Who's Left Holding the Key?

The Hattiesburg American finally published a segment regarding the arrest of Miles Smith. Like most of the other stories regarding the November 23, 2011 arrest, they focused on the fact that he was given a key to the city. I checked Google and the story was carried by several news agencies ranging from WLBT to the Big News Network. And of course, WDAM was more than willing to publish the story; they love the golden goose of Lumberton. One commenter stated on WDAM's face book page that "Lumberton is the gift that keeps on giving . . . to WDAM." Lumberton is ratings gold for that news station. Right after the arrest, the newsfeed popped up on WDAM's face book page and the only point they were interested in covering was the fact that Miles Smith had been given a key to the city. I called News 7 regarding the story and I was given three different versions of the story but the ones working the news desk during the Thanksgiving holiday was not interested in knowing that the board of aldermen voted to re-zone land for the training school that is going to be ran by Smith and they're weren't interested in any information about the fact that the City of Lumberton had sold a privilege license to this business.
The main issue surrounding the arrest of Smith was totally overlooked. At no point did the news report anything about the large crowd of people that surrounded the building, filling out applications and trying to get a job. Nothing was said that this type of thing didn't happen when the City of Lumberton had a planning and zoning committee. Earlier this month, Cora Rogers, owner of Roger's Childcare, asked each board to explain why they voted to disband the planning and zoning committee and Timothy Johnson told her that the special call meeting was not the proper forum for addressing that question. Hopefully, Mrs. Rogers will be at the next board meeting and ask them the same question and maybe the regular board meeting would be the proper forum for the question.
Although they refused to answer any questions regarding their decision to disband the planning and zoning committee at the last board meeting, Bobby Gibson and Timothy Johnson did say that felt the planning and zoning committee wasn't necessary because they are too troublesome for potential business owners. I guess they're probably rethinking that statement, but since none of this was covered in any of the news stories regarding the arrest of Smith, I guess they feel that they have gotten away again.
Another comment that was frequently used on WDAM's face book page was in reference to background checks. For the record, this board does not check the background of anyone coming into this city; they just take them or the department head recommending them at their word. For instance, there's a father and daughter team that came to the board to ask for a lease on the old hospital and the board never said anything about a background check. It's time for the members of the board to get off their duff and make some phone calls and check on some of these people that are being released into the city. If a department head recommends a person, then take a week or two to check on that person or to at least do a Google search. Get on the phone with that person's last employer and ask some tough questions. But the members of the board don't care enough about this city to spend their precious time to find out about the people they're voting to hire or re-zone land for.
In closing, I would like to talk about the Key to the City. The practice of presenting a key to an individual can be traced back to medieval times, when admission into a city was hampered by many legal restrictions, as well as by walls and locked gates. The key symbolized free entry. The act of giving the Key of the City is SYMBOLIC, since the city has no gates to unlock. Today, the presentation honors civic contributions of the recipients or simply to congratulate a person for their interest in opening a business. By the middle 1800's, it became customary to give a key to the City as a direct symbol of the city's intention that the recipient is as free to come and go at will (unless they have a pending warrant).


  1. I just hate that this city is losting yet another business. You can tell by the number of people there to put in applications that this was a needed thing in city.

  2. When I read the story on the Hattiesburg American site I was left wondering, "Where's the rest of the story?" It seems that TV journalism has gotten just as bad as newspaper journalism. Where's the ambitious investigative reporter?!? This is an example of why people are turning to blogs for news.

  3. I was upset right before Thanksgiving when I heard that you were shutting down the blog but I'm glad to see that you haven't allowed the bitterness of others force you to make a decision that would have left us without an alternate source of information. As for those that leave hateful comments, I'm afraid to say it's very normal, unfortunately. Blame it on the anonymity of the internet, whatever. It's the double-edged sword from being in the industry. Readers will put you on a pedestal and treat you like a god, others will make snarky disgusting comments that they would never do to someone, face to face. You have to take all comments, the good and the bad, with a grain of salt. Don't waste too much time listening to any of it. Say thank you for the good comments, ignore the insults. There's nothing worse that you can do but to answer back on some piss-ant fucker who writes bile, just to see their words in print. You can never win an online war... so the best thing to do is just ignore them. Otherwise they know they've gotten to you, and it helps promote and elevate them, and their useless and hate filled vitriol even more.

    It happened to me a great deal, when I first began.... Not as much anymore. Once people notice you have a thick skin, they seem to give up. This has absolutely nothing to do with you, or what you are doing. Let me make that clear. It's really just... sour grapes. Don't write about or reply to comments. Don't bring anymore attention to them. It's their 15 minutes, and it's sadly all they have. Listen to your friends, they know you more than anybody.... and they'll probably say, that you're doing a great job, and are nothing short of fabulous. :)

  4. I would like to say something about Lumberton Pd on a positive note. I know this doesn't pertain to this blog, but I feel like with all the negative things going on when something positive happens it should be recognized! I went through a road block two Fidays ago and the nice lady who is a police officer was very kind to me and my son. I had let my license expire and I was honest sand tol them I haven't been able to get off work to go renew them and apologized. I know I should have gotten a ticket but they gave me a chance. I don't know her name but she was very professional and scolded me as I deserve, but I appreciated being treated kindly and with respect!

  5. @ Anonymous 6:16. . . there are a few decent police officers still working in Lumberton, but sadly, the only one's we talk about are the rotten apples.

  6. There are so nice police officers in Lumberton. And people need to remember that there the ones that will be there for you when you need them.

  7. Lumberton is cursed to the max. Some spirits needs to be kicked out of there. Think it's a joke if you wanna!!


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