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Sunday, June 16, 2002

By Staff
Meridian a respectful,
spiritual place
To the editor:
I want to share something I believe illustrates why Meridian and Lauderdale County is such a special place in which to live.
My father, Elton M. Snowden, was buried on Tuesday, June 11. His was a large funeral, with many out-of-town attendees. As the cortege made its way through town to the cemetery, other motorists invariably pulled their vehicles to the side of the road in a gesture of respect that, thankfully, remains commonplace in our community.
As the funeral procession passed by John Moss Field, however, a noteworthy thing happened. About two dozen or so young men, who looked to be anywhere from 12 to 16 years old, ceased their warmups and batting practice, and stood respectfully with their baseball caps over their hearts as the hearse drove past. Out of the corner of my eye, I recognized their coach, David Covert, standing beside them.
At the cemetery, after the burial, the ballplayers' tribute was a matter of grateful conversation. Those young men at John Moss had made a positive and lasting impression on the mourners who saw them, especially those from out of town. One of my cousins from Louisiana commented "that wouldn't happen in Monroe," and several others agreed that the coach must be a fine man indeed to provide such a strong spiritual example on a hot Tuesday morning.
Although Tuesday was a sad day for those who loved Elton Snowden, the boys at John Moss Field reminded us of one reason why my daddy loved our community: Despite all of the turmoil and uncertainty of our 21st century world, Meridian remains a special place, a respectful place, a spiritual place. It is a good home.
Thanks, fellas, for your respectful tribute. And thank you, David, for your witness.
Greg Snowden
via e-mail
Questions, questions
To the editor:
Come let us reason together. If Meridian has a $10 million "line of credit" and if the Cooper interchange will, in fact, only cost $6-8 million dollars, and if MDOT is actually going to repay 80 percent (less interest) of that cost, why is John Robert Smith trying to pressure county officials to provide an additional one million dollars on the basis of a "commitment" they never made?
Isn't John Robert always first to point out that Meridian taxpayers pay for the majority of all county expenditures?
County officials admit they paid much more than the actual value of the Malone Ranch property, in part because of John Robert's commitment that the city would provide water and sewer to the site on a first priority basis. What happened to John Robert's commitment of water and sewer?
Why doesn't the city now use the $10 million "line of credit" to build the Cooper interchange, provide water and sewer to both the Long Creek area and the Malone Ranch site, and simply repay the "line of credit" debt with the MDOT rebate, the sale price of the public property to Cooper, and the promised vast increase in tax revenue to the city and county once public property is in Cooper's hands, with no tax increase to either city or county taxpayers?
Is it possible that everyone in the know knows that the Cooper project isn't ever going to be what we have been promised? And did the "soul food" trip to Korea result in the knowledge to insiders that we may not be needing the Malone Ranch park for years? Or is John Robert simply picking a fight with county officials to cover his rear when the Cooper deal falls flat?
It should be obvious to any intelligent citizen that the benefits of the Cooper project have been much overstated, and the costs to taxpayers much understated. And the same goes for the Malone Ranch "Industrial Park."
For Cooper to provide the 3,000 housing units they have promised within eight years, they would have to build and sell a housing unit every day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, for more than eight years. We would need another Oklahoma land rush. It's a fairy tale.
And if the Delco building won't move at a dollar a year, and we can fill the hundreds of vacant acres in existing industrial parks, the sad reality is it may be many years before there is any reasonable need for the Malone Ranch property.
But what politician ever went broke awarding contracts. Even if Cooper and the Malone Ranch never develop as we all wish they would, a select few, hired with taxpayer money, can get rich building infrastructure. And when you buy now and let future generations pay the tab, why worry about cost or benefits?
Maybe claiming fame and spreading blame is smart politics, but it is still wrong.
William Hugh Johnson
Cleaning house'
To the editor:
I am writing in response to recent issues relating to some priests and bishops with in the Catholic Church. Although the focus has been on the negative issues of the church, look at the positives of this issue.
This could be God's way of "cleaning house" and purifying his church. Over the course of 20 centuries of the history of the Catholic Church, we have had individual Catholic people, bishops, priests, even popes who have not measured up to what Christ asks of us. Despite these difficulties, the church moves on.
Pope John Paul II assured President George W. Bush that American Catholics have the spiritual resources to overcome the crisis in the church. This occurred at a recent meeting in Rome of our president and the pope.
For the past few months the news has been of the scandals in the Catholic Church. Many facts are distorted, hearsay, or used to discredit the church. We realize that the true facts are often true and the hierarchy of the church needs to justly deal with them with wisdom and common sense. After this then comes healing and moving on.
We are blessed to have two of the finest priests in Mississippi as our spiritual leaders here in Meridian. The two have been going about their duties with love of the people of Meridian regardless of the crisis in the church.
June 12-15 was the meeting of U.S. Catholic Bishops in Dallas. Pray for the bishops.
David Henson
Newspapers in education
To the editor:
We, the students of the King's Academy, would like to thank you for providing our school with newspapers (the Newspaper In Education program). They have been a big help. We have used the newspapers in numerous ways, such as current events and other reports. Once again, thank you.
The students at King's Academy