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Street Talk

Mississippians Among The Happiest Folks in USA

By Mickey Howley

Both Galileo and Newton considered the passing of time as a constant. Einstein theorized that time curved and it was relative to gravity, and his gravitational time dilation theory has since been proven by atomic clocks located in varying gravitational situations recording different times. The difference is nanosecond slight. The Howley Time Line Continuum theory believes that time is not a constant but constantly accelerating.

For the members of the Water Valley Main Street Association time last year seemed to jump out of the blocks in a flash and kept ramping up. In chronological order, the year went like this: Charrette, Art Council founding, Movie on Main, Main Street Market Fest, Farmers Market, State Public Improvement Award, Federal Bank grant, pep rally, art crawl, annual meeting, market fiesta, facade grant, Chair-ity Auction.  And that is just the big stuff.

Next year already seems easily as busy.

Time, the economy, and Mississippi were some of the talking points Gray Swoope, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority touched upon last month at talk he gave in Tupelo. Swoope made the observation that when this current recession hit the rest of the country, Mississippi enjoyed a several month time lag until the effects hit here. But Swoope said, when the hit came it was dramatic, a sharp decline like he had never seen.  

He speculated that when the recovery comes knocking that it might take a bit longer to reach here. His positive point on this time lag was that economic fluctuations do not seem as extreme in Mississippi as in many other states. Swoope noted MDA had done some creative internal agency belt tightening, but felt strongly that cutting promotional and development programs now would be detrimental in the long run.

He also said the MDA was working with competing states on projects. He gave an example where Mississippi, Alabama and Florida had all worked together on a project that brought airplane manufacturing to Mobile, Ala.  

The reason MDA and Florida had helped on this was development in Mobile would benefit Pascagoula and Pensacola as well. This effort benefited people in that entire region, regardless of the political boundaries. His comment on that situation was that, while it is a tough balancing act, we should cooperate and compete at the same time.

It occurred to me that cooperation/competition was also going on in this region. Batesville, Grenada (just recently) and Water Valley all have Main Street Associations. On many levels, we are all in the same boat, working on very similar goals: downtown development, incentives for new and old establishments, re-invigorating communities.  

We are also competing for grants, customers, and new small businesses.  Just like Mobile alone could not land the airplane plant, for many issues, Main Streets in this region are benefitting from collective efforts and awareness.

How many of you saw the study just released by the University of Warwick in England as to which states in the USA are the happiest? Mississippi was sixth. New York was last, Louisiana was first. The English!

See for the continuing bicycle survey. The current leading response suggest people think they could still pedal around but don’t.

The English are not the only delusional ones.

Street Talk cutline: Young and old alike enjoyed the Fiddlin’ Rooster Farm Cow Train ride at the Main Street Market Festival. The May 9 Market Fest was the first big 2009 event for the WVMSA.

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