GTRA Adds Fourth Delta Flight to Atlanta

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Delta Airlines recently implemented a fourth GTRA-to-Atlanta round trip flight in order to ease congestion on its existing flights and to give consumers a new option for that trip. Conveniently timed, the flight will arrive at 1:15 PM local time each day, and leave for ATL at 1:45 PM. The existing flights will remain, leaving at 6:30 AM, 10:15 AM, and 5 PM daily.

GTRA Executive Director Mike Hainsey
(Dispatch photo)

Travelers, especially businessmen, expressed their delight at the addition of the new, more convenient flight option:

“It’s really convenient to be able to get a flight you can catch in the afternoon,” engineer Stephen Saine said. “A lot of times, you wind up wasting a lot of time just waiting for a flight, especially when you’re flying out of smaller airports.”

Management comments that this should also ease the burden on other flights headed in that general direction, as well, helping patrons in multiple ways: “I think it’s going to reduce the over-booking we have,” GTRA Executive Director Mike Hainsey said. “I also think some of the other flights will be less crowded. It’s another option for our customers. This new flight means you don’t have to take an early flight to get where you are going at a decent time.”

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Seafood and Snowballs and…Insurance?! Oh My!

GOLDEN TRIANGLE, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Andy Hubbard, AHI Insurance – Courtesy photo

In Columbus, we have two insurance vendors – One is new to town, the other has moved to a new location.

The latter is AHI Auto-Home Insurance, which has shifted from Brickerton on over to 402 Wilkins Wise Road Suite 6 as of last week. Andy Hubbard, the founder of the agency, says that they simply outgrew their original location.

The former is Kristin Tate with Alfa Insurance, 3908 Hwy. 45, offering auto, home, life, and business insurance.

Both agencies are open from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday

Pass Christian’s Gulf Seafood Connection has begun a new venture – bringing fresh-caught Gulf seafood up to Starkville and Columbus on a weekly basis. They are known for their fresh shrimp, oysters, crabmeat, and fish, having been around since 1977.

PCSC uses FaceBook groups to place orders and to let their customers know when and where to pick them up – typically at a local business. To place an order, head on over to the appropriate FaceBook group: Columbus Gulf Seafood Connection or Starkville Gulf Seafood Connection.

On the group page, GSC Director Michael Broussard will make “delivery coming soon” posts, and customers can place their orders by commenting on there with the products and amounts they wish to buy.

Starkvegas Snowballs will soon have a second location at 113 B Martin Luther King Dr in Starkville. They have had so much business at their main Cotton District location (216 Lummus Dr) that they have been able to open the second store, to feed more customers and help them get a treat out of the summer heat. They plan to open up by July 1st, and both will be open fro, March thru October from 2 to 7 PM.

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Memphis-based Company Purchases Burkhalter Rigging

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch


Barnhart Crane and Rigging Company of Memphis, Tennessee, announced Wednesday the company has purchased the majority of Columbus company Burkhalter Rigging. 

Burkhalter, 2193 Hwy. 45 S., opened in Lowndes County in 1973 and specializes in moving heavy equipment for petrochemical, power, civil and marine industries worldwide. It has facilities in both Columbus and Rosharon, Texas.  

Columbus company Burkhalter Rigging, located on Highway 45 South, is being sold to Memphis-based company Barnhart Crane and Rigging, Barnhart announced Wednesday – Dispatch file photo

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Ribbon Cuttings and More in Starkville This Week

Courtesy of GDSP: e-view – STARKVILLE, MS

There are a bunch of events going on in Starkville this week, including some ribbon cuttings. Why not brave the heat and welcome some new businesses into town?

Hopper Properties and Troy Allred (Shelter Insurance) held their ribbon cuttings recently, to great success! Upcoming ribbon cuttings include Midtown Starkville at 401 University Dr: Wednesday, June 5 at 4PM; and 39759 Nutrition at 450 Hwy 12, Suite B: Thursday, June 13 at 11AM.

Friends of Noxubee Refuge have several events coming up soon: at the Sam F. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge. On Thursday, June 6, at 5:45PM, they will hold an indoor picnic supper — sandwiches and drinks will be provided, but guests are encouraged to bring a dish to share. It will be followed at 6:30PM by a Presentation by Dr. Joe Bumgardner about how to take better nature pictures. They have events on June 8 and 15, as well.

National Donut Day is this Thursday, June 7. Salvation Army stores will have free donuts (while they last!), giveaways, and special discounts. They are also always looking for volunteers to help run their shops. This could be a great opportunity for students in need of community service hours.

Later in the year, the MS Horse Park will have a live remote viewing of the Paul Gallo Show in their showroom from 6-9AM, along with breakfast; also, a presentation from Dr. Keenum during the 7’oclock hour.

Please click here for the full listing of events.

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Communiversities Like CMTE Making a Difference

GOLDEN TRIANGLE, MS – Courtesy of The Atlantic

The Golden Triangle of Mississippi — the ambitiously industrializing northeastern region including Columbus, West Point, and Starkville — is serving as an example to other areas on how to do things right. Among the many ambitious projects in of the area is the soon-to-open Center for Manufacturing Technology Excellence, or CMTE, out by the GTR Airport – aka “Communiversity.”

The Mississippi Communiversity is the culmination of multiple counties and government bodies all working together in order to produce and maintain a college-level educational campus that focuses on credit-based industrial know-how, including training for local college students to help them fill the ever-increasing list of jobs created by local industry.

Among others, the minds behind the project include: East Mississippi Community College (EMCC) just outside of Columbus; Starkville’s MS State U; area high schools; county, state, and federal government; the GTR LINK; private businesses with factories in the GTR Region, as well as a crowd of local individuals, businessmen, entrepreneurs, and more.

In the new Communiversity, a helicopter, for training in the aerospace program. An Airbus subsidiary builds helicopters for the North American market in a nearby factory. (Courtesy of East Mississippi Community College)

Working together, these organizations arranged for funding to the tune of over $42.5 million for the campus, much of which came from county & state bonds, as well as funding from the federal Appalachian Regional Commission.

EMCC vice president for workforce and community development, Raj Shaunak, commented that, over the past 15 years, EMCC has trained about 25,000 people — “and about 12,000 of them are currently employed in advanced manufacturing in the Golden Triangle area . . .” at companies such as Yokohama and Steel Dynamics.

“I think many of us are worried that the American economy is doing half of its job,” Jan Rivkin, of the Harvard Business School, said after an HBS team visited the Communiversity site in the fall of 2017. He added: “[The economy] is benefitting large companies and those who work for and invest in them, but it is not supporting working middle-class Americans. Rural communities are really struggling.

Yet here in the Golden Triangle, we see something very different going on: a community that is coming together to create broadly shared prosperity and great manufacturing jobs. We came here to learn. We came here to see what is going on that is special, and to figure out what we might apply to other settings in other communities.”

A mural in the about-to-be-opened Communiversity, earlier this month
(James Fallows – The Atlantic)

Finally, Shaunak had this to say: “This is a way we can give people in a distressed area new family-sustaining opportunities. . .This is a way to help them realize their American dream.”

Please click here for the full article.

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Lemonade Day 2019 Coming Soon!

GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Brooke Washington, 11, set up a lemonade stand and did well for herself as part of last year’s Lemonade Day: “She did really good and she did her own thing last summer by herself,” Brooke’s mother, Yolanda Washington said. “She did a good job and made lots of money. This year she wants to do something different. She’s making regular lemonade and pink lemonade.”  

The success of last year’s event in Starkville has caused it to spread to Columbus and West Point this year, allowing many more young entrepreneurs to take part; over 200 children have signed up so far, and organizer Jeffery Rupp says that he’s hoping to have over 300 by the time registration closes this Saturday.

“Planning and running a lemonade stand teaches kids important business and financial literacy skills,” said Doug Robertson, Columbus president for Cadence Bank, in an emailed statement. “Thinking responsibly about spending and saving at an early age sets the stage for success. By applying skills like budgeting, calculating net profit and repaying debt, participants can put real-world math skills into action. We are excited to serve as a Lemonade Day sponsor and to empower entrepreneurship among tomorrow’s business leaders.” Cadence Bank offers interest-free loans of $50 to participants, all of which were promptly paid back last year.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for young kids with an entrepreneurial spirit to learn the basics of business,” Barbara Bigelow of Columbus Main Street said. “They learn about business plans, how to handle money, they understand the importance of paying bills and they learn to give back to the community. … They are very excited about it. I would encourage everyone to visit as many kids as they can, sample some lemonade and let them know how good it is. After all, they are our future leaders.” 

Angelica Vaughn helps her daughter, Ka’nia Lucious, put a top on a lemonade cup for Joe Fountain while his mother, Amy, watches.
Dispatch file photo

Last year, Ka’Nia Lucious, 9, set up shop on Main Street near Starkville Cafe and brought home around $100 in profit. Armed with the knowledge and experience she earned then, she hopes to make more this year and donate some to her church.

“We ask that kids spend some because they earned it, save some because that’s what you should do and share some because you should also always give back to the community,” Rupp said.  

To sign up for Lemonade Day, go to

Rupp said lemonade stands hours and locations may vary. Go to to see where the stands are.

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Businesses New and Old in Starkville, Columbus

GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch


Kim Moreland, of Moreland Inc. recently purchased the old Christy’s Hamburgers building, and plans to renovate the space in order to lease it out to a new business in the future: “I’m just going to try and give it a face lift and make it look better on (Highway) 12,” Moreland said. “We are planning on starting renovations next week. We are not going to lease to another restaurant. It will be for commercial retail or office space.” Christy’s originally opened in Starkville in the 1980’s; they also briefly had a Columbus location, which closed in 2014.

Owens Outfitters, an archery and outdoors store, has opened for business at Middleton Court on Hwy 12. The shop is located in part of the old Sports Center. Their hours of operation will be Mon~ Sat, 9AM~6PM.


Construction is currently underway at 1807 Hwy. 45 N. for indoor playground center Kidz-N-Play. The plan is to open up in July with a wide variety of centers and activities for the kids to enjoy, while keeping them out of the sometimes-brutal summer heat.

“I wanted to bring back something to my hometown,” entrepreneur Eryn Jackson said. “When we leave Columbus, we don’t put something back to it. When I was little, there was nothing for me to do except play basketball. If it’s not softball or basketball, I wasn’t going anywhere. There’s just not a lot of things for kids to do between 1 and 8 years old. That’s an important time for kids to interact. I wanted something I could put my heart into.

“A lot of kids can’t afford a big playroom,” she added. “They can come to Kidz-N-Play and play with that nice kitchen they wanted for Christmas.”

Shifting our focus to downtown, Second Ave Nutrition will host its grand opening on Saturday. Michael and Rachel Womack, owners, will run the loaded tea store at 424 Second Ave. N. Hours will be Saturday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. for the grand opening. Normal business hours will be Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

Please click here for the full article.

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Ask Rufus: Remembering Memorial Day

OP/ED – COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

An American and Confederate flag stand by the grave of a Civil War soldier at Friendship Cemetery in Columbus – Courtesy photo

A little history lesson on Memorial Day, courtesy of local Historian Rufus Ward. Many towns can lay claim to being one of the inspirations for Memorial Day, and the people of Columbus are proud to say that we’re one of them.

Mr. Ward says it so much better than I can. Please click here to read his take on it.

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Steak ‘n Shake Soon to Open in Starkville

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

Popular burger restaurant Steak ‘n Shake plans to open its first GTR location soon on the MSU campus in Starkville. The Illinois-based chain has been around since the 1930’s.

“We’re very excited . . .,” VP of Student Affairs Regin Hyatt said of the popularity of the idea expressed by many locals online. “Our dining partner Aramark is facilitating this. It’s replacing the Burger King on campus, so it will go into that location.”

This will be SnS’s fifth Mississippi location; the others are located at Oxford (on UofM campus), Pearl, Biloxi, and Southaven.

Please click here for the original article.

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GTR Area Collecting High Amounts of Sales Taxes TYD

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Area YTD sales tax collections up across Golden Triangle

GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Aside from a small shortage in tax revenue, tax collection for the year so far is doing noticeably better than it was a year ago throughout the GTR region.

Halfway through the fiscal year, Columbus has brought in $4.85 million in tax revenue, as compared to $4.84 this time last year. This number comes from just before the recent re-implementation of the restaurant tax, so the total will be even higher soon.


Starkville continues to do gangbusters, with its revenue thus far sitting pretty at $3.66 million, where it was $3.48 million last year at this time.

“When we budget, we budget conservatively,” said Mayor Lynn Spruill. “We are always delighted when we exceed — particularly when we exceed above the amount we are showing above our budgeted amount.” 

West Point 

West Point is doing its part, as well, bringing in $1.68 million thus far, compared to $1.64 million from last year this time, despite the State withholding more money than usual due to prior overpayments to the city. Fortunately, those willbe ending soon.

“We’ve had a lot of retail growth, especially in the fast food sector,” West Point Mayor Robbie Robinson said. “To me, things are healthy here. It could be better, but we’ve had significant growth.” 

Please click here for the original article.

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