Roses and thorns 7-11-2010




A rose to Columbus'' Department of Public Works -- one of those groups of people that doesn''t get a pat on the back often enough. Crews are out maintaining landscaping throughout the city -- a job that gets tougher as the weather gets hotter and the weeds more ambitious. New trees and bushes were planted a few weeks ago along College Street near the Fifth Street South intersection, and crews have dutifully been caring for the young plantings since, with weeding and watering. Thanks for making Columbus a more beautiful place -- we know your job would be easier if we all did our part, too (we''re looking at you, litterbugs). 




A rose to the Columbus Exchange Club for funding a "Freedom Shrine" at Golden Triangle Regional Airport. The collection of 30 historic American documents include the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Gettysburg Address. The collection was dedicated Thursday. 




A rose to the city of Starkville, whose new Electric Department building is a model of energy efficiency. 


The 9,000-square-foot building, at the corner of Lafayette and Jefferson streets, meets standards set by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, designed to encourage energy efficient planning and construction materials. The department opened June 29 in the new building. 


In 2008, aldermen mandated new city-owned buildings over 3,000 square feet meet the LEED standard. Their action will pay off in saved tax dollars in the future. 




A rose to Big Joe Shelton of Columbus, who was awarded a $4,400 Fellowship grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission. 


Shelton has entertained Golden Triangle audiences for years with his brand of Black Prairie Blues. His 2008 album "Black Prairie Blues" was a finalist in the 2009 International Blues Challenge for the Best Self-Produced CD Award. A song from that album, "Devil Lives in Memphis," was nominated for 2008 song of the year by Blues Critic Magazine reader''s poll. 


The album was listed in the top 10 on numerous national and international blues radio charts including Australia, The Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Germany, and the United States. It also received extensive play on Sirius XM satellite radio''s B.B. King''s Bluesville program. 




A rose to Phillipe Hernandez and Fritz Ehrentraut, two local entrepreneurs who are on a mission to expand our waistlines. 


Hernandez, who owns Mi Hacienda in Columbus and restaurants in Starkville and Decatur, is opening a new restaurant and club, La Fogata Grill, in Columbus'' Gateway Shopping Center. 


Ehrentraut, who owned Tapas 509 on Main Street in downtown Columbus, is making another go of it at 2222 Military Road with the Possum Town Tavern, again featuring tapas and international cuisine. 


Hernandez plans to open his new place in September, while Ehrentraut''s restaurant is set to open Oct. 1. 




A rose from a reader 


I give a lot of tours around Starkville and Columbus, mostly to my first time business visitors. Our region is truly a gem and our history is like none other and my wife Rose, is the area''s best guide ever. As we were traveling towards Friendship Cemetery, we observed a Columbus police officer pull his vehicle over, get out and pick up a very small American flag that was on the side of the road. 


He carefully folded the flag with the precision of a watchmaker. I pulled alongside and simply said thanks for his effort. "Twenty six years in the U.S. Air Force," he said with a smile. 


I don''t know his name or anything about him ... only that more people, including me, should be more like him. 


Danny Coggins, Gulf States Manufacturers 




Do you have a rose -- or thorn -- to give someone? E-mail them to [email protected] 








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