October 26, 2013 10:40:50 PM
A rose to the Columbus-Lowndes Park and Recreation Department for its efforts in hosting the Mississippi Soccer Association Coaches Cup, which concludes today at the Columbus Soccer Complex. Although the tournament drew about half the number of teams projected, the event confirmed the Columbus Soccer Complex as a first-rate facility.
Much work went into preparing for the tournament, especially in terms of remedying traffic congestion, parking and restrooms. While parking was an issue when the complex opened last year, three new lots have been added and a new gravel road has also been added off of the bypass that goes into the north side of the complex. A new restroom/concessions building was also added. Addressing those issues assured that the complex would be up to the highest standards. Mission accomplished.
A thorn to Whirllie Byrd for adding some needless contention to an already contentious Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau during its board meeting this week. Byrd raised an issue that had already been settled, the matter of a $12,000 pay raise for executive director Nancy Carpenter that went into effect in 2011 but was never came before a vote on the board. Whether it was simply a regrettable oversight or a calculated effort to deceive the board, the issue became moot when, at its August retreat, the board voted to approve the pay raise retroactively. Byrd, who actually voted in favor of the retroactive pay raise in August, brought up the matter again, citing an attorney general's opinion that stopped short of ruling the pay raise illegal. If the board wanted to debate the propriety of approving Carpenter's raise, it had the opportunity to do it at the August retreat. To raise the issue again served no useful purpose.
A rose to the EMCC football team, which defeated Itawamba, 59-13, to capture the North Division title and complete a perfect regular season. The Lions have dominated the competition through the regular season and are the prohibitive favorite to claim the state championship. That quest begins Nov. 3 with a home game against South Division runner-up Gulf Coast. The winner of that game will play the winner of the Itawamba-Jones game the following Saturday. Ranked No. 2 in the nation, the Lions seem poised to take a run at the national championship, a feat EMCC achieved two years ago.
A rose to Greater Starkville Development Partnership and those who made the fifth annual Pumpkinpalooza event a success. The event, held Friday in downtown Starkville, is easily the signature fall celebration in the Golden Triangle as the GSDP and its partners welcome thousands to downtown Starkville for a wide array of entertainment, including games, trick-or-treating, pumpkin-painting and shopping. Each year, the event seems to get better. This year, the weather matched the occasion, adding yet another element to a perfect celebration of fall.
A rose to the Mississippi University for Women for another successful Eudora Welty Symposium, which began Thursday. This year's lineup included 12 established writers, including featured writer Ellen Gilchrist along with Po Bronson and Columbus' own Michael Farris Smith. Other writers participating included Adam Vines, Holly Goddard Jones, Mitchell L. H. Douglas, Stephanie Powell Watts, L. Lamar Wilson, Seven Barthelme, Steve Yates, Stephen Fuller, Elizabeth Hughey and Cary Holladay. The symposium is a tribute to Welty, a true literary giant, as well as a celebration of contemporary authors.