November 16, 2013 9:59:04 PM
Roses and thorns
A rose to officials at Mississippi University for Women and East Mississippi Community College, who announced Friday that the two schools will collaborate on a culinary arts program. In the world of higher education, competition is often the focus. There are occasions, however, when schools can complement each other rather than compete. With the acquisition of the former Columbus Country Club, EMCC now has a state-of-the-art facility that provides students with "real-world" experience. By joining forces with The W, the quality of education in the culinary arts is enhanced for students of both schools. We applaud The W and EMCC for joining forces to give their culinary arts students the finest training available. Bon appetit!
A rose to Haley Montgomery of Small Pond Graphics, Jennifer Gregory of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, Nicole Thomas of the Starkville School District and members of Parents for Public Schools Starkville and the Starkville Foundation for Public Education for their efforts in enhancing the dialogue concerning school consolidation plans through social media. In addition to regularly tweeting at school board and consolidation meetings, the advocates also joined forces to organize a Twitter "town hall" on Nov. 6 to encourage dialogue and questions about the merger before the commission holds its public hearing the next day. The forum itself generated about 600 tweets and reached a combined 28,000 followers -- with some redundancy, of course -- from the entities' combined Twitter lists. Giving residents another means of participating in the discussion, through social media is a great idea, one that should be emulated throughout the Golden Triangle.
A thorn to the Starkville Board of Aldermen, who are proposing a resolution to prohibit the use of smartphones, curtailing social media usage and free speech, during board meetings under the guise that it is a distraction. With no credible examples of how the use of smartphones has been a distraction during previous meetings, one would think the aldermen are trying to silence those in the public who disagree with them. Since it took over in July, this board has engaged in a litany of questionable moves that have invited criticism. In trying to stifle its critics, this board shows yet again just how petty and childish they have become.
A rose to Robin Ballard, whose conversation with her soldier/son turned into a unique drive that secured more than 1,300 tubes of lip balm for soldiers stationed in Afghanistan. Ballard, an administrator with the Lowndes County School District, said her son, Kyle, complained of chapped lips caused by the inhospitable climate in Afghanistan. When told that lip balm was hard to come by there, Ballard organized a "lip balm drive" in the district. Fifty-five teachers placed donation boxes in their classroom and by Friday, the total haul was more than 1,300 tubes, along with other toiletry items. "I just didn't expect to get this much," Ballard said. "I just couldn't believe it."
A rose to Maggie Proffitt, who has become a bona fide freshman sensation for the University of Central Arkansas women's basketball team. The former Columbus High and Starkville Academy standout leads the Sugar Bears in scoring, averaging 16.3 points per game, including a 30-point explosion in UCA's 98-36 win over Central Baptist on Thursday. In that game, Proffitt made eight 3-pointers, second most in school history.