- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:

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July 12

The Sun Herald on young people leaving the state:

Mississippi is running out of time. It must find out why millennials are leaving the state at the highest rate in the United States. And it must find out quickly.

Many millennials leave, not for a job, but for a place they want to live. And those who are leaving for a job are winding up in states where wages are higher. CompTIA, a technology industry trade association, last year ranked Mississippi 50th in average tech wages. That translates into about half of Mississippi State University College of Engineering graduates leaving the state.

“After my wife and I married in summer 2016, we realized job opportunities, specifically in her field, were limited at best,” Tyler Hill, of Hurley, told Mississippi Today. “She is a teacher of the deaf. Nationally, school districts and legislatures tend to spend less on special needs programs; in Mississippi, spending in this field is abysmal. The lack of jobs and growth opportunity forces us out of the state.”

The other side of that coin, though, is Mississippi is a very affordable place to live. See what kind of home $100,000 will get you in San Francisco, or Boston, or Miami.

The stakes couldn’t be higher.

Millennials will be by far the largest segment of the population still in the market for housing and other big-ticket items. And by the time they hit 35 or so, they’re likely to be where they’ll stay.

And of course we want them to be here. Most would rather be near their families, near their roots.

In a lot of ways, Mississippi makes that tough. Millennials have the highest rate of acceptance of same-sex marriage. But Mississippi’s leaders do not share that acceptance or we would not have HB1523.

We don’t have the public transportation options they want, and yet, we can’t even decide on whether our transportation system needs to be upgraded nor how to pay for it if it does.

We have few walkable, bikeable communities, another option they favor, and few millennials can afford housing prices in the communities that offer those amenities.

And, we have Mississippi’s reputation for intolerance, a reputation in many respects undeserved, but one that is referenced by online cranks and legislators who settle disagreement with the refrain, “if you don’t like it go back where you came from.”

Shivon Hess left after four years in Mississippi.

“Incredible racism and bigotry. There’s a bit of that everywhere, but it’s so entrenched in Mississippi,” said Hess.

We have to stand up to the racists, those who spew hate. People of like minds must stand together and erase this stain on our state once and for all.

There are a lot of reasons to believe Mississippi can win this battle. We just elected millennial mayors from vastly different political points of view. We have a Future Caucus of millennials in our Legislature. It plans a millennial summit every year.

That summit is a great idea. We hope the state leadership offers this bipartisan group encouragement and support. They, and all millennials, have ours.

Online: https://www.sunherald.com/

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July 21

The Greenwood Commonwealth on keeping guns away from children:

Life is tough for many children in Mississippi. The state rates at or near the top in numerous categories including childhood poverty, childhood obesity and lack of access to health care.

Lately, some children in the state have faced another peril: getting shot.

During this month, at least three children in Mississippi have been the victims of fatal shootings.

On July 12, a 12-year-old boy in Columbus was killed when several children were playing with a rifle. A 5-year-old died July 1 in Jackson. Another child, also 5, died July 4 in Louisville.

There was a similar incident in Greenwood in June. A 6-year-old was severely injured when he was shot by a 5-year-old playmate who found a loaded gun under the couch.

Note the common element in all of these shootings: Every victim was shot by himself or another child while playing with a firearm.

But don’t put the blame on the children.

It’s up to adult gun owners to make certain guns are kept out of little hands. Yes, adults need to teach children to stay away from firearms unless they are supervised by an adult.

But at least - the very least - keep guns out of kids’ reach.

Online: https://www.gwcommonwealth.com/

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July 24

The Oxford Eagle on Ole Miss football:

Sometimes it feels like we are in ancient Rome, not Mississippi.

Ole Miss is a great public institution of higher education and football is only a tiny part of what the university does, yet football gets too much of the attention.

The same thing can be said at the University of Alabama, and at the University of Tennessee, and throughout the Southeastern Conference, with the exception of Vanderbilt, perhaps. When it works, it rolls, building enthusiasm throughout campuses.

But when it stumbles, it crashes, exposed for the shallow sugar high that it is: little more than a game that’s rather dangerous to participants that have gotten too big for university’s britches.

Football coaches earning $4 million or more. Reputations of the universities tied so strongly to the football coaches.

It’s a recipe for disaster, frankly.

One day, in another generation, people will look back at the era that a game that caused brain injuries for participants and grew so big that it barely let its student participants be students and took a gripping hold over universities.

They will look back on the day when coaches of amateur football teams at institutions of higher education were paid millions of dollars per year and put on such lofty pedestals that they could only eventually fail.

They will wonder what we were thinking.

Online: https://www.oxfordeagle.com/

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