March 15, 2014 10:32:56 PM
A rose to the city of Columbus for recent ratings worth bragging about. On Monday, Standard & Poor's Rating Services raised its long-term rating on Mississippi Development Bank's series 2010A and 2010B special obligation bonds, issued for Columbus to 'A+' from 'A' based on its specific criteria that included the city's economy, finances, financial management practices/policies and debt. The city's bond rating plays a role in the interest rates our local government must pay to borrow money. Then on Tuesday, Columbus Fire and Rescue became the only fire department in Mississippi -- and one of fewer than 200 nation-wide -- to receive Accredited Agency status with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. This puts the agency in elite company -- the top 1 percentile of an estimated 38,000 fire departments in the country to hold the distinction.
A rose to long-time Mississippi University for Women art instructor Larry Feeney, whose prolific career will be featured in a collection of approximately 80 of his works from the mid-1960s to present day in the Eugenia Summer Gallery inside MUW's Art and Design Building March 18 through April 10. The Feeney exhibit is important, said Alex Stelioes-Wills, MUW associate professor of art and director of the gallery. "It represents not only Larry's history, but MUW history." It's important for students to see the legacy they are inheriting. And it's important for the community. "Larry has been well-loved, and many people have his work hanging in their homes."
A thorn to Columbus state senator Terry Brown, who voted against a bill that added $60 million to K-12 education in Mississippi. Fortunately, the bill passed anyway, adding much-needed revenue to our public schools, which have been routinely underfunded. Even with the additional money, our schools are falling short of the funds they need -- the Mississippi Department of Education requested $300 million. While the economic realities made that request unrealistic, it's hard to imagine why anyone who values K-12 public education would vote against that modest increase.
A rose to MUW's nursing program, which picked up a pair of Nightingale Awards last week. The W's College of Nursing was recognized as the School of Nursing of the Year. This is the second time that The W's program has received this recognition since the Nightingale Awards were started in 2006. The program last fall celebrated its 40th year and, in December, graduated the first class of a recently launched Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree. It is the only nursing program in the state that provides degrees from the associate of science in nursing through the DNP. Mary Jo Kirkpatrick, chair of The W's ASN program, was named Nursing Administrator of the Year. A faculty member at The W for 38 years, she has served as head of the program since 1991, leading it through three successful accreditation processes and three major curriculum revisions. The W's ASN program was the first associate degree program in Mississippi to achieve national accreditation status. National licensure rates since its inception are 98.5 percent.
A rose to the New Hope girls basketball team, whose bid for a state basketball championship came up just short this week. The Lady Trojans advance to the four-team championship round of Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A state tournament at Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, but bowed out with a heart-breaking 50-48 semifinal loss to South Jones, which in turn lost its own heart-breaker in the title game to Natchez. Still, the New Hope girls have much to be proud of en route to a 26-3 record. The loss marked the end of the New Hope careers of eight seniors, including D.J. Sanders, Mercedes Mattix, Allison Newton, Sylvia Sartori, Taylor Baudoin, Moesha Calmes, Taylor Blevins, and Kaitlin Bradley played integral roles in helping New Hope girls basketball return to prominence. "For these kids to fight and scrap and buy into my dreams and hopes of resurrecting this program, I am forever in debt to these kids," said coach Laura Lee Holman.
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