A rose to Columbus Crime Prevention Task Force chairman Leroy Brooks for soliciting help from the Department of Homeland Security and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety to address the recent surge of shootings in the city. Three separate shooting incidents over the past month have put residents ill at ease, and the additional resources should be a big help to the city’s police department as it seeks strategies that will bring these shootings to an abrupt halt. Violence of this sort is often erratic and sometimes seems to come in spurts, but hopefully the strategies developed by the CPD, Homeland Security and the Department of Public Safety will not only solve these crimes, but lead to measures that will mitigate the possibility of future shootings to as much a degree as possible. We believe that these groups, working in good faith and a spirit of cooperation will make our community safer.
A rose to Florida-based Origis Energy, which will add a second solar facility in west Lowndes County, generating not only a total of 350 megawatts of renewable energy for TVA but millions of dollars for Lowndes County and its school district. We also applaud the Golden Triangle Development LINK for its efforts to secure this deal. It should be noted that, unlike previous large-scale industries, there will be no public money spent to secure the deal outside of a 10-year fee-in-lieu agreement that will still generate a combined annual average of $1.4 million for the county and county schools. Origis signed a contract with TVA to build a 200 megawatt solar plant in 2020, which will begin producing energy in the fall of 2022. The second plant, adjacent to the first, will produce 150 megawatts when it goes online in late 2023. We are delighted to see that Lowndes County will play so prominent a role in our inevitable transition to clean energy.
A rose to the City of Starkville for giving residents an option for recycling after it eliminated its curbside recycling program six months ago. Beginning Monday, residents can drop off their recyclable materials at a pick-up site at the city’s Sanitation Department, located at 506 Dr. Douglas L. Conner Drive. The site will be open 7 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. the first Saturday of each month. There is no fee for dropping off items, but items placed in bins should not be bagged. The city ended its curbside program in September, citing high costs and low participation, but thanks to its contract with Columbus-based Waste Pro USA, the city has found a cost-effective way to provide this service. We hope residents will take advantage of this new opportunity.
A rose to state health department workers and National Guard troops for their work in helping our communities receive the COVID-19 vaccine in an efficient manner. At both the Mississippi Horse Park in Starkville and Fairview Baptist Church in Columbus, those who have received the vaccine have sung the praise of these workers for keeping the lines moving, patiently answering questions and making sure the process is — aside from the prick of the vaccine needle — a painless experience. When people who have received the vaccine tell others about their experiences with the vaccination process, it increases confidence in the vaccine throughout our communities and improves participation.