March 19, 2011 8:42:00 PM
A rose to the organizers, volunteers and homeowners who help put together the Columbus Pilgrimage each year. The 71st Pilgrimage, which runs from March 28-April 9, features tours of 11 homes, four more home gardens, and a few historic churches tossed into the mix for good measure.
Columbus'' collection of antebellum homes has few equals, and visitors flock from all over the nation, and world, to see them on display.
A special thank-you to the spouses, personnel and children connected to Columbus Air Force Base, who pitch in to make Pilgrimage a success each year. Around 100 of them will be greeting visitors and participating in other ways. Pilgrimage couldn''t happen without the base''s support.
For more information on Pilgrimage, and a rundown of the myriad events surrounding the festivities, see today''s Lifestyles section.
A rose to the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors for kicking the ball forward for the Columbus soccer complex and park in Burns Bottom.
This week, supervisors agreed to borrow $1 million for the $4 million-plus project, which will include a championship soccer field with terrace seating. The sprawling complex is being completed with in-kind services from the city of Columbus and the Columbus Light and Water Department.
The bids accepted this week allow construction of the soccer fields to move forward. Missing -- and still unfunded -- are plans to connect the park to the Riverwalk, build walking trails and other amenities outlined in a master plan for the space.
We trust supervisors and City Council members will keep the larger vision in mind and, when more funds become available, make the park the top-notch facility our residents and visitors deserve.
A rose to Scott Colom, who was appointed a Justice Court judge this week, replacing Mike Arledge, who stepped down to run for Lowndes County sheriff.
Colom, 28, is a local attorney. That isn''t too surprising, considering his parents are local attorney Wil Colom and Lowndes Chancery Judge Dorothy Colom. Scott Colom also writes a weekly column for this newspaper.
We expect big things from this young leader, as he takes the bench and serves in more positions of leadership in Columbus in the years to come.
A rose to Kay Langford, who has served more than 44 years with the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library system. Langford is retiring April 16.
Langford was hired as a page while still in high school in 1966. Over time, Langford served in the library''s Columbus, and Caledonia branches, has supervised branches in Artesia and Crawford, and for more than a decade was the librarian of the system''s bookmobile. Over the years she''s seen advances including the library moving to its present Columbus building, and the passing of the old-style card catalogs into the digital age.
Along the way, she has helped advance literacy in Lowndes County during a career unparalleled by any other librarian in the system. We thank her for her decades of service to Lowndes County readers.
A rose to Brenda Caradine and the other organizers of Columbus'' Tennessee Williams birthday celebration, who are leading the charge to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright''s birth in Columbus.
The city is rolling out the red carpet for Williams birthday-goers March 24-27.
Columbus'' observance has attracted national press. Visiting journalists from The New York Times and The Commercial Appeal have visited Columbus in advance of the festival.
Events for the celebration include a Big Band concert, play performances, a movie screening, birthday reception, historic plaques, a gala and an afternoon with Southern Literary Trail scholars. A $15,000 donation from an anonymous donor has helped fund the local festivities.
For more information on the festival, visit muw.edu/tennesseewilliams/schedule, or contact the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-920-3533.
A rose to Susan Ford, the Starkville School District''s Parent of the Year.
Ford, whose daughter, Harper, is a kindergartner at Sudduth Elementary, was lauded for founding the district''s Art Partners program two years ago. The program provides semi-private art lessons to children who likely wouldn''t have access otherwise.
The program is funded by a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission through the Starkville Area Arts Council. In two years Art Partners jumped from serving 12 students to 63 this year.
In addition to giving talented elementary students access to more instruction, the program also targets children who would benefit from art therapy, helping express their feelings on paper or gain confidence that translates to academic success in the classroom.
Ford, who teaches art lessons at Ward-Stewart Elementary, is also involved in the Sudduth PTA and the Starkville Junior Auxiliary.