Roses and thorns 2/20/11

February 19, 2011 7:22:00 PM



Roses of condolences to the families and friends of the two men who died in a downtown bar shooting early Wednesday in downtown Columbus. 


Mark Caudill, 33, who was originally from Columbus and lived in Birmingham, Ala.; and 42-year-old James Bennett Mann of Columbus died when they struggled with alleged attacker Daniel Paul Copple, 43, of Lucerne Valley, Calif. Copple is charged with two counts of murder and is being held on $3 million bond in the Lowndes County jail. 


Caudill and Mann were patrons in the Elbow Room Lounge when Copple allegedly burst in the bar, and shot the two men during a struggle. The gun belonged to Caudill, police said, and while he had a permit, it''s illegal in Mississippi to carry a gun in a bar. 




A rose to Ian Williams, a Columbus High student who''s continuing a family legacy by attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. 


Williams'' father, Dr. James Barton Williams, graduated from the academy, as did his grandfather. 


He plans to study chemistry and engineering at the academy. Graduates are commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. 


At Columbus High, Ian is an athlete -- football, soccer and golf -- and is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club and Spanish Honor Society. He also earned the Eagle Scout ranking in the Boy Scouts and is a member of the LTS community service social club. 




A thorn to boaters who haven''t let an important message sink in (pun intended): It''s not only against the law not to have life jackets in your boat, it''s downright deadly. 


A few weeks ago, five men without lifejackets had to be rescued from the Tenn-Tom Waterway. None of the men had life jackets. 


The Feb. 7 incident was the seventh waterway accident in 2011. 


Those men were lucky, officials said. Last year, there were 17 drownings in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers district that spans Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. All could have been prevented by wearing life jackets. 


We remind people boating in the Tenn-Tom and every other lake and waterway to bring life vests along. 




A rose to Starkville Main Street Association, which is bringing a charrette team -- a group of community design experts and planners -- to Starkville next month to help chart a new vision for downtown Starkville and other parts of the city. 


During the three-day program, set to begin March 28, the Mississippi Main Street Association team will analyze University Drive, Main Street, Lampkin Street, Highway 182 and Russell Street. The team also will speak extensively with community groups and local stakeholders to get a better understanding of the city''s planning, design and infrastructure needs. The group with then share the results with the entire community. 


The charrette process was a success in Columbus, with planners helping forge a vision for a new park and soccer complex in Burns Bottom downtown. We hope Starkville embraces the team of experts, and finds some doable "take-aways" of its own. 




A rose to Sale Elementary International Studies Magnet School, a Columbus city school forging ahead with plans to join only 10 other school systems in the country offering International Baccalaureate programs. 


As of January, Sale has been designated an IB World School. 


According to the IB website,, curriculum is based on six transdisciplinary themes -- who we are, where we are in place and time, how we express ourselves, how the world works, how we organize ourselves and sharing the planet. 


Full indoctrination into the program takes three years. Sale now is one of three schools in state offering the IB primary years program; five schools in the state offer the middle years program (ages 11-16); and four schools, including Columbus High School, offer the IB diploma program. 


IB standards can lead to college scholarships and the ability to skip freshman-level college courses, and the programs are internationally recognized. 


Once Columbus Middle School is approved as an IB World School, Columbus schools will be one of 10 systems in the country where students can begin the IB program in kindergarten and continue the program throughout their K-12 years to earn an IB diploma.