MS Supreme Court Paves the Way for Industrial Park

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

After more than two and a half years’ worth of legal challenges, The MS Supreme Court ruled to allow a section of land near the intersection of Hwy 389 & Hwy 82 to be rezoned as Manufacturing (originally Commercial) by upholding a lower court’s ruling on the matter.

Joe Max Higgins
and Lynn Spruill

LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins expressed his delight with the decision: “We are very pleased, although not surprised, by the Mississippi Supreme Court’s decision today,” Higgins said. “Now, we can move quickly to complete the remaining park improvements and work to start seeing the rewards of the investment this community made two years ago.”

Mayor Lynn Spruill felt relief at the case finally being decided: “It is exactly the outcome that I expected, and I think the dilatory tactics employed by those who pursued it were just not in the city’s best interest,” Spruill said. “I’m delighted that it is over and done with, and we can aggressively market this industrial park in a way that we have not been able to heretofore.”

“It is sad that we have lost valued time and new industry opportunities,” Higgins said “Key parts of the necessary infrastructure improvements were also delayed while this zoning appeal dragged on.”

The city and Oktibbeha County issued a combined $14 million in bonds in July 2017 in order to fund construction of the business park.

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Siblings Found Success at Their Farmers’ Market Lemonade Stand

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Siblings Julia Dunand, 8, and Armando Dunand, 11, of Columbus started their LemonHeadz Lemonade stand during Golden Triangle Lemonade Day in June. They continued it for 10 weeks at the Hitching Lot Farmers Market, raising enough money to donate to Annunciation Catholic School and pocket a little profit for themselves. Photo by: Courtesy photo

Armando and Julia Dunand created their first lemonade stand back in June as part of Golden Triangle Lemonade Day, but they went a little bit overboard on the lemons themselves, starting out with a crate containing 75 lemons. Unfortunately, this proved to be a bit too much stock to sell through in one day, but they found a solution: Open the stand at the local Farmers’ Market and sell their fresh lemonade there instead. LemonHeadz Lemonade Stand proved popular with vendors and customers alike all season long; they even used all of those lemons, plus two bags more. In the end, they turned a net profit, and even donated most of it to Annunciation Catholic School, where the kids (Armando, 11, and Julia, 8) attend.

“We figured out how to work it out, and people loved it,” Julia said.

Her brother added, “We had a whole lot of fun.”

They succeeded not only because of this summer’s oppressive heat, but due to their own hard work and foresight. Once they had the stand going, they added blackberries, blueberries, pears, and even lemon tree saplings to their product lineup. They hope to add yet more items for next year: “Sometimes you just wanted to leave because it was so hot,” Armando said. “Sometimes you just didn’t want to go out there because you had to get up so early. But we kept doing it.”

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Leigh Mall in Columbus up for Bid

Leigh Mall on Highway 45 in Columbus is up for public auction
– File Photo from the Dispatch

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

We should expect several interested buyers to come forward, now that the mall is clear to sell in full.
“Make no mistake, this is the most valuable piece of real estate(available for sale) in the Golden Triangle” GTR Link President Joe Max Higgins

The The Commercial Dispatch has the scoop.
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ALDI Pondering a Potential New Location in Starkville

The wait for Aldi in the Golden Triangle may be over. It now seems to be in the hands of the Starkville Aldermen. Great scoop by The Commercial Dispatch:

By: Tess Vrbin

Starkville could get an ALDI grocery store and a TJ Maxx department store if Starkville’s board of aldermen approve a tax-increment financing plan this evening for the project.

Jimmy Gouras, an urban planning consultant representing developer Castle Properties, told Oktibbeha County supervisors Monday that both businesses have signed letters of intent to locate at a planned retail center at the intersection of Highway 12 and Industrial Park Road — the current Garan Manufacturing plant site. Garan is planning to relocate to the industrial park property at Highways 82 and 389….

Full story:
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Starkville Aldermen Consider TIF for Possible New Retail Area on Hwy 12

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Developer Mark Castleberry (courtesy photo)

On Tuesday, the Starkville Board of Aldermen plan to hold a vote on a TIF (tax increment finance plan) for a new retail shopping center development project planned for the intersection of Highway 12 and Industrial Park Road. The site is currently being utilized by Garan Manufacturing.

If this plan is approved, the city would issue up to $3 million in bonds to reimburse the developer, Castle Properties, for the costs of certain infrastructure built there; Castle would repay the bonds with sales and property taxes generated at the center for up to 15 years.

Mark Castleberry, owner of Castle Properties, says that the location is planned to include a few restaurants as well as other stores, and should create 150 to 200 new jobs. The hope is that businesses which have shown interest in the Starkville area will take the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of this project.

Please click here for the full article.

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C*Spire Expanding Fiber Internet Infrastructure in Lowndes County on a Large Scale

LOWNDES COUNTY, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

In a recent unanimous vote, the Lowndes County BoS approved a 25-year franchise agreement allowing C*Spire to spread its high-speed fiber internet infrastructure throughout the county. The aim is to start from their existing fiber lines (which are mostly in or near cities) and expand into as many rural areas as practical, in order to give as many residents as possible access to fast fiber internet, TV, and phone-via-VOIP access where their options may have been few or even non-existent in the past.

C Spire will construct the infrastructure needed, and they will also be 100% be responsible for maintaining and restoring the areas where this has been done.

The County will receve a 5% share of customer revenue from the TV service, similar to the extant deal with Sparklight.

District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks spoke of an encounter in the past with a constituent whose lack of access to these services was jeopardizing her job: “I think to be able to expand internet systems is a major plus,” Brooks said. “It’s going to help facilitate economic development and growth.”

C Spire spokesman Dave Miller explained the difference between the gigabit ethernet speed which their company offers and those of its competitors; he said that this service is about 10x the current average speed. According to each of their own websites, AT&T offers speeds up to 18 MB/second, and SParklight, up to 300MB/second; C*Spire’s Gigabit service offers 1,000MB/sec speed.

“We basically go into areas and we do the research and we figure out if there’s interest there and we make the ultimate decision if we decide to build directly,” Miller went on to say. “We are determining areas we believe, based on research, statistics and information, there’s a need for broadband. We talk to homeowners association, talk to the chambers (of commerce), we talk to the elected officials, we talk to local organizations (and) we put all the information into the decision making and that’s how we make a determination.”

Miller added that those interested in receiving higher speed internet can register their address online at “Even though a response will come back saying we are not building in that area, we take that data and that residence becomes a pin on the map,” Miller said. “If we get enough pins within a geographical area, that triggers our potential interest in building there.”

C*Spire is no stranger to the area, having brought gigabit internet speed to Starkville starting in 2013.

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EMCC Earns its Place Among Top Ten Community Colleges in the Nation

SCOOBA, MS –Courtesy of EMCC


AMONG THE BEST: EMCC has been named among the Top 10 community colleges in the nation for the fourth year in a row by SmartAsset. For the rankings, SmartAsset analyzed 796 two-year educational institutions nationwide and compared the schools’ graduation and transfer rates, student-to-faculty ratios and cost of tuition and fees. Read more here:

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Places to Train Your Brain and Get Some Great Grub Hit the Area

GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION – Courtesy of the Dispatch


Caledonia Mexican restaurant El Patron, 9631 Wolfe Road, will soon move to Columbus’ Brickerton Plaza. El Patron manager Sebastian Vazquez said he plans to open shop at 78 Brickerton during the first few weeks of September. The restaurant’s Facebook lists its hours Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

In Columbus, Angie Huskison plans to open The Competitive Edge on Highway 45. The Competitive Edge is a training facility to help people train their brains, but also to help them discern more out of what they see. Service is by appointment only, and is aimed primarily at athletes, law enforcement officers, and others whose jobs require them to rely heavily upon perception and processing of visual data quickly. They also plan to cater to people with developmental disabilities. Anyone who wishes to improve themselves will, of course, also be welcome.

They are shooting to be open on Oct. 1 at 2322 Hwy. 45 N.  


Starkville’s Main Street now has a new bakery on the block, which may end up filling the void left by City Bagel’s recent closure. Proof Bakery, 109 West Main St., opened last week at the former Grain Elevator, which was DeRego’s Bread before that.  

Co-owners Bonnie and Robbie Coblentz have the shop open from Tuesday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. T.J. Manna is their store manager and head baker; Robbie said this of her: “T.J. is an incredible baker,” Robbie said. “When we hatched this idea, we reached out to T.J.. She is the cornerstone, from a production standpoint, of this establishment.”  

With T.J in charge, demand for her bagels has been both constant and massive.  

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MSMS Takes Many Top Honors in School Rankings

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of

Niche, a group that measures schools on a broad variety of criteria, recently released its rankings for the 2020 school year – and Columbus’ own Mississippi School for Mathematics & Science scored as the best public school in the state! MSMS is located on the campus of the Mississippi School for Women, right here in town.

Among the best in state accolade, the school garnered many other top ratings, including (but not limited to): Best teachers, Best magnet school, Best STEM school, and more; they also fared well in the national rankings, earning first place for Best public school teachers and #5 among the best magnate schools in the nation.

Good for Business salutes MSMS, its teachers and staff, and its students for helping to make the school a shining beacon for others to learn from. Congratulations!

Please click here for the full survey results.

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Captain D’s Maria Sanders Has Been Serving Up Tasty Fish for Nearly Three Decades

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

77-year-old Bronx native Maria Sanders has been slinging plates of hot, crispy fish at Captain D’s on Hwy 45 for 27 years. She first came to Columbus with her husband in the late 1960’s, after serving as an Army cook for many years.

Maria Sanders, 77, has worked at Captain D’s, off Highway 45, for nearly 30 years
Photo by Victoria Cheyne, Dispatch Staff

When she first arrived, Sanders described her first impression: “I felt like I was on another planet when I came here.” Now, when she gets back from trips back to NYC or anywhere else, she can’t wait to get back to the place she now considers home: “I said, ‘I’m excited to get back to the South.'”

She also remarked that she refuses to simply “. . .stay at home and do nothing,” Sanders said. “I want to go to work and see my customer friends.” She has a sizable pack of regulars who are all happy to see her, and the feeling is mutual: “I’ve been here a long time, and they all know me.”

“The lady’s still working here,” said Tanya Andrews, a mother with kids of her own who has been eating at the restaurant since she, herself, was a child, with Sanders there all the while. “It’s good to see you. It’s a blessing you’re still here.”

Please click here for the original article.

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