From my corner of the world

By By Paul Barrett / publisher
April 7, 2002
Another class has now completed Steven Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" seminar. Again, thanks to The Riley Foundation, The Montgomery Institute and the East Mississippi Business Development Corp. for making this possible.
As I have mentioned before in other columns, if enough people go through this program, it can change the way we look at ourselves and our community. It can make a difference in how we live our lives and how we interact with each other.
It's all about building solid relationships and in doing that we change the world … or at least our little corner of it.
Moving on up
There are mixed feelings all around this building with the announcement that Crystal Dupr will become the new publisher for our sister paper in Laurel.
Crystal has done an outstanding job for The Meridian Star, both inside the building and in the community. Among other projects she has been involved in, she was one of the original group from Meridian to go to the Steven Covey workshop to see if it was a good fit for us.
She has made many, many friends in this town and she will be missed. She is already making a difference in Laurel, even though she doesn't take over full-time until April 23. March was the best month, financially, they've had in a long time. If she can do that well part-time, then the sky's the limit. We wish her well.
As you've probably read today, Barney Partridge has been named to replace Crystal as advertising director of The Meridian Star.
Barney is a long-time veteran of this newspaper. Over the past couple of years, has really come into his own taking on outside projects, meeting his sales goals and showing leadership.
Four people were interviewed for the job, including the former ad director of the Hattiesburg American and Barney was the clear choice. Crystal has elevated that position and Barney will do the same.
Spring colors
On another positive note, the carousel horses around town look wonderful. The spirit of the project is infectious and the clever names and color schemes so creative. They are an inspiration and they look particularly festive in the spring.
I think Meridian has on her Sunday best this time of year with the azaleas, dogwoods and other trees and shrubs in full bloom. My favorite is the Japanese maple with its blood-red leaves and elegant shape. I have one just off my patio and I love to watch it change through the seasons.
It's amazing how, as you get older, the little things can mean so much.
Driving through town with our 14-year-old this week, I was commenting on the beautiful colors of spring. After each comment, about the most I could get out of her was an "uh-huh" and maybe a "whatever."
I'm sure when I was 14, the last thing on my mind was how beautiful the foliage was in the neighborhood. I couldn't describe even one flowering tree or shrub in the town of my youth. As I said, funny how many little things you appreciate as you get older.
Downtown traffic
Finally, I understand that there is some consideration in the works to redesign the traffic patterns of downtown Meridian. When I first moved here, Mayor John Robert Smith and I were talking about the traffic and particularly the one-way streets.
I thought he had some good ideas for changing a few of the streets then, and I still feel that way. Too many people fly through downtown and I've seen more than a few fender-benders right outside our building, usually caused by people careening around the corner on Eighth Street and slamming into people backing out on 22nd Avenue.
That may be more of a speeding problem than a routing problem, but any change to slow some of those folks down would help.
Downtown is undergoing a facelift and we need a traffic pattern that will show it off. I hope we can move that idea forward and continue the positive steps we've seen in the past few years to improve Meridian and our quality of life. I think we can all agree on that.

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