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.”

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W’s Nursing Program Tops In State

COLUMBUS, Miss. — Courtesy of MUW recently ranked The W’s online RN-to-Bsn program No. 1 in their 2019 – Best Online RN to BSN Programs in Mississippi list.

“We are very pleased to have our RN to BSN program recognized as number one in the state. The ranking takes note of the fact that the faculty and staff continue to be dedicated to maintaining the highest academic standards while assisting each individual student. The program takes pride in making the transition to a BSN degree as seamless as possible for the working nurse,” said Dr. Tammie McCoy, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

The site stated, “The Mississippi University for Women’s online RN-to-BSN program gives licensed registered nurses a trusted, tested way to accelerate their careers.”

Please click here for the full article.

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Downtown Columbus Gets its First Electric Car-Charging Station

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

A ChargePoint electric car charger was recently installed in front of the Tennessee Williams Home and Welcome Center, at 300 Main St. The CLW board voted two months ago to lease the charger from the TVPA; the lease is scheduled for five years CLW director Todd Gale said.

The ChargePoint charger, which charges electric vehicles, was installed on Main Street in front of the Tennessee Williams Home and Welcome Center Wednesday – Photo by Jennifer Mosbrucker, Dispatch Staff

The fee is 75 cents per hour; different vehicles require different charging times. “It’s close to downtown, so people can park, shop around and leave,” Gale said. This one marks the 11th station within a 15-KM radius of Columbus, according to the ChargeHub companion app. Among other local car chargers are the ones at Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott and Hampton Inn and Suites, all off of Hwy 45. Note that the latter two locations offer charging services for Tesla vehicles only, while Fairfield’s is more broadly compatible. Columbus Nissan on MS-12 has a multi-brand charger, as well.

While the usage of electric cars in the state is still quite low, sales numbers are slowly growing. One potential contributing factor to a possible future growth in sales is the belief that, by 2025, the average price of an electric car will drop below that of gas-powered cars.

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Entrepreneurship is Alive and Well in the GTR

GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch


Gayle Guynup – Photo by Luisa Porter, Dispatch Staff

Gayle Guynup, originally of Santa Rosa, CA, recently purchased the building at 115 Fifth St. S. building downtown, which is near near Huck’s Restaurant. Its last active tenant was the Fuhgetaboutit Bar, which closed its doors five years back.

The two-story structure is nearly 6,000 square in size; it currently has two apartments on the upper floor. Her Realtor, Royce Hudspeth, says that Guynup is planning to convert 1,000 square feet into another and the remaining space for a commercial tenant. Guynup currently owns roughly 60 thousand sq ft of space downtown.

Hudspeth went on to say that “Downtown is an interesting place to be. She’s had a lot of luck with buildings down there. She’s a good owner and a good asset for downtown.”

Shawn Stone opened up AlarmPro, a security company at 1430 Gardner Blvd. last month. They offer alarms, home security, and related services. AlarmPro is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m.-noon.


The GSDP is hosting unWine Downtown Starkville: Christmas in July tonight from 5:30-9:30. Participating stores will offer 20-percent off merchandise. Wine tastings will also be happening;.tickets are available at or by contacting the GSDP at 662-323-3322.


The state of Mississippi is holding a sales tax holiday this weekend! Check the Mississippi Department of Revenue Commissioner’s website to see what can be purchased tax-free starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ending midnight on Saturday. All eligible items are tax-free as long as each individual item is under $100. Some of those tax-free items include clothing, footwear, accessories, binders, calculators and more.

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Bringing Whole New Meaning to ‘Work at Home’

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Several years ago, MS State grad Hagan Walker could have had a job at Tesla upon graduation, but he chose instead to remain local and start his own business: Glo. Fast forward a few years to 26 years of age, and he’s now turned enough profit to buy himself a home: the renovated Buckely Grocery Store location, first built almost a hundred years ago.

“I guess I’ve always been the oddball in that way,” Walker said. “I’ve always taken a quirky path. When I saw it was for rent, I jumped on it. My landlord was my professor at State. … I think a lot of people wanted it. I’m just glad I got it.”

Local entrepreneur Hagan Walker stands outside his newly purchased home on Louisville Street in Starkville Tuesday afternoon
Jennifer Mosbrucker, Dispatch Staff

The structure is known for the Coca-Cola mural painted on its side; Walker has been spending much of his spare time researching the history of the place, which he plans to renovate as time goes on: “You never really think about it until you’re looking back, how often things change,” Walker said. “It’s been fun. It’s like a puzzle.”

One of his finds in the long-unused portions of the house was a 1950s glass bottle Coke machine, which he is fixing up: “This probably hasn’t run in 50 years, so that’ll be a fun project to get it working,” Walker said. “It’s period-accurate though. … I plan to put it outside the house [next to the big mural] so people can come by and grab an ice-cold bottle Coke if they want.” He also plans to have a local artist revitalize and preserve the mural itself.

The main structure has seen many uses in the past: Buckley’s Grocery from 1932 thorugh 1952, then O’Rears Grocery in 1961, a television and radio repair shop in 1981, a TV sales and service store in 1985 and a florist and gift shop in the ’90s. It sat vacant for nearly a decade until its prior owner purchased the building in 2007, renovating the store into a residence: “Dr. Bruce was the one who really took the time to restore the place,” Hagan said. “I think I’ll leave things mainly as-is (inside).

“It’s a cool part of Starkville,” he added. “I feel like Starkville is a pretty creative community.”

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EMCC Communiversity Right on Schedule to Open this Fall

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

The final preparations are underway for the Communiversity to accept its first students this August – Machinery is being put into place, endless rows of boxes are getting opened, and tools the students are to use are finding their proper homes.

Electrical technology instructor Jason Throop sets up equipment in his program’s
high bay at the Communiversity Wednesday in advance of the first students
starting at the facility in August – Photo by Charlie Benson, SDN

“We’re so ready to have students start in the fall,” said EMCC Dean and Workforce Director Joe Cook. “We hope to fill up classrooms and start the education process.”

He went on to say that the programs the Communiversity offers will include precision machining, engineering, drafting and design, electrical technology, systems-based automation, mechatronics, and industrial maintenance.

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