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franklin county times

Sunday, July 6, 2003

By Staff
186th: The saga continues
To the editor:
I feel the public should know "the rest of the story." It has recently been reported that some current and former members of the Mississippi Air National Guard at Key Field have filed suit against Col. Jody Bryant and Col. David Bertholf. These Guard members are suing to take money from these two men by charging them with slander, intentionally inflicting emotional distress, injurious falsehood/trade libel, and an award of punitive damages. Give me a break!
Col. Jody Bryant is the former member of the 186th Air Refueling Wing at Key Field who reported numerous issues of alleged wrongdoing by some at Key Field that resulted in an investigation by the U.S. Air Force Inspector General. Col. David Bertholf, who is now retired, was the active-duty Air Force officer from the IG who was the primary investigating officer.
As was reported in the newspapers and on television earlier this year, the investigation proved that most of those allegations by Col. Bryant had in fact happened at Key Field. And, as a result of that investigation, the Adjutant General directed a follow-on investigation into additional issues and individuals associated with Key Field, which had also been reported by Col. Bryant, with no action taken. That investigation is under way today with Col. Ken Emanuel as the principal investigating officer.
It seems obvious to me that this current lawsuit is both:
1. A retaliation for the first investigation, and
2. A warning to others who would cooperate with any honest investigation into possible wrongdoing at Key Field that there is going to be a personal price to pay, a veiled threat. This is wrong and it is shameful.
How low will some stoop to keep the truth from being found out? We need to let the truth be discovered without sacrificing those who would help in that cause.
The men who have filed the suit should be mentioned. They are Col. Franklin Chalk, BG (Retired) Frederick Feinstein, CMSGT Roy Graham, CMSGT Billy Jo Gressett, Lt. Col. Donald Jones, Lt. Col. Langford Knight, Lt. Col. F. Greg Malta, CMSGT William Parten, Col. Robert Earl Pierce, CMSGT Roger Shirley, SMSGT Charles Speed, and Col. Aaron Wilson.
I find it strange that these are the very same men who are the subjects or material witnesses in the current investigation by Col. Emanuel, as I have been told. I find it personally disgusting that neither Gov. Ronnie Musgrove nor Maj. Gen. James Lipscomb have done a single thing to correct this corrupt situation.
Col. Jody Bryant and Col. David Bertholf deserve better than this. They are true American heroes in my book. I salute them.
Stephen K. Gilbert
SSG (Retired)
Meridian
South bypass should be considered
To the editor:
The Meridian Star's article on Sunday, June 29, outlining Mr. Dick Hall's assessment of Meridian's traffic problem on the four-lane I-20/59 thoroughfare through Meridian caught my attention. I think Mr. Hall and all others in authority should take a long hard look at the big picture and try to honestly project our highways and their usage as far into the future as is possible.
Interstate highways are built to get the largest number of people and cargo from city to city in the safest, quickest and most economical way. Ideally, the through traffic should not be intermingled with the local shoppers and work force traffic.
It is quite obvious that there is not enough room to add another two lanes to the existing I-20/59 roadway through the city limits without excessive expense and great inconvenience to local businesses and residents.
I think the time has come for MDOT to reconsider a south of town bypass for the through traffic, which would reduce the congestion on the existing four lanes through the city. The cost to purchase county property for the right of way would be less expensive. When completed, it would provide interchange access to all the major traffic arteries flowing into/out of the city. It would connect I-20/59 East and West with 11 South/19 North, the new four-lane 45 South bypass, 145 South, 19 South, 39 North and old 80 East and West.
I challenge someone/anyone who has the necessary clout and ability to pursue this or some form of this idea.
While I'm on the subject of roads, let me also say that I think it should be mandatory to have accessible "crossovers" in the median of every multi-lane road at regular intervals, especially within a mile or so of each interchange so that a driver who has taken a wrong turn or missed an exit may be able to back-track without driving useless miles in the wrong direction.
The construction crews use such crossovers during the construction phase but then cut them out or block them off when the road is completed. This makes no sense at all.
My thanks to The Meridian Star for allowing me to express an opinion on a matter that greatly affects the citizens of this area.
Raymond Hinson
Meridian
Need answers on interchange
To the editor:
The people of Meridian and Lauderdale County should know that the mayor of Meridian has refused to reveal to the public who selected the alleged industrial park interchange site near Hawkins Crossing Road. Commissioner Dick Hall of the Mississippi Department of Transportation has also refused to reveal the person or persons who selected that site.
In a June 29 article in The Meridian Star, Mr. Hall even claimed to have no idea where the Hawkins Crossing site is, as well as having no idea who owns that property. I find it incredible to believe because of MDOT's heavy involvement in this project, as per Mr. Hall's letter printed in The Meridian Star on June 8, also because some of those property owners are well known businessmen and financial contributors to Mr. Hall's reelection campaign fund.
We citizens have the right to know the names of those who chose that controversial site, which is as far away from the industrial park as can be located. Such an interchange would only benefit the development of a privately-owned park at taxpayers' expense. It is a shame that our political leaders lack integrity.
Roy Hurst
Meridian

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