Roses and Thorns 5/20/12




A rose to company officials at Kior, who are gearing up to begin production while working to be good neighbors.


When Kior Columbus Project Manager Bill Little noticed a need at Propst Park, he contacted local businessman Jabari Edwards, who connected him with Roger Short, director of the Columbus-Lowndes Recreation Authority. Soon, more families will be able to enjoy picnics, thanks to Kior's donation of additional picnic tables to expand upon the four areas already in place at the 91-acre park.


Short said Kior's donation is indicative of ways the company's vision will benefit Columbus and Lowndes County. Construction began in 2011 on the next-generation renewable fuels company, and testing began in March. Kior is slated to open later this year, employing 60 people.



Lowndes County has amassed an impressive collective of technologically advanced companies that have raised the standard of living for many residents who might have traveled -- or even moved -- to other counties in search of work.


It's good to see Kior taking an immediate interest in the community, and we hope that continues. From partnering with schools to offering scholarships, donations and civic service, there are many ways to get involved, and we hope Kior will continue to look for ways to improve our county.



A rose to Mississippi State University history professor emeriti John Marszalek, who was instrumental in bringing further acclaim to the campus this week. Saturday, MSU celebrated its designation as the permanent host of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library.


The 18th president's letters, photographs and other memorabilia will remain permanently at the Mitchell Memorial Library, where they have resided since 2008. Library employees have worked long hours painstakingly cataloging and cross-referencing the information, which couldn't have been an easy task. Grant's letters are contained in 31 volumes, with a 32nd volume imminent.


Having his archives is a point of pride for MSU, as well it should be. The university is only the fifth in the nation to house a presidential library. The others are in Michigan and Texas. (George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush claim two of the three in Texas.)



A rose to Starkville residents Alison and Mike Buehler, founders of the Gaining Ground Sustainability Institute of Mississippi, and Starkville restaurateur and chef Ty Thames, for supporting local farmers and locally-sourced ingredients.


The Buehlers have long been proponents of eco-conscious living, but during the recession they realized there was also a great need for people to learn how to grow or raise their own food, have access to energy-efficient housing and learn new ways of self-sufficiency. Out of that realization sprang Gaining Ground. The first meeting was held in January 2010, and since that time, the group has worked to educate Mississippians on eco-friendly practices and advances in farming, forestry, architecture and health.


Saturday, at Starkville's Restaurant Tyler, which Thames co-owns, he prepared a seven-course meal using only ingredients from within a 100-mile radius. The farm-to-table dinner was not cheap; tickets were $125 per person. But the philosophy behind the fare is priceless.


Several years ago, Alison Buehler made an astute observation about the family's life with which many of us can relate: "We couldn't do anything for ourselves."


We live in houses far larger than what we need. We drive vehicles that barely fit into a parking space. Our food comes from boxes or bags. We have created an insta-meal world. Life has become a race of bigger, better, faster, more.


It narrows our perspective, limits our experiences and dampens our pleasure in the things we work so hard to own. We are divorced from the process. But at what price?


If you know the drive-thru workers on a first name basis, dig your pots and pans from the cupboard this week and make a home-cooked meal. Pick up some seeds and plant something. Begin a recycling project for your family. Or just kick off your shoes one evening and stargaze as you dig your toes into the cool earth.


A simpler, more deeply satisfying life is within reach. People like the Buehlers have proven it. To learn more about Gaining Ground, visit




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