Roses and Thorns 6-27-10

June 26, 2010 7:06:00 PM



A rose to Jarvis Varnado, the Mississippi State basketball standout who realized a dream Thursday when he was drafted in the second round of the NBA draft by the Miami Heat. 


Varnado, who had 564 blocked shots in his college career -- an NCAA record -- was the 41st overall pick in the draft. 


Varnado was the Southeastern Conference''s Defensive MVP for three straight seasons, and was the first player in the history of college basketball to score 1,000 points, grab 1,000 rebounds and block 500 shots. 


Another rose goes out to former Starkville High School forward Latavious Williams, who was also drafted by the Heat, then traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Williams was the 48th player selected in the draft. He led Starkville to the Class 5A state final in 2008, before moving to Texas. 




A rose to LeAnn Shelton of Reform, Ala., who hasn''t let a debilitating accident ruin her outlook on life or derail her dreams. 


Shelton, 28, lost her left arm in a riding mower accident when she was 4. Still, she went on to be starting pitcher and lead hitter on the Pickens County High School softball team, and is still playing church league softball today. She went on to be a physical therapy technician, helping others with disabilities. 


"Anything I ever wanted to try or do, my mom and dad said, ''Go for it,''" LeAnn told The Dispatch. 


Read about her inspiring story in today''s Lifestyles section. 




A rose to the purveyors and patrons of farmer''s markets in the Golden Triangle. 


We''ve said it before and we''ll say it again -- only good things come from spending money locally on fresh produce grown in this area. It''s healthy for the economy, and for the body.  


West Point''s own Saturday morning market began a few weeks ago, in the lot across from Anthony''s on Main Street downtown. Their market joins those in Starkville and Columbus, which, with the advent of ripe produce, are enjoying peak crowds. 




A rose to the Columbus Exchange Club, which this week passed out more than $8,000 in grants to local non-profit organizations. 


Agencies benefiting from the grants include the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Columbus Boys and Girls Club, Columbus Girls choir, Father''s Child Ministry, First Book Columbus, HEARTS After School Tutoring, Safe Haven, Camp Rising Sun and the Columbus YMCA 


In the down economy, nonprofit agencies need all the help the community can throw their way, and local service organizations like the Exchange Club provide a welcome and much-needed boost. 




A rose to the Columbus Chapter of the National Action Network, and all who turned out for the third annual Stop the Violence and Promote the Peace Rally today in Columbus.  


While the rally is an established annual event, its message takes on new meaning with two recent shooting deaths in Columbus.  


Community involvement is essential to fighting crime, and events like Saturday''s gathering strengthen community bonds, and allow police and other leaders to spread their message. 


We''re heartened by how the community has stepped up amid the violence. The Columbus Police Department is reaching out to community groups. A recent event at Lee Middle School allowed young people to express their views, and a group led by District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks is forming a community task force to seek solutions to local crime.