Roses and thorns 11-15-09

November 14, 2009 8:31:00 PM



A rose to Columbus Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box, who has proposed a smoking ordinance that would keep cigarette smoke out of most public places in the city. The ordinance could come up for a vote as early as Tuesday. 


We believe such a law is long overdue. Nearly 30 Mississippi cities have anti-smoking laws, including Starkville, Aberdeen and Tupelo. The negative health impacts of second-hand smoke are beyond debate. 


There are many reasons for such a law, chief among them safeguarding the health of nonsmokers, and improving the overall quality of life in Columbus. 


The ordinance Box proposes allows smoking in outdoor spaces and in "age-restricted venues," or bars, restaurants and other establishments that only allow people age 21 or over to enter. Smoking is also allowed in private clubs that restrict access to the general public. 


While we think an outright smoking ban in all indoor spaces -- and some outdoor areas such as city sidewalks -- is in order, Box''s proposal is a good start. 


Three council members say they''ll vote for the ordinance, while the other three are noncommittal so far. We urge them all to improve Columbus residents'' quality of life, and our image to visitors, by voting for this ordinance on Tuesday. "I just think it''s the right thing to do," Box said this week. We agree. 


(To read the full ordinance, go to and click on the story titled "City to consider smoking ordinance.") 




A rose to The Friends of the W, an independent group that is working to bury the hatchet between Mississippi University for Women''s Alumni Association and its disaffiliated alumni group, which calls itself Mississippi''s First Alumnae Association. 


MUW administrators, members of both alumni groups, and others are part of Friends of the W. All are coming together this Sunday in Madison, and next Sunday on campus in Columbus, to discuss strategies to fend off a loss of programs or a possible merger between MUW and Mississippi State University. Gov. Haley Barbour is expected to recommend such a consolidation in his budget recommendation to the Legislature on Monday. 


We wish all the school''s alumni and administration would have come together under brighter circumstances, but we hope this small step leads to a full reconciliation between the school and its alumni. With the university most likely facing severe cutbacks in the coming years, a unified front can only help sell its message to the College Board and legislators. 




A thousand roses to the 1,000 households in Starkville that, so far, have signed up for the city''s curbside recycling program. The city Sanitation Department has collected nearly 25 tons of recyclable material since the start of the program only a few months ago.  


We only hope other cities in the Golden Triangle take note of Starkville''s success, and work to extend the life of our landfill and resources while helping improve the environment. (We''re looking in your direction, Columbus.)