A rose to all those who are working to keep the Mississippi Spelling Bee alive and well and at home in Columbus. Last year, when the spelling bee lost its funding and was in peril of not being held at all in Mississippi, the Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce led the way to fund and stage the spelling bee. MUW graciously offered to host the event and The Dispatch and C Spire provided most of the funding. Many others helped as well. When a last minute ice storm threatened the state bee early this year, Courtyard by Marriot even stepped in with rooms. This year, longtime educator Lois Kappler is again serving as director of the state bee, and the MUW Foundation is helping with fundraising and hosting. The Dispatch is spearheading fundraising for the $16,500 needed to send two students to the national bee and to cover the production costs for the Mississippi Spelling Bee. Last year, many in the community expressed a desire to help so community members can donate to help cover the costs. Steve Ellis, host of The Barn Concert Series, has agreed to donate tips from his Sept. 22 concert to the cause. Donations are going to be set up through the MUW Foundation, so those who donate can use it as a tax deduction. Checks can be submitted at The Dispatch office in Columbus, and they should be addressed to the MUW Foundation with the memo as “Mississippi Spelling Bee.” For those who want to donate online, visit https://t.ly/PBqv. If anyone would like to volunteer for the spelling bee, contact Kappler at spellingbeeMS@gmail.com.
A rose to the Tennessee Williams Tribute organizers, who will stage one of Williams’ most memorable plays before live audiences for the first time since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although there are a variety of events connected with the Tribute, including the crowd-favorite Stella Shouting Contest, the highlight of the three-day celebration is always the production of a Williams play. This year will be truly special, with the production of “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.” The play was the personal favorite of Williams, known as one of the world’s greatest playwrights, winning the 1955 Pulitzer Prize for drama. There will be three showings, Sept. 8-10 at Columbus Middle School. At $10, tickets are a bargain. We applaud organizers, volunteers and patrons for their efforts in sustaining this wonderful tribute to Columbus’ native son over the past 21 years.
A rose to West Point Police Department detectives Rameriz Ivy and Raven Ross for an investigation that has led to an arrest on a pair of rapes that occurred within hours of each other in 2003. After Ivy matched DNA from of the rape cases to the national DNA data base in the first case, he and Ross noted the similarities of that case to another rape. In that case, DNA evidence was never sent to the crime lab to determine if there was a match. Thanks to Ross, who was assigned to look into the case, the victim’s DNA was submitted to a private lab then compared to that of the suspect in the other case. It was a match. In July, Fredrick Fitzgerald Gandy, 55, of West Point was charged with rape, attempted murder burglary and robbery in the first case. This week, he was charged with an additional count of rape for the second attack. We applaud the work of Ivy and Ross in pursuing these cold cases and taking what may be a serial rapist off the streets.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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