Roses and thorns 10-11-09

October 10, 2009 7:57:00 PM



Roses to local school districts for finding creative ways to keep parents and other stakeholders informed in real time. 


Aberdeen, Lowndes County and Starkville school districts use Alert Now, a rapid-communication service delivering voice, e-mail and emergency text messages. 


The Starkville School District also uses STI Home, a Web-based program allowing parents to access information about their children''s grades, homework and discipline and attendance records. 


Columbus Municipal School District''s Web site hosts a blog authored by board members, parents and others. 


The district also uses Twitter and Falcon Blast, to notify parents and students of emergency weather alerts, Parent-Teacher Organization meetings and to make calls when students are absent. 


Immanuel Center for Christian Education uses Twitter and Facebook for announcements and school communications. 


As technology offers more ways to get real-time information, it''s good to see districts taking advantage of various avenues of keeping parents, teachers and others involved with the schools informed. 




Thorns to Caledonia Mayor George Gerhart, Sen. Terry Brown, Rep. Jeff Smith and East Mississippi Community College Entrepreneurial Development Facilitator Bruce Hanson for trying to use their weight to influence a Circuit Court murder case. 


The four signed an affidavit requesting the Brian Holliman murder trial be moved out of Lowndes County. Media attention, according to the request for a change of venue filed in Lowndes County Circuit Court, may have tainted the local jury pool. 


If the defense wants a change of venue, they have every legal right to request it. But is it the place of the mayor and our local legislators to try to influence the decision? 


Gerhart, who admits to being close friends with the Holliman family, says relocating the case is the only way for Holliman to get a fair trial. 


Even if he''s right, he and others signing affidavits in support of the change of venue may have done even more harm to public opinion. 




A rose to the Starkville Parks and Recreation Department for taking home top honors from the Mississippi Recreation and Park Association Conference last month. 


Starkville Parks and Rec won the Outstanding Facility Design Award among cities with 15,000-34,000 people for the recently completed sportsplex on Lynn Lane. Class II parks Architect Gary Shafer, who attended the awards ceremony, designed the Starkville Sportsplex. 


The Starkville Parks and Recreation Department also won the Outstanding Examples of Recreation Programming award for its Silly Sports Camp, which taught area youth traditional sports, such as softball, volleyball and track and field, but added elements to make the activities a little silly, like using 2-liter bottles as bats. 




Roses to organizers of Dream 365, a weekend celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The event recently was named one of the Southeast Tourism Society''s Top 20 Events for Spring 2010. 


Dream 365 was nominated by the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau. 


The annual Dream 365 MLK Weekend Celebration is scheduled for Jan. 15-18, 2010. 


This is the second year the event has received the STS Top 20 Events award. The weekend celebration in the past has featured, speakers, entertainers and an MLK march. 




A thorn from a reader 


"Bouquet of thorns to the Caledonia High School band, cheerleaders, and dance team¬†for not showing up to the high school game that had been rescheduled on Oct 10 at home. The Caledonia band had a competition in Tupelo but so did the Houston band and they where at the game.¬†Houston cheered for their team and performed during halftime. It is an honor to be in the band and cheer for your team -- just find it very sad that Caledonia Fans were let down."  


Chris Griffin 




Do you know someone who deserves a rose -- or a thorn? Send nominations to [email protected]