Article Comment 

Signs to honor state's notables


Jack Elliott Jr., The Associated Press



JACKSON -- Mississippi highways are peppered with signs honoring sports figures, civil rights figures, military heroes and law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty, among others. 


More will come this year. The 2011 Legislature authorized 21 signs to be erected along Mississippi roads to honor individuals or groups. 


The Mississippi Department of Transportation is responsible for putting up the signs -- ranging in cost from $3,000 to $5,000 each, according to MDOT figures. And it takes two signs one at end of the roadway or bridge. 


The bills designating the highway dedications are among dozens of laws taking effect July 1. 


One highway dedication is especially important to Mississippi State Bulldog fans. MSU athletic officials plan a celebration on June 20 to coincide with the designation of U.S. Highway 82 in Starkville for longtime Bulldogs'' sports announcer Jack Cristil. The 85-year-old Cristil announced his retirement in February after nearly six decades as the voice of the Bulldogs. 


Another of those highway designations is for Dr. Walter Washington, a longtime educator who was president from 1969 to 1994 at Alcorn State University, the nation''s first historically black land-grant institution. School officials said he secured major funds to improve life on campus. Washington died in 1999. 


The stretch of highway honoring his legacy begins on Mississippi Highway 552 at the Alcorn campus in Claiborne County, and extends to its intersection with U.S. Highway 61 in Jefferson County. 


Others include a highway designation in honor of for Sgt. Todd Partridge, who served and died in Iraq, and one for Chaplain Clark Poling, who served at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg during World War II. Poling posthumously received the Purple Heart. 


Partridge''s stretch lies on U.S. Highway 84 in Adams County, and Poling''s lies adjacent to Camp Shelby. 


Additional designations honor recipients of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and Gold Star family members of fallen soldiers. 


Some more designations honor Jefferson "Carl" Monk Jr., a campus security official at Jones County Junior College, as well as two designations honoring local citizens at the request of Sen. J.P. Wilemon Jr., a Democrat from Belmont. 


Wilemon''s Belmont honorees are Mickey Johnson, a police officer shot in the line of duty, and Roger D. Moore, a business leader. 


Other road designations are:



  • Mississippi Highway 370 in Lee County for Steve Hood, a state trooper killed in a chase in 2009. 


  • U.S. Highway 51 in Copiah County for Steve Gardner, a trooper shot and killed in 1984. 


  • U.S. Highway 78 in Benton and Marshall counties for Bill Minor, a state transportation commissioner who died in November. 


  • U.S. Highway 49 West in Humphreys County for the Rev. George W. Lee, a civil rights leader killed in 1955. 


  • U.S. Highway 51 in Coldwater for Martin Luther King Jr. 


  • Mississippi 198 in Greene County for the "Blue Star Highway'' to honor members of the Armed Forces that have defended the United States. 


  • Greenwood native and five-time Olympian Willye B. White with a sign along U.S. 48 East between Greenwood and Sidon.  


  • Pearl Harbor survivor A.C. Hillman with a sign along Mississippi 198 in Greene County. 


  • Staff Sgt. William "Seth" Ricketts, a U.S. Army paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division who died in 2010 in Afghanistan, with a sign on U.S. 72 in Glen. 


  • Longtime Jones County Community College football Coach Sim Cooley with a sign along U.S. 11 in Jones County. 


  • Former Sandersville Mayor Walter W. Jack Jr. with a sign along U.S. 11 in the Jones County town. 


  • Mississippi 382 in Monroe County for the Gulf Ordnance Plant Memorial Highway for the plant near Prairie that produced bombs used in World War II. 


  • Timber businessman E.H. Sumner and his wife, Ginger, who created a foundation to award education scholarships in north Mississippi, with a sign along U.S. 82 in Montgomery County.





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