February 2, 2013 8:49:43 PM
A rose to the Main Street Columbus Board of Directors for its expeditious handling of a personnel issue that could have easily lingered on unnecessarily. On Thursday, the board terminated its director Nickie Nicholson, who had been on the job for just seven weeks. The temptation would have been to keep Nicholson aboard, thereby avoiding the unpleasant task in favor of hoping against hope that the situation would somehow improve. But as is the case with most hiring mistakes, the damage is only compounded as time passes. Hiring has never been a precise science. Sooner or later, mistakes are made. In this case, the Board acted wisely in recognizing the problem and taking immediate steps to mitigate damage and allow it to move forward to find that person who will meet and exceed the expectations of this important position. The quicker you admit a mistake, the quicker you can fix it. The Board is to be commended.
A rose to Roger Short, director of the Columbus-Lowndes Recreation Authority, for his integral role in bringing the first dog park to Columbus. Dog parks are a popular and common amenity in cities and towns all over our dog-crazy country. Columbus may be late to the party, but it will get there, mainly because Short made the park a priority. The Columbus Bark Park, which will be located on a portion of Propst Park, should open in March, just a couple of months after Short pushed the project through in January. While the park may not be on the scale the $5 million Columbus Soccer Park, another of Short's pet projects (pun intended), its presence provides the city one more popular amenity. So woof, woof (that's Dog for "here's a rose!").
A rose to the Lowndes Community Foundation for its continuing support of worthwhile projects throughout the community. This past week the LCF presented a $1,000 check to the Columbus Master Gardeners to help pay for the re-landscaping of the downtown post office. The Gardeners, who also deserve a pat on the back for all the beauty they've brought to downtown, removed the P.O.'s old, overgrown plants this past summer and replaced them with new plants and mulching. The gardeners provide ongoing care for the post office. For its part, the LCF, an organization that provides a tax-free conduit for local charitable giving, supports such activities as the community-wide Messiah, last summer's visit of the American Wind Symphony Orchestra and the maintenance of the static displays, a prominent reminder of the city's ties to Columbus Air Force Base.
A rose to the law enforcement agencies involved in Operation Full Throttle, a joint investigative operation that focuses on major drug dealers in our community. On Thursday, the task force executed warrants on 13 dealers. Since the operation began about a year ago, the task force has apprehended about 40 suspects and expects to push that number to more than 100 before it's finished. The operation is a collaborative effort of the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department, The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, The Drug Enforcement Administration, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service. This is not an effort that targets low-level recreational drug users, whose arrests do little beyond clogging up an already overcrowded judicial system. These are criminals who represent a real menace to our community. Thanks to the dedicated work of the task force, our community is a safer place than it was Wednesday.