October 10, 2009 7:57:00 PM
Roses to local school districts for finding creative ways to keep parents and other stakeholders informed in real time.
Aberdeen, Lowndes County and Starkville school districts use Alert Now, a rapid-communication service delivering voice, e-mail and emergency text messages.
The Starkville School District also uses STI Home, a Web-based program allowing parents to access information about their children''s grades, homework and discipline and attendance records.
Columbus Municipal School District''s Web site hosts a blog authored by board members, parents and others.
The district also uses Twitter and Falcon Blast, to notify parents and students of emergency weather alerts, Parent-Teacher Organization meetings and to make calls when students are absent.
Immanuel Center for Christian Education uses Twitter and Facebook for announcements and school communications.
As technology offers more ways to get real-time information, it''s good to see districts taking advantage of various avenues of keeping parents, teachers and others involved with the schools informed.
Thorns to Caledonia Mayor George Gerhart, Sen. Terry Brown, Rep. Jeff Smith and East Mississippi Community College Entrepreneurial Development Facilitator Bruce Hanson for trying to use their weight to influence a Circuit Court murder case.
The four signed an affidavit requesting the Brian Holliman murder trial be moved out of Lowndes County. Media attention, according to the request for a change of venue filed in Lowndes County Circuit Court, may have tainted the local jury pool.
If the defense wants a change of venue, they have every legal right to request it. But is it the place of the mayor and our local legislators to try to influence the decision?
Gerhart, who admits to being close friends with the Holliman family, says relocating the case is the only way for Holliman to get a fair trial.
Even if he''s right, he and others signing affidavits in support of the change of venue may have done even more harm to public opinion.
A rose to the Starkville Parks and Recreation Department for taking home top honors from the Mississippi Recreation and Park Association Conference last month.
Starkville Parks and Rec won the Outstanding Facility Design Award among cities with 15,000-34,000 people for the recently completed sportsplex on Lynn Lane. Class II parks Architect Gary Shafer, who attended the awards ceremony, designed the Starkville Sportsplex.
The Starkville Parks and Recreation Department also won the Outstanding Examples of Recreation Programming award for its Silly Sports Camp, which taught area youth traditional sports, such as softball, volleyball and track and field, but added elements to make the activities a little silly, like using 2-liter bottles as bats.
Roses to organizers of Dream 365, a weekend celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The event recently was named one of the Southeast Tourism Society''s Top 20 Events for Spring 2010.
Dream 365 was nominated by the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The annual Dream 365 MLK Weekend Celebration is scheduled for Jan. 15-18, 2010.
This is the second year the event has received the STS Top 20 Events award. The weekend celebration in the past has featured, speakers, entertainers and an MLK march.
A thorn from a reader
"Bouquet of thorns to the Caledonia High School band, cheerleaders, and dance team for not showing up to the high school game that had been rescheduled on Oct 10 at home. The Caledonia band had a competition in Tupelo but so did the Houston band and they where at the game. Houston cheered for their team and performed during halftime. It is an honor to be in the band and cheer for your team -- just find it very sad that Caledonia Fans were let down."
Do you know someone who deserves a rose -- or a thorn? Send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah R. Cooper commented at 10/11/2009 8:47:00 AM:
When I read the "Local Politicians Back Venue Change in Murder Trial" I was outraged! The Dispatch gave them "Thorns", I would like to say shame on Elected people to get involved in this! Sometimes families can not afford the expenses an out of area Trial . They would not be able to attend trial. I know the Holliman family also, and have loved and respected them for years, BUT I do not believe moving the trial is the right thing to do! Please, Mayor George Gerhart, Senator Terry Brown, Rep. Jeff Smith and Mr Bruce Hanson stop the shameful behavior. Jurors can be honest and fair NO matter where you go!
JM commented at 10/12/2009 2:08:00 PM:
Outraged is putting it mildly when I read the article regarding the change of venue for that COWARD, Brian Holliman. Everyone is so concerned about HIS rights - what about the fact that he admits he shot Laura Lee?!?! What about HER GOD GIVEN right to LIVE???? Terry Brown, Jeff Smith, Bruce Hanson, George Gerhart - your association (by signing that affidavit) with the likes of Brian Holliman speaks for itself - VOTERS TAKE NOTE!!! Some of these are ELECTED officials who are supposed to represent ALL of the people not just A SELECT FEW!! This terrible tragedy happened to Laura Lee & her family and friends - would you be so eager to sign an affidavit if it effected you personally??? You are truly a DISGRACE to the office that you represent or to the position that you hold! I hope the voters have the last say come election time - or before!