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REVIEW OF THE
Covers 3/11/10 11:52 AM Page 1
learn more here...
200 Mt. Vernon Rd Columbus, MS 39702
9:00 AM - DiscoveryZone (pre-school)
KidZone (children) & Life Groups
10:00 AM - Connection Cafe
10:30 AM - Worship
5:00 PM Fellowship Supper
6:00 PM DiscoveryZone & KidZone
6:45 PM Student Worship
7:00 PM Worship
c h u r c h
Covers 3/11/10 11:24 AM Page 2
1-6-this exact one 3/11/10 11:04 AM Page 1
2 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
From the Editor
According to Milton Sundbeck, If a city’s core is
solid, the outer rings of the city will follow suit.
Dispatch Editor and Publisher
Birney Imes recaps a year of change and
realizations of dreams small and large.
Made in the Triangle
The Golden Triangle is home to some
interesting and unique products.
Man on the Street
What makes your town unique?
A new health department and
county offices among projects
to be completed this year.
for the future
County sees schools expand facilities
and a hospital poised for growth.
Bridge repairs on the horizon
for West Point.
Region ready for takeoff to new
heights with Aerospace Park.
MSU’s famous Edam cheese
has humble beginnings.
The Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge
has a hidden charm.
Saturday morning, Benjamin Harvey
of Starkville holds his 2-year-old
daughter, Sasha, to see the natural
beauty of the Noxubee Wildlife
Refuge at Goose Overlook Point.
1-6-this exact one 3/11/10 11:06 AM Page 2
Celebrating 21 Great Years!
218 Fifth Street South
Historic Downtown Columbus
Party Supplies • Stationery
Gifts • Pottery • Printing Department
Gourmet Foods & Coffees • Children’s Gifts
Mississippi Made Products
Baptist Memorial Hospital–Golden
Triangle’s hospitalist program
offers personal care for hospital
Ahead of the Game
Greg Bryne works to improve
athletic facilities to give the
Bulldogs a competitive edge.
Food for the Soul
Restaurant matriarch continues
family tradition of soulful cooking.
Ceramics professor uses her
love of clay to teach the
“organic process of sculpting.”
uses his analy-
sis and com-
Area’s largest employer is also the
country’s premier pilot-training base.
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 3
Dispatch Staff photographer Kelly
Tippett took this photo of visitors to
the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge,
at the Morgan Hill Overlook, one of
several areas to view plants and
wildlife at the refuge. The Morgan Hill
Overlook allows a covered place to
pause and view native grasses,
flowers and butterflies. The photo
was taken in March 2010.
ABOUT THE COVER
1-6-this exact one 3/11/10 11:12 AM Page 3
• American Institute of
Certified Public Accountants
• Registered with Public Company
Accounting Oversight Board
• Member of Center for
Public Company Audit Firms
• Member of Center for Employee
Benefit Plan Audit Quality
• Member of Center for
Governmental Audit Quality
• Private Companies Practice Section
• Alabama Society of
Certified Public Accountants
• Mississippi Society of
Certified Public Accountants
221 North Seventh Street
106 B South Washington Street
6834 Highway 69 South
T. E. Lott, Sr. founded our firm in 1926 and his 45 years of
professional service and his integrity served as the
cornerstone of the highly remarkable growth which we
have experienced over the years. Starting from a one
man practice, T. E. Lott & Company now is one of the
largest CPA firms in Mississippi and Alabama, and we
serve over 4,000 clients. Although we are basically a
regional firm, the geographic scope of these clients has
become national and international.
T. E. Lott & Company offers our clients not only
professional skills, but service that is flexible...so
flexible that we serve a diverse group of clients, from
the single entrepreneur to large corporations with
multiple domestic and foreign holdings. Such
diversity makes our task stimulating and rewarding.
Over the years, one of the greatest strengths has been
the ability to provide all types of services to our clients.
It is with a great deal of pride that we have assisted
many enterprises as they have expanded into
extensive corporate groups.
Specialization is a must if we are to effectively serve our
clients. Toward this end, we have departmentalized our
stockholders and managers into Auditing, Tax, Personal
Financial and Estate Planning Services, Management
Advisory Services, Information Technology and
Employee Benefits areas. Our services are available
through highly trained specialized professionals who
work as a team.
T. E. Lott & Company is one of the few CPA firms to be a
member of the AICPA’s Center for Public Company
Audit Firms, the Private Companies Practice Section,
the Center for Governmental Audit Quality and the
Center for Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality, and
also registered with the Public Company Accounting
Oversight Board. Being a member of these
organizations ensures quality service and requires
the firm to meet the highest of standards.
Serving The Golden Triangle Area and Beyond Since 1926
& CITY COUNCIL
Bill Gavin, Gene Taylor, Mayor Robert Smith,
Fred Stewart and Charlie Box.
thing in the
world is not
so much where
we stand, as
Oliver Wendell Holmes
4 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
1-6-this exact one 3/11/10 11:13 AM Page 4
And Each Are Special To Us
- Normal or High Risk
• Free 3-D Sonogram
here for you
24 hours a day.
505 Willowbrook Road Columbus, MS
If no answer Call 662-244-1000
JAMES L. HOLZHAUER, M.D.
Obstetrics & Gynecology
Over 24 Years Experience
EMILY JAMISON, CFNP
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 5
1-6-this exact one 3/11/10 11:14 AM Page 5
t is time for us to realize that we are too great … to
limit ourselves to small dreams. We are not, as some
would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable
decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter
what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do
Mississippi University for Women President Claudia
Limbert used the above quote by Ronald Reagan in her 2009
convocation speech announcing a proposed new name for the
school. It was later repeated by a W faculty member arguing
for the same. Alas, the name change did not happen. At least,
Change, that inexorable force, is, nonetheless, evident
here in the Golden Triangle. Challenging economic times that
began in 2008 and continued through 2009 into 2010 have
mandated all manner of change: Businesses are leaner and
more efficient, and communities and state government are
scrambling to make do with declining revenues. Few have
While we’ve had layoffs in the Golden Triangle, there is
cause for optimism. Major industries such as Severstal,
Paccar and American Eurocopter are doing their part to buoy
the local economy. Severstal, the Russian-owned steel facility,
has been running at almost full capacity; Paccar is expected
to be making diesel truck motors by the end of the year; and
in March, American Eurocopter celebrated the delivery of its
100th helicopter to the U.S. Army.
The creation in October of the Golden Triangle Regional
Global Industrial Aerospace Park adds to the range of possi-
bilities and offers another good reason to be hopeful.
Starkville continues to benefit from the economic engine
that is Mississippi State University. MSU President Mark
Keenum has brought a calm air of stability to the campus, and
Athletic Director Greg Byrne has made noticeable headway
reinvigorating the school’s athletic program. In town, newly
elected Mayor Parker Wiseman and a fresh crop of young
aldermen are bringing new ideas and new energy to this
West Point, with its exquisite downtown, fine dining and
beautiful homes, may find its role in the post-Sara Lee envi-
ronment as a hometown for those attracted to the area look-
ing for that Mayberry setting. Milton Sundbeck’s renovation
of the Ritz Theater and creation of a fine restaurant by the
same name adds luster to a downtown that is one of
Mississippi’s best-kept secrets.
The success of Columbus’ downtown is no secret. Long
regarded as the poster child for Mississippi’s Main Street pro-
gram, the city center is holding its own, evolving with new
restaurants and vibrant nightlife. Upstairs apartments contin-
ue to be in high demand with young professionals and airmen
at Columbus Air Force Base.
After a Main Street-sponsored charrette, the city and
county in 2009 chose to site a long debated soccer park com-
plex in Burns Bottom adjacent to downtown. Plans are to con-
tain the facility within a city park that preserves wetlands and
old-growth timber and tie it in to the ever-popular Riverwalk.
Questions abound over the fate of MUW. In February, law-
makers rejected a bill that would set in motion a process that
would give the 128-year-old school a gender-neutral name.
Budget cuts have mandated a consolidation of administrative
services at The W with nearby MSU. Whether this Columbus
institution continues to be a freestanding entity remains to be
In his poem “Washington Monument by Night,” Carl
Sandburg wrote, “Nothing happens unless first a dream.”
As communities we have our collective dreams; as individ-
uals, we have personal dreams. In this year’s edition of
Progress, we take a look at some of the people who are look-
ing beyond “small dreams.”
As a newspaper one of our jobs is to encourage and sup-
port the realization of dreams. We encourage you to use your
gifts, whatever they might be, in bettering our community.
You can do this by volunteering, by attending public events,
by being engaged. It can be as ambitious as starting your own
business or as simple as starting a conversation with a neigh-
bor. Dreams are realized by action. Get up. Get involved. I
6 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
FROM THE EDITOR
First a dream
1-6-this exact one 3/11/10 11:15 AM Page 6
Far From Ordinary...
Photography by Video Services & Photography, Amy Eairheart
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 7
A publication of The Dispatch
Garthia Elena Burnett
Vernon Hedgeman Jr.
P.O. Box 511
Columbus, MS 39703
101 S. Lafayette St. #16
Starkville, MS 39759
7-10 3/10/10 1:22 PM Page 1
MADE IN THE
Sanderson Plumbing Products Inc. in
Columbus is the second largest man-
ufacturer of toilet seats in the U.S.
The company’s wood composition,
plastic and vinyl seats are shipped
from coast to coast and to locales
including Ireland, Hong Kong, the
Caribbean and the United Arab
I www.sppi.com; 662-328-4000
Aspen Bay Candles in
Starkville specializes in
designer candle lines including
the Gold Leaf, Pagoda,
Northwoods, Palmetto and
The company sells its
fragrant products in the
U.S. and abroad.
From the useful to the quirky, Golden
Triangle businesses of all sizes create
and export a wide array of products to
the world. Here's a sampling.
Jubilations Inc. in Columbus, now owned
by George Purnell, produces about 60
varieties of cheesecake and ships them
throughout the continental U.S. Begun in
1983 as a home-based bakery, Tammy
Craddock of Columbus and her staff built
Jubilations into a nationally-known brand.
Picture in background.
Southern Outdoors Technologies
in West Point produces several
models of deer blinds for hunters,
including the Sportsman’s Condo
and Ridgeline series. The compa-
ny’s products are distributed
throughout North America.
7-10 3/10/10 1:26 PM Page 2
Southern Lure Company in Columbus
produces Scum Frog, Big Foot and
Trophy Series lures for fishing enthusi-
asts. The company ships to outlets
throughout the U.S. and to countries
including Canada and Australia.
I www.scumfrog.com; 662-327-4548
Bessie Johnson’s intricate basketry has
been featured in the Smithsonian’s
Traveling Exhibition of Folk Art and on
Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s
“Mississippi Roads.” The Clay County resi-
dent is a 2010 recipient of the Governor’s
Awards for Excellence in the Arts. This
charter member of the Craftsmen’s Guild
of Mississippi has also had her woven orna-
ments selected as part of the White House
I www.arts.state.ms.us; e--mail bbj1@ebi-
Hatmaker Steve Delk of Adventurebilt Hat
Co. in New Hope, Lowndes County,
made Harrison Ford’s signature
fedoras for the “Indiana
Jones and The Kingdom of
the Crystal Skull” movie.
Producer Steven Spielberg
brand hats to give to friends
Navistar Defense in West Point focuses on spe-
cialized armoring solutions,
including the mine-resist-
MRAPs — for
for the British
American Eurocopter in Lowndes County is part
of the manufacturing company with the most
comprehensive range of civil turbine
helicopters available, from the five-seat EC120
light single to the 19-seat EC225 heavy twin.
The company also provides Lakota Light-Utility
Helicopters for the U.S. Army.
Mississippi State University’s Department of Plant
and Soil Sciences cultivates several varieties of
Bermuda grass and holds the patents for MS-
Choice, MS-Express, MS-Pride and MS-Supreme.
More than a decade ago, MSU granted a license
for MS-Choice under the name Bull’s Eye Bermuda
to West Coast Turf, a widely-known sports grass
marketer with operations in Arizona, California and
Nevada. The Rose Bowl and Edison International
Field, home field of the Anaheim Angels, have used
the grass. Other venues with MSU turfgrass in use
are MSU’s Scott Field; Chase Field, home of the
Arizona Diamondbacks; Petco Park, home of the
San Diego Padres; and Kauffman Stadium, home of
the Kansas City Royals.
7-10 3/10/10 4:14 PM Page 3
10 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
7-10 3/10/10 1:29 PM Page 4
The Coated Groundwood Mill has been part of this community
for over 25 years. We are committed to our Community,
Environment, our Team Members and their families.
We are Domtar... with a proud history and a growing future.
PO BOX 8093 | 9620 Old Macon Road | Columbus, MS | www.domtar.com
SAFETY IS AVALUE
NOTA PRIORITY...PRIORITIES CHANGE.
11-14 3/10/10 1:31 PM Page 1
“There are a lot of places to
go shopping here.
Columbus has a lot of stores
that other places don’t.”
TACARA HARRIS, 22
“I came here for the
military, and have lived
here for almost 40 years.”
JAMES MERRIGAN, 72
“The community support
for the Air Force base
makes Columbus really
special. All the businesses
and people are always will-
ing to help us out.”
JOHN-MICHAEL AYERS, 25
“The W makes me feel at
home — it definitely makes
LARESHA FLOWERS, 21
“West Point has a festival
every year — the Prairie
Arts Festival. That makes
this place pretty cool.”
SANDRA KNEDLIK, 38
“West Point is where my
Dad was born and is where
I learned to play softball.
It’s just a great town.”
LINCOLN PEARSON, 16
WHAT MAKES YOUR TOWN UNIQUE?
COLUMBUS • WEST POINT • STARKVILLE
12 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
11-14 3/10/10 1:33 PM Page 2
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 13
“West Point has a close-
knit, family-like community
atmosphere that I love.”
DAVIDA HILL, 27
“Football makes West
Point awesome with six
ANTHONY JOHNSON, 14
“I’ve come to accept and
appreciate the simpleness
of Starkville. I’m from a
larger city, but I’m starting
to enjoy the small-town
ASHLEY TOOMBS, 22
“I’ve lived here about 37
years — it’s a friendly,
JACK CARROLL, 70
“It’s all about the people that
live here. There are just so
many talented people that
are so willing to give to the
community and share their
ADA MCGREVEY, 50
“The right activities we
have here make Starkville
special — whether it be ani-
mal rights or archeological
awareness, Starkville is
KIM MOFFITT, 24
11-14 3/10/10 1:35 PM Page 3
1501 Main Street
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FACE BRICK • WOOD MOULDS
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114 BRICKYARD RD. COLUMBUS, MS 39701
Bethany Reed Hairston, M.D.
Board CerƟﬁed Dermatologist
“Caring for Skin of All Ages”
255 BapƟst Boulevard, Suite 304 Columbus, MS 39705 662-328-3375/1-877-441-DERM
Medicare, Blue Cross,
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Removal of growths
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14 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
11-14 3/11/10 3:32 PM Page 4
Wire Your Home and
Business for Success
IT’S ALL ABOUT TIME & MONEY. Cable ONE can help you save both
by providing the services you want plus reliability you can count on.
319 College Street • Columbus, MS 39701
*Some restrictions apply. Not all services available in all areas. Call Cable ONE for details.
15-20 3/10/10 1:39 PM Page 1
16 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
Lowndes County District 4 Supervisor
Jeff Smith demonstrates how to catch
a basketball to 5-year-old Jeramiah
Crawford, while Kenneth Henry, at
right, helps. Smith and others began
the Crawford Community Center
Basketball Camp as a way to offer
recreation opportunities for area
children. Jeramiah parents are
Amanda and Melvin Crawford.
15-20 3/12/10 8:58 AM Page 2
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 17
story by KRISTIN MAMRACK photos by KELLY TIPPETT and LUISA PORTER
under construction at the inter-
sections of Warpath and
Lehmberg roads likely will be
complete in late summer and
county administrative offices
are expected to occupy a newly
renovated building — the for-
mer First Federal Bank
Building at 12th Street and
Main Street — this summer.
Renovations on the building
likely will be completed by
The county tax offices, with
a drive-through window, will be
located on the first floor of the
three-story building and county
administrative offices, includ-
ing the purchasing department,
accounts payable and accounts
receivable offices and the coun-
ty supervisors’ offices will be
located on the second floor; the
third floor will be used for stor-
Architects are considering
renovating the Lowndes
County Courthouse for more
COUNTY OFFICES, COURTHOUSE
PROJECTS ON TAP FOR
COMPLETION THIS YEAR
Lowndes County District 1 Supervisor Harr y
Sanders predicts the new Lowndes County Health
Department, being constructed at the corner of
Warpath and Lehmberg roads, will have a huge
impact on the area.
15-20 3/12/10 9:01 AM Page 3
KRIS DAVIS, GRI, ASP
MICHAEL DAVIS, GRI
The sign you want...
18 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
1120 Gardner Blvd. • Columbus • 328-5776
CASH & CARRY BUILDING SUPPLIES
Service • Quality • Variety
Building contractors and do-it-yourself
homeowners appreciate quality merchandise,
selection and friendly service. Add expertise and
more than 100 years of combined experience, and
it’s easy to see why Cash & Carry Building Supply
at 1120 Gardner Blvd. is a preferred place to shop
for building materials.
Cash & Carry stocks virtually everything needed
to complete a home, building or remodeling job.
In fact, the staff will analyze house plans and give
cost estimates on materials needed for construction
and ﬁnishing. Known for their incredible service,
Cash & Carry has a knowledgeable staff, they
deliver and accept all major credit cards for your
convenience. Cash & Carry stands behind what
it sells, and takes personal interest in customers,
because many of them are friends and neighbors. It
is a locally owned and managed business, and it is
committed to this community.
Owners Bill McBryde and Charles Shelton take
pride in their staff, led by Manager Randall Grant,
who has been with the company 38 years. Avery
Duncan 35 years; Charles Williams, 34 years; Jim
Key 34 years; Lindy McBryde, 13 years; Steve
Lindsey 18 years; Tommy Betts, 11 years; and
bookkeepers Dorothy Tarlton and Diane Lollar.
space for the Chancery Court
Division, the Circuit Clerk Division, a
new Circuit Court judge and the dis-
trict attorney’s office, Sanders said,
noting the courthouse annex building
currently occupied by the district
attorney and supervisors’ offices,
among others, will be demolished to
allow for additional courthouse park-
JUSTICE COURT COMPLEX
And, architects are drawing up
plans for a new Lowndes County
Justice Court complex, to be located
next to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s
Office, reported Sanders, noting the
supervisors have not officially voted to
construct a Justice Court building, but
have agreed to do so.
Construction on a Burns Bottom-
area soccer complex likely will start in
January 2011, and completion is esti-
mated by September 2011. Sanders
noted all owners of the property need-
ed for the complex have signed
options to sell their property to the
county for its appraised value and a
landscape architect has been commis-
sioned to draw up plans, expected in
March, for the complex.
Along with a new soccer complex
and park, supervisors have a neigh-
borhood parks plan. District 4
Supervisor Jeff Smith, who grew up in
a neighborhood park himself, is a
major proponent of the project.
“It’s the lifeline of the community
— the churches and the parks,” said
Smith, who grew up on Southside near
Zion Gate and 10th Street Baptist
“I have a personal investment in
this community and want to see it
prosper and do well,” he said. Smith
still lives in the area, and during the
summer, his neighborhood park —
Hank Aaron Park — is still used for
community baseball games.
For Smith, whose district spans
Southside, East Columbus, Crawford
and southern and western Lowndes
County, the neighborhood parks proj-
ect is about quality of life.
“Kids walk the streets during the
day with nowhere to go,” he noted of
children living in areas several miles
away from “leisurely outlets.”
“This is what it is all about,” Smith
15-20 3/10/10 1:46 PM Page 4
1223 2nd Avenue North
Columbus, MS • (662) 386-6157
Interiors & Antiques
Serving The Golden Triangle Since 1985
With Professional, Prompt & Personal Service.
Security and Fire Alarms • Camera Systems
24 hour monitoring • financing available
Antiques, Interior Design &
Consultation, Window Treatments,
and Estate Jewelry
(662) 329-4222 • 1223 2nd Ave. N. Columbus, MS 39701
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 19
327-3332 • Next to Belk
We have a variety of items as
unique as the people in your life!
Come See Us!
Best Selection of
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staff willing to
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604 18th Ave. N. • Columbus, MS
Ph: (662) 327-6664
Fax: (662) 329-9311
said. “It’s about improving the quality
of living. No one is going to tell me
these people shouldn’t be able to have
leisure in their community ...”
Director Roger Short, in November
2009, presented a $1.6 million plan for
improving neighborhood parks.
PREDICTIONS FOR THE FUTURE
“Slowly, but surely, employment is
going to increase,” Sanders predicted.
“Gradually, people will be back at
work and they’ll be higher-paid jobs.
Because of that, you’re going to see
retail sales increase and home sales
increase and you’ll see a general
upswing in Lowndes County and areas
around. It’s going to be a regional
“Locally, you’re going to see an eas-
ier way to do business with the county
(in the new administrative building)
and certainly the folks who have to
deal with the justice system are going
to find it easier,” he continued, refer-
ring to the new facilities. “And you
know there’s going to be a tremen-
dous impact with the Health
Department in the new location. (The
soccer complex) is going to give a new
look to downtown; there’s going to be
a tremendous green space right in
downtown Columbus and there will be
nothing like it in the South. It’s going
to be tremendous for quality of life
and tying Burns Bottom into the
Riverwalk is going to be a boon and
will clean up a somewhat blighted area
of the city.” I
It’s the lifeline of
the community —
the churches and
JEFF SMITH, Lowndes County
District 4 supervisor
15-20 3/11/10 3:33 PM Page 5
20 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
Columbus Cardiovascular Care
255 Baptist Blvd, Suite 402 • Baptist Outpatient Pavillion • Columbus, MS 39705
Toll Free (800) 709-3059 • T (662) 240-1412 • F (662) 240-1949
Michael J. Boland, MD, FACC
Monday-Thursday 8am to 5pm
Friday 8am to Noon
By appointment only.
Referral is not required.
Treadmill Stress Testing
Nuclear Cardiology Stress
Management of Cholesterol
Outpatient EKG Monitoring
for Heart Rhythm Problems
Heart Disease Prevention
0 - 2 0
is proud to have its
in West Point.
As we celebrate the 30th Anniversary
of SII, we salute the 237 employees
who work in manufacturing, sales,
transportation, research, and in our
Corporate headquarters in West Point.
These individuals and the loyal
customers to whom we supply products
have made SII successful for thirty
years. SII is proud to be part of the
West Point Community.
1980 - 2010
15-20 3/11/10 3:35 PM Page 6
Columbus Light & Water...
making your life
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
District 1 - Harry Sanders
District 2 - Frank Ferguson
District 3 - John Holliman
District 4 - Jeff Smith
District 5 - Leroy Brooks
Chancery Clerk - Lisa Younger Neese
Administrator - Ralph Billingsley
...leading Mississippi in Business & Industrial Development
• Crossroads Megasite
• Economic Engine for Golden Triangle
• Full Service Port on the Tenn-Tom Waterway
• State’s 3rd Busiest Commercial Airport
• Educated, Strong Workforce
• Regional Medical Center
• 3 Major Universities within 75 Miles
• Regional Trade Center
• Active Business Partners
• Regional Transportation Hub
• 22 of the top 100 Retailers
• Pro-Business Climate
• Dynamic & Responsive
Development Agency, The Link
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 21
21-26 3/10/10 1:54 PM Page 1
22 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
f hard hats are signs
of progress, the
District is making leaps
and bounds. At
School, district Assistant
Walter Gonsoulin walks
carefully down a dusty
hallway, his eyes glanc-
ing around at construc-
tion crews working hard
to renovate a 50-year-old
section of the building.
The whirring of power
tools echoes off the gray
cinderblock walls and
lengthy extension cords
line the cold concrete
says as he looks into a
classroom with little
more than a wheelbar-
row and a pile of rubble,
its windows covered with
The renovation project
at Henderson is sched-
uled to be completed by
July, Gonsoulin said.
Construction crews are
“gutting” the building
and renovating classrooms, turning offices into classrooms, extending the library,
installing new wiring and, among other things, doing some exterior work on the
building “to make it a very eye-appealing place to the public,” he said.
SCHOOLS EXPAND FACILITIES;
HOSPITAL POISED FOR GROWTH
story by TIM PRATT photos by KELLY TIPPETT
21-26 3/12/10 9:08 AM Page 2
Starkville Assistant Superintendent Dr.
Walter Gonsoulin stands amid ongoing
construction at Henderson Intermediate
School. Construction crews have been
working to renovate a 50-year-old sec-
tion of the building. It and several other
Starkville schools will have facelifts and
expansions once projects are complete.
OPPOSITE: Thomas Graham, right, pass-
es a plank to Paulino Anastacio, as
they work on renovations at Henderson
Intermediate School in Starkville. The
construction on these projects was paid
for by a $26 million bond issue passed
by voters in 2007.
21-26 3/12/10 9:09 AM Page 3
Ofﬁce of Admissions and Scholarships
F.Ò. Box ó334 º Mississippi Srore, MS 3º7ó2-ó334
T: óó2-325-2224 º F: óó2-325-1MSU º E-moil: odmirmssrore.edu
MSU is on eouol opporruniry insrirurion.
Conrinue your porh.
Mo|e o statement.
24 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
Roadways on the east and west sides
of the building also will be repaved, new
playground equipment will be installed,
and fencing will be erected around the
entire campus, which includes Ward-
Stewart Elementary School, Gonsoulin
Projects also are under way at a num-
ber of other schools in the district.
Construction crews recently completed
the interior portion of an approximately
18,000-square-foot addition at Sudduth
Elementary, with 10 classrooms, an
activity room, tutoring rooms and read-
ing rooms, Gonsoulin said. Classes
began in the new wing on Feb. 22.
The siding and landscaping outside
the addition still needs work, along with
the walking track on the property. The
school district also needs to put the
playground equipment back in place and
install lights around the track,
“We are expecting that to be finished
here in the near future, but that all
depends on the weather,” Gonsoulin
A new addition also is in the works
for Armstrong Middle School. That proj-
ect began in late 2008. It is scheduled
for completion in June. The addition
includes classrooms, exterior work,
additional parking lot areas, rehabilita-
tion of existing parking areas and paving
the area around the Greensboro Center.
The cafeteria also will be extended, he
said, though the cafeteria and pavement
won’t be completed until July.
“All of our projects are scheduled for
completion by July of this year, right
before school starts,” Gonsoulin said.
The district also recently completed a
renovation and new entrance at
Starkville High School.
Gonsoulin feels it is important to ren-
ovate and build new classrooms in the
district, not only to relieve overcrowd-
ing, but to give students the most mod-
ern learning facilities possible. New
computers, smart boards and other
items also are being purchased for class-
“It sets the climate for learning,”
Gonsoulin said. “Kids want to go to
school in a building that looks good,
that they can be proud of, and, also, with
all of the renovations, it allowed us to
outfit the buildings with the latest tech-
The region’s economy also could
benefit from a modern school system,
“Updated equipment is going to allow
our teachers and our students to be
exposed to a top-notch educational expe-
rience,” Gonsoulin said. “It puts them
ahead of the curve. And with the new
facilities, I think the public feels good
about what they’ve done and how
they’ve contributed to the school district
with the bond issue. It sends a message
to new businesses coming into town.
They come and look at our schools and
see how they look. They’ll be very invit-
ing, new, up-to-date, 21st-century equip-
ment and facilities. It’s a place that will
The construction on these projects
was paid for by a $26 million bond issue
passed by voters in 2007. But students
in the school district still will encounter
“Even with the additions, we are still
filled to capacity,” Gonsoulin said.
Upcoming renovations at Oktibbeha
County Hospital, which is set to be
renamed OCH Regional Medical Center,
21-26 3/10/10 2:01 PM Page 4
2013 Hwy. 45 North • Columbus • 327-2684
w w w. s t a r k v i l l e . o r g / s h o p
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 25
also will be paid for with a bond issue.
In November 2008, 61 percent of vot-
ers in Oktibbeha County approved a
measure for the county to issue up to
$27.5 million in bonds to pay for renova-
tions at OCH. The county Board of
Supervisors recently accepted a con-
struction bid from Brasfield and Gorrie
LLC, of Birmingham, Ala., to complete
the project at a cost of $23.29 million.
Arthur “Sonny” Kelly, CEO of OCH,
expects construction to start in March
and last 24 months. The project will be
completed in two phases, he said.
The first phase involves the con-
struction of a new tower, which will
include new patient rooms and a relo-
cated intensive care unit, Caesarian sec-
tion area, well-baby area and obstetrics
department, Kelly said. He hopes the
new tower will be completed within a
The second phase involves renova-
tions to existing portions of the hospi-
tal, including one project that will con-
vert every three patient rooms into two
larger rooms. Kelly expects renovations
on the existing hospital building to
begin after the completion of the new
EXCITEMENT ABOUT PROJECTS
Kelly and the rest of the hospital
staff are excited about the upcoming
“We’re very gratified that the citi-
zens of our county have the trust in the
hospital, that the citizens voted for a
(bond) issue in what we realize are dif-
ficult economic times, and that makes it
all the more special to us,” Kelly said.
“We are determined to deliver a great
project for the citizens of Oktibbeha
County and the other counties we
NEW CENTRAL OFFICE
In the Oktibbeha County School
District, a new central office building is
planned behind Mugshots in downtown
Starkville. The county Board of
Supervisors accepted bids for the proj-
ect, but voted to readvertise in mid
February when the bids came in “too
high,” County Administrator Don Posey
Plans also are under way to replace
roofs this spring at East Oktibbeha
County High School, West Oktibbeha
County Elementary School and West
Oktibbeha County High School,
Superintendent James Covington said.
The Starkville Electric Department
also plans to move into its new, two-
story, 9,000-square-foot building at
Jefferson and Lafayette streets by late
March, department Manager Edd
“Updated equipment is going to allow our teachers
and our students to be exposed to a top-notch educational experience.
It puts them ahead of the curve.”
DR. WALTER GONSOULIN, Starkville School District assistant superintendent
21-26 3/10/10 2:12 PM Page 5
26 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
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27-30 3/11/10 3:42 PM Page 1
28 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
The bridge at the corner
of Highway 45 and Main Street
in West Point is on the busiest
intersection in the city, supporting
9,000-13,000 vehicles a day.
Repairs to the weather-damaged
bridge will cost about $350,000.
27-30 3/10/10 2:08 PM Page 2
story by JASON BROWNE
photo by KELLY TIPPETT
ately, when West Point officials
talk of building bridges, they only
wish they were speaking
The city will close the Main Street
bridge, located immediately east of
Highway 45 Alternate at the intersec-
tion of Highway 45 and Main Street,
around mid-March to begin demolition
of the old bridge and construction on a
new one. The bridge was initially closed
in September 2009 when heavy rains
caused the bridge’s brick arch to erode
and a hole formed in the middle of the
Because the bridge is located at the
busiest intersection in West Point, sup-
porting 9,000-13,000 vehicles a day, it
was reopened in December with traffic
diverted to the stable outside edges of
After attempts to apply for state
grants were scrapped because the
bridge project does not qualify as an
emergency, West Point decided to
repair the bridge with funds received
from the sale of $1.95 million in general
Approximately $800,000 of the bonds
were spent late last year on equipment
purchases including a street sweeper,
track hoe and other items, leaving $1.1
million for roads. Jones estimates the
bridge repair will eat up $350,000 of the
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 29
27-30 3/10/10 2:09 PM Page 3
30 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
remaining money, leaving $800,000 for road work.
Once the bridge project begins, Jones predicts the work
will last two-three months, “if the weather doesn’t interfere.”
Engineering analysis for the project was completed in
February, freeing the city to begin advertising for demolition
and construction bids.
The new bridge will be constructed with pilings driven 20
feet into the limestone bedrock to create a stronger founda-
Jones says the estimated total cost of the bridge project is
as low as $350,000 because the city will offer in-kind labor and
equipment use. Additional labor is expected from Clay
County, along with materials from the Mississippi
Department of Transportation and equipment and erosion
control from the Tombigbee River Valley Soil Conservation
The rest of West Point’s bridges are reportedly in good
shape and are regularly inspected by MDOT and city engi-
Once a new bridge is in place on Main Street, West Point
will be free to begin its road work.
Each city selectman is responsible for turning in a priori-
tized list of their ward’s worst roads. The city will then priori-
tize the streets on those lists to address those with the great-
“From an engineering standpoint, we want to know the
roads that, if we don’t fix, we’re going to lose. Because it costs
a whole lot more to lose a road than repair it,” said Jones.
Roads become irreparable when moisture seeps through
cracks and penetrates the seal between the asphalt and the
road bed. If that happens, Jones says the road has to be
rebuilt from the bottom up, and $800,000 “won’t get you much
new road at all.”
Fortunately, the price of asphalt has dwindled with lower
gas prices and construction firms are making more competi-
tive bids due to the economy, allowing West Point to stretch
its remaining dollars.
The city will also recycle asphalt milled from roads which
have leveled out and lost their slope, allowing standing water.
Clay County has a pair of bridge replacements of its own
on tap for the spring.
Bids were opened in February to replace bridges on U.S.
Davidson Road and Ruth Cliett Road, both in the Montpelier
Clay County engineers estimated the total cost for the
bridge replacements around $500,000.
Clay County Chancery Clerk Robbie Robinson said the
county is also seeking funding to pave 1.6 miles of Tibbee
Road, which would pave the road to the Lowndes County line.
“There’s a glimmer of hope through stimulus money,” said
That project is estimated to cost more than $1 million
because the area is prone to flooding and the road bed would
have to be raised. But Robinson says the road is an important
connection between Clay and Lowndes, offering a straight
shot to the Clay County Landfill and Highway 45 Alternate.I
27-30 3/10/10 2:10 PM Page 4
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31-36 3/12/10 8:54 AM Page 1
Michael Brown performs on his trumpet with the jazz band the State Messengers,
from Starkville, in February, at West Point’s Ritz Theater on Commerce Street. Milton
and Christy Sundbeck have worked to restore the historic building to its original glory.
OPPOSITE: Milton and Christy Sundbeck’s renovation of the 1931 Ritz Theater in has
inspired movement of sorts in downtown West Point. Milton Sundbeck believes a
strong downtown “core” will lead to growth in the rest of the city.
32 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
31-36 3/10/10 4:18 PM Page 2
MI LTON SUNDBECK, Owner of Southern Ionics and The Ritz
“For this city to maintain itself
and be a place that has a high quality
of life, its center city must be focused.”
DOWNTOWN BELIEVER TRYING TO BUILD CITY
FROM THE CORE OUT
story by JASON BROWNE
photos by KELLY TIPPETT
and LUISA PORTER
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 33
Photos by Luisa Porter
31-36 3/10/10 4:19 PM Page 3
ilton Sundbeck subscribes to
the Downtown Core philoso-
phy of city economics: If a
city’s core is solid, the outer rings of the
city will follow suit.
Conversely, if the core is allowed to
deteriorate, the rest of the city won’t be far
As fate would have it, Sundbeck is one
of the few West Point citizens with the
bankroll, business acumen and community-
minded concern to make a positive impact
on his city’s downtown district.
“For this city to maintain itself and be a
place that has a high quality of life, its cen-
ter city must be focused,” says Sundbeck,
owner of Southern Ionics, a chemical com-
pany with nine manufacturing plants and
four barging facilities across the South,
from Texas to Georgia.
Since moving his company’s headquar-
ters to West Point in 1982 to be closer to
his largest customer base, Sundbeck has
walked the streets of downtown West Point
from his office on Commerce Street, admir-
ing its old-fashioned, small-town charm but
wincing at the condition of one particular
“Two or three times a week I’d walk by
this old theater,” he recalls. “It was a very
sick building that always bothered me. It
had dead pigeons in it and standing water.
Over the last few years it was just a big
concern to me.”
That ailing building —the Ritz Theater
on Commerce Street —had a rich history.
Built in 1931, it enjoyed a run of almost 40
years before closing its doors around 1970.
During that period, ownership of The
Ritz changed hands several times. At one
point the building was owned by the Bryan
family before ending up with the West
Point Community Foundation, which deed-
ed the building to Sundbeck for $1.
After inspecting the building, which had
2 feet of standing water at the foot of its
sloped floor and decades worth of pigeon
droppings in its projection room, Sundbeck
considered simply demolishing the faded
movie palace and starting from scratch.
But he couldn’t bring himself to let all that
history go to waste.
Instead, Sundbeck and his wife, Christy,
decided to restore the theater to its former
glory. And a quick survey of businesses
that share Commerce Street with The Ritz
leaves no doubt what the convention center
and café has accomplished in the year
since its reopening.
“It’s really impacted the whole street,”
says Valeda Carmichael, owner of Culin-
Arts, a food crafts and art gallery located
across the street. “Now that the Ritz has
opened up, it’s brought a lot of out-of-town
people in for lunch. Then they hit the
shops. I see my business pick up in the
afternoon, usually between 1-2 p.m.”
“One thing that’s really helped is The
Ritz. If we continue what we’re doing
(downtown), things will pick up,” said
Louise Campbell, clerk at Bits N Pieces, a
consignment and antiques store.
“The Ritz has been a big help bringing
people downtown during the day. I’m excit-
ed about the changes,” said Scott Reed of
Petal Pushers, a floral shop.
“It’s clearly the crown jewel of down-
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34 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
The Ritz Theater was built in 1931 and was open for nearly four decades before
closing its doors around 1970. The Sundbecks have worked to restore the historic
building. OPPOSITE, LEFT: Culin-Arts on Commerce Street has a fresh paint job
and new awnings, adding to the charm of downtown West Point. MIDDLE: A vin-
tage sign welcomes patrons to Kellogg's Hardware in downtown West Point.
RIGHT: Bink salon on Commerce Street, owned by Dovie James, features a
31-36 3/10/10 4:23 PM Page 4
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Golden Triangle (662) 243-1900
West Point (662) 492-8767
Macon (662) 476-5386
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NAS Meridian (601) 679-3570
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 35
town,” added Mayor Scott Ross, who works
in City Hall, across Commerce Street from
That’s not to say The Ritz did all of the
work alone. Ross says downtown West
Point has been on an upswing for the past
couple years thanks to the efforts of
groups like the Main Street Association
and the West Point Garden Club.
Martha Allen, head of the West Point-
Clay County Growth Alliance, the city and
county’s Chamber of Commerce, points to
a recent $12,000 grant secured by the Main
Street Association through the Appalachian
Regional Commission that helped 15 busi-
nesses find the funds to refurbish their
signs or paint their buildings’ facades.
“It’s getting a little better,” says Skeeter
Busbin, a clerk at Kellogg’s Hardware, of
the changing face of downtown West Point.
“Everybody’s starting to paint the front of
their stores. It’s kind of surprising the way
the economy is.”
Allen also credits the Garden Club for
its work putting new potted plants through-
out downtown to beautify the area.
A pending $35,000 grant from the ARC
will fund new signage aimed at funneling
traffic away from Highway 45 Alternate to
downtown West Point.
“One of the most important things is let-
ting people know West Point is not
Highway 45. You have to turn off 45 to get
Photos by Kelly Tippett
31-36 3/10/10 4:26 PM Page 5
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to downtown,” says Allen.
And in April, West Point will host the
same charrette team which visited
Columbus in September to offer a compre-
hensive plan for city improvement.
A MASSIVE UNDERTAKING
Present and future improvements
notwithstanding, The Ritz is still the
biggest thing to hit downtown West Point
in years, fulfilling Sundbeck’s vision of an
all-in-one entertainment center capable of
hosting conventions, performances,
movies, dances, parties, wedding recep-
tions, club meetings and other gatherings.
“The objective was we wanted the place
used on a regular basis,” said Sundbeck.
Creating the most diverse facility in
town was no small order to begin with, but
Sundbeck wanted more. He wanted every
inch of The Ritz to speak quality and histo-
The first challenge was flattening the
theater’s sloped floor.
“A lot of theaters kept that stadium-style
seating that was sloped. It’s just something
that couldn’t be utilized, so we hired Pryor
and Morrow (Architects) to discuss the
feasibility of leveling the floor and what
that would entail,” said Sundbeck. “To our
delight and amazement, we were able to
level the floor to create a building that
looked like this is the way it was always
supposed to be built.”
The level floor allows for tables to be set
out for fine dining, but Sundbeck didn’t like
the idea of having events catered by anoth-
er company. So he put in a restaurant next
Sundbeck bought the old Woolworth’s
building directly north of The Ritz and
installed a full-service kitchen and café
capable of catering events in the larger con-
ference center, but also capable of support-
ing itself as a stand-alone restaurant.
SUPPLY AND DEMAND
Since opening, The Ritz Café has
expanded its hours, days and menu to
meet growing demand. Next, The Ritz will
meet another demand: An appetite for local
produce. The Ritz will begin trucking in
fresh, organic vegetables from Sundbeck’s
“That’s a big thing people are really
interested in,” said Sundbeck. “I doubt if
it’s going to be cost effective, but we’re
going to do it anyway.”
But The Ritz is more than fine dining. It
is a theater, after all.
Sundbeck plans to incorporate regular
entertainment into the theater’s schedule.
Some early ideas include Grand Ole Opry-
style talent revues and weekly classic film
It’s fitting that The Ritz shows old
movies — in part because they may have
previously played at the theater — because
“classic” is the theme. From floor to ceil-
ing, everything in The Ritz is original.
The theater was designed with Arabic
stylings, popularized at the time of its con-
struction by movies such as Casablanca.
But the technology is anything but old
school. The Ritz boasts a $75,000 state-of-
the-art projector that faces a 20-by-20-foot
screen that can be used for movies, com-
puter-based presentations or satellite televi-
“There are a lot of people over time that
worked to do this. I think the renovation of
The Ritz has inspired a lot of people to
improve the upkeep of their buildings,”
Sundbeck says. “The result is one of the
most vibrant downtown business communi-
ties of any small town in Mississippi.”I
An overall view of West Point’s downtown Ritz theater during
the Valentine’s Day Ball Feb.13.
36 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
31-36 3/11/10 3:44 PM Page 6
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38 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
37-42 3/12/10 9:12 AM Page 2
The early days of
were limited to only
a few hundred
cheese balls per year
due to the outbreak
of World War II. ... The MSU Dairy Processing Facility
has sold millions of Edam cheese balls over the years.
FAMOUS MSU CHEESE HAD HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
story by TIM PRATT photos by KELLY TIPPETT
s the sun rises over the tree line east of Mississippi
State University’s Joe Bearden Dairy Research Center,
herdsman Kenneth Graves is right there with it,
strolling through a barn full of Holstein and Jersey cows.
He gazes over the sprawling 1,100-acre property on Turkey
Creek Road, five miles southeast of the MSU campus, shakes his
head and smiles.
“One thing I can say is I’ve probably
seen more sunrises than most people my
age,” the 37-year-old Graves says.
Staff at the Research Center begin milk-
ing the herd of approximately 150 cows
every day at around 3:15 a.m. By the time
the sun rises, Graves already has been on the job for two or
three hours. Fellow herder J.B. Gardner and a handful of student
workers also bustle about the facility.
“It takes a special breed of person to be a dairy farmer,”
Graves says, his boots caked in mud and the vapor from his
breath visible in the early morning air. Staff will milk the herd
again at 3:15 p.m. in a process that produces an average of about
10,000 pounds, or 1,250 gallons, of raw milk per day, Graves said.
The dedication of Graves, Gardner and
the rest of the staff at the Research Center
has helped the dairy program at
Mississippi State gain national recognition.
The Custer Dairy Processing Plant on
the Mississippi State campus, located in the
F.H. Herzer Building, ranked fifth national-
ly last year in pounds of raw milk
processed by a university-operated cream-
ery. The plant processes an average of 3.6
million pounds of raw milk annually, which
it transforms into cheese, ice cream, butter
and fluid milk for retail sale.
The MSU creamery also ranks second
nationally in overall cheese production,
trailing only Washington State University.
OPPOSITE: Mississippi State University
Custer Dairy Processing Plant Manager
David Hall holds Edam cheese cannon-
balls, at the sales store. RIGHT: In the
early days of Edam, production was limit-
ed to only a few hundred cheese balls
per year. Now, about 50,000 are shipped
every year. ABOVE: Staff at the
research center begin milking 150 cows
every day at around 3:15 a.m.
37-42 3/12/10 9:13 AM Page 3
The manufacturing facility at Mississippi
State produces in excess of 300,000
pounds of cheese each year.
But it all starts at the Dairy Research
Center on Turkey Creek Road, where a
carefully planned diet and close monitor-
ing of each animal’s health improves the
quality, and the taste, of the dairy prod-
ucts Mississippi State produces every day,
Graves said. Genetics also plays an impor-
tant role. Mississippi State has the oldest
continually bred Jersey herd in the coun-
try on the university level, he said. It dates
back to 1929.
Using artificial insemination, MSU
breeds the “best bulls” with the cows that
produce the most milk, Gardner said.
The top cow at the dairy farm now, a
Holstein, produces about 158 pounds, or
approximately 20 gallons, of raw milk per
“We’re constantly trying to improve,”
said Gardner, whose family in Warrenton,
Ga., has been in the dairy business for
generations. “You can’t ever get lax on
After the cows are milked at the
Research Center by a pulsation machine,
which squeezes and vacuums the liquid
from the animals’ teats, the milk is stored
and cooled at the facility. Milk typically
comes out of a cow at about 101 degrees,
Graves said, but is cooled and stored
below 37 degrees to slow down bacterial
After milking, the raw milk is pumped
out of the parlor’s storage tanks into the
university’s 2,000-gallon transport truck
for the five-mile trek to the processing
plant on campus.
MILK, BUTTER, ICE CREAM
The first stop for the raw milk upon
entering the MSU production facility is
the pasteurizer, where it is heated to a
temperature of 161 degrees Fahrenheit,
Custer Dairy Processing Plant Manager
David Hall said. All raw milk must be pas-
teurized, regardless of what it will be used
for, in order to kill any enzymes or bacte-
ria which could affect quality and food
safety, he said.
Two percent milk, chocolate milk, but-
termilk and butter are all produced by the
MSU creamery, along with 16 flavors
of ice cream. Available in 8-ounce cups,
half-gallon and 3-gallon containers, the fla-
vors come in the standard vanilla, choco-
late and strawberry, but also include sev-
eral specialty flavors, like sweet potato and
Cheese-making, however, is how
employees at the processing plant spend a
large portion of their time.
The history of cheese-making at
Mississippi State University dates back to
1938, when dairy scientist Fredrick
Herman Herzer decided to create a
cheese that would both represent the
state college and show support for the
booming dairy industry in central
Mississippi. His decision was to manufac-
ture Edam cheese in distinctively shaped
AVE. N. R-153
COLUMBUS, MS 39705
A CUT ABOVE
Fitness Center • Tennis Court
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Sparkling Private Pool
FF Refrigerator w/Ice
High Speed Internet Available
Private Porches or Balconies
24-Hour Emergency Maintenance
40 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
Mississippi State University Joe
Bearden Dairy Research Center herds-
men Kenneth Graves, left, and J.B.
Gardner manage a barn full of Holstein
and Jersey cows.
37-42 3/11/10 4:26 PM Page 4
Aubrey E. Nichols • 243-7312
John W. Crowell* • 243-7308
William F. Gillis • 243-7329
William T. Cooper • 243-7334
Marc D. Amos • 243-7332
M. Jay Nichols • 243-7330
Regions Bank Building
710 Main Street
P. O. Box 1827
Columbus, MS 39703-1827
*Also admitted in Arkansas
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 41
THE GROWTH OF EDAM
The early days of Edam production
were limited to only a few hundred
cheese balls per year due to the outbreak
of World War II. Nearly a generation later,
the need for expanded cheese production
capabilities has long since been realized
through the efforts of two Mississippi
Agriculture and Forestry Experiment
Station departments: Animal and Dairy
Sciences, and Food Science, Nutrition
and Health Promotion.
The present-day Frederick Herman
Herzer Building houses the dairy pro-
cessing plant, the MAFES Sales Store,
and the Department of Food Science,
Nutrition and Health Promotion, which
interact constantly through research and
teaching. The facility also ships out
approximately 50,000 Edam cheese balls
annually, not only to Mississippi resi-
dents, but to locations across the U.S.
The MSU Dairy Processing Facility
has sold millions of Edam cheese balls
over the years. Nearly 90 percent of the
sales have been accounted for during the
Christmas holiday season.
A VARIETY OF CHEESES
Edam isn’t the only cheese product
made by MSU’s dairy plant. The uniquely
shaped cannonballs are joined by 2-pound
blocks of cheddar and jalapeno pepper
cheese, baby swiss Valagrett wheels, as
well as jalapeno and cheddar cheese
spreads, available in 20-ounce souvenir
The manufacturing of cheddar cheese
for sale has grown to 40,000 2-pound
blocks per year since production of the
blocks started in 1970. Jalapeno pepper
cheese, which was introduced into the
line of products in 1976, has increased
from a few hundred blocks a year to 8,000
2-pound blocks annually. In this same
period of time, the sale of jalapeno pepper
spread has increased to 4,000 20-ounce
crocks per year. Cheddar cheese spread,
meanwhile, was introduced in 1983 and
has gone from 1,100 crocks that year to
While the cheeses, milk and other
dairy products produced at the dairy
plant are used in campus dining halls,
proceeds from the MAFES Sales Store
and orders shipped elsewhere help sup-
port the two Mississippi Agriculture and
Forestry Experiment Station depart-
ments. And while the dairy program is
self-supported, it also serves as a learning
and research tool for MAFES students.
“The bottom line is, yeah, we’re self-
supporting, but out here, it’s all about
teaching and research,” Graves said. I
37-42 3/10/10 4:54 PM Page 5
WHEN ONLY THE
BEST WILL DO
37-42 3/12/10 10:11 AM Page 6
43-48 3/11/10 8:39 AM Page 1
F O R T H E F U T U R E
OPPOSITE: Lee Middle School principal Cindy Wamble poses
with a cow skull used as a teaching aid in Amy Cummings’
eighth-grade science class. Cummings is in the background. The
teacher and administrator, both, will move to a newly construct-
ed middle school by January 2011. ABOVE: Construction is
ongoing near the corner of Highways 45 North and 373, where
the new Columbus Middle School will be located. The school
will house grades six, seven and eight.
44 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
SCHOOL DISTRICTS EVOLVE TO
SUPPORT EXPECTED GROWTH
story by JASON BROWNE
photos by KELLY TIPPETT
43-48 3/12/10 9:17 AM Page 2
43-48 3/12/10 9:20 AM Page 3
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46 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
he recipe is simple. Combine three
grades, four principals, two faculties
and five magnet focuses in one
school; top with Pre-Advanced Placement
classes and sprinkle $19 million.
The Columbus Municipal School
District kitchen is cooking up a mar-
velous new middle school.
Cindy Wamble, head chef (i.e. prin-
cipal) of the new middle school, knows
the recipe will need some tweaking to
get it just right. But her team is ready
to serve up some gourmet education.
The new Columbus Middle School
is scheduled to be completed by
November and open in January 2011.
The $19.1 million facility, built on a $3
million, 50-acre site on Highway 373,
will house sixth, seventh and eighth
grades and faculty from Lee Middle
School and Hunt Intermediate School.
That’s roughly 1,000 students, 70
teachers and 10-15 administrators and
But the new school will be more
than three grades smashed together.
New ingredients must be integrated.
Elements of technology, such as
promethium smart boards and laptop
computers, will join two science labs,
dance and drama studios, multiple
band halls and a drama classroom in
addition to traditional facilities like the
library, cafeteria and gym in a 155,000-
With all those students running
around all that space, Wamble says her
faculty’s first concern and biggest chal-
lenge is clear: security.
“That’s No. 1 —that we know we’re
Lee Middle School principal Cindy Wamble outlines the layout of Columbus
Municipal School District’s new middle school. At right are Lee office manager
Carla Wilson and student Kenneth Miller.
43-48 3/11/10 4:29 PM Page 4
Come Discover Caledonia
Hello from the town of Caledonia,
home of the Caledonia Confederates!
Caledonia Mayor George Gerhart
Caledonia is home for 1015 residents within the city limits and hundreds of others that
live in the surrounding area.
We are a community of close-knit families, thoughtful and caring individuals, with a strong
belief in doing what is right.
We are extremely proud of our schools. Families with school-age children move into
this area because of our highly-rated school system. There are dedicated administrators and
teachers who make this an outstanding school for students in K-12 grades.
The Ola J. Pickett Park and Recreation Authority is revving up for another summer of
sports activities for ages 3-15 and up. The park recently received $15,000 from the Columbus-
Lowndes Recreation Authority to be used for capital improvements. Park ofﬁcials will make
recommendations to the Mayor and Board of Alderman for improvements and other projects.
The Board of Alderman recently approved a contract to Perma Corp to construct a new
water treatment plant at the town' s site on Old Wolfe Road. This contract was for approximately
four million dollars. The new facility will help provide water for both present and future
customers. Benny Coleman is superintendent of the water and sewer department. Randle Flippo and Trey Robertson are technicians,
with Cathy Brown as the ofﬁce manager.
Caledonia recently replaced the street lights on part of Main Street with 400 watt high-pressure sodium lights. This really makes a dif-
ference in visibility from the Church of Christ to Academy Street. The town hopes to install more of these lights in the future.
Our town has three paid marshalls: Ben Kilgore, Steve Hatcher, Larry Swearigan and two auxiliary marshalls: Lance Lucky and Carl
Grifﬁn who work on a volunteer basis. Constable Hoot West is always willing to provide assistance if needed, as is, Sheriff Butch Howard.
All Caledonians are proud of the new businesses that have made our daily lives much easier. Pioneer Medical Clinic has been ex-
tremely busy this winter. Dollar General and Shop and Save are popular places as well. We all wonder how we made it without the conve-
nience of these stores.
Welcome to three new businesses: Jumps, Kicks, and Splits, Something Southern and the Home Run Grill.
The Town Hall is open from 9:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. Monday through Friday. Judy Whitcomb, our town clerk, and Mayor George Gerhart
may be reached at 356-4117.
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 47
COUNTY SCHOOLS FORGE AHEAD
heir first order of business was
recovering from an F3 tornado
which ravaged the town of
Caledonia. But they also are planning
ahead. With their eyes on the future,
Lowndes County school board mem-
bers have acquired a 2.53-acre plot of
land between two access roads east of
Caledonia schools’ campus.
Owning the land gives the district
the option of expanding the high
Meanwhile, new buildings to
replace facilities destroyed by the
tornado that struck Caledonia in
2008 and heavily damaged the
schools’ campus, are in full use.
Caledonia Middle School is enjoy-
ing a new gym. The school has
never had a gym of its own. The pre-
vious middle school gym was an old
facility near the high school; the
building also housed the band hall
and art room, all of which were lev-
eled in the storm.
Caledonia High School’s faculty,
staff and students now have a new
allied health and building trades
facility, which includes space for
band and art studies.
The band hall features more open
room with better storage areas.
The combination band, art and
vocational center, is about an 18,000-
square-foot facility, with walkways
adjoined to those already running
throughout the campus.
The vocational buildings lost in
the tornado were the newest parts of
Caledonia High. They were complet-
ed in 1999. The middle school gym
was built in 1972.
In addition to the school build-
ings, more than two dozen homes
were completely destroyed during
the severe storm on Jan. 10, 2008.
Nearly two dozen more suffered
major damage. The tornado was so
strong it threw cars through the air
and a picked up a school bus, which
ended up on the roof of a school
going to be safe,” says Wamble.
But that’s not news to anyone.
Security was the priority before the
first sketch was jotted down. That’s
why, according to Chris Morrow, of
Pryor and Morrow Architects in
Columbus, the building’s main rotunda
will offer a clear view down all three
classroom wings and the extracurricu-
The rotunda will also serve as the
school’s lone entrance.
“If you’re visiting, you have to go in
through the front door and through
several checkpoints before you can get
to the students,” said Wamble. “Not
that we have a lot of people that walk
in (Lee Middle), but we have like 25
entrances in this building.”
Another unique aspect that doubles
as security feature and traffic reducer
is self-contained wings.
Each of CMS’s three classroom
wings will house just one grade, com-
plete with administrative offices and
assistant principal. CMSD
Superintendent Dr. Del Phillips says
the seventh- and eighth-grade assis-
tant principals from Lee will follow
43-48 3/11/10 4:30 PM Page 5
48 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
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Wamble to the new middle school,
while the sixth-grade assistant princi-
pal will make the jump from Hunt
ADMINISTRATORS ON EACH WING
“We’ll have an assistant principal on
each grade wing. So you’ll have an
assistant that will really function as the
key person,” said Phillips.
After security and administration,
Wamble says the next challenge faced
by at the new middle school will be
organizing and implementing a pletho-
ra of curriculum features. Elements of
the district’s five magnet schools will
be available to all students along with
Pre-Advanced Placement classes.
The magnet school elements, which
are now individually specific to
Columbus’ five elementary schools,
include fine arts, aerospace science,
medical science, technology and com-
munication and international studies.
While the majority of magnet stud-
ies will remain voluntary, the interna-
tional studies focus — which will be
part of the International Baccalaureate
program once approved by the IB
Organization —will be extended
Wamble says all teachers at CMS
will be trained in IB curriculum, which
teaches children to think and learn in
relation to the entire world through
studies of language, humanities, sci-
ence, math, arts and technology.
“It’s a way of teaching and making
kids think,” said Wamble of the IB cur-
riculum. “We’ll expose every kid to
A higher level of IB curriculum will
be available at Columbus High School
if students choose to pursue the cur-
CMSD will also introduce voluntary
Pre-AP courses, which offer more rig-
Wamble and CMSD are also eyeing
a possible switch to block scheduling,
which extends class periods and
requires students attend two sets of
classes on alternating days.
The change, according to Wamble,
would not only give students the
chance to take more classes, but would
give teachers a long planning period
each day if all students in a grade
moved to an elective at the same time.
RETIRING OLD FACILITIES
When Columbus’ sixth-, seventh-
and eighth-graders take over their new
school in January 2011, Lee — which
houses grades seven and eight — and
Hunt — which houses grades four and
five — will both be retired from educa-
tion. Fifth grade will be distributed
among the district’s remaining elemen-
New classrooms are being con-
structed at Cook Elementary Fine Arts
Magnet School, Sale Elementary
International Studies Magnet School
and Stokes-Beard Elementary
Technology and Communication
Magnet School to house the fifth-
43-48 3/11/10 8:44 AM Page 6
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50 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
or Joe Higgins, the sky’s the limit for economic
development in the Golden Triangle — literally. In
2009, the Lowndes County industrial park was
renamed the Golden Triangle Regional Global Aerospace
Industrial Park — a moniker that capitalizes on aerospace
businesses that have already landed in the 3,500 acres
adjoining the Golden Triangle Regional Airport.
In addition to Columbus and Lowndes County, West
Point, Clay County, Starkville, Oktibbeha County and
Noxubee County are expected to benefit from the park,
which will also provide opportunities for surrounding col-
leges and universities, said Higgins, chief executive officer
of the Columbus-Lowndes Development Link.
It’s the park’s “central location” which makes it such a
treasure, he added.
“It’s in close proximity to all those communities,” he
explained. “And I think it lets us showcase four groups —
Bevill State Community College, East Mississippi
Community College and their industrial training program,
Mississippi State University and the University of
REGION READY FOR
story by KRISTIN MAMRACK photos by KELLY TIPPETT
49-54 3/11/10 8:48 AM Page 2
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 51
“I think you’re going to see aerospace be, for the next
20 to 30 years, in the South what we saw automotive
(mean for the South) for the last 20 years.”
JOE HIGGINS, Columbus-Lowndes Development Link CEO
Joe Higgins, Columbus-Lowndes Development Link
CEO, stands in American Eurocopter, overlooking the
production floor, where helicopters are assembled.
Eurocopter is part of a core group of aerospace manu-
facturing companies already located at the Golden
Triangle Regional Aerospace Park.
49-54 3/11/10 8:49 AM Page 3
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52 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
Alabama’s engineering programs. Any
time we get a chance to showcase to the
world what these colleges can do, that
doesn’t hurt anybody.”
The Link, Columbus and Lowndes
County, Starkville and Oktibbeha County
officials’ and other regional partners’
efforts to establish the aerospace park
was named one of the six 2010 Innovation
South award winners in 2009.
The Link plans to use the site’s exist-
ing resources — access to GTRA, rail-
ways, highways and the Tombigbee River
— to attract more companies in the
expanding aerospace industry. American
Eurocopter, Stark Aerospace and Aurora
Flight Sciences already occupy some of
the site’s publicly owned acres and
employ more than 600 workers.
The site boasts more than just aero-
space-related industries; it also houses a
Paccar Inc. engine plant and a Severstal
Traditional industries also will be con-
sidered for the park, Higgins said.
Funds have been secured for water and
sewer infrastructure for the park, and con-
struction likely will start in June or July.
Link officials also are applying for fund-
ing to purchase additional land in the
south half of the aerospace park and a bill
was introduced, as well as local and pri-
vate legislation, to allow funds for the park
to be borrowed for a term of 30 years.
“We’re working with the Rural
Development Authority and the local
banking community to put together a
financing package,” Higgins reported, not-
ing the group is asking for $13 million to
purchase an additional 1,200 acres west of
Senior aircraft technician Alan Harwell works on the production floor
of American Eurocopter. Senior technicians were trained at the EADS plant
in Germany, so they could pass those skills on to other technicians. EADS
is the parent company of Eurocopter.
49-54 3/11/10 9:01 AM Page 4
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PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 53
Aircraft technicians Colton Talley, left, and William Dedrick work on the wiring of a helicopter at the American Eurocopter
plant in Lowndes County. From start to finish, it takes about five months to build a helicopter.
49-54 3/11/10 3:46 PM Page 5
54 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
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A REGIONAL EFFORT
Regional partners in “every county
touching Lowndes County” as well as
their economic development organiza-
tions have signed on to help market the
megasite, Higgins noted.
“With funds being harder and harder
to get, it’s easier for us to function on
projects that have regional benefits,” he
said. “It’s no secret that projects with
regional benefits seem to be a whole lot
easier to get approval for than projects
that just benefit Lowndes, Oktibbeha or
“The South has aerospace’s name all
over it now,” he added. “I think you’re
going to see aerospace be, for the next
20 to 30 years, in the South what we saw
automotive (mean for the South) for the
last 20 years. (The park is) basically a
way to stay current and compete and see
we’re going to have the greatest of
opportunities. If aerospace is foreign to
people in the GTR, it shouldn’t be. We’ve
been in the aerospace industry, since
World War II. We may have more people
employed in aerospace already than we
do in steel, or paper or any of the other
industries we’ve got.”
Higgins earlier said the planned meg-
asite could feature up to 8 million square
feet of industrial space and bring thou-
sands of jobs to the Golden Triangle.
More than $100 million worth of
infrastructure work already has gone
into the site, with more expected. The
$150 million expansion plans include,
new roads, water pipes and treatment
plants and electrical systems.
The GTR Global Aerospace Industrial
Park also will be included in The
Aerospace Alliance, a new public/private
consortium aimed at establishing the
Gulf Coast and surrounding region as a
world class aerospace, space and avia-
The Aerospace Alliance will include
business leaders, economic development
professionals and government officials,
who will advocate for policies, programs
and specific aerospace projects on the
local, state and national level and to pro-
mote common assets, said officials with
the offices of Mississippi Gov. Haley
Barbour and Alabama Gov. Bob Riley. I
49-54 3/11/10 9:06 AM Page 6
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PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 55
55-60 3/11/10 9:22 AM Page 1
56 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
Marty Wiseman, director of the Stennis
Institute of Government, poses in his
office at the Institute on the campus of
Mississippi State University. Behind him
is a bust of John C. Stennis, the cen-
ter’s namesake and founding father.
55-60 3/12/10 9:22 AM Page 2
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 57
e is large in stature, physically, as well as in knowl-
edge of state politics. Through his commentaries and
analysis — in both print and broadcast mediums, as
well as his primary venue at the Stennis Institute of
Government — he edifies his fellow Mississippians, branded
with his trademark: a bow tie.
Politics was a part of Marty Wiseman’s life long before he
assumed the directorship of the Stennis Institute of
Wiseman, a native of Kosciusko, became interested in poli-
tics through his dad.
“Even when I was 10, 12 years old, I was fascinated with
government and politics. My dad ran for a seat in the
Legislature to fill the remaining term of Clarence Morgan, who
went on to become a circuit court judge,” Wiseman said.
Wiseman’s father served one-and-a-half years of the term
and left the political arena. Yet his brief stint as a lawmaker led
Wiseman to what has become the focal point of his career:
working with citizens and local and state government officials
on policies and procedures.
And Marty Wiseman is not the only one in his family who
has been bitten by the political bug. His son, Parker, is the
mayor of Starkville.
“I did not get to vote for him, because I live out of the
Starkville city limits,” the elder Wiseman noted. “He has done
well, and I am proud of him.”
STENNIS INSTITUTE’S RESEARCH
TOUCHES LIVES ACROSS THE STATE
“Even when I was 10, 12 years old, I was fascinated
with government and politics.”
MARTY WISEMAN, Stennis Institute of Government
story By ALLEN BASWELL photos by KELLY TIPPETT and LUISA PORTER
55-60 3/12/10 9:24 AM Page 3
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58 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
SPECIALIZING IN POLITICS
Marty Wiseman’s interest in politics
led him to Mississippi State, where he
received a bachelor’s degree in political
science and a master’s degree in public
His areas of academic interest include
American government, intergovernmen-
tal relations and federalism, county and
municipal management, public personnel
administration and innovations in state
and local government management.
He is widely published, including arti-
cles in numerous research and technical
assistance reports. Wiseman has also
provided testimony, on numerous occa-
sions, to Mississippi Senate and House
committees on governmental issues.
Along with his duties as director of
the Stennis Institute, Wiseman also
serves as a professor of political science.
“I have been here at Mississippi State
for at least 34 years as a student, teacher
and director of the Stennis Institute,” he
Wiseman is a sought-after speaker
and commentator on state and local gov-
ernment, particularly in Mississippi, and
rural development. Often a guest editori-
al writer in Mississippi daily and weekly
newspapers, he can also be relied upon
to evaluate federal, state and local elec-
tion results for all media.
Wiseman serves as a committee mem-
ber on the Civil Rights Commission on
Education, the Mississippi Economic
Policy Center Advisory Council and the
Delta Early Learning Leadership
But that is not all Wiseman and his
staff at the Stennis Institute do to assist
“We want to put information out there
to help policy makers and citizens to
decide what their government can do,”
Among the papers published by the
Stennis Institute for Government include
publications on policy and research.
Wiseman said these reports put together
at the request of state legislators, state
agencies, municipal governments and
other related entities.
“The reports are comprehensive, com-
missioned studies on various topics of
great interest which include municipal
salaries, taxes, Hurricane Katrina, hous-
ing and more,” he said.
Research briefs are also prepared by
staff members as part of the Institute’s
civic education initiative. These briefs
focus on primary sources found in the
Congressional and Political Research
Center at MSU’s Mitchell Memorial
Wiseman said the intended audience
for the briefs include elected officials,
classroom teachers and anyone with an
interest in congressional and political
The Institute also implements pro-
grams to benefit government officials,
including the State Executive
Development Institute. Wiseman
describes it as an annual educational
workshop offered by the Stennis Institute
“It is designed to prepare mid- to
upper-level state and local government
executives to be more effective leaders,”
A broad range of topics are presented
by government officials, researchers and
instructors to provide participants a well-
rounded and applicable curriculum.
STENNIS INSTITUTE HISTORY
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PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 59
of MSU, the John C. Stennis Institute of
Government was established on Feb. 9,
1976. Announcing its formation during a
two-day forum on politics honoring U.S.
Sens. John Stennis and Margaret Chase
Smith, MSU President William L. Giles
outlined the institute’s mission and
According to Giles, the institute
would seek to integrate research, serv-
ice and teaching activities to improve
government in the state, as well as pro-
mote the training of students who seek
careers in public service.
“We want to help all towns, from big
cities like Jackson and Hattiesburg, to
small towns like Jonestown and Tula,”
Wiseman said. “The needs of smaller
towns are just as important to us. We
treat everything the same.” I
In addition to running the Stennis
Institute at MSU, Marty Wiseman
teaches political science at the univer-
sity, where he obtained his bachelor’s
degree in political science and master’s
degree in public administration.
55-60 3/11/10 4:38 PM Page 5
60 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
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62 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
61-66 3/12/10 9:26 AM Page 2
RESTAURANT MATRIARCH CONTINUES FAMILY TRADITION
story by JAN SWOOPE photos by KELLY TIPPETT
“I’m particular about my food ... very particular. I like for it to
be as close to perfect as possible.”
OPPOSITE: It took Helen
Karriem, owner of Helen’s
Kitchen, and her family a
decade to compile the fami-
ly recipes into a cookbook.
Karriem admits it was chal-
lenging to complete
“Helen’s Kitchen: Cooking
from the Soul; Southern
Cuisine & Family,” out in
December, because she
doesn’t cook by recipes.
HELEN KARRIEM, Helen’s Kitchen
A plate of hot wings is
ready to be eaten at Helen’s
Kitchen in Columbus. Helen’s
son, Ward 5 City Councilman
Kabir Karriem, talks to a
customer in the background.
61-66 3/12/10 9:27 AM Page 3
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64 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
fter 22 years as matriarch of
Helen’s Kitchen, Helen Karriem
still rises at 4:30 every morning,
even on rare days the third-generation
restaurateur doesn’t have to oversee
preparation of some of the most mouth-
watering soul food to be found in
It’s a work ethic instilled by her late,
beloved mother, Sallie Mae Jones (former
owner of Jones’ Restaurant in downtown
Columbus), and a promise Ms. Helen —
as she’s known — made to the good Lord
“I get up early, even on Sunday,
although the restaurant is closed,” she
says in a disarmingly soft voice. “I prom-
ised God that if he let me halfway pay my
bills, I’d be closed every Sunday. So, I get
on up and read my Bible ... ”
The former coronary care nurse, who
found herself taking care of six children
alone after 17 years of marriage, has
made Helen’s synonymous with soul-com-
forting fare. The neat brick building at the
corner of 15th Street and Seventh Avenue
North in Columbus is in the heart of what
was once a bustling center of African-
American commerce and entertainment.
“We have a heritage festival every year
down here, and, oh my, that has brought
some famous visitors to the restaurant —
like Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland and Bobby Rush,”
Ms. Helen reminisced, resting a few
moments after a hectic lunch rush. Even
the O’Jays are among those who made
sure to stop by for some of that crispy
fried chicken, catfish, yams, fresh greens
and golden brown pan trout. Not to men-
tion the signature peach cobbler and
sweet potato pie.
CLOSE AND PERSONAL
As good as the down-home cooking is,
Ms. Helen’s personal touch has made the
family restaurant what it is — an inclusive
gathering place, a pulse of the communi-
Now that one of her sons, Kabir
Karriem, has joined in running the busi-
ness, she can take it a bit easier, but the
lifelong cook admits she can’t stay away
from the kitchen for long.
“I’m particular about my food ... very
particular,” she says, in a tone that brooks
no argument. “I like for it to be as close to
perfect as possible.” It works. Even mid-
afternoon, a steady stream of customers
crosses the red- and white-checked floor
to place orders. Ceiling fans whir as
friendly servers scoop ice from an over-
61-66 3/11/10 9:56 AM Page 4
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PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 65
Lunch at Helen’s Kitchen can consist of a variety of dishes such as fried chicken, green beans, macaroni and cheese, corn-
bread rolls and peach cobbler.
61-66 3/11/10 9:57 AM Page 5
66 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
sized white ice chest and fill plates from
the ample offerings.
“Hello, sweetie, how are you?” Ms.
Helen smiles, greeting a familiar face.
“I come from a large family; I’m the
sixth of 11 children,” she says, while
keeping a practiced eye on customer
service. “My earliest memories of cook-
ing are of standing on a chair when I was
8 years old, making biscuits on a wood
stove. I’ve always cooked.”
FROM THE SOUL
It has taken 10 years, but with the help
of the Karriem children, the family
recipes have been compiled into a cook-
book. “Helen’s Kitchen: Cooking from
the Soul; Southern Cuisine & Family,”
out in December, was a labor of love.
“This cookbook took me so long
because I don’t go by recipes,” explains
Ms. Helen, who admits she often cooks
more by experience and intuition than
The book is dedicated to her mother
and her late sister, Annie Louise Petty, a
former chef at Columbus Air Force Base.
“They really were the wind beneath
my wings, in both my personal and pro-
fessional life,” she says.
The opening pages are a family snap-
shot, filled with messages from the chil-
dren and memories of their mama’s fine
cooking and warm heart.
“There was no better feeling than get-
ting off the school bus and entering the
house to the smell of pipin’ hot food pre-
pared by my mother,” writes her sixth
child, Ayesha Karriem-Mayagoitia, who
worked extensively on the cookbook proj-
For her mother, the completed collec-
tion is a testament to heritage.
“I hope my mother and sister’s spirit
of hard work and devotion continues to
live on through this ... and I’d like for the
restaurant to live on ... You know, I would
like to be remembered by the work I do
... that is very important to me.”
Her brief break over, Ms. Helen grace-
fully moves to the cash register to check
out a customer, seamlessly rejoining the
rhythm of the restaurant. Families gath-
ered at tables laugh, share and sustain
the community hum.
“Have a good one, OK?” she says.
“Goodbye, sweetie; you all come back.”I
HOW TO ORDER:
I“HELEN’S KITCHEN: COOKING FROM THE
SOUL; SOUTHERN CUISINE & FAMILY”
($27.95, plus shipping)
Pecan and pumpkin pies are two of the mouth-watering
desserts served at Helen’s Kitchen.
61-66 3/11/10 9:58 AM Page 6
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67-72 3/11/10 10:01 AM Page 1
“Clay is just this lump
of earth. It wants to be
beautiful, and I like to help it.”
AL HOLEN, MUW assistant ceramics professor
D O W N T O
PROFESSOR USES LOVE OF
CLAY TO TEACH THE ‘ORGANIC
PROCESS OF SCULPTING’
story by JAN SWOOPE photos by KELLY TIPPETT
67-72 3/12/10 9:29 AM Page 2
Al Holen spends lots of time at
the potter’s wheel in her office
at Mississippi University for
Women. The assistant professor
has reinvigorated the school’s
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 69
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t is no surprise to find Alisa — Al —
Holen at the potter’s wheel in her
office at Mississippi University for
Women before class. The assistant profes-
sor of ceramics is infectiously passionate
about her art, so spare moments are never
A bright, natural light infuses the work-
space as Holen completes a few turns
before wiping clay from her hands.
“It’s wonderful,” she laughed, moving
to her desk. “It’s this mud pie you get to
play with; I can get stuff all over my
clothes — and I don’t get in trouble.”
Since arriving in Columbus to teach at
MUW in June 2008, the unpretentious
Minneapolis native has energized the
ceramics focus at the 128-year-old univer-
sity. She taught her first semester at
Shattuck Hall, where the art department
had been temporarily housed for several
years, while The W rebuilt the primary art
facility heavily damaged by a tornado.
Far from being daunted, the University
of Iowa alumna and visiting assistant pro-
fessor relished the challenge. After inven-
torying and assessing equipment on hand,
she repaired what she could and ordered
new, when possible. The art faculty is now
gratefully ensconced in its new home, the
renovated Art and Design Building on
Her enthusiasm for passing on a love of
clay to students takes a playful and sculp-
“I knew I loved the organic process of
sculpting it myself, but I didn’t know I was
going to love teaching it so much,” she
Holen’s own calling came early. She
knew as a youngster the sticky, fine-
grained stuff ran in her veins.
“When I was 12, I told my mom I want-
ed to be a potter and live in the woods,”
she chuckled. “Clay is just this lump of
earth. It wants to be beautiful, and I like to
In January, one of Holen’s bold visions
for the university was realized —
“Functional Relationships,” a national
juried ceramics exhibition she organized
and curated. Clay artisans from across the
country participated. She also coordinated
a simultaneous “Mississippi Mud” exhibi-
tion at the Columbus Arts Council’s
Rosenzweig Arts Center, where she
serves on the gallery committee.
This past fall, Holen led the charge in
greatly expanding Empty Bowls into a
community art project which raised about
$6,000 for the Loaves and Fishes Soup
Kitchen and Global Connections, a relief
effort for Africa.
“Potters tend not to be wealthy people,”
said the Habitat for Humanity volunteer.
“So I thought, what can I contribute? And I
figured out I can contribute bowls and my
know-how and raise more for something
like Loaves and Fishes than I could ever
give them myself in a million years.”
Ever on Earth watch, Holen is also
incorporating recycling into the MUW
design program, and is clearly enthusias-
tic about a wood-firing kiln the department
is building in collaboration with Columbus
Brick Co., a source for clay.
As the future unfolds, Holen hopes
MUW can eventually add ceramic sculp-
ture courses. And the relatively new
instructor wants to recruit students “like
“I know a lot of students will take
beginning ceramics, and that’s it,” she
acknowledged. “So I’d like them to be
challenged and motivated; we really focus
on problem solving, which can help them
in every area of life.
“The earth is very important to me,”
Holen stressed. “I just can’t imagine life
70 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
Al Holen was responsible for bring-
ing “Functional Relationships,” a
national juried ceramics exhibition
to MUW, in January (above). She
also coordinated a simultaneous
“Mississippi Mud” exhibition at
the Columbus Arts Council’s
Rosenzweig Arts Center.
Normandy Alden’s “Untitled,”
pictured here, right, was featured
at “Functional Relationships.”
67-72 3/11/10 10:04 AM Page 4
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 71
Candice Padden, a senior at Mississippi University for Women, works on a project during Al Holen’s ceramics class. Holen
wants to pass on her love of “the organic process of sculpting.”
without clay. Just think; we take it from
the ditches and end up putting it on
pedestals. It’s an elevation of the earth.
... I tell students when they put something
in the kiln, know that it could survive for
3,000 to 30,000 years — so don’t put it in
unless you’re pretty sure,” she grinned.
Like her refreshing persona, Holen’s
outlook is forthright and down to earth: “I
don’t think great art requires great mate-
rials. A great idea and craftsmanship
usually can get the point across.”I
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74 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
“Indeed, our mission is to train the world’s
best military pilots, but we also want to contribute to the
economic well-being of this area.”
COL. GEORGE H. ROSS III, Vice commander of the 14th Flying Training Wing
story by ALLEN BASWELL
CAFB Public Affairs
73-78 3/11/10 10:15 AM Page 2
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 75
or more than 67 years, Columbus Air Force
Base has served as the home of the 14th
Flying Training Wing of Air Education and
Each day, the wing flies about 300 sorties, or
training missions, making CAFB one of the busiest
flying wings in the United States Air Force. These
efforts exemplify the wing’s true mission: to devel-
op the world’s best warriors, leaders and profession-
al military pilots.
Yet CAFB also serves another role, as a key ele-
ment in the economic impact of Columbus,
Lowndes County and the Golden Triangle area as a
“We are the largest employer and have the
largest payroll. We have our personnel who live on
base, and our civilian workers live in Lowndes
County as well as Clay County,” said Col. George
H. Ross III, vice commander of the 14th Flying
“Indeed, our mission is to train the world’s best
military pilots, but we also want to contribute to the
economic well-being of this area,” he added.
In all, the base has 1,400 military and 1,700 civil-
ian employees; plus there are more than 6,000 mili-
COUNTY’S LARGEST EMPLOYER IS ALSO THE
COUNTRY’S PREMIER PILOT-TRAINING BASE
Columbus Air Force Base student pilot 2nd Lt. Benjamin Hurlburt, left, under the watchful eye of Maj. George Mounce, 37th
Flying Training squadron T-6 Texan II instructor pilot, reviews T-6 maintenance documents during pre-flight actions at the base’s
flight line. CAFB trains one-third of U.S. Air Force pilots. OPPOSITE: Once completed, the Columbus Air Force Base Child
Development Center will have room for up to 128 children, and will replace the current facility, which was built in 1968. The
CDC, designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, includes additional classroom space and training areas.
Sonic Johnson/CAFB Public Affairs
73-78 3/11/10 10:18 AM Page 3
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76 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
tary retirees who live in the Columbus
area. The pay of local military retirees
— including Air Force, Army, Navy,
Marines and Coast Guard — has seen
an increase by $5.1 million from last fis-
According to a fiscal year 2008 CAFB
report, the base’s economic impact for
the area totaled $321 million, an
increase of $38 million from the previ-
ous fiscal year.
Of that $321 million, more than $179
million is for annual expenditures,
$109.1 million, is for payroll, and $32.03
million is for indirect jobs. A total of
1,037 indirect jobs have been created.
Over the past five years, the base has
gradually increased its impact on the
BY THE NUMBERS
Commodities and purchased mainte-
nance of equipment increased for a total
of $23.5 million. Also, contract supplies
and equipment as a whole increased by
$12.7 million for the 2008 fiscal year.
One of the key elements to help
increase economic impact at the base is
construction. It increased in 2008 from
$15.8 million the previous year to $23.9
Construction of new gate houses at the
base’s main gate, off Highway 45 North,
and back gate, on Highway 373, as well as
replacement airfield lighting and cable
and ducting repairs to the heating ventila-
tion and cooling at the unaccompanied
officers’ quarters, contributed to the boost
in construction figures.
Contractors hang drywall in the new Child Development Center lobby. The $7.1 mil-
lion child care facility will be more than 24,000 square feet and is scheduled for
completion this fall. The contractors work for Acoustics Inc. of Ridgeland.
73-78 3/11/10 4:47 PM Page 4
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Due to the privatization of housing,
there were no housing costs to the mili-
tary last year.
According to Brian Linquist, primary
engineer for construction at CAFB,
work on the main and back gates should
be completed by April.
Other building projects taking place
at the base include the construction and
completion of the second phase of the
Mission Support Complex, a $7.8 mil-
The building will be used to support
consolidation of administrative facilities.
The complex was designed by the
Mobile District of the Corps of
“The furniture is being installed now,
and full occupancy of the facility should
be no later than early April. All of our
designs come from the Mobile District,”
CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER
Another major construction project is
the CAFB Child Development Center.
“It will have a capacity for 128 chil-
dren, and will replace the current facili-
ty, which was built in 1968. Its capacity
was for 62 children, and trailers had to
be placed on the grounds in recent
years to handle the overflow,” Linquist
With this new building, it should
maintain the consistent enrollment of
approximately 120 children.
“This is a state-of-the-art child care
facility, and in the construction work,
great measures have been taken to
ensure good learning environment and
child safety,” Linquist said.
The new building will also meet new
energy guidelines, he noted.
“Part of the building will have natu-
ral lighting in order to help us main-
tain new guidelines for going green,”
With each new building being con-
structed, Linquist said, he had a partic-
ular design in mind. He was inspired
by designs of buildings and streets of
downtown Columbus and other parts
of the Golden Triangle, as well as ante-
bellum homes in Columbus.
“We want the designs to reflect the
look of the area’ we want it to have a
theme of ‘Showplace of the South.’ We
want to have a different, unique look,”
The Child Development Center
should be complete in October. The
total cost of construction is $7.1 mil-
CAFB began as an advanced twin-
engine flying school during the rearm-
ing of America before World War II.
Pilot training for the U.S. Army Air
Corps began at the base in 1942.
After the war, the base was inactive
until 1951 when it reopened to train
pilots during the Korean War.
Columbus became home to a KC-135
tanker squadron, and a B-52 bomber
squadron in the late 1950s.
And even in these ever-changing
times, the base continues its mission of
training military pilots.
“We will continue to be the primary
pilot training location for the United
States Air Force and our allies,” he
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 77
Hangar 450, a former B-52 maintenance
hangar built in 1958, is receiving a
$3.3 million overhaul. The aircraft main-
tenance facility will be reclad and
receive new insulation, HVAC systems,
electrical upgrades and a fabric door
allowing easier access and better work-
ing conditions for maintenance person-
nel. The overhaul will also increase the
number of aircraft that can be serviced
in the facility and should be completed
CAFB Public Affairs
73-78 3/11/10 4:48 PM Page 5
Business Ofﬁce 328-2424
Classiﬁed Advertising 328-2424
Retail Advertising 328-2427
The Starkville Dispatch 324-2424
Hometown folks bringing you
your hometown newspaper
73-78 3/11/10 10:22 AM Page 6
The benefit of knowing there’s
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“With Baptist’s hospitalist model, a physician is in
the hospital 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
DR. JOHN REED, Baptist Memorial Hospital–Golden
Triangle chief of staff
79-84 3/12/10 8:47 AM Page 2
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 81
team of doctors, nurses and support staff
has brought to Baptist Memorial Hospital-
–Golden Triangle the most rapidly grow-
ing medical specialty, freeing primary care physi-
cians to care for a full schedule of office patients
with the assurance their seriously ill hospitalized
patients are in good hands and bringing more timely
care to patients.
Hospitalists are physicians specializing in acute
care, who handle patients’ hospital care from the
time of admission until the patients’ discharge
from the hospital.
CARE WHEN PRIMARY
PHYSICIAN IS AWAY
story by KRISTIN MAMRACK
photos by KELLY TIPPETT
Dr. John Reed, chief of staff for Baptist Memorial
Hospital–Golden Triangle, also heads the hospitalist pro-
gram. Through the hospitalist program, Baptist is able to
provide 24-hour care to patients when their primary care
physicians are away from the hospital.
79-84 3/12/10 8:49 AM Page 3
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82 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
Unlike cardiology or neurology —
specialties organized around organs —
hospital medicine is a specialty organ-
ized around a site of care, noted Dr.
John Reed, BMH-GT’s medical director
and hospitalist medical director, adding
hospitalists are doctors whose primary
focus is the care of hospitalized patients.
“With Baptist’s hospitalist model, a
physician is in the hospital 24 hours a
day, seven days a week,” said Reed.
“Working with patients’ primary care
From left, certified family nurse practitioner Carrie
Flowers, Dr. John Reed and Dr. Brad Brown are
part of the hospitalist program at Baptist.
79-84 3/11/10 10:28 AM Page 4
Attorney at Law
508 2nd Ave. N.
Not long after moving from Charleston, South Carolina, to Columbus, Karen Jonason was diagnosed with cancer.
Immediately, she started making plans to return to Charleston for treatment. But one visit to the Hematology and Oncology
Associates’ Columbus oﬃce changed her mind. With an unsurpassed dedication to patients and a commitment to the
latest treatment and technology, their team is leading the way in the ﬁght against cancer. And the best part—you’ll ﬁnd it
all right here at home. “Tis place got me through many dark days. I highly recommend it to anyone facing cancer.”
2221 5th Strcct North, Columbus, Mississippi · 6623288125
Charles W. Montgomery, M.D. · Julian B. Hill, M.D. · Andrew H. Kellum, M.D. · Christopher C. Croot, M.D. · Brian N. Walker, D.O. · David G. Morris, M.D.
Formerly North Mississippi Hematology and Oncology Associates
clinics also located in:
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PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 83
physicians, hospitalists coordinate
patients’ care and follow patients
throughout their hospital stay.
Hospitalists are a part of the health care
team and work with other physicians,
nurses and other health care staff to
coordinate inpatient care.
“They also can react quickly through-
out the day to changes in a patient’s
medical status,” he continued. “Patients
return to their private physicians after
they are discharged from the hospital.”
Hospitalists, which number more
than 28,000, have a presence in all lead-
ing hospitals, including the Mayo Clinic,
the Cleveland Clinic and Harvard
Medical School-affiliated hospitals; pri-
mary care physicians have come to
depend on the services of hospitalists,
with 58 percent of all hospitals employ-
NEW DIMENSION OF PATIENT CARE
Instead of visiting hospitalized
patients only before or after their office
hours, in a struggle to balance their
inpatient and outpatient needs, office-
based primary care physicians now rely
on hospitalists as a new dimension to
patient care, allowing physicians more
time to see in-office patients.
Physicians choose whether or not
hospitalists will treat their patients, until
after they are discharged from the hos-
pital and resume care under the physi-
Surgeons and other specialists also
may ask hospitalists to provide consulta-
“Hospitalists bring many advantages
for patients, physicians and colleagues,”
said Reed. “They can provide more
timely care, because they are based at
the hospital and can make decisions as
situations arise. They can modify treat-
ment or follow up on a test result, on the
spot, instead of waiting for the next
MORE TIMELY DISCHARGE
“In addition, hospitalists can dis-
charge patients in the late afternoon or
evening, so patients who are ready to go
home don’t have to wait until the next
day,” he added. “And they can consult
with the patient’s family more readily.”
“Quality of care and patient satisfac-
tion are of utmost importance to us at
Baptist–Golden Triangle,” said BMH-
GTR Administrator Paul Cade. “We
believe by having the hospitalists as
part of our health care team, our com-
79-84 3/11/10 4:52 PM Page 5
84 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
8643 Highway 182 East • Columbus, MS 39702
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www. mi d - s o u t h s i g n s . c o m
We’re the people behind the names you see the most!
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If you are looking for friends,
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you to pay us a visit. Let’s get
We’ve got lots of teachers and
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love your children!
New residents welcome!
What do we believe?
In a personal relationship with
God through Jesus as taught in the
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munity benefits, because they relieve
some of the pressure placed on physi-
cians and they provide additional sup-
port to our patients.”
The BMH-GTR hospitalist team con-
sists of doctors Brad Brown, Reed,
Matthew Wade and James Woodard, as
well as certified family nurse practition-
ers Carrie Flowers, Nicole Terry, and
According to information provided by
Reed, 82 percent of all hospitalists are
trained in general internal medicine, 6.5
percent are trained in pediatrics and 4
percent are trained in medicine subspe-
UNDER HOSPITALISTS’ CARE
The hospitalist team medically man-
ages a patient’s condition, coordinates
all specialist care and testing, keeps
patients, their physicians and families
informed about their condition, discuss-
es further treatment needs and pre-
scribes medications needed upon dis-
charge from the hospital.
Clinical services offered by
BMH–GT hospitalists include consulta-
tions, care of unassigned patients, refer-
rals from primary care physicians, sur-
gical co-management and care of
patients in critical care units.
Additionally, BMH-GT hospitalists
offer coverage of cardiac arrests, a rapid
response team, and care for patients in
the hospital’s skilled-nursing facility.
BMH-GT hospitalists also cover unas-
signed emergency room admissions and
provide emergency room consultations,
among other things.
Hospitalists provide value by reducing
patients’ length of stays and costs, without
compromising quality, said Reed.I
From left, Dr. James Woodard,
certified family nurse practitioner Renee
Vick and Dr. Matthew Wade are part
of Baptist’s hospitalist program.
Hospitalists take care of hospital-bound
patients 24 hours a day.
79-84 3/11/10 10:30 AM Page 6
Announcing A Very Special Delivery
Gilmore Memorial Regional Medical Center is pleased to announce a special
addition to its healthcare family.
The Women’s Center at Gilmore
The Women’s Center at Gilmore • 1105 Earl Frye Boulevard, Amory, MS • 662-256-7111 • www.gilmorehealth.com
In the tradition of the Gilmore family, our new arrival was created with a mission to provide the highest
possible level of care and services for the women of northeast Mississippi.
: Surgical Suites with state-of-the-art technology for C-Sections
: The only Digital Mammography in our community
: An advanced neonatal intensive care unit
: Other comprehensive outpatient diagnostic services including: ultrasound, stereotactics, urodynamics
and bone density scanning
Comfort & Convenience
: New main hospital entrance
: Convenient separate Emergency Room entrance
: Comfortable new hospital lobby and Emergency Room waiting area
: Ample, accessible parking
Beautiful, Spacious Surroundings
: New family-friendly Labor/Delivery/Recovery/Postpartum and
Labor/Delivery/Recovery Rooms with beautiful furnishings and finishes
: Bright newWell-baby Nursery, with a special private viewing area
And, at The Women’s Center at Gilmore, you can count on the well-
regarded caregiver team of physicians, nurses and technologists
you know and trust.
PROGRESS 2010 N THE ISPATCH 85
85-90 3/12/10 10:14 AM Page 1
86 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
O U T D O O R
O B S E S S I O N
story by BUSTER WOLFE photos by KELLY TIPPETT,
BUSTER WOLFE AND LUISA PORTER
85-90 3/11/10 10:37 AM Page 2
PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 87
“Like we’ve said, it’s the best-
kept secret around here.”
NOXUBEE REFUGE HAS A HIDDEN
CHARM AND MASS APPEAL
arry Box has been using the
Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge
since he was a little boy.
“Back when I was growing up, we
didn’t have any money,” said Box, for-
mer superintendent of education for
Starkville schools. “So Daddy would
throw us in the car and we’d go down
and wade in the spillway on the week-
ends. And that was recreation.”
The past president of the Friends of
the Noxubee Refuge, Box belongs to a
concerned group of volunteers tied to
the refuge’s activities.
From picking up trash on the
refuge’s seven trails to leading groups
of weekend rangers in conservation,
environmental education or recreation
activities, the group has become an
important advocate for the refuge.
LARRY BOX, refuge volunteer
Lake Loakfoma can be seen looking out
from the Larr y Box Education Building.
The building was named for Box, past
president of the Friends of the Refuge,
a group formed to support the refuge
and offer educational opportunities
using its natural resources.
85-90 3/11/10 10:39 AM Page 3
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88 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
The two-year-old group’s efforts were
recognized recently when the Mississippi
Wildlife Federation awarded the Friends of
Noxubee Refuge the 2009 Educator of the
Year Award at the 50th Mississippi
Conservation Achievement Awards
The Friends received a statue of a white-
tailed deer as only the third group to
receive the award in the past 40 years.
“Most of the people who receive the
Educator of the Year Award are because
that is their job,” said Dr. Cathy Shropshire,
executive director of the Mississippi
Wildlife Federation. “Because (the Friends)
are a volunteer group, that makes it more
Box said he also believes the award is
unique to the group.
“So far as I know, it is somewhat unusual
for a group to receive the educator of the
year award,” he said. “One of our stated
goals is to provide educational opportuni-
ties using the refuge as the entity to bring
that about. That’s one of the major reasons
we’ve got Saturdays at the Refuge.”
SATURDAYS AT THE REFUGE
“Saturdays at the Refuge, for the group,
is the biggest thing going on that got the
award for this group,” Box said. “We do a
lot of other things besides that.”
“I thought that was fantastic” the
Friends received the award, said Henry R.
Sansing, the refuge manager at Noxubee
NWR. “We’ve been doing the Saturdays
program for over two years now. They’ve
become popular. And we have some really,
really good programs.
“That’s one of our jobs on the refuge —
especially with a focal refuge like Noxubee
— is conservation awareness and educa-
tion,” Sansing said. “We couldn’t do it alone.
Without the Friends group, I couldn’t sus-
tain as much activity. The volunteers —
without them, these things just don’t hap-
The Friends of Noxubee Refuge help
with the twice-monthly activities on the first
Noxubee Wildlife Refuge boasts an elevated walkway over Bluff Lake. A viewing
platform also juts out over the lake, offering an intimate view of the nature scene.
85-90 3/11/10 5:14 PM Page 4
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PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 89
and third Saturdays. The refuge uses the
weekends in conjunction with the Junior
Refuge Ranger program, where campers
ages 4-14 can earn the honorary title by
completing six activities.
Park Ranger Andrea Dunstan said the
addition of the Friends group put new life
into the weekend activities.
“Before the Friends were here, I did do
weekend things,” said Dunstan, who led
the refuge’s signature bluebird house build-
ing recently. “But it was every other month,
one weekend; I couldn’t do it, there’s just
no way. When we got a regular schedule —
As part of Saturdays at the Refuge, the Noxubee County Wildlife Refuge,
in February, hosted a blue bird house camp for children to make their own
birdhouses. From left, are 4-year-old Paul Allen, his grandmother, Susan Allen,
and his 5-year-old brother, Johnathan Allen, all of Sturgis.
85-90 3/11/10 10:43 AM Page 5
90 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
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every first and third weekend — that was
the best thing.”
Sansing likes to relate an observation
he sees at every weekend program.
“We’ll have parents bring their kids out
to the activities, and the youngster may not
be interested in what’s going on,” Sansing
said. “Then they’ll catch on and the two of
them will leave the refuge laughing togeth-
er and having a good time. It tickles me to
death when I see that happen.”
BEYOND WEEKEND ACTIVITIES
The Friends of Noxubee Refuge reach
beyond twice-monthly activities, serving in
volunteer roles to provide refuge mainte-
nance, visitor center duties and operation
of the Noxubee Nature Store at the visitor
center. Proceeds from sales at the store go
to the group.
Even when other groups use the
refuge, the Friends become involved.
Mississippi State University’s Department
of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture in
the College of Forest Resources sponsored
a recent youth squirrel hunt at Noxubee
National Wildlife Refuge.
John Guyton, associate Extension pro-
fessor and a Friends of the Noxubee
Refuge member, conducts wildlife, fish-
eries and aquaculture and entymology
camps with the refuge as a resource.
Because of the refuge’s rich variety of
insects, Guyton sees a renewed interest in
“We’ve camped at all kinds of places.
But the one thing kids and adults have fig-
ured out is that the most diversity of
species that they have seen anywhere we
have camped has been on the refuge,”
By not being bound to an education-
only mission, the Friends of the Noxubee
Refuge also reach out to help with in-house
projects. In October, the group helped
open the 540-foot boardwalk stretching
into Bluff Lake.
Sansing said an observation tower over
Loakfoma Lake is expected to open in the
spring or early summer after access is pro-
With recent improvements and the
refuge’s natural beauty, Box said he is still
surprised when he hears people say they
haven’t visited the Noxubee National
“A friend of mine for 40 years is a mem-
ber of the Audubon Society and Save the
Whales and stuff like that,” he said. “She
had never been to the refuge. It sounds
“Like we’ve said, it’s the best-kept secret
around here.” I
85-90 3/11/10 10:44 AM Page 6
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PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 91
91-96 3/11/10 10:47 AM Page 1
92 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
BULLDOGS IMPROVE FACILITIES TO GET COMPETITIVE EDGE
ince Greg Byrne’s arrival as direc-
tor of athletics at Mississippi State
University, there’s been an
emphasis on giving the school’s athletes
and coaches better ways to train and fans
better ways to enjoy the games.
When it came to facilities in the
Southeastern Conference, MSU bore
the stigma of being near the back of the
pack. But after a productive 2009,
there’s plenty of evidence of change sig-
nifying State’s push to compete at a
The ball really got rolling in 2008
when an energetic and imaginative
Byrne became AD. The $10 million
Templeton Athletic Academic Center,
which was planned before he took over,
opened its doors, and a $6 million high-
definition video board was installed at
Davis Wade Stadium.
Then, last year saw most every sport
on campus receive an upgrade.
Volleyball, baseball and softball had
playing surfaces redone, while new
video boards were installed at Dudy
Noble Field and at the MSU Soccer
Then, the men’s and women’s bas-
ketball teams got a major recruiting lift
when they broke ground on a $12 mil-
lion practice facility. It may seem like a
whirlwind year of changes, but in reality
MSU is looking to keep up with the rest
of a fast-moving conference.
“I think we made good progress last
year,” Byrne said. “Getting the basket-
ball practice facility going was a big
part thanks to the generosity of the
Mize Foundation and through some
other families, we were able to get the
video board up. That has dramatically
advanced the atmosphere at our football
games. I think we’ve made some good
strides in improvements for a number
of our sports. With that, we still have
Byrne said he had a good base to
start with when he became AD, citing
the Palmeiro Center, Academic Center,
Dudy Noble and Humphrey Coliseum.
However, many projects loom on the
horizon for MSU as the school has
GREG BYRNE, MSU Athletic director
story by DAVID MILLER photos by KELLY TIPPETT
“Just like you want your business school, your
engineering school to look and have the latest equipment
and technology to let students know they’ll be able to train
at the highest levels — it’s the same thing for athletics.”
91-96 3/12/10 9:32 AM Page 2
Mississippi State University Athletic
Director Greg Byrne, who was appoint-
ed to the post in 2008, wants to ensure
the Bulldogs are equipped to compete,
with the latest equipment and facilities.
91-96 3/12/10 9:33 AM Page 3
(HC) - HO
94 THE DISPATCH N PROGRESS 2010
begun construction on a $1.4 million
track. There’s also been $650,000 raised
for a new golf practice facility.
The end of 2010 should see the bas-
ketball practice facility completed, golf
practice facility finished and track done.
The athletic department has been
somewhat immune to ailing economy,
marked by talks of Mississippi
University for Women merging academ-
ic programs with MSU. While the
growth in the athletic department seems
to contrast the rest of the state’s finan-
cial concerns, it’s a reflection of donors
making their mark on State athletics.
The power of private donations for colle-
giate sports is no secret, but the general
public typically doesn’t grasp the
immensity of private giving.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have state
dollars we can ask for these types of
projects,” Byrne said. “Obviously,
there’s a lot of needs the university has,
and we don’t want to be taking away
from any areas ... that would impact the
bottom line for our campus. Private giv-
ing is critical to allow these things to
happen. We need to explore every
avenue that’s out there and be as cre-
ative as we can.”
Bonding and being selective in how
many donors are sought out for each
project are a pair of creative ways Byrne
has helped steer the department’s facili-
ties growth. For instance, the basketball
practice facility had 12 donors, while
four donors pledged the money for the
golf practice facility.
For major projects like the Davis
Wade Stadium north end zone seating
plans, which would round off the cur-
rent student section, a large group of
donors will be needed. That project is in
the early planning stages, and Byrne
said he has spoken with construction
The men’s and women’s basketball teams will enjoy a new practice facility, being
added to MSU’s Humphrey Coliseum. The practice facility is a $12 million project.
91-96 3/11/10 10:54 AM Page 4
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PROGRESS 2010 N THE DISPATCH 95
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For all your contracting material needs
Small Tools • Lumber • Landscaping Materials
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IN THE WORKS FOR 2010
I Basketball practice facility:
I Golf practice facility: $650,000
I New track and field: $1.4 million
FOR THE FUTURE
I Softball field brickwork, chair back
I Tennis locker room renovation, indoor
I Football training center, renovated
I Davis Wade Stadium north endzone
I Dudy Noble skybox, club
companies about the project, though a
timetable for the project hasn’t been
“We’re in a league that’s had tremen-
dous growth in facilities,” Byrne said.
“Just like you want your business
school, your engineering school to look
and have the latest equipment and tech-
nology to let students know they’ll be
able to train at the highest levels — it’s
the same thing for athletics.” I
91-96 3/11/10 5:21 PM Page 5
4-County Electric Power Association ............................................3
American Eurocopter ...................................................................55
Antiques & Interiors by Jeanette Beard .......................................19
Annunciation Catholic School .....................................................90
At Home with Bassett ..................................................................95
Atmos Energy ..............................................................................53
BACCO Materials ........................................................................58
Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle ...............................79
Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle ................Back Cover
Bella Interiors ...............................................................................72
Bennett Ophthalmology Group ....................................................88
Broadcast Media ..........................................................................24
Brunini Attorneys at Law .............................................................72
Cable One .....................................................................................15
Cash & Carry Building Supply ....................................................18
CECO Building Systems..............................................................20
Chateaux Holly Hills Apartments ................................................70
City of Columbus ...........................................................................4
Clinic at Elm Lake .......................................................................54
Lowndes County Radial Tire .......................................................54
Coldwell Banker/West Realty Company .....................................60
Columbus Brick Company ...........................................................14
Columbus Cardiovascular Care ...................................................20
Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau .....................................1
Columbus Eye Clinic ...................................................................82
Columbus Farm & Garden ...........................................................89
Columbus Light & Water .............................................................21
Columbus Police Department ......................................................14
Columbus School District ............................................................43
Columbus-Lowndes Development LINK ....................................10
Columbus-Lowndes Recreation Authority ..................................88
Covenant Presbyterian Church ....................................................84
Century 21 & Associates Doris Hardy .........................................31
Doug Dalrymple ...........................................................................83
Dr. Gregory Childrey ...................................................................26
East Mississippi Community College ..........................................35
Eden MediSpa ..............................................................................83
Electric Motor Sales & Service ....................................................54
Express Employment Professionals .............................................27
Falcon Lair Apartments ................................................................40
Family Pharmacy .........................................................................64
Friendly City Mini Warehouses ...................................................27
Galloway-Chandler-McKinney Insurance ...................................95
Gilmore Memorial Regional Hospital Women’s Center ..............85
Global Pharmaceutical Corporation .............................................66
Golden Triangle Neurology Clinic...............................................64
Golden Triangle Regional Airport ...............................................52
Golden Triangle Security Alliance ...............................................19
Granite Guys ................................................................................59
Graphics by Arden .......................................................................36
Greater Starkville Development Partnership ...............................25
Hematology and Oncology Associates at Columbus ...................83
Heritage Academy ........................................................................48
Hometown Realty ........................................................................65
Immanuel Center for Christian Education ...................................60
James L. Holzhauer, M.D. .............................................................5
Johnson Carpet Center .................................................................72
Junior Auxiliary ...........................................................................48
Leigh Mall ......................................................................................7
Lighting Plus ................................................................................76
Lighting Unlimited .......................................................................58
Lowndes County Board of Supervisors .......................................21
Lowndes Funeral Home & Crematory .........................................82
Lowry Medical Clinic ..................................................................52
Main Street Columbus .................................................................21
Memorial Funeral Home/Gunter & Peel Funeral Home ..............60
Merchant Law Firm .....................................................................36
Microtek Medical .........................................................................10
Mid-South Signs ..........................................................................84
Mississippi State University, Athletics ........................................94
Mississippi State University, Admissions ....................................24
Mississippi University for Women ....................Inside Back Cover
Monograms Plus ..........................................................................19
Moving Forward Counseling Center, LLC ..................................46
Mt. Vernon Church ............................................ Inside Front Cover
Nephrology Associates, P.C. ........................................................34
Newell Paper Company ...............................................................71
Newman Oil .................................................................................26
Nichols, Crowell, Gillis, Cooper & Amos ...................................41
North Mississippi Medical Center, Columbus .............................72
North Mississippi Medical Center, West Point ............................30
Noxubee County ..........................................................................89
Oktibbeha County Hospital ..........................................................42
Ole Country Bakery .....................................................................90
Party & Paper .................................................................................3
Pediatric Dentistry, D.K. Curtis, D.M.D., P.A. ............................46
Phillips Pipe & Products ..............................................................95
Pinnacle Housing .........................................................................76
Quality Automotive ......................................................................67
Rivergate Apartments ...................................................................70
Rodney A. Ray, Attorney at Law .................................................65
Saum Chiropractic .......................................................................59
Shelter Insurance ..........................................................................64
Smith Landscaping .......................................................................19
Southern Ionics ............................................................................20
St. Paul’s Episcopal School..........................................................77
Swoope Insurance ........................................................................77
T.E. Lott & Company, PA..............................................................4
Tennessee-Tombigbee Tourism Association .............................21
The Dermatology Clinic ..............................................................14
The Dispatch ................................................................................78
The Franklin Apartments .............................................................91
The Shops at Brickerton ...............................................................37
The Waverly Apartments .............................................................91
Town of Caledonia .......................................................................47
Tuscaloosa Convention & Visitors Bureau ..................................73
Index of Advertisers
91-96 3/12/10 9:34 AM Page 6
Covers 3/11/10 11:26 AM Page 3
662- 244-1 000
Making a Difference in Our Community
BAPTIST GOLDEN TRIANGLE is committed to serving our community
through programs that heal, educate and inspire others. In 2009 our
hospital and colleagues pulled together like never before to support
health and education initiatives vital to our region, contributing more
than $62 million in community beneﬁt in Lowndes County — part of
more than $541 million contributed by the Baptist hospital system
throughout the Mid-South.
To view a full copy of our 2009 Community Report, please visit
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