Count our blessings for Thanksgiving

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, November 20, 2018

As Thanksgiving approaches, we, as a community, have much for which to be thankful.

Let us recount some of the many blessings the community has experienced in the past year:

The Mississippi River bridge construction on a $27 million pin-and-link replacement and repainting project was completed earlier this year and now all-four lanes of the bridge are open.

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After more than a year, the project wrapped up months ahead of schedule and traffic is flowing more smoothly over both spans of the bridge connecting Natchez and Vidalia.

After years of work, Miss-Lou economic development officials were successful in securing a new tenant, Vidalia Denim, for the former Fruit of the Loom facility in Vidalia.

Vidalia Denim has said the company expects to hire approximately 300 people as the project comes on line and already a few people have been employed.

Those jobs will go a long way toward filling a void in the job market that has existed for several years since the oil exploration dropped in the area as oil prices fell.

Syrah Technologies is up and running in Vidalia, too, eventually bringing an anticipated 40 jobs to the Miss-Lou by 2020.

Syrah’s production facility will take flake graphite, mined in the company’s Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, facility, ship it to Vidalia and process it into spherical graphite that will be used in the production of electric automobile batteries.

The electric automobile business is a growth industry and is a fitting complement to the lost oil production jobs we’ve experienced.

Natchez has completed a downtown master plan that could help transform downtown Natchez into a more attractive location for tourists, shoppers and merchants.

The plan includes entertainment and arts districts as well as retail space. The plan has been adopted after much work from dedicated volunteers and community leaders.

The plan, however, is just a starting point and the hard work of putting the plan into effect is only just beginning. Hopefully, Natchez will see rewards of that hard work come to fruition soon.

Natchez has a new Christmas tree, thanks to the Taco Bell franchise in Natchez, owned by the Paradise Companies. The old Christmas tree, organizers said, was worn out and Taco Bell stepped up to purchase a new tree, complete with LED lighting and new technology.

The new tree is sure to please a new generation of Christmas revelers, young and old, and will make Natchez’s holiday seasons more bright for years to come.

All of the above blessings for the Miss-Lou have a common element — the dedicated people, including elected officials, business people and volunteers, who worked hard to make it all happen.

Without the due diligence and hard work of those leaders, none of the accomplishments listed above would have come about in the past year.

Therefore, let us not forget to be thankful for the abundance of good community-minded people who work so hard to make Natchez, Vidalia and the Miss-Lou a great place to be.

Finally, if you are reading this, be thankful for your health and the quality of life you enjoy that enables to read a newspaper and keep up with issues of public concern.

Life is too short not to be appreciated, lived fully and enjoyed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Scott Hawkins is editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at 601-445-3540 or