Letters to the Editor

Byhalia recreational park:
Dear Editor,

As a concerned citizen, I am writing this letter regarding the town meeting Jan. 4. I was unaware of all the facts regarding the acquisition of a sports field. I wanted to make the community aware of what is happening since registration for the 2004 season had a 150% increase above the previous year, which shows the need and is proof of the growth and interest in the area of youth sports.

On Jan. 4, the subject of a recreational sports field was again discussed and the following is the correct information given by the Byhalia town board.

The Byhalia Sports Association from their own private funds is now renting land next to the old Campbell’s Glass and over the last 10 years has outgrown the field. The field is currently being used as overflow for practice. The town of Byhalia owns five acres of property that they are currently playing on. That property is located on Edwards Road next to the Industrial Park. Previous boards of the town of Byhalia in conjunction with Byhalia Sports Association built those fields. It was known by the Byhalia Sports Association that the land was a loan and could be put up for sale at any time.

Since then, land has been donated to the county for the specific use of a recreational park. A motion was made, due to the location of the property, that the land be annexed into the town of Byhalia in order to receive monies and service to upkeep it. The Byhalia town board denied annexation.

The Byhalia mayor, Scooter Dempsey, stated that he went to a state meeting asking for temporary use of the donated property which happens to fall into the I-69 corridor. The officials told him that if any parks or ball fields were there, I-69 would absolutely not go through there. The town is looking to relinquish the benefits of the donation through the sale to the I-69 fair market purchase.

In a later meeting with the mayor, Mr. Dempsey explained that he was purchasing other properties. It was stated that the town board was divided on the importance of the issue of a park development. The mayor wanted to go on record saying his focus is for the promotion of children and economic development. Alderman Richard Minor also agrees on this position.

I feel that the children of the community will be the future in our economic development because they will be the workers and leaders. We need to show the children we care by putting them first. Providing them with a safe place to play and opportunities to learn discipline through sports will help accomplish this goal.

Community involvement on such an important action needs to be taken. Community organizations, parents, and other concerned citizens feel this is important as well. We need your involvement. Please attend town meetings. Meeting dates are posted at the town hall, or you can call for dates and times. Also, grab an alderperson or the mayor and let them know where you stand.


Amy L. Presley

Statewide exams:
Dear Editor,

It is a very important time of the year in our public school system. Over the next couple of months, students throughout the various grades will be completing statewide examinations. For the elementary and middle grades, students will be completing the Mississippi Curriculum Test. This test measures the progress that students are making from year to year in basic areas of the curriculum. At the high school level, students will be completing other exams. Some students, for example, will be taking the retest for the Functional Literacy Exam. Other students will be taking the statewide Subject Area Tests (SATs) in U. S. History, Algebra I, English II, and Biology I.

Students must pass these examinations in order to graduate from public high schools in the state of Mississippi.

If your child will be taking any of these exams, it is imperative that you, as parents, provide whatever help you can to bring about your child’s success. There are many things you can do. Check up with your child to see if he or she has homework, and to see what is being studied in class each day.

Contact your child’s teachers to see what specifically your child needs help with in each class. Simply showing concern and giving your child a pat on the back can give that young person a boost.

We need your help. It is our earnest desire to see all students do well on these exams. Beyond the tests, however, doing what we all can to help these young people will assist them in improving their behavior, learning social skills, and seeing the importance of schooling. They will improve in these areas if we all do our part to bring about this success.

Thanks for your help,

Brian Taylor
Byhalia High School

Congratulations to Rotary:
Dear Editor,

One hundred years ago on the evening of February 23, 1905, four businessmen in Chicago met for the first meeting of a group which would become the great American institution we know today as Rotary International. Led by a visionary attorney named Paul Harris, this group soon found opportunities to promote ethics, honesty, and fairness in the business community and to serve the greater good.

During the years that followed, Rotary Clubs were formed in all 50 states and grew into a movement that now exists in 166 nations around the world. There are presently more than 31,000 Rotary Clubs worldwide with more than 1.2 million members.

Here in Mississippi, there are 109 Rotary clubs, with approximately 6,200 members. We are especially proud of the fact that the president of Rotary International for 2005 is Glenn Estess, a native Mississippian now living in Birmingham, Alabama.

Rotarians are your neighbors and co-workers. They meet regularly for fellowship and service, and they may be found on the front lines responding to human need. Whether it’s working to eradicate polio in the remote corners of the world, helping build homes for the homeless, or cleaning up neighborhood parks, Rotarians are making a difference every day.

February 23 has been designated by the Mississippi Legislature and Governor Haley Barbour as Rotary Day in Mississippi. We invite all Mississippians to join with us as we celebrate 100 years of service and eagerly anticipate the next century!

Richard Wieland, Nesbit,
District Governor,
Rotary District 6800;
John Fair, Louisville,
District Governor,
Rotary District 6820;
Becky Askew, Hattiesburg,
District Governor,
Rotary District 6840

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