Roses and Thorns 1-9-11

January 8, 2011 8:12:00 PM



A rose to Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman, who said Friday he intends to veto amendments to the city''s sidewalk ordinance that exempt some streets from the law. 


In a nutshell, the sidewalk ordinance requires sidewalk construction with all new roads, buildings and residential subdivisions in the city limits. Some business owners, particularly the ones building new buildings and facing the added cost of a strip of concrete, are crying foul. The council responded by voting 4-3 to amend the ordinance, exempting Miley Drive, Pollard Road and portions of Airport Road and Industrial Park Road from ordinance. 


Wiseman said in his veto statement that the ordinance does need an avenue to ask for a variance to the rules, but that exempting certain streets outright is unwise. 


We agree with his approach. We also agree with the bigger picture here -- that Starkville''s new board and mayor are trying to make the city a more livable place for all its citizens. Sidewalks, bike paths and a bicycle helmet ordinance may cause eye-rolling from some -- in a state where absolutely no zoning or safety laws govern many areas -- but such things are standard in the most livable cities in the rest of the nation.  


Starkville''s more forward-thinking leaders should be commended for leading the way. We urge the board to look past the complainers, stick to its guns, and move a more livable and friendly Starkville forward. 




A rose to Leslie Frazier, the Columbus native who was named head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, after holding the interim job for six games. 


Frazier, who replaced former coach Brad Childress, played at Lee High, Alcorn State University, and later as a defensive back with the Chicago Bears. He''s earned two Super Bowl rings, one as a player with the Bears and one as an assistant coach with the Indianapolis Colts. 


The 51-year-old went 3-3 as interim coach. But he struggled through adversity including quarterback Brett Favre''s injuries and damage to the Vikings'' home field, which required him to play home games on the road. The Vikings, who made it to the Super Bowl last year before losing to the New Orleans Saints, finished a disappointing 6-10, missing the playoffs. 


We wish Frazier luck as he rebuilds the team to its former glory in the off-season, and we''ll be rooting for the Vikings next year. 


Read and interview with Frazier by Dispatch Sports Editor Adam Minichino in today''s Sports section. 




A thorn to the Columbus police officers involved in a November incident that ended with a suspect being dropped off at the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center carrying a loaded pistol. 


The department has reworked its search policy following the November incident, in short, requiring the search of all suspects even when they''re removed from the scene of the arrest. We think this goes without saying. 


While the situation seems like complete Barney Fife-level stuff on its face, we are familiar with this particular arrest. The scene was chaotic, including police searching for a wanted, dangerous man, and confronting him and his brother -- who isn''t a saint either. Add their screaming mother into the mix. Officers cut short their search of the pistol-packing Vanquez Fox, spiriting him away from what looked like an evolving confrontation. 


Their mistake was not completing their search, and dropping him off at the jail, where county officers discovered the gun in his coat. 


We appreciate officers'' hard work. But we expect more, and hope officers are now being trained to avoid such potentially dangerous mistakes. 




A rose to all those current and prospective office-holders throughout the Golden Triangle who have filed to run for county elections in November. More than 20 have filed in both Oktibbeha and Clay counties, for offices including supervisor, sheriff, county school superintendent and county clerks. 


Fewer have filed in Lowndes, the area''s most populous county, which is disheartening, however. Only one supervisor, for instance, faces an outside challenger after the first week of qualifying. 


We thank our elected leaders for their service, and hope more throw their hats in the ring to participate in county government. Fresh blood and ideas are desperately needed for the area''s challenges.