November 22, 2010 Rotogram

Chuck Carroll, general manager of WFCA Radio at French Camp is today’s guest.

The newspaper industry in today’s rapidly changing communications technology will be discussed next week by Wyatt Emmerich, editor and president of Emmerich Newspapers, Inc.


Invocation and Pledge: Frank Chiles.
Attendance: There were 108 members present (64 actives, 42 exempt, and 2 honorary) for 52.89%. Absent were 57 active, 10 honorary, and 15 exempt members.
Visitors and Guests: Visiting Rotarian was Jim McCluskey of Waco, Texas.
Member guests were Jack Riekof Jack Forbus and Joe Geddie of Kim Richardson
Club guests were Rotary Youth Exchange Student Jessie Hsu, and Paul Sims, Starkville
Daily News.

New Members: President Tommy welcomed Andrew Grandfield and Bart Harris, who attended their first meeting as active members of Starkville Rotary Club.
Classification Talk: Marc McGee was tapped to give a brief classification talk. He earned BS and MS degrees from Mississippi State and before returning to campus served with the Appalachian Regional Commission Jackson. He now is Director of the Research and Technology Foundation and in charge of the Research Park. Marc is a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Kudos: President Tommy announced that it was Linda Karen Smith’s birthday and promised not to sing. Her response: “I’m just happy to be alive!”

He congratulated Keith and Ruth Remy on the Veteran’s Day arrival of a new great granddaughter, Evelyn Ruth Mortier, in Williamsburg, VA.

      Martha Wells, immediate past president and chair of the nominating committee announced that nominations for next year’s officers are due by next  Monday, Nov. 29. The slate will be presented for review Dec. 6, and election will be held Dec. 13 (our last meeting of 2010).
Eddie Keith as president-elect will become president July 1, 2011.
Next year’s nominee for vice president should be from the business community.
Secretary W.C. Johnson and Treasurer Jeff Read are both eligible for re-election.
Four directors are to be elected, two from the business community,  two from the university community. One from each must have been a member for 5 years or less, one from each with more than 5 years membership. Directors serve for 2 years.
As provided in the Bylaws, the Board requests that the membership also nominate and elect an assistant secretary.

Jack Riekof, owner and operator of Snap Fitness Center, has been approved for membership by the Membership/Classification Committee and the Board of Directors under the classification “Sports.”  He is proposed by Jack Forbus and hereby published for review by the membership. If no objections are presented to the Board by next Monday (Nov. 29) he will be considered elected to membership.

Debra Hicks will read at 9:30 Tuesday at
First Presbyterian Church day care.  All three day care centers will be closed the rest  of the week in observance of Thanksgiving.

“It is the responsibility of the people of Mississippi to try and raise the level – economically, educationally, spiritually, and otherwise – of all the people of Mississippi.   There’s nobody else who’s going to come in here and do it for us.” – George McLean.
Mayor Parker Wiseman opened his  remarks to Rotarians with that quote from the late founder of CREATE Foundation
“It is the responsibility of the people of our community to raise the level. No one is coming to do it for us. We are in control of our own destiny.
During his first year in office Mayor Wiseman and the Board of Aldermen  have focused on learning how and what we can do to raise the level of our city. He said they took 7 months to develop a strategic plan of tangible ways and things we can do to keep Starkville on the move. Now the much harder task is to make it work.
“Great cities are those where city services are reliable and innovative,” he said. The city is working with the Work Force Development team at EMCC to speed follow up to requests to meet service needs and to develop innovations in processes and delivery.
An Information Technology (IT) Department has been established to increase the city’s visibility on the web. “Interaction today is different. Electronic technology provides  greater opportunities for citizens within the community and those from away to interact with city officials.”
Sanitation and environmental services have been streamlined. The Buildings Department has been reorganized with an eye on long-term development. “We must not only meet today’s needs – we must prepare for the future,” he said.
Revision of the 5-year-old comprehensive plan is just getting started. “It must guide infrastructure planning and development to cover generations,” he stressed.
“We can’t manage (infrastructure) by crises – we must develop a path to long-term sustainability,” he said.
Turning to the need for a new municipal complex, Parker said our goal is to once and for all clear all hurdles and get the job done.
“There’s no easy answer. But what we have won’t do.”
The police department, recognized as one of the most competent in the state, is housed in a building never intended for it. It has inadequate work space, it’s not protected, and the building is no longer functional. Further, he said space is insufficient for all the city offices.
“The municipal complex has divided the community and become a political football,” he admitted. “We must overcome that. We can’t just build – we must build to last generations.”
Costs are critical. It’s obvious that such a project cannot be handled from existing resources and will require bonding. “The only unsustainable course is to continue as we are. We have to go do it,” he said.
Another part of the strategic plan focuses on developing and maintaining a culture of collaboration involving the community, county, region, and the partnership.
“I am ecstatic about the synergy of the Golden Triangle Region. The Brand of GTR has never been stronger. The opportunities for the region are much greater than those of any one community,” he said.
“The city government is just one slice of the pie. George McLean spoke from outside the city government. I want all of us to speak out and to have input. I want us to be a community that gets it right with full involvement of businesses and citizens. The challenge for us as individuals and as organizations is to have an input in working for the greater good and quality of life,” he concluded.
He responded to several questions.
Do you plan to get it (the municipal complex) done in your term?“Look at the last three administrations – they all recognized the need. My goal is to get it done in my term.”
What are your current income streams (property and sales taxes)? “There’s not much fluctuation in property tax – sales taxes are the moving target. We’ve had a relatively good year – up a little over 5% in sales tax revenue. The last couple of reports haven’t been quite as good. Our budget projected a 2% growth and I’m comfortable with that.”
How many city employees are there?  “Two hundred sixty.”
How many in the Electric Department? “I don’t know.”
What about development along the bypass? “It must be orderly. The strategic plan must be visionary.”
What’s the status of the rainy day fund?  “It was down to $300,000 – that’s too low. We built $100,000 in the budget (for the rainy day fund) and we have a contingency budget aimed at protecting our reserves.”
The Mayor, who is an Honorary Member of Rotary, was introduced by Ed Clynch.

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