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Roses and thorns: 7/13/14




A rose to Dr. Philip Hickman who was selected as the new superintendent of school for the Columbus Municipal School District during a special meeting Friday. Hickman, 38, comes to Columbus from Houston, Texas, where he served as an assistant superintendent in the nation's seventh largest school district. We welcome Dr. Hickman to Columbus and look forward to his ideas for helping our schools reach their potential. His job is an important one and also a challenging one. We wish him every success. 




A rose to Columbus Light & Water whose quick attention to resolving issues related to sewage overflows prevented thousands of dollars in fines that the Environmental Protection Agency has levied against many cities under similar circumstances. Unlike some cities, which argued, delayed and bickered with the EPA over its requirements, CL&W went to work immediately to solve the problem. No doubt, CL&W's prompt response was considered when the EPA made its decision not to levy those fines.  




A thorn to Starkville alderman Roy A. Perkins, who is engaged in a tussle with the Starkville School District over roughly a $500,000-surplus collected from a retired school bond. SSD, which is merging with the Oktibbeha County School District this fall, would have plenty of uses for the money. Perkins, however, wants the money put into the city's general fund. Not only was the money never intended for such a use, it turns out the infusion of the money would likely prove far more trouble than it' s worth by driving down millage rates in the short term, but forcing the city to raise millage in the future to meet new obligations such as the new LINK project in the area. Perkins has no fair claim on the money. It doesn't belong to the city; it never did. 




A rose to Lowndes County Sheriff's Department deputies Larry Swearingen and Clint Sims, who have returned to light duty four months after they were shot in the line of duty. Swearingen and Sims were honored Thursday along with the E-911 dispatchers, first responders and fellow officers who were on the scene of the March 18 shooting in a New Hope subdivision. The incident is a reminder that it is no cliche to say that law enforcement personnel put their lives on the line every day they report to work. We are thrilled to have both men back in uniform and remain grateful for their service.  




A rose to Caledonia aldermen who found a creative way to fill a position, and save money in the process. Instead of hiring a replacement for the town's full-time park director, Allan Glenn, the town alderman voted to fill the job with a one part-time person to oversee the parks and two part-time, seasonal workers. Glenn resigned from the position on June 2. The town will pay Lisa Mims to oversee operations for $1,000 a month while the two part-time seasonal workers will be paid $10 per hour. The full-time position paid $25,000 annually and while the alderman would not put a figure on what they expect to save, they believe the costs will be reduced while maintaining the same quality of service. What's not to like? 




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



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