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Roses and thorns: 4/21/13




A rose to Mississippi University for Women, which held its four-day homecoming celebration this week. At a time when overall university enrollment is down, The W has seen a modest increase in enrollment, a sure sign of health for a university that was beset with problems just a few years ago. This week The W celebrated the 40th anniversary of its College of Nursing and Speech-Pathology, which continues to flourish, representing about a third of the university's enrollment. The presence of so many W alumni this week also serves as testament to the job president Jim Borsig and, before him, interim president Allegra Brigham have done in healing a divided alumni base. The weekend underscored The W's past successes while highlighting a promising future. 




A rose to organizers of Saturday's Cotton District Art Festival. Roughly 35,000 visitors were expected to attend the one-day celebration of the arts. University Drive was jam packed with locals and out-of-town attendees perusing through the best-of crafts and wares of the area. The weather, unlike last year's cold snap, provided a sunny-yet-breezy climate for the event. Festival Co-Chair and Artisans Chair Laurie Burton said this year's event would feature approximately 125 artisans from across the Southeast, many of whom have connections to Starkville and Mississippi State University.  




A rose to all of the men and women at Navistar in West Point, which celebrated a milestone last week in completing the first phase of an order for 205 armored cab vehicles for delivery to Afghanistan. It is always pleasing to the community when a company succeeds. But the nature of the work Navistar is doing is especially gratifying -- making trucks more resistant to IEDs and other attacks. "I feel like this is the first job I've ever had that makes a real difference," Navistar employee Wesley Jenkins said. "You can actually say when you work here that you're saving lives."  




A rose to all those who made the 73rd annual Columbus Pilgrimage a success. Pilgrimage director Nancy Carpenter said preliminary figures showed approximately 10,000 visitors attended, representing 46 states and 16 countries. Ticket sales totaled between $55,000 and $60,000 -- 38 percent higher than last year's revenue. The city's 900 hotel rooms remained between 65 percent and 85 percent occupied during the two-week span, Carpenter said. The "Tales from the Crypt" performances also saw record attendance, despite being cut from six nights to four due to scheduling and inclement weather. Approximately 1,879 people -- up from 1,700 last year -- lined up in Friendship Cemetery, at times waiting nearly two hours to see narrative monologues presented by students from Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.



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