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franklin county times

July 21, 2004

By Staff
EMBDC: Thinking
positively, working regionally
Having served as chairman of the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation for the past year, I have become intimately aware of the purpose of the EMBDC in the development of Marion, Meridian, Lauderdale County and East Mississippi. I want to thank you for acknowledging the important role the EMBDC plays in providing the business and professional leadership to assist in moving our community forward.
While we are fortunate to have a professional staff managing the day to day operations of the EMBDC, it is the volunteer leadership that gives us the resources and the talent to address the needs of our community. The work of the EMBDC's many committees and task forces is conducted by individuals employed by small business, government, education, large corporations and industry, representing the diversity of our community.
One example is the EMBDC's 25-member Image Committee, which is currently developing a strategy to capture the wonderful story of our community and identify initiatives to promote a positive image to our visitors whether they are just passing through or considering our area as their home or place of business. What we are finding is that the story of Meridian and Lauderdale County reaches far beyond our cities' limits and county boundaries.
We recognize Marion, Meridian and Lauderdale County's economy is fueled by more than 440,000 people living within 65 miles of Meridian in East Mississippi and West Alabama. Statistical data provided to prospective companies in the retail, service and industrial sectors reflect the demographics of this region and our ability to staff and support new commercial and industrial developments.
More importantly, we know that our success in economic development will be determined by our ability to work together as one region. We work closely with members of the East Central Mississippi Economic Council, including the Mid Mississippi Development District (Newton, Scott, Smith, Jasper, Clarke and Lauderdale Counties), Leake County Industrial Development Authority, Community Development Partnership of Philadelphia/Neshoba County and Kemper County Economic Development Authority.
We are committed to involving all of the area's stakeholders in economic development and capitalizing on the opportunities that we have before us. Thank you for recognizing the most important element of economic development the existing business and industries that provide the taxes, payrolls and capital to fund this region's economy. These companies represent the core of the EMBDC membership and this community's commitment for regional growth.
Wallace Strickland
Chairman
East Mississippi Business
Development Corp.
More on Medicaid
Thanks to The Meridian Star for allowing me to express myself on the Medicaid fiasco and a recent column by Wyatt Emmerich ("Barbour mishandled Medicaid issue," The Meridian Star, July 16, 2004).
First, Mr. Emmerich wrote, "We are not being denied health care, just shifted' to Medicare … ." The truth is we would not have needed Medicaid if Medicare had met our healthcare needs.
Number two, he wrote, "Medicaid is a money pit because it is free." The truth is we don't get old, sick and poor to get Medicaid on purpose just because it is free.
Number three, he wrote, "Taxpayers have to pay $15 for their prescriptions while Medicaid recipients pay $1." We would love to be taxpayers again. Age and hard work has destroyed our health. Many of our prescriptions are more than $1.
Fourth, Emmerich wrote, "Anyone paying income tax is on their own, while Medicaid recipients are covered for everything." The truth is when we paid income tax we paid for everything with no complaints; now, aged, and in poor and ill health, we need medication. We would love to work and pay tax.
Fifth: "People pass their cards around to ineligible people." This is ludicrous. We are old, sick and poor, but not dishonest. Our aged people are very honest.
I had to take early retirement for Social Security in 1989 to move to Mississippi to care for my mother. She could not see and had other serious health problems. I cared for her for 12 years and the government did not help pay for a rest home.
I purchased a hospital bed, wheelchairs, lifts, van with wheelchair access, plus lots of smaller, necessary items. I built a home at ground level for access to the van for transporting her to medical facilities. She died at 95.
I live 14 miles from Quitman and 30 miles from Meridian. The transmission and air conditioning do not work in my vehicle. I have no computer and now prescriptions will be terminated. I mail up to 40 letters each week to encourage the poor, sick, elderly people and let them know everyone has not forsaken them.
We will not forget the politicians who are getting raises, while we are being denied healthcare. We are trusting our Heavenly Father to help us survive. If we don't live until future elections we have friends and families who will remember.
Bernice C. Bonner
Quitman

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