Category Archives: Columbus

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



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

Ranking The W’s programs No. 2 out of the state’s 23 programs, 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.” 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, 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. looks to promote excellence in nursing through enabling future nurses with the tools they need to succeed.



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City of Columbus Waives Debt for Local Business

City of Columbus Waives Debt for Local Business


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.

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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!


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.”


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Toy Drives Are Ramping Up to Help Community Children

Toy Drives Are Ramping Up to Help Community Children

The CPD, the Salvation Army, and other organizations are all working hard to get their respective toy drives in gear to provide a little something special for an unprecedented number of children this Christmas. Read on to see how you can help out!

Courtesy of The Dispatch —

CPD Toy Drive

The Columbus Police Department has been taking applications for the annual Toy Drive recently, and will soon be putting out donation boxes in which donors can place new, unwrapped toys. Those who wish to apply to be recipients have until Noon Thursday to come to the Municipal Complex to do so. Applicants for CPD’s drive must present picture identification, proof they live within the city limits (such as a utility bill), their child’s Social Security card or birth certificate and an official document proving custody, such as a school insurance card.

“We protect and serve, so this is the part (of our job) that we like to give back,” Community-Oriented Policing officer Rhonda Sanders said. She reports that they were able to give out toys to roughly 375 kids last year, thanks in large part to the CMSD’s becoming involved with the project two years ago: “Since the school system has gotten involved, the toy drive has really grown,” she said.

Beginning in late November, schools, banks, and the Municipal Complex will all have donation boxes in place.  Those who want to get involved in the CPD’s toy drive can also opt to pay $50 to help pay for a child’s brand new bicycle from Huffy Bikes, Sanders said.

Angel Tree

Rhonda Sanders, left, and Cheryl Phillips. Courtesy of The Dispatch

Rhonda Sanders, left, and Cheryl Phillips. Courtesy of The Dispatch

More than 300 children are already signed up to receive gifts from the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree, which will be set up in Leigh Mall on Friday, said Salvation Army Major Cheryl Phillips.  Tags with the specific items requested will be on the tree, so that shoppers can go and purchase those gifts. “People love when they know what the child likes,” Phillips said. “That makes it really special. People enjoy it because it’s such a personal way to help a child.”

The SA has also been conducting its “adopt a family” program, as usual, where businesses help to provide a Christmas for needy families, and community members can stop by the SA office at 2219 Main Street to drop off new gifts and pick up stockings to fill.

The Salvation Army and CPD will coordinate to ensure there is no duplication of names on the toy lists of each organization, Sanders said.

“We want to be able to give kids something, give them ownership of something — something nice, something to have pride in, something their own,” Sanders said.

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Palmer Home Teens Working Hard to Help Nonprofit

Palmer Home Teens Working Hard to Help Nonprofit

Teens from Palmer Home for Children are working hard to support their home and others like it, while learning real-world skills in customer service, in order to prepare them for life as young adults. And that’s Good for Business!

Courtesy of The Dispatch

palmer-homeTeenage residents of Columbus’ Palmer Home for Children have been helping fans on MSU game day to find parking at Cadence Bank, right across the street from The Mill. The teens collect the $20 parking fees – all of which goes to the Palmer Home locations in Columbus and Hernando, as well as a partner location in Tennessee. In addition to helping them to raise much-needed funding, it also raises awareness of the fact that the children’s homes even exist. The local Palmer Home provides a home, food, clothing, and education for about 112 local children who might not otherwise have had ready access to any of those things.

Tom Green, director of operations and facilities at Palmer Home, supervises the children as they provide the service. “The objective is to get these young (people) in a different social environment, let them present themselves, let them talk to the patrons of the parking lot,” Green said. “But, most important, it teaches them life skills of engaging with people, making change and giving instructions.”

Marketing director Kellum Kim said that the Palmer Parking project, which began during the 2014 season, has raised about $30,000 in that time, or about $2,500 per game.
“It’s important for them to learn just that face-to-face interaction in a business setting,” Kim said. “A lot of our kids do have after-school jobs or volunteer in other capacities, so it’s not just like they’re here on our campus never socializing with the outside world. But a lot of their jobs are here on our campus.”

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MUW Adds New Member to its Athletic Staff

MUW Adds New Member to its Athletic Staff

The W, which has been beefing up its athletics program recently, just added a new shining star to their pool of talented individuals. Brooke Beasley was both a star athlete, and a star student during her time at Alabama State. She will now use her backgrounds in athletics, accounting, and business to help The W reach even greater heights. She and the school are – without a doubt – good for Columbus, and that’s Good for Business!


Columbus, Miss. – W Athletics has named Brooke Beasley as the assistant director of athletics.

Brooke Beaasley, Athletic Director at The W (courtesy photo)

Brooke Beasley, Athletic Director at The W (courtesy photo)

“We are very fortunate to have Brooke join our staff.  Her vast experience working in the business department for athletics at Alabama State and her most recent work in financial aid compliance will be a tremendous asset to our growing staff,” said Jason Trufant.  “A former standout volleyball student-athlete at Alabama State University, Brooke will also assist our women’s volleyball program and head coach Roxanne Hernandez.”

Prior to joining The W, Beasley worked as a compliance specialist at Wallace State Community College where she performed Title IV federal financial aid calculations, monitored compliance with federal and state requirements and assisted students with the day-to-day financial aid process.

“I am excited by the opportunity that The W presents. Reviving an athletics program is a huge undertaking, but it is also very exciting to reestablish something that is such an important part campus,” said Beasley. “The W already has such a rich history, and reestablishing the athletic program is one of those history making moments. Anyone would be blessed to be a part of this amazing opportunity.”

Formerly at Alabama State University, Beasley served as athletics business manager which included reporting monthly and annual expenses forecast and assisting with ticket distribution, game day operations and NCAA compliance.

As a Division I student athlete, Beasley was captain of the Lady Hornet Volleyball team at Alabama State University and named 2012 Southwestern Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year, two-time Southwestern Athletic Conference Champion and Capital One Academic All-District team for two consecutive seasons. As a volleyball player at Wallace State, Beasley was selected for the 2011 ACCC/Region 22 Tournament MVP and 1st team All-Region.

She holds a master of accountancy and bachelor of science in accounting from Alabama State University, where she graduated with a 4.0.

Beasley officially started her role as assistant athletics director on Oct. 24.

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Joe Max Makes the Mississippi Top 50

Joe Max Makes the Mississippi Top 50

Columbus – Courtesy of MS Top 50

joe max higgins

GTR LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins (courtesy photo)

Local businessman and GTR LINK CEO, Joe Max Higgins, will soon be inducted into this year’s “Top 50 Most Influential people in the state of Mississippi.” He has taken part in the efforts to bring major businesses such as Yokohama and PACCAR to our area, as well as a number of other economic developments. He will be receiving his award on Nov. 9 of this year at the Old Capitol Inn, along with the rest of the winners of this special award.

Please see the link below for more info and for the full article:

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