Roses and thorns: 10-20-19

October 19, 2019 10:08:34 PM



A rose to the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District and OCH Regional Medical Center for considering a plan that would create on-site clinics at the district's schools. Provided the details can be worked out, the presence of these clinics would not only give students, teachers and staff convenient access to medical care, but would likely cut down on missed class time. Not every cough or symptom means missing school but such symptoms, when they occur in the student population, can limit exposure to contagious illnesses. In either event, a proper diagnosis promotes the health of both the individual and the other people in the environment. There is some financial incentive in play for the schools, too, since funding is tied to attendance. There's much yet left to explore - especially the cost - but the idea is intriguing. We applaud the innovative thinking this represents.



A rose to organizers and volunteers who helped make the 16th annual Caledonia Days festival a success. As always the event, held Friday and Saturday, drew flocks of visitors to Ola J. Pickett Park - estimates of as many as 10,000 to the town of 1,100. Those crowds are proof of the event's continuing growth and success. From Friday's three free concerts and fireworks show to Saturday's busy schedule of events, including 90 food and arts and crafts vendors, the event caters to the interests of a wide range of visitors. Perhaps more importantly, Caledonia Days is something of a homecoming, not only bringing in visitors but townspeople. It's a great way for the community to gather to celebrate their town.




A thorn to Starkville vice mayor and Ward 6 alderman Roy A. Perkins, for a pointless exercise in legal hair-splitting that unnecessarily delayed Tuesday's board of aldermen. Perkins spent a half-hour disputing adoption of the board minutes from its previous meeting, something that normally requires only seconds before the board moves on to the pressing matters of the day. Perkins' objection was that the Sept. 17 meeting was illegal because it was rescheduled to 9 p.m. that evening because the board could not establish a quorum at the regular 5:30 p.m. meeting time. The postponement allowed alderman David Little to arrive at the rescheduled meeting, thus allowing the board to establish the needed quorum. That Perkins himself did not attend either meeting - and has to date offered no explanation for his absence - only adds to the absurdity of his protest. This is the sort of pointless exercise that disrupts board meetings and sows seeds of dissension among board members. Move along. There's nothing to see here.



A rose to Columbus Municipal School District for its decision to extend the contract of superintendent Cherie Labat by 1 ½ years, the maximum extension allowed under state law. Since arriving at CMSD in June 2018, Labat has done much to build morale of the district, restore the community's confidence in district leadership and create a vision for the district moving forward. While some may grouse about the $25,000 pay raise included in the extension that pushes her salary to $175,000, it's worth noting that her salary is not out of line with the going rate for the job. For the past decade, the district has been embroiled in a never-ending argument about the performance of the superintendent, disputes that were a disruption and a distraction. That's gone away - at least on the board level - since Labat arrived. There are many challenges the district still faces. Leadership is not one of them.