Letters to the Editor

AEE expresses gratitude
for community’s support
On behalf of the Association for Excellence in Education, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for its support of Tupelo High School’s Culmination Day held this past week at BancorpSouth Arena.
Throughout the day, more than 400 Tupelo High School seniors presented their final projects to evaluators from our community. AEE is grateful to these volunteers, who selflessly gave their time to listen to each presentation.
Also, we thank the staff of BancorpSouth Arena. For AEE board members, the logistics of “housing” and feeding this many students is a daunting task, to say the least. But the arena staff knew our needs even before we did. Tupelo is lucky to have such an incredible facility and a knowledgeable staff to run it.
The generosity of our local businesses is humbling. We certainly understand the tremendous strain this lackluster economy has had on everyone’s pocketbooks. Still, you chose to support this endeavor. Bottled waters. Flowers. Blue and gold bows. Food. Name tags. Document copies. Media coverage. Advertising. Ice cream. Door prizes. The list is endless, and we thank you for your ongoing support of public education.
Of course, there would be no Culmination Day without dedicated teachers to prod, guide, nurture, and challenge 400 seniors to reach for excellence. For AEE members who worked closely with the senior English teachers at THS, we were in awe of their dedication to and compassion for each student.
In closing, we want to wish the best to THS’ 2009 seniors. Not only do we hope that Culmination Day taught you about patience and perseverance, but we also hope you realize how much our schools and community care about you and your future.
AEE and projects such as Culmination Day are supported by individual and corporate donations. If you are interested in joining AEE or making a donation, you may do so by going to www.createfoundation.com.
Janna Sowers,
AEE president
Mary Thomas,
Chair, Culmination Day

Shatter the silence
on youth suicides
As Mississippians, we want what is best for our state. As parents, we want what is best for our children. We all share one common thread – the hope for a better tomorrow and a brighter future. However, we must open our eyes to see the silent epidemic that is affecting our young adults in this state – suicide.
Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in Mississippi for young people ages 15-24. The Mississippi High School Survey for the Youth Risk Behavior (2007) reported that 13.4 percent of students seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months, and 10.6 percent of students made a plan about how they would commit suicide in the past 12 months.
To combat this problem, the Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH) is leading the way with a statewide youth suicide prevention campaign entitled, “Shatter the Silence – Suicide, The Secret You Shouldn’t Keep.” The campaign targets young adults in Mississippi. The campaign encourages youth to speak out if they or someone they know is thinking, writing or talking about suicide. We have developed educational materials and we offer presentations to junior high schools, high schools, and colleges across our state.
One of the keys to a successful mental health system in Mississippi lies in prevention with young adults. If we don’t get to the kids, their families, schools, and communities by facilitating positive peer group interaction and sending a strong message about youth suicide then we really are not doing a whole lot.
As we recognize Children’s Mental Health Week in May, please remember that children are the future of our state, and we must work effectively and efficiently together to ensure they have a better tomorrow.
Funding for the Shatter the Silence project was made available through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Hurricane Katrina-Related Youth Suicide Prevention Grants. If you would like to receive educational materials or need more information, please contact DMH at 601-359-1288.
Edwin C. LeGrand III
Executive Director
Mississippi Department
of Mental Health
Jackson

CSA Memorial Day
slighted by Journal
I was very disappointed on April 27th that the Daily Journal’s chairman, editor, and publisher did not find it worthwhile to mention that it was Confederate Memorial Day. I read the Journal on the 27th from front to back thinking surely I was missing an article or announcement. But sadly, I was not.
Confederate Memorial Day is a day set aside in the South to pay tribute and to honor the Confederate soldiers who died or were wounded during the American Civil War.
For those who do not know, Confederate Memorial Day has been a legal holiday in the state of Mississippi since 1972. State departments and agencies have the option to close their offices in observance of the holiday.
I was not expecting a front page headline, but for newspaper that prides itself on being locally owned I was disappointed and to be truthful, saddened. After all, this is not New York or Vermont; we live in the heart of Dixie.
Danny Littleton
Tupelo

Observe kindness week
by spaying, neutering
Most of us who have companion animals will do just about anything to provide for their comfort and happiness. We make certain that they are healthy, shower them with treats and even allow them to travel with us.
May 3-9 is “ Be Kind to Animals Week.”
Along with everything else we do for our four-footed friends, the kindest act we can perform is to put a halt to the over-population of these animals. Simply put, have your pet spayed or neutered.
Just north of Tupelo, in Saltillo, you will find Ruth Shelton, the director of Spay, Inc. which is a low-cost spay/neuter program designed solely for this purpose. Dedicating more than half of her life to caring for all types of animals, she saw the tragedy that results from too many animals with too few homes.
In honor of “Be Kind to Animals Week,” please give this lady a call at 869-9900 that will benefit your best friend for a lifetime.
Kathy Fealhaber
Tupelo

Global warming fervor
becomes a cult religion
This is in response to the April 25 editorial, “Creation Care.”
Given the choice, I think most folks want a clean, healthy, and attractive environment in which to live. I think the topic of environmentalism, being “green,” or global warming is a bigger issue than whether Evangelical Christians want it or not. I don’t believe Evangelical Christians are out to destroy the earth, and the fervor of some environmental groups seems as fanatical as what some call the “religious right.” The global warming movement has become a religion itself.
There are still many who maintain the thought that they are individuals who have the freedom to live more or less as they please, making day to day choices and decisions. Where many balk is when someone starts telling them how to live, where to live, how to eat, what to eat, how warm or cool you’re allowed to be in your own home, how to drive, what to drive, how to clean, how to paint, and so forth.
There are always those who seek to control others, who want others to march in step with their ideas, and try to isolate and destroy those who are not of the same mind. I think that is the bigger problem with “earth stewardship” and other such movements.
I am all for protecting forests, having green spaces, limiting harmful chemicals, and I really want to see those who thoughtlessly toss plastic and Styrofoam items out of cars prosecuted or at least fined heavily. But I also believe in “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” without tree huggers, the diet police, or some save-the-bug group micro-managing my life.
M. Lance Phillips
New Albany

Music brings thoughts
of architect’s creativity
Praise and sincere congratulations to members of the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra for another great season. After hearing the first few measures played by our orchestra, I was thrilled with the quality of tone and musicality of presentation; I realized what a treasure this Symphony was to our community.
While listening to “Chasing Light” in the last concert, I was reminded of the architecture of the well-known Frank Lloyd Wright, known for his emphasis on “light.” While living in Lakeland, Fla., and being connected with Florida Southern College, I was struck with how appropriate this work would be to orchestrate a documentary of Wright’s life.
The college campus contains the largest concentration of Wright’s buildings in the United States. The larger of two chapels, Annie Pfeiffer Chapel, was designed by Wright to have little squares of different colored glass placed in the outer walls of the building, allowing the “light” of the sun to shine through, thus illuminating the chapel.
Thank you, Stephen Byess, director, and members of the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra for your wonderful contribution to the cultural life of our community.
Florence Aldridge
Organist/Pianist
Tupelo

Hog Roasters set
annual fundraiser
On May 8-9 you will have a chance to purchase some of the best barbque in the state at the Tupelo Hog Roasters annual fundraiser.
For more than 20 years these dedicated men and women have been helping fight cancer. The money raised at this event helps local cancer groups: American Cancer Society, NMMC Cancer Center Patient Assistance Fund, and NMMC Hospice provide services to area cancer patients.
In September and April since 1990 the Hog Roasters have provided Saturday night dinner for NMMC/AT&T Pioneers Camp Bluebird at no cost, feeding 110 people.
They are a group of men, women and children dedicated to helping people in our community fight cancer and have donated close to $1 million the American Cancer Society.
They are truly unsung heroes in the fight against cancer; please support their mission by purchasing barbque on May 8-9 at the Annual Hog Roast. The event will be held at the VFW on Mitchell Road.
Cindy Edwards
Tupelo

NEMS Daily Journal