Roses and thorns 7/5/09

July 5, 2009



  • A full bouquet of roses to the men and women of the armed services serving at home and abroad on this Independence Day weekend.  


    Among them are the servicemen of the Columbus-based Alpha Battery, 155th Brigade Combat Team of the Mississippi National Guard. The 130 soldiers of Alpha Battery left Camp Shelby a month ago, and are currently in Kuwait for more training before being deployed to Iraq. 


    Capt. Dennis Biddle, the battery commander, sent this note earlier this week to soldiers'' families: 


    Greetings families from Kuwait! It is HOT! The guys (and gals) are getting acclimated, but it is a long process. The temperature during the day tends to reach 120+. However, the guys are doing well and learning how to cope with the heat and continue their mission. 


    So far we have done various weapon training and shooting ranges, convoy training and drivers training. Some days are slow, but then some days are filled with events. 


    The food here is actually really good. It is MUCH better than anything we had at Camp Shelby. It will be even better in Iraq. Of course all meals are free but if they choose, soldiers can buy KFC, Burger King, Pizza, Chinese food, Starbucks, and Green bean coffee. 


    There are plenty of ways to call home, but don''t get discouraged if you don''t here from your soldier for a day or two. Between training and the long lines, sometimes it can be frustrating. 


    There is a really good PX here. It sells everything from toothpaste to flat screen TVs. So guys won''t be without. 


    I have to go for now, but I hope this helps. Please get this to the families of the soldiers and let me know how things are going. 


    Thank you, Capt. Biddle, and all the soldiers of Alpha Battery.  




  • A rose to organizers of Columbus'' Fireworks on the Water event Saturday night, which went off smoothly and treated hundreds to a safe and spectacular way to celebrate the Fourth of July. While partiers enjoyed the live entertainment and kids'' activities, organizers behind the scenes worked to make sure the event was safe and enjoyable for all. A big thank you to Columbus Air Force Base, Stark Aerospace and Cable One, the event''s sponsors. 




  • A thorn to Columbus'' three gas distributors: Lee Sanders of Sanders Oil Co.; Joe Gillis of Dutch Oil Co.; and Fred Newman Jr. of Newman Oil Co. It''s no secret that Columbus'' gas prices are among the highest in the state -- anywhere from 5 to 10 cents a gallon higher than at Starkville gas stations a short drive down the road. As often happens when we attempt to explain why this is, Sanders and Gillis didn''t return calls seeking their take. Newman, to his credit, did talk to us, but angrily shouted at us for even asking the question. Comments on our Web site show the many local consumers believe the three distributors are scheming to keep prices high. We doubt that, but their reluctance to address the public only feeds the conspiracy theories. 




  • A rose to Starkville''s William Eshee, who retired after 33 years serving as the city''s Municipal Court judge. We don''t want to count how many traffic fines that adds up to. Eshee, who also retired as a professor at Mississippi State University, turned over his gavel to Starkville lawyer Rodney Faver. "I am confident that Judge Faver will do an outstanding job for the citizens of this community," Eshee said in a statement. "He is a man of highest and unquestioned integrity; a man of great experience in the courtroom, as well as knowledge of the law. He will serve the citizenry well as the new municipal judge and I wish him the very best."




    Know of someone who deserves a rose -- or a thorn? Send your nomination to [email protected], and we''ll consider it for a future mention.