Letters to the Editor

By NEMS Daily Journal

Saltillo developer cites objections to decision
It’s a shame that Saltillo doesn’t have any real leadership! Instead we have a mayor and board of alderman who are small minded, short sighted politicians more concerned in their re-election and the handful of load-mouthed complainers than with the majority of voters in Saltillo.
Ever since the election of this mayor and board, Saltillo has continued to regress instead of progress.
This decision to reject a rezoning request for a lot attached to the Center City Market commercial development ( currently zoned part-commercial and part-residential ) in particular is a perfect example! Our city leaders had rather turn away a national retailer that would create jobs and produce sales tax dollars than to take a stand against a few that oppose anything that involves change.
Alderman Brad Woodcock stated he believed that “Shannon’s attorney failed to prove that it would not affect property values and that it would not change the characteristics of the neighborhood.” I suppose Mr. Woodcock is a real estate expert now, because an avidavit from a commercial land appraiser said the contrary. The real change occurred years ago when the previous administration rezoned all this property to commercial, except 75 feet of said lot. Go figure!
I was also told by John Milstead with the Community Development Foundation that we had met the city’s criteria for rezoning, and he would recommend to the board to rezone said property. But then the day of the initial board meeting, he changed his mind! So, the decision was already made before we had a chance to provide our proof. We need leaders who can make their own decisions rather than get their marching orders from the Community Development Foundation! Who do you think CDF is looking out for? Saltillo or Tupelo?
For Saltillo to regain the ground lost from the present economy and current administration, we need some real leaders with real vision!
I once took pride in promoting Saltillo and trying to recruit businesses that would make our city a better place to live. That effort is becoming more challenging with petty politics like this example. I only hope that the fine citizens of Saltillo remember this mayor’s and board’s actions when election time rolls around!
Jay Shannon, Developer
Saltillo

Health cautions issued as school years start
As we gear up for a new school year by purchasing new school clothes and supplies, let us not forget the importance of maintaining good health. One of the simplest ways to maintain good health is to eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke. Since children spend approximately one-third of their lives at school, it is important that the environment is positive. Due to state law, all school campuses, including athletic events, are tobacco-free. The legislation regarding no tobacco use at youth sporting events has been revised to include that smoking is prohibited within 100 feet of the facility where people under age 18 are participating in athletic events. Fines will be imposed for repeat offenders.
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined, with thousands more dying from spit tobacco use. Almost a third of kids who become new smokers each year will ultimately die from using tobacco.
The average retail price of a pack of cigarettes in the USA is $5.29, while the smoking-related health costs and lost productivity per pack sold is conservatively estimated at $10.47 per pack. This causes the tax burden for each family to be $616 per household, whether they use tobacco or not.
Together, we can make an enormous impact on the current and future health and well-being of our children, by promoting a tobacco-free lifestyle.
Tonya Gentry
Project Director for the Mississippi Tobacco Free Coalition
Lee, Itawamba, Chickasaw and Monroe Counties

Computer user fee could be a burden
In the July 20, 2011 edition of the Daily Journal it was announced that the Tupelo Public School District had voted to continue use of the MacBooks for each student in the district from 6th grade through 12th grade. One important fact that was not in the article was that each student must pay a $50 user fee annually.
So, if you have, say, three students between the 6th and 12th grade in Tupelo, that would be a $150 in fees for the school year. This would definitely be a hardship for some families even though they do offer a payment plan. Also, if you pay a $50 user fee for your child from the 6th through the 12th grade, when your child graduates you have paid $350 and have nothing to show for it. You could almost purchase a laptop top for that price. (I realize it would not be a MacBook.)
I think this cost factor is something to consider in the future of this program.
Lisa Hartigan
Tupelo