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Betty’s Week

   By Betty Shearer 

A note came with Donna and Dwight Rhyne’s subscription re-newal. They now live in Houston, near son, Michael, his wife and children. Must be great to be able to live near your family. Jim I know, I could, but then I’d have to leave all the family here and also all my friends.

    In her note Donna says, “Thanks for the subscription reminder. We enjoy keeping up with Valley News. Michael, again, was voted ‘Best Dentist in Chickasaw County’. (That’s three years in a row!) Peyton is four now and is anxiously awaiting a baby sister in October.”

    Donna, it was so good to get your note and to hear some good news. Michael was one of Ed’s and my kids for several years and I still claim him. He was one of the many music students who just became our children and I love Michael and all of those young people.         Congratulations on being honored in Chickasaw County – how could such a brilliant student not be the best? Also I’m so happy you’re getting a little daughter – you must bring these babies to see me sometime. My best to all of you.

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    Linda and Tommy White recently returned from a vacation trip to Alaska. Tommy came by to bring a picture and also to tell me a bit about this fabulous trip. They flew into Juneau and from there flew to Skaway, touring both of these areas. Then they took a cruise and he told how deep the water was and it was unbelievable– so many thousands of feet (20 I think).

    Alaska is a state I’ve always wanted to visit. I also want to do the cruise and I don’t even like water, but the pictures and videos I’ve seen of this just makes me want to visit in person. It is such a beautiful place.

     Tommy also brought a picture, not of scenery, though. It was of posted gas prices at a service station. This area is on top of the greatest oil reserves in the U.S. and their prices are much higher than they are in the Valley – $4.24.9 for regular, $4.35.9 for Plus, and $4.46.9 for premium (see picture, Page 6).

    Tommy says that in other places the gas prices were even higher. I wanted to know why. He says that even though they are right on top of the oil, there are no refineries there because of the ecologists. They  have to send the oil by pipeline to a far away refinery, and then it has to be trucked back to them – not very economical. Does explain our higher gas prices, though – we’re off the beaten track and it does cost lots of money to transport anything these days.

    Okay, Tommy, I’ve shared your finding with Robert, Joe, and all the rest of the Valley. I did a better job than you expected, because you only thought I’d share my picture with those two. I understand it and I hope they do also. Maybe if we scream loud enough the government will also understand it and then prices can come down everywhere and we will no longer be so dependent on foreign oil.

    Thanks, Tommy, for sharing your vacation with me – may be as close as I ever get to Alaska.

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    I was scheduled for an early departure for the Mississippi  Ag Museum on Friday morning. I was meeting Mary Sue and Bennett Anderson at Bill’s Shop near  I-55, I went on over to Panola County Thursday night. The Bridge Club was meeting in the home of Karen Lewis Thursday night, so I got to play.

    It was so good to visit with this group of ladies, whom I’d not seen in several months.     We have just been so busy at the Herald, with political and Watermelon Carnival activities, and a I’ve also been involved with my new kitchen so I’d just not gotten to play.

    I really needed a refresher course, as my score indicated – my usual low. In my defense though, I really did not get the cards.

     Karen fed us a wonderful meal and the fellowship was great, as always. Karen says she misses the Valley. She does not come to see us since her Mom, Opal Thompson Martindale, passed away.         Another member of this group, Amy Stone Florence, sends greetings to Hugh Gurner. They worked together as park rangers on Enid Lake for many years.

    As we left the Bridge, word came that the cooler at Pope Baptist Church had gone out and it was full of beautiful flowers. Connie Hawkins, also in the group, Jimmie and I met Connie’s husband, Ham, and Bill, and we cleaned the cooler out.         We had to throw away thousands of dollars worth of some of the most beautiful flowers I’ve every seen. It made me so sad and it would have brought tears to Michael Redwine.

    After the cooler was cleaned, they found that the switchbox was locked and no key could be found. Bill called Bubba Karr (woke him up I’m sure), who had a key, and he was there promptly to cut power to the cooler. They pulled it out, but found that more repair was required than they could do.

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    Jimmie delivered me to the Andersons early Friday morning and we had a great trip down. Found T. J. there already at work. We worked hard all day Friday and Saturday and got a lot done. It was our first trip down since Harvest Fest last November and a lot of clean up was required, along much printing.

    Friday night we enjoy dinner together and then visited until bedtime. It was a shock to hear of the Norway incident—you don’t expect this in such a peaceful country. However, I’m relieved that it was an internal affair and not outside terrorist.

  On Saturday we had many visitors (all welcome and interesting) to the print shop, but  among them was a couple of  very interesting families. One was from Maryland and they had brought their daughter to Jackson to attend ballet camp. We do have an outstanding ballet program in Mississippi and it’s gaining renowned status all over the U.S. and even worldwide. Every thing that helps put MS in the limelight is wonderful. These parents were very complimentary of Mississippi and the ballet, even think they were impressed with the museum and our print shop.

    The other couple were very interested in the print shop, but we were more interested in them. The husband had spent 43 years in the space program, having retired just a year ago. He started with the Apollo Program. His wife was a third grade school teacher. For two years he had been stationed in Orlando, but had spent 41 years in Houston, where they will spend their retirement days. We had about an hour to question him and he was very open—answered all our questions. The main one was did he think the space program should be shut down. His answer was exactly what we all believed. “No” and he had facts and figures to back it up.

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    He was very concerned about the thousand-plus employees who would be displaced persons. They will have to search for jobs and then relocate. He says that space program employees become like family and that to have to leave the Houston area will be traumatic. Also, the loss of revenue to the Houston area will be tremendous.

    Also, he is not sure of the timeline for the private sector rescue of this program. The projected time is two years but he thinks it will be at least five. Also, if the equipment is shut down for this length of time he’s not sure it can every be resurrected. Then there was the cost of getting our people into space by purchase of tickets on other country’s space carriers. The contract for the next two years comes at one hundred four million per tickets and then it could go to whatever the demand is, because we have no way of getting them there ourselves. The cost of getting a person into space via U.S. carrier was $56,000. Also, he questioned the reliability of the shuttles U.S. citizens would be traveling on. Russia’s equipment is in very poor condition and not likely to be kept up because they have no funds either. Then China came up and he is sure they have the capability and probably the capital, but he says, “Do we really want China up there and do we really want our people flying with them?”  Lots to think about, and this is just a little of what we heard.

     This couple was born and reared in Memphis. The reason for their trip through Mississippi was going for a visit with family. We were amazed that they stopped to visit the museum. Said they had heard about it and wanted to visit. However, they reported having a hard time finding us, because the entrances are not well marked.

    They aren’t.

    The first entrance off I-55 is for the employees and volunteers. It’s a coded gate. For visitors to enter they have to go to the second gate, park and then walk back across a bridge—not very convenient and without proper instruction it’s very confusing. Could be the reason we don’t have many visitors other than at special events when you just follow the crowd. We really need to correct this.

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  Election Day will be Tuesday, so Don’t Forget To Vote!

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