Our View: Roses and thorns




A rose of remembrance and appreciation for Jo Edna Spearman, whose contributions to Mississippi University for Women over four decades remains indelibly written on the memories of the hundreds of students whose lives she influenced. Spearman, 77, died Monday in Texas, but she will forever been linked to Columbus and The W, where she began her career in 1974 as an instructor, and, for the next 40 years, served in roles including department head for health/kinesiology, professor emeritus and athletics director. "Today is a very sad day for the MUW athletics family," The W Director of Athletics Jason Trufant said. "Dr. Spearman guided this athletics department for many years and was a one of the first individuals I met on this campus. Welcoming, genuine, thoughtful and leader are just a few words that come to mind when I think of her. She will be forever missed." 




A rose to all the friends, neighbors and -- yes -- strangers who spent the time, money and effort to decorate their homes for Christmas. Each evening, our spirits are lifted during our otherwise unremarkable comings and goings by the delightful array of lights and displays -- from the the small, unassuming and understated to the elaborate, exotic and fanciful. Each of these displays are gifts to all who may encounter them and make contagious the spirit of Christmas and holiday cheer they represent. Thanks to all who decorated for brightening our holidays! 




A rose to the Mississippi legislature, and specifically Rep. Kabir Karieem who led the charge, for designating a portion of Highway 182 in Columbus as the Esther M. Harrison Memorial Highway. Harrison, who died in 2015 on her 69th birthday, represented Lowndes County in the Legislature for 15 years, but her contributions to her hometown went far beyond her role there. The energy and work ethics she brought to her work in civil rights, regional and community organizations, education and church set an example to be emulated. This week, the signs designating Highway 182 between Martin Luther King Drive and Lehmberg Road were installed. They will serve not only as a tribute to Harrison but to the work she has left for future generations to continue. 




A rose to longtime taekwondo and boxing instructor Oliver Miller, who was honored this week by the Columbus Boys and Girls Club as its "Mentor of the Year." Twice a week for the past year, Miller has been volunteering his services to the club, teaching small group of club members basic martial arts skills. But the real lessons he teaches, Miller admits, are tools for channeling the youthful energies and emotions that children often struggle with into positive directions. We want our children to be energetic and be able to express their emotions, whatever they may be. Too often, that energy and those emotions are suppressed and internalized, which can be every bit as destructive as using that energy and emotion inappropriately. Helping children find a positive outlet -- in this case through learning something new and being active -- is something that makes real differences in children's lives. Thanks, Mr. Miller, for your generous contributions of time and expertise.



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