Roses and thorns
A rose to Caledonia resident Walter Shinn for his efforts in putting together Friday’s community political forum at Anderson Grove Community Center in Caledonia. Shinn isn’t connected to any party or organization. Rather, he said, he’s just a regular citizen who felt it important that folks in his community hear from the candidates, regardless of their political party. Shinn reached out to every candidate for county office this November, with 11 agreeing to participate. Democratic, Republican and Independent candidates came out to meet with residents. We applaud Shinn for his efforts to help his neighbors become better informed voters.
A rose to Samantha Koger, who for the past 20 years and with no fanfare has demonstrated her pride in her neighborhood by picking up trash on the grounds of Union Academy. Koger lives across the street from the abandoned elementary school, which has been empty since January of 2018. But while the school has been unused, it has not been forgotten by Koger. Koger has been picking up trash and pulling weeds on the school property. Now that the Columbus Municipal School District is preparing the old school to host classes for its Alternative School after the Feb. 23 tornado caused extensive damage at Hunt, Koger welcomes the renaissance of the old school, which she attended as a child. By taking the time to keep the grounds clean, Koger has demonstrated the kind of civic pride that elevates a community. Imagine if there were a few hundred Samantha Kogers in our city: It would be the cleanest in the state, most likely.
A rose to Columbus Municipal School District officials, who proved this week that reaching out to parents is more than lip-service. When parents didn’t show up for the Parent Outreach Academic Seminar on Monday, Columbus Municipal School District officials were not deterred. Instead, Superintendent Cherie Labat and Columbus Middle School Principal Billie Smith started walking the neighborhood, holding miniature parent conferences on front porches of the William Washington complex of the Columbus Housing Authority. On Tuesday, the district met with parents again at Columbus Housing Authority complexes on William Roberts and Fourth Street South. More than 30 parents met with district administrators and discussed testing materials and tips before end-of-year state assessments. Labat said she hopes to host meetings in neighborhoods throughout next school year. The district’s administrators spearheaded the idea of meeting with parents before state testing. Labat added, in an effort to meet with more parents, she wants to host similar meetings in local churches, extending the district’s outreach. But if the parents don’t come to the meeting, district officials are prepared to meet them where they are. We believe that commitment will reap benefits, by building communication and trust between administrators, principals and parents.
A rose to Mother Nature, which has decided we will have some long-awaited spring weather, after all. After a soggy beginning of March, the weather has taken a decided turn for the better over the past couple of weeks with (mostly) dry and warm weather. Nurseries are doing a lively business as winter-weary residents begin to restock their flower beds and back-yard gardens. The hum of lawn-mowers can be heard everywhere and kids are outside playing again. Spring is always the most anticipated of the seasons, we believe, because it gets us outdoors and among our neighbors. So, thanks, Mother Nature. We really needed this.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.