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Roses and thorns 2-6-11




A rose to the first responders across the Golden Triangle who scrambled Thursday to assist motorists who found themselves sliding into ditches -- and into each other -- as roadways froze Thursday afternoon. 


Nearly 60 wrecks were reported in Lowndes County alone. Along Highway 82 on Thursday afternoon, it was tough to find a bridge that didn''t have at least one car in a nearby ditch. 


An accident that sent two Columbus police officers to the hospital with injuries drove home how dangerous responding to wrecks can be. We appreciate the professionalism of the area''s police, fire and emergency responders on a very busy night. 


On the flip side of the same coin, a thorn goes out to the Mississippi Department of Transportation, which was slow to anticipate and respond to the weather. Sand should have been spread on area bridges, especially along Highway 82, before the first cars began sliding off the road Thursday afternoon. 


We''d also like to caution drivers to slow down and take care during inclement weather. A gentle reminder: Rain and sleet, plus freezing weather, inevitably cause bridges to freeze over. 




A thorn to the Columbus City Council for playing politics with $2 million in road bond money. 


The council voted unanimously Tuesday to split the road money in equal shares to spend in each councilman''s ward. This, despite a priority list of roads in the most need of work had already been drafted by the city engineer. 


We care more about potholes than politics, and think the money should be spent on the roads that need it the most, not on individual council members'' pet road projects. 




A rose to the participants in Saturday''s African American Leadership Summit this weekend. 


The summit, organized by Lowndes County Supervisor Leroy Brooks, brought together local experts on crime, health, government, education and other areas., to share their expertise with young black leaders and the public at large. 


We were critical of the conference in an editorial this week -- we believe these issues are universal, and aren''t problems that split down racial lines. We''d like to see all races come together to tackle these issues. Judging from the meager turnout, organizers would do well to take a more inclusive approach in the future. 


Still, any effort from any quarter to draw attention to our problems, and find solutions, should be embraced and encouraged. Thanks to the experts and those in attendance for sharing their time and insight. 




A rose to Oktibbeha County''s Master Gardeners, who have been sharing their green thumbs with the community by sprucing up public areas. 


Members of the volunteer organization have planted bulbs in areas including downtown, at the Mississippi State University Extension Service office, and in front of the Starkville Public Library. The gardeners saved holly trees and other plants that the city had removed from downtown, and gave them a new lease on life at the Oktibbeha courthouse annex. 


The group already has set up community gardens, completed landscaping projects at Florida Care on Highway 389 North and at Emerson School, and is working on a landscaping project at the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum.  


We thank this group of talented volunteers for beautifying Starkville, one bulb and seed at a time. 




A rose to Main Street Columbus, which celebrated a good year this week at its annual meeting. 


Downtown gained 11 businesses, lost five and brought in about $6 million in private and public investments in 2010, according to numbers shared by outgoing Main Street President Todd Gale. 


Main Street businesses also created more than 55 jobs, lost nine and rehabilitated four building facades, according to the statistics, which were released at the annual Main Street Columbus luncheon Tuesday. 


The growth was partly due to significant investments downtown: More than $3 million in public funds and almost $3 million in private funds, Gale said. 


Thanks to Main Street Columbus Director Amber Brislin, Gale and the other volunteers who make downtown a better place each year, pitching in and organizing events including the annual Market Street festival. 




A rose to the Town and Tower Club for organizing its annual Community Prayer Breakfast this week. 


The theme of the breakfast -- that there is strength in diversity -- is one that should be trumpeted in Columbus more often than just once a year. 


The breakfast also offered up a prayer for our elected leaders, something else that we can''t do enough of. 


The breakfast served as a reminder that our differences are what bring us strength. "Regardless of what camp a person subscribes to, there is a little of the message we can all subscribe to," Cliff Reynolds, principal of West Lowndes High School, said after the breakfast. "It was a message of unity, because we are all God''s children." 


Amen to that.



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Reader Comments

Article Comment zenreaper commented at 2/6/2011 2:18:00 PM:

You forgot one. Thorns to the IDIOTS who KNOW that they do not know how to drive in icy or bad weather, but head out ANYWAY, causing our first responders to waste their valuable time on STUPID accidents.


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