Blog

You May Soon Be Able to Get Broadband Internet from Your Power Co-op

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Counties statewide — including Lowndes and Oktibbeha — have been signing resolutions en masse that support the idea of allowing (not requiring) local electric co-ops to provide broadband internet service to their customers, an idea which has been gaining significant traction over the past 20+ years. They are doing so in order to try and persuade the state legislature to change an old law mandating that rural co-ops provide electricity and nothing else.

Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, is a major force in favor of this idea: “Electric cooperatives bringing broadband service is happening in 107 cooperatives around the country and in every state bordering Mississippi, but it’s not happening here,” Presley said.

Presley also said that, as of this writing, 27 counties and 57 cities across Mississippi have passed resolutions in favor of this change to the law. The Mississippi Farm Bureau, the Mississippi Association of Realtors and the American Association of Retired Persons have given their support, as well.

Lowndes County Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders

“It’s gone from being a luxury to a necessity,” Presley said. “There’s no way for rural people to be able to participate in the modern economy without being connected to the internet. I believe every Mississippian should have access to internet service.” He also stated that this could be done with no cost to the state, as the physical infrastucture is already in place.

Harry Sanders, president of the Lowndes County Board of supervisors, said, “The main reason we did that is so there can be internet service to rural areas of the county…The utilities already have the poles and everything already there and it’s the easiest way to provide internet to rural areas.”

Please click here for the full article.

Share This Post:

More and More Historic MS Businesses Getting Restored and Revitalized

TUPELO/GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of the Daily Journal

A growing number of Northeast Mississippi entrepreneurs are investing money into restoring historic properties for commercial use, helping to turn old structures into viable businesses. The amounts spent on projects such as these have kept going up (and up and up!) over the past decade or so. thanks to tax incentives offered to those who wish to put in the work.

Columbus Developer Chris Chain has been a pioneer in this space over the past three decades, renovating 150 structures across the state in that time: “You are always going to have people interested in living downtown, so it kind of gives you a niche in the market for living space,” Chain said. “It’s hard work but it gives you a lot of pride when you can rebuild something and recapture that heritage, when you walk into these apartments they are going to have high ceilings, skylights, hard flooring; beautiful features that you just cannot get anymore . . . You can’t rebuild these back the way they were, it’s just too expensive, so restoration is the way to do it,” he went on to say.

According to data supplied by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 94 percent of the state historic tax credit funding from 2006 onwards have been utilized for commercial projects like these, indicating the popularity of the tax and the eagerness of developers to restore these buildings. Roughly half of all such renovation projects are used for commercial purposes, with others focused on residences and the like.

Chain noted that developers interested in historic renovation have access to other incentives as well, such as those offered by energy companies. For instance, he saved 25 percent on the lighting for a project via one such program.

Please click here for the full article.

Share This Post:

MSU Earns State and National Accolades

STARKVILLE — Courtesy of News Mississippi

The recent NSF Higher Education Research and Development Survey for Fiscal Year 2017 has awarded MSU 94th place overall nationwide among both private and public institutions. The schools also ranked highly among non-medical school institutions (58th), and among public institutions (64th).

The survey ranks school primarily based on their research efforts, personnel, and funding; MSU ranked first in terms of research personnel nationwide. It also drew top marks in the fields of computer science, agricultural science, life science, mathematical sciences, psychology, social science, and education for the state.

“We are very pleased to see our research portfolio growing and diversifying. It’s a true testament to the extraordinary people—the faculty, staff, and students—we have here at MSU,” said David Shaw, vice president for research and economic development. “Research is also a very significant economic development success story for our entire state with Mississippi Research Consortium institutions seeing more than $475 million in R&D expenditures,” He went on to say.

Moreover, MSU is the only Mississippi university to have earned the Innovation and Economic Prosperity University distinction from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and its Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity. The designation recognizes Mississippi State for working to advance engagement and economic well-being in the state, region, and nation.

Please click here for the full article.

Share This Post:

Waverly Mansion to Enter a New Era

WEST POINT, MS — Courtesy of the Waverly Plantation Mansion

The historical antebellum Plantation & Mansion near West Point has a couple of new owners, who are ready to work hard on continuing the restoration of the property to bring its appearance back to that of its glory days. Built in the 1840s by Georgia Colonel George Hampton Young and completed in 1852, it features a unique design, a gas-fired chandelier, industrial buildings, a swimming pool, and more! The Robert Snow family purchased the property in 1952, and have been steadily working on restoring it ever since. The Stephensons will now continue with that legacy.

Tours will be available when the renovation permits, and will be announced at a later date.

Charlie and Dana Stephenson at the Waverly mansion (courtesy photo)

A message from Waverly’s new owners Charlie and Dana Stephenson: “Dana & I are thrilled & honored that the Snow family has entrusted us with Waverley. We have a plan to get her back into top shape & she will remain open except for periods of time when renovation work will not allow. We’re thrilled that Jimmy will continue to guide tours & share his expertise & knowledge with our guests. We plan to launch a web site soon that will house historical information & keep everyone up to day on the progress. The future is bright for Waverley!”

A message from Waverly’s new owners Charlie and Dana Stephenson: “Dana & I are thrilled & honored that the Snow family…

Posted by Southern Civil Warscapes: The Civil War In The South on Saturday, December 22, 2018
Share This Post:

Starkville Named Among Top College Towns Nationwide

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

Personal finance website Wallet Hub recently released its rankings of the best college towns in the country. Starkville came in at 25th in the overall rankings, and 9th among small cities (population under 125,000). Over 400 US cities were taken into consideration.

“We have a good relationship with the students and the university and I think this reflects that,” Mayor Lynn Spruill said. “We want [students] to feel like they’re at home when they’re here with us and I think that’s part of what we seem to be achieving and this validates that.”

“We want those students to want to come here and we want more to come here,” Spruill went on to say. “That’s part of what makes us grow and be better and be smarter. And that increase in youth and vitality gives that well-rounded sense of who you are. It makes you dynamic; it makes you progressive.”

“The community and the university have to work together to make a place where these students want to be,” Spruill concluded. “And obviously when they’re done with college we’d like them to stay here so that’s all a part of that. If we can make them feel like this is home, we staunch some of that brain drain that we keep hearing about. because we want them to stay with us. We want them to continue to be a part of the community.”

Please click here for the full article.

Share This Post:

International Paper Issues Nearly $100K in Grants to Schools & Nonprofits

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

International Paper has a regular program which issues grants to local educational and nonprofit groups in areas where they operate. This year, they are issuing a total of $95 thousand to local beneficiaries.

“As part of the IP family, we are privileged to assist these schools and area non-profits in their efforts to make an impact on the lives of those throughout our communities,” said Columbus Mill manager David Phillips. “We offer our heartfelt appreciation to each of these organizations and their volunteers. The … work you do is critical to the success of our community.” 

IP’s grant program addresses needs in four main areas: education, hunger, health/wellness, and community initiatives. 

19 local organizations received funding this time around. 

“It’s absolutely huge for us,” said YMCA Director Andy Boyd. “The adaptive therapy we provide depends on grants like the one we received from International Paper. We just couldn’t do this work without it.” 

“IMPACT is a pre-school program for children from birth to 5 years old who have special needs and challenges,” said Janie Cirlot-New, Director of Starkville’s T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability at MSU. “In addition to the classes and we do assessments to determine if children are going to need special services. . . We rely almost completely on these kinds of soft-money donations,” Cirlot-New said. “These grants are what allow us to provide the services we offer.” 

Please click here for the original article, including a breakdown of the grants issued.

Share This Post:

Godfather’s is Coming to Town

GOLDEN TRIANGLE– Courtesy of the Dispatch

STARKVILLE

Pizza and buffet chain Godfather’s Pizza is opening a local store in Midtown at 301 University Drive, Suite 2. They plan to open their doors sometime this spring. The chain has been in business since 1978, and currently has more than 600 locations in 40 states. More options for tasty food in this burgeoning town are always good to have!

Starkville’s Cadence Bank main branch building, located at 301 E. Main St., is back on the market. The Board of Aldermen considered buying the property in 2014, but the project was eventually voted down. The 30 thousand sq ft building is currently listed at $2.5 million.

Ceco Building Systems, which makes materials needs to construct pre-fab homes, will be moving to a new location a few blocks down Hwy 45 N, according to Human Resources Director Tim Lamm.  

Nails and Spa, located at 1726 Hwy 45, has put up an “opening soon” sign, but no date has yet been announced. The nail salon will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.  

COLUMBUS

K-Mart has officially closed its doors here as of late November. Future plans for the retail space, if any, have not yet been announced.

Penny Ridge Grocery, located at 2003 Ridge Road between Caledonia and Columbus, is on the market. Owners Deanna Jordan and John Wooten have said that they are in the process of finding a buyer, but that they would close for business by the end of the week.

Please click here for the full article.

Share This Post:

New Place for Some Good Chow in Columbus

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

The former location of Cattlemen’s Restaurant in Columbus, at 301 Tuscaloosa Road, is under new ownership. Joyce Alexander, with over 30 years of restaurant experience, has just opened Joyce’s Country Kitchen in that building. It will be open for a country-style breakfast and a lunch buffet on weekdays, and a breakfast buffet on Saturday mornings.

Monograms Plus on Hwy 45 N has begun its moving sale in preparation for them to do just that; the sale will last for the next two weeks or so. The company will be transitioning to a purely online business model.

“We’re excited about this transition and this new phase in the journey,” Gable said. “We hope these last few weeks will be enjoyable for our staff and our customers as the holidays are approaching, and everyone is in the mood for shopping and finding the perfect gift.”  

Everything must go, including the fixtures, so head on down to  Monogramming Plus for some great deals! They’ll be open open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.  

WEST POINT

Onin Staffing recently opened its doors to help workers find jobs. They’re located at 6683 Highway 45 Alt. S., and they’ll be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 

Please click here for the full article.

Share This Post:

New President at EMCC

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

East Mississippi Community College has announced that it will be bringing in a new president early in 2019. The newest officeholder is to be Scott Alsobrooks, vice president of economic and community development at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville. His predecessor at EMCC, Thomas Huebner, resigned his position in May.

Incoming EMCC President Scott Alsobrooks

“We were methodical and tried to do everything we could to get a great pool of candidates,” EMCC Board Chairman Moore said. “I think we accomplished that feat. Now we have, what I perceive is, the right man for the job. We felt like he was the best candidate of those that we interviewed to serve as our next executive leader as president.”

“He has approximately three decades of experience, some in industry and some in the community college environment,” Moore said. “He’s knowledgeable of all aspects of a Mississippi community college. He’s an excellent communicator, a documented innovator and he’s not afraid of any challenges. I think he will be a great leader for our institution moving forward.”

“I’ve watched what’s been going on in the Golden Triangle,” Alsobrooks said. “The (manufacturing) renaissance that you have is just really amazing. When I was a student in the ’80s, between Starkville and Columbus, it was just cow pastures. Now, you drive through there and you’ve got all these big manufacturing plants and they’re making helicopters and engines and just all kinds of advanced things. I’m excited about coming up here and being a part of that and helping students be successful.” “The Communiversity is going to be a huge asset in the community,” he went on to say. “I’m excited about … getting to work.

“I look forward to showing the opportunities to people and letting them know what we have available at East Mississippi.”

Please click here for the full article.

Share This Post:

Kids Become Makers in Starkville Schools

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Sudduth Elementary first graders Gianna Russell and Sirita Chanachai build with plastic cups in their Makerspace Friday afternoon – Mary Politz, The Dispatch

Sudduth Elementary librarian Leslie Hunt helped to bring a Makerspace to the school – an area filled with myriad materials that can help to inspire young minds to build, solve problems, and even get some learning in without them even realizing it. “I just started thinking, it would be awesome to have it all in one room for everyone to utilize,” Hunt said. “(The kids) love it with just being creative and it helps them with behavior issues. It is amazing (because) some of the kids … have had difficulty doing certain things, but in here it’s kind of like everyone is on the same level.”  she also noted that students tend to get more creative and imaginative when using simpler materials such as plastic cups and unsharpened pencils.

First grade teacher Mya Floyd said that she makes an effort to book a weekly session in the Makerspace weekly whenever possible. “It helps them analyze and work on communication,” Floyd said. “The communication skills they learn here, they take that back to the classroom in academics. They’ve started working better together in both reading and math and are even helping each other. I love bringing them here … We talk about things that aren’t academic in here. I ask them about their family and weekend, and I get to tell them about myself, too.”

Hunt isn’t the only educator who is helping to bring the concept to local schools. Brandi Burton, Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District grants and innovative strategy specialist, has been working on expanding the program throughout the district: “Maker movement is pretty much across the nation, and we wanted to bring that to Starkville,” Burton said. “The libraries are supposed to be the hub of each of the schools, so that’s where we started.”

Librarians from each of the SOCSD schools met recently to discuss the project. The current hope is to bring a Makerspace, in at least some form, to every school in the district by the end of the school year. For campuses that are short on space, this may simply be a cart packed to bursting with materials, but it’s a start. Burton went on to say, “I think it’s so important for us to join this movement, so that the kids that are hands-on learners and out-of-the-box thinkers, that they have just as much of an advantage as the students that are just academic … We just need to make sure we have opportunities for every type of learner, and with the things that will be available in these spaces, every type of learner will be catered to in some way.”

Please click here for the full article.

Share This Post: