June 1, 2013 9:57:22 PM
A rose to the Mississippi State baseball team, which had seen a 10-year drought of sorts. MSU, 44-17 going into Saturday's second-round game of the NCAA regional, was selected as one of the 16 sites to host a regional. While this year marks the third straight year the Bulldogs have reached the NCAA regionals, it marks the first time since 2003 that the Bulldogs have been selected as a regional host. That's great not only for the team and its fans, but for area restaurants, hotels and other businesses which are guaranteed brisk business at a time of year when things are usually slow. A record crowd of more than 17,000 took in Friday's MSU-Central Arkansas game. Although it seems unlikely, MSU could conceivably do it all again next weekend if MSU can win its regional and hope for an upset in the Charlottesville, Va., regional. In that event, MSU would host the Super Regional.
A rose to MDOT for its innovative efforts to educate young drivers on the dangers that are presented by such things as distracted driving and drinking-and-driving. A group of 40 teens from the area attended an MDOT presentation at Heritage Academy. Rather than a somewhat boring program of reading material, speeches and videos, MDOT used a pair of simulators to really drive home the lessons. The "Seatbelt Convincer" gave student drivers a first-hand glimpse of what happens in a crash at 5 mph when the driver is not wearing a seat belt. The "Rollover Rover'' showed the students what can happen in a roll-over accident at 35 mph. For young people, "showing" is almost always more effective than "telling." The use of these kinds of simulators is likely to be a very effective means of communicating the kind of information that can save lives.
A rose to the Golden Triangle's Main Street organizations. The Main Street organizations from Columbus, Starkville and West Point were among 47 Mississippi cities to earn designation as accredited National Main Street Programs in 2013 for meeting revitalization performance standards as dictated by the National Main Street Center.
The cities can each lay claim to the distinction for meeting specific criteria and standards involving the preservation and revitalization of Main Street. It's not exactly a new honor for any of the three cities, of course. Columbus Main Street has won the distinction every year since 1985 while Starkville has earned the honor for three years in a row in four years of its existence and West Point has also won that honor numerous times. We applaud the efforts of staff, volunteers and its city/business partners for their efforts in making downtown the vibrant heart-beat of our cities.
A rose to the New Hope baseball team, which defeated Pascagoula, 3-2, in the decisive third game of the Mississippi Class 5-A championship series to capture its sixth state championship on May 25th. Baseball has long been a point of pride in the New Hope community, but the much-coveted state title had proven to be somewhat elusive -- it had been 10 years since the Trojans had reached the championship series. New Hope finished with a 27-9 record and swept through the playoffs with a 10-2 record. Safe to say: The Trojans are back! See page 5B for more New Hope baseball.