A rose to all those who left public service in 2021, either through retirement or, in some cases, at the will of the voters. No matter the case, each has served his/her community and is worthy of our gratitude in performing what are often thankless takes. The group of those who left the public stage include mayors Robert Smith (Columbus), Robbie Robinson (West Point) and Mitch Wiggins (Caledonia), Starkville aldermen David Little and Jason Walker and Columbus council members Charlie Box and Bill Gavin. Although not elected, we bid farewell and thank you to Communiversity Director Courtney Taylor, East Lowndes Water Association general manager Grant Mitchell and, as of next March, Starkville Utilities manager Terry Kemp. We thank them all for their service.
A thorn and good riddance to 2021. It wasn’t all bad, of course. In some cases, it was even wonderful. But on the balance, 2021 was a disappointment, starting with the deplorable attack on our nation’s Capital, the mindless violence we are seeing far too often in our communities, weather catastrophes that continue to remind us that climate change is real, no matter how easy it is to ignore and, most of all, the pandemic. We believed the arrival of the vaccines would mean 2021 would be the year the pandemic ended. In 2021, we lost another 220 Golden Triangle residents to COVID-19. Despite easy access to free vaccines, only 44 percent of people in Lowndes County, 50 percent of the people in Oktibbeha County and 45 percent of the people in Clay County have been fully vaccinated as the year ends. Is it any wonder, then, that we continue to lose so many of our friends and neighbors?
Finally, a rose to our readers as another year has passed into the archives of history. The Dispatch, as it is now known, will reach a milestone this year — 100 years ago, Birney Imes Sr. consolidated his Columbus Commercial with The Columbus Dispatch. On March 12, 1922, the first edition of The Commercial Dispatch rolled off the press. Today, Peter imes is the fourth generation of the family to serve as the newspaper’s publisher and the paper is now the only family-owned daily newspaper in the entire state. The approach of such a milestone causes us to reflect on our history and acknowledge the essential relationship between The Dispatch and its customers — both advertisers and readers alike. In fact, without you, we could never have lasted all these years. It’s been our honor and privilege to deliver the news of our community to first, your doorstep, and now your desktops and mobile devices. In that spirit, let us be the first to wish you a Happy New Year!
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.