Roses and thorns 2/27/11

February 26, 2011 10:14:00 PM



A rose to Jack Cristil, whose 58-year radio broadcasting career came to an end Saturday. 


Cristil endeared himself to generations of Mississippi State sports fans as the voice of the Bulldogs, calling the plays from the sidelines of MSU football and basketball games. The 85-year-old said he was stepping down because of health concerns. 


Cristil''s last game was Saturday''s basketball matchup at the University of Tennessee. Color analyst Jim Ellis, who has called games with Cristil since 1979, takes over play-by-play duties for the rest of the basketball season. 


Cristil was hired by the legendary Dudy Noble in 1953. He began his broadcasting career at MSU with a 34-6 football win against Memphis on Sept. 19, 1953. He last football game was MSU''s 52-14 win against Michigan in the Gator Bowl in January. 


In between, he racked up some considerable wins himself. He has won the Mississippi Sportscaster of the Year Award a record 21 times. He was recently presented the Lindsey Nelson Award, given annually to the nation''s premier sports broadcaster. He has received the Ronald Reagan Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters, and was the first non-coach/athlete to be inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. 


Cristil was named the SEC''s Broadcaster of the Year in 1988, and won the Mississippi Sportscaster of the Year Award a record 21 times. 


"The Mississippi State University family is second to none," Cristil said in his farewell to countless Bulldog fans. 


We thank Cristil for deftly narrating countless exciting moments on the football field and basketball court, and wish him well. 




A rose to Willis Logan, whose tale we hope inspires others. Logan, minister at Woodlawn Church of Christ in Caledonia, once tipped the scales at over 400 pounds. He was on medication for diabetes and high blood pressure. 


When he was 62, and his doctor told him that he may lose his ability to walk, he finally took a step many of us haven''t -- he decided to vanquish his weight problem, once and for all. Logan did so through the nonprofit Take Off Pounds Sensible program. 


He''s now 114 pounds lighter -- a feat that earned him the title of Mississippi TOPS king for 2010. 


Gone are the size 60 pants, and the health issues that went along with them. At 250 pounds, he''s eating healthier and exercising, and faces the challenge of keeping off the weight. 


We wish more of us here in Mississippi, the nation''s most obese state, would follow Logan''s lead and take ownership of their health. As he proves, it''s never too late. 




A rose to Sheriff Dolph Bryan and the Oktibbeha County Sheriff''s Office, who are adding a dose of green to its car fleet. 


Last year, the city of Starkville, Mississippi State University, and Oktibbeha County split more than $106,000 in federal stimulus funds to convert vehicles to run on propane as well as gasoline. This week, the sheriff showed off the last of 14 patrol cars that were converted to the new system. 


"I can''t believe how good these cars run on it," Bryan said. 


The systems were installed in West Point, providing some local work in the down economy, at not expense to the county''s coffers. 


And, with the cost of cleaner-burning propane around $2 a gallon and gasoline quickly galloping toward $3.50 a gallon, the savings, over the long run, are apparent -- both to the budget and the environment. 




A rose to Mississippi University for Women''s culinary arts students, who are building their experience and satisfying local appetites in the balance. 


Anyone can enjoy students'' "world tour" this semester at luncheons featuring Mexican, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine on the Columbus campus. And, the university is showing off new dining areas in Shattuck Hall. 


New dining areas -- a "bistro" space that can seat about 40-45 people, and a larger dining room that accommodates 100 -- are next to the program''s kitchen. Before the new dining rooms were built, students had to shuttle food from the culinary arts kitchen to other buildings. 


The next lunch, on March 3, will feature Asian cuisine. The final meal, featuring Middle Eastern fare, is set for April 14. The cost is $21 per person. 


The luncheons provide valuable real-world experience for students, and give all of us a delicious taste of the good things happening at The W. 


This semester''s luncheons are already full, but the institute invites anyone who would like to be added to their e-mail list for alerts about future functions to contact Cheryl Brown at 662-241-7472.