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Harnessing the Power of the Sun

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Abigail Sipe Rochester

The Golden Triangle II battery bank and substation in Lowndes County – courtesy of Origis

GT LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins, in conjunction with Origis, reports that the Golden Triangle II solar project has recently come online: “Its location [in Lowndes County], next to the Golden Triangle megaplex, will provide renewable power on a large scale,” Higgins said in the release. “The project will also provide millions of dollars to our schools and county government.” Two other such sites are currently under construction, and are expected to be up and running by next year.

“Solar energy enhances Mississippi’s economic competitiveness, and Origis is removing limits to a cleaner, brighter future by building the region’s clean-energy infrastructure,” Origis Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Development Officer Johan Vanhee said in a press release.“Golden Triangle II is the first step in fostering a zero-carbon economy across the state that supports our nation’s economic and energy security goals.”

The projects are providing about 500 construction jobs and a local economic benefit to the tune of over $100 million during construction.

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/new-solar-project-up-and-running-in-lowndes-county/

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When one BBQ Closes, Another One Opens

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Mary Pollitz

Moe’s Original BBQ, 110 E. Main St., has officially shut down after eight years of serving up tasty BBQ, seafood, and more. “While these past few years have been great, they haven’t been without struggles as well,” per their statement on social media. “We have decided to close ours permanently. … We can’t say thank you enough to everyone. Anyone who has supported us over the years, trusted us with your tailgate food or Thanksgiving dinner. We want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts. While this wasn’t an easy decision by any means, we feel that it’s the right decision to make at this point in time.”

Meanwhile, Big Chief Barbeque has opened its own doors at 1444 Louisville St. “Big Chief BBQ is the dream of a local kid who grew up and lived in Starkville,” Nichols posted online. … Grilling has been a passion of mine since my days in the U.S. Navy. I started competition grillin’ in 2002 after a group of friends and myself got together and decided to enter the rib contest during Super Bulldog Weekend at the Mississippi State University.”

Thursdays 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Fridays 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 to 6:30 p.m., and Saturdays 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

New boutique Little Magnolia Gifts and Apparel has now opened its second store at 87 Cotton Mill Road, Suite 2, the old Hungry Howie’s location. They offer children’s clothing, toys, gifts for moms, and more. Mon-Fri 10-5:30 and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hours may change based on holiday shopping and sporting events, so please check their social media for updates, especially around holidays or sporting events.

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/mary-means-business-moes-barbecue-closes-in-starkville/

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Castleberry Doubles Down on Starkville – Investing Millions More in Retail, Apartments

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Mary Pollitz

Developer Mark Castleberry
Developer Mark Castleberry (courtesy image)

Starkville developer Mark Castleberry, who brought the Triangle Crossing shopping center to the city (ALDI, et al) on Hwy 12, has announced that he is developing a new mixed-use building to be called 110 Mill (on Mill Street). In order to make room for this, three old houses were demolished, two of which had been sitting vacant for over a decade. The venue, which is slated to begin construction next year, will house 45 apartments and about ten thousand feet of retail space: “We just really believe in this market,” said Castleberry. “… We feel that good quality apartments and retail in this great area is only going to make this area better.”

Another of Castleberry’s projects is proceeding apace on the far side of town. The former Cadence Bank HQ has become Professional Park after extensive interior and exterior renovations. The location is 12183 Hwy. 182, which is about half full. Contact Castle Properties for info about leasing warehousing space available; they will renovate to suit.

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/mary-means-business-another-castleberry-development-coming-to-starkville/

image: Mark Castleberry (courtesy photo)

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LC Port and GTR Airport to Receive Funds for Long-Term Improvements

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Brian Jones

The MS Dept of Transportation has awarded over $2 million in funding to the Lowndes County Port and the Golden Triangle Regional Airport.

Port Director Will Sanders reports that their funding will go towards the first phase of a plan to build out rail infrastructure on the port’s East bank in order to make the area more attractive to potential clients. Please see the map below for an idea of what they have in mind.

Lowndes County Port’s master plan including proposed rail and warehousing additions (courtesy photo)

“We are thankful the state had more money available this year than they have in the past,” LCBOS President Trip Hairston said. “In the past, we’d get $100,000 here and $100,000 there, that sort of thing. This time it was a significant amount, and it’s clear the port was a pretty high priority.”

Meanwhile, GTRA will be getting funds to help with its ongoing terminal expansion project, including but not limited to a larger passenger waiting area and a jet bridge which would allow passengers to board and disembark without having to walk across the tarmac. This project is anticipated to be finished before the end of next year.

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/port-expanding-rail-on-east-bank-to-draw-future-clients/

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Communiversity Working Hard to Prove Its Worth to Prospective Students

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Emma McRae

The EMCC Communiversity was Built in 2019 with $42.6 million from various government sources and has acted as a regional educational and workforce development hub, despite hurdles such as administrative changes and initially low enrollment. It has also served as a training center for big manufacturers and other major businesses. They primarily look for high schoolers who want to go into technical positions and will need training before they apply for work.

EMCC – The $42 million facility opened in 2019 as an educational hub for career technical students and workforce development – Emma McRae – Dispatch Staff

Courtney Taylor, the Communiversity’s first director, said: “There’s a big reality in the workforce that most people don’t get to engage directly with the companies that are manufacturing things in their communities. . . A lot of the efforts we got started back then were to get people exposed and engaged to the occupations in the area and then get them excited about the training program. . . High school students were the big focus just because we weren’t getting them,” she went on to say.

Taylor is now the executive director at Accelerate Mississippi, a statewide workforce development office that focuses primarily on high schoolers who will graduate in the next year or two. The services they offer include technical coaching at the HS level. “The whole idea is to give these kids options and show them what their resources are,” Columbus High School Career Coach Jim Sutherland said.

Another important facet of getting kids interested in these fields includes demonstrating to them that their interests can be developed into a lifelong career: “A big part of our jobs as career coaches is actually to find those kids that are not going to go the traditional route,” Knollie Edge, a career coach at New Hope High School, said. Field trips and in-school demonstrations help to provide that information to the young students.

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/flipping-the-switch-outreach-bolsters-communiversity-enrollment-but-more-is-needed/

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GTR LINK Moving to More Centralized Digs

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Zack Plair

The Golden Triangle Development LINK, which primarily serves (and is jointly owned by) Columbus, Starkville, West Point, and their respective counties, will soon begin construction on a new location at the GTR Airport, making it easier for their clients to meet in an area closer to being equidistant from all three cities, allowing them to cut down on travel time and easing logistics for many. The LINK has served the region as an industrial recruiting organization for over thirty years, and has helped to bring over ten thousand jobs and billions of dollars of investment funds to the Golden Triangle.

A rendering of the planned GTR LINK office at GTR Airport – Courtesy of the LINK

CEO Joe Max Higgins said that the new building will include a boardroom, a work area, and offices to help facilitate communication: “We always have to move those around and borrow space [at our current shared location],” Higgins said. “Now we’ll be able to do it in our own place.” Another advantage of the location is that prospective business representatives will no longer have to drive into town after flying into GTRA, but simply take a short hop to the new office instead, saving lots of travel time. It will also be much closer to the areas in which major industry players prefer to place their factories and other buildings.

Bid requests are planned for the end of May, with construction slated to begin this Summer, and completion by next Summer. The existing building, which they share with the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, will be sold. Several interested parties have already contacted them about purchasing the current building; funds from the sale will go toward costs for the new one.

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/ask-the-dispatch-all-your-questions-answered-about-the-links-planned-new-office/

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Steel Dynamics’ Construction Well Under Way

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of WTVA

credit: WTVA

Having begun a little over a year ago, a great deal of progress has been made on SDI’s aluminum mill construction site, with much of the internal structure already completed. They routinely have about 1,100 contractors on-site at any given time, and that number is expected to increase significantly by this Summer. They focus on using local labor whenever possible. Two hundred people have already been hired for the plant, with another 800 positions expected to be filled once the mill is in operation in Summer 2025.

image credit: WTVA

Please click here for the original article & video: https://www.wtva.com/news/construction-of-aluminum-mill-in-lowndes-county-over-halfway-complete/article_7c856c42-fb77-11ee-82d1-43fde462d6b6.html

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Attracting Industry to the Golden Triangle (Part 3)

GTR REGION, MS – Courtesy of WCBI and Joey Barnes

The Golden Triangle has become a more and more friendly place for major industries over the years. Companies such as Terberg Taylor, Amazon, Owl’s Head, and more have decided to open up shop here in this welcoming corporate environment. Another major player is Starkville’s Garan Inc., a clothing manufacturer. In the last few years, they moved from Hwy 12 (in what is now the wildly successful Triangle Crossing Shopping Center) to a location outside of town in order to better accommodate future growth for both Garan and the city.

Another big name is Aluminum Dynamics, which is on schedule to have their mill up and running at full capacity before the end of summer, thus making the GTR the largest aluminum provider in the country: “They’re going to invest $2.5 billion in this project and the part that the state is putting up is relatively minor. We’re giving a grant of $155 million for the company on it really come into the play for the construction process,” said Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann. They plan to hire nearly one thousand people at an average salary north of $90 thousand/year. “I think those kinds of jobs with that level of compensation will attract more people. As you and I both know, it will also raise the cost of some of these others. The wages in some of these other industries that are already there,” Hosemann went on to say.

Please click here for the original article: https://www.wcbi.com/golden-opportunities-thriving-in-the-triangle-part-3/

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Alloy Company is Turning Heads

WEST POINT, MS – Courtesy of the Daily Journal and the Dispatch

Kentucky aluminum processing company Owl’s Head Alloys is preparing to invest nearly $30 million into their new location in West Point, slated to break ground in just a few months. The company melts down and recycles used and surplus aluminum products so that they can then be used in industry; their plan is to supply Aluminum Dynamics’ rolling mill in Columbus with metal once construction on both factories have been completed. they also plan to bring 68 new local jobs over the course of three years.

Clay County and the City of West Point have offered them tax incentives; the MS Development Authority will be chipping in $1.7 million for building improvements, as well. “Owl’s Head Alloys’ decision to do business in Mississippi is generating nearly 70 new jobs and an impressive investment of more than $29 million that will service local industry and provide sustainable materials in multiple industrial markets,” said MDA Executive Director Bill Cork. “This is precisely the kind of development that can offer economic stability and future investment opportunities for years to come. MDA is excited to welcome this new venture to Mississippi, and we look forward to the many benefits it will bring to Clay County’s thriving economy.”

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/west-point-lands-aluminum-processing-operation-68-new-jobs/

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Need a Big Lot Cleared? I Know a Guy…

COLUMBUS, Mississippi

Junior, Trey, and Tonya Lancaster work together as a family business at J&T Land Management LLC. They were kind enough to sit down with me recently and tell me about their business. J&T started formally about a year ago after they purchased some heavy equipment from a friend. Since then, they have been working hard, and they offer a variety of services, such as bushhogging, mulching, clearing out lots for development, dirt & forestry work, and even clearing out hunting lanes to prep them for use. They operate out of their home outside of Columbus, not too far from the GTR airport.

Trey & Junior with their favorite helper, River

Junior is a retired City of Columbus firefighter; he now works part-time at International Paper in the Safety dept. Trey works at the steel mill. In their spare time, they run their business, with Tonya keeping the books. They are looking to expand the business, gaining more equipment and clients until they can eventually do it full-time; their plan is to leave a successful business behind for the next generation. They have serviced clients in the general GTR area and further afield, citing success stories of jobs done in Amory & Mathiston, MS and Carrolton, AL.

Both men are avid outdoorsmen, and felt that this sort of thing was a good fit for them. They really feel at home out in nature. “Somedays, that job’s work,” Junior said. “Some days, it doesn’t really feel like work.”

Trey reinforced this: “Operating that equipment, you kinda get caught up in it; time flies.”

If you got a big job done right, drop these fine folks a line on FaceBook or by phone. They note that storm season is nearly upon us, so now is a good time to maybe have them come out and clean things up for you, so you don’t have big problems later.

Main: 662-251-9470
Trey: 662-889-0504

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100090357396591

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