September 28, 2013 9:38:53 PM
Roses and thorns
A rose to the Columbus Arts Council for another wonderful event -- The Possum Town Storytelling Festival, which concluded Saturday. The festival serves to remind us in the age of technology that the art of storytelling enriches our lives in ways that the latest technology can never duplicate. With storytellers Len Cabral, Kuniko Yamamoto and Carmen Agra Deedy, this year's festival was a delight to the eyes, ears and minds. We've come to expect wonderful programs from the CAC. This year's storytelling festival is merely the latest evidence of the arts council's fine work.
A rose to the city of Starkville for aggressively pursuing an opportunity to become C Spire's first recipient of ultra-fast Internet access. C Spire officials launched Fiber to the Home, a substantial investment that will develop fiber optic Internet capabilities in the state. The program will bring communities, including households, 1 gigabyte-per-second (1,000 megabytes) upload and download speeds. TV and home phone services will be added to the program at a later date. Aside form some in-kind services and paid fees, the program would create no cost to the city. Meanwhile, says Starkville mayor Parker Wiseman, the benefits could be significant. "Having these capabilities first allows us to continue marketing Starkville as a technology-driven city and to show off our commitment to research and advancement," he said.
A rose to MSU's University Health Services for its "Clothesline Project," held at the Drill Field this week. Students used paints, markers and sponges to express their own thoughts on T-shirts made possible through a grant from the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women. Each shirt then joined the others, multiplying the message and sharpening awareness of gender violence. The project brings attention to grave facts. In a woman's lifetime, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, one in five women will have been raped and one in six will have been stalked.
The same report says one in four women will have experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that women aged 16-24 experience the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence, which puts college students squarely at the heart of the issue.
A rose to the Columbus-Lowndes Parks and Recreation Department, the city of Columbus and Lowndes County for "getting it right" at the Columbus Soccer Complex. This week marked the opening of the soccer season at the complex and while the complex was busy, it was a far better experience for all involved than last year, when inadequate parking and restroom facilities cast a pall over the otherwise state-of-the-art complex. Officials listened to those complaints and city and county officials responded, allocating an additional $200,000 for improvements. This week, it was obvious those upgrades worked. No one likes criticism, of course, but we are encouraged by our officials' willingness to listen and make the necessary improvements.