A rose to the city of Columbus and Columbus Light and Water, for its foresight in investing in LED street lights, a move that is saving the city approximately $100,000 per year, even after making payments on the $3.4 million lease/purchase of the lighting. At the time, there was criticism of the plan agreed upon by then-mayor Robert Smith and the late Todd Gale, who served as general manager at CLW, especially given the city’s recently discovered financial difficulties. With Smith’s urging, the city council approved the move and the conversion to the LED lights was completed in 2019. The lease/purchase has a 15 year term, and the lights have an estimated lifespan of 20 years. It was a wise move.
A rose to organizers, volunteers and participants of Saturday’ International Fiesta at Mississippi State University. The event, which showcases food, dress, music and culture from nations across the globe was held for the 30th year at its home on the MSU Drill Field. Sponsored by The World Neighbors Association and MSU’s Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, the event gives international students an opportunity to share the culture of their native countries. For everyone, it’s an opportunity to broaden their knowledge and understanding of dozens of nations and their culture. At a time when global tensions, particularly in Europe, are at a height, these events foster understanding and empathy. It’s also a delightful event, full of color and music and costumes.
A rose to Contact Helpline in Columbus, which last year fielded more than 10,000 calls from people in the community in distress or contemplating suicide. There is little doubt that some of those calls saved lives and Katrina Sunivelle, the director, said a new feature that will come online in July will expand their life-saving mission. Contact Helpline is trained and certified by the International Counselor Helpline, one of more than 200 crisis call centers it certifies nation-wide. In July, those in crisis can call 9-8-8 nationwide and be connected with suicide prevention organizations, including Contact Helpline. The arrival of an easy–to-remember three digit number will make it easier for people in need to access the emergency counseling help in a timely manner, not unlike dialing 9-1-1 for police or fire emergencies. The 24/7 service relies heavily on volunteers, who receive training needed to help people in crisis. Contact Helpline is actively seeking those volunteers for this important service. If you are interested, visit contacthelplinegtrms.org.
A rose to the Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce and its new director, Cathryn Borer. Although a native of Jackson, Borer has strong ties to the community, earning her degree from MUW and being heavily involved in a variety of community projects and organizations. Borer replaces Wilson Beck, who resigned as director earlier this year. Her familiarity with Columbus and CAFB — her husband was in the Air Force — should serve to strengthen that relationship as well as enhance and expand the role of the Chamber throughout the city and county.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.