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Ryan’s Buffet Shutters its Doors

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Ryan’s closed earlier this month, and the property is for sale for $900,000. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Another of Columbus’ eateries has shut its doors. Ryan’s Buffet on Hwy 45 recently closed down, leaving a note on the door to inform visitors. While the future of the establishment has been up in the air for some time now, it’s official: Escondido, California’s Realty Income Corp. is under contract to purchase the property.

Royce Hudspeth, the listing agent for the property, said, “We never stopped marketing the property . . . We have received two letters of intent from prospective buyers and are currently negotiating with one of those buyers. We will see if a deal can be done.”

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Unemployment Rate Spiking But Still Lower Than Last Year

Unemployment Rate Spiking But Still Lower Than Last Year

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Data that was recently made public by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security is showing that unemployment in the area (Clay, Lowndes, Oktibbeha and Noxubee counties) has flattened out as of late, helping to mollify the effects of spikes over the past year; the overall number is actually lower than last year at this time. The most recent spike is believed to be a possible result of teenage students who are seeking summertime jobs.

Despite the recent jump, more able-bodied Mississippians are working today than at any time since July 2008. As of May, there were 1,218,700 people in the state with jobs.

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Master Plan Has Been Approved for Starkville Athletic Complex

Master Plan Has Been Approved for Starkville Athletic Complex

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Starkville aldermen recently approved a contract with Dalhoff Thomas, a Memphis architecture firm. They are to be awarded $61,000  for a master plan of a proposed athletic complex at Cornerstone Park off Highway 25. Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker reports that this will become integrated with the master plan the city already has for its overall parks system. “This is for design purposes to get you to a master plan level,” he said. It is to be a basic, non-final plan/proposal for a possible athletic facility at Cornerstone Park, allowing the city to move ahead on getting the actual project in motion, pending approval.

Walker continued, “This is going to be the plan for us to decide how we want to do it, what we want to do and from that standpoint, there would be a separate contract that would go to construction documents to actually get the project built.” It will likely include things such as a projected square footage, drainage and other infrastructure requirements, et al.

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill (courtesy photo)

Mayor Lynn Spruill said that the city might be eligible to receive roughly 114 acres in Cornerstone Park from the Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority. “That gives us a whole lot of options we can use because we keep McKee, we keep the Sportsplex, and we have a real serious competitive opportunity we can use here,” she said. She also pointed out that success in this venture would eliminate the need to acquire similar land nearer the existing facilities: “Unless Cornerstone has … a huge wetland issue for mitigation, then the amount of acreage we were looking at (near the Sportsplex) was half of what we’d get at Cornerstone,” she said.

“We want to do high-end ball fields,” Spruill went on to say. “We want to be as competitive or more competitive than anyone out there. We want to do amenities to go with it — maybe a splash pad or a batting area. A jogging track — it’s very easy to put something around a facility to allow other facilities.”

Ward 5 Alderman Patrick Miller commented: “When the Outlaw Center at the Sportsplex fills up or there’s an event going on, I’d like to make sure that our youth or whoever it might have the opportunity to play basketball in other parts of the city as well and have good, nice facilities just like everywhere else in the city.”

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CRA Says They Have Faith in Former Lee Middle Development Project

CRA Says They Have Faith in Former Lee Middle Development Project

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin (courtesy photo)

The Columbus Redevelopment Authority is banking on tax incentives and the reputation of the development group (Military Lee, L.L.C.) to ensure that the plans for the pending sale of Lee Middle School property come to fruition as promised. “You’d be a fool to buy all that land, and not do anything with it,” said Jeff Turnage, attorney for both the city and CRA

CRA announced Saturday that Military Lee had agreed to purchase the former Lee Middle School Property — approx. 15 acres — for $450,000. The Columbus Municipal School District owns the property, and its board of trustees must first approve a $1 sale of the property to CRA before the authority can execute the sale to the developer.

“I know they’re very serious,” Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin said. “They do have a history of a development in Jackson that turned out real well.”

Military Lee, which did not yet have a formal name at at that time, threw their hat into the ring with plans to turn the site into a mixed-use development of residential and commercial entities, while preserving as much of the original structures as possible.

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New Cajun Fusion Eatery to Open Soon on Hwy 45

New Cajun Fusion Eatery to Open Soon on Hwy 45

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Breaux Bridge, a new restaurant named after the crawfish capital of the world, will be opening soon in Columbus in the old Chili’s location on Highway 45. Photo by: Mary Pollitz/Dispatch Staff

NeonFROG marketing agent Karen Stanley has announced that the owners of Breaux Bridge – a new restaurant that has taken over the old Chili’s location on Hwy 45 – is slated to open for business by late Summer. The venue is named after the Louisiana town dubbed “The Crawfish Capital of the World” by the Louisiana Legislature in 1959. The menu will be a fusion of Cajun and Asian cuisine, including dishes such as gumbo, po’boys, crawfish fried rice, and much, much more.

The interior of the building is ready to roll, so they’re finishing up the final details. The outside signage just went up on Tuesday. “We’ve worked with local artists and artists down in the New Orleans area,” Stanley said. “There are a lot of bright colors. It has very much an eclectic, Cajun feel. . .”The inside is fully set. It’s just getting the fine details together. . .When we open the doors, we want to have everything as perfect as possible.”

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New Tariffs May Pose Problem for Steel Dynamics

New Tariffs May Pose Problem for Steel Dynamics

COLUMBUS — Courtesy of The Dispatch

The Trump Administration recently announced that its 25% tariffs on steel – which had exempted the EU, Canada, and Mexico – will now be imposed unilaterally, triggering Mexico to retaliate in kind. Some are concerned that this could be bad news for Golden Triangle businesses, such as Steel Dynamics.

Mark Millet, CEO of SDI

During a January 2018 conference call, SDI President and CEO Mark Millett pointed out the Columbus flat-roll steel plant’s stellar role in boosting the company’s profits to record highs: “We, I think, shipped about 220,000 tons of automotive (steel) from Columbus just last year, which is a massive increase,” Millett told investors. “And we’re on platforms to increase that to about 400,000 tons over the next 18 months …We continue to gain market share, especially at the Columbus flat roll division with our focus on automotive direct sales. We also benefit there from a cost effective access into Mexico.”

Much of the local plant’s steel is exported to Mexican auto manufacturing plants. They imported roughly 3.7 metric tons of flat roll steel, according to the International Trade Assn.; this number made up about 2/3 of Mexico’s total steel imports that year.

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Caledonia’s Market on Main a Success

Caledonia’s Market on Main a Success

CALEDONIA – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Amanda Boltwood (courtesy photo)

Caledonia has joined the Golden Triangle’s habit of hosting Farmer’s Markets this time of year, and they have been met with rapid success. Their first outing (on May 4) featured eight vendors of all kinds, and this number promptly doubled for the second one. Market on Main in downtown Caledonia is open on designated Fridays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The idea originated with Amanda Boltwood, who also chairs the annual fall Caledonia Days festival. “I just really love being involved in the town,” Boltwood said. “I thought this would be a great way to get everyone out on Main Street and bring the community together for the summer.”

Alderwoman Tammy McCool remarked, “It invites people into our town; they’ll visit our restaurants and our businesses here. It’s just another way to showcase Caledonia.”

Vendor Callie Shelnut remarked, “I was just amazed, for such a small town, the number of people who came out — but then, this town pulls together so well.”

Market on Main dates in downtown Caledonia are Fridays June 1 and 22, and July 13 and 27, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. If interest warrants, more dates may be added in August.

For more information, interested vendors may contact Boltwood at 662-251-2875 or visit facebook.com/marketonmaincaledonia. There is no fee to participate.

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Starkville Coffehouse to Add Midtown Location

Starkville Coffehouse to Add Midtown Location

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

Starkville’s Midtown is a mixed-use development that will feature Orangetheory Fitness, 66 apartments and other businesses to be announced at a later date. (courtesy photo)

Strange Brew Coffeehouse owner Katelyn Reed recently announced the nascent opening of their second Starkville location; their intent is to open before September 1st. Their existing store, which has a drive-thru, is “busting at the seams,” Reed said. “So we are really excited to have some more space, and to now be walking distance from campus.” The new location will be in the Midtown development on University Drive, and is meant to be be “more of a ‘come sit a while’ feel,” Reed went on to say. Both locations will share the exiting menu, as well as new products that will soon be on offer.

A second Instagram and Twitter account was made for the Midtown location, and it can be found at @SBCoho for more updates

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Orthodox Christians Now Have a Dedicated Place of Worship in Columbus

Orthodox Christians Now Have a Dedicated Place of Worship in Columbus

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Jason and Kelsey Bigelow are among a small, but  growing number of Orthodox Christians in the area who have long been seeking a permanent place of worship, rather than driving as far as Tupelo irregularly in order to have access to the services they want. They recently found that their numbers had grown large enough to found a local mission, and that a former Christian Science worship center was available for purchase – so they and their congregation did so. They now meet at the church on 4th Avenue North, which they have been extensively renovating. They are considered a Mission for now, as they are still working on the funding required to maintain a full-time priest, rather than having one come in once every 3-4 weeks, and having congregants preach in the meantime. They intend to begin holding formal worship services in July; they expect to begin with about thirty congregants.

“It’s a small world of Orthodox Christians in Mississippi,” said Columbus physician William Rosenblatt who bought the building along with Jason earlier this month. “Everyone kind of knows everyone. (When we) moved here, we knew … the Bigelows were in town. (We) put our heads together and said, ‘Look, we’ve got to do something. We can’t keep driving an hour and 45 minutes to church every Sunday.’ They had been looking at area buildings, just kind of thinking into the future, and we found this one, started getting the ball rolling.”

William Rosenblatt of Columbus does yard work outside the new Orthodox Church on Fourth Avenue North – credit – Isabelle Altman.jpg

“The first time you walk into an Orthodox Church that’s all set up, not like this,” Kelsey said, gesturing to the construction around her, “(but) with the candles and iconography and the singing, it’s overwhelming. If you have studied art and history, even if you don’t know anything about the Orthodox Church firsthand when you come in, you instantly see the beauty of the worship.”

“The building is sort of in the classic church configuration, a Latin cross plan,” Jason said. “So that’s what we would have built if we had built this from scratch.”

“Most people aren’t as fortunate,” Rosenblatt said. “They’re in a store front for a long time or something much less formal.”

“When you drive your kids an hour every other Sunday to go to church, and you can’t stay late for coffee hour because you’ve got to get back and do stuff or you can’t be there on Wednesday night and you can’t fully raise them in the church — to have a church that I can walk to is absolutely a miracle to me,” she said.  “It’s like having your grandma next door,” she added. “That’s the only thing I can liken it to. It’s like having your community, the things that matter to you (and are) close to you, within reach.”

“Everybody’s welcome,” Jason said. “It’s not just Orthodox — which we think there’s other area Orthodox. But this church is for everybody. … Everybody’s welcome that wants to learn about Jesus.”

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USA Today Honors Columbus

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of the Columbus Visitors’ Bureau

Please join with all of us at GFB to congratulate everyone who gives their all to make our town a better place!

PRESS RELEASE

Columbus, MS has been voted No. 6 in the Best Small Town Cultural Scene category of USA TODAY’s latest 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest!

“Visit Columbus is honored to win a coveted spot on this list, and is grateful for the many voters who helped our city win this distinguished award” said Nancy Carpenter, CEO of Visit Columbus.

Columbus, MS has been voted No. 6 in the Best Small Town Cultural Scene category of USA TODAY’s latest 10Best Readers'…

Posted by Visit Columbus on Friday, May 18, 2018

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