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Community experienced highs, lows in past year

As 2005 moves into the history books, residents can say farewellto an eventful year that mingled suffering and success mainlybecause of one event.

In looking back at the last 365 days, the community celebrated anumber of early-year highs and lows.

Those highs included the purchase of land for a new businesspark that hopefully will help the community for years to come, thefirst graduation class from the Mississippi School of the Arts andthe renaming of a street in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.News on the other side of the scale included the conviction offormer WorldCom CEO and Brookhaven resident Bernie Ebbers and thetragic death of Jimmy Furlow, a tireless public servant, in a dozeraccident.

Good and bad happened in 2005, although one can be forgiven forfuzzy memories of events before Hurricane Katrina slammed into thestate on Aug. 29. Katrina and recovery efforts impacted nearly allphases of life since her arrival.

In this area, the storm knocked out power for weeks in someplaces and sent people scrambling either to get assistance or tooffer aid to many evacuees staying here after fleeing from coastalareas. Some evacuees have found a new home here after deciding notto return to the storm-ravaged areas.

New residents are part of this area’s success that resulted fromthe suffering in September and October. Another major success canbe seen in stronger sales tax returns in recent months as residentsbegin or continue the rebuilding process.

Other recent positives for the area include completion ofseveral much-anticipated projects such as downtown paving, a newbridge in Bogue Chitto and the dedication of a dam for arecreational lake in Franklin County.

As the sun prepares to rise on 2006, Brookhaven, Lincoln Countyand the rest of southwest Mississippi appear well-positioned for aprosperous future. Happy New Year!.