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Roses and thorns: 6/11/17




A rose of remembrance for Gabriel "Super Gabe" Valentine, who inspired more people in his almost nine years on earth than most will do in a long lifetime.  


Valentine died Tuesday after a determined and remarkably courageous battle with a rare and painful disorder called "EB," which left him with skin so fragile that even the lightest touch could lead to bruising and blisters. Gabe's life was not defined by EB, thanks to his devoted parents, Michael and Nell, his siblings and an extended university family and city that embraced him.  


The little boy with a cherubic smile and a fondness for corn dog nuggets, Pokemon and Mississippi State sports won hearts wherever he went. In his memory, the family has set up an account on the fundraising site to support the efforts of the EB Research Partnership. 




A rose to Mississippi State first baseman Brent Rooker, who may become the most decorated player in MSU's storied baseball history.  


Rooker, a junior, was named Collegiate Baseball Magazine's National Player of the year this week after leading the SEC in home runs, runs batted in and batting average. Rooker, who has been chosen as a first team All American by two separate groups, is also a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy (the baseball equivalent to the Heisman Trophy) and the Golden Spikes Award, which goes to the top player in amateur baseball.  


He also won the Ferris Trophy, which goes to the state's top college baseball player. Rooker could have made the leap to pro ball last year: He was drafted in the 38th round by the Twins last June, but elected to return for another season. The Bulldogs, who played LSU this weekend for the right to go to the College World Series, are certainly glad Rooker returned. 




A rose to all who participated in this week's municipal elections, a group that includes candidates, poll workers and, of course, the citizens who turned out to vote across the Golden Triangle. 


It's not a done deal yet. Monday, the Caledonia election commission will set a new election date after choosing to throw out last week's election because of a mishandled ballot box and a hearing to challenge the outcome of the mayor's race in Starkville is set for Tuesday.  


With those notable exceptions, we now turn our attention to the business of governing. We wish all those who won office a successful and harmonious four years.  


We also encourage all candidates to fulfill a final obligation: Please remove your signage. 


A rose of remembrance to Hank Flick, who died earlier this week at age 73.  


Flick, a California native, spent 45 years as a professor in the Communications Department at Mississippi State University, becoming something of a legend for his passion for teaching and his lively teaching style. While generations of journalists and public relations professionals consider him as a guiding influence and favorite professor, he was more widely known as the public address announcer for Mississippi State basketball and football, where his clear, no-frills delivery kept fans informed and engaged.



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