Saturday, December 27, 2008

Edent Brent: A Jewel in our Crown!

Okay, some news is worth "stealing". Thanks to the Delta Democrat Times and Logan Mosby for this great article on one of the Delta's most incredible treasures! If you haven't heard Eden Brent play and sign... you haven't been treated to one of the greatest talents in the South. Thanks Eden for proving you don't have to be black... to sing the blues!

You can purchase Eden's DVD at several locations around town or at You can even download it right onto your computer!

‘Mississippi No. 1' earns Brent blues nods By LOGAN MOSBY
Wednesday, December 24, 2008 1:32 PM CST

Greenville blue artist Eden Brent has been nominated for four of the Blues Foundation's Blues Music Awards, including one for her new album, “Mississippi Number 1.” The ceremony will be in May in Memphis.

A Port City blues artist is making her way in the world and is picking up nominations left and right along the way.Most folks around these parts already had a head's up on Greenville native Eden Brent's talent, and now, with the release of her latest CD, “Mississippi Number One,” the rest of the world has been let in on the secret.

And it looks like the world, as well as the music industry, is standing up and taking notice. Tuesday, the Blues Foundation announced the nominees for the 2009 Blues Music Awards, and Brent has been tapped in four categories - Acoustic Album of the Year, Acoustic Artist of the Year, Best New Artist Debut and Pinetop Perkins Piano Player. “I feel so honored,”

Brent said Wednesday after learning of the nominations. “I've looked at the list of other nominees and to be recognized with the likes of B.B. King, it's just amazing.

“It is so nice to be mentioned among so many of my friends, as well as stellar artists that I have looked up to for so long. It was a wonderful surprise.”

Brent's love of music began at home with her family, and continued through high school, where she played flute in the marching band, all the way to the University of North Texas, where she earned a bachelor's degree in music.

But it wasn't until she began studying under the late, great Greenville bluesman Boogaloo Ames that Brent really found her musical footing. Brent spent 16 years learning the art form from Ames, earning the nickname, “Little Boogaloo.”

Since launching her solo career, she was named a 2004 inductee into the Greenville Blues Walk, the 2006 winner of the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge, and has headlined venues across the world, including the Kennedy Center, the British Embassy, and tours in South Africa and Norway. Brent has taken her success in stride, and this week's nominations have only reaffirmed her dedication to the blues and the Delta.

“I'm happy that I've been recognized with this album, ‘Mississippi Number One,' because it really is a tribute to Mississippi, and in particular, this area,” Brent said. “The Delta can really share in this recognition, because were it not for the people here, and the experiences I've had here, I wouldn't have anything to write about.”

Brent says that no matter where her career and success may lead her, Greenville and the Delta will always be her home.“I'm a Mississippi Delta gal, and I always will be,” she said. “I belong here, this place belongs to me.” The Blues Music Awards will be held May 7, 2009, at Cook Convention Center, in Memphis.

Get Eden's DVD... you won't be disappointed!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Council Flubs it!

City leaders waste tax dollars:

The council will continue to use Mississippi Municipal Liability for liability insurance that covers the city and the airport, despite Bill Andrews Agency's attempt to convince the council to use its services. “The MML plan required no deductibles from the city, whereas the Andrews plan required a $10,000 deductible per occurrence for both police and public officials,” said the mayor.

Council members Carl McGee, Lee Owen and Betty Watkins voted in favor of staying with MML, while council members Ann Hollowell, Errick Simmons and Kenneth Gines voted in favor of switching to Andrews, a Greenville-based agency founded in 1925. Hudson broke the tie by voting in favor of MML, which the city has used for the past four years.

But Bill Andrews, president of the Andrews agency, said his company's plan's premium was $53,037 lower per year than MML's. And because the city has had only two liability claims over the past five years, Andrews believes the council would have saved money by picking his plan over MML's.**

Seems to me a GUARANTEED savings of $53,037. as opposed to a potential $10 grand deductible would be worth the overall savings when considering there have only been two liability claims in five years. According to that, if we were insured through Bill Andrews in the past five years, we would have saved $265,185 and spent $20 grand for the two claims...let's see that comes to $245,185.00 in savings....that is a lot of mula!!! What are they thinking???? That is enough money to fund salaries for several employees or repair and improve at least a few streets!

Typical Greenville leadership strikes again!

Nothing new about this headline! Given the city's current fiscal shape, the council would be hard pressed to come up with $10,000 in any emergency, so they simply go with the higher price... after all, it is just taxpayer's money and it can be allocated each month!

This is the same mentality of the person who buys a new TV from the Rent-to-Own Center. At the end of the 2 year lease for a $300 TV, he has now spent over $1,200 for this same TV... but the payments were "so cheap", only $50 a month. Wow, what a buy!

The city is willing to "roll the dice" that Greenville will have five major claims in 2009. It is only a $53,000 wager (with an easy payment plan using our money). If there are no claims for the year, the council will all pat themselves on the back and attribute it to innovative safety measures on their part.

On the other hand, the city may be doing the right thing in forecasting a massive monetary exposure for 2009. If something isn't done about the basic infrastructure of Greenville, we will soon be losing entire automobiles into the vast sink-holes that are so prevalent on our roads. If everyone filed a claim against the city for the cost of car repairs caused by the city's irresponsibility and negligence, $50,000 would look like "chump-change".


P.S. Not to be outdone by Alaska, Greenville will soon have it's own "road to nowhere" (Washington Avenue). It is truly impressive to stand at the old train depot and have a clear and unobstructed view of the boarded up and crumbling buildings that line both sides of the street. The new straight-a-way design will also assist the police in high-speed car chases of drug dealers and thieves.

So, just as soon as they can get those tacky 200 year old bricks covered with some fresh black asphalt, we can hold a "grand opening" celebration and, hand in hand, march down the freshly paved "road to nowhere".

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mall: The Story of Retail To Ruin

Get a Grip said...

But.....didn't the decline of Greenville visibly begin with the arrival of the mall? (Or two malls, as the Mainstream Mall was the first to arrive.) OK, the wheat embargo's effect on the towboat industry had an impact, as well. But the timing of both was in the mid-70's. Do Indianola and Cleveland and Greenwood have "malls?" NO! And look at their successful efforts to promote their downtown areas!

Look at Jackson, Ridgeland, Flowood, Madison, etc. Those malls come and go. Jackson Mall---no one under 40 remembers it. Metrocenter? I'm old enough to remember when its opening was a Major Deal, and wise enough to realize that it's since become an unsafe place to shop. Northpark? Buh-bye.

The glorified strip mall has made a comeback. And no sooner did Dogwood Festival Market open then its eventual replacement showed up in Ridgeland at Colony Park. The Mall has seen its season. It's time for something new. Mom and Pop stores, maybe? A Fred Carl-type investor? (Curse you, Jay Stein.) But wallowing in our own mire won't accomplish anything but get us even deeper in the mud.

Anonymous said...

Oh, no!! if the mall closes, where would I buy my Sponge Bob leather jacket or my confederate flag cell phone cover? Where will Belk dump all the garbage they don't sell in other stores?Please!!! That mall's demise is very close.

Anonymous said...

Just read about Office Depot closing 112 stores nationwide. Any news about our local store?

It is true that the arrival of "malls" was pretty much a death sentence to small downtown communities. Almost all Greenville merchants immediately abandoned the downtown area to move to the "Mainstream" or Greenville Mall in the early 1970's.

Obviously, Greenville could not support two malls opening within 6 months of each other. Subsequently, the Mainstream Mall lasted less than 3 years before it closed. Mall space is not cheap and the mall concept is that smaller merchants will profit from having a couple of "big" merchants draw all of the traffic.

That was the "theory" of mall merchandising that existed in the 70's and 80's. Then came Wal-Mart! Just as the malls killed our downtown merchants, Wal-Mart has killed the malls. Sam Walton took the convenience of malls one step further and put everything a human could possibly want or need under ONE roof... at cheaper prices. Is this really progress?

I know two types of people: those who think that Wal-Mart is the greatest thing since indoor plumbing; and those who consider "suicide" preferable to enduring the local experience! I fall just short of the latter. Greenville, and those communities who chose malls in the early 70's are suffering the most. Cities like Cleveland have maintained the ambiance of their quaint downtown shopping district, while enduring one of the largest Wal-Marts in the state.

2009 is not going to be a good year for Greenville merchants. I predict that we will see more store closings and perhaps the mall as well. This recession is not going to magically disappear by having a Democrat in office. The greed and corruption within our political system can not all be blamed on George W; nor will it disappear under Obama's reign.


Friday, December 05, 2008

Mr. Lowe... Keeping it Real!

James Lowe reports:

I was very pleased and elated for those individuals who are to receive the three new homes, and/or repairs to those homes that Leland’s Mayor Barbra Brooks and Board has secured. However, I am equally disappointed with the small number of homes being repaired, especially after the alleged illegal repairs made to the Mayors, Mothers home where she and her daughter Alderwoman Marla Brooks reside.

I was under the impression that these programs was for those individuals whose income was below the poverty level, not for those who falsify income documents to get relatives qualified to receive those services. There are others who answer questions truthfully and need the services the most are disqualified for lack of funds or reasons mentioned above. This is not only wrong and unfair, but against the law.

By doing this it eliminates those individuals who really need their homes repaired or replaced. I would like to emphasize to those greedy officials who are guilty of these atrocities that those programs are for the needy, not the greedy. It amazes me how little credit some of these so called leaders give us. They spend their entire term doing nothing, and when election nears they come out of the woodwork with tokens, and trinkets.

What I say to all of us, it’s time to let them know that we are much more sophisticated than they give us credit for. We have to remind the Mayor that we haven’t forgot the extreme electric bills, the deplorable street conditions, bad cable service, unauthorized check writing, bickering, and not managing city business.

We haven’t forgotten the Police Chief incident with the Mayor, and her daughter, nor the fact that they continue to brag about the wrong things that they do and get away with it, how they refusing to repair the roof of the old Western Auto building allowing it to leak on computers, and other equipment forcing the Christian United organization out of the building.

I wonder if this building owned by the city will be condemned since it is not usable and there are no set guidelines for condemnation. It is unfair that buildings are being condemned and demolished indiscriminately. Good try, but I say way too little to late.

James W. Lowe, Sr.

Like him or loathe him, you have to admit that Mr. James Lowe keeps it real. He is a prime example of how one person's voice can be translated into action by a community who shares his views, but has no "spokesperson". The recent changes in the Leland School District are prime examples of how one voice can become a "choir" for positive change!

Local politicians and appointed leaders have become corrupt and greedy. It takes someone like Mr. Lowe to step up to the podium and speak for the many who can or will not. The issues he brings to the table will not be read about in the DDT, nor reported on the local TV news. He plants the "seeds" of change that must be nurtured by all.

I commend Mr. Lowe for his willingness to put forth his views and for his works to improve the community in which he lives. In an era in which apathy is killing the Delta, it is refreshing to know that at least one man will speak his mind... and sign his name to it.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

No Bail-Out for Local Companies

No bail out said...

News Flash! Rexel (Southern Electric) closed their doors last week and now England Motor Company today.

It does appear that these rumors are true. If you have been following the news, you probably know that the big "three" US auto makers have proposed closing scores of auto plants as well as hundreds of dealerships in return for a bail-out from Uncle Sam. The CEO's of the big three even offered to work for $1.00 per year as their personal "sacrifice"... (I could probably do the same if I had netted $40 million in salary last year.)

The reality is that it is bad now and it is going to get worse. One out of every six jobs in this country are directly or indirectly tied to auto manufacturing. Auto dealerships, parts manufacturers and sales, insurance companies will all suffer major job losses as a result of this plan.

My prediction is that we will see more closures of auto dealerships or at least major consolidation. Honda is too good of a product for someone not to pick up that line, but the days of Ford are probably numbered. The financial impact that these closures will have, both locally and nationally, will be devastating as the unemployment lines grow.

Uncle Sam announced this week that we are officially in a recession (and have been since last December). Wow, what a revelation! How will those poor auto-moguls ever survive on $1.00 a year?


Monday, December 01, 2008

I am Back!

I am sorry for my rather sudden disappearance. My sister in California suddenly became very ill and I went to to assist her and her family. She is better now and I am back in the Delta. My sister is probably the only person in California who does not own a computer and my laptop was on the blink... so I have really been out of touch with the local "goings-on."

It appears that DRMC has now rated its own blog. I will have to catch up on that one as well. I also noticed that some readers had speculated whether or not I may have been in DRMC... thankfully not; however, while in California, I did visit two acute care centers with my sister and the difference was like night and day.

The staff was friendly and competent, the doctors took time to visit with family members and answer questions. Both hospitals were immaculate inside and out. The one time I did voice a concern over an issue, the CEO himself came to my sister's room to discuss the matter which was promptly resolved. Actually, I do recall a time when DRMC provided the same level of care and consideration for patients and family members... of course that was many years ago during a pre-Ray administration. Oh, well...

Anyway, it will take me a while to catch up on the local scene... schools, mayor, politics, etc. Thanks for your patience and support.