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MSMS Teacher Wins National Award After Years of Perseverance

Info courtesy of The Dispatch

MSMS teacher Lauren Zarandona, who was first nominated for the national Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in her first year of teaching at the school, has won the award, thanks to her tireless effort and commitment to excellence! She has applied four times, and ended up as a state finalist three of those years, before finally winning the big one this time: “I was excited because I finally did it,” Zarandona said. “This has been an eight-year process for me.” She will accept the award in person in Washington, D.C. during the second week of September, and go home with a ten thousand dollar prize.

Lauren Zarandona, who teaches math at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, has won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, a national award that recognizes math and science teachers. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Lauren Zarandona, who teaches math at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, has won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, a national award that recognizes math and science teachers. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Zarandona has taught math classes at MSMS for eight years, teaching on a variety of subjects, up to and including pre-calculus & Statistics.  “That’s actually really fun as well,” she said. “Kids look forward to it. It’s a pretty popular class.”

“It’s neat when you can capture the imagination of students who don’t consider themselves ‘math people,'” Zarandona said. “I don’t think there’s such thing as a math person, but a lot of people do. They will immediately find out I’m a math teacher and (say), ‘Oh, well, I’m not a math person.’ I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, but I do know that for those kids, stats and logic and game theory and those other courses can be a way for them to see that maybe they’re better at math than they realized.”

Kelly Brown, director for MSMS academic affairs. Brown called Zarandona “the best of the best . . . She is the perfect person to meet those students wherever they are and help them go where they want next”

You can read the full article here:

http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=52359

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MS State’s Professor Flick Retiring After 45 Years [VIDEO]

MSU’s Professor Flick Retiring After 45 Years

 

STARKVILLE, Miss. (Courtesy of WCBI)

Dr. Hank Flick, communications professor with a grand 45-year career at MSU, is hanging up his mortarboard. He first joined the university in the 1970’s, where he had gone to earn his Master’s degree – and things just kind of ballooned from there: “I never planned on being a teacher,” he said. “This is something I never wanted to do, not that I had any problem with it, but it was just something that opened up to me.”

Since then, he has never missed even a single day of work. He remarked, “I just love it here at Mississippi State. I love the students, I love the classroom, and love means commitment. I’m committed to this.”

He also served as a PA for some time: “I worked there for 32 years,” he said. “I started doing basketball then I did football, then I did track and I did a couple of baseball games.”

In his retirement, Flick plans to focus on book authorship and research; his third volume is planned for this Christmastime.
Flick said he has a genuine love for all of his students, which made his decision to retire a tough one.

Read more at WCBI:

Former MSU Professor Retires After An Illustrious Career

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The TVA Infinity Megasite is Online in Columbus!

The TVA Infinity Megasite is Online in Columbus!

Bill Johnson, President and CEO of the TVA (Tennesse Valley Authority) announced today that the Infinity Site is open and ready for a manufacturing business to move right in. Infinity is a TVA Megasite in the Columbus area; two others also exist as part of the industrial park off of Hwy 82, which houses Steel Dynamics and part of PACCAR. This is now the third such site in the Columbus area, and the eighth in the state of Mississippi.

Megasites are large (1000+ acres) industrial production sites designed to be everything a manufacturer could want, all set up and ready for them to move in and get down to business in short order: The buildings themselves, land and parking, infrastructure, and easy access to major transportation routes such as interstates and railways. On average, as many as three thousand jobs are created as part of a megasite’s creation and usage.

joe max higginsJohnson gave JoeMax Higgins, CEO of the GTR LINK, an award recognizing the hard work the LINK has done in order to facilitate speedy certification of the site – a process which can normally take a year and a half was done in half the time due to their efforts.

Mississippi is growing ever stronger, and word is spreading!

Colin Krieger of our own Good for Business was on had to record the announcement on video. 60 Minutes also had reporters on-hand to cover the story, as a testament to the ongoing improvements in economic development.

Link to our video here:  https://www.facebook.com/colin.krieger.92/videos/1131807593532839

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Old Train Depot Renovation Steams Ahead in Preparation for Shops and Apartments

Old Train Depot Renovation Steams Ahead in Preparation for Shops and Apartments

 

Courtesy of The Dispatch

After two years of hard work, California developer/preservationist Gayle Guynup has completed external renovations to the old Train Depot on Main near the W, and will soon begun work on the inside of the dilapidated 130-year-old structure. She stated that, among other major fixes, a new roof was put on the building, along with removal of a secondary structure. Guynup’s intention is to have a few apartments on the upper level, and commercial space on the ground floor; she hopes to have most of it leased out and occupied within nine months. “We would have loved to have had a single tenant that could have taken over the whole property,” she said.

Columbus contractor Gene Reid walks in front of the old depot on Main Street in Columbus Thursday. Finished with exterior renovations, Reid is soon to begin building apartments on the second floor of the historic structure. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Columbus contractor Gene Reid walks in front of the old depot on Main Street in Columbus Thursday. Finished with exterior renovations, Reid is soon to begin building apartments on the second floor of the historic structure. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Gene Reid Construction was responsible for the exterior fixes. “I think right now, we’re tentatively looking at four to five apartments, most likely four,” said Reid, adding once the permits are approved, the apartments should take six to nine months to complete. “What we’re probably going to do is build two small, efficiency-type apartments, plus two to three larger apartments.”

Please see the full article here: http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=52147

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Golden Triangle Manufacturers Honored

Courtesy of WCBI

Golden Triangle, Mississippi

Southern Business and Development Magazine has released its 2016 Best of Economic Development in the South ratings.
The Golden Triangle was awarded top rankings in three categories, including excellence in aerospace and automotive manufacturing.

“This is the short-list for successful places for economic development and growth,” said Brenda Lathan, Senior VP of Economic Development at the Golden Triangle Development LINK. “The professionals that vote on these are the best of the best, and they know economic quality.”

SB&D is the only media property that covers economic development in the American South, the world’s fourth-largest economy. For more information, visit www.sb-d.com.

The Golden Triangle Development LINK is the regional economic development organization for Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties.

For the full article, click here: http://www.wcbi.com/gtr-development-link-lands-major-awards/

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Local Girl Making Amazing Sweets — And Baking Good Business!

Got a sweet tooth? How about placing an order with a local entrepreneur who has an established business selling fresh, delicious cupcakes and brownies just a few weeks ago, and is already a big hit with the local community! Magnolia Cakes is a small business, but one with plenty of potential – the amazing part is, it’s run by a 13-year old Columbus high school student named Katelyn Lowe.

Courtesy of the Dispatch:

Katelyn Lowe, 13, of Columbus is selling homemade baked goods this summer. She plans to donate part of the proceeds to charity. Katelyn Lowe, 13, of Columbus is selling homemade baked goods this summer. She plans to donate part of the proceeds to charity. Photo by: Courtesy photo

Katelyn Lowe, 13, of Columbus is selling homemade baked goods this summer. She plans to donate part of the proceeds to charity. Photo by: Courtesy photo

Katelyn got her start making goodies for her family and friends, and word of her skills soon spread to her church family at Kolola Springs Baptist in Caledonia. Enough people wanted her baked goods that she was soon able to establish a small business to sell them and gain further reach. She credits her skill to her mother:

“My mom likes to cook a lot, and she makes these really good desserts that I love,” she said.

Lowe reports that she’s gotten over a dozen orders in just over a month, and word is spreading fast. While her mother helps her shop for baking supplies, the young teen pays for her own ingredients with her business’ revenue. Customers may order Lowe’s sweets in any amount, but she prices cupcakes at $18 per dozen, cupcakes with filling at $22 per dozen and brownie buttons at $10 a dozen. Lowe said she plans to donate a portion of her final profit this summer to Lowndes County Imagination Library and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Lowe created a business website, magnoliacakesbykatelyn.weebly.com, because she had no idea her business would grow so quickly. She hopes her website will allow customers to order online. She hopes to be able to continue filling orders once school starts, if her schedule allows.

Lowe is the daughter of Jeff and Melinda Lowe of Columbus.

Click here for the full article:

http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=51434

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GTR Early Workforce Initiative Produces 153 Students with National Credential

The Golden Triangle LINK’s Early Workforce Initiative program, now in its second year, has been a resounding success, helping to prepare GTR-area students for college and for future jobs by helping them to earn credentials based on scholarship via the ACT testing program. This helps to recognize students’ potential and desire for training in specific fields, so that their curricula may be tailored towards fields in which they are likely to excel – and, hopefully, truly enjoy! And that’s Good for Business…and our kids’ Education!

PRESS RELEASE – From GTR LINK

GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Mississippi – Now in its second year of implementation, the Golden Triangle Early Workforce Initiative has seen positive improvement in WorkKeys testing among area high schools.

A total of 273 students took the test with 153 earning ACT’s National Career Readiness Certificate. Last year, only 124 students took the test, with a little more than half receiving the credential.

“We’re thrilled with the numbers in our second year,” said Macaulay Whitaker, VP of Internal and External Affairs with the Golden Triangle Development LINK. “It shows how invested these schools are in providing real, meaningful opportunities for their students futures. Overall, we’ve facilitated 239 students earning a nationally recognized credential that will propel them into the workforce.”

According to EMCC, historical data indicates that the 66% of test takers in the Golden Triangle receive a Silver or higher score.

“We have already seen students benefit from this opportunity and enrolling in technical programs,” said Chrystal Newman. “This is setting them on a path to a successful career, providing them with direction before they graduate high school and the chance to get a head start on their future.”

The GTR Early Workforce Initiative (EWI) is part of an effort headed by the GTR LINK further provide workforce development efforts in the region. A committee representing all three counties and levels of development has been formed to continue to develop plans for the regional workforce to meet the demand of current and potential developments.

The EWI was provided to students through a subsidization from the Golden Triangle Development LINK Trust, a private investment group committed to the development of the region. Each high school was offered up to $5,000 to subsidize all testing fees for students. EMCC provided staff, training materials, on-site and in-hours testing as well as support for teachers and counselors guiding students through the process.

“We listened to feedback from our schools and community during the first year and committed that this test should be provided to students for free,” said Joe Max Higgins, CEO of the GTR LINK. “We hope that one day it will be given to all graduating seniors, just like the ACT.”

As defined by ACT WorkKeys, the test is a job skills assessment system that helps employers select, hire, train, develop, and retain a high-performance workforce. This test is commonly used in the Golden Triangle by employers to measure trainability, among other skill sets. Test takers that achieve a Silver or higher score on the test earn ACT’s National Career Readiness Certificate.

For more information about the GTR Early Workforce Initiative, contact Macaulay Whitaker at mwhitaker@gtrlink.org or call 662.328.8369.

For more information about WorkKeys testing for high school students, contact the EMCC Workforce Services Team at 662-243-2686.

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Starkville Seeks to Revitalize Hwy 182 Corridor

A coalition of business consultants and local officials got together recently to discuss ways to help bring the Hwy 182 business district back to life by cleaning up and renovating unused storefronts, doing new construction and beautification. Many ideas were put forth, and research will be done between the final deadline at he end of September, allowing time for the citizenry to give their own input, in addition to the public commentary that has already been gathered. The proposed changes are intended to help encourage local entrepreneurs to operate in the area, and to get shoppers into those shops – and that’s Good for Business!

Courtesy of the Dispatch –

One specific proposal suggested taking the gas station at the corner of Highway 182 and Douglas L. Connor Drive and turning it into a restaurant, “Roosters,” inspired by a famous local fowl of days gone by. The proposed floorplan will keep the existing station’s (inoperative) gas pumps within the restaurant, and incorporate the existing structure, in order to help give it a unique look and feel. Other suggestions included a two-story, mixed-use building on another corner with retail space on the ground floor, and residential above. Outside funding will be sought.

“A limited vision is of limited value,” Mayor Parker Wiseman said. “We want to start with the idea of what the maximum potential of the area should be. It’s important not to hold anything back in stating our aspirations, and I believe the community did that this week . . . In setting a vision, you want a vision that inspires, and you also want a vision that has local buy-in,” Wiseman said. “The best way to build that vision is to have local stakeholders be the driving force behind the vision.”

Read the full version here: http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=51115

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EMCC’s GTECHS Enrollment to Double

EMCC’s Golden Triangle Early College High School has been a resounding success, graduating all sixty of their freshmen to 10th grade this past year. Enrollment is expected to double this fall for the still-relatively-new school, which opened its doors last year, with a fresh batch of sixty frosh on the way. the plan is to continue adding sixty freshmen each year. This “early college” school is the first of its kind in the state, allowing students to learn more, sooner, and earn college credit while they’re in high school. The Junior and Senior years will be comprised almost exclusively of college-level courses for these ambitious youngsters.

Courtesy of the Dispatch

Rising sophomores enrolled in East Mississippi Community College’s Golden Triangle Early High School pose along with school staff for a photo that accompanied acceptance letters to incoming freshmen who will start at the school in August. Photo by: Courtesy photo

Rising sophomores enrolled in East Mississippi Community College’s Golden Triangle Early High School pose along with school staff for a photo that accompanied acceptance letters to incoming freshmen who will start at the school in August. Photo by: Courtesy photo

GTECHS, the first early college high school in Mississippi, opened in the fall of 2015. The pilot program is the result of a partnership between EMCC, the Mississippi Department of Education and Mississippi State University.

“This innovative program is for students who may be first-generation college students, but they don’t have the confidence to think they will do well,” MDE Associate Superintendent Jean Massey said in a press release on the agency’s website. “The school is also for students who need an alternative to the traditional high school setting.”

Savely said for the first two years the GTECHS students attend classes together as they would at a traditional high school. In their junior and senior years, the bulk of their time is spent taking regular college courses. The majority of those courses are dual credit and count towards the students’ high school diplomas and college degrees.

“I think from an administrative standpoint, a principal in a really big school is disconnected from the students because the student body is so large and there are so many other things that demand attention,” Savely said. “Here, I have an opportunity to connect with the students. They know my door is always open and that they can reach me by email or by phone.”

Savely said application to GTECHS is open to any eighth grade student — whether they attend public or private school, or are homeschooled — in Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee or Oktibbeha County. She said applications are usually available in January. Last year GTECHS students chose the Wildcat as their school mascot and blue and gold as their school colors.

“When someone walks down the hall in that area we want them to know this is the Golden Triangle Early College High School,” Miller said.

Click here for full article: http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=51093

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MS Main Street Honors Starkville Main Street

Courtesy of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership

The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) celebrated achievements of Mississippi Main Street Communities at the 27th Annual Awards Luncheon in downtown Jackson on Thursday, June 16. A number of Starkville’s finest were honored at the luncheon, including Brian Jones of Thomas Shelton Jones & Associates, Mark Castleberry of The Mill, and Starkville Main Street itself (for the third time).

“I am so proud of the great work that business leaders, business and property owners, and our own community development organization are doing to protect, preserve, and revitalize Downtown Starkville. Downtowns are the heart and soul of any great community, and that is no different in Starkville. The individuals and projects that were honored this year have greatly contributed to the quality of life in the Starkville community, and I’m so grateful for the honor and recognition that has been bestowed upon them each,” said Jennifer Gregory, GSDP CEO and Starkville Main Street Manager.

Award recipients at the 2016 MS Main Street Award event (courtesy photo)

Award recipients at the 2016 MS Main Street Award event (courtesy photo)

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