Oddball newspaper comments suggest old -- and new -- challenges
COLUMBIA, 7/16/12 (Beat Byte) -- Former Columbia Community Improvement District (CID) business services director  Persephone Dakopolos started a job last Monday as the new public information officer for Midland, Texas. 
But oddball reader comments below a newspaper story about her arrival suggest she'll have her hands full reaching a laudable goal.
On preparing a survey for Midland's citizens she hopes will mirror her philosophy while working at Columbia's CID, Dakopolos told the Midland Reporter-Telegram, "My first goal is to hear from the citizens. The thing that separates a functioning community from a dysfunctioning community is communication."
Comments following the story -- several recently deleted -- have carried on about everything from "knowing where all the bodies are buried at City Hall" to speaking Japanese in an immigrant population that is majority Hispanic.  "Midland has a beautiful mayor, but he is not so forthcoming with information," one reader -- obsessing over Dakopolos' mythological first name (Persephone) -- wrote.  "This is why it is important for Midland to have a goddess available to disseminate all that is beautiful in the stead of he who is so PIOus."

The last word is a take off on PIO -- public information officer.

Like her counterpart in Columbia, city communications director Toni Messina, Dakopolos will oversee Midland's media outreach and public affairs.   The youngest of two children, she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Missouri.   After living in Missouri since she was 10 years old, Dakopolos said she took the Midland job "as a new adventure and challenge.  I didn't know what to expect because I'd never been to Texas before."