Roses and thorns 1/28/18


Roses and thorns: Betty Clyde Jones (right) presents Max Cullum with the Book of Golden Deeds Award during Exchange Club at Lion Hills in Columbus Thursday afternoon.

Roses and thorns: Betty Clyde Jones (right) presents Max Cullum with the Book of Golden Deeds Award during Exchange Club at Lion Hills in Columbus Thursday afternoon. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff




A rose to Max Cullum, an unsung community hero whose praises were sung at last week's Columbus Exchange Club. Each year, the club honors a person whose contributions to the community are often overlooked through it's "Book of Golden Deeds" award. Cullum's selection certainly honors that tradition. Over the years, Cullum has volunteered time with Meals on Wheels, The Salvation Army, Beacon Harbor in Greenwood, Habitat for Humanity, Loaves and Fishes and the Backpack Ministry at Franklin Academy, which provides backpacks full of food for children who may not always have access to meals over the weekends. You could call Cullum's selection as a Lifetime Achievement Award, considering that he has been helping his community in ways large and small since he arrived in Columbus in the 1970s from Kemper County where he was born. We salute Cullum for his service and the Exchange Club for its excellent choice for this award.



A rose to Oktibbeha County Hospital Regional Medical Center for its efforts to affiliate with larger regional hospital systems. OCH administrators are in talks with North Mississippi Health Services of Tupelo, University of Mississippi Medical Center of Jackson and expect to also open discussions with Baptist Memorial Health Systems of Memphis in the near future. This will not be a merger - OCH will remain in the county's control - but will improve health care through opening more options to patients, reducing costs through an economy of scale and sharing information, technology and resources that might not be available otherwise. We commend these efforts because they will benefit both patients and the taxpayers who support the hospital.




A rose to Beverly Norris and the Columbus Arts Council, which concluded a year-long celebration of Mississippi's bi-centennial with a program that paid homage to the rich literary tradition of our home state. A rose should also go to Columbus author Deborah Johnson, who used her connections with Mississippi writers throughout the state to participate in the year-long series. The series began January 2017 with Columbus author Michael Farris Smith, author of "Rivers" and "Desperation Road," and the soon-to-be released "The Fighter." Following him were a journalist, multiple novelists, a poet, a songwriter and even the author of the plaques on the Mississippi Blues Trail that dot the state. The series ended this week with two events. On Thursday the program featured Johnson and Oxford novelist Lisa Howorth, author of "Flying Shoes." Friday, poet Beth Ann Fenelly, musician and songwriter Claire Holly wrapped up the series with spoken word and music performances. It was a wonderful series and a great way to celebrate Mississippi's 200th birthday.



A rose to Mississippi State's band staff, which is again inviting university students and employees, as well as Golden Triangle residents with previous band experience, to participate in the Starkville-MSU Community Band. The band's diverse repertoire includes traditional marches, patriotic selections and "pops" arrangements. The band will perform two concerts during the semester. Interested high school students ages 15 years and older also are invited to join. In addition to having at least one year of prior playing experience and receiving their band director's permission, musicians must furnish their own instruments. Craig Aarhus, MSU associate professor of music and associate director of bands, said the community band gives musicians of all ages and abilities a low-stress environment where they can practice their craft on a weekly basis. For more information, contact Aarhus at [email protected] or 662-325-2713.




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