Experience proves Sherman naysayers were wrong

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 24, 2009

As a nervous parent of a school-aged child, I was terrified to send my one and only child to Sherman Avenue Elementary. After moving to Vicksburg in April 2006, I asked everyone I met where I should send my son to kindergarten. All replied, “Anywhere but Sherman Avenue.” People said Sherman was like a prison, with no windows and lots of school violence. I had nightmares for months and literally made myself sick with worries about where to send my baby.

I tried to get him in Bowmar and also asked for a zone transfer to Beechwood to no avail. Finally, after spending money on private schools for pre-k and kindergarten, I met a proud parent of a Sherman Avenue student. She was very encouraging and even offered to give me an escorted tour. After countless sleepless nights of praying to God that He would steer us in the right direction, I made the decision to take the tour.

I have never felt more welcomed. My child is on the principal’s and all A’s list and excelling in every subject. I am very active with the PTA and know what is going on with my son on a day-to-day basis. I absolutely love the teachers, staff and all the parents I have been blessed to come into contact with. My only regret is not sending him to kindergarten at Sherman Avenue because I listened to the gossip of Vicksburg.

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I am very confident that Sherman Avenue has the most dedicated, loving and qualified teachers and staff in Vicksburg, if not the whole state of Mississippi.

Missy Montpelier


Leyens has the momentum

It is with special pleasure that I write on behalf of Laurence Leyens. My family has deep roots in Vicksburg, and I have followed Leyens’ work as mayor with great interest. Each time I return home, I am impressed by the beautiful trees, flowers and plants that now grace our city’s streets.

Vicksburg’s history and its dramatic location on the Mississippi River have long made it a destination for tourists visiting the South. These tourists have a significant economic impact on the city’s budget. Mayor Leyens has made all the city’s neighborhoods more beautiful through landscaping. This work is ongoing, and it is important that he continue to beautify Vicksburg and make it a welcome stop for tourists who travel with their families and contribute to the city’s economy.

Vicksburg is our home. My brother, Grey, dedicated his life to enhancing the quality of our educational system. He was a champion of education and devoted his time and energy to demonstrate its importance to our community.

While I have lived away from Vicksburg for much of my adult life, my experience has shown me that the community that emphasizes education, the arts, cultural activities and its appearance will flourish and prosper through economic and business development. Vicksburg has the added good fortune of being historically prominent and a major tourist destination.

Observing the leadership that Laurence Leyens brings to these areas for Vicksburg has been especially impressive. Never in my lifetime have I seen so much done in such a short time to enrich and capitalize on Vicksburg’s resources.

Because this work is critical, I encourage all citizens of Vicksburg to vote on June 2 to keep the momentum going by keeping Laurence Leyens as mayor.

William Ferris

University of North Carolina

Chapel Hill

Leyens turns on Stirgus

Observations of a county resident: It’s hard to believe it was just eight years ago I had the privilege of being introduced to then-mayoral candidate Laurence Leyens by one James Stirgus, for whom I still have respect. It was at a gathering of those of us who are not quite socially acceptable by the elite and polite — a fish fry in a mechanics’ shop.

Now once again his honorable is running for another term at the helm of the good ship Vicksburg. Like all politicians he makes a big splash for the media by resurfacing streets throughout the city and the capture of many dangerous criminals who have been on the streets for years. Only a couple of months ago, the prime directive of his police chief was issuing all the seat-belt citations and for improper lane changes. Fines bring in money; criminals only cost money.

As best my memory serves me, during the last election the mayor claimed foul when a city employee criticized him and the employee was deemed to be in violation of the Civil Service Act. Now, because a federal employee is criticizing, the Hatch Act is being used by the mayor to censure those who don’t bow to his will.

I am not a city employee or a federal employee, but I do accept a small gratuity from the federal government called Social Security. I may need an attorney general’s opinion on the subject.

Tom McLane


Leyens vote is no gamble

In the Sunday edition of The Vicksburg Post, a reader wrote that Mayor Leyens lost his vision. This year I prefer a “blind” Leyens over a novice with good intentions but without any proven record.

Again, attention was paid to the old argument over the renaissance of downtown Vicksburg. The remodeling and modernization is an achievement that needs to make people proud and be supported by all. Look at other small towns in Mississippi and you will be proud that we did not lose the downtown in our city.

No attention to other sections of the town? Is Marcus Bottom not part of Vicksburg? Now this area of the town is beautiful and was done with taste. This area is a pleasure to drive through. The lights under the overpass which leads to Marcus Bottom transformed a dark hole into a pleasant spot. New, modern traffic lights have been installed in all the city without exceptions.

The writer accused Mayor Leyens of not bringing jobs to Vicksburg. Is the writer not aware that we in the United States are in the worst recession since 1930? There are hundreds of small towns in Mississippi and the United States who would thank God for the relatively good economic situation we enjoy in Vicksburg.

Hard times are still ahead of us. I look for stability and not to change a journeyman with a good track record for an apprentice. I do not know about other people, but when I have to walk a long distance I take a pair of old shoes, not a new pair which need to be broken in. For the next four years we need comfortable shoes.

I never voted before for Mayor Leyens, but in these economic conditions he is the best man for the job.  On June 2, Mayor Leyens will have my vote and hope and I encourage others to do the same. I am a voter not a gambler.

Julius Herscovici


Cleaning house continues

When he was elected eight years ago, it was the hope of the electorate that Mayor Leyens would be the man to restore some of the glory and vigor that once was our backbone. Too many towns around us were suffering from an aging infrastructure and, even worse, officials who failed to conscientiously perform their elected responsibilities. Mayor Leyens coming on board resulted in an explosion of activity throughout the city. The flood of modernization and beautification carried all the way down to the neighborhoods, which, in effect, raised all boats, as they say. Suddenly, we were on our way back.

During the Democratic primary, all the candidates were taking potshots at Police Chief Tommy Moffett, Leyens’ selection to lead our police force. It was somewhat perplexing because they couldn’t easily explain their reasoning other than a general feeling that maybe he was too petty.

Perhaps we have forgotten all the care that went into Mayor Leyens’ selection. He insisted that the new chief possess the same ideals of integrity, courage and honesty expected of anyone holding that degree of responsibility. In Biloxi, Tommy Moffett’s law enforcement history was a perfect fit, and the mayor hired him.

We citizens of Vicksburg are now enjoying the benefits of that decision as we watch it play out in The Vicksburg Post. Chief Moffett is standing up to the old guard in the large and complex Vicksburg Housing Authority even as they attempt to derail his efforts at stamping out the apparent corruption and drug dealing that has existed for some time. It’s an understatement to say that the combo of Mayor Leyens and Chief Moffett are a gift to the city that just keeps on giving.

Please don’t let our town fall back into the old days of stagnation brought on by the “good old boy” do-nothing administrations of the past.

Allen and Nan Lundin