Brainstorms 6/15/2017

Ferrin Cox

Thursday, Jun 15,2017

We received a registered letter recently following our reporting on the closing of the local Head Start facility. We were at the meeting announcing the shutdown, along with a group of parents and grandparents who were very upset over the matter and the impossible option of taking their child to Enterprise every day to retain the benefits of the Head Start program for pre-school children. We did not record the comments of the director of the program and graciously accept her statement that she did not say the facility was closing due to a cut in federal funding. Granted we are confused, but surely she knows what she said. We dearly wish we had recorded the comments, not to disprove her denying anything, but to listen again and understand for our own benefit exactly why the Elba facility was being shut down immediately, if not for what we understood were budget cuts to a federally funded program. Sorry to see them leave Elba, a large segment of the community had come to depend on their teachings.

We do understand that a similar program being offered by the local school system will absorb a number of their potential students, but the schools will only be accepting a limited number of children. That is happening all over the state as additional state and federal funding is being approved for individual schools. All that was discussed at the Head Start director’s meeting with parents so surely it had some part in the decision to combine the two Coffee County programs into one – in Enterprise.

Several weeks ago one of the directors of the Distinguished Young Women of Coffee County event was encouraging us at the newspaper to help them get more young ladies from Elba involved with the annual event. Well after hearing that Elba’s Isabella Jackson (the only participant with an Elba address) had won, we immediately recalled an old story about the Texas Rangers from our childhood. This Texas Ranger rode into a West Texas cattle town that was in the middle of a range war and announced he was there to settle things down. When asked if he “was the only one coming?” the answer was, “You ain’t got but one war do you?” Well there is only one “Distinguished Young Women” event in Coffee County so..

Seriously this isn’t just a beauty contest – though it doesn’t hurt for a contestant to also have poise and looks – they encourage and put great emphasis on personality, talent, speaking ability, community involvement, etc. Therefore this is a nice, and humbling honor for Isabella. We read the résumés of all the girls involved and thought she had a pretty good chance, but so did several others. That makes her title and that of runner-up, Zion Chapel’s Heather Shoemaker, even more meaningful.

The news this week that Elba City Schools Superintendent Chresal Threadgill is one of five finalists for the head position in Decatur does shake us a bit. True, good superintendents are in great demand everywhere, but we didn’t expect to see him in the market for a few more years. He has not yet gotten the Elba schools to “perfection” and hopefully would always be striving for improvement if he stays here 20 years, but it would be good for him to have a little longer to hone the finer points of the local schools just a bit more.