A rose to the Columbus Arts Council for bringing internationally acclaimed soprano Angela Brown to town. Brown’s visit culminated with a concert at Whitfield Hall on the campus of Mississippi University for Women Friday evening. Before that, the Metropolitan Opera singer spent several days in Columbus and Macon conducting a master class at MUW and performing for school students through the Arts Council’s Young People’s Artist Series. Brown is on a personal campaign to demystify opera and make it accessible to all — “opera from a Sistah’s point of view,” as she calls it. Those who attended Friday’s performance better understand the concept; not only were they treated to Brown’s thrilling voice and incandescent stage presence, they seem to delight in her downhome explanation of the pieces she performed.
A rose to Financial Concepts, a Columbus financial planning firm that is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a “Kindness Raiser.” The event, which began Feb. 1 and will continue until March 20, hopes to produce 2,500 “random acts of kindness” from its staff, clients and anyone in the community who wants to participate. We love the idea that a milestone anniversary can be used as an opportunity to make a community a better place. All to often, companies use anniversary to congratulate themselves or reward a few key clients. Thanks to the “Kindness Raiser,” Financial Concepts is extending the celebration to the community as a whole. We hope that the event will be a rousing success, one that other groups will emulate. You can never have too much kindness, after all. Nor should we require a special reminder to make it part of our every-day life.
A thorn to the Columbus Police Department for its delay in sending cases to grand jury. Last month, the CPD sent just one case to the grand jury. The CPD typically sends 40 or more cases to the grand jury each month. CPD chief Selvain McQueen attributed the recent dearth of cases to an inexperienced staff of investigators. He personally reviews each case before it’s sent. McQueen said he was more concerned with sending well-prepared cases to the grand jury than he is in the volume of cases sent. But every case that isn’t expeditiously handled means the suspects, many of whom are out on bond, are out in the community and, therefore, remain a potential threat to citizens. Should cases be properly prepared before they are sent to the grand jury? Certainly. Should they be sent to the grand jury in a timely fashion? Absolutely.
A rose at the graveside of Diane Hardy Thompson, who died Tuesday at age 64 from cancer. Thompson was one of three black women — Laverne Green-Leech and Barbara Tuner Bankhead are the others — who integrated Mississippi University for Women, then known as Mississippi State College for Women, in 1966. Although she didn’t earn her degree when she first enrolled, she later returned to school and earned her degree from MUW in 1996. After earning her degree, Thompson taught sixth grade at Lowndes Middle School until retiring in 2010.
A rose the Christina Berry of the Columbus city planner’s office. Berry has been the primary architect of Columbus Comprehensive plan. More than three years in the making, the comprehensive plan that was unveiled this week at city hall provides a blueprint for future growth and development in the city. A long-range plan that helps guide growth can play an essential role in helping the city build a future that appeals to both residents and businesses alike. One look at the plan — it is contained in an 83-page document — suggests that a lot of long hours and hard work went into putting it together. And no one worked harder or longer than Berry.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.