- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:

Sept. 16

Enterprise-Journal, McComb, Mississippi, on NFL confronting domestic violence:

Domestic violence is a terrible thing, and the current brouhaha over National Football League players accused of it is putting a lot of public attention on a crime that too often has been tolerated by both victims and prosecutors.

If the publicity over the cases of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy and others sends a message that domestic violence comes with a big price to those who dish it out, then some good will come from all this.

Give professional sports some credit. Whatever the negative aspects there are to big-money games, sports has helped pioneer positive changes in society, not the least of which is general acceptance of racial integration.

But a question that seems fair to raise is: Are millionaire football players - and their bosses - being held to a higher standard when it comes to striking a woman or whipping a child than the average person?

It’s pretty obvious that they are. Perhaps a better question is: Should they be held to a higher standard?

None of the above-mentioned players played Sunday, as they were under suspension, either by their own teams or the league, because of their alleged off-the-field behavior.

Television news repeatedly played a video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out his fiancee, now his wife, on an elevator, sparking outrage not only at Rice but at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who some think didn’t come down hard enough on Rice when reports of the abuse first came out.

Now there’s a big controversy over when Goodell saw the elevator video and stiffened the penalty on Rice. The National Organization for Women, among others, is calling for Goodell’s ouster.

Hardy, a former Ole Miss player now with the Carolina Panthers, was suspended by his own team Sunday over a case in which he was convicted of assaulting a female and communicating threats. He is appealing the case, and he wasn’t suspended until shortly before game time Sunday. Panthers coach Ron Rivera defended his late decision to make Hardy inactive by saying the “climate has changed” in the NFL and the team “has to get this right.”

Minnesota deactivated Peterson after he was charged with beating his 4-year-old son with what some have described as a tree branch - others a switch. Peterson says he administered the same type of corporal punishment to his son that he received as a child from his own father. The Vikings had reinstated Peterson, but he was placed on the NFL’s exempt list on Wednesday, barring him from all team activities until his child-abuse case is resolved.




Sept. 17

Northeast Mississippi Journal, Tupelo, Mississippi, on Infrastructure projects:

Despite a second major damaging tornado in three years, Northeast Mississippians can review 2014 and see significant infrastructure accomplishments for the broader good, especially in completion and opening of new highways and thoroughfares for safety and economic development.

Two major links in what has long been thought of as a regional system opened or soon will open:

- Mississippi 6/278 from State Highway 342 in Pontotoc County near Black Zion to U.S. Highway 45 near the Verona-Tupelo boundary.

- West Barnes Crossing Road from U.S. 45 east of the Mall at Barnes Crossing to U.S. 78/1-22 near Belden, a major new connector to take pressure off North Gloster Street and other streets leading to the Barnes Crossing district.

“The goal of this project is to relieve some of the traffic pressure on U.S. 45 and Barnes Crossing Road,” said Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert. “This new interchange will provide motorists traveling east toward Tupelo on U.S. 78 another route to the Barnes Crossing area.”

The new segment of Highway 6/278, a nearly $70 million project from first dirt moved to completion, opens fully an unbroken stretch of four-lane highway from Tupelo to Batesville, via Pontotoc and Oxford. Highway 6/278 has an interchange with Interstate 55 at Batesville, a national north-south artery extending from Laplace, Louisiana, to Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois.

The new Highway 9 connecting Sherman and Pontotoc, with direct access to the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi assembly plant in Blue Springs, connects to Mississippi 6/278.

In addition, a $2.5 million project on the Natchez Trace bridge crossing Town Creek near the Trace/U.S. 78 interchange, will strengthen the bridge and provide extensive refurbishing of its supporting steel work.

It is expected to be completed in December, ending frequent signal controlled delays on the parkway.

The Major Thoroughfare Program is funded by a 10-mill property tax, but some of the infrastructure on the Northern Loop received Mississippi Department of Transportation partial funding.

In addition, major improvements and new construction are underway or have recently opened on Mississippi 15, a north-south corridor, and on Mississippi 30, a highway from Oxford to the Natchez Trace near the Alabama state line in Tishomingo County.

Even so, the regional interconnections aren’t complete. The region’s legislative delegation must continue bipartisan work to assure completion of roads already authorized.



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