Does Santa have gifts for Miss-Lou?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 20, 2009

With as much rain as we’ve had lately, Santa nearly had to trade in his sleigh for a skiff.

Fortunately, the sun came out Friday, and despite a few clouds in the forecast ahead, Christmas looks to be mostly dry, but probably not white.

So with weather worries behind us, what should our community seek from Santa this holiday season?

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Let’s hope that Santa brings us a group of Adams County citizens who will work hard to create a recreation complex plan that is as inclusive as possible.

Recreation has many facets. The most important of which is what it can do for quality of life in our community.

Area youth need as many opportunities for recreation as we can provide. A complex lets them learn by playing on teams, get exercise and simply stay busy and out of trouble.

Some more financial planning should be on the wish list of Natchez residents. Fortunately the city appears to be on the verge of breaking out of its cycle of spending more than it has.

Between big cost reductions made through strategic personnel cuts to the simple act of encouraging the purchase of used — but still functional — auto parts for city vehicles in need of repair, the costs may be getting under control.

But in the long run, it’s going to require a fundamental change in how the city functions. Mayor Jake Middleton says he’s applying business sense to the city’s day-to-day operations. If that’s happening, it’s something that’s long overdue.

Contributing to the city’s financial woes have been lagging sales tax receipts. A big part of that comes from extremely slow automotive sales. When car and truck sales are off 30, 40 or 50 percent, our community is certain to feel the reduction in taxes. Let’s ask Santa for an improving economic atmosphere that gives buyers more confidence — and more credit — to get car sales moving again.

Maybe the guy in the big red suit will also bring us some more togetherness so we can continue the work begun with the area’s regionalism effort. For several months, community leaders from Natchez, Vidalia and Ferriday have been meeting to discuss ways to work together more. That kind of effort will, in the long run, reap great benefits to our collective community.

Maybe Santa can bring a few more tourists to town. Business has been slow the past year and when tourism is slow, the area’s economy slows.

A year or two of good, consistent farming weather would be greatly appreciated by local farmers.

Our community needs the gift of optimism and a positive outlook. Too often we focus on the negative when we really should consider how blessed we actually area.

And a final Christmas wish is that we can all remember the real reason for the season — celebrating the birth of Christ — and the ultimate gift he gave to us all.

I hope you each have a Merry Christmas and our community continues to be a great place in which to live, work and call home.

I’d like to thank the personnel with the Vidalia Fire Department, Natchez Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Room and a motorist whose name I do not know for the kindness and care they showed to someone near and dear to me and our newspaper family.

Sam King, who leads our circulation department, lost control of his motorcycle on the way to work Thursday.

Fortunately, Sam was blessed. None of his injuries were life-threatening, though he’ll likely be hobbling for a while. We’re all just glad he’s still with us and we’re thankful for all of those whose knowledge and know-how helped him when he was in need.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or