My letter is in response to a letter by Mr. Decker on Feb. 6:
I have dedicated more than 40 years of my life in public service that includes Naval Aviation, Tupelo Public Schools, and airport management. It saddens me when control and power are used to confuse and manipulate the public. By any measure, Tupelo Regional Airport had its greatest growth and development from 2000 through 2009.
FACT: Tupelo Regional recorded more operations, more fuel sales, more growth and expansion, and more passenger enplanements per year than any years before or since.
And to even think that there was waste is misinformation, at best.
FACT: The leadership and administration of that decade reduced a $400,000 City of Tupelo subsidy for operations in 2000 to zero for the year 2009, despite experiencing the worst recession since the Depression and 9/11 during those years.
The runway expansion project (length and direction) has been a part of the Airport Plan for decades. However, it was obvious years ago that 6,500 feet would not support any additional growth because of limitations to aircraft types and models that could not use the shorter runway.
FACT: Runway length is determined by the aircraft and the operating characteristics of the aircraft. Stage length of the aircraft’s flight plan, weather, airport’s altitude and runway conditions have daily impacts on the useful load for any given aircraft.
FACT: CRJ is the likely replacement for Saab 340 Delta routes. FAA’s runway take-off length requirements for a CRJ 200ER at a sea level airport, hot, no wind day, and 100 percent max take-off weight, is 8,800 feet. This was primary justification used for Golden Triangle’s expansion. The current airport director has provided similar justification to Tupelo City Council.
FACT: Comparing airports with airports is a misrepresentation of the fact. I’m surprised that an aviator with any seasoning and experience would make that mistake.
FACT: Tupelo Regional Airport has had the worst calendar year in over a decade regarding fuel sales, boardings, operations and budget. (Actually, there is not and has not been a balanced budget.)
FACT: Serious mistakes in security and safety areas have occurred.
FACT: The aircraft maintenance shop is being forced to limited hours of operation and possibly even close. This resulted from excessive repair costs to tenants now taking their aircraft and maintenance to other airfields. This development doesn’t meet even the airport’s minimum standards for FBOs.
FACT: Routine maintenance on a Saab 340 aircraft, normally accomplished by airport maintenance technicians, had to be brought in from Memphis because airport drug testing programs were out of date.
Decker is entitled to his opinion. I hope that the public, in light of this additional information, realizes that rhetoric and misinformation dissolve when exposed for the untruth they are.
Social workers change futures for the better
March is National Professional Social Work Month. I would like to call attention to the Social Workers in our community.
Social Workers improve the fabric of society by being advocates for people who need help addressing serious life challenges and end exploring their options.
The Social Work profession was established more than 100 years ago to provide as many people as possible with the tools and support they need to overcome adversity (poverty, illness, addiction, abuse, discrimination, etc) and reach their full potential.
The Social Work profession also works to change systems and customs that limit the ability of vulnerable individuals and groups to lead fulfilling and productive lives.
Social Workers take a holistic approach to helping people. This just means that we take into consideration the impact of one's environment-family, culture, community and more-to help on find the best solutions.
The nation's Schools of Social Work promote social work education as a way for socially conscious people to make a significant difference in the world through service and leadership.
Everyday, Social Workers witness the best and worst of human nature. A Social Worker's success is often defined by the opportunities people enjoy thank to their intervention.
Please acknowledge the hard and rewarding work done by Social Workers in our community this month.
Cynthia Edwards, LMSW
Social Worker for 31 years
'Promise' program means a new social entitlement
I have been a Tupelo homeowner and resident for the past ten years. The current mayor is a likeable fellow and is making laudable efforts to improve the city. Unfortunately he also seems to keep coming up with new ideas to raise our taxes and spend our money. His ideas to try to improve the city could end up hurting the city. I am reminded of the public bus system proposal that had mayoral support but would have placed on ongoing tax burden on the taxpayers of Tupelo.
His latest idea, Tupelo Promise, to provide taxpayer-paid 4 year college tuition to Tupelo High School graduates, is another example of this. There is no assurance that this would help Tupelo or the Tupelo tax base, which supposedly is the goal. However, this proposal would: 1. Raise our school taxes to pay the tuition entitlement 2. Raise our school taxes to pay for an increased need for more students, school buildings, buses, teachers and administration 3. Increase the number of students at an already oversized and overcrowded high school. (the Kalamazoo model experienced a 20 percent enrollment increase) 4. Establish a new bureaucracy to monitor and administrate the new program and decide who is eligible.
If approved, this Tupelo Promise program would be an ongoing entitlement paid for by Tupelo taxpayers. Since the college tuition rises every year, and the number of THS graduates would increase every year , the burden for Tupelo taxpayers would increase each year into perpetuity for this entitlement.
The tuition program in Kalamazoo, Mich., that the mayor keeps touting as a success is different in one very significant way from his Tupelo proposal. The Kalamazoo tuition program is funded entirely by private donations, not by the taxpayers. The state of Mississippi already offers an affordable pre-paid college tuition program, and the federal government offers GI bill, student loans, grants, and other assistance programs. Do the city taxpayers need to take on this responsibility also?
Even though I have no children in the Tupelo public schools, I support the concept of paying taxes to support the Tupelo public system K-12th grade. I don't support the idea of all taxpayers funding college tuition entitlement for the 50 percent of high school graduates who do choose to attend college in other cities. Tax increases will probably cause more families to avoid living in Tupelo. Let's work together to improve our city but lets do it in a fair and equitable way for all residents.
Plan to vote May 3 in Tupelo's referndum
All "middle class" registered voters in the City of Tupelo should go to the polls on May 3 and vote. Our voices need to be heard in all elections. We sit back and allow a small number of voters make decisions for all taxpayers.
Claims about Forrest disputed by Tupelo man
As a native born son of Laurel, Miss., I must respond to portions of a recent letter to the editor from Steven K. Fisher. Fisher notes, "It reminds me of a time when a native Tippah Countian, Nathan Bedford Forrest, went to Jones County, Laurel, to hang all the men he could apprehend for sitting on their laurels." Although I make no comment concerning other apparent historical inaccuracies, I must point out to your readers that Laurel was not founded until 1882. Inasmuch as Nathan Bedford Forrest died in 1877, and the war itself was concluded in 1865, the claimed raid into Laurel just could not have happened.
Chris H. Deaton
College tuition proposal concerns local taxpayer
I would like to address Mayor Reed's and Greg Pirkle's idea in the Daily Journal on Feb. 14 concerning funding college tuition for all Tupelo High School students. At first reading it didn't sound too bad, but as I read on it was very disturbing.
Have they considered the variety of taxpayers in the city of Tupelo? I agree tuition in our colleges is hard to pay for some people, but what about those of us who do not have anyone in college. We have already sent our children to college and watch now how our children are sacrificing to pay for their children's education. I do not regret a cent we paid to educate our three children. But think how many senior citizens this will affect, those who are living mostly on Social Security, which if you have paid attention, you know we have not gotten a cost of living raise in several years.
And most importantly what about those people who homeschool or send their children to private schools? They are already paying a school tax for schooling other people's children and are willing to do this because they believe in our town and have chosen this alternative method of schooling for their children.
To initiate a tax increase as they have stated "quickly" so it can be voted on and I might say be hidden so it will appear to be for the thoroughfare program is in my thinking a bit sneaky. It seems like we are having enough trouble agreeing on the Major Thoroughfare Program anyway.
To sum up how I feel - it stinks!
Tag needs to honor Civil War women, too
Bad joke is right, Patsy Brumfield. Let's hear from Daughters of the Confederacy. I've never formally joined this organization, although many of my ancestors served, died and came back alive from this war fought in our backyards.
Frankly, I'd rather see my headstrong ancestor, the "willful and beautiful" Susan Safrona Hamilton Whitworth on the license plate. Legend has it she schmoozed a group of Union soldiers at a blockade on her way from Monroe County to Memphis to sell her cotton. On her way back she was safely escorted home to the plantation by these soldiers. The men in her party were captured and imprisoned.
Let's hear it for the women left behind to fight the other war.
Sarah Ann Whitworth Parks