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Roses & Thorns (9/25/2011)




A rose to the two Columbus chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution -- Bernard Romans and Shuk-ho-ta Tom-a-ha -- for reminding us all of the importance of the U.S. Constitution and Constitution Week Sept. 17-23. Through events including a program for government students at West Lowndes High School, library displays and the ringing of St. Paul's Episcopal Church bell 13 times Friday for the original 13 colonies, we all are more mindful of the treasured historic document at the heart of our nation's government. 




A thorn to the Caledonia aldermen for holding an illegal meeting, where they passed the town's budget. The mayor and Board of Aldermen are responsible for about a half-million dollars in taxpayer money this fiscal year, and taxpayers ought to at least have an opportunity to see how town officials plan to spend the funds. But the board called a special meeting, Sept. 13, to discuss and pass the budget and failed to inform the community members who supply the funds. Their reason: The town clerk was out of town. A pretty lame excuse for breaking the law. 




Roses to Jemero Carter, his band, Cross Genre, Columbus blues musicians Big Joe Shelton and Black Prairie Ambassadors, former Columbus Mayor Jeffrey Rupp and Mississippi State University professor Bill Cooke for donating their time and musical talents Thursday night to Music on the Green in Starkville. The concert, held at Overstreet Elementary, benefits the Starkville School District. And all musicians performed at no cost to the organizers, the Starkville Foundation for Public Education.  


The foundation also deserves recognition for continuing to find creative ways to bring revenue in to support the Starkville School District. Starkville schools are the only schools in the area with a private fundraising arm, aside from athletic, band and other booster clubs. Over the years, the Starkville Foundation for Public Education has been able to offer grants to schools and teachers to support efforts and programs that otherwise would go undone. 




Roses to community members who attended a Thursday night meeting, hosted by the Columbus Police Department, in Columbus' Ward 3. The Columbus police recently have shifted focus to partnering with the community in their efforts to reduce crime. It's a noble cause that only works if citizens buy in and take responsibility for their own neighborhoods. Thursday's meeting, the first in a series of meetings to be held throughout the city, was well attended, and hopefully will encourage the community to be more open and trusting of law enforcement. Public safety is a joint effort. Kudos also go to the police for recognizing this and reaching out to the community they serve. 




A rose to Columbus native Kanesha Brown McCollum, who now lives in Montgomery, Ala., but still comes home to give back to her community. A 1995 New Hope High School graduate, McCollum has been offering free character-building workshops in Columbus on weekends. McCollum's next character workshop for teenagers will be held at Rosenzweig Arts Center on Saturday, Oct. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The theme of the workshop is "Good to Go ... Choices Matter." Topics discussed will include respect and demonstrating good character in text messages, emails and social media interactions. The sessions are free, and lunch is provided. 


The Oct. 8 workshop is open to teens ages 13-18. The deadline to register is Sept. 26. For more information, parents contact McCollum at 334-546-8880 or [email protected], or visit her Facebook page: "Committed 2 Character Education." 




A rose to the YMCA for its continued efforts to keep us all healthy. Wednesday, the downtown Columbus YMCA hosted a free health fair with various screenings and literature on health and nutrition, as well as information geared toward seniors. Y officials said part of the reason they offer these types of free health fairs is to combat obesity and diabetes and encourage a healthy lifestyle. As an added bonus, the YMCA also offered to waive the joining fee at all its Lowndes County locations on Wednesday. And while we see the Y's efforts as positive reinforcement, it only works if we participate. 




A rose to Cadence Bank for promising to invest $60,000 in Columbus-Lowndes Habitat for Humanity, over the next three years. Cadence Bank will contribute $20,000 per year to the agency. Habitat for Humanity builds homes for families with financial and other special needs. One thing people fail to realize about Habitat is the homeowners actually must pay for their homes, though there is no interest. The new homeowner also must work on the home themselves and promise to help build other Habitat homes. Habitat cuts the cost of the home by recruiting volunteers, who are overseen by professional contractors, to build the houses. The homes also often are built with donated or heavily discounted materials. If you've never participated in a Habitat for Humanity home build, we encourage you to do so. It is quite a sight to see -- neighbors helping neighbors and working together toward a common good.



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