Contrary to what Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box would have you believe, the sky is not falling. At least not as far as the Columbus police chief search is concerned. During a special- called council meeting on Tuesday Box referred to some of the candidates as "losers."
Several weeks ago when the mayor asked me to serve on the committee to help with the police chief selection, I asked him to let me think it over. As a newspaper publisher, my first responsibility is to see the public gets a fair, accurate and unvarnished report through every step of the process. Would my involvement compromise our ability to do that or the public's perception of the impartiality of our reporting?
Last year, Lowndes County School District was considered successful based on its state test scores and other measures. This year, the district moved up in ranking to high performing, which means the district outperformed averages on the national report card.
Tuesday evening the names of the top five candidates for the Columbus Police Chief were announced at the city council meeting. One of the five was interim chief Selvain McQueen. The name of another, Nathaniel Clark of Albany, Ga., may ring a bell with some. Clark was a finalist in the 2007 search that resulted in Joe St. John being named chief.
There are signs. A welcome cool ushers away the summer heat as crisp mornings and evenings call for sweaters. The first leaves begin to brighten. And suddenly fall has tip-toed in
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.
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