From roads to resolutions, Lowndes gets lawmakers’ ear

April 3, 2009



JACKSON -- The state Legislature this year has passed bills and resolutions uniquely fashioned for Lowndes County and people from there. 


From lauding the life of a 105-year-old New Hope woman to letting the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors donate $100,000 annually to the United Way, the House and Senate approved legislation filed by state lawmakers representing the county. 


The Legislature also enacted a bill designating a Lowndes County road in honor of the late George "Happy" Irby. 


House Bill 1480 names the road going from U.S. Highway 45 to Columbus Air Force Base after the longtime CAFB employee, who died last week at age 94. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Haley Barbour on March 26 -- one day before Irby''s death. The same bill also names the U.S. 82 Columbus bypass in honor of military veterans. 


House Bill 366, at the request of county supervisors, authorizes the board to give money to the United Way of Lowndes County in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Counties must get permission from the state Legislature to donate money to charitable organizations such as the United Way. The Legislature passed the bill Tuesday and sent it to Barbour for him to sign. 


The Legislature also gave the Lowndes County board permission to give $5,000 this year to Golden Triangle Contact Teleministry. It operates Contact Helpline, the telephone-counseling service for emotionally troubled people. House Bill 1750 was sent to the governor this week for his signature. 


The House and Senate passed a resolution commending and recounting the life of Learon Shepherd Porter of New Hope, who turned 105 on Wednesday. 


Commendatory resolutions in the Legislature can be richly detailed documents about the history and lives of Mississippi and its people. 


"Having lived in two centuries without a car, Mrs. Porter has seen America change from an agrarian society to an advanced technological industrial giant, and on her watch she has seen 18 different United States presidents, including both Presidents Roosevelt, and 23 Magnolia State governors since settling in Mississippi," states House Concurrent Resolution 61 in honor of the Alabama native. 


"Once settled in New Hope, an area that continued to provide food for our state through the efforts of salt-of-the-earth farmers, Mrs. Porter assumed the duty of making from scratch the wholesome food for the New Hope School, not only feeding the children nourishment but also love for some 18 years." 


The House also passed resolutions praising Lowndes County Supervisor Leroy Brooks and "American Idol" performer Jasmine Murray of Starkville. Also commended were Mississippi University for Women and Military Hardware of Columbus, which celebrate anniversaries this year. 


House Resolution 89 recognizes Brooks for his 25 years as a Lowndes County supervisor -- the first black person to hold that position since Reconstruction and, as of last January, the longest-serving supervisor in county history. 


House Resolution 82 for Murray was adopted in March after she made it to the final round of the Fox TV talent show. The 17-year-old Mississippi School of the Arts student addressed the House of Representatives last week in a recognition ceremony. 


"In her rise from humble Mississippi beginnings to the overwhelming sensation of mega-stardom, Murray emerged from a sea of countless thousands of contestants to rightfully stake her claim in the Top 13 on ''American Idol,'' becoming the first Mississippian to reach Idol''s final phase of competition," states the resolution. 


House Concurrent Resolution 71 congratulates MUW as it marked last month its 125th anniversary. 


The resolution, which the Senate concurred with, applauds MUW for "outstanding contributions of its graduates to our home, the Magnolia State, for its unmatched leadership and for the exceptional service that has set the precedent for education." 


"The City of Columbus showed far-sighted and progressive leadership in offering the winning bid for the location of a college for women in Mississippi." 


Senate Concurrent Resolution 585 commends Military Hardware and Garden Center in Columbus as it approaches its 50th anniversary in December. "It is called ''The Little Store With Everything.'' They say if you cannot find it at Military Hardware, it is not in town," states the resolution congratulating the Perkerson family-owned store. 


Effective July 1, the road to CAFB''s main gate will be known as the "George ''Happy'' Irby Parkway." House Bill 1480 also names U.S. 82 bypassing Columbus and on to the Alabama line the "Veterans Memorial Bypass." 


These road-name measures were attached to a bill originally filed for compensating members of water, sewer and fire protection commissions on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. 


In session since January, the House and Senate recessed Wednesday with plans to return in a few weeks to take up the state budget. 


To read legislation, follow their progress and see how legislators voted, go to the Mississippi Legislature''s Web site: