A respectful rose of appreciation to the local elected officials who have decided not to seek another term in office. We thank them for their service to the community. Columbus councilman Charlie Box has announced he will not run for re-election while Starkville aldermen David Little and Jason Walker have announced they won’t run for another term. West Point mayor Robbie Robinson will not run again either. Caledonia alderman Tyler Brock will not seek another term, either. But the most notable departure of all the local officials is that of Bill Darnell, who has spent more than half of his life serving as a Caledonia alderman. Darnell, 68, began serving as an aldermen an astonishing 42 years ago. During his tenure the town expanded its town limits twice, built its own water/sewer system, expanded and improved Ola J. Pickett Park and, most recently, added a new soccer complex at the park. Darnell’s contributions to those efforts is something all residents should appreciate.
A rose to the Starkville Board of Aldermen for scheduling public hearings on potential changes to its alcohol and smoking ordinances. The board is considering amending its ordinances to allow businesses in certain parts of the city to serve alcohol without food, the second change that would allow a Tupelo-based cigar shop and lounge to open a location downtown. Before making its decision, the board will give citizens a chance to learn about what the changes in the ordinances would entail and offer their opinions on the changes. We applaud the city’s willingness to consider changes that enhance the ability of new businesses to come to the city while also making sure the citizens’ voices are heard as well.
A rose to Columbus Mayor Robert Smith, who announced this week he will form a task force of citizens to help form strategies for reducing crime in the city. Smith said as many as 15 citizens from throughout the city will work with the police department in finding ways to combat crime. Although the group’s mission is understandably vague at this point, we believe it is always a good thing for city departments to connect with citizens in a way that fosters better communication and cooperation. Providing citizens an opportunity to become invested in solutions to problems in the community is a positive development. Ideally, the task force will be made up of individuals with knowledge of effective policing techniques and improving relationships between the community and law enforcement. We look forward to hearing what ideas will emerge from the task force.