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Roses and thorns: 8/11/13




A rose to all the teachers, staff and administrators throughout the Golden Triangle. School started this week and the work of educating the next generation of children is under way. It won't be long, of course, until those who are charged with this important task are subject to criticism. Yet there are few professions as altruistic as that of an educator. According to a recent survey, the average elementary school teacher spends $150 of her own money to provide supplies for his students not provided by the child's family or the school district. Undoubtedly, there will be situations where a teacher or staff uses poor judgment or make an unpopular decision. But it is wise not to mistake the exception from the rule. Without question, the overwhelming majority of our educators do a great job. So, as the school year begins, we substitute the convention "apple" with a rose. Good luck, teachers!  




A rose to Emma Hatcher, a sophomore at East Mississippi Community College, who is doing serious damage to the conventional thinking that today's youth are self-absorbed and disinterested. Hatcher bucked that idea by starting a day camp for girls ages 7 through 12 based on the novel "Little Women." The day camp is focused on helping girls become confident young women by exposing them not only to outdoor activities but introducing them to a variety of skills that promote self esteem. "This isn't just about today or this summer," Hatcher explained. "It's partly about equipping these girls to be creative, resourceful and confident for years to come." 




A thorn to Randy Pannell, coach of the rugby team at Mississippi State University for his embarrassing outburst at this week's Starkville Board of Aldermen meeting. The rugby team is a club sport at MSU, which means it has no direct ties with the university, a point university officials were eager to make following Pannell's outburst Tuesday. In that meeting, Pannell spoke during the citizens comment period, but stepped well over the line of decorum by exceeding the time limit set for commentary, approaching the dais where the aldermen and mayor were seated and waving his hands in the face of Mayor Parker Wiseman in a regrettable display of anger. Pannell objected to the mayor's pointed criticism of Starkville Parks director Dan Moreland, whom Wiseman defeated earlier this summer in the mayor's race. Pannell threatened to take a rugby tournament he said would bring in close to $500,000 from Starkville to Tupelo if the mayor did not comply to his wishes. Pannell is but one of many Moreland supporters who have continued to wage a subversive assault on Wiseman's administration after Moreland's clear defeat in the election. With each such outburst, Moreland's reputation suffers a blow in the eyes of the community.  


By claiming ties to MSU, ties that the average citizen might not be expected to know are very limited, Pannell also embarrasses the university, whose relationship with the city are well-established and cordial. The university would do well to demand an public apology or cut ties with the rugby program that sullies its name altogether. 




A rose to state representative Tyrone Ellis, who continues to recover at home after suffering a stroke on July 29, which also happened to be his 67th birthday. Ellis, who has represented Mississippi House District 38, is also the Democratic Whip. He has been in the state legislature since 1980. "I'm doing well, and I'm in therapy right now," the Starkville native said earlier this week. " It's a day-to-day thing. I'll probably be down for at least a couple of weeks." We wish him a speedy recovery.



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