It's important for us to feel safe in our communities. A big part of that is knowing we have an effective police force with capable leadership. Lt. Selvain McQueen has been heading the Columbus Police Department on an interim basis since July.
Local law enforcement seems to be at a loss on how to handle the recent surge in crime. Or at least how to communicate effectively enough to make us feel safe in our own backyard. The several shooting deaths in the past weeks already had us on edge.
Generation after generation, Mississippi, as a law, has preached abstinence only. For all its preaching, the state still is No. 3 in the nation (behind New Mexico and Texas) in mothers ages 15-19 and has woeful numbers of teens contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
The odds are stacked against us. In general, research shows children raised in single-parent households don't perform as well academically as peers who have both parents at home.
It's decision time. On Nov. 8, we'll be called on to make important decisions, on the state and local levels. Republican Phil Bryant faces Democrat Johnny Dupree in the governor's race.
The Columbus-Lowndes tourism bureau continues to take one step forward and two steps back. After months of debate, Lowndes County Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders and Columbus Mayor Robert Smith finally came to a decision about the ninth Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau member.
Starkville officials seemed baffled at why an $8.45 million bond-issue referendum failed on Tuesday. Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas said he was "floored" by the meager support for the bond issue, which was planned to fund a new police station.
Three shooting deaths in a week. It's enough to make sure you lock your doors and stay inside at night. What's more frightening is not knowing if those killings are random acts of violence or targeted hits.
Mississippi's sunshine laws are meager when compared to other states. Certain personnel matters, for instance, are discussed in open session in Alabama and Tennessee. And the records are public.
Last week, Mississippi's Center for Public Policy launched a website offering easy access to how local tax dollars are spent. In a state where local governing bodies seem to have a cloudy view of sunshine laws, the site -- seethespending.org -- is a huge step forward.
There's a better way to handle vicious dogs than to wait for one to attack and injure livestock, or worse, a child. The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors is on the right track. After recent dog attacks, supervisors are drafting an animal-control ordinance that would include a leash law. The idea is to crack down on owners who apparently don't care enough about their own dogs, as well as their neighbors' well being, to properly supervise their dogs.
Ask any elected official and he will tell you (if he's honest) that it's hard to make the tough-but-necessary decisions when you're trying to win a popularity contest.
The three executive searches going on in the Triangle offer a study in contrasts. We're referring to school superintendents in Columbus and Starkville and a police chief in Columbus. Tuesday night, the Mississippi School Boards Association hosted one of those requisite feel-good public meetings to get community input on the qualities we want to see in the next Columbus city schools superintendent.
An earthquake on the East Coast. Hurricane Irene. What's next? And are we prepared for it? What we didn't see much of on the national news, as the aftermath of the latest natural disasters flashed across the screen, was disaster-management strategy.
It's budget season for counties and municipalities. They have until Sept. 15 to adopt a budget. And we've watched as they divvy out the dollars and cents in an attempt to balance their budgets before the deadline.
We consider public safety a right, not a privilege. We expect to be able to walk down the street without being assaulted and to come home to our undisturbed portion of the world -- everything just the way we left it.
Monetarily speaking, Lowndes County is the seventh most valuable county in the state of Mississippi. It's not by accident.
We're a community led by interim leaders -- from the Columbus and Starkville school districts to the Columbus Police Department and Mississippi University for Women.
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