Roses and thorns: 4-22-18

April 21, 2018 10:33:40 PM



A rose to men and women of Columbus Air Force Base, the Columbus-Lowndes Convention & Visitors bureau and all who turned out for the Wings Over Columbus airshow. Although an appearance by the famous Air Force Thunderbirds was cancelled due to a tragic crash earlier this month in Nevada, the big crowd that turned out Saturday was treated to a full schedule of events, including performances by the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachuting team, an Atlus C-17 Demonstration Team, the 14th Flying Training Wing's aerial review, an F-22 Raptor Demonstration team, a B-52 Stratofortress fly-by and T-33 shooting demonstrations by a variety of aircraft, past and present. The show was not only great entertainment but a powerful reminder of the skill, dedication and commitment of our military. We salute these wonderful and talented military professionals for an excellent show Saturday. 




A rose to Starkville teen Mark Coblentz who, with a little help from his dad, will be hosting his own cooking show after a couple of previous appearances on network cooking competitions. Coblentz, who was featured as a contestant on the Food Network show "Chopped Junior" in 2015 and Fox Network's "MasterChef Junior" in 2017 will debut his new show "Making a Chef" on Mississippi Public Broadcasting on May 5 at 1 p.m. It will be the first of eight episodes scheduled for season one of the show, which is being produced by his father, Robbie Coblentz, who owns a video production company. As with Mark's appearances on the network cooking competitions, this new show should inspire young people throughout Mississippi to explore the fun and benefits of cooking. In a state where healthy eating is not always part of our culture, a show that focuses on healthy, home-cooked food can help change that narrative. We look forward to seeing what Mark plans to cook up for his viewers. 




A thorn to the Mississippi Legislature which continues to make a college education less affordable. This week, the IHL reported that tuition at the state's eight public universities will increase by an average of 4 percent this fall, thanks primarily to the lingering effects of cuts to higher education necessitated by massive tax cuts, mostly to large corporations. The universities will receive $85 million less this fall than just three years ago. Meanwhile, rising college costs are far outstripping stagnant family incomes. In-state tuition will have risen 65 percent from fall 2008 to fall 2018, while the typical Mississippi family's yearly income has risen 15 percent during that time. It now takes nearly one-fifth of a typical family's yearly income to pay the full price of tuition at a Mississippi public university. The average college graduate will incur $30,000 in student-loan debt to make up for the state's refusal to properly fund our universities. Legislators always say education must be a top priority -- except when it comes time to do the budget. 


A rose to Mississippi State's Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach, The Partnership and International Paper for their efforts with Innovation Challenge, a competition for middle school and high school kids to help encourage entrepreneurship at an early age. This pilot program, which concludes with a "Shark Tank" format final judging on Saturday, has drawn 50 applicants from ages 12-to-17. Competitors receive top-flight instruction by the center's staff as well as mentoring from MSU student entrepreneurs to plan, develop and market their ideas. The idea that kids can learn the skills needed to turn dreams into realities is a new way of thinking about education. We applaud the staff, volunteers and young entrepreneurs who are participating in this exciting venture.