Roses and thorns: 9/17/17

September 16, 2017 11:43:33 PM



A rose to Columbus Mayor Robert Smith, City Attorney Jeff Turnage and the city council for stepping in bring to a proper conclusion to an incident involving Columbus Police Department officer Keith Dowd.  


Footage from Dowd's body camera revealed his abusive confrontation with a motorist last month. CPD Chief Oscar Lewis issued a written reprimand and ordered Dowd to take some online classes, a far too lenient measure, given the circumstances. Upon learning of this, the city officials responded by re-opening Dowd's case, providing media with information -- including the body camera footage -- as the investigation proceeded. Dowd resigned Thursday, but we have no doubt that without the city officials' efforts, this unfit officer would have remained on the streets. We believe the city's transparency in this matter is a model for all government entities as they conduct the public's business. 




A rose to the MSU Student Government Association, the City of Starkville and all who helped make Friday's 18th annual Bulldog Bash a success in its return to downtown Starkville. 


The free outdoor music concert was first staged downtown before moving to the Cotton District. Conflicts with construction in the Cotton District forced organizers to find a new home for the event this year. By all accounts, the expanded event, exceeded every expectation. It appears the move will be permanent, which will allow for even more growth in the coming years. 




A rose to a familiar face in a new position. Last week the West Point Board of Selectmen chose Avery Cook, a lieutenant with Clay County Sheriff's Office as city's new police chief. Cook, 54, began his law enforcement career with the West Point Police Department in 2000 and during his time there assumed more and more duties -- shift supervisor and then assistant chief -- before moving to the sheriff's office four years ago. Cook's return should make for a seamless transition as he replaces Tim Brinkley who retired in July after six years in the post. So welcome back, Chief Cook. 




A rose to the four Starkville High School students who have been recognized as 2017 National Merit Semifinalists.  


Sarah Heard, Noah Knox, Pepito Thelly and Sean Mackin were among 16,000 students nationwide named as semifinalists based on their Preliminary SAT scores (PSAT).  


To become a semifinalist, students must score within the top 1 percent on their PSAT in their respective state. All four students are now eligible to compete for National Merit finalist status, which is based on the students' completed application, SAT score and letters of recommendation from previous educators and administrators.  


As finalists, they will compete for several scholarship opportunities, as the National Merit Scholarship Program will award almost $32 million by spring 2018. Twelve SHS students have been recognized as National Merit semifinalists since 2012. That's quite an achievement for both students and the high school alike.