Category Archives: Golden Triangle

Inventive MSU Students Turning Golf Carts into Gold

Inventive MSU Students Turning Golf Carts into Gold

STARKVILLE, MS – Starkville Daily News

CFO Cameron Maddox, 19, left, and COO James Moore, 19, of Cowbell Carts (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)

MSU students Sophomores James Moore and Cameron Maddox are launching Starkville’s first micro-transportation system, called “Cowbell Carts.” Each of their two carts (at the moment) can seat six passengers comfortably, and the young men plan to use them to help people travel safely during busy times hours, e.g. acting as designated drivers, shuttling people to big games from distant parking lots, etc. Their initial coverage area will include primarily MSU’s campus, the Cotton District, and Main Street. The cost for a ride for a group of people from Main Street to the dorms will be about $8 total.

“I think we are really going to provide a service that not only makes everyone safer, but it’s going to be really fun and entertaining,” Moore said. He went on to say that their company was inspired by the observation that college towns, such as Starkville, tend to have a vibrant night life; thus, the decision was made to offer a low-cost, safe way to get people where they’re going while they’re out on the town.

While not everyone has been as enthusiastic about the prospects for such a business, their professors and the college have given them valuable criticism and supported their idea: “We try to take the criticism as constructive,” Moore said. “I’ve been relying heavily on people that have much more experience than I do.”

While they plan to keep it a 2-man operation at first, in order to test the waters, they plan to expand once football season begins. They know that the road ahead is uncertain – as they need to balance their new jobs with their scholastix endeavors – but they are confident that they can pull this off, and they are willing to work hard in order that they succeed on both fronts: “When you’re thinking of the idea, let your head go to the clouds,” Maddox said. “But when it comes down to actually making the business, you’ve got to be on the ground.”

Cowbell Carts is projected to have a ribbon cutting ceremony sometime between Aug. 7 and Aug 11. The company will begin immediately when school starts back for Mississippi State students this fall.

“I’m obviously incredibly excited for this to be here, not just because it’s my business but it’s something that Starkville doesn’t have and Starkville needs,” Moore said. “I think Starkville and the campus is going to see a lot of good come out of this.”

Business hours will be every Thursday through Saturday from 6 P.M. to 2 A.M.

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MSMS Ranked as One of the Best Public High Schools in the Nation

MSMS Ranked as One of the Best Public High Schools in the Nation

Columbus, MS ( recently published their annual rankings for the top public high schools in the country, using data gather primarily by the US Department of Education. Among the standouts was Columbus’ own Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS), which earned a top-ten finish, coming in as the 8th best in the nation, beating out over 900 other public, charter, and magnet schools it was competing against. The hard work of the faculty, staff, and students all contributed towards this victory, and they should all be commended for it.

Among the criteria used were: Academic record of the students (based mainly on SAT/ACT/state assessment scores; this represents 60% of the total score); followed by teacher pay and ratings, cultural diversity, parental and student ratings of the teachers and the school, which all contributed to the score; as well as other criteria such as availability of clubs and other extracurricular activities, health & safety, sports, and the facilities themselves.

You can see the full ratings and reviews for all of the schools – not just MSMS – as well as a detailed breakdown of how the data was used and the scores were calculated by clicking here.

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MSMS’ Reserve Fund Running on Fumes, Thanks to State Budget Cuts

MSMS’ Reserve Fund Running on Fumes, Thanks to State Budget Cuts

Courtesy of the Dispatch –

Even as people recognize MSMS for its contributions to society and the excellence of its students, the state Legislature slashes its funding to dangerous levels.

Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science executive director Germain McConnell recently spoke to the Columbus Rotarians about the future of the school that has done so much for our community and our state. MSMS, which is located on the Mississippi University for Women campus, is a residential, state-funded school that aims to educate gifted 11th- and 12th-grade students from across Mississippi with emphasis in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies. The school is tuition-free, aside from a $500 per semester charge for room and board that only applies to students who don’t qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch program.

Germain McConnell, executive director of Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, talks with Roger Burlingame, right, after speaking during the Columbus Rotary Club’s meeting at Lion Hills Center in Columbus on Tuesday. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff

McConnell stated that the school which normally operates at a loss of $100~150 thousand per year, was approved by the state legislature for a budget that was cut by $168,400 less to MSMS for 2017-18 than it did for the previous year. The school will need to make up for the difference from its reserve fund, which is intended for facility upgrades and emergency funding; the account is down to about $1.2 million as it stands: “If something catastrophic happens to our facilities, that (reserve) money is all we have to deal with that,” he said.

If the balance drops below $1 million, McConnel went on to say, the result could be cuts in faculty funding, which would mean a “drastic” reduction in the already limited number of students MSMS can admit; they have already had to lower admissions for the upcoming year, allowing for 235 total students out of their potential capacity of 300. The school had to eliminate three non-teaching staff positions to make up for the shortfall caused by the budget cut; he and some others are now redoubling their efforts to get the funding level back up to at least what it was in the 2016-17 level.

“People here (in Columbus) understand the value we add to the community, and we’re hoping they help us get our message to the ears of the people who make the (budget) decisions,” McConnell told The Dispatch after the Rotary meeting. “This school is a beacon of light for the state of Mississippi. We’ve utilized our resources wisely. If we want to continue doing what we do and offering those opportunities to students in the future, the state of Mississippi needs to begin investing in MSMS a lot more.”


Please click here for the full article, along with what YOUR elected state representatives have to say on the matter.

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MSMS Recognized For its Benefit to the Area

MSMS Recognized For its Benefit to the Area

Courtesy of WCBI –

Dr. Germaine McConnell, the executive director of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science on Tuesday with regard to the positive effects the school has had on both its students, and on the area in general. MSMS is a specialized, college-prep school for advanced high-school students that enrolls them in college-level courses for college credit at The W.

“This is a life changing experiment,” said Dr. McConnell. “Not only are we providing them with challenging and rigorous course work, but the things that happen outside of the classroom makes such a big difference. The residential environment, them being around other students who are like them, like-minded and learning from each other, I think really adds the greatest value and that’s something that can’t be duplicated.”

For information about the school, visit

For the full article, and a video, please click here.


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Local Port, Airports Among Grant Recipients Aimed at Improving GTR Transport Infrastructure

Local Port, Airports Among Grant Recipients Aimed at Improving GTR Transport Infrastructure

Courtesy of Carl Smith/The Starkville Dispatch –

Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert (courtesy photo)

Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert recently announced that the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be providing upwards of $660 thousand in grants intended to help with transportation improvements in the GTR area. Beneficiaries of these grants are to be statewide – e.g.,  railroads, public transportation networks, ports, local airports, and more; the local area had these four major recipients, alongside others:  Columbus-Lowndes County Airport, Golden Triangle Regional Airport, Lowndes County Port and Starkville-Mississippi State University Area Rapid Transit (SMART) system.

“Each of these modes of transportation plays a vital role in transporting people, goods and services that promote economic growth and development throughout Mississippi,” Tagert said in a release. “Mississippi no longer competes regionally, but on a global level. Investing in local and municipal airports supports global economic development and logistics. Improving our ports and rail system allows appropriate amounts agricultural products to be transported in a safer, more environmentally friendly manner, while reducing maintenance costs on roads and bridges.”

“Considering if there’s an incident at the airport, numerous agencies will be responding. This network is needed since it allows everyone to be on the same page,” GTRA Executive Director Mike Hainsey said. “The biggest thing we’re focusing on with it is the terminal, which has a lot of metal on the inside. We’re going to install a repeater system to make sure everything works as it’s supposed to there.”


Please click here to view the full article.

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Fox Onsite at MSU for an Article About ASSURE


Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

The Fox Business Network was on the MSU campus Friday, getting footage for the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE), for a story scheduled to air this coming Monday at 4:30PM on Fox Business. ASSURE, an international coalition of universities, is managed by MSU. Their Deputy Director, Steve “Lux” Luxion said that “MSU has taken a leadership role, and it’s got to be recognized . . . When Fox News comes to do a story about the progress, it’s a win.”

Fox News also covered UAS research at MSU, and went to North Farm to take a look at drones used for crop surveyal: “Increasingly, people are beginning to figure out that drones can do many things more efficiently and safely,” Luxion said.

He went on to say that many jobs currently (or formerly) performed by manned aircraft that might end up being done by drones in the future include those which are hazardous, dirty, or just plain monotonous, including routine surveys and hazardous material applications.

Please click here for the full article

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Columbus To Get New Places To Go To For Fresh Burgers And Trucker Service

Courtesy of The Dispatch


Wythe Rhett of Rhett Real Estate recently confirmed that Cook Out, the North Carolina-based burger chain that set up a successful location in Starkville about a year ago, plans to open a location in North Columbus. Cook Out recently finalized the purchase of the old Immanuel Baptist Church property on 18th Ave N, which had not been in use in the past two years.  Their current intention is to “demolish the (church) building and carve out enough of the property to put Cook Out on, then look at the possibility of adding another motel or strip (mall).”

Cook Out eateries are known for grilled burgers, barbecue and more than 40 kinds of milkshakes. The Starkville location employs approximately 50 and is open 10:30 a.m.-3 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10:30 a.m.-4 a.m. Friday-Saturday. This would be the fourth Cook Out location in the state, joining its over 170 brethren nationwide.


The Volume Freight shipping company, owned by Doug Estes, is currently building a new steel structure on Hwy 82 near the Vibrant Church West location. The finished building will serve as a two-floor terminal with a three-vehicle bay shop to maintain Volume’s fleet of 65 trucks. Next up once that’s ready is a planned 150-thousand square foot warehouse and approximately 35 new trucks. The company employs about 80 drivers, who service the contiguous 48 states, plus about eight local mechanics; roughly half of the trucks  are based locally, as well. Volume Freight, a local company, has been in business since 1988.



Please click here to see the full article.

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Greater Starkville Development Partnership Hires New President/CEO

NEWS RELEASE: Greater Starkville Development Partnership Hires New President/CEO

Starkville, MS., Courtesy of the Starkville Insider –

Scott Maynard

The Board of Directors of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership has announced that they have appointed Scott Maynard as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the organization, following a nationwide search that included over 75 candidates.

“It is with great excitement that we welcome Scott Maynard to the Partnership team,” said Chairman Michelle Amos. “From the start of our search, we have been committed to finding a leader for this organization who understands all of the possibilities for Starkville, someone who shares our vision and passion for this community. Under Scott’s leadership, we are confident our already strong community development program will be pushed to even greater heights.”

Maynard previously served as the Director of the Career Center at Mississippi State University (since 2008), and has also held management positions with the University. Maynard has also served as a City Alderman in Starkville, as well as on various Boards of Directors including the GSDP Convention and Visitors Board and the Starkville Parks and Recreation Commission.

“I am truly excited about becoming the next President and CEO of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership,” said Maynard. “I believe we are on the cusp of tremendous growth for our city and look forward to capitalizing on all of the opportunities before us. The Partnership plays a vital leadership role in the areas of economic development, tourism, entrepreneurship and business development. We will work hard to continue to represent our members and enhance the quality of life for all living in our community through education, job creation and continued economic growth.”

“Starkville, Oktibbeha County and the entire Partnership Membership will be well served with Scott as our new President,” stated Amos, who also chaired the search committee. “The vision and leadership he brings to the GSDP positions us for a tremendous future.”

Please click here to read the full article.

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Method of Communiversity Funding Under Discussion

Method of Communiversity Funding Under Discussion

Courtesy of The Dispatch

GTR LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins reports that he and the LINK are working on a plan to potentially have Lowndes County pay for its share of the Communiversity’s funding via a ten-year bond rather than a 20-year bond, thus saving the county nearly $2 million in interest over that time. Under his proposal, “I believe there’s a way around this that nobody gets gored, everybody gets what they want to do and there’s no harm, no foul, to anybody,” Higgins said.

The Communiversity, which broke ground a few months ago, is located on Highway 82 just west of PACCAR. The total bill for the facility will be around $44 million, which will be paid for via $18 million in state money, $12.5 million in federal dollars, and $13.5 million in local funding, with Lowndes County picking up the bulk of the local tab.

District 2 Supervisor Bill Brigham said he’d likely support a split issue, and that a shorter payment term would lead to higher payments, but save the county money over time: “If it works out, yes, I’m for it,” he said. “It can save us short of $2 million. You don’t just throw money away when it’s not necessary.”

Board President Harry Sanders also expressed support for the split issue.

Please click here for the full article.

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MSU Holds Bulldog Bytes Camp to Help Encourage Young Women in STEM Study

The Dispatch – COLUMBUS

MSU is sponsoring their free Bulldog Bytes camp this week, with the help of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Columbus. The all-female summer camp is intended to bring in school-age girls who are interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. So far, 23 3rd~5th-grade girls are participating in the camp, where they are learning more about computer programming, problem-solving and cyber safety.

“The goal is to light a pathway for women in the state,” Sarah Lee, MSU computer science professor and director of the day camp said. “I think if you can engage them at an early age, they get that spark that ‘this is really cool. I like technology. I’m comfortable with it, and I can make this robot do things’ . . . It’s really problem-solving because programming is problem-solving,” Lee continued. “They’re learning to give commands to the robot … they’re learning the algorithmic (language).”

Campers are learning and implementing a programming language called “Snap!” to control their own “Finch” robots.

The purpose of the camp is ” . . . to teach these young women to be safe online, and to hopefully spark some interest in computer science and cyber security, so that they’ll go on to other programs and later to study it in school,” Lee said.

Winter Dismuke and Taylor Hairston, both 9, use algorithms to program a computer to command their Finch robots during STEM camp at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Columbus on Monday. Winter is the daughter of Shelia and Reginald Cullen. Taylor is the daughter of Nikki Mays and David Hairston. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff

Litnay Lineberry, an MSU student pursuing a PhD in computer science with a focus in K-12 STEM education, has held a major role in bringing the project to life, setting up activities and preparing material for the students to use. “It’s good to see all these kids, young females, interested and engaged in robotics and what we’re teaching them here,” Lineberry said. “What Dr. Lee is doing here is really reaching a lot of kids that may not (otherwise) have this opportunity.”

According to statistics from the National Center for Women and Information Technology, women make up only about 26 percent of the computer science workforce, even though roughly half of the United States population is female. “If males are the only ones developing new technology,” Lee said, “then we’re missing out on half of the creativity and innovation that could come from having the other half of the population at the table.”

She believes that one way to help bring parity to the industry is to catch girls’ interest early in life: “If you try to reach young women once they’re already in high school, it’s really too late,” Lee said. “They’ve already formed the ideas about what they can and can’t do or about what they want to do or don’t want to do. These elementary girls catch on really fast, faster than some of the older ones. . . For (these young girls) to be out here programming these robots to do something, it’s not a threatening environment, and that’s one reason we have the gender specific — so that they can learn and don’t feel like they have to impress the guys,” she went on to say. “One thing that I’ve noticed, too, is the guys will try to do it for them if we have the mixed-gender environment.

“It’s important that you keep them engaged. We can’t just have a summer camp, and then they go home, and there’s never anything else,” Lee said. “They come to this. We make sure they know about other things that we’re having so they can come to (events) throughout high school and then when entering college.”


Please click here for the full article.

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