Tourism board needs to tune in, work with attraction owners

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 31, 2008

First, let me thank the employees of the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Mississippi Welcome Center for their support of our tourism businesses.

Second, I would like to thank Renee Jenkins, who raised questions in the July Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau board meeting about the need for the board to pay more attention to tourism rather than just the budget, employee issues and such.  There are questions that those of us who are out here in the trenches have had for some time.

Indeed, the last long-range planning for tourism in Vicksburg was done by members of the tourism industry in the Vicksburg Warren Community Alliance-sponsored Tourism Council. We do appreciate that the VCVB is following our ideas about advertising within an easy driving distance and working on a program with Vicksburg as the hub of the region. However, those plans were done shortly after Katrina. Since then we’ve had $4 gas prices and a flood. Needless to say the tourism numbers are not good.

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So my questions are, “What is the VCVB planning now? What group is working on this? Do members have good creative ideas? Do they have marketing and advertising experience? Can people in the tourism industry who have our livelihoods at stake be involved in the planning?” And when I ask these questions, I don’t mean a little committee working on the brochures, or the events, I mean a plan! I mean a plan to put us out ahead of the competition!

We always spend our money on studies, so don’t say we’re going to do a study. Let’s get busy.

Ann B. Jones, Mississippi River Tours, Outlets at Vicksburg, Vicksburg

Online boost appreciated

The new online edition of The Vicksburg Post has done the natives of Vicksburg who don’t reside there a great justice.

Although Vicksburg isn’t the largest city in Mississippi, it ranks up there with the most popular. Being in the field of technology, I understand that sometimes we use what is financially feasible and what works well enough to get the job done.

So thanks for a good job and I look forward to more great articles.

Larry Wright, Hattiesburg

Rehab requires a choice

I read with interest Lindsay Webb’s letter in the Aug. 24 paper regarding “judicial imbalance.” Ms. Webb attempts to commingle a legality with an addiction. The two are separate. The sentence handed down in any case is based on the legalities, not the illness or disorder.

In any crime there is a perpetrator and a victim. The tragedy in every crime is larger when a life is lost or forever impaired.  When a person who is an alcoholic chooses to drink and then drives impaired, he or she becomes liable for any crime committed, injury inflicted or damage done. The choice made is like a ripple in a pond. It affects everyone it touches, including the families of both the perpetrator and the victim.

Rehabilitation can only occur when an addicted person makes a conscious decision to seek help and continues to make conscious decisions that assist the road to recovery. It is not the judicial system’s job to force rehab on a person who is not ready for it. If the person chooses to try to conquer the addiction, programs are available to him or her while serving the time.  It comes down to choice.

The victim of a DUI driver dies a violent death, just as the victim of other murders dies a violent death.

While I sympathize with Ms. Webb’s obvious sense of judicial imbalance, her reasoning is misplaced and attempts to compare apples and oranges.

Patricia Peterson Smith, Vicksburg

An exemplary citizen

I so enjoyed the Aug. 14 photo of Mr. Alonzo Jones mopping the porch of the BB Club. He described himself as “an honest man doing an honest job who keeps the floors spick and span.”

I am reminded of a not-so-well-known quote by Dr. Martin Luther King which hung in my second-grade classroom for about 15 years: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he must sweep streets as Michaelangelo painted, as Beethoven composed and as Shakespeare wrote poetry. He must sweep streets so well that when he is gone, all the hosts of heaven will pause and say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper.’”

Embracing the integrity of work is fundamental for any culture or community. All Americans come from generations of hardworking people who have taken pride in a job well done regardless of the job.  We must pass this legacy down to our children.  

Mr. Jones is a wonderful example for all.

Peggy Gouras, Vicksburg

Meet crime with force

I was disturbed to read (in the Aug. 17 and 21 editions) of the growing problem of unchecked violence on the streets of Vicksburg. As a former resident of New Orleans, I was horrified to witness the looting and mayhem that took place after Katrina. Now, I am shocked to learn that Vicksburg is apparently plagued by similar lawlessness.

I do not understand what the Vicksburg police chief means when he says that the police have created “a beat within a beat.” However, I do know that if the Vicksburg police are not sufficiently trained, equipped or willing to immediately restore law and order, then Mayor Leyens needs to call the governor of Mississippi to request that a contingent of the Mississippi National Guard be deployed to the most dangerous areas.

I believe that the only deterrent to a drive-by shooter or a sniper seeking to terrorize his neighbors is to face the barrel of an M16 in the hands of a Mississippi National Guardsman. Unless Vicksburg police can bring the same degree of “deterrence” to bear, crime will continue.

P.R. Brown, Vicksburg

All vendors not the same

We have had some wonderful experiences at the new Vicksburg Farmers’ Market. The quality of products offered for sale along with the overall atmosphere has been excellent. However, just a well-meant word of caution: Choose your vendors wisely!

On our first trip, we purchased a bushel of nice-looking corn expecting a welcome addition to our Fourth of July celebration. We trusted, too, that the majority of the ears would at least be edible. This was not the case, as the entire bushel had to be trashed. Of course, on subsequent visits this vendor was avoided.

On Aug. 23 we went to the market in search of tomatoes. Our regular vendor was not there, so we reluctantly returned to the “dreaded corn vendor.” His tomatoes were picture perfect — which should have been a warning. After slicing into the tomatoes at home, we were once again very disappointed, as the tomatoes were mealy, tasteless and some even rotten at the center.

Again, this is simply meant as a word of caution to the patrons of the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market. Choose vendors wisely!

Larry Grant, Vicksburg