If you drive past Propst Park in Columbus these days, you may noticed the usually busy fields are quiet.
It's 2011. That statement quite often is used to illustrate how far we've come in technology, education and as a democracy.
Tomorrow it will be 235 years since King George III wrote in his diary, "Nothing important happened today." Maybe from his vantage point in London that was the case, but 3,000 miles to the west, a group of feisty colonists were embarking on an experiment in self-government. It was like nothing ever done before or since, a government by the people, for the people and of the people. Self-rule.
It's Saturday morning and, lo and behold, there's a freshly delivered Dispatch out on the driveway. Welcome to the first Saturday edition of The Dispatch.
In the last month, we have been dizzied by a seemingly endless stream of youth summits and "motivational" drivel.
If you have your eye on the Columbus Municipal School District lately, you might think the superintendent position is up for election.
Recently, the newspaper has received criticism for prominently featuring violent crime stories, particularly a story about a Columbus man who attacked another with a machete.
Every year, more than 830 children, ages 14 and under, drown. During the summer months, the time of year when we're most likely to be in the water, drowning deaths among children spike by a rate of 89 percent over the rest of the year, according to safekids.org.
As deplorable as the thought is of the Westboro Baptists yelling inflammatory messages at the funeral of Army Sgt. Christopher Bell, who was killed in the service of our country, it is just as sobering to think this message could be stifled just because we may disagree with them.
It's become an often-expressed sentiment. Still, it's no less true: Children today are facing harsh realities we wouldn't have imagined even a decade ago.
In 2009, we challenged Columbus schools to implement an innovative 11-month "success calendar" at all five of its elementary schools, rather than just two.
Eighty people died in fires in Mississippi last year. Only in two of those incidents were there smoke detectors. In one of those cases, it is unknown whether the detector was working.
It's questionable when any elected official says he made a weighty decision simply because someone asked him nicely.
By 8:30 Saturday morning Beth and I were coffeed up and headed east on 82. Our destination: Gordo, AL, for the town's annual celebration of the mule and the chicken, Mule Day Chicken Fest.
Over in Starkville, they've got the knives out. The city was rocked by two stabbings on Tuesday. The one that caught everyone's attention was the 6 a.m. attempted robbery at Shipley Donuts, which is nestled in a popular, busy strip mall along Highway 12.
Summer is here. Inevitably, some of our kids will experience a slide -- and we're not talking about the Slip 'n' Dip.
But before we set off on our Memorial Day weekend, we should all pause to remember this number: 1,344,000.
A new crop of college graduates is entering the workforce. On their heels are a fresh crop of college freshmen.
Change is afoot, and Columbus is facing some critical decisions that promise to shape the city, for better or worse, for years to come.
They're not there yet. But they took a step in the right direction.
1. Voice of the people: Mayor Robert E. Smith Sr. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)
3. Ray Mosby: Why community newspapers matter LOCAL COLUMNS