A thorn to Travis Jones, federal programs director for the city of Columbus, for again failing to properly prepare a grant application that cost three low-income applicants a chance to obtain federal grant money to make repairs to their homes. A failure to comply with the guidelines rendered Columbus ineligible for the grants. It marks the second time in six months an error in preparing an application has led to a rejected grant. Without question, the guidelines required for these grants are very involved. Even so, it is Jones’ responsibility to make sure the requirements are met. That is his job, after all. What might normally be viewed as a minor error or an honest mistake often makes the difference between a successful grant or rejection. There is no margin for error and, hence, no legitimate excuse.
A rose to Starkville School District and parents who participated in Friday’s Walk to School Day. Numerous Armstrong Middle School parents brought their children to Patriots’ Park, and the students walked to school. The event, made possible from Safe Routes to School program funding, highlights the importance of sidewalks and infrastructure for the community. City leaders should continue to focus efforts on providing safe and effective forms of alternative transportation to municipal hubs, health facilities, retail corridors and education. Sidewalks compliment roads and serve as vital arteries in every municipality.
A rose to Vernon Mayor Glenn Crawford, who has earned his paycheck. The first-term mayor campaigned on a promise that he would not accept a salary until the city added 50 jobs or saw an 20-percent increase in revenues. On Monday, the city’s audit showed both goals had been achieved. Sale tax revenue increased by $131,240 and the city’s general fund grew by $115,000. Meanwhile, two Vernon-based businesses added to their work-force. Marathon Petroleum added 30 to 40 new jobs while Mid-States Petroleum made 17 new hires. Wouldn’t it be great if all of our mayors agreed to that sort of arrangement?
A rose to the Junior Auxiliary of Columbus, whose service project, “In My Shoes,” has helped make the world a kinder, gentler place for children with disabilities. Each Tuesday in February, JA members educated New Hope’s second-graders about four disabilities — Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and vision or hearing impairment. In October, they will take the project to Stokes-Beard Elementary School. With more special needs children participating in general education classrooms, awareness, tolerance and acceptance are the project’s main goals.
A rose to all those who contribute their time, money and other resources to The Good Samaritan Clinic in Columbus. The clinic is devoted to providing health care, including dental care, to the working poor. The clinic, started by a pair of local doctors, Dr. Alan Williams and Dr. James Woodward, 12 years ago has quietly served the community. It’s a worthy endeavor. If you would like to help provide funds to keep the clinic going, please call executive director Kathy Tentoni at 662-244-0044.
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The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.