity to see "first-hand" what exciting educational programs, for children and adults, are available in our community. There is a large group of enthusiastic educators providing a valuable service to our community.
We visited the following programs: Oakland Heights Elementary "Little Stars"; West Lauderdale "Tech Prep"; Witherspoon "Success for All"; and the MCC Training Center, Success Lab and ESL (English as Second Language) Center.
Our community is truly blessed to have these programs and dedicated people willing to go "above and beyond" to make them a success. If you are not familiar with these programs, please take the time to learn more about them, don't sit back and think there is nothing exciting happening in education  these programs ARE EXCITING.
We also would like to thank the following businesses for taking time to share with us: Southern Cast Products, Delco-Remy, EMBDC, MCC Webb Center, Ovalstrapping Inc., and Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center.
To all the educators and business managers we've met, we say thank you and please accept our sincere appreciation for being leaders in your respective fields and continuing to support our community.
Leadership Lauderdale
Class of 2002

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