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February 2009 Archives

February 11, 2009

McComb: Poised for Progress

Things are happening in McComb. During our visit yesterday we were told that the recently opened Caboose restaurant is the stir of the town. The Valentine’s crowd has reservations backed up to Thursday evening already, so book early if you’re planning on dining with them in the coming weeks. Trisha Webber, Regional Director of the Southwest MDA office and Britt Herrin, Exec. Dir. of the Pike County Chamber and Economic Development District, assembled a think tank this week to talk about plans for retail attraction, downtown revitalization, industrial recruitment, catering to retirees, enhancing festivals, etc. On hand for the discussion were representatives from the Mississippi Development Authority’s Asset Development group, Mississippi Main Street Association, the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Mississippi State Community Action Team, Entergy and local representatives of the Chamber and Economic Development District, the Mayor’s office and several citizen groups. Kudos to Roger Nickerson, Main Street Association director, for some intensive work on assessing opportunities for filling vacant buildings downtown and drawing in additional visitors via the various festivals and additional venues for retirees. Good start. We hope more participation and a commitment to progress will keep the ball rolling for McComb. The results of the First Impressions visit by the team from Forest and MDA’s asset mapping exercise will be presented during the second week of March. Watch for details.

February 20, 2009

Quitman, Poised for Progress

Yesterday the Mayor from Quitman, Eddie Fulton, along with a firecracker team of volunteers from his town, visited on campus with our team. Lela Bryan from Bay Springs with JCJC helped coordinate the visit. Lela works with JCJC and helps manage the First Impressions projects in her neck-of-the-woods. They were here to learn, share their challenges, and get good idea from things going on in Starkville and Eupora.

Along with the Mayor were Maureen, Charlotte, Rose, Sarah, Wanda, and Peggy. These ladies have caught the fever and are going to make some things happen in Quitman. We visited with them to share some best practices related to community development; downtown revitalization; and long range planning. The Mayor has been on the job since October and has certainly brought a vision for engaging his community and creating a network of citizens working toward a plan. While the vision is large and the plan still working its way onto paper and into actionable steps, there is no doubt this town is moving in a positive direction.

We accompanied the team to Eupora where they visited with the town clerk and with Belinda Stewart, local architect and Mayor of Walthall. Eupora is comparable in size with Quitman and has been successful in recent years revitalizing much of their downtown core. Eupora has a "can do" attitude now and models the best practices of strong public-private partnerships in taking responsibility for their future quality of life.

Quitman is a perfect example of how a change in leadership can change the future. KUDOS to Quitman.

Ripley -- Getting More Kids To College

Tuesday night I was in Ripley for a community-school meeting. Vickie Powell with MEC asked if we could help out and make a presentation about the MS Scholars program at a meeting in Ripley. The meeting was hosted by the 7th grade GEAR-UP coordinator, Melinda Marsalis. The Rotary Club help sponsor a catfish buffet dinner for anyone that attended. About 50 parents attended to hear about the importance of students going to college; how as parents they can encourage their student and help their student prepare early to meet the requirements for college admissions. The MS Scholars program helps recognize students who graduate with a 2.5GPA completing a college prep program; have 95% attendance; and document at least 20 hours of community service. These students are poised for success in college.

I thought the meeting was very well attended and well received. It is really important for parents of 7th and 8th graders to understand the whole college-going process and how to prepare both academically and financially. Programs like GEAR-UP, MS Scholars, and our own MS-HEI programs are all designed to help raise awareness and support an increase in the number of Mississippians attending college. More Rotary Clubs and other civic clubs should follow the lead of the folks in Ripley and help sponsor programs like MS Scholars.

Check out MS Scholars at www.mississippischolars.ms and be sure to learn more about getting to college at www.mississippi.edu

About February 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Dawg Tracks in February 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2009 is the previous archive.

March 2009 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.