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Roses and thorns: 4/17/17




A thorn to Columbus Municipal School District Superintendent Dr. Philip Hickman, who declined to make himself available for a Dispatch report we feel is of interest to all those who care about education in the city of Columbus. Friday, The Dispatch published a story on how area schools are preparing for the state testing, which begins this week. These tests are the primary component of the accountability ratings assigned to each district and school and carry broad implications. While Lowndes County and Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District officials were very accommodating in explaining the measures they are implementing to help students succeed in the upcoming testing, Hickman declined to respond to repeated requests for information regarding CMSD's plans and strategies, thus leaving parents and other stakeholders in the dark. That is unfortunate. 




A rose to the MUW student artists in Dr. Beverley Joyce's Modern & Contemporary Art History class, whose "installation project" this year brought to attention the Mississippi Legislature's failure to act on the benefit of its citizens, particularly in the area of education issues.  


As part of their annual project, the students built eight styrofoam gravestones, each bearing the name of legislation that failed in this year's legislative session and displayed them in lawn at Summer Hall.  


Their choice in subject matter illustrates that art can -- and often should -- be more than simply appealing to the eye. Often art can serve to bring issues to public attention and, in doing so, be a catalyst for needed change.  




A rose of congratulations to Mississippi State tennis player Jasmine Lee and her newly-minted fiance, Stanton Price, for an inventive marriage proposal. Lee, the top player in the MSU women's team, was tricked into hanging around after her practice session to help a teammate work on service returns.  


As she began working with her teammate, Price came out of the stands with four fresh tennis balls, each bearing a single word: Will. You. Marry. Me?  


Lee was prompted to give her answer by either serving wide (which would be "no") and down the middle ("yes"). We are happy to report that Lee's serve went right down the middle -- a perfect serve, if ever there was one. And, of course, we are suckers for these sorts of stories. Congratulations, Jasmine and Stanton. 




A rose to 4-County Electric Power Association, which announced a new, $3-million substation planned for Cornerstone Park in Oktibbeha County will be completed by March.  


As the state continues to seek new industry in a competitive climate, adding this sort of infrastructure is the best tactic.  


While our state has too often resorted to doling out huge corporate tax breaks to lure companies, we believe a far better strategy -- and one that is fairer to taxpayers and all of those industries and businesses who have not been given big tax breaks -- is to make sure we have the infrastructure in place that industry needs. Infrastructure is a wise, fiscally-sound investment. We applaud this forward-thinking approach by 4-County for sending a message to industry: When you come, we'll be ready.



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