Ask Rufus: Remembering Memorial Day

OP/ED – COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

An American and Confederate flag stand by the grave of a Civil War soldier at Friendship Cemetery in Columbus – Courtesy photo

A little history lesson on Memorial Day, courtesy of local Historian Rufus Ward. Many towns can lay claim to being one of the inspirations for Memorial Day, and the people of Columbus are proud to say that we’re one of them.

Mr. Ward says it so much better than I can. Please click here to read his take on it.

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Steak ‘n Shake Soon to Open in Starkville

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

Popular burger restaurant Steak ‘n Shake plans to open its first GTR location soon on the MSU campus in Starkville. The Illinois-based chain has been around since the 1930’s.

“We’re very excited . . .,” VP of Student Affairs Regin Hyatt said of the popularity of the idea expressed by many locals online. “Our dining partner Aramark is facilitating this. It’s replacing the Burger King on campus, so it will go into that location.”

This will be SnS’s fifth Mississippi location; the others are located at Oxford (on UofM campus), Pearl, Biloxi, and Southaven.

Please click here for the original article.

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GTR Area Collecting High Amounts of Sales Taxes TYD

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Area YTD sales tax collections up across Golden Triangle

GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Aside from a small shortage in tax revenue, tax collection for the year so far is doing noticeably better than it was a year ago throughout the GTR region.

Halfway through the fiscal year, Columbus has brought in $4.85 million in tax revenue, as compared to $4.84 this time last year. This number comes from just before the recent re-implementation of the restaurant tax, so the total will be even higher soon.


Starkville continues to do gangbusters, with its revenue thus far sitting pretty at $3.66 million, where it was $3.48 million last year at this time.

“When we budget, we budget conservatively,” said Mayor Lynn Spruill. “We are always delighted when we exceed — particularly when we exceed above the amount we are showing above our budgeted amount.” 

West Point 

West Point is doing its part, as well, bringing in $1.68 million thus far, compared to $1.64 million from last year this time, despite the State withholding more money than usual due to prior overpayments to the city. Fortunately, those willbe ending soon.

“We’ve had a lot of retail growth, especially in the fast food sector,” West Point Mayor Robbie Robinson said. “To me, things are healthy here. It could be better, but we’ve had significant growth.” 

Please click here for the original article.

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Shops Both New and Old Thriving

GOLDEN TRIANGLE, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Goose Hollow Furniture is almost ready to open their second location in Columbus; they plan to open in the former Fred’s location on 18th St by Memorial Day. This is in addition to their original store at 1405 Hwy. 45 N. Both stores will be open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon~Fri and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays.

Caledonia’s The Purple Ribbon will be opening a second location at 1824 Short Main Street. They offer tanning beds, T-shirts, decals and other gift shop items. They plan to open in June. The shop is named in honor of The owner’s granddaughter, who was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation and epilepsy; this diagnosis is symbolized by a purple ribbon. The shops will be open from 10am-5pm, Mon~Sat.

Over in Starkville, June will see the opening of Little E’s Indoor Playcenter, which features a miniature Main Street, allowing kids the opportunity to play Mayor, Cops, Firemen, and more to their hearts’ content. Bookings for birthday parties at the venue have already begun; please see for more info. Their regular hours will be Wed~Sat from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

Please click here for the full article

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Local Businesses Come Together to Give Local Woman a New Home

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

A replacement home for one its resident, 89-year-old Mary Bush, had to abandon and demolish five years ago due to mold concerns, is taking shape up on 12th Avenue North. The Columbus-Lowndes Habitat for Humanity, with the help of local businesses, just put a roof on the new structure. Kathy Arinder, Director of CL Habitat, says that the home should hopefully be move-in ready some time in June.

Jerry Wall, left, and Mel DuBois of Magnum Metals of Nettleton, prepare their fabricating machine to begin installation of a new steel roof at a house on 12th Avenue North in Columbus Tuesday – Photo by Deanna Robinson, Dispatch Staff

Steel Dynamics Inc, Mississippi Steel Processing, Magnum Metals of Nettleton, and Ervin Brothers Roofing all worked together to donate the roofing material, paint, cutting, and installation labor to the house, and it’s designed to last – even the paint job has a 50-year warranty on it! Once completed, this will mark the 49th HFH home built since it was chartered in 1990. “This is definitely a first for us,” Arinder said. “It’s something that just never was in our budget. So when Steel Dynamics came to us and told us what they wanted to do, we were thrilled.”

SDI donated 10,000 pounds of 29-gauge roll steel in total, which should be enough for HFH to roof three to four more houses.

The homeowner, Bush, had to leave her longtime home after lung damage caused by a mold infestation put her in the hospital for two weeks; the old building was condemned and destroyed roughly five years ago, and Bush has been living in a rental ever since. “A voice told me to go down to (the Habitat office),” she said. “I didn’t know nothing about it. But it was the Lord telling me. . . “So I went down and we talked and talked,” she added. “The lady said, ‘Let me see what we can do.'”

Please click here for the full article.

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Cook Out Opens in Columbus; Benefit for Zachary’s at Market Street; and More!

COLUMBUS & STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

After almost two years of waiting, Cook Out opened its Columbus location this past Tuesday on 18th Avenue North. By early afternoon, the drive-thru had a line of cars going our to the street, and plenty of diners inside. The service, however, was fast and efficient, as the company has been doing this sort of thing for a long time; their Starkville location opened in 2016.

Their hours are 10:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10:30 a.m.-3 a.m. Friday and Saturdays. A regular combo is less than $5.50 and includes a burger or other sandwich, 2 sides, and a large drink; a kid’s combo, with a smaller sandwich, 2 sides, and a drink, will run you about five bucks. Special options such as BBQ toppings or cheese sauce with grilled onions will cost an extra 99 cents, and getting one of their 40+ thic, rich flavors of milkshakes (instead of a drink) will cost an extra 2 bucks.

Customers line up for Cook Out on 18th Avenue North Wednesday afternoon in Columbus. The fast food restaurant officially opened Tuesday, offering hamburgers, barbecue, fries and more. This is the Golden Triangle’s second Cook Out location, with the Starkville restaurant opening in 2016. Photo by: Mary Pollitz/Dispatch Staff

Market Street Festival is this weekend – see our prior post for more info about attractions, street closings, and the like. Saturday night, as the Fest winds down to a close, Huck’s Place, 121 Fifth St. S., will host a benefit for Zachary’s.

Early Sunday morning, Zachary’s had a kitchen fire that caused extensive damage, but they and the community are working together to see them come back better than ever! The benefit at Huck’s will be from 7 p.m.-midnight, and the cover is $10.

C Spire has been working hard acquiring permits and setting up towers & wiring to bring high-speed fiber optic broadband internet service to residents of the area; they have just announced that their next service area will be an expansion within Starkville. The new fiber optic services will be along Poor House Road, South Montgomery, Atkinson Drive, and South Ridge Road.  

“Residential Fiber is a game-changer and this revolutionary technology promises to boost home values, broaden entertainment opportunities, help expand the local economy and improve the quality of life for everyone in Oktibbeha County,” Ashley Phillips, general manager of C Spire Home Services, said. 

Please click here for the original article.

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Market Street Fest 2019 Starts Friday – And So Do the Street Closings

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Columbus will play host to its 24th annual Market Street Festival this Friday and Saturday, May 3rd and 4th. There will be food, music, fun & games, artwork of all kinds for sale, and more! The city will also play host to over two hundred vendors of all kinds, and some shops plan to feature Festival specials. The festivities kick off Friday evening at the Riverwalk, with music from The Cleverlys at 7 p.m., and then more from James LeBlanc and The Winchesters at 9 p.m.

The 2017 Market Street Festival is pictured in this Dispatch file photo of 5th Street in Columbus

Saturday morning will begin with a 5K Marathon at 8 a.m. (registration at 7 a.m.); it starts at the Riverwalk. New to the Fest this year will be a children’s area at College & 6th St S; many games there will be free, while some will cost $1 each.

Street closings will begin at 6 a.m. Friday morning, so be prepared:

Main Street from 3rd to 5th streets will close at that time. 5th Street will remain open to north/south traffic until 3 p.m. Friday, as will Main Street from 5th to 7th St. A number of parking lots will need to be cleared out in advance as well.

Please see the link below for a more detailed list. All streets will reopen at 9 p.m. on Saturday and 3rd Ave South will remain open to through traffic.

Parents and guardians picking up children from First United Methodist Daycare can use the College Street and Seventh Street South entrance. Police will be manning the entrance, ensuring only those who identify as guardians will be allowed to enter.

Please click here for more info on parking and travel, as well as the full article.

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Hybrid OR Unit Brings Hope to Cardiac Patients at Baptist

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Years in the making, the “Hybrid Operating Room” at Baptist Memorial Hospital is designed to allow surgeons to perform many procedures with little to no invasion of the patient’s body, making things easier for them and safer for their patients. It involves an X-Ray machine capable of sending real-time data to a bank of computers nearby, so that the doctors can often cut far less into their patients in order to heal them.

“For surgeries, surgeons can use that live x-ray feed to make several small incisions wherever it is they need to instead of needing to do an open procedure where the patient is cut fully or partially open,” said Derrick Forrester, director of perioperative services “… It helps us see much better and clearer what’s going on inside a patient without having to be so invasive.

Cardiovascular surgeon Richard Eubanks gestures to one of several monitors on Monday in the Hybrid Operating Room at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle where surgeons can see live feeds of their procedures or of x-rays. In the adjacent room, technicians, doctors and nurses in training can also watch those feeds. – Amanda Lein, Dispatch Staff

“That x-ray (machine) is what makes this what we call a ‘hybrid’ operating room,” he added. “But if we have a situation where a procedure goes from minimally invasive to, say, open-heart surgery, we have all the equipment in here too, which is also why we call it a ‘hybrid’ OR.”

“They could perform what we call ‘standard procedures’ like (coronary) bypass surgery with just some incisions,” Forrester went on to say. “They could also replace the valve in your heart without having to cut you open.”

“We’re able to do smaller incisions now, which means quicker recovery, quicker outpatient care … and a quicker return to daily life. That’s the goal here.”

Please click here for the full article.

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Refrigeration Supply Co, Others Back After Recovering from Disaster After Disaster

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Early in the wee hours Of November 4th last year, Refrigeration Supply Co (RSC) owner Dennis Jones was awakened by a call from his alarm company; he went to check out his store on Tuscaloosa Road, only to find that a car had crashed through the front glass window and then caught fire, setting the whole place ablaze: “The window was broken because there was a car inside the building on top of the counter,” said Brooks Jones, store manager and son to Dennis.

They re-opened shop on Conway Drive the very next day; a few months after that, they moved what they had hoped would be the business’ new permanent home on Gardner Blvd. Unfortunately, misfortune followed them there, as that was the day an EF-3 tornado tore through town, leveling their warehouse and damaging their offices on both Gardner and on Conway.

Not to be deterred, they rebuilt again and now have the company “back to normal,” according to Brooks. It is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. “It was just stressful for everyone, especially my dad,” Brooks said. “It’s a relief that it’s finally starting to settle. . . I want to make sure that (our customers) know we couldn’t have done it without them.”

Brooks’ sister, Brittany Coover, took damage as well, shutting down BJ’s Dog Grooming; it has also recovered and is back in business.

Also in Columbus, Ceco Building Systems has completed its move to its new location at 1211 Highway 45 N. They make materials for pre-fabricated buildings. They will be holding a grand opening on May 21 at 11AM; it is open to the public.

Cook Out on 18th looks like they’ll be opening soon; while no official grand opening date has yet been announced, the only major obstacle appears to be finishing the parking lot. They are located at 503 18th Ave N on Columbus, and are known for the burgers and milkshakes.

Please click here for the original article

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CLW Gains National Recognition

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of WCBI


Columbus Light and Water earned national recognition for its reliable and safe electric service.

Courtesy photo – WCBI

The American Public Power Association gave Columbus Light and Water a Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) designation. Only 270 public power utilities hold the RP3 designation in the country.

The process to get designation took a year for Columbus but, the designation will last three years.

To receive the designation public power utilities must show expertise in reliability, safety, workforce development and system improvement.


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