I want to take this opportunity to commend the caring citizens who have contributed to the current revitalization project. This bold action is done to better the quality of life and opportunities for all citizens. Every community must continually change and adapt to maintain their competitive advantage. Such changes will continue to be necessary and at increasingly faster pace.
Those who sculpted this plan did it the best way possible. This is an excellent example of private/public partnership. Moreover, the private sector has stepped up to the plate to bear the lion's share of the costs. Community development has always required a public/private partnership. Every town and city that has made major achievements has been able to construct such partnerships, including the success that has lifted Tupelo/Lee County to its present level.
This effort is a necessary step for the economic growth of the entire area of Northeast Mississippi. Tupelo is and hopefully will remain the economic engine for the region. If Tupelo falters the economic consequences will be felt, and felt heavily, in all our counties in this area.
Does this revitalization project come at a cost? Absolutely! However, wise and prudent communities readily acknowledge that their people are their greatest asset. Therefore it is a matter of common sense to invest in your people. This project is an investment in people. To fail to bear this cost now means an even greater cost of lost jobs and lost opportunities. Tupelo and the area will lose its competitive advantage if it does not act quickly. Certainly the impact of the recession makes it tempting to postpone action at this time. However, failure to act now will likely make it even more difficult to act later and will only add to the ultimate cost.
Leadership is needed most in a time of change. Those who are leading have not only given their time they have also made themselves subject to criticism by those who disagree with their courageous action. It is my hope that the citizens of the area will bond together in the best tradition of "The Tupelo Spirit" that dares them become engaged in solving their own problems. In the words of George McLean, no one is going to come in and solve our problems for us. He reminded us "that there is no Santa Claus in Jackson nor Washington. We must do the job ourselves."
Vaughn L. Grisham
Editor's note: Vaughn Grisham is the author of two books on Tupelo's community development history.
Retain Bel-Air course for the middle class
In regard to doing away with the Bel-Air Golf Course, I wonder if the city would have even considered it if it were still the Tupelo Country Club. I doubt seriously that it would have.
I believe the golf course reaches as many people as the country club, but a different class. A lot of middle class people enjoy the golf club. A person can pay $450 yearly and can golf any time. On week days, the fee is $10. Bel-Air hosts a youth golf camp each year.
I am sure the city spends much less on Bel-Air than any of the other parks. Has it thought of using one of them and saving the city money?
All the other cities in Mississippi that are the size of Tupelo have a municipal golf course. Another plus is all city employees can play free.
I don't believe the home owners in that area, with homes ranging in value from $200,000 to a million, would want the type of homes you are planning. It would also be a very congested area with the narrow, winding streets.
Please leave Bel-Air as it is, and let it continue to serve as it has in the past and at present.
Recycling facility creates jobs, taxes and livings
In amazes me that people who have their cake want to keep others from having a chance to get theirs, and for important reasons like not wanting 10 minutes of their view spoiled, three or four times a month.
In response to Mr. Stallings letter (March 27), where does he think new National Guard facilities, extended runways, new passenger facilities and towers come from? They come from taxpayers, the kind of taxpayers who work at facilities such as the airplane recycling operation that currently spoils his view when he comes to our town.
According to what has been reported, about 100 taxpayers will work there.
And as for business people being horribly offended by seeing such a facility as they fly into our airport, I would prefer to believe that business people seeing this facility from the air would applaud Tupelo for attracting any business that provides jobs and tax dollars, but also helps the local economy and the planet by recycling worn out, unsafe equipment.
If Mr. Stallings is so bothered about how Tupelo handles its business, I would like to suggest he could find other places to fly into. I have no financial interest in this recycling facility, but I have made Tupelo my hometown, and I do have an interest in what happens here.
Big corporate cash weakens competition
After the "Citizens United" case, in January 2010, when the Supreme Court ruled that corporations, inanimate objects, could exercise their "free speech," by dumping unlimited funds into a political race, our career politicians rejoiced.
They called the ruling, "Incumbent Insurance." Big chunks of corporate cash discourage competition. It also means, that instead of a Congress working for the betterment of the nation as a whole, we now have a mob of puppets doing the will of their corporate masters.
Plenty of good cafes remain in Iuka vicinity
Rheta Grimsley Johnson has a lot to say about nothing. Her March 26 article topped the cake. She may have a home in RFD Iuka but she seems to live on the fringes.
Sure, Norma's and Cafe Memories will be missed, but to even hint that Sonic is the only worthwhile restaurant left in Iuka is a serious brain blip.
Ellie's Snack Bar, downtown, has been around for 30 or more years, and while it may have only two tables and three bar stools, the Polish sausage and sauerkraut sandwiches are to die for. The Country Squire is also an old favorite serving the best catfish and steaks in Tishomingo County. The Homestead is one of the newer clean, family restaurants offering great everyday food and the best double chocolate pudding around. Homestead is so good, in fact, that they have two restaurant locations in Tishomingo County in less than five years. El Picante may not have beer but their Mexican food keeps customers rolling in. And of course, there are numerous quick stops such as Hardee's, Jack's and barbecue eateries.
I bet any of the above will welcome Johnson to a free meal so she can enlarge her spectrum of what Iuka has to offer in the way of good food.
'Black bear' mascot fails to fit with UM origins
I am a graduate of the University of Mississippi Class of 1962. When I first started going to the university campus as a high school student there was an old black man named Blind Jim who would get up on the stage and say he had been going to Ole Miss ball games for 40 years, and he had never seen them lose a ball game. Of course, he had not, he was blind. I still think he should be the new mascot instead of the black bear.
If the powers that be had enough influence to change Col. Reb to the black bear, maybe they should just take the mighty state of Mississippi and move it up north between North and South Dakota.
I understand they did this to help us recruit black athletes (probably a Pete Boone idea).
Don't Mr. Boone and Chancellor Jones realize that Ole Miss was what the slave girls called the slave owner's wife?
I'm not a racist, but at least the black bear is not a polar bear.
Lengthening of airport's runway is unnecessary
After watching the big 747 airplane land March 19 at the Tupelo Airport, I have to wonder what all the urgency is about extending the runway length.
While waiting to see the inside of this huge plane (one of the largest in the world) I talked to a pilot who said he flies planes almost as big in and out of airports with only about 300 more feet than the Tupelo airport has at major airports in the USA.
In his opinion there is no need for a longer runway, and after seeing this landing, I have to agree.