A full story is up on the site about Harvey Johnson’s speech to the Downtown Jackson Rotary Club today. What struck me the most was the reception Johnson got from the 400 or so in attendance at the Jackson Convention Complex. (About the JCC: If you haven’t been there, make time to check it out. It’s easy to get to and the air conditioners are phenomenal.)
Johnson got two standing ovations, one when he was introduced and another when he was finished. That’s news by itself, because when Johnson lost to Frank Melton in 2005, he left office a pretty unpopular figure, with some who were in attendance today working hard to help Melton defeat him. A lot of folks there today also supported Marshand Crisler, Johnson’s opponent in the runoff this past spring.
In a stroke of absolutely perfect timing, Johnson took office about a month before a major repaving operation started on the city’s streets. The $26.2 million bond to pay for it was actually issued before Melton left office.
My commute to Downtown from Northeast Jackson takes me over Old Canton Road and Adkins Boulevard, two roads that badly needed improving. The worst parts of Adkins have gotten new asphalt, and preliminary work has started on Old Canton. As for me and my car, that’s worth a standing O.
Lately, a lot of folks have been jumping on the recession-is-over bandwagon. The crowd grew when the U.S. Department of Labor announced a few days ago that the economy shed only about a quarter of a million jobs in July, which is the lowest number of any month since last summer. Compare that with January and February, both of which saw more than half a million jobs lost. The good news? July’s numbers were better than most economists anticipated. The bad news? A quarter of a million jobs were still lost.
The same principle applies to today’s news from RealtyTrac, the California-based outfit that tracks foreclosure activity across the country. Mississippi had 813 homeowners on the business end of foreclosure activity in June — meaning they either got a notice of default, notice of auction or their bank repossessed their home. That figure dropped 41 percent in July, to 478. That’s encouraging, and could be hard evidence of at least a small degree of recovery. Now for the bad news: The 478 homeowners who encountered some sort of foreclosure activity in July marks a 152 percent increase from July 2008, and RealtyTrac’s outlook says that number will likely rise over the next six months.
It’s a little more than 24 hours until the weekend, however, and exactly three weeks until football season, so for now, I’ll choose to focus on the positive.
Most of my work is done either over the phone or in a meeting room. So it was nice that most of this morning was spent at Lake Caroline Golf Club for a story in next week’s MBJ about Randy Watkins’ team refurbishing the place. Watkins bought the Madison County course, which had been closed for two years after the old developer went bankrupt, in June. What has happened between then and now is pretty interesting. Watkins, who has always been a good interview, didn’t disappoint today.