Category Archives: Culture/Entertainment

Lee High Remembered

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Students and instructors alike have fond memories of their time at Lee High in Columbus. The site is currently undergoing renovations in order to turn it into a combination mall/apartment complex with 23 residential units available.

Lee alumna Jessica Howard Stephens visits the old Lee building
with former Lee High School principal J.V. Carr — Dispatch file photo

“I remember so clearly sitting in the halls and drawing [the rows of lockers].” Lee alumna Carol Littlejohn, class of 1968, said. “We learned how to draw them so the lines made it look like they were getting smaller.”

“We’re hoping to be complete by Sept. 1,” Developer Scott Berry, class of 1971, said. “We want to start leasing then, and I’m really hoping for it. I don’t think that’ll be a problem.”

First built in 1953, the school was in operation until 2011, when the school district opened Columbus Middle School on the other side of town. Berry bought the property in 2018 and got to work on the renovations right away.

In the mall section, Berry’s plans include a 200-seat restaurant and a 1000-seat auditorium. The main twenty former classrooms are being converted into 1BR/1BA and 2BR/2BA apartments, both meant for long-term rentals. The three remaining spaces, which are larger, are being set up as short-term rentals, aimed primarily at complimenting the event space.

“If people are coming in for a weekend wedding, say, and they want to have the rehearsal and the wedding, we want them to say, ‘oh, can we have those apartments too?'” Berry said. “They’re designed to be complimentary.”

Berry says that he wanted to maintain as much of the original school structure as possible, so that tenants would always remember where the building came from. He has made sure to preserve much of the old building, including many lockers and classroom doors.

“Who knows,” Littlejohn added. “Maybe they’ll even want to learn the history of Lee High.”

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Lemonade Day is Coming!

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

– all photos are Courtesy photos unless specified otherwise –

June 1st, 2019 will be Lemonade Day! It’s an opportunity for kids to learn the basics of running a business, marketing, and (hopefully) turning a profit. An offshoot of the national LD program, it began last year in Starkville, and its success – over 150 kids up to 6th-grade level took part, setting up 64 lemonade stands throughout the city – has led to expanding the local program to both Columbus and West Point.

The Golden Triangle program leader is Jeffrey Rupp, director of outreach for Mississippi State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship. He’s hoping that the number of participants this year will double or more.

ld2018 – Kadie Eldridge, left, and Abigail McTaggart pour lemonade at their ‘Lemony Spickets’ stand on the Mississippi State University campus in this 2018 Dispatch file photo

Participants can now sign up online; they will receive a free workbook, which gives them the basics on starting a business, marketing it, and how to handle finances at a basic level they can understand. It also encourages kids to donate some of the profits to local charities in order to help others, which many did. The kids can also receive advice & feedback from local business owners. Last year, Cadence bank even offered $40 micro-loans to the budding entrepreneurs; Rupp said all of these micro-loans were paid back 100%. They will be doing so again this year.

Main Street Columbus Director Barbara Bigelow said: “I thought it was just so cool,” she said. “… I love the program. The whole premise beside it is to teach young people how to set up a business and follow through.” She is currently looking into obtaining booth spots downtown for the event, and she has reached out to local schools in order to solicit interest from students.

“All you have to do is go buy lemonade,” Rupp said. “So it’s really easy for the public to get involved.” – And THAT’S Good for Business!

To learn more about Lemonade Day or to sign up and volunteer, go to lemonadeday.org/golden-triangle.

Click here for the FaceBook page for the event.

Please click here to read the original article.

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Baptist’s Business Over Breakfast Brings in the Best

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce


courtesy photo

Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle sponsored Business Over Breakfast this morning, and it was a resounding success! BOB is an extension of their existing Business After Hours program, which has proven to be quite popular. Now, business professionals and curious citizens alike have more opportunities to check out local businesses, network with one another, and have some good chow while they’re at it. All are welcome to these events — Please see the CLCC FaceBook page for a schedule of these and other events.

Baptist CEO Paul Cade presented an informative overview and update on BMHGT for the assembled crowd.

The next BOB is scheduled for 7:30 AM at CSpire on Hwy 45, where one of the first BOB events took place.

courtesy photo
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One Door Closes, but Many More Open – For Business!

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

COLUMBUS

Former employees Debbie Putt and Janis Kertsetter are now the new owners of The Purple Elephant on Wilkins Wise Road in Columbus. The shop had been closed briefly after the prior owner, Marca Glenn, retired.

“We hated to see another store close in Columbus,” Putt said. “We just felt like jumping in and doing it. Everything comes full circle.”

Putt went on to say that the shop will be the same as always, though they are open to carrying new and interesting items for their clientele to buy; also, they have retained the crew that worked under Ms. Glenn. The gift shop is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, next to CJ’s in Columbus, has announced that they are closing their doors after being in business for six years.

STARKVILLE

Construction work has officially begun at Grand Junction condos, 509 University Drive. They are hoping to open Phase I for new homeowners in late August of this year. Tabor Development’s VP of development, Kay Regimbal, says that about one third of the condos have already been purchased.

The units vary in size from 1~3 bedrooms & 750~1,500 square feet, and in price from about $200,000 to $445,000.

MSU’s Colvard Student Union had a couple of changes quite recently:

State Fountain Bakery, which is now across the union, has penlty of goodies on offer just in time for Valentine’s Day. Mediterranean restaurant Olilo is now open in the student union.

Popular downtown yoga studio Firefly on S Lafayette St has shut its doors, and appears to be on the market.

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Business After Hours at the GTR Airport – Jan 17, 2019 (image gallery)

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of the Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce

This month’s Business After Hours was a rousing success! Here are some photos of the event, courtesy of the CoC:

Photo gallery above. Original post and more photos can be found here.

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Regional Business After Hours for Jan 17, 2019

If you are a member of any of the area Chambers, Partnerships, etc…or if you just want to meet some good people and mingle, swing by for Business After Hours at the GTR Airport tonight!

Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce
Golden Triangle Development LINK
Greater Starkville Development Partnership

West Point Main Street

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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
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Terry Brown Ampitheater Looking Good, Could be Ready to Rock Within Two Years

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

The Columbus-Lowndes CVB Tourism Partners recently gave a preview of the (still under construction) Terry Brown Ampitheater to a number of its members. Pjase I of the construction was completed in 2007, but Phase II is still pending funding to the tune of $2.5 million needed to complete the project. It is hoped that it will be ready to rock by early to mid 2020.

 

City engineer Kevin Stafford provides details of the plans for the Terry Brown Amphitheater during a tour of the facility Tuesday morning. City officials hope the venue will be ready to for its first event in spring 2020 as they await $2.5 million in funding needed to complete the project. Photo by: Slim Smith/Dispatch Staff

The venue is planned to have a seating capacity of roughly 3,500 including seating for 1,800 on a grassy area, according to city engineer Kevin  Stafford: 1,100 hard-back seats plus a table-and-chairs area for VIP use and an open area nearest the stage that can be altered as needed for any given show.

Rep. Jeff Smith, the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, said that they hope to receive enough state bond money to complete the project in the upcoming year, but it’s uncertain whether enough will be incoming to meet the $2.5 million goal. Mayor Robert Smith suggested that a 2% county-wide restaurant tax could provide $2 million annually for tourism and economic development. Per an existing resolution, $400 thousand of that could be used each year for parks and recreation.

As part of the joint resolution between the county and the city that will be used to craft the legislation, $400,000 annually would be provided to the city for parks and recreation: “We are going to be talking to our local legislative delegation about both the bond money and the 2-percent money,” Smith said. “We know there is going to be some bond money to help complete (the amphitheater). We don’t know if we’ll get the $2.5 million we need, but if not, the plan is to use some of the 2-percent money, which would be more than enough to complete the project.”

Please click here for the full article.

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Starkville Recognizes its Own in Awards Program

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

 

The Starkville Main Street Association presented its 2018 Partner of the Year Award to Brian Kelley and Ty Thames with Eat Local Starkville. The association held its annual awards ceremony on Thursday.
Photo by: Alex Holloway/Dispatch Staff

Starkville’s Main Street Association recently recognized a number of local businesses and developers during its annual awards program. GDST Interim CEO Jennifer Prather spoke to recent additions such as the breezeway lights near Starkville Cafe and the street pianos on Main as improvements that “create a sense of place for people to want to be downtown and stay downtown, and they want to spend money.” She went on to say that these, as well as investment in community events, “create an impact on our city, but it also created a unique experience for visitors to our city who may have been in our community for the first time,” she added. “Now they want to come back, and they want to dive more into what we have going on here.”

 

Michelle Jones, who is now past President of the Main Stree Assn Board, presided over the meeting immediately prior to the awards ceremony. “I moved to Starkville in 1998. At that point, when you drove downtown at 5 o’clock, there was no activity,” she said. “There was no night life. There was not a lot going on. Today, I showed up at 5:15 (p.m.) and almost couldn’t get a parking spot. It’s so exciting, and our sales tax base keeps increasing, which increases what our community can do. It’s all about economic development and protecting what is special and important to Starkville.”

Among the award recipients were: Eat Local Starkville (Partner of the year for 2018), Pop Porium, Glo, Jackson Square, The Gin, 550 Russel Street, and George Mary’s.

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New Starkville Parks and Rec Head Sees Great Things in its Future

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Starkville Parks and Recreation Director Gerry Logan talks about his department to the Starkville Rotary Club – Logan talked about parks and recreation’s impact on Starkville – Photo by Alex Holloway, Dispatch Staff

Starkville Parks and Recreation recently appointed a new Director, Gerry Logan, who spoke with the Starkville Rotarians recently. He spoke about upcoming tournaments and events both past and future, all of which help to contribute to Starkville’s bottom line by way of tourist (and local!) dollars filling the coffers at hotels and local shops.

“Parks and Rec is an economic impact driver,” Logan said. “We host tournaments. We host events. We contribute to the economic development of the community. We deal with quality of life issues. We have sidewalks and areas for people to walk. We have a free walking track at the Travis Outlaw gym . . . It’s about contributing to the … soul, if you will, of the community.”

SP&R runs seven local parks, accounting for about two hundred acres of territory and facilities. With a $400K+ budget increase for 2019, Logan plans to put the additional funding to good use, with new projects on the horizon: “What the comprehensive plan said we needed is certainly some additional field space,” Logan said. “That’s proven. We are certainly short on field space, particularly diamond field space — baseball and softball fields. It also noted we have a lack of multi-use trail. Those are things we need and it’s certainly our goal to get there.

“As part of this new process, with any new facilities that come on we’re also going to look at renovating the Sportsplex,” he added. “A second entrance has certainly been talked about. It’s challenging because of the creek and overall layout of the land, but with any potential discussion of new facilities and a new park, the second part of that is renovating the Sportsplex to make it as efficient as it can be — parking, access roads, things like that.”

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