Category Archives: Military

Report Says CAFB has had $260+ Million Impact on Local Area

Report Says CAFB has had $260+ Million Impact on Local Area

COLUMBUS – The Dispatch

14th Flying Training Wing Commander Col. Douglas Gosney recently announced the findings of a report on CAFB’s economic impact on the area to the Base Community Council, showing an increase of over $11 million as compared to last year. Much of the increase came in the form of salaries issued to new civil service workers filling vacant positions on-base, and to raises for airmen who had increased in rank over the past year. Other sources included things such as new construction, street maintenance and repair, vehicle maintenance, and jobs created in the local area which are auxiliary to the base’s needs.

Col. Douglas Gosney, CAFB (photo credit: The Dispatch)

“These are jobs that come into the community as a result of the increased population of Columbus Air Force Base and our airmen living in and around the area,” Gosney said. “You need extra teachers, you need extra doctors, you need extra restaurant staff, just from the increased population.”

He went on to stress the importance of maintaining positive relationships with the people of our area: “As proud as we are of the economic boost that this base brings to the community, we’re really more proud of the relationships and the support that we show for each other,” he said. “Neither of us could be as good at what we do without the support from the other . . . [I]t’s nice that we bring a lot of money to the area, but we’re really just proud that of those relationships. We’re proud to be part of this community. We’re proud that you welcome us into your homes, your schools and your churches and we can’t thank you enough for that.”

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MSU’s Unmanned Aviation Program is Flying High

MSU’s Unmanned Aviation Program is Flying High

MSU Ag Drone (courtesy photo, MDA/Mississippi Works)

Courtesy of MDA/Mississippi Works

Unmanned flying drones have become more complex, and more popular, over the past several years, and Mississippi is now leading the push to develop better and better units. The FAA has named Mississippi State as the home of the Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, making it *the* place to be for research of this kind. Mississippi’s will be working with the Center of Excellence is to help introduce UAV and UAS technologies to our nation and to the world in a safe, responsible manner. MSU collaborates with ASSURE (Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence), which is made up of over 20 research universities from around the world and industry partners.

The applications of this technology are myriad, and its potential economic impact on the state and nation are expected to be both far-reaching and very significant.Over one hundred aerospace companies have chosen to hedge their bets with the state of Mississippi, including international industry leaders such as Aurora Flight Sciences, Northrop Grumman, Stark Aerospace, and many more.The state’s competitive edge in aerospace brought them here; the expertise and drive of the people who work with and for them in Mississippi has kept them here.

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Mississippi to Host Federal Drone Project

Mississippi to Host Federal Drone Project

STARKVILLE, Miss. (Courtesy of the Associated Press) –

MSU school officials have announced that Mississippi has been selected as the home of a new federal R&D project focused around unmanned drone aircraft systems. The proposal for this project was spearheaded by MSU, and it was developed by the Mississippi Partnership. The intended area, which incorporates restricted airspace near and on the MS Gulf Coast, is expected to cover about 2,000 square miles of  land/airspace, up to an altitude of 60,000 feet. Said demonstration range facility is expected to begin operations this fall.

Please click here to see the full article.

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Columbus PD Recruiting New Officers

Columbus PD Recruiting New Officers

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

From left, Assistant Chief Fred Shelton, new cadet Haley Lucas, CPD Chief Oscar Lewis, Mayor Robert Smith and cadet Shawn Neal spoke at a press conference in the Municipal Complex courtroom on Wednesday. Columbus Police Department is set to send 14 cadets to the police academy soon. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

The Columbus Police Department is ready to send fourteen trainees, five of whom are already slated to be hired, to the police academy. This will bring the total officer count up to about 60 officers, Mayor Robert Smith told reporters at a Wednesday morning press conference.

Police Chief Oscar Lewis said that the class will commence training at the academy starting May 21 in Moorehead. They will undergo a twelve-week course, after which the officers will return to Columbus to ride with veteran officers and take advantage of the field training program.

“The good thing with these guys now — they’ve been in the classroom before the academy,” Lewis said. “They’ve been put with officers and are riding around learning the standard operating procedure for the city and working with firearms and doing different things.”

Shaun Neal, 22, of Columbus, is one of the officers who will be part of this record-setting class.  Neal decided he wanted to become an officer late last year so he could make a positive impact in his community: “I want to be a police officer because I don’t want to be statistic — I want to be a changer, not to fit into what the news is saying about police because not every police officer is the same,” he said.

Haley Lucas, a 23-year-old officer trainee, is a military police officer for the U.S. Navy, and said she’s been interested in law enforcement since her early childhood. Lucas, who is from Caledonia but currently lives in Tupelo, told reporters she’s happy to come back to try to help improve her home area.

On Wednesday, Lewis said he’s thankful to see the department drawing closer to full strength, adding that measures the city took such as increasing officer pay and purchasing new vehicles were instrumental in recruiting more officers. He expressed his gratitude to the current officers on the force who have been working extra-hard to get the job done: “These officers have been working long and hard — some not even getting days off just to make this work –and I admire them for the job that they have done,” he said. “It’s been great to see the things they’ve been able to accomplish with the numbers that we’ve had during that time.”

“No one more than I would like to see us get to where we need to be, which was approved in the budget for 67 officers, because they’re really needed,” Mayor Smith said. He later added, “I see the city trying to immediately continuing to try to reach that goal of 77 (officers). That’s where I’d like to see us at.”

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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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West Point’s Navistar Plant Going Strong

West Point’s Navistar Plant Going Strong

PRESS RELEASE

WEST POINT, Miss. (AP) – Navistar International Corp. has been awarded a $35 million contract to deliver 40 armored vehicles to Pakistan from its Mississippi plant.

The U.S. Army announced the contract Thursday, saying Navistar, based in Lisle, Illinois, had made the only bid for the mine resistant ambush protected MaxxPro Dash DXM trucks.

Work is supposed to be done at Navistar’s plant in West Point, as well as in Pakistan, and is estimated to be finished by Oct. 31, 2018.

Although the West Point plant had laid off all its workers in 2013, it has since won a series of contracts to build or refurbish vehicles for the U.S. Army and foreign militaries, hiring several hundred workers.

Courtesy of WCBI

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Save the Date: Friday, July 1 for Fireworks on the Water

The CVB, Columbus Air Force Base, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the city are proud to present their annual Fireworks on the Water program on Friday, July 1 from 5-10 PM on the East bank of the Stennis Lock & Dam (the fireworks will be visible from the West side, as well). Come on out to enjoy the celebration, food, live entertainment, kids’ activities, and stay for the brilliant light show in the sky!

Courtesy of the Dispatch —

CVB President Nancy Carpenter

CVB XD Nancy Carpenter

Events like this help people of all ages and backgrounds to come together and just have fun as a community. “It’s not just a community event,” CVB Executive Director Nancy Carpenter said. “It’s one that the entire region comes out to enjoy.”

The event will feature jumpers, face painting and other activities for children, along with glow sticks for purchase. The fireworks display should start about 9 p.m.

Carpenter said CVB is asking that people don’t bring their own coolers or pets.

“The initial reason behind it was the Visit Columbus Board of Directors wanted to do something special for the men and women at Columbus Air Force Base,” she said. “There’s no better time than our Independence Day to do that. This is a way we can say thank you by doing something special for them and their families.”

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$250 Million — Economic Impact of CAFB on Local Area

14th Flying Training Wing Commander Col. John Nichols speaks during the Base Community Council's first meeting Thursday. Nichols reported that the base's economic impact for 2015 was approximately $249 million. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

14th Flying Training Wing Commander Col. John Nichols speaks during the Base Community Council’s first meeting Thursday. Nichols reported that the base’s economic impact for 2015 was approximately $249 million. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

$250 Billion — Economic Impact of CAFB on Local Area

The USAF’s air base here in Columbus employs a good 2,800 servicemen, servicewomen, and civilians, all of whom live here, eat here, shop here, and party here. All of that means money coming into the city to keep it thriving. And that’s Good for Business!

Courtesy of The Dispatch

14th Flying Training Wing Commander Col. John Nichols addressed the CAFB’s Columbus Club recently, speaking of the base’s performance in the last year or so. As part of this, he said that the base brought $249.6 million into the local economy, up from about $241 million the prior year. Most of that money is in the form of payroll dollars to the 2,800 USAF personnel and civilian employees on-base, who then proceed to spend much of their money locally:

“That paycheck supports their families,” Nichols said. “They buy cars here in Columbus. They go out to eat. They spend money. That money is infused right back into the local economy, so it makes a big difference.”

He went on to say that indirect local job creation added another $32 million to that number:”So if Buffalo Wild Wings has to add another server because so many airmen are down there, that’s the indirect job effect,” he said.Nichols will complete his current two-year Tour of Duty in July, at which time he will return to Barksdale AFB in Shreveport. He expressed his sentiment about the reassignment: “It’s going to be tough to leave,” Nichols said. “We’ve met so many great people.”

He also stated that Chief Master Sgt. Rita Felton, the base’s Command Chief Master, is leaving in October. “It means there’s going to be a lot of change, but what I can assure you of is this place won’t miss a beat,” Nichols said. “It will be like nothing happened. I promise. That’s how we do things in the military.”
Read the full article at the link: http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=50336

 

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EMCC Job Fair – Today!

A job fair is happening today at EMCC’s Golden Triangle Campus! Polish up your resume, put on your Sunday best, and come on by! All are welcome!

EMCC Office of Public Affairs – PRESS RELEASE:

Employers on hand will include manufacturers like Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi, Airbus Helicopters Inc. and PACCAR Engine Company, along with representatives from other businesses seeking everything from health care workers to diesel technicians and fast food workers. Some employers will fill immediate openings while others will offer training that could lead to a job.The job fair is open, and free of charge, to all college students and area residents. The list of employers signed up to participate in the job fair is available on EMCC’s website, eastms.edu. Look for the East Mississippi Job Fair link on the home page.

For more information, contact Melanie Sanders at (662) 243-1904 or msanders@eastms.edu.

Click here for the full article: http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=49759

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SENATE ACCEPTS COCHRAN AMENDMENT – Kudos to MSU!!

Mississippi Senator Cochran has co-sponsored an amendment that will help  to strengthen the FAA, improve and clarify laws regarding drones and consumer privacy regarding the devices, and help to improve safety at airports nationwide.

FAA Reauthorization Bill Important to FAA Center of Excellence Led by Mississippi State University

WASHINGTON, D.C. (courtesy of Senator Cochran) –

The U.S. Senate has approved an amendment authored by U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) to ensure greater public and private sector coordination of research and policy development for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), the mission of the center of excellence headed by Mississippi State University. The amendment would prevent duplicative research efforts and strengthen existing UAS research programs at the FAA, including the FAA Center of Excellence on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (COE) and existing tests sites.

“The nation most needs a strategic, coordinated research effort to explore important questions safely integrating about unmanned aircraft systems into our airspace and economy.  My amendment would allow that to occur by keeping the focus on the FAA Center of Excellence established last year instead of establishing duplicative programs,” Cochran said.ms state

The underlying Senate bill would reauthorize the FAA and specified programs through the end of FY2017.  Related to unmanned aircraft use, the bill includes provisions that would:
•    Require the Government Accountability Office to review privacy issues and concerns associated with the operation of unmanned aircraft in the national airspace system;
•    Require the Department of Transportation to issue guidance for the operation of public drones;
•    Require the FAA to carry out a pilot program for airspace hazard mitigation at airports and other critical infrastructure;
•    Require the FAA to have a Senior Advisor for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration.

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