A rose to Martin Andrews, who announced his retirement from Columbus Fire and Rescue effective April 18 after 35 years in the department and eight years as chief. Andrews joined CFD in 1987 with a dream of someday becoming chief, a dream fulfilled in 2014. The crowning achievement of his tenure as chief is last year’s completion of the new Fire Station 4 on Airline Road. Throughout his career, Andrews built a reputation as a team player, an affable, approachable figure inside the department and out. We congratulate Chief Andrews on his retirement and thank him for his long years of service to our community.
A rose to Columbus resident Melissa Parsons for her efforts to address the litter problems in our city and county. Parsons has been working on a grassroots campaign to bring the community together, working with groups such as the Columbus Municipal School District and the Boys and Girls Club to coordinate litter-fighting efforts. Parson’s group is holding its first “Pick It Up Possum Town” event on April 2, a clean-up day held in each of the city’s six wards. Mayor Keith Gaskin has lent his support to the group’s effort, which goes beyond clean-up days to include education and litter prevention. We urge every citizen to join this effort and applaud Parsons for getting the ball rolling.
A rose to Ben Howland, who was fired as Mississippi State’s mens basketball coach on Thursday after seven seasons. Howland posted a 134-98 record during his tenure, including a 59-67 record in the SEC, but when viewed in proper perspective, the won/loss record alone does not provide a clear picture of his contributions to the program. When Howland took over, MSU basketball was at perhaps its lowest point ever, having won just 37 of 97 games the previous three years. Howland’s teams qualified for either NIT or the NCAA Tournament in four of the past five years. His efforts stabilized the program. The true measure of any coach is whether or not they left the program better than they found it. In that respect, Howland’s tenure should be viewed as a success.
A rose to Cynthia Brown, who was appointed to the Columbus Municipal School District Board of Trustees during Tuesday’s city council meeting. Brown, who brings to the board more than 40 years experience as an educator and administrator, was chosen from among a pool of four applicants. Brown currently teaches third grade in the Pickens County, Alabama, school district. She previously worked in administrative roles at the Lowndes County School District and as a teacher at CMSD. Brown replaces long-serving board member Jason Spears. We commend Spears for his 10 years of service to our city’s schools and extend our best wishes to Brown as she fills this important role.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.