March 5, 2011 8:40:00 PM
A rose to Columbus Main Street, the Columbus Arts Council, and the Columbus Cultural Heritage Foundation for events that brought life to downtown over the past week.
The rain dampened things a bit, but Main Street''s Mardi Gras promotions on Friday and Saturday lured out shoppers as local jazz bands and artists played outside. Shoppers could turn in beads for discounts at local shops.
Blues music also filled the air on Friday night, with Catfish in the Alley, moved over to the Hitching Lot Farmer''s Market because of the threat of rain.
Downtown was hopping before Friday, however. The Arts Council brought folks downtown on Tuesday for the Second City comedy troupe''s performance in the Trotter Convention Center in Columbus. Thursday, the Arts Council is hosted a reception at the Rosenzweig Arts Center for new exhibits.
Last night, downtown Columbus was also the scene of the first annual Mardi Gras Mambo, with adults sauntering in costume to local watering holes.
Thanks to all the organizers, and to those who came out to enjoy great food, music and culture downtown this week.
A rose to Caledonia schools for some notable testing milestones.
Caledonia High School students and faculty deserve roses for a distinction that sets them apart from every other public high school in the county. Caledonia High was the only school to have every senior pass high school proficiency tests, a requirement of the state to graduate.
Statewide, an average of 11 percent of high school seniors haven''t passed the tests. At Columbus High, 15 percent of students haven''t passed. In New Hope, 16 percent are lacking, and 17 percent of West Lowndes students need to retake the test.
Caledonia Elementary also received some recognition this week: Mississippi State University''s Program of Research and Evaluation for Public Schools recognized the school for its improvement on state math test scores. West Lowndes Elementary was also recognized for math and language arts improvement.
A rose to the Columbus-Lowndes Development Link for spreading the word about some of the amazing things happening at local industries.
Anyone can sign up for one of the Link''s tour of local industries, a program that kicked off Thursday at Weyerhaeuser''s Columbus Cellulose Fibers plant. Visitors saw the massive machines that turn pine trees into pulp used in everything from diapers to ice cream.
Thanks to the Link for lifting the curtain of some of these industries, who contribute so much to our local economy but whose work so often goes unnoticed to all but those who work there.
To get on the waiting list for one of the Link''s future tours, call 328-8369.
A rose to the Columbus Police Department for releasing a key bit of evidence in a misdemeanor case against a city judge.
A microphone on patrolman Lance Luckey captured the 2009 arrest of Nicole Clinkscales, then a public defender who has since been appointed city judge by the City Council. Clinkscales long maintained she had done nothing wrong, but the tape clearly shows she repeatedly failed to obey the officer''s instructions.
Clinkscales entered a no contest plea to the charge, was found guilty and paid $376.50 in fines and court costs.
The public had a right to access the recording, which the city correctly realized was a public document. The city released it after a request by The Dispatch.
A rose to Starkville attorney Daniel Waide, the new owner of Starkville''s State Theater, who is breathing new life into the downtown night spot.
Renovations are under way at the Main Street building. In addition to national music acts, Waide is adding two restaurants in the theater: Dawg Wingz, and the upstairs Tilt, which features wine and cocktails, desserts and cigars to be enjoyed on the balcony.
Waide said he was close to hitting the $100,000 mark, with renovations and band bookings included. The improvements should add new spice to the downtown Starkville music and dining scene.