Roses and thorns: 11/24/19




A rose to Alan Smith, who will soon be turning over Smith's Landscaping to a regional garden center company, Walton's Green House. In almost three decades of operating the landscaping service and garden center on 18th Avenue North in Columbus, Smith's family-run business has been familiar presence in our community, expanding over the years to include its current site at the old Barnhill's restaurant, just across the street from its original location. The Smiths have provided the kind of personal customer service that big box nurseries find hard to replicate. Ultimately, Smith's decision to leave the business came down to health issues. We are delighted, however, to learn that the company will be turned over to another family-owned company. Walton's Greenhouse was founded by the father-son combo of Lathen and Marty Walton, growing from a single garden center in Itawamba County to more than 20 garden centers, including centers in Amory, Tupelo, New Albany and now, Columbus. The Waltons will take over operations in early 2020. We wish Alan a happy retirement and look forward to welcoming the Waltons to our community.



A rose to the city of Columbus for its efforts to give residents some peace of mind during the holiday traveling season. The city of Columbus has rolled out two new features of its SeeClickFix program just in time for the holidays. Through it's new service portal, "SeeClickFix," the Columbus Police Department will implement two programs -- "Vacation Home Watch" and "Close Patrol." The home watch feature lets residents request police go by their homes while the residents are on vacation, and Close Patrol allows citizens to send police tips about suspicious activity. Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton said the two features are "non traditional" ways for police and the community to interact. SeeClickFix is a website that local governments can sign up for and take information from citizens on issues throughout the community, such as lights that have gone out, tree limbs or other debris in roads and overflowing storm drains. Since Columbus joined about two weeks ago, the city has received more than 100 requests, City Information Officer Joe Dillon said. The home watch and patrol features are the two newest features the city has added, and unlike the other issues citizens can report, they will be private, meaning other citizens cannot log on to the website and see the requests. We applaud the city and the CPD for providing this service. We predict it will be a huge success.




A rose to Columbus Light and Water and The Tennessee Valley Authority, which will work together to help local low-income home-owners make their homes more energy efficient. Up to six Columbus homes will receive upgrades to make them more energy efficient through the partnership under TVA's Home Uplift program, in which TVA will upgrade a handful of homes to help reduce utility bills, improve indoor air quality and lower home maintenance costs. CL&W director Todd Gale said the project is similar to a TVA pilot program CLW joined two years ago, when TVA paid for upgrades for about 160 homes in the Columbus area. The main difference is that TVA paid for about 90 percent of the costs -- $100,000, Gale said -- to upgrade the 160 homes two years ago. This time CLW will be responsible for 50 percent of the costs, or $26,143. To participate in the program, residents have to own their own home and make a maximum income at twice the poverty level, Gale said. At earliest, the program would begin next spring. Lowering energy costs are good for the environment and for low-income home-owners are a meaningful savings that enhances quality of life.



A rose the Main Street Columbus and The Hitching Lot Farmers Market for another successful Hitching Lot Holiday Market. The event, held from 9 a.m. until noon, drew plenty of customers who took advantage of the last farmers' market of the year to stock up on locally-produced fruits/vegetables, baked goods and hand-crafted gifts from 65 vendors heading into the holiday season. This was the 12th year for the holiday event, which serves The Hitching Lot's mission to support the development of local sustainable farming by cultivating a vibrant farmers market that serves as a community gathering place celebrating local farmers, food producers and artisans.




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