Letters To The Editor

 Dear Editor and Readers:

I was shocked to read, in its recent newsletter, that only eighty-seven memberships in Friends of the Library provide the crucial support that supplements public monies for diverse library endeavors, that serve as tools for learning for significant numbers of 60,000 city and county citizens of all demographic groups.  I agree with John D. Rockefeller, Jr., “that every right implies a responsibility, every opportunity an obligation, and every possession a duty.” His stance is a call to all who value our public library.  It is easy to take something familiar for granted, but we cannot dismiss the library as an entitlement.

Individuals and the business community must rally to action in the form of contributions — annually $12 for an individual; $25 for a family; $100 for a business/corporation; or one gift of $200 for life membership in Friends of the Library. Join fifty-six annual members and thirty-one life members to continue worthy endeavors.

Any contribution can be delivered to a local library or mailed to: Jo Shumake, 720 College St., Columbus, MS 39701.

I urge each reader to agree with Rockefeller, weigh personal benefits or professional justifications, and act without procrastination.

Offering a genuine plea,

Jack H. White


May 9, 2012


Prayer changes things.  More specifically, prayer changes people. We do not so much change the course of events, but, rather, we align our hearts and minds with the one whose sovereignty guides our lives, our communities and our nation. On Thursday, May 3, we witnessed a public display of the heart of our community, as close to 400 people gathered at the Lowndes County Courthouse in observance of The National Day of Prayer.  A group of concerned prayer warriors began planning, months ago, for this event.  My purpose is not to laud their efforts, although the logistics were virtually flawless. Prayers were offered for a wide range of needs and for those who serve and guide our community.  Prayers of repentance and petition for leaders; students; first responders; educators; media personnel; our military; our families; churches; and businesses were all beautifully surrounded with songs of praise and a sense of God’s presence.  We have sensed, for a long time, that our community needs a unifying spiritual renewal.  We are trusting that this year’s observance of The National Day of Prayer will spark a series of events that will bring our city and our county to its knees in prayer.

The organizing group, Christian Community in Prayer, is holding a planning and prayer meeting at the downtown YMCA on Tuesday, June 5, at 1:30 p.m., to determine what to do next, in response to what God is doing to draw us together in prayer.  This meeting is open to all clergy and laypersons who are interested.  We are praying that revival will come to our community and that God would show Himself strong in our neediness. Abraham Lincoln said, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”

 Christian Community in Prayer would like to express our thanks to those who came to the courthouse, to the many businesses who promoted the event, and to those who could not attend but were lifting the observance up in prayer.  We believe that nothing is of greater importance for our community than the prayers of God’s people.  He promised to heal our land when we humble ourselves, pray, repent, and seek His face.  Will you join us?

Christian Community in Prayer


Dear Editor and Citizens of Columbus,

This past Saturday (April 21, 2012) our Neighborhood Watch group kicked off the start of our 5th year as a strong and active group in this town.  We have seen much success, as our neighborhood has become stronger and is now safe.  Yes, we have had success – but only because we have been supported and backed by our police department.

With the start of a new year, I felt it important that our neighborhood meet and get to know Chief McQueen.  Since he has publicized, in print and on TV, how he personally supports the Neighborhood Watch programs and he is there for ALL of the groups in our town, he was given a personal invitation.  This man looked me straight in the eye and promised he would be there for us.  We issued an invitation to Officer Rhonda Sanders, at the same time.  Reminders were sent out, periodically, so there would be no misunderstandings.        Can you guess what happened? Yes, you got it – the Columbus Police Department was a “no show”!!!  Not a word, not a call, not an email – nothing.

My husband sent a “sorry you missed our meeting” e-mail to the Columbus Police Department. Rhonda Sanders replied back, almost immediately, with an apology.  She stated that she had worked all night, Friday night, and knew that she would not be able to attend, so she arranged for Capt. Fred Shelton to attend in her place.  You guessed it – he was a “no show”, as well. In this day of cell phones and e-mails, there are no excuses for a lack of professionalism and common courtesy.

I do want to take this opportunity to thank Capt. Mike Chandler from the Columbus Fire Department.  He stretched out his program, explaining the process of getting the Fire Department accredited and the surveys they need us to fill out, to fill the wide gap of free time left by the missing officials.

It is time for our city government and the Columbus Police Department to realize the every person in this town deserves equal treatment.  Who you are, where you live, the size of your bank account, or the color of your skin should NEVER determine how we, the citizens and taxpayers of Columbus, are treated.

Outraged in Columbus,

Frances Andresen

Coordinator for Cecil St., Vance St. and McCrary Dr. Neighborhood Watch


To the Editor of The Real Story:

I am writing this letter so that you might publish it. The concern I am about to report has been going on for quite some time.

Each month, the City of Columbus bills its residents triple charges. The City of Columbus has now started billing its residents three separate charges: (1) a charge for electricity; (2) a charge for water; and (3) a charge for sewer. In addition to electricity, why do residents now have to pay two separate charges for water and sewer?

The City of Columbus did publicize that water charges would be increasing; but the unfair part is that now, each month, the water and sewer bill are separate and the same amounts. Residents are being billed two separate charges, in addition to their electric bill. The sewer bill did not used to be that high or equal to the water bill. It is unfair that water and sewer charges are steadily increasing.

I am asking that this fact be brought to light to other City of Columbus residents, the Mayor, City officials, and the Light and Water Department and that we can see a stop to the overcharging of residents.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

A Very Concerned City of Columbus, Mississippi Resident

Originally Published in the April 25, 2012 Print Edition


Dear Editor:

Congratulations to K. K. Norris, for her shop, The Attic, being selected by the national newspaper USA Today as one of the 10 most distinguished places in the country to find fine vintage clothing. After reading your story, I visited her bountiful shop, to ask why she had included the fact that her shop was across the street from the National Literary Landmark – Tennessee Williams’ childhood home. Her perfect answer was “I wanted to tell the world about my hometown and am also proud that America’s greatest playwright is from here and he is known all over the world.” She has received an overwhelming response from around the world, from the USA Today article, and she deserves it for realizing what an important tourism treasure Columbus has in Tennessee Williams’ childhood home – our Columbus- Lowndes Welcome Center at 300 Main Street. Thank you, K.K. for being a tourism ambassador for your hometown.

Brenda Caradine

Originally Published in the April 25, 2012 Print Edition


Dear Editor,

I could not leave Columbus, Mississippi without saying a heartfelt thank you to the marvelous community that welcomed us New Yorker theater people from Orpheus Descending with such gracious hospitality. We were all overwhelmed by the beauty of your fair city, the sumptuous architecture, and the fascinating history of this birthplace of America’s great poet of the theater, Tennessee Williams.  But, most of all, we were welcomed with such warmth and generosity, we felt like honored guests….from gifts of the most delicious local honey for those of us suffering allergies to receptions of yummy Southern delicacies such as cheese straws, which a majority of us had never before tasted. The memory of your beautiful town and your loving and open hearts will remain with us forever.

Patricia Bartlett

Editor’s Note: The writer is an actor, and was in Columbus to perform in the production of Orpheus Descending, in advance of this year’s Tennessee Williams Tribute.

Originally Published in March 7, 2014 Print Edition


Dear Editor:

After reviewing numerous media outlets, I have several questions to ask our local leaders, since they do not seem to be available to address the concerns of our community, openly.

  • In regards to an article written in the February 6, 2012 Commercial Dispatch entitled, “Tupelo Bans Droopy Pants,” I wonder if Mayor Smith and the City Council have ever taken the time to consider such a law.  We need someone in City government to wise up and smell the roses.  Someone needs to, at least, address the issue in the media, instead of always being silent.
  • In The Real Story article dated February 8, 2012, and entitled “Come on Columbus/Lowndes County – Get it Together,” it appears as if several attorneys and JUDGES need to be brought before the ethics committee of the Mississippi Bar Association.  The allegations, if correct, are ridiculous!
  • In the case of Wilbanks’ murder case, what new information was found, or is this just the same case it has been for over a decade.  What piece of the “puzzle” did Bowen, Williams and McQueen see that was not seen before.  If they missed it the first time and it is so clear now, how did these guys ever get promoted?  I will wait for the conviction before I make a final judgment on the greatness of this arrest.

Just a few questions; I am not the only one who has these concerns.

Jim Dierking

Originally Published in March 7, 2012 Print Edition



First of all, kudos to you and your staff for reporting the real story. Second, kudos to Hatcher and Ward for using their backbones and standing up for what they believe in! Finally, will the REAL LEADERS of Columbus PLEASE STAND UP?! And to the wannabes: sit down! (e.g., Mayor Smith, Council persons, and Judge Clinkscale.)

If Chief McQueen does actually refuse to promote because “he doesn’t like the individual,” does he really believe that he is not discriminating and that this will not cause an exhaustion of time and money because of lawsuits?

I think it’s high time that we, the people, remind the wannabes that they are “elected”, and then we should begin cleaning house and start from scratch. And to the current Chief…. Well, let’s just call it what it is. It’s time to go…out with the old and in with the new (when we get a new mayor!)!!


Donna Hankee

Originally Published in February 29, 2012 Print Edition



Still No Justice, No Peace

 My brother, Roosevelt Pernell, Jr. was a human being whose life was taken from him five years ago on Feb. 21, 2007, in Columbus, MS.  All of the facts surrounding his death has never been answered.  As a family member, I am entitled to know all of the details, because the death of Roosevelt was not fully dealt with or correctly investigated, especially by the local law enforcement. So, that is why I pursued legal actions in the form of a wrongful death suit against Columbus Police and County Sheriff and others in hopes for some kind of fairness or justice.   However, due to the bias nature of the corrupt judicial system, in such cases as this, where most lawyers, law enforcement, and judges are all in bed with one another makes it no surprise that my case would be thrown out by a system such as this.  They protect each others wrongdoings by, covering-up, lying and preserving the good ole’ boys’ network of dominance, racism and injustice to others.  This is why I never got my day in court to hold the ones accountable for playing a major role in the death of my brother.  Any time you have law enforcement called to a scene where the victim is visibly injured, his mug shot clearly showed that, he was incoherent, and inebriated, then one would think that a professional, competent, trained, reasonable and compassionate officer, who took an oath to protect and serve citizens, would have shown more compassion to help another human being in stress.  Instead, they wasted valuable time badgering and focusing more on whether he was drunk or not, as oppose to dealing with an injured man who was in need of medical attention.  They had the legal power to choose, and they chose to take an injured man straight to jail , without any concern for his condition, rather than do the right thing by taking him straight to the hospital and then calling his family or just do the right thing for a precautionary measure.  It makes you wonder if they would have treated a white citizen in that same manner, under the same situation, and I’m sure to bet you that a wounded animal by the roadside would have gotten more consideration and respect from them.  Therefore, after they handcuffed my brother like a criminal and hauled him off to the County Adult Detentional Center is where I later learned from a reliable source that my brother was physically abused and neglected in his jail cell to the point of where he sustained  his blunt forced head trauma which subsequently is what caused his death. After that, came the lies and cover up from the Columbus city police and County sheriff department.

So, five years later, I still have questions unanswered.  This is why I once again turn to the help of the people to help me fit the pieces to the puzzle and shine a brighter light on How your  Columbus Police and Sheriff Enforcement treat its citizens, in particularly, the African American community of people.

Lastly, I am asking for vital information from anyone who knows detailed information or any pertinent information about what exactly happened to Roosevelt when he left his residence on 3rd St. N. from the time police arrested him at the Chanticleer Apt. Complex, until the time of being placed in custody of the Columbus police and  ultimately the County sheriff department.  It is my hope that truth and justice will prevail over the wrongs that was done to my brother and the guilty ones involved be revealed.

Also, I would like to hear from other family members who have lost loved ones directly or indirectly due to the cause of Columbus Police and County Sheriff misconduct.

Please contact me at 1-800-677-1105 or email at jjaa57@aol.com or facebook Debra Pernell-Simmons


Sincerely Seeking Truth and Justice,

Debra Pernell-Simmons

Originally Published in February 22, 2012 Print Edition  


Letter to the Editor

December 18, 2011

Another “Keystone Cops” moment occurred last week with Tony Cooper and the LCSO snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

It all started last August–well, it really started in the Prairie with the serial burglaries that began last January with the theft of scrap iron, weapons, computer etc, from the Joe Askew place in Artesia. The burglar ring then trargeted Crawford with a cluster of burglaries of copper and scrap metal in the town of Crawford…..the Dan T****r shop, the former army surplus store owned by me, the old Harvey house, my father’s farmplace, the old Rufus Richards place, owned by B* H******e, and the last theft that of the Bell Awning boom truck (parked in the middle of Crawford) towed into B&S salvage yard on Gardner Boulevard. Surely, eyebrows should’ve been raised when Timothy Harris, who turns out to be a recently released convict, brought that vehicle in and it sat on the yard undetcted by the CPD and LCSO when there was a BOLO alert for the vehicle. And the owner’s wife works in the LCSO with Tony Cooper!!!

On Tony Cooper. Last August, when my father caught scrap burglars on his property with scrap loaded on the trailer and took tag numbers–and even had a black witness with him-a call was made to LCSO. No deputy showed up for something like nine days. Finally, my brother called and talked to Tony Cooper. Cooper responded and my brother showed him the incriminating evidence and named a suspect (Crawford sobriquet–Monkeyman) who was a live-in with P***y in section 8 housing at the crime site. Cooper knows Monkeyman’s felony criminal history and even was responsible for his being charged several years ago in the break-in of our neighbor’s home, (N**l T****r). We never heard again from Cooper on the farm burglary. When we called for a follow-up, we were told that there was no case number for the burglary.

Back to the Bell Awning boom truck. Last Wednesday, my brother was driving down Gardner Boulevard when he saw the “crushed” boom truck loaded on a truck leaving B&S salvage. My brother followed the truck to 82 East towards Tuscaloosa when the truck turned off to fuel. At that point, my brother called 911 and CPD and Tony Cooper shows up. The owner identifies the stolen truck and records show that Timothy Harris brought the truck into B&S. It turns out that Timothy Harris lives on Howard Smart’s farm. The Smart family has a long criminal history in the area. I was told that a search warrant was being sought, but as of Friday noon, no judge had signed off on such an order. Precious time to move contraband to those parked 18-wheeler trailers that one sees around Crawford.

All attempts to speak with Tony Cooper have failed.

Is this any hint of the kind of law enforcement that we can expect with a Butch Howard-endorsed Mike Arledge?

Walking through Lowndes county, I feel Diogenes’ pain.

If Tony Cooper really wanted to solve these burgalries, all he has to do is use the legal tool of charging members of Smart’s entourage with misprision of a felony.

And, IMHO, the burglaries of the Menonites in Noxubee County – in particular the 12 Stihl chain saws that were stolen from the Noxubee Farm Supply – would be solved.


St. John:

Can you track down any information on whether any judge signed off on a search warrant of Howard Smart’s farm?  The suspect allegedly responsible for the theft of the Bell Awning boom truck, that was sold to B&S Salvage and crushed, was connected to Howard Smart. It is not the first time that the Smart name has come up in grand larceny investigations.

Surely, the Mayor of Crawford and other members of Howard’s entourage are aware of suspect Timothy Harris and his criminal history. The theft of scrap metals has reached “racketeering” levels and I don’t see why the FBI has not looked into these RICO level criminal enterprises.

I talked to a MDOT agent in South Mississippi who had investigated the theft of steel bridge columns that were cut up and sold to scrap yards in Jones County. It was a white gang-related organization that was caught. In Tishomingo County, a similar theft occurred.

It is a serious problem and LCSO has done, IMHO, nothing to catch these thieves. In fact, they have destroyed, in some cases, any chance of pursuing a case against these thieves.

If the new sheriff doesn’t clean house in its investigation team, starting with Tony Cooper, there will be more thievery as the economy worsens. After the scrap is gone, then the gangs will begin the “house invasions.”

Tommy Gentry

Letter to the Editor

October 31, 2011

Dear Friends and Family,
I hope today finds you well. I am writing you today to discuss Mississippi Proposition 26 and how it can affect us, other couples, and all females. As you all know Emily and myself have a beautiful son Luke Isaac. We were not able to conceive naturally but were blessed to be able to conceive through In Vitro Fertilization. Just to clarify Emily and myself are 100% Pro Life, but we do not pass judgment on others.

“You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.” Romans 2:1.

The proponents of MS 26 are arguing it will stop abortion. The unfortunate truth is MS 26 will not stop abortion as everyone thinks it will. The group Yes On 26 even states on their website this will not overturn Roe Vs. Wade.

“Will the Mississippi Personhood Amendment overturn Roe v. Wade?”
Not directly. In November, Mississippi will be the first in the nation to enact a Personhood Amendment to protect unborn babies.  That will create positive momentum in Florida, South Dakota, and Ohio where Personhood will be on the ballot in 2012.  Mississippi has an opportunity to lead the nation in saying, “the legal rights of Personhood begin at conception.”

The Supremacy Clause in the Constitution explains that federal law always trumps state law which means federal always wins if there is a conflict between the two. (THE SUPREMACY CLAUSE Article. VI). Yes On 26 is banking that this will be challenged and taken to the US Supreme Court which it will. Why not just propose a measure banning abortion? The reason there is this group isn’t just trying to ban abortion but also ban birth control and stop IVF.

The problem this will cause with birth control is by stating that life begins at fertilization it will outlaw most forms of birth control. The group Yes On 26 state it won’t ban it but most forms of the “pill” but they also state they are against birth control.


Yes on 26 takes no position on birth control methods, which are contraceptive rather than abortive in their actions.”

Reason:  We are opposed to those birth control methods which act as abortifacients.  These could include forms of the pill which act to prevent implantation of the newly formed human into the lining of the womb; forms of the IUD, which can act the same; and prostaglandin suppository drugs, which act to cause delivery of whatever size baby the uterus contains.

What they don’t state is all forms of hormonal birth control also known as the “Pill” change the lining of the uterus. By changing the lining of the uterus this stops the process of implantation which happens 5-7 days after fertilization. By stopping implantation this kills the embryo and is incompatible with personhood. It would also ban IUD’s which are a doctor implanted form of birth control.  Beverly A. McMillan, who is a board member of Yes On 26, states in her own words: “In this impeccably researched book, Randy Alcorn takes an unblinking look at what medical experts know about how birth control pills work. I painfully agree that birth control pills do in fact cause abortions.” If you want some information on birth controls and how they effect the lining of the uterus go to http://www.drugs.com and search for NuvaRing, Lo Ovral 28, Yaz, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, and many others. Look for the wording: (DRUG NAME) also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus. This would go against MS 26.

Now let’s look at how this will affect someone you know and that would be Emily and myself. MS 26 states this wouldn’t stop IVF. Why do I and many others state it will? IVF is an expensive and lengthy procedure that requires removing multiple eggs from the ovaries and introducing sperm in a lab since this cannot happen naturally for us. Normally you fertilize 8-10 eggs. Out of those 8-10 eggs generally 50% of those stop dividing between 2-5 days and not all will fertilize. This generally leaves 4-5 embryos for transfer. Current IVF guidelines won’t allow more than 3 embryos to be transferred to protect the life of the mother and the children. Dr. Eric Webb was on Gallo Radio on October 13th and stated: “The simple solution is that you don’t fertilize any eggs which you’re not willing to transfer…. No more than three. No cryopreservation.” By following the guidelines MS 26 would impose, most couples who depend on IVF to conceive a gift such as we have will have no chance at all.

Emily and I are Pro Life. We do agree more than anything that life begins at fertilization but this proposition has too many negative consequences. The groups pushing this bill are not just pushing to stop abortion but also stop IVF and Birth Control. We hope you will educate yourselves on how Mississippi Proposition 26 is bad for the state of Mississippi, bad for parents, and bad for all females. If you have any questions or want references to what I have above please don’t hesitate to ask. We hope you will vote no on November 8th. A vote for no is not a vote for murder as this proposition will not stop Abortion but will stop life through IVF and birth control. Emily and myself give all glory to our Lord for our beautiful son Luke Isaac Carpenter. We owe a special thanks to Dr. John Isaacs and MS Fertility Institute for the work they do to assist in helping us conceive, and to Atlee Breland for keeping us informed and fighting for all of us.


Robin S. Carpenter

Robin, Emily and Luke Carpenter with Dr. John Isaacs

Robin, Emily and Luke Carpenter with Dr. John Isaacs

42 Comments on “Letters To The Editor”

  1. Chuck Baker Says:

    Well said !!!


  2. carol carpenter Says:

    We have a vested interest in this initivative not passing!!! But Mississippians don’t need this either.

    Carol Carpenter
    Robin’s mother


  3. Jane Jordan Says:

    Thank you Robin. As you said most people do no know what they would be voting for. Or more correctly what it would not stop. If people know what this means it would not have a chance in hell of passing. I will go to to the polls and vote NO .


  4. Ashen Says:

    I am Pro-Choice, but I don’t condone abortion as a form of birth control in the sense, “Oops! I am pregnant! Let’s go abort the baby!!” I know of someone who has had SIX abortions. Instead of even trying to be responsible while having sex, this person just goes off and gets an abortion whenever she gets pregnant. It makes me sick.

    So I do believe there should be a bit more restriction on abortion services. I know there will be instances where abortion is almost necessary. You have rape, incest and endangerment to the mother. If a 13 year old was victim to rape and ended up pregnant for example, should she go through with the pregnancy and not only ruin her childhood, but also deal with the emotional repercussions of something that she couldn’t control? She was already rapped. Is that not enough on a child? Should she have to go through 9 months of pregnancy because it is “illegal”? Not to mention the health risks on someone that young.

    – Ashen (25 weeks pregnant)


    • Selina Says:

      Wow. So much for responsible people. I am in Starkville and the person you know sounds appalling. That’s typical, though, and acceptible behavior in 2011. That’s why I stay out of the clubs and the bars. Women are insane; we hate each other…. let us be honest about it!

      Men at least fist fight and get it over with… what’s up with women that hold grudges and don’t get along with anyone and hate all other women and are extremely jealous, whether it’s over breastfeeding, types of abortion, types of Ceasarian sections, and the like…. Can’t we all just get along?





    • Bridget Pieschel Says:

      John, unless you are using a fictitious name, your vote is now public. As far as I know, all of our votes are secret when we go to the polling place.


    • Ashen Says:

      Mr. Andresen, you don’t have to use all caps. (That button on your keyboard that says CapsLk.) Typing in all caps is very poor web etiquette since it gives the appearance you are yelling at everyone. But I guess that is the least of your worries since your grammar and spelling are not very good.

      As for the Proposition 26, if you are going to post why you plan to vote “Yes” for it, please explain your reasons instead of trolling to get a rise out of commenters. Do you even know what half of what this article states about the Proposition you plan to vote “Yes” for? That is the problem. Most don’t.

      Don’t be ignorant and vote just “because”. Educate yourself on what is being said here. Even if you disagree with abortion, Proposition 26 is not a sound nor responsible prop. If they want to make abortion illegal, the Proposition needs to be 100% about abortion and leave out things such as stem-cell research, in vitro fertilization and the “Pill”.


  6. Bridget Pieschel Says:

    Excellent Letter. I too am voting no on 26, and while I suspect that we will be in the minority, I hope that logic and the information from the medical community will persuade more people to think hard, and also vote no.


  7. BrendaK Says:

    I also will be voting NO and hope it doesn’t pass. I am Pro Choice and believe a person has the right to decide what happens to their bodies. I am glad this came up and hope everyone will read this letter and understand what 26 means.


  8. PossessesLogic Says:

    26 means how many ounces are in a Mason jar! 13X2! Everybody knows that


  9. Harley Says:

    I would like to thank you for sticking around and taking a chance. Stay true to your word and words and make those who feel uncomfortable with your words become even more uncomfortable. You are a good person and a good man.
    Watch your back.


  10. standing_up_for_me Says:

    Let’s all remember that your vote of YES means nothing. The legislature must pass a law before any of this goes into effect.


  11. Chuck Baker Says:

    Excerpt from an article appearing in The Washington Post this week regarding Proposition 26:

    Mississippi is perhaps the last state with any standing to extend personhood to fetuses. A fertilized egg in Mississippi, should it be born, has one of the worst prognoses for a dignified life in the United States.What will that fertilized egg, once it is born, discover about how Mississippi treats persons?

    The state ranks last among all states in health and third for the highest rate of diabetes and high blood pressure . It has the lowest per capita personal income and an unemployment rate of 10.6percent. It is the last in academic achievement. More than 1 out of 5 people live in poverty. The state is second in the nation in terms of the imprisonment ratio (749 prisoners per 100,000 people.) If you are black, your chances of dying at birth or shortly thereafter are pretty high: fourteen out of every 1000 black infants ( 6.8 for whites) born die in childbirth or the first year of their lives. Your mother is more likely to die delivering you than mothers in 44 other states. If fertilized eggs could be afraid, surely the thought of being born in Mississippi would be traumatizing.

    For people of faith, these are real ethical questions about what it means for those of us who have moral agency in terms of how we treat others. At the theological level, personhood is far from settled; even defining who or what is a person is subject to much disagreement. The Supreme Court understood this when it wrote in the Roe decision: “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate.”

    To read the entire article, see http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/post/does-mississippi-really-respect-life/2011/11/02/gIQANQvRgM_blog.html

    Whether you support this proposition or not, I believe that the perception that those outside our state is very telling. Granted some of that is based on “holier than thou” attitudes, but some of it is also based on the choices we make with regards to healthcare, education, lifestyle and etc. Even the choices we make (and our commentary about) our own city have affected our ability to recruit and retain well qualified public servants who could, in time, improve public perception. It’s time to restrain ourselves from trying to change the world until we make our own homes, neighborhoods, cities and the state a place to be proud of. Only then will our influence have a positive effect on others.

    Remember … don’t try to remove the speck from the eye of another until you first remove the beam in your own.


    • Robin S. Carpenter aka Luke's Dad Says:

      AMEN Chuck!!! My preacher and I were discussing this and he said it perfectly. “You can’t legislate morality.” It starts at home with the decisions we make as parents.


  12. Patty Keffer Says:

    Lots of good comments here – I am very against this proposition. Besides all the thoughts already shared, I have these questions: If it passes and becomes law, who in the world will have to enforce it? Will we have the “miscarriage police” to investigate if a woman did something to cause the miscarriage, or not enough to prevent it happening? How about the “born with a problem police” investigating why a baby has a birth defect and who is to blame? Everything has to have been caused by a misdeed, right? And on and on ………..
    How about we go door to door where people have their “YES” signs out and sign them up to raise all the babies born because of the dearth of birth control options, and contract to pay the mothers’ medical expenses?
    My comments are rather facetious, of course, but I wonder – who or what organization/s are playing our God-fearing neighbors for fools?


  13. George Munson Says:

    Your beloved Governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour, voted on Prop 26, according to the Mississippi Business Journal. Imagine that.


  14. CRB Says:

    I noticed this afternoon on my way home from work that there were several street corners where children were standing holding signs saying to vote Yes to Prop 26 … I have not reviewed the city ordinances in significant detail, but would child labor or prostitution charges be applicable to that situation? They are doing what some adult either told, convinced or brainwashed them to do.

    They have no idea that if this had passed 10-15 years ago that they might even not be here.


    • Elizabeth Says:

      I saw two young girls on the corner of Rite Aid in Columbus holding a big vote yes sign and I thought, “Why are children holding a sign for something that they can’t even vote on?”


  15. charles divel Says:

    thank God for free speech.


  16. Aaron D Thomas Says:

    Elizabeth…. As far as the girls holding the signs even though they cannot vote, that is simple. They either have been told about activism or they are simply doing what they were told to do. Although we can’t be sure that they know what the bill that they are supporting means, their right to protest in support or against it is protected. Their parents, if the girls are doing it of their own decision, should be praised for raising their kids to be involved. Although we may not agree with the bill, we have to agree that they do have the right to show their support of it.

    Aaron D Thomas


  17. Harley Says:

    I would hope that at the council meeting tonight, the citizens of Columbus would show up and let the so called council men know that their Chief process is severely flawed and they need to start over on the selection process. If this process is allowed to continue down the path that has been laid out by Smith then I could only hope that all qualified, veteran officers would go to work for the county. I would also hope, should the process not be scraped, that there could be a ground swell to dissolve the Columbus Police Department into the Sheriff’s department and just do away with the Columbus Police Department totally.
    The citizens of Columbus have got to make their voice heard, but if it is anyhting like the voter turn out then you will get what you do not voice objection to. You have the ability to clean house if you would stop voting only based on racial lines. You have some bright, young potential leaders in your midst and only you can bring them into the lime light. Please demand better for yourself and the community.


  18. Harley Says:

    I would like to let readers know that Logans has a policy that does not allow staff to tell you Merry Christmas, they must tell you Happy Holiday, which I just learned last night. I eat at Logan’s once per week and enjoy the place but I do not like the company policy on Merry Christmas. I would ask that if and when you eat here, that you voice your concern to the managers and tell them that it is Merry Christmas and not Happy Holiday. If there are those who are offended by Merry Christmas then I would suggest that they may consider a return to where they came from.


    • Jessie Pendergrast Says:

      I don’t see why people get all up in arms about people saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”. If you wanted people to go back where they came, they’d have to move back to Europe. Whoops, they already committed that mass genocide against all those Native Americans and took all this land for their own, now didn’t they. If someone, or some entity, is trying to *not* offend others, I don’t see a problem at all, rather, I see the problem is with people who must persist upon being offended. That’s how the Crusades happened. People could just overlook minor differences and try to note the similarities between one another. The discord is when someone tells another that was born here “to go back where they came from.” That sounds arrogant, racist, and bigoted.


  19. D.Sims Says:

    I finally got a chance to take a look at the Real Story Publishing and I am liking it. It is about time to have some publishings that tell the real truth about what is going on in your community and St. John is a very good writer and is making a courage commitment to tell it like it is to help the people stay informed to what is really going on. Good luck and keep up the good work, St. John.


  20. Tommy Gentry Says:

    St. John~

    Can you track down any information on whether any judge signed off on a search warrant of Howard Smart’s farm?
    The suspect allegedly responsible for the theft of the Bell Awning boom truck, that was sold to B&S Salvage and crushed, was connected to Howard Smart. It is not the first time that the Smart name has comeup in grand larceny investigations.

    Surely, the Mayor of Crawford and other members of Howard’s entourage are aware of suspect Timothy Harris and his criminal history. The theft of scrap metals has reached
    racketeerong” levels and I don’t see why the FBI has not looked into these RICO level criminal enterprises.

    I talked to a MDOT agent in South Mississippi who had investigated the theft of steel bridge columns that were cutup and sold to scrap yards in Jones County. It was a white gang related organization that was caught. In Tishomingo County, a similar theft occurred.

    It is a serious problem and LCSO has done, IMHO, nothing to catch these thieves. In fact they have destroyed, in some cases,, any chance of pursuing a case against these thieves.

    If the new sheriff doesn’t clean house in its investigation team, starting with Tony Cooper,there will be more thievery as the economy worsens. After the scrap is gone, then the gangs will begin the “house invasions.”


  21. Tommy Gentry Says:

    An update on the scrap material racketeering in South West Lowndes county:

    The thieves that were caught by my father stealing scarp metals from his farm have returned and removed more property.

    Tony holds the key to these thefts via having the tag number of the truck belonging to the original suspects caught by my father.

    Tony told my brother he cannot remember ever following up on that eyewitness evidence.

    Maybe if the Sheriff would come form behind that desk and the criminal investigators would put away their video games and come out from their locked doors, we’d put away these criminal gangs that rule Southwest Lowndes county.

    It’s hard to believe that Crawford was once know as the “Athens of Southwest Lowndes Couunty.


  22. Tommy Gentry Says:

    Another “in broad daylight” hit on the Gentry farm occurred yesterday(21December). Thieves got away to Oktibbeha county.

    Tony Cooper admitted to my brother that the tag number from the August thieves’ vehicle– the tag number given to him by my father–was registered to a “Wilburn” in Oktibbeha county. No explanation as to why there was no followup. Southeastern Oktibbeha county, aka “The Hills,” is a known “hole-in-the -wall” destination for stolen goods. The Hills is also the ancestral home of a well- known Drug Lord.

    Maybe there is hope that the new Sheriff of Oktibbeha county and Mike Arledge will see the connection between these property thefts that finance drug trafficking . Both new Sheriff’s have MHP backgrounds and that is a plus.


  23. Tommy Gentry Says:

    Btw, did anyone see Colonel Reb wearing Maroon and White in the CD photo of the new Sheriff of Oktibbeha county?

    Asking for political asylum, no doubt.


  24. Tommy Gentry Says:


    Timothy Jermaine Harris, 23, of 1394 John Smart Road in Crawford was arrested Monday by the LCSO and charged with grand larceny. His bond is set at $10,000, and his court date is not set.

    Let’s see if the new sheriff gets involved in the case, invoking the misprision of a felony statute to identify those behind the scrap metal criminal enterprise in Southwest Lowndes county.


  25. Tommy Gentry Says:

    More breaking news from the Athens of Southwest Lowndes County.

    Game warden catches scrap metals thief in the act, trumping David Owen’s claim that we need a sheriff that sits behind a desk. We need a sheriff that has walked over every square inch of Lowndes County, including the Southwest part across the Tombigbee!

    The “alleged” thief is the water meter reader for the Town of Crawford. The Mayor had to have known…they’re close. It also explains why there is a “cluster” of thefts within sight and sound of the Mayor’s office and the Crawford Water Department. And Tony Cooper and Jake Umbers didn’t have a clue!!

    The Athens of Southwest Lowndes County has turned into “a safehaven for convicted scoundrels and a(an) university for budding crooks.”

    Let’s see if the Sheriff-elect will go along with Butch Howard’s policy of “what happens across the river, stays across the river.”

    I’ve heard the name of the thief, but I cannot confirm it, yet.


  26. Harley Says:

    I noticed again today that from 5 am this morning the price of a gallon of gas rose 8-10 cents per gallon. This is in light of the fact that the demand has fallen 8-10 % and the US inventories are a record levels. It makes you wonder why would the price of gas be going up.


  27. Tommy Gentry Says:

    It makes one wonder, when all that shale gas from the Dakotas and Pennsylvania, goes on line, what Mississippi Power will do with Chip Pickering’s “lignite coal gasification experimental boondoggle” down in Kemper county. Surely, MP cannot compete with Duke Energy’s natural gas-fired plants that are sitting idle, waiting for NG prices to decline.

    MP customers are already being billed for the construction of the $4,000,000,000 plant in a decision by the Mississippi courts , judges and PSC commissioners Bentz and Posey to authorize MP to impose on -going costs to the customers… and walk away from the project if it fails.

    Pickering claims that the building of the plant was “the crowning achievement of his thirteen-year career in Congress.” That and “bagging” Beth on C-Street while his wife was their boys down Madison county.


  28. Tommy Gentry Says:

    And like lemmings to the sea, the dummkopfen of Mississippi would race to the polls for fifteen years to re-elect this charlatan. And you can bet he and his scalawag dad are lobbying for the new internet censorship SOPA law.



  29. Tommy Gentry Says:

    Maybe Posey and Bentz were made a deal that they couldn’t refuse?



  30. Tommy Gentry Says:

    Along with Jake Horton, the pilot and co-pilot died in the sabotaged(?) MP corporate place.


    …You want to cry for a power industry exec who came to an early, violent, end? Then let me suggest to you Jake Horton, late senior vice-president of Gulf power, a subsidiary of Southern Company. (Southern is one of Enron’s cohort in that fixed casino called the US electricity market.)

    Horton apparently knew about some of his company’s less-than-kosher accounting practices; and he had no doubt about its illegal campaign contributions to Florida politicans – he’d made the payments himself.

    But unlike Baxter, who took the money and ran, in April 1989, Horton decided to blow the whistle, confront his bosses and go to state officials.

    He demanded and received use of the company’s jet to go and confront Southern’s board of directors. Ten minutes after take-off, the jet exploded.

    While the investigation into the plane crash was inconclusive, the company’s CEO believed his death was suicide. He told the BBC: “I guess poor Jake saw no other way out.”

    Ultimately, Southern pleaded guilty to the charges related to the illegal payments.

    Jake and Baxter are the beginning and end of the story of deregulation. I was part of a team investigating Southern’s finances after Jake’s plane went down, just after a grand jury voted to charge his company with criminal racketeering for manipulating its accounts.

    Millions of dollars were charged to customers of Southern’s subsidiary, Georgia Power, for spare parts that were not used…


  31. Tommy Gentry Says:

    That’s “corporate plane.”


  32. charles divel Says:

    So the city wants to force some elderly, maybe disabled, maybe poor people to paint their houses. Would be an excellant idea to clean up city hall first. Clean, not whiterwash or paint.


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