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Roses and thorns 5/7/17




A rose to the organizers, volunteers and city workers who collaborated for yet another enjoyable Market Street Festival. Thousands descended on downtown Columbus on a picture-perfect Saturday to listen to music, eat and meander among vendor booths along Main, Market and College streets. There were 220 arts/crafts vendors, 20 food vendors, lots of kids' activities and plenty of music, beginning with Friday night's concert at the Riverwalk and continuing through Saturday's day-long event.  


While we don't know the precise turnout yet, Saturday's festival appears to be comparable to last year, which Columbus Main Street director Barbara Bigelow estimated at 40,000. 




A rose to Robbie Robinson, who easily defeated his Democratic primary opponent Tuesday, earning his second term as mayor of West Point.  


Robinson claimed almost two-thirds of all votes cast in the primary, and since there is no opponent in the general election, he'll be sworn in as mayor in July. In Robinson seems perfectly suited for the job in the sense that he reflects so many of the qualities the city is known for. Robinson is friendly, unpretentious and down-to-earth; in short, he is a perfect fit for West Point.  




A rose to the Columbus Arts Council for another exceptional Mississippi Writers Series program. More than 100 turned out Thursday on the MUW campus to hear author Richard Grant discuss his much-talked about "Dispatches from Pluto," an account on the Englishman's move to a small town in the Delta. The book, an unflinching examination of life in the Delta from the perspective of an outsider, has been warmly received, in part for its nuanced look at Mississippi, arguably one of the nation's most misunderstood states.  




A rose to the Mississippi Public Service Commission, whose novel idea that economic deals should be mutually beneficial the both industry and Mississippi residents is something our economic development leaders would do well to emulate. The PSC is pursuing a plan to that would require utility providers in the state to actively pursue hiring Mississippi residents and state-based firms.  


All too often, those jobs wind up in the hands of out-of-state contractors and non-residents.  


Mississippi has given much and received far too little in these economic development deals, doling out hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and incentives without any stipulations that these companies hire local residents and contractors. It is time the average Mississippi taxpayer saw some return on those millions. The PSC's plan, while limited to utility providers, is a step in the right direction.



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