Monday Morning Water Cooler Talk for December 5, 2011

New look with the same attitude! The Real Story website received a radical make-over to better serve our readers. The new design makes the site more pleasing to the eye and easier to maneuver. Please tell us what you think of it, and what you think would improve it further. The object is a pleasurable experience for you on our site and easy access to all the information you need, in a lean and clean production fit for the 21st Century.

This move is aimed to get us ready for 2012. Starting in mid-January, The Real Story will go to print. First it will appear bi-weekly and then move to a weekly publication. Over the next several weeks, we will share with you more information about our plans, such as the print date, pricing and, yes, possibilities for you to advertise (and write!).

In the move to becoming a real paper, The Real Story will address setting a price, marketing and distribution. This is an exciting time. A new paper means that in the next few weeks, we will embark on our own media campaign. Some people may have thought Mr. MoJo Rising had left the building: nothing could be further from the truth!

With more than 35,000 website hits in less than two months, we have learned a lot from the experience. Mississippi State sports is a kingpin! Our biggest day was when we posted last Thursday’s Quinton Wesley story, which received over 1800 hits. MSU Football is unreal!

Also, politics has been a real part of The Real Story. The positive comments are appreciated. We will continue to be the “watchdog” of the community. The blurring of the lines between our traditional media and the local government is not healthy for our community, and we pledge to keep ourselves separate and objective. Media has a vital role. It is the Fourth Estate. Members of the Media should never be lap dogs for government.

The Tennessee Williams House

The Tennessee Williams House

At Thursday’s CCVB meeting, another one of those strange occurrences occurred. Steve Rogers, Assignment Editor of WCBI, covered the story. This would not be unusual, except for the fact that at the last CCVB meeting, he was there talking about the Legends Concert. He is the Vice President of the Legends Concert organization. Mayor Robert Smith is the President. Really? Of course, neither he nor anyone else was there from WCBI to cover the brouhaha that arose in that meeting. After he answered questions about why the Legends Concert was $5000 dollars in the hole, he left. Consequently, there’s no film footage of what was probably the best Donnybrook since the battle of MSU versus Ole Miss.

At the same special call meeting, the CCVB Board decided to spend money only on publicity and advertising and to set stricter guidelines for grant qualification. Unfortunately, Harvey Myrick and Whirllie Byrd were not in attendance, so this meeting did not address their bigger problems.

Everyone played nice Thursday. However, the bigger issues continue to grow. The Real Story is waiting to see what happens when people don’t get the grant money they are accustomed to receiving. 2012 is a pivotal year for the CCVB, and we will be there to get The Real Story — unbiased, fair and not asking anyone for money.

As the New Year approaches, the CCVB Board members must ask themselves the following questions and give the community honest answers:  What is going to happen with all the name calling and ethic violations threats? Do the LINK Board members who resigned from the LINK come under more scrutiny because their first job is to direct maximum CCVB funds to the LINK, and there is more money than ever accruing from the hotel and restaurant tax that funds the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau (CCVB)?  This is the cloud they are under. Can they pretend that this accusation did not arise?

  1. Is the CCVB going to hire a lawyer who doesn’t sit on the Board? If they engage one who will act as a separate entity, they won’t suffer the embarrassments of the past. They cannot make another mistake, like letting a board member do their legal work for pay and then clawing a refund back after being called on the legal impropriety. Worse, of course, would be having no legal counsel at all. Have any lessons been learned?
  2. Can individuals serve on the Board and then get CCVB grants for their special projects as well?
  3. Where do the LINK and the CCVB stand? Have all conflicts of interest been resolved? Will the LINK get only the same maximum grant amount as other beneficiaries?
  4. In their new guidelines formulation process, apparently only four members of the Board will select which projects are permitted for consideration by the full Board. This will negate the original purpose of the Board, as chartered. It will be interesting to see which members of the Board will be on this select committee. The Real Story will be watching to see how this plays out.
  5. And, most of all, the obvious conflicts of interest must end, such as mayors, media personalities, councilmen and supervisors getting CCVB grants. The Mayor’s Picnic is now part of Columbus Pilgrimage. Do all politicians get this perk? Is it okay for those who appoint you to the Board to come back later and ask for money?
Tennessee Williams Sign

Tennessee Williams Sign

Before the CCVB can move forward, it needs to hire a lawyer and an accountant and prove that the Board is following proper procedure. Until then, they will always be seen as unprofessional, even if they played nice for one day!

Notes:

Special Kudos to:

The Wonderful Citizens of Ward 5 for their great participation at the December 1, 2011 Crime Watch Meeting at the Lowndes County Public Library. Over 60 residents, interim Chief Selvain McQueen and the Columbus Police Department tackled the tough problems of Crime. They should all be commended.

Christmas Tree Lighting

Christmas Tree Lighting

The City of Columbus and Main Street for another outstanding Wassail Fest and Christmas Tree Lighting.

Joseph St. John

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The Real Story for the Golden Triangle and North Mississippi. Always the truth... No Compromise. Changing the community one story at a time! You make the news... We keep it Real.

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One Comment on “Monday Morning Water Cooler Talk for December 5, 2011”

  1. Jane Doe Says:

    There is such abuse occurring at the CCVB, especially where finances are concerned. There is not accountability and monitoring of funds. Nancy Carpenter’s feet is not held to the fire where money is concerned and her spending habits are questionable at best. Is she required to disclose an itemized listing of her spending for Decorative Arts and Pilgrimage. I don’t think she is and with the CCVB being a governmental entity, they should be held to the same standards as others governmental organization. I am baffled at how the CCVB operates, as they have questionable hiring practices, as well. None of their positions are ever advertised. Nancy is now the Director and backstabbed anyone she could to get the position and of course her toddlers & tiara act in front of the board has them completely snowed over as to the kind of person she really is. The Director’s position was never opened for a pool of candidates to apply, which was not fair. I’m sure the board was going to choose Nancy anyway, but they could have at least opened the position up, (as I am sure someone far more qualified than Nancy would have applied) it just would have been the fair thing to do. Now from what I understand, Tyson Lee is now employed with the CCVB and there is no ill-will toward him, but why was the position not opened for the public to apply??? Not only that, but Tyson’s grandfather is on the Board for the Link, which Nancy is also a boardmember. I don’t know, but it just sounds like a conflict of interest to me. Why is Nancy given the amount of freedom and power that she is given. It’s really sad. I will never understand the logic in the town :(

    Reply

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