Roses and thorns 3-29-09




A bouquet of roses to the memory of Happy Irby and his family as they mourn the death of this much-loved local icon. George "Happy" Irby died early Friday morning, on his 94th birthday. 


Irby''s career at CAFB, working at the officers'' club, spanned half a century. And for Irby it was more than just a job; he made base leadership and other personnel feel at home. 


And his good nature stretched far beyond the confines of CAFB. The Happy Christmas fund each year provides gifts for needy children. And Happy''s name has been immortalized -- on a room at the CAFB officers'' club and with Happy Irby Parkway, the road leading to the base''s east gate. 




A rose to the Columbus Police Department for offering local women a chance to improve their self-defense techniques while battling cancer. 


The CPD Tuesday hosted a women''s self-defense course to benefit the American Cancer Society. The class was open to women of all ages and was taught by Michael Grant and James Grant, both of Grant''s Tae-Kwon-Do. Participants were asked to donate at least $5 to aid the ACS. 




A rose to welcome home Jasmine Murray, our local Idol. Jasmine began quite an adventure when she first auditioned for Fox''s "American Idol" in Jacksonville, Fla. 


She made it to Hollywood and wowed the judges with her personality, marketability and, of course, her killer vocals. 


In the end, the judges'' love for Jasmine wasn''t enough. While she made the top 13, Jasmine recently returned to the Golden Triangle, after not receiving enough votes to continue in competition. (The judges already had brought her back for a second chance in a wild card show.) 


Jasmine represented the area and her school -- The Mississippi School for the Arts -- extremely well. And, as she has said, it''s just the beginning. Keep reaching for those big dreams, Jasmine. 




Roses to Starkville for the city''s green efforts. The city''s Board of Aldermen last week approved a curbside recycling program that calls on the Sanitation Department to pick up items from homes around the city and bring the materials to Starkville Recycling for sorting and processing. The curbside pickup program will be available to more than 6,000 homes throughout the city. 


Curbside recycling became a citywide priority last summer when the Board of Aldermen passed a sustainability policy, obligating the city to cut down on waste, save energy and operate more efficiently.  


The curbside program is set to begin before the end of the year. 


As part of the sustainability policy, all newly constructed city-owned buildings more than 3,000 square feet now are required to meet standards set by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system.  


In other parts of the Golden Triangle, the city of West Point has applied for state funds to set up recycling drop-off locations and Columbus has 17 recycling drop-off location around the city. 




A rose to Chris Jenkins, Community Volunteer Center''s Volunteer of the Year. 


Jenkins, a veteran photographer, takes pictures for United Way brochures, Web sites and events. He also served on the allocations committee for United Way of Lowndes County, as well as the communications committee and campaign cabinet. 


His inspiration for giving freely of himself and his talents? His dad. 


"I have always sort of quietly admired my father for all his time that he gives so freely to help others, and I always said that if I could be one-tenth the man that he is, I would be doing all right," said Jenkins, assistant director of public affairs at Mississippi University for Women. 


Roses also go to those who helped the United Way of Lowndes County distribute about $310,000 in 2008 and touch the lives of 17,000 people. 




A rose to Lenore Prather, the state''s first Supreme Court justice, who, along with former Govs. William Winter and Bill Waller Thursday received Mississippi Medals of Service from Gov. Haley Barbour. 


Prather served on the high court from 1982 to 2001. 


Winter appointed Prather to the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1982 to become the state''s first female justice. She became chief justice in 1998 and served until after being defeated for re-election in 2000. After leaving the court, Prather served as interim president of Mississippi University for Women, her alma mater.



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