Category Archives: Culture/Entertainment

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.”

Please click here for the full article

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Wedding and Catering Venue to Open in The Depot Early Next Year

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Matt and Kelly Pittman, with their daughter, Harper, go over plans for renovations at The Depot with Realtor Royce Hudspeth and contractor Gene Reid on Tuesday – Photo credit – Slim Smith, Dispatch Staff

Kelly and Matt Pittman will be opening a new events & catering venue which will be named after its historical location: “The Depot.” The business, to be located at the corner of Main and 13th St South, is planned to open in early 2019: “The name fits it really well and that’s what Columbus has been calling it,” Kelly Pittman said. “We just thought it was a good fit.”  The Pittmans are experienced wedding caterers and planners, having won couples Choice Awards (from Wedding Wire) for the past four years in a row.

“We love the town of Columbus,” Kelly added. “It is beautiful. When we drove down Main Street with the shops and buildings, we were just in awe.”

“[I and building owner Guynup have] got a reason for everyone to be excited,” Realtor Royce Hudspeth said. “Columbus needs to be excited about this. They do a first class job. For a young couple, it’s just amazing the practices (they’ve) built up, and (Kelly is) bringing that to the Golden Triangle.”

Pittman plans to have up to ten employees to help run the venue. It will have two large rooms, a reception and ceremony area, and a bridal room. A kitchen will also be built between those two rooms. The space will be available for rental for a wide variety of events.

Please click here for the full article.

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MSU Drops Concession Prices at Home Games to the Delight of Fans

MSU Drops Concession Prices at Home Games to the Delight of Fans

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Courtesy of hailstate.com

As part of its #MoorValue campaign, MSU Athletics has announced that their concession prices will drop considerably for its home games – by about a third to a half across the board. Two bucks instead of five for a hot dog or nachos; four bucks instead of seven for a 44oz drink. The move comes in answer to feedback from the MSU community, and MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen says he’s only too happy to oblige: “Reducing the price of concessions has been something I have been very excited about since becoming Director of Athletics. Providing our fans and families with more affordable food and beverage options is extremely important. We will continue to explore innovative ways to enhance the game-day experience for our Bulldog family. We would like to thank Aramark for their collaboration in this process.”

MSU President Mark E. Keenum said, “High-quality refreshments, more sensible pricing, faster service and new policies that address items of input from our fan base are a winning combination for a better game day experience. I congratulate Athletics and Aramark on their innovation and collaboration on this plan.”

All MSU home venues are included in this price drop – Davis Wade Stadium, Humphrey Coliseum, Dudy Noble Field, Newell-Grissom Building, MSU Soccer Field, Nusz Park and the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. Davis Wade Stadium will also see football season price decreases in several of its sections.

Season tickets for the 2018 Bulldog season start at $200 and can be purchased at HailState.com/MoorCowbell, by calling 1-888-GO-DAWGS or in person at the MSU Athletic Ticket Office on the first floor of the Bryan Athletic Administration Building (288 Lakeview Drive), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Many sports organizations around the country are starting to realize the added value of a happy fan. Charging reasonable prices for concessions adds to the fan experience, which adds to the brand value of a sports team- increasing loyalty, viewership – and spending.

Please click here for the original article, including a list of concession price drops.

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Two Columbus Businesses are Up for Sale

Two Columbus Businesses are Up for Sale

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Barbara Swindol (Elbow Room) and Scott Carley (Thai by Thai)

Called The Historic Landmark when it was first opened, The Elbow Room restaurant and bar on 2nd Ave North in downtown Columbus had been enjoying a revitalization ever since Barbara Swindol reopened it in 2013. She had been working hard for many years to bring the place back to its former glory, and the hard work showed. Unfortunately, the venue is closed for the moment, as she looks for a buyer. Her adult son, Rob (who also worked there), was recently diagnosed with Leukemia, so Swindol has decided to focus on helping her family, so she has had to put the Elbow Room up for sale.

“I had no intentions of ever selling that bar,” Swindol said. “Rob put himself into that bar for a long time and just did a great job turning that around.”

She plans to have it formally listed the location for sale in the next few days, and things are looking up! She has already garnered interest from some buyers simply due to word of mouth. The venue will be sold as a “turn-key” operation – the buyer will take it over from where it stands now.

“We watched some amazing (musical) talent grow in that bar,” Swindol said. “I’m very sad to be walking away from it, but it really deserves someone who can make it their priority. My son’s my priority right now.”

Thai by Thai, a Main Street restaurant, is also up for sale, per owner Scott Carley.  He and his wife, Gon, had originally opened the place onWIlkins Wise Road about six years ago, and moved it to its current location near the art gallery in 2014. Carley cites lack of business as the primary motivating factor in his decision to sell. TBT will remain open for now, possibly with some menu changes.

“We’re going to try to add some things for people that are skittish of the food,” he said. “But Thai food is 100 percent healthy and made from scratch.”

The current plan is to sell the restaurant along with all of its recipes and equipment.

Barbara Bigelow, executive director for Main Street Columbus, reflected on the importance of restaurants to Main Street and Downtown in general: “We would love more restaurants in our area. We hate to have any that are considering leaving for any reason,” she said. “We certainly value our restaurants and would love to have more in downtown Columbus. The ones that we have now provide great variety to our community.”

It’s not bad news when good businesses go up for sale. These two vibrant operations are going to be a great opportunity for a willing entrepreneur…And THAT’S Good for Business! Here’s hoping for success too both sellers that they find a new buyer soon, so that these two great restaurants can keep up the good work with help from our community. With luck, the new owners will help both places reach great new heights in the future! Best wishes to both the current and future owners of both businesses in all  that they do!

Please click here for the original article.

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Starkville Looking to Beat the Heat with First Annual Lemonade Day

Starkville Looking to Beat the Heat with First Annual Lemonade Day

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Starkville will be taking part in its first annual Lemonade Day – an extension of National Lemonade Day – in conjunction with a bunch of young entrepreneurs and Cadence Bank. The purpose of the vent is to help parents and their enterprising children learn more about running a business – both the good (profits) and the not so good (dealing with loans and permits). Signup is at 9AM sharp at the Glo office at 419 419 East Lampkin Street in Starkville.

Cadence Bank will be offering small loans to the participants to help them get started, and the organizers are set up to accept a hundred or so applicants: “Loosely, we’re thinking it will be for ages K-7th grade, but we’re not going to limit that if an older kid wants to participate,” said Jeffrey Rupp, Director of Outreach for the Mississippi State Entrepreneurship Center. “This is fun.” MSU and seventeen businesses have agreed to let the nascent shopkeepers set up on their sites.

Registrants will also receive a backpack with an entrepreneur workbook and access to an online interactive program that teaches them the lessons that Lemonade Day was designed to impart.

To learn more or to register for Lemonade Day Starkville, visit: https://lemonadeday.org/starkville

Please click here for the full article.

 

 

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Master Plan Has Been Approved for Starkville Athletic Complex

Master Plan Has Been Approved for Starkville Athletic Complex

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Starkville aldermen recently approved a contract with Dalhoff Thomas, a Memphis architecture firm. They are to be awarded $61,000  for a master plan of a proposed athletic complex at Cornerstone Park off Highway 25. Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker reports that this will become integrated with the master plan the city already has for its overall parks system. “This is for design purposes to get you to a master plan level,” he said. It is to be a basic, non-final plan/proposal for a possible athletic facility at Cornerstone Park, allowing the city to move ahead on getting the actual project in motion, pending approval.

Walker continued, “This is going to be the plan for us to decide how we want to do it, what we want to do and from that standpoint, there would be a separate contract that would go to construction documents to actually get the project built.” It will likely include things such as a projected square footage, drainage and other infrastructure requirements, et al.

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill (courtesy photo)

Mayor Lynn Spruill said that the city might be eligible to receive roughly 114 acres in Cornerstone Park from the Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority. “That gives us a whole lot of options we can use because we keep McKee, we keep the Sportsplex, and we have a real serious competitive opportunity we can use here,” she said. She also pointed out that success in this venture would eliminate the need to acquire similar land nearer the existing facilities: “Unless Cornerstone has … a huge wetland issue for mitigation, then the amount of acreage we were looking at (near the Sportsplex) was half of what we’d get at Cornerstone,” she said.

“We want to do high-end ball fields,” Spruill went on to say. “We want to be as competitive or more competitive than anyone out there. We want to do amenities to go with it — maybe a splash pad or a batting area. A jogging track — it’s very easy to put something around a facility to allow other facilities.”

Ward 5 Alderman Patrick Miller commented: “When the Outlaw Center at the Sportsplex fills up or there’s an event going on, I’d like to make sure that our youth or whoever it might have the opportunity to play basketball in other parts of the city as well and have good, nice facilities just like everywhere else in the city.”

Please click here for the full article.

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Orthodox Christians Now Have a Dedicated Place of Worship in Columbus

Orthodox Christians Now Have a Dedicated Place of Worship in Columbus

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Jason and Kelsey Bigelow are among a small, but  growing number of Orthodox Christians in the area who have long been seeking a permanent place of worship, rather than driving as far as Tupelo irregularly in order to have access to the services they want. They recently found that their numbers had grown large enough to found a local mission, and that a former Christian Science worship center was available for purchase – so they and their congregation did so. They now meet at the church on 4th Avenue North, which they have been extensively renovating. They are considered a Mission for now, as they are still working on the funding required to maintain a full-time priest, rather than having one come in once every 3-4 weeks, and having congregants preach in the meantime. They intend to begin holding formal worship services in July; they expect to begin with about thirty congregants.

“It’s a small world of Orthodox Christians in Mississippi,” said Columbus physician William Rosenblatt who bought the building along with Jason earlier this month. “Everyone kind of knows everyone. (When we) moved here, we knew … the Bigelows were in town. (We) put our heads together and said, ‘Look, we’ve got to do something. We can’t keep driving an hour and 45 minutes to church every Sunday.’ They had been looking at area buildings, just kind of thinking into the future, and we found this one, started getting the ball rolling.”

William Rosenblatt of Columbus does yard work outside the new Orthodox Church on Fourth Avenue North – credit – Isabelle Altman.jpg

“The first time you walk into an Orthodox Church that’s all set up, not like this,” Kelsey said, gesturing to the construction around her, “(but) with the candles and iconography and the singing, it’s overwhelming. If you have studied art and history, even if you don’t know anything about the Orthodox Church firsthand when you come in, you instantly see the beauty of the worship.”

“The building is sort of in the classic church configuration, a Latin cross plan,” Jason said. “So that’s what we would have built if we had built this from scratch.”

“Most people aren’t as fortunate,” Rosenblatt said. “They’re in a store front for a long time or something much less formal.”

“When you drive your kids an hour every other Sunday to go to church, and you can’t stay late for coffee hour because you’ve got to get back and do stuff or you can’t be there on Wednesday night and you can’t fully raise them in the church — to have a church that I can walk to is absolutely a miracle to me,” she said.  “It’s like having your grandma next door,” she added. “That’s the only thing I can liken it to. It’s like having your community, the things that matter to you (and are) close to you, within reach.”

“Everybody’s welcome,” Jason said. “It’s not just Orthodox — which we think there’s other area Orthodox. But this church is for everybody. … Everybody’s welcome that wants to learn about Jesus.”

Please click here for the full article.

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Weekend Sports Tournaments Expected to Draw Large Crowds

Weekend Soccer & Tennis Tourneys Expected to Draw Large Crowds

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Nancy Carpenter reports that “Every hotel room is sold out in Columbus,” in anticipation of this weekend’s soccer and tennis tournaments. Over five thousand vistitors are expected to come to town for the soccer tourney alone. The Admiral Cup Soccer Tournament will begin Saturday at 8 AM, and will continue throughout the weekend on fields at Columbus High School, Joe Cook Elementary and the Lowndes County Soccer Complex.

Greg Lewis, CRA Director

“Any time that we can bring that many people into our city that have to spend the night, stay in our hotels, they have to purchase our food, they have to buy our gas, that’s a tremendous plus for the city of Columbus,” said Greg Lewis, director of the Columbus Recreation Authority. “And that’s really one of the reasons that we bid on the tournament, to make sure that we get people to come into our town.”

About 450 players are expected for the weekend’s Mississippi Over 65 USTA League Championship tennis tournament at the Magnolia Tennis Club; anywhere from another 1~2,000 visitors are expected to come in tow or just to watch.

Both of these events are packing GTR hotels to their limits, and this also means more business at gas stations, grocery stores, local restaurants, and more! And THAT’S Good for Business!

Please click here for the full article.

 

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Bring Your Kids, Bring Your Cameras, and Come on Out to the XMAS Tree Lighting and Caroling Downtown!

Bring Your Kids and Come on Out to the XMAS Tree Lighting Downtown!

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Tonight is the annual lighting of the biggest and best Christmas tree around, says Main Street Columbus Executive Director Barbara Bigelow: “Everyone is invited to gather from 5:30-7 p.m. at the east end of the Tombigbee pedestrian bridge where the city will have one of the beautiful magnolia trees decorated.”

Kylee Price, then 3, is held up by her father Eliot Price during the 2015 Christmas tree lighting at the Riverwalk. This year’s official lighting festivities are Monday from 5:30-7 p.m. Photo Courtesy of The Dispatch

Fourth graders from Cook Elementary will be singing carols starting at 5:30PM, and Mayor Robert Smith will light the tree at about 6:15 p.m. Kids will be able to make craft items to take home, and everyone will have hot chocolate and cookies; representatives will also be accepting new, unwrapped toys for children aged 3 to 12 for the community toy drive.

Santa & Miz Claus will be on hand, along with a professional shutterbug to help preserve memories of the night’s festivities. Local event sponsors include Rex’s Rentals; Colin Krieger, RE/MAX Partners, Starkville-Columbus; DMayfield Photography; Visit Columbus; McAlister’s; and Coffeehouse on 5th.

“We hope everyone will bring their friends and families and enjoy this free community event,” said Bigelow. “This beautiful evening will give all kids, young and old, a wonderful, joyous time together — a night of family fun.”

Please click here to view the full article.

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