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Roses and thorns: 4/6/14




A rose to Lowndes County Circuit Court Judge Jim Kitchens, who dismissed depraved heart murder charges Wednesday against Columbus resident Rennie Gibbs. Gibbs, who was 16 at the time of her daughter's stillborn death, was charged after admitting she had used crack cocaine during her pregnancy. Kitchens cited a similar ruling by the Mississippi Supreme Court in dismissing the charges. The Supreme Court ruled the existing law was unclear as to whether a woman can be charged for the death of her unborn child. While no one advocates a pregnant woman use drugs during her pregnancy, such charges can set a dangerous precedent. Kitchens followed the law, not emotions, in reaching his decision.  




A thorn to Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitor's Bureau Director Nancy Carpenter, for her less than graceful handling of complaints that Columbus venders weren't sought for events the CVB helps produce. Rather than acknowledge the need to make sure that Columbus businesses, whose taxes support the CVB, are actively sought, Carpenter instead struck a defensive attitude when faced with the criticism. While it may be impossible to contact every potential supplier for the events it supports, a good faith effort and a commitment to "shopping local" is not an unreasonable objective. Carpenter should have acknowledged that. Sometimes, a little humility goes a long way.  




A rose to U.S. Congressman Alan Nunnelee for using his time on the floor of the U.S. House or Representatives on Tuesday to wish a Happy Birthday to his eighth-grade history teacher, Irene Burrow Lancaster. Lancaster, who spent 38 years as a junior high history and civics teacher in Monroe County, New Hope and Columbus, turned 89 Wednesday. Nunnelee said he was motivated to honor Lancaster because she was one of the early influences that led to his decision to pursue elected office. How many of us, regardless of our profession, can point to a teacher who inspired and encouraged us, helping shape as children the adults we would someday become. While we can't deliver a happy birthday greeting to a teacher from the halls of Congress, we all can show our appreciation of those dedicated teachers. Nunnelee's act was a good example for us all. 




A rose to the community's support that helped make this weekend's Wings over Columbus Air Show at Columbus Air Force Base a reality. While personnel at CAFB are to be commended for their efforts in bringing the Air Show, featuring the famed Thunderbirds, to Columbus for the first time in four years, the event would not have been possible without an enormous commitment from the community. CAFB officials say the community contributed almost $100,000 toward bringing the event, which continues today from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. 




A rose to the dozens, no hundreds, of volunteers who made Saturday a special day in the Golden Triangle. With seven big events scheduled in Columbus, Starkville and West Point, it took an army of volunteers to provide the entertainment that residents were treated to on Saturday. This includes not only those workers you may have encountered at the events themselves, but many others who work behind the scenes, often spending hours of time planning and preparing for the events.



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