Roses and thorns: 8/6/18




A rose to the thousands of students, teachers, staff and administrators as the new school year begins this week throughout the Golden Triangle. We hope everyone has had a good break and will return energized and encouraged as our kids return to the classroom. We also take a moment to remind citizens to drive carefully, especially in and near school zones and school buses. The start of the school year, and the promise it represents, is something our entire community should appreciate. Have a great year!



A rose to Joe Cade, who last week announced his plans to retire as CEO and General Manager at 4-County Electric Power Association, effective in September. During Cade's eight years as the leader at 4-County, the co-op has implemented technological changes to make operations more efficient, including setting up options such as prepay, payment kiosks at locations around the service territory and online payments, all of which allowed 4-County to consolidate from five district offices to one, saving thousands of dollars in overhead expenses each year. Under his careful eye, 4-County has also boosted profits, enabling the company to absorb TVA rate increases without passing it on the its customers. In 2015, Cade oversaw the formation of the 4-County Foundation, which has awarded $645,000 in grants to schools, law enforcement, fire departments and community organizations throughout the company's service area.




A rose to the Noxubee County School District and the more than 300 stakeholders -- including parents, teachers, staff and citizens -- who turned out Tuesday to hear about the plans for the district in the wake of the state's decision to take over the district.


In July, Gov. Phil Bryant announced a state of emergency in the district, triggering the move for the state to take over the troubled district. Rather than focus on the many serious issues that led to that move, we urge the people of Noxubee County to turn their attention to supporting the new leadership, led by Rodriguez Broadnax, who has been appointed as the district superintendent. Broadnax plans to create a task force to help implement the changes that will restore the district to academic and fiscal health. As painful as this process has been, the new administration of the schools needs the support of every citizen. The journey isn't likely to be easy or short, but it has begun. That, in itself, is a positive sign.



A rose to West Point resident Jennifer Harper and her employer, BankFirst in West Point, for their efforts to make life a little easier for the more than 4,000 Mississippi National Guard personnel who are currently deployed overseas. Harper's grassroots campaign involves assembling care packages of items that are difficult to obtain for the members of the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team. After she asked her employer for permission to set up a display table and box for collections, the project took off. BankFirst branches in Starkville and Columbus are now serving as drop-off centers along with the West Point branch. Popular items include travel-size hygiene products, wet wipes, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and foot powder and food items such as Slim Jims, tuna packets, sunflower seeds and heat-resistant candies like Twizzlers, Sweet Tarts and Jolly Ranchers. Personal letters, thank-you cards and greeting cards always add a touch of home and are encouraged.


We thank Jennifer and BankFirst for getting the ball rolling. Now it's time for the rest of us to pitch in.




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