March 10, 2012 10:05:02 PM
A bouquet of roses to Columbus Air Force Base, which celebrated its 70th anniversary at a gala soirée Friday evening.
For visiting dignitaries, it was an opportunity to pay tribute to the past, and -- for some, like keynote speaker U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker -- revisit the base where they got their start. For townspeople, it was a chance to reflect upon the myriad ways the base has impacted the history, economy and culture of our area. And for the airmen, it was a time to kick up their heels and have a little fun.
Events like this are monumental undertakings, and care was taken with every detail, from the food to the decor. We particularly enjoyed examining the four vintage warbirds brought in just for the occasion, and we suspect we're not the only ones. We saw quite a few people lining up to have pictures taken with the aircraft.
A thorn to Columbus city officials, none of whom bothered to attend CAFB's birthday bash. And pin that thorn to the lapels of the Lowndes County supervisors as well, with the exception of District 2 Supervisor Bill Brigham, who attended with his wife, Allegra.
When CAFB's future was threatened by Base Realignment and Closure, everyone banded together to show the BRAC Commission how much the base meant to the community. As the area's largest employer and most productive economic engine, we think the air base deserves more attention.
We know people are busy and schedules are tight, but to have our city and county's high command be AWOL for such an important occasion sends a disheartening message.
A rose to Bruce Hanson for his seven years of service as a board member with the Columbus Municipal School District. A school board gig, especially in these trying financial times, may be one of the most challenging, most under-appreciated board appointments in the city. Not only are the current school board members entrusted with overseeing a $43.5 million budget, but they are also responsible for decisions which directly or indirectly impact the future of every resident in this city.
Hanson's five-year term ended March 2, and though he originally applied for reappointment, he withdrew his application last week. The Columbus City Council is expected to name his replacement during their March 20 meeting, choosing between Julie Jordan, Cliff Reynolds, James E. Samuel Sr. and Jason Spears.
You can tell a lot about a person -- what they value, what they want, what they believe -- from the way they speak about others. When fellow board member and longtime friend Alma Turner resigned in November, Hanson had this to say: "The best thing about her is her demeanor, her graciousness, the way she gets the job done without fanfare and bluster but rather as a gentle person who, at the same time, has a great grasp of what needs to be done and goes about it in such a graceful manner. ... Her drive was to do everything possible for educating children. Throughout this wonderful, gracious personality, she had this toughness about her to drive through and make things happen."
Those words could also be said about Hanson. Even when disagreeing with his fellow board members, he always did so with quiet, steady grace and dignity. He was never afraid to say what needed to be said, and yet he never had to raise his voice to make his point.
Hanson's shoes will be hard to fill. We wish him luck in all his future endeavors and thank him for the professionalism he brought to the district.
A rose to Catfish in the Alley organizers, who managed to quickly shift gears and reschedule the event Friday when storms moved into the area. Though Monday was perhaps not an opportune night, it didn't seem to faze diners who gathered at the Hiching Lot Farmer's Market to munch on golden-fried catfish. We're glad Catfish in the Alley was merely postponed rather than canceled due to the inclement weather.
A rose to those responsible for the plethora of art exhibitions that grace our town. Right now, there are a wide variety of ways to partake in a little culture.
There's the "Hatch Show Print" exhibition, which will be on display through March 19 at Mississippi University for Women's Eugenia Summer Gallery. Featuring letterpress posters from one of the nation's oldest show poster and design shops, Nashville-based Hatch, it offers a unique glimpse into old art forms still being made relevant today. Hatch prints and designs more than 600 projects a year, using the original wood type to create posters advertising carnivals, circuses, vaudeville acts and more.
Over at Rosenzweig Arts Center, we have "In My Mind's Eye," an exhibition of watercolors by Penny Nichols, who won Best in Show last year at the Market Street Festival.
There are so many ways to spend an evening that don't involve vegetating in front of the television or computer, and we're blessed with an abundance of people working hard each month to make these events a success. Open the calendar and take your pick.