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LEADER’s 16th FOCUS sweeter than ever

Sweet 16! Yes, today’s FOCUS edition is our 16th one and wethink our best yet! Born out of an idea 17 years ago to produce aspecial edition that reflects the best and brightest thatBrookhaven and Southwest Mississippi have to offer, FOCUS is ourgift to the communities we serve.

We hope you will sit back and enjoy reading about the people,places and things that make this part of Mississippi so special.With 100 pages, you might want to set aside some extra time – wethink you will find it worth it.

Each year we honor special individuals as our “Unsung Heroes,”individuals who give unselfishly to the community – individuals whogo the extra mile to make this area so special for the rest of us.Nominations come from you, our readers. From those nominations, oneindividual is selected as the Citizen of the Year.

This year’s winner is a very special one. He is a fellow whoalways worked behind the scenes and while his efforts may have beeninvisible to some, they were very visible to others. Hiseffervescent smile and his willingness to put himself in harm’s wayto keep the rest of us safe make him the perfect candidate for thisyear’s award. We are proud to recognize Irvin Roberson as the 2007Citizen of the Year.

But there are eight others who also deserve special recognitionfor their efforts, for because of each one of these individuals,this area is better. For that reason we think they arewell-deserving as this year’s Unsung Heroes. You can read moreabout all of them inside today’s edition.

In every community there are special people, special groups andspecial activities that give the community its heart and soul. Oureditorial staff has been busy preparing over 60 stories and 186photos of those who give our area such special character.

Inside you will read about groups called “Coffee Cliques,”friends and neighbors who gather together regularly to keep trackof what is happening around them. Further inside you will find outabout some special folks who keep our children healthy and safe -our school nurses.

In our Faith section, you will learn about the Dickerson Placeand how this organization fills a special need for some ofMississippi’s youth. In our Community section, you can find out howa group of dedicated alumni are determined to keep alive a veryvaluable part of Brookhaven’s heritage – Alexander High School.

What gives the Lincoln County area its special character? Youcan find out in the People section where you will learn about oneman’s efforts to update the history of our area and how another hasadopted Brookhaven as her home.

The economic vitality of the area is of major importance to itssuccess. In our Commerce section, you can learn about thisBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Industry of the Year- a locally owned company that is quite an economic success.

To pull it all together it takes strong leadership. OurLeadership section tells about some of the individuals who keep ourcity, county, area and state on the right track – important folkswith some very important jobs.

This 100-page effort did not happen overnight. It took countlesshours of planning, hours of writing, producing and printing. To sayit consumed our staff for the past four months would be anunderstatement.

For the past 16 years the last Friday in April has a specialname – we call it FOCUS day. A day when we collectively take a deepbreath, relax for a moment and enjoy a job well done. We hope youwill sit back enjoy it as well.

Write to Bill Jacobs at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39602,or send e-mail to bjacobs@dailyleader.com.