A rose to organizers, volunteers, vendors, city workers (police/fire/public works) and festival-goers, who combined to make this weekend’s Market Street Festival perhaps the best ever. We’ll toss a rose to Mother Nature, too, for providing another key element to the event’s success — Goldilocks weather, they call it; neither too cool nor too warm, but just right. Friday’s opening event, which has been a recent addition, took another leap forward this year with two concerts, one at the Riverwalk (Big Fun Brass Band), followed by the headliner (Rockin Dopsie Jr. & the Zydeco Twisters) on the Main Street stage. Saturday, huge crowds turned out to pursue/purchase from 240 arts, crafts and food vendors while musical performances throughout the day provided entertainment. By all measures, this year’s Market Street Festival was a rousing success.
A thorn to the local elected officials who failed to file their 2015 campaign finance reports on time. That group includes a dozen county and city officials. By law, all statewide, district, county and municipal incumbents must file every year on or before May 1, while appointees must file within 30 days of assuming office. Candidates up for election must also file within 15 days of qualifying. Mississippi’s campaign finance laws are lax to begin with, and even the laws that do exist don’t seem to matter much. Despite a possible fine of up to $10,000, many, many officials turn in reports late or not at all. The reports often omit details and are generally sloppy. This cavalier behavior reflects poorly on our officials and makes us wonder how seriously they take their jobs.
A rose to the Mississippi Innocence Project, which argued before Circuit Court Judge Lee Howard on behalf on Eddie Lee Howard this week after the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled the 62-year-old Columbus man was entitled to a hearing for post-conviction relief after his first-degree murder conviction in the 1992 death of an elderly Columbus woman. Innocence Project attorneys made their case for three days, but the testimony will continue at a later date. Those who listened to the testimony cannot deny that there remain serious questions about the evidence and conduct of Howard’s two previous murder trials. These lingering questions are troubling, especially since the verdict has placed Howard on Death Row. No matter the ultimate outcome, we applaud the effort to arrive at a final decision that represents justice in this case.
A rose to Jason Trufant, who was selected this week as Director of Athletics at Mississippi University for Women. MUW plans to resume its intercollegiate athletics program after dropping sports in 2002. Trufant, who comes to The W from Dowling College in Albany New York, emerged from a field of finalists on the basis of his broad experience in education and athletics, his enthusiasm and energy and his willingness to listen and learn. We believe sports, when placed in its proper context, are an important aspect of student life and are also a rallying point for alumni and the community and a valuable marketing/branding tool for the university. Trufant begins his work at The W on June 6. We are eager to see his plans for MUW athletics.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.