We’re counting the days to Focus 2004

Published 6:00 am Friday, January 16, 2004

Somebody asked me the other day what we had planned for Focus2004.

“Plenty,” I said.

If you don’t know what Focus is, it’s a special project we doevery year to “focus” on the good things in Brookhaven, LincolnCounty and Southwest Mississippi. It is our largest publication ofthe year, and it is a favorite of DAILY LEADER readers.

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The publication date for Focus 2004 is Friday, April 30, and TheDAILY LEADER staff has already been working on it for about threeweeks.

I don’t like to detail ahead of time the specific stories andphotos the news staff has planned. I think that should be asurprise. There are some favorite features in Focus every year –items that our readers have come to expect. It’s also a chance forthem to help us with Focus.

Beginning with the first Focus 13 years ago, The DAILY LEADERhas named a Citizen of the Year and Unsung Heroes. Those selectionsare made directly from nominations sent in by our readers.

Part of planning the first Focus was determining the criteriafor the Citizen of the Year and Unsung Heroes. Here’s what we cameup with, and we still use it:

Someone who makes unselfish contributions to others or to thecommunity without regard for publicity or personal gain. Someonewho’s willing to look past the racial, or the age, or the social,or the political or the religious boundaries that others willsometimes put up in the community. Someone who puts othersfirst.

In the coming weeks we will be publishing forms for readers tomake nominations for the 2004 honorees. If you know an Unsung Hero,please nominate that person.

The five sections of Focus have seen only minor changes orfine-tuning over the years. This is what we try to do in those:

Leadership: Profile some of the area’s officials who serve incity, county, regional, state and national offices. These are themen and women who will lead our community into the future or whohave helped us reach the progress we enjoy today.

Neighbors: Take a look at some of the interesting people, placesand things in Southwest Mississippi.

People: Introduce some of the interesting and unique folks ofour community. This could be somebody with an unusual hobby, adistinctive talent, or a special story to tell. In past years we’vefeatured everything from baseball umpires to librarians to squaredancers to men and boys who love trains to shoe shiners.

Community: Feature special volunteers and public servants aswell as the civic, service, support and church groups that do somany good things in the area.

Commerce: Review past business and industry accomplishments,look at goals for the future and recognize some of our distinctivebusinesses, industries and their employees..

Focus also offers a perfect opportunity for churches, civic andservice clubs, and businesses and industries to let the public knowtheir accomplishments of the past year.

Forms for this information will also be printed in The DAILYLEADER in coming weeks. This is a great way to get a little extrapublicity, and, it is absolutely free.

Focus 2004 … it will be here in 104 days. Don’t miss it.

Write to Nanette Laster at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, Miss.39602, or send e-mail to news@dailyleader.com.