For too long, sex education has been a four-letter word in the state of Mississippi.
The formula is simple: Cut 54 teachers; save $2.1 million. And with personnel accounting for 76 percent of the Columbus schools' budget, it's an easy target for cost savings.
The city of Columbus continues to lose population as residents move away or flock to the county to avoid higher taxes.
We think the Columbus City Council has more important issues to worry about than what Lowndes County Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders said in front of a civic club. Speaking to the Columbus Rotary Club last week, Sanders said there were some people appointed to city boards "who couldn't tie their shoes."
Harry Sanders is good at pointing the finger. Tuesday, he turned it toward one of his favorite targets, the city of Columbus.
Columbus Air Force Base is Lowndes County's largest employer, providing 3,000 military and civilian jobs. The average salary is more than $41,000, well above $35,000, the approximate state average.
Columbus police responded to 229 alarm calls last month, 77 of which were residential. Most of those were false alarms. But false or not, those calls mean money and manpower.
The Columbus Police Department has its hands full trying to police a city of near 24,000 with 68 officers. When you also consider that most of the force has five years of experience or less and nine veteran supervising officers who can retire at any moment, the situation is more critical.
Columbus elementary schools have been welcoming visitors for more than a week, introducing prospective students and their parents to their magnet themes -- technology and communication, medical sciences and wellness, fine arts, international studies and aerospace and science.
When they crafted the No Child Left Behind legislation, lawmakers should have turned to educators. They could have told legislators that you can't teach children to think if you are simply coaching them to pass a test.
Last week, a lifelong Columbus resident wrote to The Dispatch emphatically calling for better customer service.
When a commercial building sits empty, it quickly ages. As it ages, it begins to look less and less appealing to business owners and developers. And the town begins to look unkempt.
The gesture of a posthumous pardon is one thing. Pardoning convicted killers and setting them free is another. Gov. Haley Barbour pardoned four convicted murderers -- one of whom confessed to shooting his wife to death after an argument -- as one of his last official acts as governor.
There's something comforting about walking into a place where they know your name and -- if you visit often enough -- what you'll have for lunch and what you'll drink with it. If they don't know your name, the waitresses have enough small-town charm to get away with calling everyone "Honey."
Ours is a living language. Words that meant one thing as late as a decade ago have new meaning. There are the obvious ones: Bad now means good in some circles.
Local economies have evolved. We've gone from chasing smokestacks to embracing small business and entrepreneurship. At the center of this economic model is a vibrant downtown.
Trying to find a union in Mississippi is a lot like trying to find an animal on the endangered species list; the more time passes the harder they are to locate. And, with the recent news that Omnova Solutions Inc. sold its manufacturing operations and plans to cease manufacturing at its Columbus plant, unions may have inadvertently made it more difficult to remove themselves from the endangered list.
Baptist Memorial Health Care has been a good neighbor. In 2006, Baptist purchased Columbus' hospital from Lowndes County for $30 million. In return, Baptist officials also promised to invest $40 million in the hospital over the coming decade.
A tremendous amount of the public's work is done by boards comprised of volunteers. All too often appointments to those boards are made with little discussion or publicity.
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