Roses and thorns: 11-4-18




A rose to Toxey Haas and Mossy Oak, the West Point outdoor conglomerate he founded, which on Thursday received the George McLean award from the Tupelo-based CREATE Foundation. The award, given annually, recognizes an individual or organization's history of philanthropy. In a heartfelt, extemporaneous acceptance speech, Haas gave the credit for Mossy Oak's successes to his staff and employees, his family and his hometown.


Haas said business writers over the years have asked him how he was able to achieve the successes he has in a "Podunk" Mississippi town. "I couldn't have done this anywhere but a Podunk Mississippi town," he said.


"We believe in loving where you live," Haas said.




A rose to all those who gathered at Mississippi State's Chapel of Memories Wednesday evening for a vigil of remembrance for the 11 people murdered at a Jewish synagogue on Oct. 27. The stunning act of terrorism was an assault not only on the Jewish community, but on humanity itself. Given the small Jewish population here, there is little doubt that the majority of the crowd of 150 were not Jewish. In fact, speakers from both the Christian and Muslim faiths addressed the audience and it's likely that more than two-thirds of those who attended were not Jewish. It was a show of support and shared grief that our Jewish friends needed at this time and reflects well on the university's commitment to respecting people of all faiths.



A rose to our downtown merchants in Columbus and the Starkville Parks Department for giving parents and children another option on Halloween. As night fell, downtown Columbus and the Starkville Sportsplex greeted a variety of ghosts, goblins, superheroes and other odd characters as they collected candy during trunk-or-treat events. A generation ago, trick-or-treating was the sole domain of our neighborhoods, so the idea of adding a new wrinkle on the event - one designed to promote safety and make the event a little less scary - is a nice option. Well done!



A rose to Boys Scouts of America and the Columbus Police Department for their efforts in bringing back the Police Explorers program after a four-year hiatus. Explorers is a program for ages 14-20 that introduces participants to the law enforcement career field and thrusts them into community service opportunities. Rick Jones, Columbus Police Department community relations officer and supervisor for the Explorers, announced the charter ceremony to members of the CPD Citizen Overview Committee on Thursday. Explorers is a program for ages 14-20 that introduces participants to the law enforcement career field and thrusts them into community service opportunities. The exposure to law enforcement may encourage young people to consider careers in law enforcement, but even for those who do not choose that path, the program is certain to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the community. It's a positive step for both the kids and the police department. Welcome back, Explorers!



A better-late-than-never rose to the city of Starkville, which is finally making good on a 20-year-old commitment by announcing it will bring sewer service to more than a dozen homes on Roundhouse Road that have lacked it, despite the area being annexed into the city limits in 1998. Back then, the city expected growth in the area to make extending sewer services cost-effective. But over the years that expected growth never materialized. In landing a grant to help pay for extending sewer service, the city acknowledges the importance of honoring its commitment. It's also a important reminder to the city as it again considers annexation: Be careful what you commit to, and once you have committed, make sure you follow through.




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