Small town, but big news

Gosh, there’s been so much going on lately around Monroe County that I can hardly believe that I live in a small town and that I work for a small, weekly newspaper.
But it’s true. Monroe County is always a hot spot for plenty of news. Thank goodness for me as a member of the media, much of our news that has kept me so busy lately is of the pleasant variety. National media outlets hardly give that kind of news the time of day. They hide it in the back or brief it down to one paragraph.
The celebrities that made their way to Amory to help Amory native Sam Haskell celebrate his recently published book made for a big, exciting weekend. Sam had been on nearly every major television network and news and talk show in the past month promoting the book that tells how his mother affected his life in such a positive way. It’s a great story and being a mom myself, I think moms are a great topic for people to pause and think about occasionally. I think Sam’s book gets people thinking about their own mothers and how much they’ve helped them be who they ultimately are. As they say, like it or not, we’re all really just mirrors of our parents.
The Hollywood stars who were here over the weekend bragged on the intangible quality in Amory that produces people of character and high morals like Sam Haskell. Debbie Allen said it was what the world especially needs right now.
Another thing that has kept us hopping here at the newspaper in recent weeks is the end of another school year. I can’t believe the class of 2009 is already done. Seems like the school year just started.
And what can you say to today’s graduates? How do you inspire kids who are turning into adults during the height of a deep national recession? You can tell them the same thing that generations before have heard on commencement day … set your goals high, reach for the stars, persevere and remember that anything is possible. You can also tell them to get into college or a trade school and get a skill that is marketable. When the economy bounces back, they need to be ready to pounce on a good job. Tell them also to do themselves a favor and avoid debt and easy access to credit cards.
Other good news in Amory of late is the opening of the hospital’s new Women’s Center. What a testament to this community’s extraordinary health care. Wouldn’t Mr. and Mrs. Gilmore be proud to see it and to know that their vision is still alive and well in Amory.
Other big news in these parts has to do with the steel mill that’s under construction in the city’s industrial park. It is a project that is still full speed ahead in spite of the weak economy. It will mean about 200 good, as in high paying, jobs when it’s complete. Just what people have been wanting around here … jobs and more money.
And other new stores have opened in Amory or are about to. Sherwin Williams and Walgreens and Dollar Tree are all nationally renown outfits that will boost the economy here. It’s a sign that people have confidence in this community and that its economy is growing.
My sister who lives in New York is always amazed about the amount of relatively big news we have for such a small town. When she heard that Michael Feinstein was performing here last weekend, she nearly stroked out. And Miss America Katie Stam here on the same weekend! Incredible.
So maybe that’s how we can inspire our graduating seniors. They can be like their hometown and achieve the extraordinary.
We can tell them: think big, even if you’re small.

Chris Wilson