Roses and thorns 2/13/11

February 12, 2011 10:55:00 PM

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A rose to local motorists, many of whom learned their lesson from the previous week and either took extra care or stayed off the road during winter weather Wednesday and Thursday. 

 

While more than 100 wrecks were chalked up to the weather a week ago, only a few dozen were reported this week as snow fell and roads and bridges iced over. 

 

Part of this may also be do to city, county and Mississippi Department of Transportation crews, who were quicker to spread sand and salt on overpasses and other problem spots. 

 

 

 

A rose to Mayor Robert Smith and Lowndes County Board President Harry Sanders, who brokered an agreement to end the drama surrounding the Columbus Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau. The city and county agreed to a new ordinance, which replaces an outdated one the CVB wasn''t following anyway. 

 

Sanders, who wanted a representative chosen by the Columbus Lowndes Development Link, gave in on that idea. Members of the city council, which wanted all at-large appointments, agreed to industry-specific ones to satisfy Sanders. 

 

After months of drama, we''re glad Smith and Sanders could put egos aside and settle on an agreement everyone could live with. 

 

Once a new CVB board is seated, we urge its members to focus on how it is spending the 2 percent restaurant tax that funds it. We urge the new tourism board to commission a study of the economic impact of the dollars it''s spent in the past, and survey the local community on its own priorities for the tax. 

 

 

 

A rose to West Lowndes Middle School seventh-grader Alexia Morton, who took home the top prize in the 2011 Columbus-Lowndes County Spelling Bee this week. 

 

More than 40 students, up to eighth grade, from public, private and parochial schools in Columbus and Lowndes County competed in the 2011 spelling bee. 

 

Alexia and second-place winner Christian Donoho, a seventh-grader at Annunciation Catholic School, went round after round, correctly spelling henna, foyer, apricot, guitar and talc, before Alexia was declared the winner, correctly spelling her final two words -- interrupt and karate. 

 

Alexia will go on to the Mid-South Spelling Bee in Memphis, Tenn., next month. We wish her the B-E-S-T of L-U-C-K. 

 

 

 

A rose to Bill Weeks of Starkville, the outgoing Starkville School District trustee who is retiring after 20 years on the board. 

 

To put his tenure in perspective, Weeks served with a total of four superintendents -- Judy Couey, Phil Burchfield, King David Rush and Larry Box. 

 

Couey, Box and others were on hand this week at a reception honoring Weeks. They praised his wisdom, experience and willingness to listen, and called him a stable, analytical board member who sifted through information to arrive at the best decision for the school district. 

 

Weeks'' last day on the board will be March 5. 

 

 

 

A rose to teachers, students and administrators, past and present, of Franklin Academy, which turned 190 this year. The state''s oldest public school celebrated its birthday with songs from the current crop of students, a reading of the school''s history, and -- of course -- cake. 

 

The school has stood through the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and continues to thrive. The current Franklin building was built during the late 1930s, replacing one built in 1886. The original school building was built in 1821. 

 

The school''s esteemed visitors include President William Howard Taft, who stopped by in 1909. 

 

The school has had another rebirth in recent years, as a magnet school. Franklin Elementary Medical Sciences and Wellness Magnet School partnered with the University of Mississippi Medical Center to offer a health and wellness-focused curriculum.