Roses and thorns 7/24/11

July 23, 2011 10:18:00 PM



A rose to the Columbus City Council for handing down a tough but necessary decision in the case of Columbus Police Chief Joseph St. John. 


The City Council voted 5-1 to fire St. John on Tuesday, after his struggles with an alcohol problem kept him from answering the call of duty earlier in the year. St. John called in sick to a Civil Service Commission hearing where he was set to testify against two officers who were suspended for failure to follow department procedure. 


At the time, St. John wouldn''t reveal the nature of his illness. It was later discovered he had alcohol in his system and had drunk a fifth of whiskey that morning. 


The hearing was scheduled for 1:30 the same afternoon. It was St. John''s second time falling to his alcohol problem. He previously took a leave of absence to deal with the problem, but he wasn''t on leave for very long before he was back on the job. 


Supporters and friends rallied around the chief , asking council members to give him another chance, some threatening to elect new councilmen in their stead if St. John lost his job. 


The council stuck by their guns and did what they had to do. It was a tough call to make after hearing the pleas -- some heartfelt, others threatening -- that the chief be given yet another chance. 


A thorn goes out to those Joseph St. John supporters who lashed out at the City Council after he was fired. Some became belligerent and even went so far as to follow councilmen to the parking lot, screaming profanities. 


St. John has been a highly visible and wildly popular chief, and it is no surprise he has many friends and supporters who didn''t want to see him ousted as police chief. But acting in such an unruly manner was uncalled for, something we doubt the former chief would condone. They pleaded their case, and the council listened. They then sifted through the evidence and made the tough decision. That''s what we elect them to do. 




A rose to Mississippi State Head Football Coach Dan Mullen for claiming this a Bulldog state while speaking to reporters at SEC Football Media Days in Hoover, Ala. 


Now all he has to do is keep up his winning streak against Coach Houston Nutt and the University of Mississippi. 




A rose to the Starkville Longhorns, an 8-under baseball team competing in the World Series this weekend in Southhaven. Good luck to coach Keith Lawrence and his boys as they compete against youth baseball teams from around the South. 




A rose to the West Point/Clay County Arts Council for spurring a revival of musical community theater in that town. A cast of about 65, directed by Ginger Fowler, will present "The Music Man" July 29-30 at Center Stage in Central School at 7 p.m. West Point arts community veterans say it''s been 30 or more years since they last produced a Broadway show -- "The Sounds of Music." It''s been at least 15 years since the last West Point Follies, a variety show which the larger productions. Read more about this event troupers hope will be the first of many in today''s Lifestyles section.