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Roses and thorns: 4/20/14


Columbus Public Library archivist Mona Vance-Ali shows local officials around the vault at the library on Monday morning during a tour offered to celebrate National Library Week.

Columbus Public Library archivist Mona Vance-Ali shows local officials around the vault at the library on Monday morning during a tour offered to celebrate National Library Week. Photo by: Mary Alice Weeks/Dispatch Staff




A rose to Mississippi University for Women President Dr. Jim Borsig, for making an eloquent argument for the value of a liberal arts education at a time when all the buzz words are about matching students to specific skills. Granted, a trained workforce is important, but that does not make a liberal arts education irrelevant. "I don't think there is any time any more important than now for a high-quality liberal arts education," Borsig told Columbus Rotarians this week. "Every one of our graduates completes the same core of the liberal arts... You want our students to be able to speak. You want our students to be able to write. You want them to be able to focus on critical thinking. You want them to be able to work in groups. You want them to be able to lead a community in a civil manner. Those are the things that happen in a liberal arts education... I think that I could make the argument that in this day and age where we tend to have pretty shrill arguments about things, that being able to have more well-educated graduates who can lead civic clubs, lead other organizations, lead community kinds of activities all really helps us move this region, any region in the country forward." Amen! 




A rose to Columbus councilmen Bill Gavin and Kabir Karriem, who voted Tuesday to delay a plan to pursue a $5 million bond project to improve the city's infrastructure, primarily through paving, drainage and sidewalk improvements and upgrades. Neither councilman opposes the plan, but both said they wanted more time to put together a detailed plan after many citizens complained during a public hearing held earlier that the project lacked sufficient details on exactly what the money would be used for. Although they were outvoted and the city will proceed with its plans, we are pleased to note that Gavin and Karriem listened to the voices of the citizens. We see this as an encouraging sign that at least some of our city leaders will listen to their constituents. 




A thorn to Columbus Municipal School Board member Jason Spears, who walked out of the board's last meeting after a bitter argument with other board members about the district's plans to select a firm to search for a permanent schools superintendent. While we understand Spears' frustration and appreciate his clear-headed approach to district challenges since he joined the board, we remind Spears that he has an obligation to meet his duties as a board member. Like it or not, that means a board member cannot simply walk out. Spears said he left because he feared he might lose his composure. We sympathize. The conduct of the board has been nothing short of embarrassing. But we sympathize only to a point. Walking out may be a temptation, but it is simply not an option. 




A rose to Starkville School District's Sudduth Elementary School, after the campus recognized as a REACH Mississippi Tier 2 Model Site for positive behavior intervention and support from students. The accolade makes Sudduth only the second school in the state to receive the designation. The school will receive $2,500 from REACH MS to support its positive behavior program. Students and faculty alike will celebrate with a well-deserved popsicle at 1:30 p.m. Friday during its Popping with Pride celebration. Here's to continued success at Sudduth, SSD and all public and private school systems. 




A rose to all of the folks who operate and/or support our libraries in the Golden Triangle. Last week was National Library Week, which should serve as a reminder that the mission of libraries in today's society have expanded greatly. They are no longer simply a repository of books but often serve as a key facilitator in our communities, campuses or schools. Libraries are deeply committed to the places where their patrons live, work, and study. Whether through offering e-books and technology classes, materials for English-language learners, programs for job seekers or those to support early literacy, librarians listen to the community they serve, and they respond.



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