Thursday, March 9, 2006

Fielder’s Choice
By Barry Burleson

‘Special’ salute

Special editions should indeed be special.

I’ve worked at newspapers where we published one or two special sections a month. I began to wonder why we called them “special.”

This week The South Reporter publishes perhaps its largest edition of the year, called “Salute to Industry.” And we truly believe it’s special. We hope you do, too.

It includes stories and photos from various industries across Marshall County. We started the planning process months ago, deciding this year to go with all industries, versus the personality profiles we’ve included the past few years. We believe the timing is right to highlight our industrial base.

One person who saw the special edition first at the printer in an adjoining county remarked, “The sections look great. I didn’t realize there is that much industry there. It’s impressive.”

That’s what we want it to be – impressive. For we are proud of our community and want to see more opportunities for our people.

Truth is, there’s more industry in our county than is featured in this week’s paper. Some just didn’t have time for an interview and pictures right now, and others we just couldn’t get to ourselves and didn’t have space for in this particular edition. It is our hope we can include those in future editions.

One of the best things about this industrial salute is the variety of companies. For instance, there’s a company providing cargo carts for FedEx and UPS. There are family-owned businesses, passed down, and doing well.

There’s the company manufacturing products for race cars. There’s a chain link fencing company that has partnered with another company in China. There are logging and sawmill operations.

There are industries expanding and new ones locating here, too, like the first to build at the Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park.

And the list goes on and on. Be sure and read about them all.

Our staff tried to capture the heart of Marshall County, the industries and the workers contributing so much to our economy and livelihood.

And most of all we wanted to promote our county – focusing on the good, the progress – and we hope this edition encourages others to get on the positive bandwagon. Our county, because of its location and its people, has a tremendous opportunity for growth, from a business standpoint and a residential one.

But as Bill Renick, executive director of the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, says so well in his column in the special edition, it’s going to take teamwork. Everyone, from the county elected official, to the school teacher, to the business owner, to the person working behind the counter at the convenience store, must be a part of the team. It takes all of us to make Marshall County a better place.

And one of the keys to the betterment of our county is also a progressive, positive newspaper with its employees involved and contributing to the success of the community. It is our goal to fill that role to the best of our ability here at The South Reporter.

Publishing a special edition like this one is not an easy task. It takes lots of extra work by a small, dedicated staff. The employees of your newspaper have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Thanks to those industrial leaders who let us in the door and gave us interviews and thanks to the many advertisers who made this edition possible.

The past week or so has been a bit stressful as the “Salute to Industry” has reached deadline but know the rewards will be many for Marshall County.

We printed extra copies for the IDA and the Byhalia and Holly Springs Chambers of Commerce. It is our hope that this edition will not only pay adequate tribute to the present industries but also assist in attracting more companies to our county.

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