Roses and thorns: 8-26-18




A rose to the Columbus Lowndes Public Library and its staff, which continues to provide a wide range of services for our community even as funding issues continue to emerge. As the library awaits word from the city of Columbus and Lowndes County on the amount of money each intends to provide through its annual budget, library director Erin Busbea continues to focus on its mission. The library system staffs 13 full-time and four part-time employees. According to its 2017 annual report, it offered 607 free programs, including 565 for children and 40 computer classes for adults. State and federal funding has also been cut nearly in half for the local library, Busbea said, with federal funds reduced to grants for certain programs and direct state funding exclusively supplementing employee salaries and benefits. Now, there is a concern about local funding. Even so, Busbea remained upbeat. "I'm very optimistic the city and county will work something out," she said. "But if not, librarians are resourceful and resilient. We will continue on and we will keep fighting to provide the best service possible for Columbus and Lowndes County." We urge the city and county to provide the important funds the library needs.



A thorn for all those citizens who, absent a compelling reason, did not report to jury duty this week in Columbus. A jury pool of 280 citizens were called for jury duty at circuit court this week, but just 72 reported. The end result was the postponement of a criminal trial that will again be delayed. It will mark the ninth time the sexual battery trial of former Palmer Home house parent Seth Copes has been continued or delayed. Copes was indicted in 2013. With a murder trial also scheduled, by the time the jury selection process for the Copes trial began, just 29 candidates were left. Since both the prosecution and defense can eliminate 12 jurors each, Judge Jim Kitchens postponed the trial until November. Few citizens welcome jury duty, but this instance should serve as a reminder that jury duty is an important duty. Justice for both the plaintiff and defendant has been delayed because citizens did not take that duty seriously.




A rose to Starkville's Matt Walsh and Columbus' Kyle Bluitt for their award-winning efforts in the 54th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Walsh was crowned national champion in the Job Skills Demonstration Disc Brakes category while Bluitt finished second in the nation in Job Skills Demonstration, Oil Change, across the country compete hands-on in 100 different trade, technical and leadership fields. Only state champions advance to the national championships. So if you need a brake job or an oil change, you know who to call. Congratulations!




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