A rose to the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District for looking into technology to protect its students from gun violence in a way that doesn’t traumatize students or interrupt school activity. Even as a Texas bill proposed training students as early as the third-grade to learn basic triage in the event of a school shooting, the SOCSD board was listening to a presentation from Entry Shield, an access control technology and systems company, at the request of superintendent Tony McCoy. The technology performs the same function as a metal detector, but has many advantages. Students do not have to line up to be scanned. As they pass through the camera-based system and are detected to be carrying what could potentially be a large weapon, the system sends a notification to the cell phones of administrators and other designees. Those notifications will include a high-resolution photo of the student in question, and district personnel can respond or call for backup through the app. The sensitivity of the system can be adjusted as administrators feel appropriate. At a time when active-shooter drills and other mass-shooting exercises create fear among students, it’s good to know that less intrusive safety options are out there. The board has taken no action, but will continue to collect information on this technology.
A rose to our biggest farmers markets, the Hitching Lot Farmers Market in Columbus and the Starkville Community Market, now both open to provide fresh produce, including fruits and vegetables, baked goods and a wide array of craft products. Starkville Community Market kicked off its season April 22, and The Hitching Lot market opened on May 13. These markets are a boost to our local economy and real difference-makers to the small businesses that sell their products there. Perhaps more importantly, markets like these offer a way for us all to be better connected to the food we eat. They give us the opportunity to talk to actual people who grow and prepare the food, learning about their processes.
A rose to Golden Triangle Theatre for its ambitious production of the classic stage musical “The Sound of Music.” Given the demands of the production – casting (especially the Von Trapp children), costumes, musicians and set – taking on the challenge is not for the faint of heart. Executive Director Garrett Torbert began assembling the 60-person cast and crew in January. The show kicked off Friday at the Seventh Street Theatre (the old First Baptist sanctuary with performances Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30. In addition to being a much-loved musical, “The Sound of Music” provides opportunities for children, given its storyline.That was an important factor in choosing the play. “Our whole mission is to nurture young people in our community through the arts and this musical brings that,” Torbert said.
A rose to the Oktibbeha County Humane Society for securing a grant that will be a benefit to the 17 counties the organization serves through its spay/neuter and transport programs. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) awarded OCHS a $900,000 grant, which will cover three-quarters of the cost of its shelter expansion. The expansion will not only enhance services in Starkville, but greatly expand what the organization can do in its role as a “hub” for its 17-county service area, as the humane society regularly helps other shelters in the region with animal transportation and spay/neuter services. The proliferation of unwanted dogs and cats in Southern states often leads to grim, short lives for these animals. The lifespan for pets that do have homes increases dramatically when they are spayed (26% longer lives) or neutered (14% longer).The best way to combat unwanted pets and extend the lives of pets with homes through the low spay/neuter services OCHS provides.
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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