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Roses & Thorns 7-21-13




A rose to the city of Starkville, which for the second time in three years was honored with a "Healthy Hometown" award presented by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. 


The award was given based on a variety of criteria and mayor Parker Wiseman said the city's policies such as its smoking ban and helmet ordinance played a contributing role in winning the distinction. But the designation reflects the efforts of many other entities, according to Blue Cross, which credited local businesses, organizations and civic groups, including Mississippi State University's Department of Health and Wellness, MSU on the Move, Gulf States Manufacturing, Starkville Junior Auxiliary, Pilot Club and Boy Scouts with promoting health education and outreach. The city will receive a $25,000 grant with the award, which it will use to improve the city's park spaces and help fund local education and awareness campaigns.  


A rose to District 4 supervisor Jeff Smith, whose efforts to make sure his district, among the most rural and poorest districts in Lowndes County, is not neglected as the county's coffers expand through the recent industrial growth and the tax revenue that comes with it. Smith held the first of several community meetings on Wednesday, inviting residents of the district to voice their concerns and make suggestions for way their communities can be improved. It is certainly not the first time that Smith has been an outspoken advocate for the district. We applaud him for his willingness to meet with residents and listen to their concerns. That's not something that always happens in other districts. 


A rose to Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, who continues to give elected officials in Mississippi a bad name by actually getting things done for his constituents. This week, Presley signed off on an agreement between the residents of Artesia and Atmos Energy Corporation that will reduce residents' base bill by 49 percent. By consolidating Artesia's gas company with the much larger Atmos, residential bills for gas will be reduced from $35.65 per month to $18.16, a savings of more than $200 per year. Commercial customers' monthly bills will decrease from $111.15 to $46.58 -- a $774.84 savings over 12 months. Large users of natural gas will see monthly rates drop from $452.61 to $336.01, Presley said.  


A rose to the Tennessee Williams home and the Hitching Lot Farmer' Market for being chosen as "Best of Mississippi" honors for 2013 as selected by Mississippi Magazine. The Williams Home was chosen as "Best Historic Site" while the Hitching Lot was selected as "Best Farmers' Market." Roses to local businesses that earned "Best of Mississippi" awards, including Harvey's Restaurant (Best Appetizer), McAlister's Deli and Sweet Peppers Deli (Best Sweet Tea), Umi (Best Sushi), Magnolia Antique Mall (Great Antiques), The Bride and Groom (Best Bridal Shop), Deep South Pout (Best Place to Find Trendy Fashions) and Party and Paper (Best Stationary Shop). Clearly, the best of Columbus is often the best of Mississippi, too! 


A rose to Columbus Light & Water and the Lowndes County School District for agreeing on a plan to allow its schools in New Hope to get out of the sewage business. The plan, although costly to the district, will allow CL&W to take over the sewer operations at the school by having its system linked to that of CL&W. The agreement appears to be a win-win situation.



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