Starkville’s Hwy 182 Improvements in the Works

Courtesy of the Dispatch

Officials in Starkville will be holding a meeting today with business developers and planers to discuss new ideas for how to improve the Hwy 182 corridor in order to bring new businesses into the city. The public meeting will be held in the second-floor conference room in City Hall at 11AM today. Reps from MDOT and MDA are also expected to attend. It is hoped that making the area better via various means will help new, businesses to establish themselves in affordable locations as close to downtown proper as possible.

Community Development Director Buddy Sanders had this to say: “For example, you could give more flexibility to someone in terms of how they have to alter structures to bring them up to standards,” he said. “Small startups typically don’t have a lot of cash. Say someone graduates from State, loves Starkville and doesn’t want to leave, and his or her dream is to open up a pizza place. Rent in Starkville can be expensive in a lot of places, but 182 is reasonable, and there is a lot of opportunities. Say they want to open it up in an empty service station, but they can’t afford to tear it down and move it closer to the street. That’s where you can find flexibility.”

More public sessions are expected to follow in the future.

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Partnership: EMCC and MUW sign new articulation agreement

EMCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner, left, and MUW President Dr. Jim Borsig formally sign a new articulation agreement to benefit Manufacturing Technology & Engineering graduates from EMCC. (Photo courtesy of MUW University Relations)

EMCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner, left, and MUW President Dr. Jim Borsig formally sign a new articulation agreement to benefit Manufacturing Technology & Engineering graduates from EMCC. (Photo courtesy of MUW University Relations)

Agreement provides baccalaureate pathway for EMCC’s Manufacturing Technology & Engineering graduates

Press Release date: May 25, 2016 – from EMCC

MAYHEW – An articulation agreement signed today by East Mississippi Community College and Mississippi University for Women will enable EMCC students who have earned Associate of Applied Science degrees in industry and manufacturing areas to transfer seamlessly to MUW.

“EMCC works to give people the tools they need to improve their lives by making it possible for them to build better, stronger career paths,” said EMCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner.  “Our team at EMCC offers many levels of instruction, from GED programs for people who don’t have high school diplomas to honor programs for university-bound students. Central to this mission is the idea of providing options that allow students to build on an increasingly firm educational foundation. That’s what makes this partnership with MUW so life-changing for our students.”

Under the new articulation agreement, MUW will accept up to 43 technical credits in addition to academic coursework, allowing EMCC’s Manufacturing Technology and Engineering graduates to make the transition more easily and begin working toward a university degree.

EMCC secures $2.7 million grant

Another driving force behind the articulation agreement came from EMCC in the form of a three-year,
$2.7 million grant from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program.

“This grant enabled EMCC to create the Manufacturing Technology and Engineering division three years ago, combining credit and non-credit workforce training,” said Dr. Raj Shaunak, EMCC Vice President for Workforce and Community Services. “Associate degree programs involving modern industry and manufacturing were moved under the MTE umbrella. Since then, the MTE division has also introduced four new programs and created staff positions, called Navigators, who counsel students and help steer their paths as they pursue their American Dream.”

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Battalion Chief Bobby Barksdale Has Last Meal With B-Shift

Columbus Fire Department Batallion Chief Bobby Barksdale, who is retiring after 28 years of dedicated service to our community, is just one of many heroes who have dedicated their lives — and, at times, given them up — to protect the good people of Columbus. We here at GFB would like to offer up our congratulations, and our eternal gratitude, to the Chief and all of his brothers and sisters in uniform for a job well done!

Photo credit: Anthony Colon, Columbus Fire & Rescue Magazine

chief barksdale1chief barksdale2

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Golden Triangle Millennials Eager to Buy Homes

Our local “Millenial” generation is coming of age, and many of them have expressed the desire to go from simply renting a place to live, to investing in a true home. Combine that with a local economy that is improving steadily, incredibly low interest rates, and good availability of housing, and you have the perfect trifecta for anyone looking to purchase a home in the Golden Triangle – whether you’re just getting out of college or you feel it’s time to get out your old apartment and into a proper house, something which is often cheaper in the long run! Save money, gain stability, and put down roots in a town you love — That’s Good for Business!

Courtesy of WCBI

An apartment listing website recently conducted a study indicating that 84-percent of millennial renters in Mississippi want to purchase a home in the next two years. Whether you are one of these renters, or you have already established yourself in your career, this is a great time to buy a home.

stephen jones wcbi pic“Locally our economy is pretty good, you know we still have jobs being created. I think that helps out a lot when people are working,” says real estate agent Stephen Jones. ” The interest rate is still low, so it’s definitely still a great time to buy. Once the interest rate goes up, you buy less house.” he went on to give a bit of advice that we can all benefit from: “Well the number one thing that I would suggest is calling a local mortgage company and getting pre-approved. Once you’re getting pre-approved it makes the process a whole lot easier,” he says.

Jeff Farnham works for one such mortgage company, JTS & Company. He gave advice on what companies look out for:  “Job stability, overall credit, what your credit profile looks like, if there’s any money you can put down, how long do they want to finance the home?” He went on to say that, even if you can’t put down much of a down payment – or even none at all – many companies will be glad to work with you in order to come up with an affordable solution:  “So we’ll do some 100 percent financing if their eligible. Sometimes we look at FHA that only requires a 3 and half percent down payment, and it will actually allow a gift. If the homebuyer doesn’t have the money themselves, mom and dad can make a little gift for them,” says Farnham.

Generally speaking, as long as your credit score is 650 or higher, it should be smooth sailing.

See full article and video at this link:

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$250 Million — Economic Impact of CAFB on Local Area

14th Flying Training Wing Commander Col. John Nichols speaks during the Base Community Council's first meeting Thursday. Nichols reported that the base's economic impact for 2015 was approximately $249 million. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

14th Flying Training Wing Commander Col. John Nichols speaks during the Base Community Council’s first meeting Thursday. Nichols reported that the base’s economic impact for 2015 was approximately $249 million. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

$250 Billion — Economic Impact of CAFB on Local Area

The USAF’s air base here in Columbus employs a good 2,800 servicemen, servicewomen, and civilians, all of whom live here, eat here, shop here, and party here. All of that means money coming into the city to keep it thriving. And that’s Good for Business!

Courtesy of The Dispatch

14th Flying Training Wing Commander Col. John Nichols addressed the CAFB’s Columbus Club recently, speaking of the base’s performance in the last year or so. As part of this, he said that the base brought $249.6 million into the local economy, up from about $241 million the prior year. Most of that money is in the form of payroll dollars to the 2,800 USAF personnel and civilian employees on-base, who then proceed to spend much of their money locally:

“That paycheck supports their families,” Nichols said. “They buy cars here in Columbus. They go out to eat. They spend money. That money is infused right back into the local economy, so it makes a big difference.”

He went on to say that indirect local job creation added another $32 million to that number:”So if Buffalo Wild Wings has to add another server because so many airmen are down there, that’s the indirect job effect,” he said.Nichols will complete his current two-year Tour of Duty in July, at which time he will return to Barksdale AFB in Shreveport. He expressed his sentiment about the reassignment: “It’s going to be tough to leave,” Nichols said. “We’ve met so many great people.”

He also stated that Chief Master Sgt. Rita Felton, the base’s Command Chief Master, is leaving in October. “It means there’s going to be a lot of change, but what I can assure you of is this place won’t miss a beat,” Nichols said. “It will be like nothing happened. I promise. That’s how we do things in the military.”
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Brandon Presley and the PSC Seek to Expand Internet and Power Options for Citizens

Brandon Presley and the PSC Seek to Expand Internet and Power Options for Citizens

Courtesy of the Commercial Dispatch –

Brandon Presley, who is currently in his third term as Northern District Commission and his first term as Mississippi’s Public Service Commission Chairman, recently spoke to the Columbus Rotary Club at Lion Hills Center. He is advocating better ways to get utilities to the people of Mississippi — especially in rural areas, which often lack access to basic resources such as natural gas, despite the fact that our state has more gas pipeline than almost any other state:

“We have 10,000 miles of natural gas pipelines in Mississippi, the fifth most of any state,” Presley said. “Yet, for many rural areas, there is no access to natural gas, which happens to be, right now, one of the cheapest energy sources available . . . So extending natural gas service in those rural areas is very important, especially to poor folks . . . And if we can give people access to natural gas, they may be able to cut their power bill by 30-40 percent. That’s no small thing . . . It’s not about being against any one kind of power,” he said. “It’s about giving people access to what’s available. The way I see it, everything the Governor has access to in the Governor’s Mansion in Jackson is something every person in the state of Mississippi should have access to.”

PSC Commisioner Brandon Presley makes his case to a Rotary Club member. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

PSC Commisioner Brandon Presley makes his case to a Rotary Club member. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

He continued to say that the PSC also wishes to encourage developing alternate sources of power, including solar power and natural gas.

He also spoke of high-speed internet, something which he considers to be a basic utility in this modern day and age – and hence, something everyone should have ready access to for a reasonable rate: “High-speed Internet is the electricity of the 21st century,” said Presley. “No matter where they live, the people of Mississippi have a right to have high-speed Internet. It’s not about Facebook or whatever else you might enjoy doing on the Internet. It’s about access to services and in the world we live in now, not having access to high-speed Internet service means not having access to critical services . . . It’s a quality of life issue. It’s an education issue,” he added.

Improving access to utilities will help all of the people of Mississippi to improve their quality of life, by saving them money and granting them ready access to the tools they need to compete. And that’s Good for Business!

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President’s Cup Soccer Tournament Brings in an Estimated Two Million Dollars

President’s Cup Soccer Tournament Brings in an Estimated Two Million Dollars

Courtesy of the Commercial Dispatch –

The tournament, which is the state’s largest, took place here in Columbus this past weekend, bringing with it about 120 teams from across the state, as well as more than six thousand loyal fans. Nancy Carpenter, executive director of the Columbus-Lowndes CVB, reports that the total economic impact on our area is around two million dollars. Hotels for miles around were booked solid, and many visitors reported that local restaurants went out of their way to provide superlative service.

Mario Aguirre, left, a member of Columbus United, looks to make a play during the Presidents Cup Tournament in Columbus this weekend. Photo by: Courtesy photo

Mario Aguirre, left, a member of Columbus United, looks to make a play during the Presidents Cup Tournament in Columbus this weekend. Photo by: Courtesy photo

Columbus also played host to the recent SLW bass fishing tournament, with approximately 300 fishermen on 147 boats, many of whom had been coming up to check out the local waters for weeks in order to prepare for the event.

“It’s been a huge, huge weekend,” Carpenter said.

Games were held a the Soccer Complex, as well as at Cook soccer field and Columbus High School soccer fields.

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Starkville Trustees, MSU, LINK Are of One Mind on Industrial Site

A new industrial park is on its way to Starkville, which will help to attract new big business and enhance extant ones – and that’s Good For Business!

Courtesy of The Dispatch –

Mississippi State University  and The Greater Starkville Development Partnership Board of Trustees (GDSP) have announced their support for the GT LINK’s plan to develop about 400 acres north of the Highway 25-Highway 82 interchange into a new industrial park.  MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development David Shaw weighed in: “We must not waste it,” Shaw said of the proposal in his statement. “Not having a 21st-century park is holding us back. In my three decades at Mississippi State, I have seen a lot of great changes take place in our community when people make tough decisions and invest in the future. I believe that we can do that again by developing this new industrial park.”

Supervisors previously dedicated $7 million toward the project, and the LINK seeks a similar contribution from aldermen.

“[The chosen site] was identified by the … LINK as the ‘best site’ and ‘best value’ for an industrial park in Oktibbeha County,” the resolution states. “Successful industrial recruitment can result in an expanded tax base and provide much needed living-wage jobs to the citizens of Oktibbeha County. … The community must take advantage of opportunities presented for the development of the industrial product in order to be competitive in the industry.”


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Market Street Starts Tomorrow Night! Mardi Gras Comes to Columbus!

market street 2016Just a reminder, everyone! Columbus’ 21st Market Street Festival kicks off tomorrow night with a bang and a party! This year’s theme is Mardi Gras, so wear your best purple, gree, and gold outfit and Laissez les Bon Temps Roulez!

The kid-friendly party will get rolling at around 7 PM with music from New Orleans band, The Big Fun Brass Band! A couple hours later, zydeco legends Rockin Dopsie will take the stage! Food will be available Friday evening and all through the Friday~Saturday festival. The concert is free — Bring your folding chairs, but please leave your coolers and pets at home. More wonderful music, arts & crafts, and foods will be sold throughout the Main Street area during Market Street.

You can find a complete music and events lineup at 

You can also give Market Street a call at 662-328-6305 for more info.

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State Wants to Expand CompSci Learning in Schools


Mississippi is taking one more step towards making sure that our children will be ready to compete in the brutal job markets once they graduate. Our state has lagged behind for years in this area, but now it’s high time we do something about it – And that’s Good for Business!cs4ms logo

Courtesy Jeff Amy/The Associated Press

JACKSON — Greene County School Superintendent Charles Breland wants to see more MS residents computer-trained by the time they graduate high school. Thanks to a new push from the State, that dream is rapidly coming closer to being a reality. A total of 34 districts will send 167 elementary school and 68 high school teachers for training this summer, in the first phase of a plan to increase learning about computers in all grades.

“We see the need for so many tech-related jobs out there that aren’t filled,” said Breland. “I look at it as future economic development for not only Greene County but the state of Mississippi.”

The state has set aside $200,000 for training students, but this is just the first step. The idea is that new grade levels will be added yearly, with all of K through 12 to be covered by the mid-2020’s.More info about the program can be found Online:

Read the full AP article: here, courtesy of the Dispatch:

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