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Back Yard Burgers is on its Way Back, Baby!

Back Yard Burgers is on its Way Back, Baby!

COLUMBUS – Some info courtesy of the Dispatch

City building official Ken Wiegel reports that Back Yard Burgers is planning to reopen its Columbus store just off of Hwy 45 in front of Wal-Mart. While the location shut down in October of 2016, there is currently no formal re-opening date announced. However, Wiegel says that inspections of the property have been conducted. The company has dozens of locations open in the US, mostly in Tennessee, Mississippi, and the Midwest.

Originally founded in Cleveland, MS in 1987, the Back Yard Burgers chain has seen its ups and downs. A deal with Yum! Brands, owners of Pepsi and Taco Bell, in 2002~2004 ultimately fell through. Since going public, the company has passed through multiple hands, and even entered Bankruptcy reorganization in 2012; however, they emerged from this temporary setback and kept on going, thanks in part to investors who believe in the brand and want to see it thrive.

To this day, the company uses only Black Angus Beef in its burgers, and offeres a wide variety of optional sides (including vegetarian choices) for its more selective customers. Their menu also includes salads, turkey and chicken sandwiches, chili, potato soup, shakes, desserts, and a number of french fry and baked potato dishes.

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Communiversity Reveals Some of Their Upcoming Programs


Communiversity Reveals Some of Their Upcoming Programs

East Mississippi Community College President Thomas Huebner talks about the schools’ preparations for the Communiversity, which is set to open in 2019. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

MAYHEW – Courtesy of The Dispatch

East Mississippi Community College (EMCC) recently held a session in order to reveal some of the curricula they have in mind for their Communiversity, which is already under construction in Mayhew near PACCAR and the school’s main campus.

EMCC President Thomas Huebner said the college and its accrediting agencies are working together to get a number of new Communiversity programs ready, such as a mechatronics program and an electro-mechanical program: “These are what we would call the next generation, equipping industries for their specific needs,” Huebner said.

The specialized school, which seeks to train people to fill existing jobs and prepare them for new ones going forward, is intended to serve about five hundred students, 19 instructors, and the accompanying staff and special personnel needed to run it properly.

“Being a community college means that we’re going to, by our very mission, be tied to our local community,” Huebner went on to say. “So we have to be thinking on a daily basis about how we can meet the needs for our community . . .With regards to business and industry, we know we’re a fundamental part to train their workforce and meet their needs, and we want to be the best at that we can.”

Please click here for the full article.


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MEC Emphasizes Need for Workforce Development in Order to Help Improve State Economy

MEC Emphasizes Need for Workforce Development in Order to Help Improve State Economy

Courtesy of The Dispatch

Scott Waller, interim CEO and president of the Mississippi Economic Council, speaks to Starkville Rotarians Monday at The Mill at MSU. Waller addressed the need for workforce development to help improve Mississippi’s economy. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Scott Waller, interim president and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council (MEC) recently addressed the Starkville Rotary Club. While there, he stated that Mississippi, in order to improve itself economically and rise to its potential, must begin to find new ways to continue improving its economic development; he feels that a strong focus on workforce development is the key to our future. He went on to ask his audience what they believed were the most important factors in helping our state to improve. The results were: 58% said that we need a skilled workforce more than anything else; 27% emphasized the need to improve the state’s image; and fewer than 10% of respondents said that lowering taxes, improving infrastructure, or other concserns should be the top priority.

Waller then revealed that their responses were in line with many other groups he had met with across the state, and that most people agreed that we need to help our workforce grow more skilled: “Today alone, there are over 40,000 unfilled jobs in the state of Mississippi,” Waller said. “If we don’t work on having a skilled workforce, we definitely are going to miss out on those opportunities, particularly when it comes to population growth.”

Waller also addressed an umber of other concerns from those present, but he still feels that “…[W]hat we’re learning is workforce development is probably at the top of the list as it would stand.”

To close the meeting, Waller asked what audience members what they felt was the most important aspect to make a positive impact in the community. Forty-four percent chose improving schools, which was the highest of six choices. Improving the workforce, which drew 33 percent, was the second-highest choice by far.

Waller said that strengthening the workforce is a challenge that must begin early on in life, from pre-kindergarten to lifelong learning: “What it tells me when I see these results is at least I think we’re focused on the right thing,” he said. “We’re focused on the thing that’s going to make a difference and move the needle as we move forward.”

Please click here to view the full article.

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EMCC Holds Their First Industry Day Job Fair

EMCC Holds Their First Industry Day Job Fair

MAYHEW, Miss. (WCBI) –

Students at EMCC have held a reverse job fair of sorts, and they’re calling it “Industry Day.” Unlike a normal such event, here, the students are showing off practical examples of what they can do, and have invited representatives of local industrial concerns to see who and what they will have available to work with in the near future. Students in Electrical and Automation Technologies got together with school faculty and staff to set it up.

“We had the idea for the industries to come in and see what the students were doing here in the program, and we came up with the industry day. Our students do projects for them and let them see some of their skills and their abilities, because in the future those same industries that come here are going to be the ones that hire them,” said Electrical Technologies Instructor, Bobby Johnson.

“We get a lot of young folks who don’t know how to network, don’t know how to approach someone who could be a possible boss someday. And so we hope to have our students have some experience networking and hopefully make some connections that will end up as jobs,” said Automation Controls Instructor, Joanna Alford.

Industry Day at EMCC 2017 – Courtesy of WCBI

“I think we live in a day and age where we’ve all got a brand, and those students have to build their brand and have to identify their brand. I think so many kids may go to school and hope they have something or hope they get picked. I think these events put them in a position of being educated where they know they’re going to get picked,” said Golden Triangle Link CEO, Joe Max Higgins.

Please click here for the full article.

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Sky Lake Breaking Ground on Second Starkville Subdivision

Sky Lake Construction, developers of the Bent Brook Ridge subdivision near Starkville High, have begun major work on their newest venture: a second subdivision on Academy Road.

Marketing Director Kate Millican said the construction crew began clearing the land a couple of weeks ago, and are now in the process of doing the dirt work. The new development is expected to add between 40 and 50 houses to the area, with 32 available floor plane on its website. They are open to new homebuyers now who wish to pick out and build the homes of their dreams now.

Millican said, “We built [Bent Brook Ridge] in Starkville, first, and we loved it … So, we thought, let’s go ahead and expand in Starkville . . . One of our favorite things to do is work with home buyers and find the right lot for them, the right floor plan, and let them choose cabinet color, flooring, paint, and some exterior details,” Millican continued. “That way, they can have exactly what they want and feel more at home.”

A ribbon cutting is being planned for the neighborhood potentially for the first week of May.

Please click here to view the full article

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West Point’s Old Waverly Golf Club to Host Major 2019 Women’s USGA Event

West Point’s Old Waverly Golf Club to Host Major 2019 Women’s USGA Event


Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss., will be the host site for the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. Scheduled for Aug. 5-11, this will be the third USGA championship contested at Old Waverly, which previously hosted the 1999 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2006 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.

“The USGA is proud to bring one of our three oldest championships to Old Waverly in 2019,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “The U.S. Women’s Amateur attracts the world’s best female amateur players, and we are confident Old Waverly will provide a fair and comprehensive test that identifies a champion worthy of hoisting the historic Robert Cox Trophy.”

“It is an honor to host the 119th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship at Old Waverly,” said George Bryan, club founder. “We have a strong history of supporting competitive amateur golf, and we look forward to welcoming the best female amateurs in the game to our course and to the state of Mississippi in 2019.”

The 2017 Women’s Amateur will be conducted Aug. 7-13 at San Diego Country Club, in Chula Vista, Calif., and the 2018 championship will be held Aug. 6-12 at the Golf Club of Tennessee, in Kingston Springs, Tenn.

Please click here to see the full article

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Haunted House to Open Soon Courtesy of the CPD

Haunted House to Open Soon Courtesy of the CPD

Columbus, MS – (The Dispatch)

cpd-logoFrom this Thursday through Halloween night, the annual CPD Haunted House will put on its show for visitors of all ages. It is located in the old Tax Office building at 405 2nd Ave N., behind Zachary’s. Local LEO’s and volunteers from Lowe’s have been working hard to turn the old abandoned building into a place of true horrors. The haunted house has been in service for many a Halloween season, and the money raised will go toward Toys for Tots. This is the first year that it will be open for this many days, due to traditionally high customer demand.

The haunted house hours will be 6PM to Midnight each night, and guides will take small groups through. Adult admission is only $10, and kids get in for $5. It will be up to parental discretion whether or not to bring their younger kids inside.

For more info and the full article: click here…if you dare!

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EMCC’s GTECHS Enrollment to Double

EMCC’s Golden Triangle Early College High School has been a resounding success, graduating all sixty of their freshmen to 10th grade this past year. Enrollment is expected to double this fall for the still-relatively-new school, which opened its doors last year, with a fresh batch of sixty frosh on the way. the plan is to continue adding sixty freshmen each year. This “early college” school is the first of its kind in the state, allowing students to learn more, sooner, and earn college credit while they’re in high school. The Junior and Senior years will be comprised almost exclusively of college-level courses for these ambitious youngsters.

Courtesy of the Dispatch

Rising sophomores enrolled in East Mississippi Community College’s Golden Triangle Early High School pose along with school staff for a photo that accompanied acceptance letters to incoming freshmen who will start at the school in August. Photo by: Courtesy photo

Rising sophomores enrolled in East Mississippi Community College’s Golden Triangle Early High School pose along with school staff for a photo that accompanied acceptance letters to incoming freshmen who will start at the school in August. Photo by: Courtesy photo

GTECHS, the first early college high school in Mississippi, opened in the fall of 2015. The pilot program is the result of a partnership between EMCC, the Mississippi Department of Education and Mississippi State University.

“This innovative program is for students who may be first-generation college students, but they don’t have the confidence to think they will do well,” MDE Associate Superintendent Jean Massey said in a press release on the agency’s website. “The school is also for students who need an alternative to the traditional high school setting.”

Savely said for the first two years the GTECHS students attend classes together as they would at a traditional high school. In their junior and senior years, the bulk of their time is spent taking regular college courses. The majority of those courses are dual credit and count towards the students’ high school diplomas and college degrees.

“I think from an administrative standpoint, a principal in a really big school is disconnected from the students because the student body is so large and there are so many other things that demand attention,” Savely said. “Here, I have an opportunity to connect with the students. They know my door is always open and that they can reach me by email or by phone.”

Savely said application to GTECHS is open to any eighth grade student — whether they attend public or private school, or are homeschooled — in Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee or Oktibbeha County. She said applications are usually available in January. Last year GTECHS students chose the Wildcat as their school mascot and blue and gold as their school colors.

“When someone walks down the hall in that area we want them to know this is the Golden Triangle Early College High School,” Miller said.

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Columbus Hosts State Tourism Conference

CVB President Nancy Carpenter

CVB Exec Director Nancy Carpenter

The Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau snagged a big one this week, hosting the state tourism association’s spring conference. It’s always good to have a few hundred high-energy PR type people in our area – especially when they are cheerleaders for our state. The group will get to see first-hand how strong downtown Columbus is, and the exponential growth we have seen in the Golden Triangle in general over the last ten years.

Kudos for the CVB for getting them here…I’m sure all of our local businesses are grateful.

The conference – which runs through today – is one of the largest gatherings of tourism professionals in the state; it will bring more than 200 attendees to the city, according to a press release.

Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Nancy Carpenter told The Dispatch Monday that she’s attempted for several years to convince the MTA to bring the conference here: “This is a tremendous opportunity,” she said. “We’ve worked hard to make sure the town looks great, and it always does…We’re very proud of our city and very supportive.” Carpenter also said that the group holds major conferences in the fall and in the spring in various cities statewide.

“We are thrilled to host our spring conference in Columbus, and we encourage tourism industry leaders and professionals from around the state to join us …We know that gathering as an industry is an excellent way to expand our knowledge and connect with fellow professionals in the industry.”

  • Kappi Allen, MTA president and executive director of the Clarksdale Coahoma Tourism Bureau.

Carpenter commented that the conference provides a great way for new visitors, in particular, to learn more about Columbus, including international visitors.

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Catfish Alley Magazine Anniversary Party Tonight !


Columbus' Own Mother Goose graces the cover of Catfish Alley Magazine

Columbus’ Own Mother Goose graces the cover of Catfish Alley Magazine

  Catfish Alley Magazine, the award-winning regional publication based in Columbus, will be honoring their 5th anniversary with a gallery showing of  notable photographs tonight at the Columbus Arts Council. The magazine burst on to the scene five short years ago with compelling feature pieces and photography of life in the deep south. Many of the photographers are expected to be in attendance to be honored and discuss their works. Published by The Commercial Dispatch in Columbus, the magazine has become the standard for social publications in the Southeast, earning numerous awards in recent years. 


The magazine is another product of the Imes family of Columbus, who at one time owned media outlets, including newspapers and television stations from New York to Mississippi. The father and son team of Birney and Peter Imes now run the paper and magazine. Among their other significant efforts are the rehabilitation of properties, support of the arts, and other major philanthropic endeavors. Birney is an accomplished artist in his own right, having received nationwide acclaim for his three published collections, as well as having his works on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, La Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris and The Art Institute of Chicago.

The family is a major contributor to the local business climate, and to the vibrant downtown area of Columbus. I consider them to be eternally good for business throughout the entire Golden Triangle

I encourage anyone with a love of Mississippi culture to swing by the CAC tonight (Feb. 4th) from 5:30 – 7:00pm for the shindig. If you can’t make it tonight, the exhibit will continue through the end of February.



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