Leaders and election move our city forward

Saturday, April 1, 2017

I have two separate issues I want to cover with today's column.

The Sikeston Regional Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards banquet Thursday to recognize a number of community leaders for their service and dedication to our community.

Friday's paper had the rundown of the honorees and their accomplishments and believe me, each individual offered a sterling resume on community service and each individual was extremely deserving. All should be praised for their sacrifices.

But I want to recognize the Citizen of the Year Mike Bohannon and the Lifetime Achievement honoree Tom Nunnelee.

Bohannon has been a leading voice in our community for a number of years as highlighted Thursday night. And despite years of dedication to the growth and improvement to our community, he continues to develop our business community with a passion that is unparalleled.

Bohannon is a bulldog in so many ways because once attached to a project, he tirelessly works to develop businesses that will grow Sikeston, provide much-needed jobs and frame the face of our community far into the future.

Tom Nunnelee has deserved this community recognition for a number of years. And it seems only fitting that the Lifetime Achievement Award now bears his name.

For more years than either of us would like to admit, Nunnelee and a number of others have worked on more projects than you can count. His legacy is an example for future leaders and anyone interested in public service would be smart to follow in his footsteps.

The examples of his hard work are everywhere but let me point to just one. And I single it out because I was involved and saw firsthand the respect others held for this outstanding leader.

Were it not for Tom Nunnelee and the late Rich Wrather, the Kenny Rogers annual Telethon may well have ended many years ago.

Nunnelee almost singlehandedly jumped in at a time when the telethon's future was in doubt and helped to build the largest single fundraiser in our community's history. If you want to know why this annual event is so successful, look no further than Tom Nunnelee.

All of the Chamber winners are to be commended. And more importantly, anyone wanting to help this community grow needs to look to these individuals as examples of what community service really means.


Tuesday is election day in Sikeston and elsewhere. In many past years these April municipal and school elections were lackluster with limited interest and limited candidates.

Not this year.

Seven passionate candidates are seeking one of three seats on the Sikeston School Board and, from reading their qualifications and priorities (elsewhere in today's paper), you'll see right away that there are differences of opinion and direction for our public school system.

Sikeston voters will also put a new member on the City Council. As growth and the associated challenges develop for our community, it's important that we elect someone who will fairly represent our views and help to push Sikeston forward.

But the issue that looms over these Tuesday elections is a proposed bond issue to finance construction of a new elementary school to replace Matthews Elementary.

For starters, a yes vote on this proposal will not raise your taxes. And that is important.

There is universal agreement that Matthews Elementary has probably outlived its useful life and that concern impacts the quality of education. You can quibble on the size or scope of the project and poke holes if you like, but the reality is that our community must address these aging facilities and the time is now.

Without reservation, I support the passage of this bond issue and, like you, I look forward to a new day for our public education.

With a bond issue and a host of candidates on the ballot, it's likely the turnout Tuesday will be heavier than normal. And that rate of participation speaks well for our community.

Together let's move Sikeston forward with new leadership and a new vision for the future.

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