August 10, 2003
Setting a course for positive change
To the editor:
Congratulations are due Superintendent Sylvia Autry and the Meridian Public School District Board of Trustees for recent developments within the district. Many personnel and policy changes have been implemented throughout MPSD that are going to make our schools better.
The most high-profile and significant of these was the hiring of R.D. Harris as principal at Meridian High School. MHS is our flagship institution, the only school in the district that every one of our students pass through, and the primary venue where a strong leader can make the greatest impact.
Mr. Harris reprises his role as principal at a time when his firm leadership is needed to elevate "the high school" to its once-proud status as the best in the state. His very presence on campus, even prior to the start of classes, has created a positive buzz around town and has lifted morale among teachers and parents to levels that haven't been felt in years.
Not a minute too soon, "Wildcat Pride" is making a comeback, and it feels good. One of the main objections to the methodical pace of the search for a new superintendent has been that taking so long would only delay changes from being made in the district that need to be made now.
Thanks to the courage and decisiveness of Superintendent Autry, and the board recognizing our challenges and setting a course for change, much of that argument is now moot. It will be exciting to watch the results as we see what energized leadership and raised expectations can do for all of our schools and students.
To the editor:
After I do my usual shopping at Wal-Mart, I then head over to our wonderful mall. But doing that is no easy task. Where Virginia Drive meets Bonita Lakes Drive, the signs clearly state that you are prohibited from turning left. They have not one, not two, but three signs pointing this out.
Still, there are a few people who neglect to abide by the law and hold up traffic for 10 minutes or more waiting for a small break in the flow for them to turn. I've seen many cars break the rule but yet nothing is done. The city should place a police officer in the parking lot of the Dollar Tree so that they can catch these law-breakers. Something should be done before someone gets hurt.
Our equine friends need our help
To the editor:
I want to thank syndicated columnist Bonnie Erbe for the article on Seabiscuit and horse slaughter. I, too, am a horse lover and I, too, fear that the success of this movie will lead to more and more excess horses going to the slaughter plants in Texas.
However, boycotting this movie will not help the plight of unwanted horses going to slaughter. The only thing that will help our equine friends and companions is to inform the general public about this well kept, dirty little secret of horse slaughter and to educate horse owners that the purchase of a horse should be a commitment to care for the horse for all of his life and then put him down with dignity and conscience.
This movie is based on a true story. This little horse was the joke of the racing world, but with a trainer that believed in him and the "heart" to do the impossible, he became a hero that America needed in hard times. The public loves great thoroughbreds like Seabiscuit, Secretariat and Seattle Slew, and what we love we protect.
Yes, horse racing sends lots of "drop outs" to the slaughterhouse, but so does the carriage horse industry (those pretty carriages in New York, New Orleans and Charlotte) and the Premarin drug industry (Premarin is made from pregnant mares' urine and the unwanted foals are by-products that are slaughtered). But most of the horses slaughtered in the two Texas slaughterhouses (owned by foreign interests) are just unwanted equines.
Slaughter is a horrible way to die, but we eat cattle and pigs and sheep and chickens. Americans don't eat horses, but our horses are being processed in the Texas slaughterhouses and the carcasses shipped to Japan, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, where people eat horse meat like we eat beef. Horse slaughter is regulated by the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) and horses are considered "livestock" (raised for food or fiber) in the new Farm Bill.
Boycotting this movie only robs the public of the chance to learn the story of a great thoroughbred. I would ask the general public to enjoy this movie, but also to "do your homework" before purchasing a horse. He should become a member of the family like the dog or the cat, be spayed or neutered if not a breeding animal, and remain in your care until he dies of old age or is euthanized at 30 or 40 years old.
On Meridian's improved air service
To the editor:
Recently, I had my first opportunity to fly using Meridian's new jet air service. Weather problems in Atlanta significantly delayed our flight but that was not ASA's fault. We arrived five minutes late on the return trip and were delayed further by a faulty cargo door. However, the flight itself was outstanding the best we have had since the DC-9s arrived.
Equally important was the quality assistance provided by ASA customer representatives and TSA security personnel. I arrived at Key Field 20 minutes before my flight was scheduled to leave due to a last minute business matter. Regardless, ASA personnel quickly made arrangements for me to board. Security personnel courteously, professionally and thoroughly checked my luggage to ensure everything was in order. I rarely fly but the local inspection was the most thorough I had ever experienced and the security personnel were definitely the most courteous to ever check me.
Our air service has improved and a new terminal will be constructed in the future. The next improvement will be more flights by new aircraft. I encourage regional travelers to use the Meridian Regional Airport for quality service at minimal inconvenience.
Terrell W. Temple, P.E.
Primary efforts appreciated
To the editor:
I would like to convey my humble thanks to all the citizens who contributed to their community during the Aug. 5 primary election. The poll workers from both parties, along with our election commissioners and the Circuit clerk's office, have gone the extra mile to provide for one of our basic freedoms, the right to vote.
Behind the scenes of the voting booths were hundreds of citizens volunteering their time, their resources and their energy to make a primary a success. Democratic County Chairman Bill Ready Sr. and myself appreciate everyone's efforts and look forward to a successful primary run off on Aug. 26.
Kris D. Gianakos