Article Comment 

Roses and thorns: 5/28/17




A rose to the organizations who made sure, amid the pleasant diversions typical to all holiday weekends, the original intent of Memorial Day was not forgotten.  


Events such as Thursday's Columbus Air Force Base ceremony honoring a fallen pilot who trained at CAFB and Friday's Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce ceremony at Friendship Cemetery -- the site of what many believe to be the first "Memorial Day" event -- provided us an opportunity to honor the memories of the more than 1.1 million Americans who have died in military service since the nation's inception. We honor those brave and selfless men and women, and thank these organizations for providing us appropriate means of allowing us to express that gratitude. 




A rose to Columbus Crime Lab Director Austin Shepherd, the person most responsible for solving one of the city's most notorious cold-case crimes.  


Wednesday, the U.S. Marshals Service announced the arrest of David Murray, 52, of Jackson in the July 1996 murder of Columbus resident Mack Fowler. If the case is proven, it will be one of the oldest cold-case murders ever solved through DNA evidence in the state. That evidence would likely have never emerged were it not for Shepherd's decision to send the DNA results to the FBI DNA database 10 years ago. That decision came well after the case had "gone cold" and public pressure to solve the crime had abated.  


That Shepherd chose to submit the evidence long after the crime had been mostly forgotten is a testament to his professionalism. The results speak for themselves. 




A rose to Brandon Presley, Northern District Commissioner of the Mississippi Public Service Commission, for his efforts to ensure that tax-payer supported construction projects make every effort to make sure Mississippians have a shot at the jobs these projects produce.  


Presley is promoting the PSC's "Hire Mississippi" rule, which would require all utilities under PSC jurisdiction notify state-based contractors of upcoming projects and establishing the PSC as an information clearing house connecting projects with state contractors. As Presley noted, when companies benefit from the taxes Mississippians pay, it is only right that Mississippians derive the maximum benefits of those projects.  


We applaud Presley's leadership.  


At a time when many elected officials seem caught up in abstract philosophical and political endeavors, Presley continues to look beyond the distractions to find ways to help Mississippians in a tangible way.  




A rose to all those organizations whose support has been critical to stage and sustain a community event that continues to be a respite for the long days of summer.  


The "Sounds of Summer" concert series opens its 10th season on June 1 at the Columbus Riverwalk. There are three other concerts set for Thursday evenings (7-9 p.m.) in June and July. The concert series has been designated a Top 20 Event for June and July by the Southeast Tourism Society for the past six years.  


Admission is free. Food and drink vendors will be on-site. Lawn chairs and blankets to sit on are encouraged. (No coolers or pets, please.) The concert series provides an opportunity for residents to come together as a community and enjoy each other's company each summer. These opportunities help transform a city into a community, a unifying event at a time when we often find ourselves divided.



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