A rose to the Columbus City Council, which chose Ward 2 councilman Joseph Mickens as the city’s new vice mayor, although we are disappointed that it required a tie-breaking vote from Mayor Keith Gaskin to do it. We believe Mickens, now in his fourth term on the council, was the obvious choice. That conclusion is not based purely on tenure, but on his record. Those who have followed council meetings for any length of time are sure to have observed Mickens’ growth as a leader. He’s proven to be an independent voice, someone who does not hesitate to challenge the mayor or other members when he feels they are in error. On many occasions, it has been Mickens who asked the tough questions and demanded accountability. His experience will no doubt be of value to the first-term mayor as well as the council, which also has two first-time members.
A rose to Camgian Microsystems for its recent expansion, a move that emphasizes the importance of diversity in the local workforce economy. Camigan, a high-tech research and product development firm, announced last week it is expanding its operations at Mississippi State’s Thad Cochran Research Park, including 25 new software development and engineering jobs. The company was awarded a $6.9 million contract with the U.S. Army to develop a next-generation intelligent system for detecting and defeating the growing unmanned aerial threats to American military forces. The expansion of this “home grown” company is an important component in our workforce economy, where manufacturing continues to be the dominant industry. We applaud Camigan for its success and for the inspiration it provides for other business start-ups.
A rose to the Golden Triangle’s farmers markets, which are hitting their strides now as summer vegetables and fruits begin to make their appearance in Columbus, Starkville, West Point, Macon and Caledonia. While most farmers markets have been open for at least a couple of months, July and August are months with many of our favorite garden produce — tomatoes, beans, watermelon and others — are plentifully available. The availability of fresh, locally-produced fruits and vegetables, along with the wide variety of baked goods, canned goods and crafts made by local artisans make now the perfect time to visit our farmers’ markets. It also helps our local farmers, something that also supports our local economies. The quality and diversity of offering we see at our farmers markets rival — if they don’t surpass — those found anywhere.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.