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Roses and thorns: 5/18/14




A rose to the graduates of Mississippi State University, which held its commencement exercises Friday evening. Statistics show that among Americans ages 25 to 32, median annual earnings for full-time working college-degree holders are $17,500 greater than for those with high school diplomas only. That gap steadily widened for each successive generation in the latter half of the 20th century. So, despite the burden of student-loan debt many of this weekend's grads must bear, the choice will likely prove to be a wise one. Beyond that, we challenge graduates not to merely focus on their own enrichment, but to use what they have learned to enrich the lives of others in their communities. To whom much is given, much is required. 




A rose to the organizers and participants of Saturday's second annual Downtown Art Walk in West Point. Fifty fine artists and craftspeople displayed and sold their work during the event. The success of last spring's inaugural Art Walk certainly provided enthusiasm for an even bigger event this year. The Art Walk is a production of the West Point/Clay County Arts Council and West Point Main Street Association. The event focuses on fine arts, such as painting, sculpture, drawing and printmaking. Handmade and original crafts are included, too. Hand-built or thrown pottery, jewelry, fused glass, metalwork and fiber arts were also on display. 




A rose to LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins who candidly warned elected officials should not seek favors from Yokohama in the form of jobs for relatives. Higgins' admonition came during a Monday briefing from an economic development consultant on the region's future. In another era, this "Good Ole Boy" agreement was an accepted practice. While we are not so naive as to believe that the practice of political favors has been relegated to the dustbin of the past, we are encouraged to know that the appetite for these sort of quid-pro-quo arrangements has fallen into disfavor. Every job should go to the most qualified candidate and every candidate should go through the prescribed process. It's as simple as that. 




A thorn to the Starkville Board of Aldermen, most of which did not bother to attend Monday's economic development briefing, sponsored by the Golden Triangle Development LINK. Of the city's seven alderman, only Ward 5 alderman Scott Maynard bothered to attend the event. This is in stark contrast to the other city and county leadership of the Golden Triangle, which turned out en force. Perhaps the lack of interest merely illustrates that when it comes to progress, the Starkville Board of Aldermen simply aren't very interested.  




A rose to all the businesses and organizations in the Golden Triangle who have rallied in support of the victims of the April 28 tornadoes that killed nine in Louisville. Coffee shops, restaurants, churches, civic organizations and schools have all made significant contributions to help our neighbors to the south recover from recent devastating storms. If you would like to help, the best bet is to contact your local Red Cross or Salvation Army, or check with the civic clubs or churches in your area. We are always at our best when the need is greatest. 




Send your suggestions for Roses and thorns to managing editor Slim Smith at [email protected]



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