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Leadership, unity focus of regionalism meeting

VIDALIA — In order for Adams County and Concordia Parish to work well together, leaders should reach across the bridge and get to know each other.

Vidalia City Manager Ken Walker said it is difficult to work with leaders in Natchez and Ferriday when they have never met.

“(Miss-Lou leaders) should get to know each other on another level so you recognize each other on the street,” Liz Brooking said.

Walker and Brooking are two of the 19 community members and leaders from Natchez, Vidalia and Ferriday who discussed leadership at a Miss-Lou Regional Initiative subcommittee meeting Thursday at the Vidalia Methodist Church.

The subcommittee was formed to address housing and community development with emphasis on leadership and race relations.

The 19 people in attendance brainstormed ways to get the most out of community leaders, including elected and appointed officials and spiritual, youth and business leaders.

One suggestion to improve communication in Miss-Lou included a weekly newspaper column highlighting a leader from Natchez, Vidalia and Ferriday on a rotating schedule.

Other suggestions included using Facebook, radio, public access TV stations, fliers and public forums to spread the word on meetings and issues that affect the entire region.

Concordia Parish Director of Economic Development Heather Malone offered a creative solution to involve children and adults in elections.

She said holding mock local elections in schools is a good way to instill a civic duty to vote in young people. In addition, students will likely share their election experiences at school with parents at home, giving parents an opportunity to learn about local issues from their children.

Walker said the more input the subcommittee can garner from each different community, the better.

“That’s the part that’s going to make this work,” Walker said.

The subcommittee meets every other Thursday, noon to 1 p.m. and are open to the public. Their next meeting will be held July 8 at the Vidalia Methodist Church.

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