MSMS Recognized For its Benefit to the Area

MSMS Recognized For its Benefit to the Area

Courtesy of WCBI –

Dr. Germaine McConnell, the executive director of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science on Tuesday with regard to the positive effects the school has had on both its students, and on the area in general. MSMS is a specialized, college-prep school for advanced high-school students that enrolls them in college-level courses for college credit at The W.

“This is a life changing experiment,” said Dr. McConnell. “Not only are we providing them with challenging and rigorous course work, but the things that happen outside of the classroom makes such a big difference. The residential environment, them being around other students who are like them, like-minded and learning from each other, I think really adds the greatest value and that’s something that can’t be duplicated.”

For information about the school, visit

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Local Port, Airports Among Grant Recipients Aimed at Improving GTR Transport Infrastructure

Local Port, Airports Among Grant Recipients Aimed at Improving GTR Transport Infrastructure

Courtesy of Carl Smith/The Starkville Dispatch –

Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert (courtesy photo)

Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert recently announced that the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be providing upwards of $660 thousand in grants intended to help with transportation improvements in the GTR area. Beneficiaries of these grants are to be statewide – e.g.,  railroads, public transportation networks, ports, local airports, and more; the local area had these four major recipients, alongside others:  Columbus-Lowndes County Airport, Golden Triangle Regional Airport, Lowndes County Port and Starkville-Mississippi State University Area Rapid Transit (SMART) system.

“Each of these modes of transportation plays a vital role in transporting people, goods and services that promote economic growth and development throughout Mississippi,” Tagert said in a release. “Mississippi no longer competes regionally, but on a global level. Investing in local and municipal airports supports global economic development and logistics. Improving our ports and rail system allows appropriate amounts agricultural products to be transported in a safer, more environmentally friendly manner, while reducing maintenance costs on roads and bridges.”

“Considering if there’s an incident at the airport, numerous agencies will be responding. This network is needed since it allows everyone to be on the same page,” GTRA Executive Director Mike Hainsey said. “The biggest thing we’re focusing on with it is the terminal, which has a lot of metal on the inside. We’re going to install a repeater system to make sure everything works as it’s supposed to there.”


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Fox Onsite at MSU for an Article About ASSURE


Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

The Fox Business Network was on the MSU campus Friday, getting footage for the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE), for a story scheduled to air this coming Monday at 4:30PM on Fox Business. ASSURE, an international coalition of universities, is managed by MSU. Their Deputy Director, Steve “Lux” Luxion said that “MSU has taken a leadership role, and it’s got to be recognized . . . When Fox News comes to do a story about the progress, it’s a win.”

Fox News also covered UAS research at MSU, and went to North Farm to take a look at drones used for crop surveyal: “Increasingly, people are beginning to figure out that drones can do many things more efficiently and safely,” Luxion said.

He went on to say that many jobs currently (or formerly) performed by manned aircraft that might end up being done by drones in the future include those which are hazardous, dirty, or just plain monotonous, including routine surveys and hazardous material applications.

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Columbus To Get New Places To Go To For Fresh Burgers And Trucker Service

Courtesy of The Dispatch


Wythe Rhett of Rhett Real Estate recently confirmed that Cook Out, the North Carolina-based burger chain that set up a successful location in Starkville about a year ago, plans to open a location in North Columbus. Cook Out recently finalized the purchase of the old Immanuel Baptist Church property on 18th Ave N, which had not been in use in the past two years.  Their current intention is to “demolish the (church) building and carve out enough of the property to put Cook Out on, then look at the possibility of adding another motel or strip (mall).”

Cook Out eateries are known for grilled burgers, barbecue and more than 40 kinds of milkshakes. The Starkville location employs approximately 50 and is open 10:30 a.m.-3 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10:30 a.m.-4 a.m. Friday-Saturday. This would be the fourth Cook Out location in the state, joining its over 170 brethren nationwide.


The Volume Freight shipping company, owned by Doug Estes, is currently building a new steel structure on Hwy 82 near the Vibrant Church West location. The finished building will serve as a two-floor terminal with a three-vehicle bay shop to maintain Volume’s fleet of 65 trucks. Next up once that’s ready is a planned 150-thousand square foot warehouse and approximately 35 new trucks. The company employs about 80 drivers, who service the contiguous 48 states, plus about eight local mechanics; roughly half of the trucks  are based locally, as well. Volume Freight, a local company, has been in business since 1988.



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Greater Starkville Development Partnership Hires New President/CEO

NEWS RELEASE: Greater Starkville Development Partnership Hires New President/CEO

Starkville, MS., Courtesy of the Starkville Insider –

Scott Maynard

The Board of Directors of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership has announced that they have appointed Scott Maynard as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the organization, following a nationwide search that included over 75 candidates.

“It is with great excitement that we welcome Scott Maynard to the Partnership team,” said Chairman Michelle Amos. “From the start of our search, we have been committed to finding a leader for this organization who understands all of the possibilities for Starkville, someone who shares our vision and passion for this community. Under Scott’s leadership, we are confident our already strong community development program will be pushed to even greater heights.”

Maynard previously served as the Director of the Career Center at Mississippi State University (since 2008), and has also held management positions with the University. Maynard has also served as a City Alderman in Starkville, as well as on various Boards of Directors including the GSDP Convention and Visitors Board and the Starkville Parks and Recreation Commission.

“I am truly excited about becoming the next President and CEO of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership,” said Maynard. “I believe we are on the cusp of tremendous growth for our city and look forward to capitalizing on all of the opportunities before us. The Partnership plays a vital leadership role in the areas of economic development, tourism, entrepreneurship and business development. We will work hard to continue to represent our members and enhance the quality of life for all living in our community through education, job creation and continued economic growth.”

“Starkville, Oktibbeha County and the entire Partnership Membership will be well served with Scott as our new President,” stated Amos, who also chaired the search committee. “The vision and leadership he brings to the GSDP positions us for a tremendous future.”

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Method of Communiversity Funding Under Discussion

Method of Communiversity Funding Under Discussion

Courtesy of The Dispatch

GTR LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins reports that he and the LINK are working on a plan to potentially have Lowndes County pay for its share of the Communiversity’s funding via a ten-year bond rather than a 20-year bond, thus saving the county nearly $2 million in interest over that time. Under his proposal, “I believe there’s a way around this that nobody gets gored, everybody gets what they want to do and there’s no harm, no foul, to anybody,” Higgins said.

The Communiversity, which broke ground a few months ago, is located on Highway 82 just west of PACCAR. The total bill for the facility will be around $44 million, which will be paid for via $18 million in state money, $12.5 million in federal dollars, and $13.5 million in local funding, with Lowndes County picking up the bulk of the local tab.

District 2 Supervisor Bill Brigham said he’d likely support a split issue, and that a shorter payment term would lead to higher payments, but save the county money over time: “If it works out, yes, I’m for it,” he said. “It can save us short of $2 million. You don’t just throw money away when it’s not necessary.”

Board President Harry Sanders also expressed support for the split issue.

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MSU Holds Bulldog Bytes Camp to Help Encourage Young Women in STEM Study

The Dispatch – COLUMBUS

MSU is sponsoring their free Bulldog Bytes camp this week, with the help of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Columbus. The all-female summer camp is intended to bring in school-age girls who are interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. So far, 23 3rd~5th-grade girls are participating in the camp, where they are learning more about computer programming, problem-solving and cyber safety.

“The goal is to light a pathway for women in the state,” Sarah Lee, MSU computer science professor and director of the day camp said. “I think if you can engage them at an early age, they get that spark that ‘this is really cool. I like technology. I’m comfortable with it, and I can make this robot do things’ . . . It’s really problem-solving because programming is problem-solving,” Lee continued. “They’re learning to give commands to the robot … they’re learning the algorithmic (language).”

Campers are learning and implementing a programming language called “Snap!” to control their own “Finch” robots.

The purpose of the camp is ” . . . to teach these young women to be safe online, and to hopefully spark some interest in computer science and cyber security, so that they’ll go on to other programs and later to study it in school,” Lee said.

Winter Dismuke and Taylor Hairston, both 9, use algorithms to program a computer to command their Finch robots during STEM camp at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Columbus on Monday. Winter is the daughter of Shelia and Reginald Cullen. Taylor is the daughter of Nikki Mays and David Hairston. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff

Litnay Lineberry, an MSU student pursuing a PhD in computer science with a focus in K-12 STEM education, has held a major role in bringing the project to life, setting up activities and preparing material for the students to use. “It’s good to see all these kids, young females, interested and engaged in robotics and what we’re teaching them here,” Lineberry said. “What Dr. Lee is doing here is really reaching a lot of kids that may not (otherwise) have this opportunity.”

According to statistics from the National Center for Women and Information Technology, women make up only about 26 percent of the computer science workforce, even though roughly half of the United States population is female. “If males are the only ones developing new technology,” Lee said, “then we’re missing out on half of the creativity and innovation that could come from having the other half of the population at the table.”

She believes that one way to help bring parity to the industry is to catch girls’ interest early in life: “If you try to reach young women once they’re already in high school, it’s really too late,” Lee said. “They’ve already formed the ideas about what they can and can’t do or about what they want to do or don’t want to do. These elementary girls catch on really fast, faster than some of the older ones. . . For (these young girls) to be out here programming these robots to do something, it’s not a threatening environment, and that’s one reason we have the gender specific — so that they can learn and don’t feel like they have to impress the guys,” she went on to say. “One thing that I’ve noticed, too, is the guys will try to do it for them if we have the mixed-gender environment.

“It’s important that you keep them engaged. We can’t just have a summer camp, and then they go home, and there’s never anything else,” Lee said. “They come to this. We make sure they know about other things that we’re having so they can come to (events) throughout high school and then when entering college.”


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EMCC To Offer State’s First E-Commerce Tech Program

EMCC To Offer State’s First E-Commerce Tech Program


East Mississippi Community College has announced that they have succeeded in becoming he first college in Mississippi to offer an E-Commerce Technology program, which will begin this Fall. Registration for the program is already under way, and the first classes (both in-person and online) will be held in August.

“One of our goals at EMCC is to ensure that our course offerings reflect marketplace demands,” EMCC Associate Dean of Instruction Dr. Melanie Sanders said. “Given that the impact of E-Commerce is being felt across the global economy, we felt that the time was right to offer a program that would help our students capitalize on this growing industry.”

“We will offer a prestigious one-year certificate for business graduates that can be completed in two semesters online,” EMCC Marketing instructor Dr. Joshua Carroll said. “This is perfect for graduates with a master’s degree who are looking for certification in E-Commerce.

“Since the classes are available online, one of the benefits of the certificate is that it can be offered internationally. Students who live in Zimbabwe, China or India will be able to complete the course and learn how to market their internet-based businesses in the U.S.”


“The demand for these jobs is already here,” Carroll said.

To be accepted into the program, students must earn a 13 composite score on the ACT test or the equivalent on the Accuplacer test.

Prospective students can apply online at For more information about the program, call Carroll (662) 243-1943 or email him at

Please click here to view the full press release.

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MSU’s Unmanned Aviation Program is Flying High

MSU’s Unmanned Aviation Program is Flying High

MSU Ag Drone (courtesy photo, MDA/Mississippi Works)

Courtesy of MDA/Mississippi Works

Unmanned flying drones have become more complex, and more popular, over the past several years, and Mississippi is now leading the push to develop better and better units. The FAA has named Mississippi State as the home of the Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, making it *the* place to be for research of this kind. Mississippi’s will be working with the Center of Excellence is to help introduce UAV and UAS technologies to our nation and to the world in a safe, responsible manner. MSU collaborates with ASSURE (Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence), which is made up of over 20 research universities from around the world and industry partners.

The applications of this technology are myriad, and its potential economic impact on the state and nation are expected to be both far-reaching and very significant.Over one hundred aerospace companies have chosen to hedge their bets with the state of Mississippi, including international industry leaders such as Aurora Flight Sciences, Northrop Grumman, Stark Aerospace, and many more.The state’s competitive edge in aerospace brought them here; the expertise and drive of the people who work with and for them in Mississippi has kept them here.

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MDA Praises Golden Triangle Region for Industrial Growth

MDA Praises Golden Triangle Region for Industrial Growth

The Dispatch – Columbus

Mississippi Development Authority Director Glenn McCullough, left, visits with Columbus Rotary Club member Tango Moore after speaking at the club’s meeting at Lion Hills Center on Tuesday. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Glenn McCullough recently gave a presentation to the Columbus Rotary Club, extolling the Golden Triangle Region’s virtues as an increasingly attractive place to do business, especially for industrial concerns. He spoke of the economic growth brought about due to large companies such as Yokohama, Toyota, Nissan, Steel Dynamics, and Plum Creek, to name a few. He also expressed his appreciation for all of the GTR communities’ working together to make the area a more successful place for everyone: “When it comes to economic development — when it comes to community development and leadership, we are all on the same team,” McCullough said. “We are not big enough to fight when it comes to building our communities. We, as leaders, need to look across the state of Mississippi and see the state of Mississippi not just compete, but win. You’ve been doing that.”

McCullough also addressed the room with regards to workforce training, which he said is an important factor for the future of the state and its economic growth. The State of Mississippi has committed $50 million toward such efforts, which includes funds for the state’s community college system. He mentioned the planned Communiversity, in particular, which is currently under construction near PACCAR: “You’ll have a facility and some people at the Communiversity that will give the Golden Triangle something no other part of the Southeast has,” he said. “…It is so important –Mississippi needs to make sure that people understand around the world (that if) you want to produce a product or service in Mississippi, our people are the best.”

McCullough went on to say that the state has other advantages, as well; he said the state is a top-10 state for business costs, permitting speed, competitive labor costs, automotive manufacturing strength and other categories.

Despite this, he also acknowledged that the state faces competition from other states (especially those nearest to us) in this regard, and that we need to continue to improve how we are perceived by those in the outside world: “Sometimes Mississippi’s perception is not want we want it to be, which is why tourism is so important.”

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