Hood aiming for Zacharias road bill in next legislative session

October 10, 2013 10:16:29 AM

Carl Smith - [email protected]


State Rep. Joey Hood, R-Ackerman, confirmed Tuesday he will again propose renaming a portion of a local roadway after former Mississippi State University President Donald Zacharias in the upcoming legislative session. 


Hood sought similar legislation in April when an amendment renaming a portion of Miss. Highway 25 after Zacharias was tacked onto HB 1290. Originally, the bill called for the designation of Warren County's portion of U.S. Highway 61 as "The Purple Heart Trail." Subsequent amendments included the Zacharias designation and an extension of "The Military Order of the Purple Heart Trail" to include all of U.S. Highway 61. 


HB 1290 went through two joint House-Senate conference sessions before April 4 when it died on the calendar. 


"This year, we're going to have a stand-alone bill (for the designation)," Hood said Tuesday. "We're looking at the portion of Miss. Highway 25, probably starting at the intersection of Old Highway 25, that way everyone coming into Starkville can see it. We've got a good head start on it. I don't think it will be a problem." 


The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors unanimously supported a motion backing Hood's legislation in March. 


The designation would be the second such local honor for MSU family members in the past two years. A 2011 designation honored longtime radio broadcaster Jack Cristil's career and dedication to the university by naming a portion of U.S. Highway 182 between the Miss. Highway 12 bypass and the northern campus entrance after the legendary voice of the Bulldogs. 


Zacharias, the second-longest serving MSU president, died March 3 of complications from multiple sclerosis after an extended illness. He was 77. 


"I saw things in Mississippi State University that others might not have seen," Zacharias said upon his resignation in 1997. "I felt that I had made the right decision to be at this university because I liked both what it stood for and its overall character. I like its mission, and I liked the students and alumni. I saw the potential." 


"Dr. Zacharias meant so much to the MSU family," Hood said following the MSU president's death. "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