Roses and thorns 8-2-09

August 1, 2009 10:36:00 PM



A rose to teachers throughout the Golden Triangle. Next week, they''ll be back in front of classes full of eager (and some not-so-eager) students, charged with helping them grow into thoughtful, educated citizens. Even though classes won''t begin until Wednesday at most schools, teachers have already been in meetings and prepping their classrooms for the beginning of another school year.  


We realize that teaching isn''t a "regular" job; even when the kids are gone, there is much "behind the scenes" work, crafting lesson plans, grading students'' work, and countless other tasks. We appreciate your dedication, and wish you luck in the coming school year. 




A rose to the United Way Pacesetters, those businesses that volunteer to rally their employees to donate in advance of the Lowndes County chapter''s Sept. 10 giving campaign. The Pacesetters help set the tone for giving in the coming year. 


And participation is critical. Some agencies helped by public donations are operating in the red, as giving drops and the need for services rises in a down economy. The United Way missed its fund-raising goal by $90,000 in 2008 -- funds that could have aided our most needy and vulnerable citizens. 




Thorns to those who mistreat their animals, and roses to those who are drawing attention to what is an all-too-common problem. The majority of kennels at the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society are occupied by unadoptable pit bull dogs, some of which have been bred for fighting.  


Spurred by this fact, about 25 peaceful protesters turned up Wednesday for a hearing for Joseph Ellis, who allegedly possessed four scarred and bloody adult pit bulls, two pit bull puppies, and equipment officials believe is used to train dogs to fight. Ellis was found guilty of a raft of charges including cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor which brings no jail time if fines are paid.  


While it would take a reluctant Legislature to make animal cruelty a felony, municipalities can set heavier fines or levy other penalties if they so choose -- something our leaders should consider. 




Roses to newly minted city councilmen Kabir Karriem, Charlie Box and Bill Gavin, who though on the job less than a month, have held community meetings in their wards to gauge the needs and concerns of their constituents.  


Such meetings are an invaluable means for not only the council to meet and hear out their constituents in an informal way, but for those constituents to meet each other, forming a tighter bond within the community. 


Our more seasoned leaders -- supervisors as well as councilmen -- should take the lead of these new kids on the block, and get together with their own constituents more often. Everyone in the city and county could only benefit. 




A rose to the Starkville Rotary Club, which is sponsoring a public broadcasting-related reading program, "Between the Lions," in two Starkville preschools, with an eye toward expanding. The program teaches 4-year-olds to read using materials featuring characters from the popular PBS television show of the same name, with the materials funded by Rotary.  


In 2008, 14 child care centers in Rotary District 6820, one of three Rotary districts in the state, taught from Between the Lions Preschool Literacy Initiative material, and the number of centers is expected to double this year.  


The Columbus-Lowndes Public Library plans to hold six to eight week sessions around the program in the fall and spring.