Roses and thorns




A rose to Rachel Burtram, an enchanting Columbus teen who recently won the Lowndes County Junior Miss pageant and $2,050 in scholarships.


In addition to winning the title, Burtram won a preliminary award in the areas of scholastics, interview, talent and self-expression and won the "Be Your Best Self" essay contest.


Rachel, the daughter of Tim and Dawn Burtram, will go on to compete in the state Junior Miss Program in Meridian in July.




Roses to the Perkerson family and Military Hardware for 50 years of business in Columbus.


The long-standing family business is expected to be recognized by a resolution proposed to the Senate by Sen. Terry Brown, R-Lowndes.


Military Hardware celebrates its 50th anniversary in December.


Mike and Carol Perkerson now own and operate the store, but its legacy began with Mike''s parents, John and Ruth, in 1959. Customer service is a family tradition with the Perkersons. Be it the purchase of a quarter''s worth of 6-penny nails or special-order door hardware for an entire house, the staff at Military Hardware are attentive, informed and unfailing helpful. Their personal service has garnered them generations of loyal customers and allowed them to survive and flourish in a world increasingly dominated by big-box retailers.


Carol and Mike Perkerson work at the store with their children Brad and Angie.


And once the store officially celebrates its anniversary, the whole town likely will have a hard time ignoring it.


"We have a big party planned for this December," Carol Perkerson said, noting they''ll "run all kinds of notices in the paper, so everyone will know about it."



A rose to the lovely Jasmine Murray, of Starkville, who has gained national attention as a "cute and marketable" contestant on American Idol.


Jasmine will continue in competition on the eighth season of Fox''s American Idol, which kicks into full gear Tuesday night.


Jasmine, 16, weeks ago won a unanimous pass to Hollywood after wowing the judges in auditions.


Before moving to Starkville, Jasmine lived in Columbus and was a student at Columbus High. She recently visited her former Falcon stomping grounds to encourage her fellow high schoolers to join her at the state school of arts in Brookhaven.


Jasmine and family members are bound by contract not to talk about the competition, but her mom, Lisa, and sisters Kim and Andrea clearly were excited as she made it through the preliminary stages of the competition.


"American Idol" airs at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday on Fox; The Dispatch will offer updates as Jasmine progresses in the competition.


And later this week, log onto to track Jasmine''s progression on the show and to post your own comments.


We''ll be keeping a close eye on our local Idol.


Good luck, Jasmine!



Roses county and city officials for opening the floor for the public to voice opinions on recreation in Lowndes County. The Columbus-Lowndes Recreation Authority, Lowndes County Board of Supervisors and Columbus City Council held a joint meeting Tuesday evening to hear public concerns about recreation needs.


Roses also go out to the community members who voiced their thoughts and concerns about everything from inadequate soccer fields to the need for a modern community center where senior citizens can hold activities.


A common theme seemed to be to the call for local officials to move forward with years-long plans to build a sportsplex.


The facility could cost more than $4 million. Conversation on the sportsplex began a decade ago. Thus far Parks and Rec has been unable to put a deal together the city and county can act on.


Presently CLRA is considering buying the old Cash Distributing building on 182 and possibly spending more than $1 million converting it into a multi-purpose recreation facility.


The CLRA should abandon this diversion, and focus its energies and resources on a sportsplex/soccer complex.


A state-of-the-art sportsplex offers not only quality of life enhancements for all residents, it will be an economic boon for the area.




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