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Those who have never attended the annual Art of Healing would probably be surprised to find out what kind of event it is. It’s not a stuffy, wine-and-cheese, little-finger-out-when-you-sip-the-tea, black-tie affair. It’s casual. Fun even. 

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When Leader-Call chief reporter and editor Mark Thornton walks into the Jones County Board of Supervisors meeting twice per month or arrives at the Laurel City Council, there likely are some muted grumbles — especially from those making the decisions.

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In the classic 1980s children’s show “School House Rocks,” kids are told through song that three is the magic number.

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About twice per year, we like to remind the kind, nice, taxpaying folks of this community the inherent danger we all face with an absolutely out-of-control, irresponsible spending binge in Washington, D.C. Forget illegal immigration or social policies, the greatest threat to our union — as w…

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We appreciate Tony Stiles and the sacrifice that he suffered for our county. He is a true, selfless hero. We so admire Stiles that we made him our “Person of the Year” in 2012. We also want to make it very clear that this newspaper, nor anyone affiliated with this newspaper, ever brought up …

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The Jones County Board of Supervisors and Laurel City Council both signed resolutions of support for an Interstate 14 expansion project that would bring the “Forts to Ports” highway to Jones County.

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We were disheartened to say the least at the turnout at the annual Laurel Mardi Gras parade on Saturday evening. One local business owner took to social media decrying that it was Saturday afternoon and he had no idea the parade was even happening. Others chalked up the poor turnout to the e…

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Alex Hodge, part-time sheriff and part-time business owner, could be in violation of state ethics laws with the blurred lines between B-Clean and his employment with Jones County.

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As President Donald Trump sits in Vietnam trying to broker a peace deal with the North Koreans, the Democrat Party is putting on display what we should expect for the next two years ... well, let’s make that six years.

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Living in Mississippi comes with a few certainties: Heat in the summer, hurricane possibilities for six months and the scourge of tornadoes. On Saturday, a tornado zeroed in on Columbus and wreaked havoc.

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Our hearts always go out to the victims of senseless violence. But when there’s a personal connection to one of the victims, hearts grows heavier and our sense of rage intensifies. And the question we’re always left with is the same: Why?

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The story of a beating of an openly gay black actor by men chanting racist invectives and tying a rope around the man’s neck is falling apart. The actor, Jussie Smollett, and his representatives are standing by the story, but the police are no longer treating him as a victim.

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If you are among the people criticizing President Trump because your income tax refund is smaller this year, then chalk that up to yet another of the many reasons that he should be president and you shouldn’t. 

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Complaining about the state of politics is as old as politics itself, especially on a local level. There are a million critics out there, but only a select few who will actually put their hat into the ring to do something about it.

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How many of us would venture down South Magnolia Street for an iconic PDI burger and gaze across the street at the mammoth brick building sitting in disrepair? Many likely remember when a thriving industry was contained within its walls, only to have it shuttered for years.

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With no press or fanfare, the latest attempt by a Mississippi senator to increase penalties for aggravated animal cruelty died in committee. 

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Most, if not all of us remember the story of the boy who cried wolf to alert the villagers that his flock was in danger, only to find there was no wolf lurking. Eventually, the villagers stopped listening to the boy who cried wolf. And, eventually, the wolf did show up and decimated the flock.

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In national politics, there is an overwhelming thirst for something different in Washington, D.C. Cries of “DRAIN THE SWAMP!!” resonate from both sides of the aisle. (Let’s not forget that it was the swampiest of them all, Nancy Pelosi, who first said “drain the swamp” when her party took ov…

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 As the City of Laurel and the police department continue to grapple with the sudden death of Chief Tyrone Stewart early Monday morning, the hurt eventually will subside, but his legacy never will.

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Something wakes you from a deep sleep. In your sleepy haze, you think you smell something odd and, as you wake, you realize your bedroom is engulfed in thick smoke and you are finding it hard to breathe. Or, you are in your car after you lost control, flipped three times and now find yoursel…

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They become so commonplace in the weeks leading up to Christmas that we almost stop noticing them amid the chaos. They’re the Salvation Army bell-ringers, strategically stationed at the entrances of our busiest shopping centers and stores.

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OK, in the pantheon of world problems, the New Orleans Saints getting hosed in their attempt to reach the Super Bowl really is not at the top of the list. Crippling national debt, a terrible cultural divide, dysfunctional federal government and social media tearing the country apart are real…

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There’s no arguing that the current political culture is toxic. There’s an Us-against-Them mentality that divides — and defines — too many of our people. Those divisions are based on race, political party, socio-economic status, birthdate (millennials vs. Generation Y vs. Gen Xers vs. Boomer…

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In our Thursday Page 1 story about the Board of Supervisors’ plan to build a bridge on Lower Myrick Road, it came across to some that the board was trying to play fast and loose with open meetings rules and regulations to hoodwink the local press. Just to clarify, we didn’t suspect any wrong…

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At each Laurel City Council meeting, the floor is opened up for any resident to voice his or her opinion on anything from decriminalizing marijuana in the city to the poor condition of the roads to the poor condition of the poor.

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Judge Dal Williamson’s ruling last week in the animal-abuse case against an elderly Jones County couple will, it appears, have a lasting effect on how law enforcement will be able to conduct search and seizures. The case is likely headed to the state Supreme Court and Williamson urged attorn…

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The story of a man who ran into a burning home to try to save a baby on 1st Avenue last week has gripped the people of this community and everyone else who has read about it. It would have at any time of the year, but stories of tragedy are alway magnified here at Christmastime.

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As expected, the sheriff’s online deputies went to Facebook while hoards of our readers told us face-to-face that our front-page editorial, “The Madness of Alex Hodge,” was on point. The latter get it. Almost all of them have seen the slow, but inarguable transformation that has taken place …

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On Saturday morning, a food-service worker was having a really tough morning. The shift supervisor barked orders, made mountains out of what seemed like molehills with most of the ire directed at one particular worker. The worker was a bit older, maybe even the age of a young grandmother — s…

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Two cautionary tales have emerged over the past week from a Hollywood A-lister and a quarterback destined for professional athletic stardom. 

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We must say we were a bit tickled — and honored — when Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee made a point during Tuesday’s City Council meeting to laud the Leader-Call for its headline in Saturday’s paper about the final holdup of the Beacon Street Corridor project. Just to put into perspective on how l…

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The death of George H.W. Bush marks the end of an era. He is the last president from the Greatest Generation. And he was perhaps one of the most qualified presidents in history, serving as a heroic fighter pilot in World War II, a baseball player at Yale, a businessman, then in Congress, as …

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Most of what’s written or said relating sports to the real world is preachy, full of platitudes. Though it’s 100 percent accurate and applicable to draw parallels between the games we play and the life skills we use in work environments and relationships, those statements are usually made fr…

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Do you remember when Donald Trump descended the escalator more than three years ago announcing his run for president? We do. This newspaper became big — dare we say YUGE — supporters of the president because he talked frankly about the grandeur of being an American. He wrapped himself in the…

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Tuesday afternoon after our editorial was written on the status of the iconic lighting of Mason Park each Christmas, one of the organizers came into the office declaring a hopeful victory. A group of mostly young people, buoyed by local businesses, pledged their help in varying capacities.

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In December 2016, the Laurel Leader-Call publicized a desperate plea from organizers of the iconic Mason Park Christmas light display. Organizers of one of the most unique sights in Mississippi were pleading for volunteers to help with a process that is laborious for an army, let alone a sma…

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Let us first say that we love each and every one of you who pick up this newspaper three days per week. You are the lifeblood of this operation and without you, there would be no us.

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Many times over the years, we have come to the defense of people who have been put in the cyberworld’s version of the public pillory for a misstatement, a misstep or an obviously out-of-context statement.

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Early Monday morning, a worker at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art was taking down the banners welcoming visitors to the DaVinci Machines exhibit. The removal was a sad end for one of the most popular exhibitions ever to come to the museum at 5th Avenue and 7th Street.