Category Archives: Columbus

New Process Steel Expansion Slated to Add Fifty Jobs

New Process Steel Expansion Slated to Add Fifty Jobs

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Joe Max Higgins, left, and Harry Sanders

During a recent board meeting, Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders confirmed that New Process Steel will start on its new expansion on the Steel Dynamics campus soon. Two loan resolutions were approved for the project on Monday – in addition to the approximately $1.7 million in grants and loans for the $7.5 million steel processing facility which were approved last month. In addition, it is expected that the project will require $750 thousand in Development Infrastructure Program grants from the Mississippi Development Authority for road improvements, and up to $1 million in a state loan to pay for a rail spur from the railway near the SDI campus.

“This just goes to show that Columbus is a good place for industry,” Sanders said. “It’s great that we can have some expansion from people who are already here. Most of the emphasis is on getting new people and new industry, but this is an older industry that’s been here and evidently they’re real happy with what’s here and they decided to expand their operation.”

The Board also discussed, and temporarily tabled, a proposal to hire former CLRA Executive Director as the county’s interim recreation manager. The matter will be taken up in their next regular meeting, once they are able to formulate a proper job description for the position.

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SDI Paint Facility in Columbus Now Open for Business

SDI Paint Facility in Columbus Now Open for Business

“The opening of this new paint facility is a significant milestone for Steel Dynamics and the people of the Golden Triangle region, as it represents the company’s commitment to doing business in Lowndes County and creating jobs for the area’s workforce,” Governor Bryant said.

“The Paint Line project will improve the Columbus Flat Roll Division’s competitiveness and sustainability in our steel markets,” said Madhu Ranade, vice president and general manager of Steel Dynamics, Flat Roll Group, Columbus Division. “We’re grateful to the state of Mississippi, MDA, Lowndes County, TVA and ARC for their continued partnership as we expand in Columbus.”

The Mississippi Development Authority helped with infrastructure improvements, rail construction and workforce training. The Tennessee Valley Authority, Appalachian Regional Commission and the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors also provided assistance for the project.

“Sustainable growth in economic development is achievable in our state when all levels of government work together to create a business environment in which companies can achieve their goals,” said MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough, Jr. “MDA congratulates SDI and our partners at the Golden Triangle Development LINK, Lowndes County, TVA, ARC and the Lowndes County Industrial Development Authority on this momentous occasion.”

The facility’s new paint line has an annual coating capacity of 250,000 tons.

Please click here for the full article.

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Bargain Hunt, Vapezy Open; LA Shrimp Shack Shutters its Doors

THE DISPATCH

In mid-February The Dispatch brought us the news that Bargain Hunt would be opening in Columbus in the former Southern Family Market location next to K-Mart. The store is now preparing for a grand opening to be held on March 17. Their new Columbus location is in addition to their existing one in Starkville, and more than sixty others nationwide.

The store’s hours will be 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays. It will bring 25 new jobs to the area.

Highway 45 gained another new attraction in the form of Vapezy, a premium e-liquid and supply store located at 1909-B Hwy. 45 N.  Billy and Andrea Ezell opened Vapezy in September of last year.  The couple are originally from Webster County, where they became friends through the medium of vaping, that is, the enjoyment of vapor-producing electronic cigarettes.

“We want to present a greater sense of community than other shops,” Ezell said regarding the store’s future. “That’s what the vape scene is really about.”

While currently operating out of the store’s front section, there are plans to add a lounge into the 1,800 square-foot building. The store carries eight different lines of e-liquid and plans to expand to carry numerous vaping devices, from starter to advanced level, alongside additional e-liquids.  Vapezy is open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Finally, the Louisiana Shrimp Shack quietly closed its doors on Feb. 21.  The Shrimp Shack originally opened Sept. 8, 2016, with Kenny Whitey, a fisherman from New Orleans, as owner. It was located at 1909-A Hwy. 45 N. and enjoyed much praise from locals for its fresh from the gulf seafood and “straight-outta-the-bayou” home-cooking.  Whitey said the travel to and from the shack was too much for the family to maintain.

http://cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=56789

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CPD Looking to Community for Involvement, Recruitment

K. B. Turner (courtesy photo)

CPD Looking to Community for Involvement, Recruitment
THE DISPATCH

At a series of public meetings held in each ward throughout the month of February, police consultant K.B. Turner and other city administrators heard from citizens about concerns and suggestions for improving public safety in the city: “I’m still very encouraged by what I have heard from the meetings during last month. Citizens have come out to express themselves and they honored my request … not to just talk about their frustrations but also to provide some recommendations and some suggestions as well,” Turner said.

“I think the meetings went well,” CPD Chief Oscar Lewis agreed. “There were different things that came out of the meetings. … It was far-reaching as far as community concerns.”

In order to best assess the local community’s concerns and ideas, Turner had attendees fill out surveys about crime and safety in the city, getting input on concerns ranging from concerns about drugs and gangs to the last time the person filling out the survey talked to a police officer to whether street lighting is adequate.  Turner got approximately 180 surveys back from the six meetings.

He spoke of his initial findings to date, pending a more in-depth analysis to come: “How was it different between Ward 1 and Ward 6, for example? How about people who are retired versus those who are working? What about those who are below the age of 30 versus those who are over age 30?” Turner said.

Turner says that he plans to keep getting civilians involved with CPD.  He was able to get roughly thirty volunteers signed up between the six meetings, though several others have also expressed interest in helping out. These civilians might be called upon to assist with traffic stops, clerical work, and other such things, so that they may help without placing themselves in danger.

“They would be in a non law enforcement capacity,” Turner said. “They will not have access to weapons or any other items that identify them as a law enforcement officer. A lot of (what they do) will be clerical in nature.”

In addition, he remarked that “We’re going to continue to engage in what I call this ‘aggressive’ form of recruiting for new officers.” About 50 people attended a CPD Career Day on February 25, Turner said. According to CPD’s Twitter, the department handed out 45 applications in about four hours. Before the day was up, 15 had been filled out and returned, City Public Information Officer Joe Dillon said, while more have come in since.  Turner plans to hold another career day on March 25 — and it won’t be the last, he added. Dillon said the department will coordinate with universities to determine a good time closer to graduation when potential applicants could attend a career day.

Turner also wants to recruit from universities and military bases and institutions. He wants everyone who might be interested to know CPD is hiring officers.

“In terms of the future, we are going to continue to look ahead,” he added. “…What can we do for 2017 to enhance conditions to make sure we improve upon our staffing numbers and make this place a greater place to live? In terms of the department, we’re going to make Columbus the department destination for folks who want to work as an officer.”

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LC Supervisors Have Approved Funding for Job Development at Steel Dynamics’ Industrial Park

LC Supervisors Have Approved Funding for Job Development at Steel Dynamics’ Industrial Park

LOWNDES COUNTY – Courtesy of The Dispatch

GTR LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins reports that Lowndes County supervisors unanimously approved more than $1.7 million in grants and loans for a company to build a $7.5 million new facility on the Steel Dynamics, Inc. campus at the industrial park west of Columbus. Some further funding will be required, but this gets the ball rolling in a major way, and opens the door to new facilities (including a railroad spur) which should provide at least fifty local jobs.

Joe Max Higgins, left, and Harry Sanders

“They need to ship out product by rail,” Higgins said. “And there needs to be an improved road to where they can do truck deliveries out as well . . .  The steel’s made on campus, so it’s just taken up there and processed,” he added. “But then it will go out by train to those customers who want train delivery or by truck for those of them who want trucking.”

“[The new company will] basically take steel that SDI makes and further process it into what I understand is a consumer product,” Higgins said. “It’s about a $7.5 million investment that’ll create 50 jobs, and I think that’s (the job count) a conservative number — I think it could go higher . . . It’s not a Steel Dynamics project, but it’s a result of Steel Dynamics being here,” Higgins went on to say. “Quite frankly, it’s a result of the new paint line that they’re fixing to put online. This is probably the first new business that you can directly attribute to the new paint line.”

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Nursing Program at The W Named One of the Very Best In Mississippi

Nursing Program at The W Named One of the Very Best In Mississippi

PRESS RELEASE – MISSISSIPPI UNIVERSITY FOR WOMEN

COLUMBUS, Miss —

Success on the National Council Licensure Examination earned Mississippi University for Women’s nursing school a high score from Registerednursing.org.

Ranking The W’s programs No. 2 out of the state’s 23 programs, Registerednursing.org examined the university’s NCLEX-RN pass rates for the past five years with the more recent passing rates weighting more.

“This is a significant recognition of the excellence of our nursing programs and we are honored to continue to gain national recognition,” said Dr. Shelia Adams, dean of the College of Nursing and Speech-Language Pathology. “Our program equips today’s nurses with the skills and knowledge needed to deliver the superior level of care needed in today’s complex healthcare system.”

Registerednursing.org cited that NCLEX-RN pass rates are one of the best ways to determine a nursing program’s student preparedness. If schools had the same overall NCLEX-RN pass rate after being analyzed, additional characteristics were then considered, including the number of students taking the exam and the number of years of exam data available. Of the top ranked schools, The W was the only university to host both an associate of science in nursing and bachelor of science in nursing program.

Scoring a 98.01, RegisteredNursing.org found The W to be home to excellent nursing degree programs where nursing students learn to integrate clinical excellence with advanced practical concepts to advance the nursing profession.

“We are consistently high in all these areas due to the dedicated faculty, staff and department chairs who are willing to mentor and help our students succeed,” added Adams.

Registerednursing.org looks to promote excellence in nursing through enabling future nurses with the tools they need to succeed.

via   http://www.muw.edu/news/4185-website-ranks-w-s-nursing-program-one-of-the-best-in-state

 

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City of Columbus Waives Debt for Local Business

City of Columbus Waives Debt for Local Business

THE DISPATCH –

The city of Columbus has agreed to forgive about $80,000 clothing manufacturer American Power Source, located at 826 17th Ave. S., owes on its property note. In exchange, the company must pay property taxes and note payments that are delinquent and keep its employment at a minimum of 30 jobs. Photo by: Alex Holloway/Dispatch Staff

City Attorney Jeff Turnage reported that the city and Golden Triangle Development LINK worked out an agreement which would see military clothing manager American Power Source Inc. repay roughly $66,000 worth of back taxes and note payments to the city, the county, and the city school district, in exchange for the deed to the manufacturer’s property and other considerations. The agreement also requires that the company continue to do business at their current location, as well as maintaining current employment for local workers.

“In the past three to four years,” the agreement states, “APSI has unfortunately experienced a substantial reduction in orders and sales volume for U.S. military uniforms that it produces due, at least in part, to a shift in the production of such uniforms to U.S. prisons.”   Because of slumping production, American Power Source has missed several note payments and ad valorem tax payments for 2014-16. The resolution notes a “substantial likelihood” the company would fail to make the remaining note payments.

Ward 4 Councilman Marty Turner, who cast the one opposing vote, did so because he said he didn’t feel it was in the best interest of his ward or the city as a whole. He encouraged people to research the company and agreement, and said he felt more people should have been involved before the final decision.  “It could have been much better if more people were involved for the disclosure of what was going on,” Turner said. “It could have been much better. I don’t just necessarily disagree with everything, but if we would have had a better deal, then I would have went along with it . . .It seems like the government is leaving the ordinary people out of the discussion, and their representatives are just voting just to vote,” he added.

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New Businesses Coming to Columbus, New Hope, Starkville

New Businesses Coming to Columbus, New Hope, Starkville

Courtesy of THE DISPATCH

Caleb Sherman of The Dispatch

New businesses are in the process of opening up shop for the convenience of customers!

In Columbus, Bargain Hunt is moving into the old Southern Family location next to K-Mart on 45

In New Hope, Starkville’s Smartphone Doctor will be adding a new location in the Lehmberg Crossing shopping center on Alabama St.

Starkville’s Main Street will be getting “Pop Porium,” a gourmet popcorn, sno-ball, and soda fountain featuring homemade syrup flavors. They hope to have a hundred varieties of popcorn available for sale by the end of the year, based on customer feedback; they plan to open soon with fifty.

Read the full article here: http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=56294

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Joe Max Higgins Helps Golden Triangle to Make a Great Impression

Joe Max Higgins Helps Golden Triangle to Make a Great Impression

“Business Facilities” magazine did a great article following up on CBS’ coverage of our own Joe Max Higgins not too long ago, highlighting his zeal and efforts in bringing manufacturing plants and jobs to our area. Higgins has been working tirelessly for many years to help revitalize our area — and that’s Good for Business!


Excerpt:

Thanks to an interview on last Sunday’s 60 Minutes broadcast on CBS, the economic development community has a new mega-star, and his name is Joe Max Higgins. Higgins is Economic Development director for Mississippi’s Golden Triangle.

As revealed during his star turn on 60 Minutes, Higgins is a project-building dynamo. Since he arrived in the Golden Triangle in 2003, Joe Max has turned a rural stretch of the Magnolia State into one of the hottest high-growth locations you can find anywhere. If you didn’t watch Sunday’s show, we encourage you to check it out.

Here are some highlights:

Under Joe Max Higgin’s leadership, the area has attracted $6 billion in new investments. Unemployment in the Golden Triangle is now 6 percent and falling fast.

Beginning in the 1990s, the Golden Triangle began suffering an exodus of manufacturing jobs in its primary industries of textiles, toys and tubing, with a majority of the estimated 12,000 jobs it lost leaving for overseas locations. Since Higgins arrived, more than half of these jobs have been replaced. According to Joe Max, the influx of 6,000 new manufacturing jobs to the tri-county region was driven by companies who had offshored production coming to the realization that they could produce their goods and get them to market from plants in Mississippi cheaper than by shipping them to the U.S. from overseas plants.

Joe Max’s in-your-face approach has landed some killer deals for the Golden Triangle, including a Steel Dynamics plant that is one of the most advanced steel mills in the nation.

Higgins’ bulldog tenacity is applied to state and county officials as well as corporate site selectors. He’s succeeded in convincing them to pony up more than half a billion in incentives and tax breaks to grease the wheels of dealmaking in the Golden Triangle.

Higgins told 60 Minutes that when he arrived in the Golden Triangle the area was “paralyzed” by poverty. But he saw some golden assets that could form a foundation for solid growth, including an airport, railways and waterways that connect the area to the Gulf Coast in the south and the Great Lakes in the north.

Higgins told the locals to shake off what he called “a losing attitude” and realize they had the assets to make the Triangle “big and strong and fast.”

Bulldog indeed. You’ve got our full attention Joe Max, and we look forward to keeping everyone up to date on the great progress being made in Mississippi’s Golden Triangle.

 

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Developer has Plans to Restore Historic Turn of the Century Hotels to their Original Look

Developer has Plans to Restore Historic Turn of the Century Hotels to their Original Look

On the corner of 5th Street South and 3rd Avenue South in Columbus lie a couple of hotels which once served the area well back in the early 1900’s. They have become other businesses over the past century, and have been owned by the Mackay family during most of that time. Recently, the Mackays, proprietors of Party and Paper, sold the properties to developers Tommy Howard and Chris Chain. The new owners have announced their plans to restore the former hotels to their turn-of-the-century glory. They’ve got their work cut out for them, but it is their hope that they will be able to pull it off, bringing back a long-forgotten piece of Columbus’ history to downtown. With luck, this will help to beautify the area even further, and bring in more tourists and fans of historical buildings to the area. And that’s Good for Business!

Courtesy of The Dispatch – COLUMBUS

At the end of the strip of downtown buildings on the west side of the 200 block of Fifth Street South are two buildings more than 100 years old. The buildings used to be the New Stone Hotel and the Arcade Hotel in the early 1900s, and also played host to retail spaces and apartments. The new owners, developers Tommy Howard and Chris Chain, would like to bring all of that back.

Susan Mackay of Party and Paper (photo courtesy The Dispatch)

Susan Mackay of Party and Paper (photo courtesy The Dispatch)

Susan Mackay said she and her brother Wayne Price sold the buildings because they felt the two developers would restore the buildings to their more original, early twentieth-century look. “I’m so pleased to have some people that are going to come in that have a beautiful vision to renovate the buildings and just make it a real showplace for Columbus and the state of Mississippi,” Susan said. “I’m just really excited for all the possibilities.”

Preparation for the renovations is already under way, which means cleanup on a large, but cautious, scale. Bathrooms in the buildings that haven’t been used since the ’60s still have claw-foot tubs, and crews found a torn, yellowed Commercial Dispatch newspaper featuring President Harry Truman on the front page in one of the old apartments. An old New Stone Hotel sign was found in the upstairs wall. It now leans against the wall of the old hotel lobby where you can still see railings around where the grand staircase once stood.

The developers plan to make a boutique hotel from a good portion of the usable space, once all is said and done; they also plan to use some of the space for apartments, and possibly some for retail space, such as a new restaurant, as well. “You’ve got to have vision,” Howard said. “If you saw this building, you’d have been like, ‘Really?’ … But you’ve got to see their potential.”

The renovations are expected to take many months to a year; Party and Paper will stay there for the time being, renting out space from the new owners.

Chain is the owner of Renovations of Mississippi Inc., which he started in 1996. A Columbus native, he said his interest in historical buildings was piqued in the ’70s when he worked as a tour guide in Columbus’s old homes. Now he owns eight downtown buildings in addition to the ones Mackay and Price sold him and has renovated buildings all over the state.

“This is a passion,” he said. “…Rebuilding Mississippi’s heritage.”

 

For more info and the full article, click here: http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=54327

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