A rose to the 17 Golden Triangle high school students who have been named as National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, among the 16,000 students chosen for the distinction nation-wide. Two of the students — Soyeon Park and Jackson Shapley attend Starkville High School. Mississippi School for Math and Science, widely considered the top academic high school in the state, had the remaining 15 semifinalists: Daniel Caton, Chloe Dobbins, Andra Dusin, Madison Echols, Nathan George, John Hagood, David Johnson, Vivek Nagarajan, Ryan Neal, Elsa Pfrenger, Dylan Randall, Mandy Sun, Lauren Varner and Richard Zheng. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring. About 95 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and approximately half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title. We congratulate our scholars on this impressive distinction.
A rose to Mark Smith, the Salute to Lowndes County’s Finest committee, donors and sponsors for again, honoring first responders with a barbecue luncheon on Sept. 9. Smith, a local business owner, founded the annual event to honor the county’s first responders after 9/11, when he volunteered in New York after the terrorist attack. This year’s luncheon, held at the American Legion building, served about 150 first-responders — from law enforcement to paramedics/EMTs to firefighters. Zachary’s donated the meal with Southern Flour and Taylor Made providing desserts. Area businesses donated items for door prizes and corporate sponsors provided funds to cover other expenses and provide assistance to first responders in need. This year’s event was the 17th year of the luncheon. On behalf of our first responders, we thank all who helped with the luncheon.
A rose to the city of Columbus for its plans to address two areas in the city that have been notorious for flooding. The city committed $3 million of its $5.8 million in ARPA funds to address drainage problems where flooding is common. It will ask Lowndes County to contribute $450,000, as well as state matching ARPA funds and grants to help cover an estimated cost of $9 million that will address flooding issues in parts of Wards 1, 4 and 5. From the start, federal guidelines advised, but did not demand, that ARPA funds be on infrastructure, including water and sewer, which are often costly. It’s unlikely the city would be able to make these improvements without the opportunity presented by these funds. We commend the city for planning to use these funds to address a long-neglected issue, and hope the county offers funding assistance once a final plan is enacted.
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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