Roses and thorns: 3/18/12

March 17, 2012 10:21:05 PM



A rose to longtime Mississippi State men's basketball coach Rick Stansbury, who announced his retirement Thursday. Stansbury, the school's all-time winningest men's basketball coach, went 293-166 in 14 seasons as head coach. In all, he spent 22 years as a coach at the school.  


The Bulldogs made 11 postseason appearances in Stansbury's tenure. He cited a desire to be a better father and a better husband as part of his motivation in announcing his retirement.  


Here's hoping Stansbury, 52, has plenty of time to go to all of the youth soccer and basketball games his three sons will play. 




A rose to Cynthia Wilson, the new director of community development for the West Point-Clay County Growth Alliance. The Growth Alliance has seen a lot of upheaval over the past few months, with a direction change as well as a leadership change. Wilson isn't walking into an easy situation, but her enthusiasm for West Point was evident earlier in the week as she settled into her new office.  


Wilson, the former executive director of the Webster County Development Council, replaces one of West Point's most indefatigable cheerleaders -- Martha Allen, who resigned from the Growth Alliance in September. She left behind some mighty big shoes to fill.  


But as Wilson stated Monday afternoon, it's a chance for a new start, a new direction and we wish her well as she begins her new endeavor. Driving around downtown West Point, it's hard to ignore the work done over the years to turn the downtown area into the vibrant, eclectic, cultural jewel that it is. We look forward to seeing what Wilson will bring to the Alliance, and we welcome her and her husband, Ricky Wilson, to the area. The couple is currently living in Eupora, but they plan to relocate to West Point.  




A rose to the members of Link'd Young Professionals and Keep Columbus-Lowndes Beautiful for their tireless efforts to beautify the city. Both groups are busy this week preparing for the fourth annual Clean Sweep Columbus, which will kick off at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Hitching Lot Farmer's Market. Last year, more than 300 volunteers donned gloves, wielded rakes and armed themselves with trash bags, fanning out across the city. This year, Clean Sweep organizers hope to have between 450 and 600 volunteers.  


The more hands, the more can be accomplished in a short period of time, says Jason Spears, president of Link'd Young Professionals. The group will also be working on phase two of a five-part beautification project at the Magnolia Bowl downtown. Last year, the outside walls were prepped and painted. Saturday, the exterior paint will be touched up and interior work will begin.  


Spears is hoping by fall the neglected stadium will be in good enough shape to host movies beneath the stars.  


For those who can't participate in Clean Sweep Columbus, there are other ways to carry on with the spirit of the day. Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can bring your outdated electronics to the Farmer's Market to be "e-cycled." With the advent of spring, it's a good way to clear the clutter and be environmentally responsible.  


But beautification, and quality of life, goes beyond any organization or weekend event. It's a mindset. It's picking up your trash, and stopping to pick up that candy wrapper that isn't yours, too. It's sprucing up your yard -- and offering to help your neighbor with their own. It's adding a splash of color to the landscape, planting a tree, donating your time for the betterment of the community.  


We plan to join the Clean Sweep volunteers next weekend -- and we hope you'll consider joining them as well.  




A rose to retired Col. Nick Ardillo, who was appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant to the state's Military Communities Council this week. Ardillo will advise the governor on issues impacting the state's nine military bases, which employ more than 30,000 people. It's always good to have local people on state committees, and as Columbus Air Force Base Community Council President Kevin Stafford pointed out this week, with the specter of base closings always on the horizon, the committee will play an important role in keeping the community informed and vice versa.