The Magee Courier from Magee, Mississippi on February 8, 2001 · Page 4
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The Magee Courier from Magee, Mississippi · Page 4

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Magee, Mississippi
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Thursday, February 8, 2001
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Page 4
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T 1 PAGE 4A THE MAGFF. COURIERSIMPSON COUNTY NI-WS, THURSDAY. I I BRUAKY 1.2(101 tmrmmimmmimmmp'm mm mm m ' m . imm-t l The Lighter Side' (USPS 496-980 Established 1872) Periodical Postage paid at the post office in Mcndcnhall, MS 39114 The Magee Courier (USPS 325-560 Established 1899) Periodical Postage paid at the post office in Magce, MS 39111 Celebrating Over 100 Years email: couriermeta3.net Fax: (601) 849-6828 Published Weekly POSTMASTER Send Change of Address To: The Magee Courier Simpson County News P.O. Box 338 P.O. Box 97 Magce, MS 39111 Mendenhall, MS 39114 John P. "Pat" Brown PublisherEditor John Emmerich Publisher (1992-1995) Editorial Food is still safe and affordable We may think food prices, like a lot of other things these days are out of sight, but that doesn't seem to be the case. To illustrate that fact, Wednesday, February 7, was celebrated as Food Check-out Day by the Simpson County Farm Bureau to call attention to the fact that "food in America is affordable." According to the latest statistics compiled by the Agriculture Department's Economic Research Service, American families and individuals currently spend on the average of just 10.4 percent of their disposable personal income for food. That percentage is down from last year's figure of 10.9 percent. "Applying the current 10.4 percent statistic to the calendar year," says Nell Hughes, Simpson County Farm Bureau Women's Chairman, "means the average household will have earned enough disposable income to pay for its annual food supply in just 38 days." Not only is America's food supply the world's safest, Hughes points out, it is also the most affordable. Hughes says the facts speak well of our nation's increasing standard of living, which would certainly be reduced without the affordable, domestic food supply produced by America's farmers and ranchers. "Rather than being an economic burden," Hughes states, "food remains quite a bargain for shoppers, which is the way it should be." Hughes says she hopes we will all come to understand that the high-quality, affordable food we enjoy is a product of our successful food production and distribution system, as well as America's farmers retaining access to effective and affordable crop protection tools." Letters to the Editor Dear Editor, To all persons involved in MVC on February 3. An entire family returning from a wedding had a potentially fatal car accident when their van left Highway 28 and overturned. To all the bystanders, sheriffs department, Highway Patrol, Magee PD, and Magee Fire Department, a thank you goes out for assistance you provided helping the Paramedics and EMTs care for the injured. Without your prompt responses to an ever increasingly difficult situation, the story may have ended tragically for some of those people involved. A special thank you to Teddy Derrick, paramedic; Brad Polk, EMT; Johnny Nolan, paramedic; Sandy Hunt, EMT; and Wesley Lofton, EMT for your considerable help in making things go smoothly in removing all injured persons from the accident. With a heartfelt Thank You, Billy Courtney Paramedic WHO DO YOU CALL? NBVS FEATURES: To SUBSCRIBE: Shelley Brateher, 847-2525 TO ADVERTISE: Courier, Marsha Brateher, Simpson UOB PRINTING: Nancy ABOUT A BILL: Libby Hegwood, TTie Magee Courier The Magee Courier - Phone: 849-3434 jStmpscn County fcfos - Phone: 847-2525 Miriam May or Forrest Hailey Morris, 84-3434 or Marsha Brown or Michelle Seal, The Magee County News Brown, The Magee Courier First day As typical, there is never enough time to make the plans to get done everything the way you want. That is the way it was with my coming to Clarke County. 1 found out on Saturday that the publisher of The Clarke County Tribune had taken his new position in Meridian, w ith the Star. I made plans to be in Quitman on Monday. I knew that Quitman had their chamber banquet scheduled for that night so I also made plans to attend that function. We print the Tribune in Magee so I have had the opportunity to keep up with the goings-on in Clarke County. Mr. Oliver, the gentleman that delivers the paper to be printed, has mentioned several times the deer he sees while making the trip. I rose early on Monday morning and set out about 5:30 en route to Quitman. Mr. Oliver had failed to mention the other wildlife that I might encounter along the way. My friend Don I Iarris refers to them as pole cats. I grew up knowing them as skunks. I must have seen a dozen of them dead in the highway. By the smell they were fresh kills. . Unfortunately, while going through Rose Hill, a pair of cats darted out in front of my car and one decided to cross the road in front of me. I swerved and missed him but the other If, as they say, misery loves company, we should all be one big happy group these days. As a country, we are currently a miserable lot. Being under the weather physically lately scraping rock bottom, actually - I have just been sitting back and observing things. It's pathetic how we've become and nothing puts the mirror in front of one's eyes like the TV panel discussions. Everybody is just one big fuss-budget. People whine, gripe, bitch, fuss, cuss, complain. Nobody can agree. Nobody tries to agree. Even when they say they do, they sound like they don't. Blame the system? Oh, sure. Of course. Why not. I stood in line one morning to Robbing Peter to pay Paul has begun As the saying goes in Mississippi state government: "A million here, a million there, and pretty soon you're talking about some real money." The current revenue shortfall in state government is approximately $140 million - roughly the same amount as Gov. Ronnie Musgrove has ordered in budget cuts since during the current fiscal year. Musgrove ordered $50 million in budget cuts - he called them "budget reserves" - back in Oct., 2000, but exempted the state's public schools, higher education and community colleges and the Department of Public Safety. Last week, he ordered an additional $93.8 million in cuts that included those previously-exempt agencies and missions. Last week's cuts saw $39.8 million trimmed from the budgets of the state's public schools, $27.8 million cut from higher education and $7.2 million from community colleges. Musgrove also cut $2.5 million from the Department of Public Safety. Many lawmakers and some of Musgrove's own financial analysts believe the state's budget woes will get worse before they get better - with predictions that the current fiscal year revenue shortfall could swell from the current $140 million to between $200-$250 million. Should those numbers actually be posted, additional budget cuts will be necessary. The robbing of Peter to pay Paul has already begun in me Legislature. State Sen. Jack Gordon orchestrated a move to shore , up the. Minimum . Foundation Program funding for the state's public school by diverting money from the Education Trust Fund - state oil and gas severance fund taxes from the intended trust fund over the next five years - to opcruiing funds. at Tribune makes a fc4: i - Brown observed what had happened and tried the same. Poor fellow wasn't as lucky as the first. Well, I have a little girl who has two cats and I felt bad about what had happened. At that very moment a man was walking out of his house so I decided to stop and tell him that I had run over his cat. He said it wasn't his. So, to whoever is missing a cat in Rose Hill, accept this as my apology. Upon arriving at the Tribune, my first order of business was to meet the staff. We are fortunate to have the caliber of staff that Steve, the former publisher, was able to build. I look forward with great anticipation to working with them to serve Clarke County. The afternoon clicked by and it was almost time for the chamber banquet. Rhonda Kelly, office manager, ad lady and the list goes on, made me reservations at the Western Motel. So at ten It's My Turn Golden rule badly tarnished t ' v j Miriam . May pay for a small pack of little peanut butter cookie things and I stood and I stood and I stood. The machine wouldn't price the little cookie things because they hadn't been put into the system. Ah.yes. The system. The culprit. The enemy. The system. Yours and mine and ours. Guest Columnist Vy Salter - IL That move has been hailed by public school administrators and by some high-ranking officials in the State Department of Education, but has drawn fire from those responsible for establishing the Educational Trust Fund back in the 1980s. Gov. Musgrove has already raided the state's so-called "Rainy Day Fund" to the tune of $50 million and can't go back to that well without substantial legislative support. Even at that, the "Rainy Day Fund" would only marginally cover the current year revenue shortfall and could certainly not be counted upon to be a source of significant revenue should the state revenue shortfalls carry over into the next fiscal year - as most economists predict that they will. The State Senate last week also repealed a law that transferred half of any budget surplus into the Educational Enhancement Fund - created in 1992 with a one-cent sales tax hike and 50 percent of any budget surplus. Those funds were intended for use as surplus funds for the public schools to use for textbooks, instructional materials, school board training and other purposes. ; On other economic fronts, the state is close to using $573 million of its existing bonding authority to craft a settlement to the 25-year-old Ayers higher education lawsuit. til six I left the office to check in. After a quick shower, 1 was ready. Only to find no comb, brush or anything even resembling a hair management tool. If you remember it was pouring lain, and time was running out fast. I have been a Boy Scout leader for several years and their motto is "Be Prepared." I checked my bags to see if a comb was left from an earlier trip . . . no luck. I thought about calling the front desk and ruled that out. The only choice I had was my tooth brush. Well, I had already brushed my teeth and time was down to the wire. What the heck, I thought. 1 am here to tell you that brushing your hair with a tooth brush does not work, even if you have a small amount of hair as I do. Suddenly, I remembered a dollar store across the highway. I ran in with dripping wet hair and bought a brush, with matching comb in case I lose the first. The first person I saw when arriving at the banquet was Rhonda, who commented on how nice I looked. I later relayed my dilemma. We both got a big laugh. Congratulations are extended to Faye LaBoone for being recognized as the in-coming chamber president. I am going to be the chamber president in Magee next year, so I well understand the job she is about to undertake. Also, We are totally and completely at the mercy of the system. It guides us, directs us, rejects us, perplexes us. What a blooming, blundering, bumbling mess. Talk about the tower of Babel. We are it. Lock, stock and barrel. Climbing, clamoring, cumbersome, chattering, confused. We don't support each other in this country anymore. We pull each other down. What happened to things like comradeship? Compatibility? Cooperation? You help me, I'll help you? What happened to the Golden Rule? That thing we're all supposed to live by? ! " s; Badly tarnished now, I would say. Even the animals in the zoo get a break every now and then. Take those in the zoo in Toyko, Japan, for instance. For two months of For state lawmakers, it's a Gordian Knot. The state is having to cut meat and bone from the current operating budget, ignore calls for any increase in future funding no matter how critical the state agency involved and do so at a time when the necessary settlement of Ayers and the emotions of the politics of trying to settle the question of whether or not Mississippi chooses to be the last state in the union that incorporates the Confederate Battle Flag into the design of our state flag remain on the table. As previously observed: "A million here, a million there, and pretty soon you're talking about some real money." In the midst of this most austere of times in state government in more than 25 years, Musgrove continues to beat -the drum for the teacher pay package enacted last year - urging state lawmakers not only to fund this year's segment of the teacher pay hike but to remove the five-percent revenue growth trigger from the teacher pay legislation. Predictably, the state's teacher unions are with Musgrove in that fight, but lawmakers and particularly state senators say the five percent growth trigger isn't going away and that it provides a needed safety net should state revenue continue to languish behind projections. The bottom line now is that Mississippi public schpPteach-ers will get their pay raises this year no matter if the worst revenue shortfall projections come true. There is concensus between Musgrove and the Legislature on that. But the call of Mu ;grove and the teacher unions for elimination of the five percent has and will continue to fall on deaf ears. The overall state budget picture begs the question of just how long this budget crisis can continue before the taxpayers are memory Congrats to Robert Donald and Dart Container on tneir recognition. These awards don't come easily. I found out where the future of Quitman was decided as I wandered into Hardee's on Tuesday morning. Steve told me Hardee's is the place to get the true low-down. This Monday I had a really nice visit with Faye Smith. She offered a kind welcome and I look forward to working with her. Faye expressed a concern over the TV listing not being published in last week's paper. 1 shared her concern but we had to make a decision whether to publish pictures and stories about children in the community or TV listings. I chose to publish the local news. I told Ms. Faye we would try to come up with a solution but we had an obligation to the community to publish local information first. For the time being we will follow through on this plan. Life is going to be a little busier for a while, but I have a great staff in Magee who can take up my slack while I am on the road. After the first few weeks, I won't be gone as much. Nancy doesn't mind being on the widow farm some, as long as I don't make it too often. She's taught me, when life throws you lemons, make lemonade. each year, the animals there are given a vacation from the people who come to stare at them. Can you imagine what those poor animals go through for ten straight months? Chatty people with prying eyes. They need and deserve a rest. Need a new bumper sticker? Try one of these on for size. Ionly closed minds came with closed mouths. I'm not bald. I'm combing impaired. We belong to the Earth. The Earth does not belong to us. Minimum wage for politicians. TV empty calories for hungry minds. Forty-percent of all statistics are wrong. Live simply so that others may simply live. called upon to stop the bleeding through local tax hikes. It's clear at this point that the intent of the Legislature and Musgrove is to pass the burden of the revenue shortfalls back down the line from the state level to the local level. In that manner, the governor and the Legislature can avoid offending the teacher unions by making good on the pay raises while forcing local school boards to deal with the shortage of funds for critical needs. No teachers in America deserve pay hikes more than our Mississippi teachers. But the five percent revenue trigger is a necessary safety valve that most of those same teachers use in their family budgets at home - holding to the theory that one can only buy those things that one can afford. Musgrove and some in the media have questioned the commitment to a teacher pay raise of the Legislature and others who support the five-percent trigger. But a growing number of Mississippi taxpayers have seen too many promises broken in terms of sales tax hike set asides ? for education, legalization of ; liquor for education, etc., over i the years to buy into the commitment argument. Minimum Foundation Program funding was a "commitment," as was Adequate Education Funding, as was the Education Enhancement Fund, etc. Those "commitments" have been ignored, forgotten, underfunded and made political footballs over the years while taxes have continued to increase at all levels. And older taxpayers will tell you in a heartbeat tnat if every tax dollar collected in Mississippi under the guise of improving public education had been spent for that purpose, we'd have the best public school sys- j tern in America.

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