Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Present

Ahhh, it's Halloween eve. As a child, I remember the excitement that this evening brought. Everyone in the neighborhood would carve jack-o-lanterns and decorate their doors and yards. Some houses would have fortune tellers or witches who could cast "spells". Parents and children would get really creative with costumes... none of the tacky store-bought stuff would do. It was a time of fun with a hint of the macabre. It was magic.

This evening, I came home to the same neighborhood in which I have lived for 25 years. It looked particularly dark and uninviting. Porch lights which are usually on... were now off. The street seemed particularly deserted this night. No one seemed to be home. It appeared that the magic of Halloween has disappeared.

Perhaps my neighborhood, like myself, have grown older. Perhaps the "treat" of opening your front door to tiny goblins and fairies screaming "trick or treat" has given way to the "trick" of teenagers disguised as gang members shoving Kroger bags in your face as they silently admire your home. Perhaps, Halloween as we knew it, is dead.

As a child, Halloween was one of the most exciting times of the year for parents and children alike. The season had changed, children were back to school and it was a time when being scared was "fun". I look back to this time with fond memories... as I sit in my dark house, porch lights off... hoping to be spared being visited by the spirits of "Halloween present".


Thursday, October 12, 2006


An anonymous writer asks:

"What is going on at Lenny's Sub Shop? A friend at work told me that she heard that federal agents came in and shut the store down. Any scoop on this or is it just more of greenvilles rumor mill."

I have not heard such a rumor; however, I did read in the DDT that the Lenny's shop in Greenville was closing, while the one in Cleveland would remain open. The story seems a bit far-fetched to me... not that another business in Greenville is closing, but that Federal Agents were involved. I would suspect that this is a "creative" story, born of idle minds. I welcome comments from readers who are perhaps more "in the know".


Monday, October 02, 2006

L.R. on Throwing "Bones"

The billboard campaign is solely designed to stick a thumb in Cleveland's eye and not to promote Greenville as the superior location for a new federal building. After all, it's Greenville which must tell itself that "it believes in Greenville." Cleveland couldn't care less.

This issue, to me, reflects other concerns than a federal building because I see it as a test for the Greenville community leaders who profess to have the contacts and means to influence higher elected officials. It also reflects Washington County's influence on the greater political sphere.

The maverick political attitude (refusing the state flag, for instance) and the "My highway or the highway" notions regarding political dissent and challenge will be sorely tested. Alliances with Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will be tested as an outreach for a better Greenville or outreach for a better political career for personal gain.

Where's Congressman Thompson? Will he enter a fight within the boundaries of his own 2nd Congressional District? It's easy to pick fights on national issues; now a local issue starts festering.The state representatives are there to a degree but they're confined to regional influence. Give them credit for their attempts at influence.At the day's end, consider the Good Ole Boy factor in making this federal building issues such a nasty exercise in the "We're a better choice" debate.

Washington County voters have selected - with about 70% support - to try to elect the team that isn't in power given prior election trends.Governor Barbour offered an economic trojan horse in Textron upon his election; it was a one-sided deal and a tease for people needing permanent employment. Throwing those kinds of "bones" doesn't help and reveals that if you don't help the powerful, they'll not help you in substantive ways. It's the way of the political world.

Given the track record, there's no reason to expect the backroom assistance at this point from the leadership despite public lip service.Public pressure is the best medicine and it shouldn't abate until someone stirs.By the way, John Clark wrote a good piece in Sunday's DDT on the "blame game."

I know there's a sentiment that the paper, somehow, gave Cleveland leaders a great idea by writing that Cleveland might be another option for a federal building, but his opinion makes sense. He's been in Greenville three years (he writes), and I'm seeing the customary track of the good-intentioned journalist play out to course.

The first year, one believes he/she can make a difference. "Year Two" is spent defending or refusing the gut feeling that something's not quite right with leaders' thoughts. "Year Three" - you determine that it's time to begin saying things you should've said after "Year One," when you knew better but couldn't believe what you were learning.

Oh Mr. Clark - your subscribers will bloom if you follow the course of dosing the bitter pills with the sweet elixer of community news coverage.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Chamber's Action Defended

An anonymous writer fires back at "chamber member"

Chamber Member:

The Chamber of Commerce is trying to SAVE the locally owned businesses. Or what's left of them. I am aghast that our friends in Cleveland would stoop to such a low tactic, but I am not so lily-livered that I am ready to hand them the keys to MY city.

I will boycott the retailers in Cleveland, their restaurants, their University with the performing arts venue....and I recommend that you do the same. Greenville has everything that I want or need.

Wow! This "courthouse" issue seems more heated than any of late. It is refreshing to know that there are still some staunch supporters of Greenville and that they are willing to speak up; however, I am not sure that boycotting retailers or universities is the solution.

I prefer to view the Delta as family of cities and small communities that share a unique culture as well as difficult economic challenges. The Delta has lost many major industries (jobs) over the past decade, so what makes this issue different?

I see it as a sense of betrayal... by a family member!

We can understand when industries relocate to Mexico or the mid-west for well established economic and business reasons, but to lose an icon of federal notoriety to a "family member" 40 miles away... well, it just hurts. It also scares us a bit to know that we (Deltans) have begun competing internally over scarce jobs and public facilities.

Let us not forget that in the early 1900's, the founding fathers of Greenville turned down the offer to have a "Teacher's College" built here for fear of an influx of radical and liberal thinkers who might disrupt our southern way of living. Cleveland seized upon that opportunity and I believe that the entire "Delta" has prospered as a result.

Unfortunately, the ultimate decision to keep or relocate the Federal Building is not one that we Deltans will make. It will be made by politicians whose daily lives will remain untouched by their final decision.

And at the end of the day, we shall all still live, eat and shop in the Delta.