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Roses and thorns: 10/6/13




A thorn to a criminal justice system that has failed the citizens of Columbus, especially a mentally disabled man who was beaten almost beyond recognition Wednesday by a man who has been arrested 39 times and charged 66 times yet has never served a day in prison in the state.  


The man police suspect responsible for the vicious attack has been arrested for crimes ranging from sexual abuse to drug charges to assault with an armed weapon. At a time when there is good cause for the state to reconsider sending non-violent offenders to prison, it is remarkable that violent offenders walk among us with seeming impunity. This has to end. What is broken must be fixed. 




A rose to the Seventh Avenue Heritage Festival, which was dedicated to the memory of one of America's finest. The 31st installment of the festival was held this weekend and honored Columbus resident Alva N. Temple, who died in 2004 at age 86. Temple, a member of the famed Tuskeegee Airman, logged more than 5,000 miles and flew more than 120 missions in World War II as a pilot. After his military career ended, he moved to Columbus in the mid-1960s, where he ran a shop and fixed radiators. During that time, says festival organizer Kabir Karriem, Temple became more known around here for his down-to-earth demeanor and efforts to help black high school children get college scholarships and aspiring black businessmen succeed in their endeavors. "He was phenomenal," Karriem said. "He was an advocate for education. He helped a lot of people go to a number of different schools. He helped people get into business. He was a very humble, very quiet man, but he was a giant in the community. ... He never bragged or said anything about it."  




A rose to New Hope Elementary School teacher Ashley Thompson, whose quick action prevented a tragedy last week. When third-grader Jack Sellers began choking on a piece of candy while working on a school project, Thompson quickly took control, performing the Heimlich maneuver, dislodging the candy and clearing his airway. "She saved his life," said April Seller, the boy's mom. "Just a couple more seconds and he could have lost consciousness and it could have been very tragic from there. It was very scary, very scary."  




A rose to all those who played roles in helping secure C Spire's $22-million data-processing center at Mississippi State University's Thad Cochran Research Park, a move which marks the first significant Oktibbeha County investment landed by the Golden Triangle Development Link. Along with Link CEO Joe Max Higgins and Link Starkville/Okitbbeha County economic developer Joey Deason, credit should be extended to the Starkville Board of Aldermen, particular those who are not currently in office, but played a role in bringing Starkville and Oktibbeha County into the Link fold last year. Sandra Sistrunk, Jeremiah Dumas and Richard Corey may no longer be on the board, but their contributions should not be forgotten. 




Do you have a suggestion for Roses & Thorns? Send submissions of 100 words or less to managing editor Slim Smith at [email protected] by noon Friday. 




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