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Roses and thorns 3-28-2010





A rose to the Mississippi State women''s basketball team for earning the program''s first trip to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. 


The seventh-seed Lady Dawgs beat Middle Tennessee State 68-64 before upsetting second-seed Ohio State 87-67. 


MSU had avenged their last-season 64-58 loss to the Lady Buckeyes. Then, the Lady Dawgs lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament. 


But this year, even Ohio State admitted, MSU''s aggressiveness cut them out of the game. 




Roses to members of local Complete Count Committees, who work to promote the 2010 Census and get as many people as possible to fill put their forms. 


The more people who fill out the U.S. Census form in every community, the better. 


Columbus-Lowndes Complete Count Committee members are Sharon Lewis, Jo Shumake, Kenya Barry, David Armstrong, Joe King, Shirley Bush, Bill Andrews, Leon Speck, Audrey Swanigan, Meagan Coughlin, Capt. Fred Shelton and Gretta Gardner. 


West Point-Clay Complete County Committee members are Justin Estes, Martha Allen, Davida Hill-Beckum, Vaughn Blaylock, Bobby Lane, Brenda Johnson, Sue Womack, Robert Smith, Nebra Porter, Tanya Griggs, Ungeanette Brantley and Donna Cliett. 


Starkville-Oktibbeha We Count Census Committee members are Robert Jamison, Audrey Swanigan, Parker Wiseman, Monica Banks, John Young, Sandra Sistrunk, Ben Carver, Walter B. Gonsoulin, James Covington, J. Lee Winter, Thomas Rogers Jr., Danny R. Rowland, Annie J. Malone, Donna Stark, Nina Peele, Kelly Daniels, Tim Pratt, Jon Maynard, Shavell Rice, Clara Dancer, Lena Smith, Dorothy Isaac, Albert Gore Jr., Chris Taylor, Emma Mays, Bethany Stich and Thomas Sellers. 


If you haven''t already, be sure to fill out your U.S. Census form and send it in! 




Roses to the 2010 Leadership Lowndes County class for adopting Safe Haven as their service project this year. The 15-member group hosted a fun run/walk Saturday at the Columbus Riverwalk to raise money for the battered women''s shelter. In the area since 1983, Safe Haven offers temporary shelter for abuse victims and their children. 


Leadership Lowndes is a nine-week program coordinated by The Columbus-Lowndes Development Link to offer local leaders and future leaders an inside look at areas such as education government and health care. Each year, the class chooses a project to complete during the nine weeks. 


Safe Haven, which is exactly what its name indicates, is a worthy effort to support, helping hundreds of women get out of bad situations and onto their own feet. 




Roses to those who''ve helped United Way of Lowndes County achieve more than 84 percent of its goal. Campaigners raised $505,000, $20,000 more than was raised last year. Though the agency fell short of its $600,000 goal, it made great gains during a time when funds are tight. 


The agency also took time to recognize its contributors, offering praise and awards to dozens of local businesses and individuals. Volunteer of the Year this year went to Columbus Air Force Base. While the award usually goes to an individual, Meagan Coughlin, volunteer coordinator for the Community Volunteer Center, could think of no better entity than CAFB to honor. Whenever volunteer opportunities are available, CAFB answers the call in droves, she said. 


United Way supports such agencies as the Boys and Girls Club, Contact Helpline, Safe Haven, The Greater Columbus Learning Center and RSVP. To give, contact the United Way of Lowndes County at 662-328-0943 or visit on the Web at 


A rose to the YMCA for partnering with The Dispatch to host the Mile-A-Day marathon, which encourages participants to log 26.2 miles during the month of April.  


The program kicks off on April 1, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Riverwalk, where people can register for the marathon. Mayor Robert Smith and representatives from The Y and The Commercial Dispatch also will lead a kickoff walk/run beginning at 5:30 p.m. 


Participants will receive a log-in sheet for tracking daily mileage and information on Lowndes County walking/running trails. 


Registration is available at all Lowndes County YMCA branches between March 29 and April 1. The optional $10 entry fee includes an event T-shirt. Call the downtown Columbus YMCA at 662-328-7696 for more info. 




A posthumous rose to George "Happy" Irby, for whom a road was dedicated on Friday. The road leading from Highway 45 North to the Columbus Air Force Base, where Happy left his biggest mark, was renamed in his honor, Happy Irby Parkway. 


Happy had been the welcoming face of the Columbus Air Force Base for more than 50 years and one of Columbus'' best-loved philanthropists. He died in 2009 on his 94th birthday, March 27. 


Using the tips he made bartending at the base, Irby began the Happy Christmas Fund in 1952. The fund --carried on by Irby''s children and friends -- continues to this day, helping to buy Christmas gifts for needy children and fruit baskets for the elderly



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