February 22, 2020 9:54:51 PM
A rose to all those who have joined in recovery efforts following the tornado and flooding that ravaged Columbus and Lowndes County on a year ago Saturday. The weather disaster, which ripped through the central part of the city shortly after 5 p.m. that day, along with floods that damaged homes near rivers and creeks in the county, has been a challenge, especially to those with limited finances. But within hours of the event, people were responding, including officials from every level of city, county and state government, and dozens of charities and churches. Private citizens showed up, too, providing what comfort they could. No small act of kindness went un-appreciated. While recovery efforts continue, the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor helped ease the suffering in those first hours after the storm. Those acts, performed by so many, is a reflection of our community's compassion.
A thorn to the city of Columbus, which has added insult to injury to a Columbus property owner in the aftermath of an event the property owner had no responsibility and should not be held accountable for. Tuesday, Leroy Lacy was summoned before the city council to respond to a code violation assessed at his 12th Street North property, which was ruled derelict. The property was damaged 10 months ago when a city police vehicle crashed into the property after the police officer's car collided with a passenger vehicle. The effects of the crash collapsed the property's front porch and roof. Lacy has not repaired the property on the grounds that either the city or the owner of the other vehicle are responsible for the damages, a reasonable claim. The city is involved in litigation with the owner of the vehicle at the present. Citing Lacy for a code violation is equally premature. It is also unfair.
A rose to Columbus Mayor Robert Smith for casting the tie-breaking vote that will allow the city to file a grant application for a survey of a section of the city's Southside. The grant application is the first step in establishing a Local Historic District (LHD) in the area, which is home to many of the city's historic homes. The designation would mean new construction or renovations would have to meet requirements of the local ordinance governing historic districts, something that has applied to the city's other LHD (downtown Columbus) since 1996. Those opposed to the grant application argued - incorrectly we believe - that the LHD designation would be an unfair burden on residents and a poor use of city funds. Yet, LHD requirements apply only to areas viewable from the street and do not require any changes at all to current homes. It applies only when residents apply for building permits. Likewise, the cost is less than the "No" voters suggest. While the 50/50 matching grant the survey is capped at $10,000 for the city, the actual coast is likely be in the neighborhood of $5,000 to $6,000 and would not come out of this year's budget. The mayor was right in breaking the tie in favor of applying for the grant.
A rose to the Columbus Arts Council, on behalf of all of us who love a good story. On Friday and Saturday, the CAC's presents its eighth annual Possum Town Tales Storytelling Festival. This year's event features the stories of Dolores Hydock of Birmingham, Alabama, and Barbara McBride-Smith of Jonesborough, Tennessee.
The nationally-known tellers have both been featured performers at the mecca -- the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, which annually draws in excess of 10,000 fans who fill big top tents for three days to have their imaginations captured. Tickets and more information are available at columbus-arts.org, or by calling 662-328-2787 (closed Mondays). Nightly tickets to 7 p.m. performances are $15 for arts council members, $17 for non-members ($17 for all on night of shows). A two-night advance package is $25 for members or $30 for non-members. Hydock's 10 a.m. workshop Feb. 29 is free.
"At a time when there are so many things that divide us, stories are one place where we can say, here's what we have in common, here's something that reminds us of our humanity," said Hydock.
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