From the Desk of Bolivar County Circuit Clerk Marilyn Kelly

A few weeks ago the Cleveland School District submitted the Petitions Opposing the 3-MIL Tax Increase to the Bolivar County Circuit Clerk, Marilyn Kelly, for signature certification and validation. As with any subject of interest in the community, I believe this tedious process deserves being addressed. As most people may have signed a petition measure at one time or another, most people may not know what happens to their “signature” or that petition after they’ve signed it. Well, the Mississippi Constitution is clear in defining the Process of Certifying [Petition Signatures]:

The Certification Process

Before a person may file a petition with the Governing Authority (School Board), the petition must be certified by the circuit clerk of the county in which the petition was circulated. The circuit clerk shall certify the signatures of qualified electors of that county and shall state the total number of qualified electors signing the petition in that county. The circuit clerk shall verify the name of each qualified elector signing on each petition. A circuit clerk may not receive any fee, salary or compensation from any private person or private legal entity for the clerk's duties in certifying an initiative petition. When the person proposing any initiative measure has secured upon the petition a number of signatures of qualified electors equal to or exceeding the minimum number required by Section 273(3) of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 for the proposed measure, and such signatures have been certified by the circuit clerks of the various counties, he may submit the petition to the Governing Authority (School Board) for filing.


Only a person who is a qualified elector of this county and/or school district may circulate a petition or obtain signatures on a petition. It is unlawful to give or offer consideration to elector;





Again, the constitution is clear in its directive to the Circuit Clerk and as the circuit clerk, I’m only authorized to qualify eligible electors (voters who are active registered voters in the Cleveland School District) on this submitted petition. While this office may qualify eligible voters, I am not authorized to dismiss duplicate signers of the petition. As always, I inform the people of Bolivar of my role as well as any component that is not my role. As the circuit clerk, I am the sole authority in registering voters in Bolivar County and I keep the voter roll in my custody. All voting districts, including school districts, on the voter roll are interpreted and fixed by the Bolivar County Election Commission to ensure that voters are placed in the right district according to their voter registration application. Therefore; it’s imperative that people register to vote and keep their voting record updated when they move. Petition Certifications and Elections are synonymous. Meaning, they both can only work when officials are given complete and accurate information.


Learning boys are people too

As a ninth-grader at Margaret Green Junior High many, many moons ago, I was quiet and mousy with an inner soul that wanted to be heard but I didn’t know how to give it a voice.

It was a day like any other during football season, a Thursday I think. It was pep rally day, which never really excited me, but the obligation was there so that is where my day began.

Entering the gym with excitement filling the air mainly from the football team, coaches and cheerleaders, I found a safe place to sit where no one would bother me. I watched attentively. The new wildcat mascot was bouncing around trying to get the crowd hyped up. Kelly Crocker was the first to acquire this job and she was excellent.

It was a typical pep rally— lot of cheering and hollering. I mostly sat and watched. I liked the cheerleaders since a lot of them were my friends. I watched the football players as well because a lot of them were my friends as well but a lot of them were really cute too.

Once the pep rally died down to a memory for that day, all of the students scurried like field mice to lockers and then on to class. I went to my locker but what I had forgotten was that along with the pep rally the cheerleaders put a football cut out with the player’s name and number on it in their locker for luck or just to pep them up. The idea was to give the football player something to keep in his locker or something he could wear. The tradition was that each football player would give it to a girl to wear for that day.

This particular day, I really wanted to wear one of the “footballs” but I was way to scared to talk to a boy much less ask if I could wear one. So I just was going to go on with my day dreaming about getting to wear one.

Between classes I told my girl friends how much I wanted one and it would have been nice to wear one particular boy’s “football.” I couldn’t ask. I just could never do it.

The bell rung for second period and I left the group to go to my locker to switch out books for my next class. I was hurt knowing my dream would never become a reality. But as I slammed my locker shut and turned around a wonderful miracle happened.

There he was standing in front of me with beautiful blonde hair and gorgeous eyes. I think he was even talking to me but his voice wasn’t registering. I was floored and as I got myself together I realized that he had asked me if I wanted to wear his “football.”

Apparently, he had overheard my friends and I discussing it in the hallway. His beautiful spirit decided to ask me to wear it. I couldn’t have been happier. My feet didn’t touch the floor all day long. It was such a sweet thing for him to do. He was as kind as he was good looking. From that day forward we became friends and for the rest of high school he was always a stand up guy.

Unfortunately, the world has been cheated as his kind soul was recently taken from us. He was a lot of different things to a lot of people but to me he was the person that showed me that boys could be kind and that they are just people like any of my other friends. I thank him for that lesson.

I thank him too for my knowledge of baseball. My friend Sally Lawes and I went to watch Coach Powe’s boys play home games. I went to watch this guy play ball and in the mean time I learned the game. I even bought a CHS baseball cap.

My childhood friend and neighbor Leigh Ann Thorton Dauler put a comment on Facebook that hit the nail on the head. I tried to find it again but to paraphrase it, it went something like this. “He was a person everyone wanted to be friends with. He was the guy all the girls wanted to date. He was a coach’s dream. All of these things are true and the world will miss Taylor King and so will I.”

Caroline Laster is an employee of The Bolivar Commercial. She may be contacted This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Conducting kids summer spiritual journey

Every year since I can remember my church has had a Vacation Bible School. I remember being put on with some parents and nuns. The nuns were kind of scary because they never smiled at us. VBS was all class and music, that’s all.

During this year’s VBS, I worked in the kitchen making sure everyone got fed so little tummies wouldn’t growl before the kids got home. We worked hard but the most important part of the week was feeding the children new information about their spiritual lives.

Our program was called “Tracking the Mary: The Mysteries and Messages.” It was such a creative way to teach our kids about the Marian apparitions that as Catholics we hold dear to our hearts.

And O.K, let us just get this out of way. No we do not worship Mary and we were not teaching the kids that. We do put Mary in high esteem. Tell me who else carried the Son of God? Mary allows us to continue our spiritual journey to be like God wants us to be and reminds us exactly how to do it through her actions. She is kind of like the quarterback who leads us in for a touchdown within our lives so the coach can be proud.

The theme was guided by a train that took the kids on a journey each night to visit far away lands where Mary showed us that she is a reminder of the solemnity of our Christian lives in the kindnesses shown to others.

The lands began with France to discover Bernadette in Lourdes in 1858 (Our Lady of Lourdes); then on to hear about the kids at Fatima in 1917 (Our Lady of Fatima); leaving there and arriving at Mexico in 1531 to encounter Juan Diego and find out how his uncle was cured (Our Lady of Guadalupe). After all that, the children heard about how 15 people saw Mary deep in prayer in Ireland in 1879 (Our Lady of Knock). Finally coming to the end of our trip at the 13th century in England with Simon Stock who was given the gift of a Scapular (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel).

All of these gave the kids great stories to reflect on and think of how important our God is that he has given us inspirational places to visit.

But with all this in addition to dinner, music, art and the class, I guess the minds of our little vacationers were in a whirlwind. I say this because when I quizzed my son, Crawford about what he had learned at Bible school this is what I got.

“Mama, see ... this is all about Mary.” Oooo! I was so proud. He had learned something about his faith. But Crawford continued and said, “...And it seems she took a trip.” Yes folks, my heart sank. He got it partially but missed the mark by a little.

Believe it or not, since then I have heard him tell his daddy about things he learned. He has talked about the Rosary, Mary and prayer, so it isn’t all bad.

Next year, maybe he will realize that he is the one on the trip, learning about God and his faith. You know everyday we all learn a little something new. Choo choo, the train is leaving the station.

Caroline Laster is an employee of The Bolivar Commercial. She may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.