Roses and thorns: 5/12/19




A rose on Mother's Day to all for whom the day applies -- moms in aprons and moms in uniforms, moms in offices and moms in pick-up lanes, moms in rocking chairs and moms in office chairs, work-at-home moms and business-moms, married moms and single moms, old moms and young moms, moms of one and moms of many, serious moms and silly moms, moms present and moms remembered. Although a single day is not sufficient to honor all you are and all you do, we hope your Mother's Day is filled with the love and appreciation of every mother's son or daughter. 




A rose to Columbus Municipal School District Superintendent Cherie Labat for her decision to seek bids for repair work at Hunt School. Although given permission by her school board to choose a company to do the work, Labat chose to ask for bids for the work. "It's important for us to have an open process," Labat said. Bidding out the work not only ensures taxpayers have more options to choose from and encourages cost-savings, it also sends a strong message that Labat can be trusted with the authority given to her. It would have been easier for Labat to simply choose a contractor. Instead, she chose a process that is open and transparent, one that builds public trust. 




A rose to the staff of Zachary's Restaurant, who have turned a personal loss into community service. When an April 28 fire badly damaged the Columbus restaurant, it meant the staff of 50 would be without their jobs for what is likely to be several months. In its 18 years in Columbus, Zachary's owner Doug Pellum had been noted for his generous support of the community, regularly offering his restaurant to host fundraisers or providing food for good causes. It's obvious now that the spirit of generosity is not just an attribute of the restaurant's owner, but a deeply-ingrained culture. The evidence of that can be found throughout our community as displaced Zachary's employees have devoted their "work time" to volunteer efforts at area charities and non-profits. Zachary's will be back, and when it opens again, a grateful community will not have forgotten the grace and good example its employees have shown us. 




A rose to Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant and the Columbus Police Department for their handling of a very sensitive investigation. When a man was found hanging from a tree near Luxapalila Creek in broad daylight on May 5, it evoked powerful and painful memories of lynchings. Merchant and the CPD moved quickly with a thorough investigation and took time to keep the public informed. Ultimately, the death was ruled a suicide -- certainly a tragic event, but not the sort of hate crime that could tear a community apart. Recognizing the sensitivity of the situation, the coroner and investigators acted in a way that soothed those fears. It was a job well-done under difficult circumstances.



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