Category Archives: Golden Triangle

Ground Broken on EMCC’s $42mil Communiversity Facility

By Golden Triangle Development LINK

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – On Friday morning, December 9, local, state and federal agencies gathered to break ground on the Golden Triangle’s newest workforce development project, The Communiversity.

EMCC Communiversity Groundbreaking. Courtesy The GTR LINK

EMCC Communiversity Groundbreaking. Courtesy The GTR LINK

A $42+ million dollar project, the facility will be East Mississippi Community College’s state-of-the-art workforce technical training facility at the Golden Triangle Campus. Community groups began working on the project in December 2013. Funding for the project is sourced from state bonds ($18M), the Appalachian Regional Commission ($10.7M), local community funds from Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha Counties ($13.5) and EMCC ($400K).

The new facility includes an interactive, museum style lobby and 21 high bay learning areas, a manufacturing display venue, classrooms and laboratories, and incubator bays for new start-ups. The 16 classroom spaces will be equipped with the latest in A/V technology. The facility will also include office, conference, and food service collaboration spaces for EMCC and other entities. The project consists of 145,638 square feet.

“Federal, state, and local agencies have come together to invest in the workforce here in east Mississippi and we could not be more pleased,” said Dr. Thomas Huebner, East Mississippi Community College President. “This project is a game changer in workforce education and development and we are excited about the opportunities it represents for the communities we serve.”

Both non-credit workforce classes and career technical programs leading to the Associate of Applied Science Degree will be offered.  Construction is under way and is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

“This facility will put the Golden Triangle on the cutting edge of workforce training,” said Joe Max Higgins, Jr., CEO of the Golden Triangle Development LINK. “Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties should be commended for investing in their citizens. The Communiversity will be a massive asset to industrial recruitment and our existing industries.”

Read the full press release here:

Share This Post:

Black Friday Shopping Guide

cvb-logo-from-websiteBlack Friday Shopping Guide


A number of stores will be open today with special hours in order to accommodate anxious shoppers. Please be careful out there! Here are some things to look out for:


  • Heavy vehicle traffic. Be ready for long lines at stoplights and other drivers who may be a bit too anxious. Just be patient, and do your best to use alternate routes. Need to go clear across town? Try the I-82 instead of Main/182, or 7th St instead of Military or 45.
  • Parking. Our malls usually have plenty of room, but be prepared to wait, and watch out for aggressive drivers trying to find juuuust the right spot– especially at busier stores such as Wal-Mart. Be willing to park closer to the street and walk the extra 20 seconds from there – after all, you’ll be spending much more time than that inside! Keep an eagle eye out for the increased pedestrian traffic, too, and remember to ALWAYS yield to pedestrians!
  • Other people, both inside and outside of the stores. It’ll be busy! Be patient, be kind, and please understand that the other shoppers AND the store workers are just as anxious as you are to get out of there. Be nice to the workers, especially; they’re gonna be even more stressed out than you are!
  • Be ready for restaurants of all kinds to be packed full of weary shoppers. If a venue’s parking lot is full, chances are they have a line out the door, and that there will be a looooong wait to be seated. This goes double from around 11AM~1PM at many “sit-down” restaurants. Consider another places to grab a bite. Better yet, eat at home before you go, and have one less long line to deal with!
  • While some places have doorbuster sales, most of those sales – along with almost all of those items – are long gone now. Many of the specials you find today will reappear on Cyber Monday in a couple of days, especially for electronics.
  • No matter what you do, stay safe!
  • Consider avoiding all of this hassle altogether and simply shopping online at a store’s site, or a place such as
  • The Dispatch has been kind enough to research a list of local vendors  open for extended hours on Black Friday. Most will have sales going on:

 Ashley Homestore: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday

PetSmart: 7a.m.-9 p.m. Friday

GameStop: 5 a.m.- 9 p.m. Friday

It’s Fashion Metro: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday

Burke’s Outlet: 5 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday

RadioShack: 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday

Hobby Lobby: 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday

Cato: 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday

Cowboy Maloney’s: 7 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday

Office Depot: 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday

T.J.Maxx: 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday

Mattress Firm: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday

Share This Post:

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:

Share This Post:

Starkville Mayor Wiseman Declines to Seek Re-Election

Starkville Mayor Wiseman Declines to Seek Re-Election
STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Parker Wiseman, Starkville’s 28-year-old current Mayor, has announced that he has decided to step down from office after his current term expires on June 30, 2017; he will have served in the position for eight years as of that time. He told The Dispatch that he has  accomplished a large amount of the agenda he set when entering public service seven years ago. Also, he and his wife, Lindsey, are expecting their third child this spring.

Starkvile Mayor Parker Wiseman (courtesy of the Dispatch)

Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman (courtesy of The Dispatch)

“It hasn’t been an easy decision at all, because I really, really love the job. This is something that Lindsey and I have talked about a lot, because this is a job that requires tremendous sacrifices from the whole family,” he said. “The only way I know to do this is with a full heart in pursuit of an agenda I feel passionate about. I just have very mixed feelings right now about the future, because I think it’s time for me to make sure I can give my family all the time I can.

“We set an agenda … and I’m proud of those accomplishments, including having a thriving downtown, developing a high quality of life in the community, strengthening local and regional partnerships and upgrading our city facilities,” Wiseman added. “By in large, we’ve accomplished what we’ve set out to do.”

He has not yet decided for certain whether he plans to seek office in the future. However, for the time being, he wants to devote all of his energies to his growing family.

For more info and the full article, please click here:

Share This Post:

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.

For full article and more information, click here:

Share This Post:

Good Eats in Starkville to Help You Face the Day

wcbi-logo-wblack-box-smallCommodore Bob’s in Starkville does a thriving business dishing up fantastic grub at lunch and dinner, as well as a Sunday brunch for all comers. They serve plenty of locals, students, and tourists, so you’d better get there early or you might not find a seat! They and other restaurants help to keep Starkville fed and happy, and that’s Good for Business!

Today, their head chef demonstrates how to make an indulgent “grown-up’s ham & cheese sandwich” – the classic Croque Monsieur.

Commodore Bob’s Yacht Club is located at 102 Rue du Grand Fromage, Suites C & D, Starkville, MS 39759   –   (662) 268-8326

Courtesy of WCBI – Click the link below to view video:

Share This Post:

The Importance of Community Banks

The Importance of Community Banks

As many people have weighed their large, regional or nationwide banks and found them wanting, more and more people are turning to smaller community banks. These smaller ones are often run by familiar members of the community, which helps to bolster trust in them in an era where the largest of the large banks still exist only because they were given vast amounts of taxpayers’ money. Community banks have their focus on the local people and heir needs – that’s good for their patrons, and that’s Good for Business!


Bank of Vernon CEO Andy Johnson (WCBI)

Bank of Vernon CEO Andy Johnson (WCBI)

Bank of Vernon recently opened its doors in Caledonia for the first time. “In rural areas there is a movement for community banks to do well,” said Bank of Vernon CEO Andy Johnson. “We have all the technology that the larger banks have. We focus on having all those things; mobile banking, online banking, good payment systems and we want all our customers to have all those items and it is an expense but it’s something that if you want to stay in business you have to provide as a bank.”

Bank of Vernon, like many other smaller banks, is striving to bring the conveniences granted by the big boys to their towns, while still maintaining the level of customer service and special attention that they community needs.

According to the Independent Community Banking of America, there are 92 community banks in Mississippi with 731 branches.

For more info and the full article, click here:

Share This Post:

Tax Incentive Back on the Agenda for Wal-Mart in Northern Starkville

Tax Incentive Back on the Docket for Wal-Mart in Northern Starkville

A proposal to add a tax increment, which was shot down several months ago, will be back on the Agenda for the Starkville Board of Aldermen in a couple of weeks. The intention is to provide money to help set up proper infrastructure and other construction-related costs to allow a new Wal-Mart to be built on the North side of Starkville, which has gone without a convenient option for grocery shopping for decades. A number of elderly residents seem to welcome the idea of a new store, even if it means higher taxes – and, if it works, it could help to bring in other stores, as well…And That’s Good for Business!

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – starkville-story-wcbi-wm

A proposed Neighborhood Walmart store in Starkville will be back on the board of aldermen’s agenda when they meet again. If they approve the project, there would be a $1.3 million dollar tax increment to finance it.

A twenty-minute trip to the grocery store may not seem long, but resident June Carpenter says it is for most elderly. For 50 years, Carpenter has lived in Starkville, and has spent most of her time living on the northeastern side, where there hasn’t been a near by grocery for decades. She stated, “Really, I don’t like the idea of paying the TIF, but the problem is the city leaders have paid the TIF to have businesses on the west side of town, so now it’s time for them to equal it out, and pay the TIF to have stores on our side of town.”

Alderwoman Lisa Wynn says the town needs Walmart, more than Walmart needs Starkville. That’s why the city needs to prepare to provide some tax incentives: “The soil is not of good quality, it would have to be removed. We’re talking about construction of a street. The sewer would have to be developed in that area. Smaller businesses wouldn’t be able to afford that, and even if a developer were to come in and want to do it, I can assure you he will be asking us for TIF also.”

The project will be brought up again for discussion on November 15th.

Click here for more info and the full article:

Share This Post:

It’s Time To Batten Down the Hatches and Make Sure Your Home is Ready for Winter

It’s Time To Batten Down the Hatches and Make Sure Your Home is Ready for Winter

Even here in the South, we still need to worry about the winter cold. Fortunately, the same steps we take to keep out the winter chill can also help to stave off the worst of the summer scorch! Read on for more details.

Courtesy of
Last year, most of us in the colder states got lucky with one of the warmest winters on record. We didn’t have to crank the heat and cheaper fuel prices staved off high utility bills. But we might not be so lucky this year. Although no one can never truly predict the exact weather months in advance, The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting “exceptionally cold” weather for most areas of the U.S. and some pundits are predicting increased utility costs as a result.

According to the laws of physics, if it’s colder outside, heat will always leave your house without a proper barrier to block its departure, and “experts estimate that 40 million single-family homes in the U.S. need more insulation,” according to Black Hills Energy, which provides gas and utilities to some of the colder states, such as Wyoming, where January temperatures can hover around -5 degrees.

Insulate just about everywhere. Things like improperly installed ceiling fans, chimneys and improperly insulated ducts can whisk heat away and cost you up to 30% of your house’s heating (or cooling) energy, and a whopping 30% of your energy costs could be saved by better insulating your attic or top floor, according to Black Hills Energy. They also state that another 20% of energy can be contained by insulating your exterior walls. And insulating the floor areas over crawl spaces, basements and garages can save another 8% if you insulate properly.
Some insulation jobs might need a professional, and if you’re choosing an insulation contractor, get a few estimates. Once you decide, make sure the contract includes the job specification, cost, method of payment and warranty information provided by the insulation material manufacturer, according to the Insulator Contractors of America. Keep in mind that some types of insulation are better for different areas of the house, and make sure that your contract lists the type of insulation to be used and where it will be used, and that each type of insulation is listed by R-value (which indicates resistance to the passage of heat).

Take a look at your windows, as well. Heat escapes through a single pane of glass almost 14 times faster than through a well-insulated wall, according to Black Hills Energy.

If boosting your home’s energy efficiency seems like too much of a financial hurdle, the Department of Energy has a Weatherization Assistance Program which, according to its website, “provides funding to states, territories and tribal governments to improve the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income families, persons with disabilities and senior citizens.” It’s also wise to check with your utility provider since programs are also offered through many utility companies and there may be state programs to assist you as well.

When buying appliances, seek Energy Star labels that indicate lower energy usage, and make sure your lint trap and exhaust trap are cleaned to prevent fire hazards and keep the dryer from working so hard.
Reducing your water heater down to 120 degrees, or turning it off when it’s not needed, can save you more than 20% on energy, according the U.S. Department of Energy. And some appliances and electronics still draw electricity when they’re not in use. Unplugging them or confining them to a power strip that you can flip on and off can help you to lower your utility bill. Also turn off lights when leaving a room, use timers on holiday lights and switch out old, fluorescent bulbs, recommended Rovito.
8. Put Weather Stripping Around Doors

If you can see daylight around your doorframe, or can feel a draft around a gap, get some weather stripping from the hardware store. “A half-inch gap around your door would be the same as a softball-sized hole in your door to let that cold air in,” Morgenstern said.

Residents in some states spend more on their utilities than others, and, if you’re new to an area, or considering a new house and mortgage, it helps to know what an average utility bill will be for your source of fuel so that you can budget ahead. (You can check out our housing cost tool here for more budget planning.) It also helps to know your credit history, because some utility companies will charge you a larger down payment if your credit isn’t stellar. (You can get a snapshot of your credit report for free every 14 days on

There is a free option that many utility companies offer that levels out your bills so that you don’t have to go into debt, overburden your credit card or become a holiday spending scrooge when you face a large utility bill. It works by mashing up your utility bills over the last year and averaging them into one consistent amount for each month.

For more details and the full article, click here:

Share This Post:

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.”

For more info and the full article, click here:

Share This Post: