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Roses and thorns: 2/26/12




A rose to 13-year-old Mary Lee, who is already earning quite a reputation for herself as a dog handler. While some teenagers have to be bribed or cajoled into walking the family dog, Lee is trotting impeccably-coiffed canines around the show ring -- and winning.  


Two weeks ago, Lee was in New York City at Madison Square Garden, participating in the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. She and "Grand Champion Sugarok Born in the USA" (also known as "Bruce") took Best of Breed Honors, and she and "Grand Champion Szumeria's Lucky Charm" (also known as "Zoe") won the Best of Opposite Sex award.  


Dog handlers play a unique role. They're expected to be well-dressed yet blend into the background, poised yet able to respond quickly to subtle cues from their four-footed charges. Then there's the painstaking care put into bathing, grooming, training and all the other things that take a dog from pet to champion.  


It's bound to be a lot of pressure, but somehow we get the feeling Lee is having the time of her life. And judging from the photograph we saw of the noble, black and tan puffball also known as "Bruce," he looks to be having a grand time as well. Congratulations to Lee and her parents, David and Sarah Lee.  




A rose to City Planner Christina Berry, who saw a problem and took it upon herself to find a solution. As she drove through the streets of Columbus, she kept noticing the same thing in neighborhood after neighborhood: Every street seemed to have at least one house that needed a fresh coat of paint.  


Not surprising in tough economic times. Berry estimates it costs anywhere from $500 to $800 to have an average house painted, and for many people, basic home upkeep has become a luxury.  


On March 31, a crew of volunteers, led by Berry, will descend upon the streets wielding paint rollers and brushes. Homeowners who are disabled veterans, senior citizens and low-income single parents were eligible. 


But that's not all. Berry also managed to invigorate small business owners, inviting them to donate supplies to the cause. And they lined up in droves to participate. 


It's good to see city employees out in the community, helping make Columbus a better place. And it's great to see the big things that can be accomplished by a handful of people who want to make a difference.  


A thorn to the latest prankster who disrupted classes at Columbus High School for the second time in a week and the third time this year.  


Wednesday morning, local law enforcement and firefighters responded to a bomb threat at the school -- a scenario which is growing all too frustratingly familiar. Even the students seemed nonchalant this week as they strolled out to the football field to wait for bomb-sniffing dogs to examine the building.  


It costs an inordinate amount of time and money for police, firefighters and bomb squads to respond to these calls.  


But perhaps the greatest cost is to the students themselves.  


Every hour they are not in class is an hour of instruction that will have to be regained by makeup days. Every time there is a cry of wolf, people become a little more complacent, a little more inured to the possibility of danger. What happens if, heaven forbid, there is ever a true threat to the school?  


These childish "pranks" must stop. This is not a game; this is a felony. And everyone ends up being hurt.  




A rose to Mississippi University for Women's Culinary Arts students who Thursday served a gourmet Asian meal to a roomful of lucky liners. As will any of the 50 or so who attended will tell you, the food and service were exquisite. The event was the first of three international luncheons the culinary arts students will prepare this spring. The next two events are on March 3 and April 14. Tickets are $21 per person. For more info contact Cheryl Brown at 241-7472.



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