October 27, 2012 10:09:00 PM
A rose to all the folks who keep Columbus beautiful, with a particularly nice bouquet to the members of the Master Gardeners of Columbus, the group responsible for the autumn displays on each corner of Fifth and Main in downtown Columbus. The displays, which feature bales of hay, scarecrows and some beautiful pumpkins, are a perfect seasonal accessory to a downtown that we all can be proud of.
Whether it's through the efforts of these organizations, the work of the city in maintaining the flowers and shrubs that adorn downtown year-round, or the acts of citizens who do their part to keep our city clean, the combined effect is a downtown that others envy.
On Thursday, a group from the Main Street Association of Laurel and Jones County toured downtown Columbus, looking for ideas to emulate. They certainly liked what they saw, as do we.
A rose to the Lowndes County School District, which was granted unitary status this week, thus ending almost 40 years of federal oversight. The court ruled the district had met all desegregation requirements and now can function free of U.S. Department of Justice supervision. As of July, 47 school districts in Mississippi had yet to comply with the federal requirements needed to achieve unitary status, stipulations that date to 1970 when the DOJ found that many districts had not met the standards required when the Supreme Court ordered an end to public school segregation in 1954. For the Lowndes County School District, earning the unitary status closes the book on a painful and embarrassing chapter in our history.
A rose to the Columbus Arts Council and MSU/Starkville Symphony Association for their collaboration to bring the symphony orchestra to Columbus Thursday evening. The free concert, "A Space Symphony," drew an audience that almost filled the 1,200 seats of Rent Auditorium on the Mississippi University for Women campus. We look forward to more creative partnerships like this. Bravo.
A rose to the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors, the city of Columbus and the Columbus-Lowndes Recreation Authority, who have apparently heard the voice of the people and are making plans to correct two obvious flaws at the otherwise impressive Columbus Soccer Complex. In the month since the $5-million facility opened, patrons of the complex complained about the limited and congested parking and the lack of sufficient restroom facilities at the venue. So it's nice to see officials began making plans to solve those issues. Plans include buying a half-acre property that will be used for additional parking, as well as building more concessions/restrooms. If the officials move with these projects in a timely fashion, the complex truly will be a model for others to emulate.
A rose to "Scooter Town" founder Amy Martin, a physical education teacher at Cook Elementary who dreamed up the fictional town 15 years ago in an effort to help students become more physically fit. The town has "grown" over the years, but the idea remains fresh. Students travel through "town" on foot-propelled scooters. Perhaps without realizing it, the children are getting plenty of exercise. It's a clever approach since kids may or may not want to "exercise," but all kids want to "play."