I would be grateful if you publish my thanks and deepest gratitude to the many people of Tupelo who made our family reunion such a success. After 47 years our family gathered from all areas Greece, Brazil and the U.S.A. to reunite and visit in your fair city of Tupelo. It was the event of a lifetime. All of our family together again after so many years it was wonderful and maybe never able to be repeated again.

We met many gracious people and were treated with such kindness everyone always willing, smiling and eager to make our moment unforgettable. Even your newspaper welcomed us, wrote about our family and made us celebrities.

A special thanks to our family who made this event possible Dimitrios, Vasilios, John, Linda and Mae Kapenekas. And our love to Antony Venetis, all the staff at Vanelli's and to Jim Pappas and his staff you met our every need.

To the kind people of Tupelo, I am sending thanks and much love from Athens. We will not forget you.

Maria Psilolignou

Athens, Greece

headline helper:Jail use idea is wsteful

I read the headline of your newspaper and the headline read "Presley eyes use for old jail." As a private citizen and a taxpayer of Lee County and a registered voter of the Hebron precinct, I totally disagree with this idea.

First of all, we have just completed a new jail at a cost of millions of dollars of the taxpayers' money. This jail was built with a federal mandate to build a new jail. This old jail was obsolete long before it was finished in the '60s. So why in the world would it be feasible to throw a lot of taxpayers' money into an eyesore as that old jail is? How in the world do we have a guarantee that after we restore the old jail, so to speak, that it would meet with federal approval? I can understand Mr. Presley so fired up to do this, but not at my expense.

He will have a budget for next year of $2 million and of course he must have it in order to run the Lee County Sheriff's Department. But there comes a time when someone must stand up and say, hold on a minute. We have got to study this issue more closely.

When it comes to adding and subtracting, I will put my stake on the line. I am not the best, but one of the best. I know that you cannot have two separate operations like this without enormous problems. The supervisors didn't even build the new jail large enough in order to cut costs and save a little money. That was a mistake there. They should have built it large enough while it was under contract.

My choice is tear the old jail down and take the losses now and remove the eyesore from the face of the earth. And I really am puzzled that this is only now being brought up. Now, in all fairness, after the cost and all the pros and cons have been discussed, I think the people of Lee County should be allowed to vote for or against the idea. Fair enough. I will abide with the majority vote.

Lamar Smith


Wicker's vote was right

"What happened to Roger Wicker?" asked Richard Howorth in last Saturday's Forum. I'd like to answer that question.

What Mr. Wicker has is called a moral backbone to stand up for right and decency. When an agency of the federal government has the audacity to fund such obscenities as nudity on stage, submerging a cross in urine, and in general pushing the homosexual lifestyle, they should be abolished. The NEA has increasingly ignored mainstream America and it makes my blood boil that my hard-earned tax dollars go for such filth.

May I submit to Mr. Howorth that if such art is a passion of his, that he and others, such as the Hollywood elite, should fund it through a private foundation or organization. Mr. Wicker realizes, as a majority of Americans do, that this country was founded on "religious freedom." Our forefathers realized the importance in relying on Almighty God for our strength and the growth of this great nation. We cannot call on God to bless our nation on the one hand and remain silent when His moral laws are broken.

Debbie Pharr


HEADLINE HELPER: Criticism was unfounded

Normally part of the silent majority, I was dismayed and saddened by the unfounded and unsubstantiated criticism of Mr. Wicker in the article "Wicker Criticized," published in the Saturday, Aug. 16, edition of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

It appeared to be authored by an educated, well-intentioned individual. However, most of the argument or position espoused represented opinion and was directed at an individual, not an issue. If the National Endowment for the Arts has a pecuniary budget, why compare it to the Pentagon or the Treasury? With two years of experience presenting and defending budgets worth more than $1 billion, I know there exists contrived names like "pet political scapegoat" that are arbitrarily applied to programs. (I had some both programs and names.) But if one was open-minded enough to arbitrate logically and objectively the opposing opinions of an issue, a fundamental, reasonable and, many times accepted, understanding will be reached. In my experience there were always rational, substantiated reasons for reducing or cutting budget items. Usually we are blinded by emotion, "misinformation" or ego to accept this conclusion.

I spent 28 years of my life defending the First Amendment of our Constitution. Personally, I find it a bit cowardly when good citizens, fueled by emotion and anger, criticize our duly elected officials who don't have the opportunity to respond in kind, immediately, to the accusation. In that regard, I accept some guilt in writing this letter. There are plenty of forums and courses of action that would have resulted in the writer being more informed about the reason Congressman Wicker (and a majority of Congress) has chosen to oppose NEA's budget. (I'd be willing to bet the honorable Mr. Wicker is an ardent supporter of arts and literature.) I would suggest that Mr. Howorth write his congressman to become more informed concerning the facts about the opposition to NEA's budget.

This great nation, hopefully in its infancy as the most humanitarian civilization ever, may really be in decline lest we forget some of the fundamental core values our forefathers displayed in forging this country. If we use uninformed opinion, partial and disassociated fact, and subjective arguments in our times of contention, we are doomed. We need truth, integrity, honesty, understanding and faith to guide us in our quest for solutions and answers not opinion and criticism.

Terry Anderson


HEADLINE HELPER:Spare us news about 'king'

I'm really sick and tired of all the hoopla about "the king." He certainly was not the only good singer to capture the imaginations of young, impressionable audiences.

Remember Bing Crosby? He, too, was an idol to a generation, but later as his followers grew up they realized he was an alcoholic and abusive parent. Next came Frank Sinatra charming young man with loads of talent. He ended up if not a gangster, he certainly ran with them.

Elvis was a really nice, young, talented man, but he too allowed wealth and adoration make a shambles of his personal life. So why is he being deified?

Judy Koehler


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