Generally, when Mississippi makes national news -- especially of late -- it is not the sort of notoriety we welcome. When "Mississippi" is mentioned on the national stage, our first impulse is to wince, waiting for the latest lunacy that is certain to follow.
Monday morning, Dispatch crime reporter Sarah Fowler attempted to reach Columbus Police Department Chief Selvain McQueen to comment on fund-raising efforts for one of his investigators, Kelvin Lee, who has cancer.
Imagine, if you will, that a state legislator was promoting a bill that would allow the government to collect information on its citizens and hide it from the public. What do you suppose the reaction would be?
The Columbus Police Department's gun buyback program succeeded beyond anyone's wildest imagination. Even among the program's detractors, there is no question that the program exceeded expectations.
For years, Carver Drive residents have complained about the foul smells emanating from a nearby drainage ditch. The politics of the issue have produced an equally offensive aroma.
On Tuesday night, the Columbus City Council had four choices for one position on the Columbus Municipal School District Board of Trustees. But really, it came down to two choices: maintaining the status quo that has seen our schools slide toward failure or taking a path forward.
When the argument passed the boiling point, John Alan Redden used a belt to make his point. His wife at the time, Ginger Redden, had the bruises and welts to show for it -- her left arm a mass of discolored bruises extending from her shoulder to her elbow, bruises on the small of her back and legs, a welt bearing the impression of the belt buckle on her cheek.
It is unfortunate that Valentine's Day fell on a Thursday this year, rather than a Monday or Tuesday.
As meetings go, Monday's meeting of the Columbus Municipal School District Board of Trustees was as eventful as you will likely see. In fact, there was so much ground to cover, the meeting lasted almost four hours.
Tonight, President Obama gives his state of the union address, but in Oktibbeha County the focus will be on the state of the schools.
Earlier this week, the Columbus City Council approved a proposal from Selvain McQueen, the city's police chief for a gun buy-back program.
Barbara Bigelow was not the first choice. But she may well be the best choice. When the Main Street Columbus Board of Directors announced Wednesday that it had selected Bigelow as the organization's new director, no one familiar with Columbus was compelled to ask, "Who?"
If Moses had been from Columbus, he probably would have had to interrupt God somewhere around Commandment No. 7. "I probably should be writing this down, huh?" our Columbus Moses would likely have said. In its almost 200 years, Columbus has had many things. What it hasn't had -- as far as anyone can determine -- is a plan. At least, it has never had a plan that someone bothered to write down.
Thursday afternoon, Main Street Columbus sent out a press release announcing that its director, Nickie Nicholson, had been removed from her role, effective immediately. It was hardly a shocking development to anyone who has any connection to the organization. There have been rumblings about Nicholson almost from the start.
After weeks of negative national press thanks to Messrs. Bryant, Palazzo, Smith, Chism et al., it's nice to have something to be cheery about. Our politicians, who have of late, been imitating barnyard roosters, have provided abundant fodder for late-night television.
Ultimately, it is a matter of accountability. On two separate occasions over the past week, officials have bitterly complained about news stories we published. While The Dispatch stands firmly behind each of the stories in question, we readily admit that each story would have benefited from the insights of those same officials.
The Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau held its regular meeting Monday and, as almost always seems to be the case, it created more questions than it answered. The big issue before the board was the propriety of allowing the elected officials who appoint the board members to solicit funds for festivals they operate.
When Mississippi State and Ole Miss come together, it is not generally marked by a spirit of congeniality. Long and bitter rivals on the athletic fields, the two schools also compete for students and funding. But MSU and Ole Miss play well together in other, less-publicized arenas.
If ever there is a time that a Governor can speak beyond his base to all residents, it is the state of the state Address. In Mississippi it is generally the only time this happens.
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