Thursday, January 12, 2006

Letters to the Editor

The future of the cemetery:
Dear Editor,

One of the things that I make a point of doing when I come home to visit in Holly Springs — aside from the obvious time spent with family and friends — is to walk in Hill Crest Cemetery. I make the requisite visit to family and ancestors, stop by “Our Charlie,” and gaze in awe at the magnificent old cedars, hickories, oaks, hollies, and magnolias.

Which brings me to the point of my letter. When I see the trees I can‚t help but ponder the future appearance of the cemetery, for who can argue that its beauty is due in great part to the magnificent trees? And while the crape myrtles and Bradford pears planted by the Town and Country Garden Club add great beauty and charm to Hill Crest, I am concerned about the replacement of the great old long-lived hardwoods.

That concern prompted me request permission to plant some trees myself, and I must thank Landy Hurdle for allowing me to plant small trees along the north fence of the cemetery. This fall my brother and I planted six cherrybark oaks (red oaks), to accompany the sawtooth oak (red oak) we planted two years ago. I will continue to plant small hardwoods as long as I am allowed — trees that will not reach their grandeur in my lifetime, but which will certainly be magnificent in posterity.

My own efforts notwithstanding, when the old hardwoods that grow throughout the cemetery are gone, so too will be a significant aspect of the beauty of Hill Crest. There are no hardwoods of varying ages planted anywhere in the cemetery. I understand the problems that trees, specifically their roots, pose to digging and cemetery maintenance.

However, many historic cemeteries around the country, such as Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, have programs in place not only to preserve old trees, but also to replace them with appropriate specimens. The following cemeteries are known for their trees, and many have preservation and/or planting programs in place:

Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, Tenn. http://www.elmwoodcemetery.org/main/gardens.htm (click on Arboretum);

Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Ky., http://www.cavehillcemetery.com;

Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg, Va., http://www. gravegarden.org/trees.htm

Calvary Cemetery in Queens, NY http://www.championtrees.org/champions/articles/Calvary10423.htm;

Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge Mass., http://www. mountauburn.org/national_landmark/horticulture.cfm;

Laurel Hill in Philadelphia, Pa., http://www.forever-care.com/about_us.shtml

Mount Hope in Rochester, NY, http://www.fomh.org;

Spring Grove in Cincinnati, Ohio; Lexington in Lexington, Ky.; and Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Ga.

Thus, precedents exist for successful co-existence of trees and graves, and not just along the roads and perimeters. (Go to http://www.arthurleej.com/a-cemeteries.html for a wonderful article on cemetery trees by Arthur Lee Jacobson.) These historic cemeteries do not just plant trees — they have long-term landscape plans designed for a perpetual natural aesthetic honoring those given over to perpetual care.

So here’s my proposal: Why not plant trees (hardwoods — oaks, etc.) on a few designated unsold plots, and even on some of the old plots that essentially have been “abandoned” by the owners? When I visit Hill Crest, I notice many empty plots (or at least those without markers), and several that have only one marked grave.

Trees need a growth area at least the same width of the canopy span, and the empty plots — new or old — could give the trees many years to become established, healthy, and strong. Additionally, using the empty plots would retain the natural look that the cemetery has today, with the trees having a random, natural appearing placement. Such planting, in conjunction with a carefully thought-out preservation plan for the overall cemetery, could assure the perpetual natural beauty of Hill Crest.

I would like to call on the City of Holly Springs, or one of the wonderful civic organizations to consider such an undertaking as the one I propose. Believe me, if I resided here I would more actively initiate the effort myself. But I am willing to bet that many of the citizens of Holly Springs have had the same thoughts that I present in this letter. I pledge to be among the first to contribute to the effort if someone local can implement it.

Alice M. Buchanan
Auburn, Alabama
buchaa2@auburn.edu
Holly Springs native

Sincere thanks:
Dear Editor,

I would like to thank the Byhalia, Barton, Watson and Victoria fire departments for a job well done — beyond the call of duty — at my home on Dec. 17, 2005. Our most grateful gratitude!

Also, thanks to each person or family for all the prayers, donations and support in our time of need.

God bless you all
Rita Dempsey and the
Barnett families

Landfill site:
Dear Editor,

Property owened by the Woods family in Watson is being considered for a landfill site. (Per George Zinn, Supervisor District 4). 

I am asking that the residents contact Mr. Zinn and let him know we do not want a landfill. This will greatly decrease our property value and increase truck traffic.

The only person/persons that will benefit from this will be the landowner selling/leasing same property who does not live nearby.

Your help in alerting the residents in the Watson area would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Donna King
Hwy 309 South, Watson

Amnesia in Jackson?:
Dear Editor,

The Mississippi Legislature went back to Jackson this week for the 2006 session. New bills are flying around for everything you can imagine. Seatbelt usage, tinted windows, school consolidation, and, of course tax, increases. It appears some of our Legislator’s walk into the capitol and they forget what they were elected for.

The Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives has delusions of grandeur. The Speaker of the House Rep. Billy McCoy (D) Reinzi, and his tax and spend puppets, pushed forward house bill (HB 206) to frivolously spend $14,500,000.00 of your tax dollars. What you might ask are we spending this tax money for? A “wishing well.” The fourteen million, five hundred thousand dollars is to be used to purchase and clear land in a debacle known as the “Well Springs Business Park.” This “wishing well” is located in Lee, Pontotoc and Union Counties.

There is a problem with this project; there are no companies wanting to build there. There are no companies even remotely looking at this site. The Mississippi Development Authority has stated, “This is a bad business decision.” Not one bank would support the project without a commitment by a business wanting to locate there. There is no private investment whatsoever to help fund this. Did this stop the Democrats from pushing this project? No, they just shoved it down the taxpayers’ mouths.

It appears to me that this is nothing more then a way to pad the pockets of the politicians and the ones who donate to their campaigns. The sad thing is that Democratic Representatives Kelvin Buck and Jack Gadd voted for this losing tax and spend project. It appears that there was no common sense or business intelligence used when they voted to spend our tax dollars. Here is a good question. How many families on the coast would $14,500,000 help? The $14,500,000 could be used to replace power lines, water pipe or sewer pipe on the coast. This would be much better for Mississippi’s future than just throwing it into a “wishing well.”

Rep. Tommy Woods (R) Byhalia voted against throwing the money away as will Senator Ralph Doxey (R) district two, when the bill comes to the Senate. Both of these honorable men have stated, “If there were any companies wanting to locate there, I would be in favor of the project.” That, in my mind, is good business sense.

The Lieutenant Governor, Amy Tuck (R), brought forth an idea that will increase the state’s cigarette tax by 75 cents a pack this year and eventually be a dollar per pack within two years.. This will take Mississippi cigarette tax from eighteen cents a pack to one dollar and eighteen cents per pack. There will be some legislators wanting to increase the tax even more. Please look back at last year; our local Democrats wanted to increase the tax on cigarettes up to nearly two dollars a pack. That did not work so they tried to tax soft drinks an additional ten cents per drink, which failed too.

The Lieutenant Governor also introduced the idea that will totally eliminate sales tax on groceries. Your groceries will not be taxed after 2014, if the bill passes into law. The taxes will be reduced by 2-1/2 percent this year and an additional 1/2 percent each year until they are totally eliminated. This will help every person in Mississippi keep more of his or her hard-earned dollars.

It appears to me that our Democrats are throwing your hard-earned money away on another bad project. Maybe you remember last year, the taxpayers in Mississippi paid off a fifty-six million-dollar loan for a “beef plant” that went sour. Do we need another Democratic pocket padding project that will cost all of us millions this state does not have? The taxpayers in this part of Mississippi need to get involved and learn what is really going on. Don’t be so easy and believe what some politicians tell you; they more than likely have a case of amnesia. You would be better served to listen, then check around to find the real truth.

Dave Young
Marshall County
Republican Party


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