LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

By NEMS Daily Journal

Complete South Gloster or face loss of confidence
I have no personal agenda to promote. Our business is on South Gloster and we have five lanes completed in front of the business. I love our community and the Tupelo spirit our citizens embrace.
Last week the Daily Journal was used as a sounding board when city officials made overtures about grabbing property tax monies that have been designated and approved for years for the “Thoroughfare” program. Let me be specific: Five-laning South Gloster from Garfield out to the fast-approaching Highway 6 interconnection was on the thoroughfare document and approved in approximately 1993. That’s 17 years ago. Certain areas of this city are favored and certain areas are neglected, bypassed and overlooked.
Last fall when funding was available, two good men, Greg Pirkle and Chuck Imbler Jr., convinced the South Gloster Association that the “Northern Loop” was top, top priority. It had to be put out for bids and then work could commence on South Gloster. That was last fall. Now we hear that the bridge construction costs were more than originally estimated. City Hall tested the waters this past week when officials put out the feeler of grabbing the South Gloster thoroughfare monies to fund “other more pressing projects.”
Maybe City Hall can explain why the five-lane Northern Loop will relieve congestion while downtown is attempting to reduce from four lanes to three lanes in a very heavily traveled downtown area.
My father, R.B. Dossett Sr., was president of the Natchez Trace Parkway Association. If he were alive today, he would promptly say five lanes on flat ground would be less expensive than a five-lane bridge. Put the Natchez Trace (two lane) up on a bridge above and put the five-lane Northern Loop underneath – no egress with off and on less than one mile from the Trace headquarters.
I don’t want any misinterpretation of this statement: If any of the South Gloster funds are grabbed, I will carry the fight to the highest court in the land and sue individuals or committees that seize these monies. What do you think the future holds for the next thoroughfare effort if no one is dependable on their word? Listen to a voice in the wilderness, City Hall, you are about to kill the “Golden Goose” (thoroughfare) that has been so successful in the past for all of Tupelo.
I know all about the “quality of life” pitch that City Hall projects, but consider the saving of a life when ambulances come into Tupelo from the south (Shannon area) or west (Pontotoc area). Seconds saved could result in a life-saving situation.
I’m disappointed in our city leaders for even thinking about grabbing the thoroughfare monies. Ward 3 Councilman Jim Newell, our elected representative, is opposed to the “Chicago” grab. Remember, we have a lot of rooftops (homes and citizens) that equate to votes at election time.
I rest my plea and facts.
R.B. Dossett Jr.
Tupelo


Don’t divert funding of Major Thoroughfare

A recent editorial entitled “Tupelo’s Crossroads”, pointed out the decision process that is ahead for the unique Major Thoroughfare Program. Years ago, Tupelo recognized the need to be able to handle the vast number of workers and shoppers that swell the daytime population to over 100,000 each day. It is important to remember that this same population also helps to pay our quarter cent sales for water supply and tourism tax.
The editorial and other news articles spoke of attempts to divert funds away from the original purpose, which was to plan and construct “Major Thoroughfare in Tupelo.” The program is unique in Mississippi – a program that is citizen led, citizen voted and approved every five years. Tupelo citizens have voted by large majority to keep the program because of the lack of politics in selection of thoroughfare routes that provided greater traffic flows.
The primary reason for continued citizen support has been the absence of political influence by elected officials. The program is administered by a citizen-led committee chaired by Mr. Greg Pirkle. The committee has been sterling in its leveraging of state and federal funds to maximize the local dollars.
Tupelo citizens have voted to approve the program with the emphasis on Major Thoroughfares in and around Tupelo. To change directions or purpose without consent of the citizens of Tupelo would be a violation of that voted intent. A change of direction could undermine citizen support in the next vote to continue the program.
Those requesting change are placing political pressure on the committee that has been relatively free to make decisions based on thoroughfare traffic needs. Even in difficult economic times the funds should not be tampered with or diverted.
The Major Thoroughfare Committee should be left alone, free of political influence to implement the program approved in the last vote of approval by the citizens of Tupelo.
Larry Otis
Tupelo/Starkville


Caldwell’s leadership is his political endorsement

I know from past experience that a low voter turnout is expected for the upcoming special election.
When are we going to take our elections seriously? This letter is an unashamed endorsement of John Caldwell for Transportation Commissioner. I feel that is important that everyone knows a candidate as well as they can before they vote. That could be why some people do not vote. John Caldwell served with me in combat and was a respected leader who earned the trust and loyalty of our fellow Marines. He is a Republican, but I would vote for him if he ran on any party ticket or as an independent. John is a strong Christian, a devoted family man and a faithful friend.
I don’t know about his experience as a volunteer fireman, his college degree or his last seven years as a transportation director, but I know we can trust him. John has had three combat tours. He didn’t just stay home, so how can any of us just stay home and not vote on Jan. 11?
Keith Rinehart
Tupelo


Collins cited for work across spectrum of needs

On Tuesday, Lee and Pontotoc County voters will have an opportunity to select their next State Senator to represent District 6.
Having served as CDF president for 44 years, I understand the significance of this selection in shaping the development of our region and the continued well being of our communities. Since the early 1950s, I have both personally known and professionally served with each of District 6′s Senators. Each has possessed unique capabilities, strong leadership qualities, and solid NE Mississippi values. Our senators have taken these assets to Jackson and helped usher in the community, industrial, health care and retail development wave which has so profited Tupelo and Lee and Pontotoc Counties over the last several decades.
We cannot afford to change this formula for success if we are to prevail in the tough, competitive years ahead. That is why I encourage you to vote for Nancy Collins, a lifelong Tupeloan, wife, mother and grandmother, nurse, church and civic leader as your next District 6 senator. I have known Nancy since she was a child; her dad was a long-time MDOT Highway Commissioner. During the formative years of Sanctuary Hospice House, I closely observed Nancy serve as President and can recommend her without reservation because she has always approached opportunities for service with unwavering dedication and unquestioning faith. As such, I know that she – like her District 6 predecessors Roger Wicker, Alan Nunnelee and Perrin Purvis – is well equipped to serve and would be a great asset for us in Jackson in the Mississippi State Legislature. During my long years of experience on the local, state, national and international economic development stage I always noticed that successful leaders were able to create a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.
I think Nancy Collins is the type of person who will contribute in making District 6 not just good, but great in the years to come.
Harry Martin
Tupelo


Experience recommends Collins for state senator

Tupelo is a community that takes itself seriously and expects the best from its leaders. Nancy Collins is a proven community leader who is asking for an opportunity to represent us and north Mississippi in Jackson as our next senator from District 6.
She understands the relationship between economic and community development and has worked tirelessly to elevate Tupelo’s already stellar reputation in the field of community health care to greater heights. We need her intelligence and real understanding of the issues we are facing in Tupelo and all of District 6 in Lee and Pontotoc counties.
We need Nancy as our advocate and Mississippi needs her as a voice of reason and as a responsible consensus builder. Times are tough and we need tough, intelligent leaders who understand our community and what we will need to become stronger in the years to come. Having worked with the Mississippi Legislature for many years as well as Governors and other elected officials, I know the challenges they face and the skills needed to solve problems and move the state forward. Nancy has the skill, the passion and the desire. Consider the following:
• She is a resident of Tupelo for 58 years
• A wife, mother, and grandmother
• An active member of the First United Methodist Church serving on the Administrative Board, chancel choir, the Invitation Service Team, and Sunday School teacher for over 20 years
• A registered nurse, speech therapist, limited OB sonographer, and former social worker and teacher
• Founding President and Director of Sanctuary Hospice House 2000 through 2005
• Former Clinical Director Parkgate Pregnancy Clinic
• Is an advocate for high quality education beginning in the preschool years throughout college and university degree programs that will prepare our next generation work force and community leaders
• Understands the challenges we face in our health care and complex social services systems
• Understands the importance of leading by building unity
• Understands the importance of service to family, church, and community
On Tuesday, join me in voting for Nancy Collins for Senate.
Dr. Cathy Grace
Tupelo