Roses and thorns: 2/24/19




A rose to all first responders, utility workers and volunteers who were called to action Saturday night after a storm ripped through parts of Columbus. As of press time one death had been reported, but there was extensive damage in multiple areas. In the face of tragedies such as these, the people of this community consistently do whatever it takes to help their neighbors. There's no possible way we could address all the ways people helped each other last night, but to all who did, please accept this collective rose.



A rose to the Columbus Municipal School District, whose search for a new superintendent last summer is considered a blueprint for such searches throughout the state, according to the Mississippi School Board Association. The group cited the CMSD for the thoroughness of its process, giving special attention to its efforts to engage the community through surveys, meetings with the search firm and the publication of candidates information guide produced in collaboration with The Dispatch. Cherie Labat emerged as the "winner" in the search, but the citizens of Columbus were also winners through their contributions to the process.




A rose to Oktibbeha County, which agreed this week in joining the city of Starkville to provide $50,000 each to expand the Starkville-MSU Area Rapid Transit system's paratransit service into the county. The paratransit service serves people with disabilities who need wheelchair accessible vehicles. Jeremiah Dumas, For those who cannot drive and for whom regular bus rides are not possible because they are wheelchair-bound, the paratransit service greatly improves their quality of life. We appreciate the efforts to extend this service to more residents.



A rose to Golden Triangle Regional Airport officials and to Delta Airlines for adding a fourth round-trip flight out of the Golden Triangle Regional Airport. The 1:15 p.m. flights will begin on June 8 and are a testament to the growth and stability of our airport and, in particular, our industries, who account for 80 percent of the passenger service at GTRA. It's also a product of the strong leadership of the GTRA under executive director Mike Hainsey. At a time when many regional airports are struggling to maintain passenger service of any kind, GTRA continues to flourish. That doesn't happen by accident. Kudos to our community, our industry and our airport staff.



A rose to the Magnolia Independent Film Festival as it prepares for its 22nd annual festival, which will be held Feb. 28-March 2 at Hollywood Premier Cinema in Starkville. The state's longest-running film festival will feature films ranging from drama to comedy, animation to experimental, narrative to documentary. Select entries from the United States, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Italy, Denmark and China as well as other countries will be screened for festival-goers during the three-day event. Find the complete film schedule at, where tickets may also be purchased.




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