Roses & Thorns




A rose to Charlie Box, longtime director of the YMCA, whose service was celebrated Monday at a retirement reception. Box was at the Y helm for 12 years and saw the agency through unprecedented growth, including new branches in New Hope and Caledonia and the Wellness Center near the hospital.



During a tenure notable for its innovation, the YMCA began arts, drama, women''s and therapy programs. Box also started an ambitious program partnering with local schools to teach children to swim, free of charge.




A thorn to the city of West Point for dragging its feet on a much-needed $3 million bond issue. The question of to issue or not to issue the bonds has dragged since June. And after public hearings and a petition against the recreation portion of the bond-issue package, the city still has done nothing.



About half the money is planned for street and other infrastructure repairs; the other half would go toward recreation, including remodeling West Point''s old tennis courts.



Most agree the streets need repairing, but many take issue with spending the bond money on recreation. Some have called for a public vote on the matter.



Fix the streets, put it to a referendum, take out the recreation package -- take action. It''s a disservice to the public to continue to do nothing.



Roses to the Red Cross, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, Lowndes County''s Emergency Management Agency, firefighters, police, deputies and other emergency responders who helped with efforts in Steens last week.



This Lowndes County community was covered in several feet of water, with many people evacuated from their homes. Some stayed in a Red Cross shelter, but most retreated to the homes of friends and family.



A rose to the Starkville Police Department for a weekend sting that netted citations for businesses selling alcohol to underage girls.



Police sent three underage females into 16 bars, convenience stores or liquor stores to purchase alcohol.



Seven of the businesses, which the SPD did not name, sold alcohol to the girls, even after they showed ID proved they were under the age of 21.



Police plan to perform similar stings throughout the year.




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