Roses and thorns: 7/7/13

July 6, 2013 7:57:10 PM



A rose to those who made the fireworks shows in Columbus and Starkville a success. Despite less-than-cooperative weather, organizers at both events reported enthusiastic turnouts. In Columbus, "Fireworks on the Water," held on the east bank of the John C. Stennis Lock and Dam, was produced by the Columbus Air Force Base and the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau. In Starkville, the fireworks show was the work of the city's park and recreation department. Fireworks shows such as these are a festive cap to the July 4th holiday and while the "rockets' red glare" and "bombs bursting in air" may send a few pets scurrying for cover, the rest of us thoroughly enjoy the spectacle. 




A thorn Lowndes County Circuit Court Judge Lee Coleman, whose ridiculously lenient sentencing of a felon for a domestic violence conviction may have jeopardized the safety of a child.  


Last week, arrest warrants were issued for local businessman Alan Redden for simple assault and malicious mischief in connection with a June 28 incident in which Redden is alleged to have shoved a 13-year-old girl and smashed her cell phone. This comes just six months after Coleman suspended a five-year sentence for domestic violence/aggravated assault and gave Redden unsupervised probation, a sentence so lenient as to leave veteran court observers at a loss for words. During Redden's sentencing in February, Coleman called the abuse an "abnormality" and noted that Redden is a business owner and community volunteer. It seems likely that Redden will be held accountable for conduct. The same cannot be said of Coleman, unfortunately. 




A rose of sympathy to the family and friends of Park Stevens, a former Oak Hill Academy, New Hope High and East Central Community College football star who died Wednesday in a traffic accident near West Point. Stevens had plans to play football at Ole Miss this fall. Beyond his prowess as a player, Stevens, 20, was known for attributes that go far beyond the football field. A former New Hope coach noted that Stevens was someone who drew people together and a natural leader. Since his death, he has been remembered for his generosity and kindness, especially to the little kids who looked up to the "giant," who stood 6-foot-7 inches tall and weighed 340 pounds. He was a giant, all right, not only in stature but in character. To say he will be missed is inadequate, although true. Better to say, then, that he will be remembered.  




A thorn to Ward 4 councilman Marty Turner, who continues to embarrass the city as each new skeleton emerges from his closet. Last week, The Dispatch reported that Turner owes $1,416.77 from a DUI second offense conviction in Hattiesburg in 2010. The Dispatch previously reported that Turner's business, Turner Furniture LLC, had yet to satisfy a $56,023.84 judgment regarding back rent owed to the landlord of his business' former location in Gateway Shopping Center as well as a cumulative $10,003.53 in other judgments to the Mississippi Department of Revenue. As embarrassing as it may be to have such information put before the public eye, it is a spotlight that Turner chose to occupy in his decision to run for the city council. Each revelation is deeply embarrassing for the people of Columbus, in general, and the people of Ward 4, in particular. When will it stop? At this point, we dare not guess. 




A rose to Waters Truck and Tractor for it cooperation in making a smooth transition of the Columbus Municipal School District's bus service to newcomer Ecco Ride. Waters lost the bid for the four-year contract to run the school district's buses in May, but in Tuesday's CMSD board meeting Waters was praised for cooperating with Ecco Ride personnel in their efforts to hit the ground running. Although losing the contract was undoubtedly a bitter disappointment, Waters officials have done the city a great service by putting that disappointment aside for the good of the public. It is a trait we much admire and seldom see in these situations. We'll take cooperation over acrimony any day.