Posts Tagged ‘Mississippi Delta’

Issues the same in Indianola

October 25th, 2009 Comments off

Issues are issues no matter where you end up in Mississippi.
That’s one of the things I learned last week while moderating a mayoral debate in Indianola.
This Sunflower County town in the heart of the Mississippi Delta is battling the same problems that everyone is battle whether there or West Point or Natchez or Pascagoula.
Indianola needs better streets and schools, safer neighborhoods and more businesses.
The residents seem to be wanting a change of leadership, and they came to the Sunflower County Courthouse looking for answers from four candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.
Mayor Arthur Marble has been in office for the last eight years and is fighting to keep his office.
The challengers are a local businessman (Steve Rosenthal), a retired military officer (John Matthews) and a retired businessman (Clanton Beamon).
All of this came the same day that Alan Canning Company in Sunflower County announced that 140 jobs would be eliminated.
That was big news as the vast majority of the jobs are filled by folks from Indianola.
Sunflower County already has an unemployment rate of 11.8 percent, and the loss of another 140 jobs will be a tough pill to swallow.
Yet, none of the candidates really had an answer about what to do about unemployment.
“We have to try and recruit more business to town,” one candidate said.
“We need to bring businesses like a Red Lobster, something Greenville and Greenwood don’t have,” another said.
“We have to look for businesses that are willing to relocate to Indianola,” still another said.
Heard those answers before?
That could have been at the mayoral debate in most any small town in Mississippi.
But no one had a solution.
We need better schools, they all said.
Another said he will hold the school board accountable.
Still another said parents need to get more involved.
Yet, no specific answers.
When it came to the tax base for Indianola, none of the candidates new the exact number for sales tax numbers.
They all had a general idea, but facing uncertain times, no one had really done their homework.
They all want to work with other communities to bring more jobs to the area.
But there were no specifics.
Likely, there are two candidates that have a better understanding of the issues than the others, but, like so many communities in our great state, a specific plan needs to be in place.

What will tourism bill do for Mississippi tourism?

September 14th, 2009 Comments off


I seriously wonder what the new legislation passed and co-sponsored by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) will do to help tourism in Mississippi.

The legislation “would revitalize federal efforts to attract more foreign tourists to the United States and counter the steep decline in international travel following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”

But what would it do for Mississippi?

I am asking the question, only.

This should be looked into more closely, particularly since Blues and Country Music tourism are of high priority to the Mississippi Development Authority.

Ask Billy Johnson of the Highway 61 Blues Museum what tourism means to his operation in Leland as well as the rest of the Mississippi Delta, and even the rest of Mississippi.

I am glad that Sen. Cochran sponsored this bill, but I am more hopeful this will be a tool for us to bring more tourists and more money to all of Mississippi.


See story at

Tastes a lot like chickpeas

September 11th, 2009 Comments off

As I waited at Sal and Mookies in Jackson for my pizza to take home to the family, I sat down with a soft drink and reached into bowl of nuts. … Not peanuts, but chickpeas. … It reminded me of the story I read in the most recent edition of “Time” about cotton.

Yes cotton.

While we have been writing off the South’s cash crop for the last decade, it appears scientists have been having other ideas.

According the “Time” article, ‘It’s as true in today’s world as it was in the antebellum South: cotton is king.’

Could it be?

Well, for more than 7,000 cotton has mostly been used for its fiber. Apparently, however, cotton seed is rich in protein. And protein could help feed lots of people, right?

Yup, except cotton has a chemical in it that is toxic. The toxic “gossypol” actually helps repel insects from the plant while it is growing. You remove the gossypol, you remove any chance of having cotton in the first place.

Until now.

Scientists, according to this article, have found a way to remove the toxic chemical, yet preserve the insect-fighting abilities.

So, now you could have a “Cheap and an abundant form of protein for everyone.”

Great for the South, right?

Great for Mississippi right?

More cotton demand, means higher prices, which means better times for farmers, which might even mean better times for the Delta and Southwest Mississippi, right?

My only question is, did we get away from cotton too soon. Do we still have the infrastructure (cotton gins) to take on a heavy demand for cotton again.

I don’t know the answer, but as I sat at Sal and Mookies, I thought about that last paragraph of the story in time, which read, “Genetically modified cottonseeds will need government approval before they hit grocery shelves, and they’re more likely to be used first to supplement fish or animal feed. But with the global population still on the rise and farmland limited, the planet can use free protein. And you might even like it. “It’s not bad,” says (the scientist that made this cotton-seed discovery), who has popped a few seeds. “Tastes like chickpeas.”,9171,1920290,00.html

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