The Hinds County Board of Supervisors began the month of August with a show of goodwill with the city of Jackson. On Aug. 1 the board approved a $500,000 appropriation to resurface the city's roads. "I want the city to know that all I'm really doing is calling attention to certain streets that need paving," Board President Doug Anderson said.
Anderson said the county has attempted to offer money for repaving to the city in that past, but said the city government had refused it.
Former Mayor Harvey Johnson, Jr. denied that the city has ever refused money from the county.
"That's a lie that's been perpetrated by the supervisors," Johnson said. "Initially they wanted to name the streets, but we have a street rating system, and we thought it would be awkward to go against that street rating system. Our final recommendation was that we would give them a list of streets that have been rated poorly and they could choose any of those streets they wanted, but that was unacceptable. I wrote two letters to the county for proposals to repave our streets and they never got a response."
When asked about the unanswered letters, Anderson faxed a May 29, 2003, letter to the Jackson Free Press, which he said was a response to Johnson's May 1, 2003 letter, saying the county did not have the technology available to pave streets according to the city's resurfacing specifications.
Anderson said the new $500,000 has "no strings attached," meaning the city is free to decide which streets get the attention. He said the board will make recommendations, however, and that the money will be available in October when the county enters into its new fiscal year.
The Jackson Medical Mall recently announced its Quantum Opportunities Program. The computer-based learning program, the first of its kind in the state, is funded through The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, and targets disadvantage high school students. Curriculum components include life skills training, academic help, tutoring, mentoring, and community service. Students also receive an hourly stipend to take part in the four-year educational enrichment program. The stipend is matched dollar for dollar by the Eisenhower Foundation, and becomes available to students upon successful completion of the course.
Dr. Ollye B. Shirley, former president of the Jackson Public School District Board of Trustees, will serve as coordinator of the program.
"It's a program for children who are not performing very well, who are disadvantaged to some degree and it's a program to help children academically," Shirley said. "The choices (children) make today, at this point, will determine the path of their lives."
Mike Peters, owner of the English Village on Fortification Street, said last week that Belhaven gets to keep its grocery store, and McDade's, already known for keeping that vital part of two other Jackson neighborhoods viable, will operate it. Since Winn-Dixie kept the No. 14 in its title for the store that started out as Jitney Jungle No. 14, one has to hope that McDade's will follow suit. It's a given that there will be great products for sale across the aisles, plus delicious sweet tea to go with those home-cooked vegetables, meats and cobblers that hard-working, hungry people line up for every day. Miss Welty would surely approve of this next step in the life of her favorite grocery.