Roses and thorns 3-1-09




Roses of thanks to the city/county ad hoc sportsplex committee. Headed by City Councilman Susan Mackay, the group has met, held a public hearing and most recently accepted site proposals. Eleven proposals were submitted. Parks and Rec Director Roger Short said the proposals will be discussed and made public at Monday night''s board meeting.


While the decision will ultimately be made by the Parks and Rec Board in conjunction with elected officials, we think public discussion of every aspect of the project is healthy and will lead to wider acceptance and support.


The proposed (and long-needed) sportsplex will host soccer, adult softball and football action. Propst Park will remain home to the youth baseball and softball programs. Serving with Mackay on the committee are Councilman Gene Taylor, Supervisor Jeff Smith, County Administrator Ralph Billingsley, Parks and Rec boardmember Rusty Greene and Short.




A rose to Jackie Exum for making available the Barrister Bed and Breakfast Thursday night for the first in what may become a series of talks about local history and culture.


About a dozen Columbus citizens showed up for the inaugural event at Barrister''s Bed and Breakfast.


The program -- "Columbus Talks and Shares Stories: A Dialogue on Race -- centered around untold stories of local black history.


Jazz musician Ezra Baker and historian Rufus Ward led the discussion, which opened with Baker''s musical saxophone stylings.


Along with a discussion, attendees got a peek into history -- from Hernando de Soto''s 1540 trip through Mississippi to Tupelo''s history during the French and Indian War.



Roses to community members who formed the Lowndes County Underage Drinking Coalition, to combat underage drinking.


Lowndes County ranks eighth highest in the state in alcohol-related problems and car accidents involving underage drinkers.


Brandy Andrews and Molly Portera of Community Counseling Services called together the first meeting of the Underage Drinking Coalition Tuesday afternoon, to get public insight on the issue. The ladies have said Lowndes County teens have ample access alcohol, regardless of their age -- some from stores and others through their parents.


To reverse the stats putting Lowndes at the top of the underage drinking list, the group plans to educate, educate, educate -- with media campaigns and guest speakers at schools.


Local educators have said the problem with underage drinking usually starts at home; kids get booze from mom or dad, who may think drinking at home is better than going out and getting it illegally. The problem: It''s still illegal.


A minor in possession of alcohol and adults contributing to the delinquency of a minor face a $391 fine.


Drunken driving can also bring large fines and criminal charges. Driving under the influence of alcohol earns violators a $962 fine for the first offense and $1,262 for the second.


The third drunken driving offense within five years is a felony.


Tuesday''s meeting was an introductory one and a step in the right direction.


As Columbus Police Chief Joseph St. John said at the meeting, we''re fighting for the hearts and minds of our children.



A rose to Columbus High School Assistant Principal Jill Savely, who was named Columbus Municipal School District''s Administrator of the Year.


Thursday afternoon, CHS principal Craig Shannon and CMSD Superintendent Dr. Del Phillips surprised Savely with the news. Savely has been working non-stop to implement the International Baccalaureate program at Columbus High. And now that it''s in place, she keeps the momentum going.


Shannon said Savely was" born to be an educator," while Phillips said she is "a really excellent administrator."


Congrats to Savely for her accomplishment.



A rose to the Columbus Municipal School District''s 2009 Teacher of the Year, Rosalyn Hodge, a second-grade teacher at Stokes-Beard Technology and Communication Magnet School.


Phillips announced her award earlier this month, calling her a "wonderful teacher," who "exemplifies the kind of teacher we are looking for."


Hodge was surprised by the award, which was given out during a City Council tour of Stokes-Beard. Hodge recently became a National Board Certified Teacher, a rigorous process that involves video and print journal entries. But the NBC teacher designation speaks toward her stellar qualifications.



A rose to Sarah Wilson, a junior communication major at Mississippi University for Women and former Dispatch news reporter intern, for receiving top honors from the Southeast Journalism Conference.


Wilson is the editor of the W paper, The Spectator, and won first place in the category of Best Election Writer for her story on Barack Obama''s visit to the college.


The award was announced at the SEJC convention in Nashville, Tenn., earlier this month.


Wilson called covering Obama''s March visit "a journalist''s dream" she "won''t soon forget."


The annual SEJC contest pits Spectator staffers against other student journalists at more than 30 schools in the Southeast, including the University of Mississippi, the University of Alabama and Auburn, Vanderbilt and Emory universities.


Way to trump the big dogs, Sarah!




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