March 7, 2014 11:13:18 AM
A highway designation honoring former Mississippi State University President Donald Zacharias took another step toward fruition Thursday after the Senate passed an amended bill that will rename a portion of Miss. Highway 25 after the late university leader.
Senators approved an amendment introduced by state Sen. Gary Jackson, R-French Camp, which also honors Keith Allan Crenshaw by designating a segment of Webster County's U.S. Highway 82 in his memory. Crenshaw is the Eupora police officer killed in the line of duty in October while responding to a bank robbery. A vote tally was not available at press time.
The legislation, originally introduced in the House by Rep. Joey Hood, R-Ackerman, calls for the portion of Miss. Highway 25 that intersects with Old Highway 25 and runs to the Oktibbeha County-Winston County line to be renamed the Dr. Donald W. Zacharias Memorial Highway. Mississippi Department of Transportation workers would erect and maintain signage along and approaching the highway leading to Starkville if the bill is signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant.
The bill also calls for a portion of Miss. Highway 9 in Choctaw County, from the Choctaw-Webster line to Ackerman, to be designated the Phyllis A. Graham-Steven B. Moss Memorial Highway.
It will now travel back to the House and could then move to the governor if approved without change. State representatives unanimously supported Hood's bill last month.
Hood attempted to pass similar legislation last year, but his efforts fell short when the bill died in conference. His attempt last year was tacked onto a separate road designation bill, HB 1290, which went through two joint House-Senate conference sessions before April 4 when the measure died on the calendar. Locally, the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors unanimously supported his resolution.
Both Hood and Jackson represent portions of Oktibbeha County.
Zacharias, the second-longest serving MSU president, died almost a year ago of complications from multiple sclerosis after an extended illness. He was 77.
The designation would be the second such local honor for MSU family members in the last three years. A 2011 designation honored longtime radio broadcaster Jack Cristil's career and dedication to the university by renaming a portion of Miss. Highway 182 after the legendary voice of the Bulldogs.
Hood and Jackson were unavailable for comment Thursday.
"Dr. Zacharias meant so much to the MSU family," Hood said last year. "We should honor him and his legacy for the university and the city of Starkville."
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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