June 21, 2014 6:54:17 PM
A rose to all the volunteers who helped out this week at Camp Rising Sun, a week-long event held at Frank Phillips YMCA Camp Pratt for kids who have suffered from cancer and, in many cases, are still undergoing treatment to fight the disease. While volunteers are the lifeblood of many community events, they are especially essential at Camp Rising Sun. Without the roughly 65 volunteer counselors, the wide range of activities offered to this year's group of 43 kids would not be possible. Because many of the children require special attention, these volunteers make sure these kids can be kids, doing all the fun activities you normally associate with summer. It's a great escape from the grim realities of treatment that many of the children must endure in their fight against cancer.
A rose to Gene Taylor and Marty Tuner, the Columbus councilmen who voted against a proposal that placed restrictions on citizens who wish to speak at city council meetings. The measure, which would require citizens to sign a form and state what they wanted to speak about six days before a scheduled meeting (and a day before the council releases the meeting agenda) and limit a citizen's opportunity to speak at the council to three times a year, passed. Taylor and Turner were not the only ones to come out on the losing end of this vote. The people of Columbus were the biggest losers. Any measure that seeks to put unreasonable restrictions on the public's proper role in city government is misguided.
A rose to the Mississippi University for Women for its help in making the 2014 Mississippi Governor's School another success story. This year, 70 of the state's top high school juniors and seniors participated in the three-week honors program, an event funded by the state of Mississippi. Aside from the benefits of the advanced classes -- students take one half-day course in an area best-suited to their academic background and another course that caters to their personal interests -- the opportunity to meet and form relationships with people they have met while living in a college environment is something they can draw on as they continue their educational careers. That the students' main complaint is that the school ends too soon is a testament to the excellence of the program and the hospitality of MUW.
A rose to the Columbus city council, and Ward 5 councilman Kabir Karriem in particular, for its plans for a nuisance ordinance that will equip the city with tools to reduce the violence that often accompanies poorly regulated events around the city. Spurred by yet another episode of violence at a graduation party held at the Fairgrounds, Karriem pushed for an ordinance that will hold event organizers accountable for the conduct of those who attend events where alcohol is sold. Fines and even jail time can result if event organizers do not abide by the proposed ordinance, which stipulates that event organizers must apply for a permit, hold a valid liquor/beer license and abide by all the laws already on the books, including open container laws. We feel this is a common-sense approach to a problem that has long plagued the city.
A rose to enterprising restaurateurs Stephen and Danielle Boren, who will open a second "Dawg House Sports Grill," on the site of the old State Theatre in downtown Starkville. The Borens operate the original "Dawg House" in Ruston, La., a restaurant known for its casual dining. When it opens July 1, the business will employ about 50 people and while new jobs are always encouraging, the benefits go far beyond that. For some time, the vacant State Theatre building has been something of a blight on a downtown that is otherwise thriving. The new restaurant certainly raises the profile of Starkville's downtown and lifts the cloud of uncertainty that lingered over a prime piece of downtown property.
Send your suggestions for Roses and thorns to managing editor Slim Smith at email@example.com.