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Season not all that’s changing

As one season gives way to another, Brookhaven and Lincoln County stand on the brink of change in more ways than one.

While the changes in our community encompass much more than just the transition of the seasons, we are indeed nearly into spring.

That fact was evident as I made my afternoon walks around my neighborhood earlier this week. Monday, as I passed along Becker Street, I saw a bright red riding lawnmower standing ready to go in a driveway. The mower had obviously gotten a spring-cleaning in readiness for the first mowing of 2013.

Nearby, a homeowner was busy at work doing some serious pruning on a small tree in his front yard.

Farther along on my stroll, I encountered some spirited leaf raking on Church Street. On Chippewa Street, a young couple was unloading stones and putting in a new flowerbed around the front of their house.

All the spring housekeeping activity is humankind’s way of bidding winter good-bye. Mother Nature is already putting on her own seasonal show. Japanese magnolias are sending out pink blossoms, and the camellias are continuing the display that started much earlier, back in the dead of winter.

Just as the seasons are changing, so too is our community itself. Recently, the city’s two highest elected officials, the mayor and the chief of police, announced they would not run again in this year’s city election.

Mayor Les Bumgarner has served as the city’s chief executive since 2009, and prior to that, he served two terms as an alderman. At 65 years of age, the mayor says he’s looking forward to retirement.

Chief of Police Arlustra “Pap” Henderson also recently announced he will not be seeking another term. Henderson has held the position as top city lawman since first winning the job in a landslide election in 2001.

In announcing his decision to retire, Henderson pointed out he has been on the job in the department for 43 years. “I’m not worn out, but 43 years is enough,” he told The Daily Leader, as he noted he’s ready to relax a bit.

Both officials will be missed, and whoever follows in their footsteps will, no doubt, bring changes to the positions. We’ll have to wait and see what happens in this year’s city election to see who steps into their shoes for the next four years.

Recently, in another change, but this time on the county side of government, Dustin Bairfield took over as circuit clerk after winning a special election last November.

While not part of our city or county government, the newspaper is certainly a strong part of our community, and it, too, has seen a change at the top. Rick Reynolds has taken over the reins of the paper from longtime publisher, Bill Jacobs, whose family owned the paper for more than 50 years.

The Daily Leader plans on doing the same thing it has always done, which is be a quality newspaper for Brookhaven, Lincoln County and the surrounding area.

Change is a necessary part of life, and we look forward to the good things that will come as we move into a new season – both literally and figuratively – in our community.

Rachel Eide is editor/general manager of The Daily Leader. Contact her at reide@dailyleader.com.