Quick Takes Editorial: Local suffragists get overdue recognition

Applause for the socially and historically conscious Bartholomew County Centennial Suffragette Society, which recently installed a historical marker recognizing the county’s first two women ever registering to vote in 1917. The marker is as part of the National Women’s Suffrage Marker Grant Program. The local pair, Lizzie Hubbard and Fannie Davis, registered after the Partial Suffrage Act of 1917 — especially courageous considering they also were Black residents in a community that was then 89% white.

The suffrage marker grant program was founded by the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation.

Society member Lesley Bradley organized the May 14 ceremony and wrote the application for the grant that covered the $2,000 cost for the marker in front of Columbus’ Second Baptist Church. The women attended Second Baptist, a predominantly Black church.

Society members Cate Hyatt and Betsy Siegman spearheaded the research for the effort. In an age when women and Black people still are fighting for elements of equality, the marker project speaks loudly to all about respect and honor, especially where hard-fought rights have been won.

Don’t look now, but COVID’s still here

Much as we’d like to somehow pretend otherwise, COVID-19 never went away, though we’ve had a substantial reprieve from its deadly and severe consequences of late.

That said, recent headlines in The Republic tell us there is still a need for vigilance. We haven’t seen the last of this pandemic.

First came news that First United Methodist Church canceled in-person services last Sunday due to an outbreak. Then The Republic’s Andy East reported earlier this week that local health officials confirmed that cases were again rising. Officials are asking residents to once again consider masking and avoiding large indoor events.

There were six people hospitalized due to COVID at Columbus Regional Health on May 11, a sharp increase over the fairly steady level of one or two hospitalizations lately. And while reported positive cases remain low, officials are quick to note that more people are now testing at home. Positive results from home tests do not show up in the state’s count of confirmed cases.

So precaution remains the best defense against COVID, and getting vaccinated remains the best protection.

Trail grant will enhance riverfront

The City of Columbus received a $1.7 million grant this week that will fund construction of a downtown riverfront trail that will complete a loop of the People Trail on the south side of the city.

The trail funding is part of a larger ambitious riverfront project that for now remains on the drawing board. And as is customary with projects involving the Department of Natural Resources and developments along rivers, the trail site will first be surveyed for potential historical artifacts.

Nevertheless, it’s likely the trail project will go forward, as it should. The city parks foundation and developer Flaherty & Collins, which is building an apartment and urban grocer complex downtown, are key partners on a project that will further the community’s enjoyment of nature.

Bond-ing at Columbus East

Phil Bond has gone far since graduating from Columbus East High School in 1993, but he came home again. Bond, who has hit the highs behind the scenes on Broadway productions and in the world of professional theater, was honored last week with induction into the school’s Alumni Wall of Fame.

Locals, though, can say they knew him when. As The Republic’s Jana Wiersema reported, Bond was involved in community theatre from a very young age, participating in productions with the Mill Race Players and Columbus Theatre Arts Guild. When he wasn’t on stage, he was working behind the scenes even way back.

The wall of fame is no Tony Award, but Bond was humbled. “I’m just very touched and grateful that someone would consider me,” he said.

For Columbus East, this is a very special Bond, indeed.