By NEMS Daily Journal

Beating on the dent won’t fix the damage
My graduate courses in psychology included many scholarly concepts that have been meaningful to me in my life but the most useful is the simple statement, “You don’t get a dent out of a tin can by beating on the dent.”
You don’t! And currently in Tupelo too many of us are beating on dents related to our public schools. Citizens who have not walked the halls of our schools in years are citing problems in discipline.
Parents who are not perfect themselves are criticizing the less than perfect behavior of teachers. Central office administrators who would never consider returning to the classroom or to building-level administration appear to know exactly how classes and schools should be run. Teachers find a variety of reasons to blame parents for the unacceptable behavior of students.
We need to STOP! This lack of trust is destructive and focuses on placing blame rather than solving problems. Tupelo has a proud history of supporting its public schools regardless of the challenges. We need to remember that history. My work around the state has provided many opportunities to witness what happens to communities that abandon their public schools.
I encourage all of us to listen to each other – to find positive things to celebrate – to approach “dents” from a servant leadership point of view – to assume responsibility for becoming part of the solution.
You simply do not get a dent out of a tin can by beating on the dent! It is possible, however, to get the dent out by working from the inside and filling the can. I have confidence that Tupelo has the commitment and vision to find creative solutions to the issues – real or perceived – that face our schools. I applaud the courage of community leaders, parents, and educators who are committed to the children of our community.
Martha Cheney, Ed. D.

Starkville Community Theatre praised in region
I write to sing the praises of the Starkville Community Theatre.
Last weekend in Atlanta, I had the privilege of serving as an adjudicator at the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) for the play festival sponsored by the American Association of Community Theatre (AACTFest). As you may know, the Starkville Community Theatre captured several top honors including the runner-up play award for Dixie Swim Club.
Starkville is blessed with an avocational theatre of the highest caliber, led by Lyle Tate of Starkville, who also provides service to the field as community theatre festival vice-chair for the southeast region.
Madeline Golden won recognition for outstanding achievement in acting for her performance in the role of Vernadette and crew member Jansen Fair was hailed for his outstanding hair/wig design and execution.
This excellence notwithstanding, their most noteworthy achievement at the regional festival was the award for best ensemble that was presented to the entire cast of Dixie Swim Club. This highly desirable honor is a nod to the unified effort and equal contribution from every member of the company. Under Tate’s inspired direction, the Starkville Community Theatre represented Mississippi exceptionally well.
Although I did not see their performance, I understand that Starkville High School also advanced to the regional level with The Purple Fan and also received several honors. In my 40 years of involvement with SETC, I cannot remember the same city advancing productions in both the secondary school and community theatre festivals; there must be something in the water that produces such outstanding performing artists in Starkville.
Congratulations to Starkville and the entire region for supporting theaters about which you should be very proud. You could not have better cultural ambassadors than the Starkville Community Theatre and their high school counterparts.
Keith Martin
Managing Director
Richmond Ballet
Richmond, Va.

Law makes dogs better off than abused people
In response to the dog legislation: I am not for abusing animals. However, it appears the dog is getting better treatment than abused women and children.
Dogs are to catch crumbs from their master’s table. And mankind is the dog that catches crumbs from God’s table. Since dogs are better off than women and children, the dogs can come and lick the wounds of women and children, like the rich man and Lazarus. (God has helped.) Jesus’s summation of this parable was that the unconcerned become the beggar in hell, the destitute become the wealthy in Heaven.
Steve Floyd

Mississippi needs its animal cruelty statute
I think Mississippi needs the Animal Cruelty Law. So many animals are beaten, starved and kicked around. It is not only dogs and cats, it is other animals, too.
I also think some dog breeders abuse their dogs. Breeder dogs are constantly in pens. They hardly ever get on the ground. The breeders make them have puppies all the time. It is not about the dogs; it is just the money they make off the puppies.
I have an abused dog. My sister has an abused breeder dog. She has had her for nearly a year. She is still scared of people because she was mistreated. Why does it matter where you live? City or county, animal abuse can happen anywhere.
What are the present laws? Local authorities have more important things to do than deal with animal abuse reports. Go figure! Maybe if some of the abusers were punished the same way they abuse animals, it might stop. I do not have any compassion for people who mistreat animals. So what if animal abusers go to prison. They get what they deserve.
Chandra Alford

Reed’s right about Section 8 housing
I would like to say I agree with Mayor Reed of Tupelo.
I lived in Memphis for 15 years. The Civil Rights Bill, along with the Section 8 voucher and other things, is what destroyed Memphis and other big cities.
Jobs along with taxes paid moved out of Memphis and other cities. The schools have no money. So now Shelby County has to pay for city schools. Shelby County had to raise taxes to pay for all schools.
Too much freedom will destroy this country. So, I say, may God help this country and its people.
Johnnie Cauthern

Black women praised for their steadfastness
Tell me, have you seen her? She stands about this high, with mysterious round eyes that flicker in the night like the manifestation of the moon on water in the dead hours of darkness.
Tell me, have you seen her? She has ebony skin, which is soft to the touch, and her hair is illuminating to the senses, long or short, I don’t care, the hair or skin don’t make the woman, but the woman makes the skin and the hair. Tell me, have you seen her?
Tell me, have you seen her? Sometimes they call her Mommy, sometimes they call her sister, sometimes they call her Big Mommy, but I know what they don’t call her – bitch or whore. Tell me, have you seen her?
Tell me, have you seen her? She is the backbone of the black community, she is the adhesive that keeps the black family as one, she is the soul that can’t die, she is the fabric of optimism, steadfastness in the time of storms, that hands that hold the confidence of the black race in her hands. Tell me, have you seen her?
Tell me, have you seen her? She ain’t shaking her buttocks to the beat of the song, she ain’t selling her soul for the consideration of the dollar, she ain’t the one that will let this world burden her down with difficulties in her youth. Tell me, have you seen her?
Yes, I’ve seen her. She’s in my home helping me to raise my children. Yes, I’ve seen her. She rests beside me at night and makes me feel good knowing that she is right by my side. Yes, I’ve seen her, getting up in the early hours in the morning to go to work, and sometimes not feeling like it. Yes, I’ve seen her.
She is the Goddess of Black Rock, the filler of holes in the hearts of black men. She is the itch that keeps me scratching my soul and the backbone that keeps me standing tall in this world. Yes, I’ve seen her. Have you?
Willie Bob Gates

‘Confederate’ sons’ camp disliked Brumfield’s view
The Harrisburg Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is responding to Patsy Brumfield’s article and commenting about the proposed license plate featuring Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. Brumfield admits that this car tag is “likely to be popular with some Mississippi drivers.”
There are a great many people in this state who approve of the proposed car tag, and they would purchase this tag if given the chance. Yet, from all the rhetoric it appears that the opinion of those who favor the license plate does not matter; just like the Ole Miss fans’ opinion did not matter about Col. Reb.
Brumfield also says that this proposed car tag will be “met with disgust from the rest of the world.” The Harrisburg Camp would like to remind the readers that 10 years ago there was an attempt to change the state flag of Mississippi, but the people voted overwhelmingly to keep the flag with the Confederate banner, despite what “the rest of the world” may have thought about it. The world did not come to an end, and Toyota built a new plant in Mississippi, despite what the “rest of the world” may or may not think about our state flag. It is doubtful that Toyota will leave over a car tag. It is also doubtful that a simple license plate will keep other companies from coming to Mississippi. Tennessee has a state park named after Gen. Forrest.
Gen. Forrest was the greatest soldier to defend Mississippi during the Civil War. It is easy to misjudge this man and his times. It was a 150 years ago, but facts are stubborn things and they do not always fit with the rhetoric that is spoken today. There were thousands of African- American soldiers that served in the Confederate Army; many rode with Gen. Forrest and served with him until the end of the conflict. In 1875 African-Americans held a large political rally in Memphis, and Gen. Forrest was invited as the keynote speaker to this event. He was presented with flowers and applause.
Kevin Thornton
Communications Officer
Harrisburg Camp 645
Sons of Confederate Veterans

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