Dec. 7, 2003
Northeast VFD to the rescue
To the editor:
Northeast Volunteer Fire Department members once again came to our rescue on Thanksgiving eve. My old auto experienced an electrical fire at the site of the alternator. Smoke began pouring from under the hood and we used two fire extinguishers, but flames persisted.
We dialed 911, identified our location and drove the car away from our home up the driveway toward the road in front of our home. Within two minutes we heard the sirens of the trucks en route to our areasome four-plus miles away.
The trucks arrived and the professionals went to work. The fire was put out in a matter of minutes and the volunteers could not have been more concerned, courteous and professional. The damage to the car was minimal. They even sprayed the residue from the fire extinguishers off the freshly painted "old car."
Approximately 20 years ago our home was struck by lightning and the Northeast volunteers were on the scene and saved our home, which was severely damaged before they arrived. Had it not been for their efforts then, our home would have been completely lost.
For any folks planning to build or move to the country, we suggest you try to move into the area of coverage by the Northeast Volunteer Fire Department. All of our fire volunteers in the country are our heroes, but to us "You Drink and Drive, You Lose'
To the editor:
I would first of all like to thank the citizens of Meridian and Lauderdale County for a safe Thanksgiving holiday period. Meridian and Lauderdale County reported no fatalities for the holiday period and neither did the state of Mississippi. When we all work together we can make this a safe community.
I would also like to let the citizens know that law enforcement agencies are mobilizing all over the United States Dec. 9, 2003 to Jan. 4, 2004 to protect the public from drivers who drink as part of "You Drink &Drive. You Lose," a national campaign sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other safety-minded organizations.
Boosted by December's designation as National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, the campaign's goal is to reduce alcohol-related traffic fatalities in America to no more than 11,000 by 2005.
During this period, with holiday celebrations gathering momentum, travelers can expect to see sobriety checkpoints and more officers out on the highways. Impaired drivers can lose their licenses, receive fines or even serve jail time. Officers will have the complete support of prosecutors in their law enforcement efforts; officials have pledged to prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law.
NHTSA points out that impaired driving is a violent crime accounting for more than one-third of all traffic fatalities each year. Someone in America dies in an alcohol-related crash every 33 minutes nearly 16,000 people each year. Every two minutes, someone is injured. At greatest risk, says NHTSA, are underage drinkers, 21- to 34-year-olds and repeat offenders.
You can take steps to ensure the holidays are safe and sensible for you, your family and friends. Responsible hosting of holiday parties is particularly effective in keeping impaired drivers off the road, and can limit your liability. NHTSA recommends:
Use taxi services and other alternative transportation or designated drivers when attending holiday parties and other gatherings where alcohol is consumed. Remember, fatigue and stress common around the holidays make alcohol consumption even deadlier.
Help prevent underage drinking by promoting alcohol-free celebrations for young people. Never serve alcohol to underage guests or to those who are visibly intoxicated.
At holiday parties, serve protein-rich foods such as cheese, meatballs or sandwiches. Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party ends.
Encourage your employer to establish and promote safe driving policies for employees. Suggest that your company's holiday party include free taxi
passes, a limited number of tickets to exchange for drinks, and advance sign-up of designated drivers.
Show your support for "You Drink &Drive. You Lose" by supporting law enforcement efforts Dec. 9, 2003 to Jan. 4, 2004, and by celebrating the holidays responsibly. When law enforcement and communities mobilize against drinking and driving, lives are saved. And that means a happy holiday for everyone.
Capt. Rick McCary
Meridian Police Department
Chancery Court not working for children
To the editor:
I met my husband in February 1993. He was recently divorced and had sole custody of his two children his daughter, a beautiful little blue-eyed blonde four-year-old, and his son, the most precious little red-haired blue-eyed boy of only 15 months that the world had ever seen.
Their dad was working 12 hours a day in construction, trying to put his life back together. He had recently moved back to his hometown, both children in tow, with only the clothes on their backs and an old car that should have been long since retired.
Somehow, I fell in love with this man. Not only did I love him, but I was totally in love with his two children. I wanted to become their mother. Little did I know that pretty soon these two children would view me as their mother.
We were married in October of that same year. Since 1993, the relationship the children have had with their birth mother has been sporadic. She doesn't pay child support and is constantly living on the wrong side of the law. In the last 31⁄2 years, she has seen her children twice and both times my husband and I had to make the effort for this to happen. We did it because the children wanted to see her.
I don't believe they were very happy with the woman they found though. She has a crack addiction and has been dating a string of losers over the recent years. The children are devastated at what they've seen.
She has been in and out of the Lauderdale County jail several times in the last year. Each time, a judge has allowed her to go free without paying any of her four years back child support. She is only asked to pay $70 a month on two children. That breaks down to $8.75 a week per child. She also owes the court for rehab and a lot of other fines. Each time she's released, she is supposed to report to some authority and pay restitution, and each time she refuses and another arrest warrant is issued for her.
My question is this: If everyone is so concerned about what to do about unpaid child support in this country, why is this allowed to happen? Because Lauderdale County doesn't want another inmate, she's allowed to go free?
If the shoe were on the other foot, would my husband be allowed to go without paying his support for his children? I doubt it. We live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Is Lauderdale County that unconcerned about children's well being?
The Department of Human Services is not to blame. They are not involved. This is Lauderdale County Chancery Court's responsibility. It's called the Bank Paying Program, and it does not work. These children have done nothing wrong, and yet the courts are continually doing wrong to them.
Connie A. Gibbs