Tuesday, September 23, 2014

GSDP Accepting Nominations for 2014 Awards

The Greater Starkville Development Partnership is currently accepting nominations for four annual awards honoring member businesses, individuals and stakeholders who have impacted the community in the last year. The 2014 awards will be presented at the Partnership Annual Banquet to be held on January 29, 2015. Nomination forms should be returned to the GSDP office by October 31, 2014.


Of the seven annual awards the Partnership sponsors, four are chosen based on community and member nominations.

R. Clay Simmons Exemplary Enterprise Award
Initiated in 1995, the R. Clay Simmons Exemplary Enterprise Award is presented through the Chamber of Commerce division to a for-profit business or firm in the greater Starkville area that has demonstrated exemplary business practices and made outstanding contributions to the community. The award is given in memory of R. Clay Simmons, who offers a lasting example of superior community and business leadership. Past recipients of the R. Clay Simmons Exemplary Enterprise Award include Cadence Bank, Tabor Management and Construction, Metrocast, TE Lott and East Mississippi Lumber Company.

R. Clay Simmons Exemplary Enterprise Award Nomination Packet

T. E. Veitch Community Service Award
The T. E. Veitch Community Service Award, established in 1993, is the most prestigious community service award given annually by the Greater Starkville Development Partnership. The award honors individuals who have made outstanding community service and civic contributions. Veitch award nominees exhibit continuing involvement in community affairs which enhance the common good of the community in meaningful ways. T. E. Veitch Community Service Award past recipients include Lynn Phillips-Gaines, Rex Buffington, Bill Poe, Frank Chiles and Wilson Ashfort.

T.E. Veitch Community Service Award Nomination Packet

Military Affairs Committee Service to Military Award
The annual Service to Military Award is presented by the Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee to an organization or individual who has provided outstanding service to the military community of Oktibbeha County either through a single, significant event or through sustained support. The award recognizes events or programs that have created greater awareness and appreciation for the local military community, provided direct benefit to the local military community, and enhanced the quality of life of the military community. Past recipients of the Service to Military Award include Bill Poe, Joan Wilson, Gulf States Manufacturing and Starkville Daily News.

Military Affairs Committee Service to Military Award Nomination Packet

Starkville Area Education Hall of Fame Award
The Education Hall of Fame Award recognizes individuals who have garnered state, regional and national recognition in the field of education. It honors those who have achieved distinction through teaching methods, research, writing, academic achievement and professional society participation. Past recipients of the Education Hall of Fame Award include Ty Adair, Amy McReynolds, and Paul Cuicchi.

Starkville Area Education Hall of Fame Award Nomination Packet

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tornado Relief Opportunities

[updated May 1, 2014]

Our hearts are with our friends in Louisville, Tupelo, Columbus and throughout our great State and the South as storms have created widespread devastation. The Starkville business community quickly stepped up to collect items in need and have been delivering them to Louisville daily. Below is a collection of information about volunteer opportunities, items in need, and donation drop-off locations. Please contact individual businesses about specific collection hours. This list may not be exclusive, and we will continue to add other locations as we become aware of them. Thank you to our wonderful businesses and the Starkville community for assisting in this time of great need. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the residents of our neighboring communities.


If you or a group are interested in volunteering to help in any of the affected areas, please contact the local National Guard Armory FIRST. Below are known volunteer needs in Louisville, MS:

First Baptist Church Louisville
205 South Church Avenue
Louisville, MS 39339
(662) 773-6246

First Methodist Church Louisville
300 West Main Street
Louisville, MS 39339
(662) 285-3799

Volunteers are needed to sort and distribute donated relief items at each of these locations.


According to the local shelters in Louisville, MS, there are critical needs for the following items:

Under Garments
Baby Formula
Baby Bottles
Baby Wipes
Sippy Cups
Toddler Snacks
Baby Food
Plastic Spoons
Wash Cloths
Paper Towels
Toilet Paper


Highway 12 Area
Wal-Mart Parking Lot (Southwire 18 Wheeler)
Strange Brew
Juva Juice
Starkville Computers
Army/Navy Store
Salvation Army
Buffalo Wild Wings (Wednesday & Thursday ONLY)

LA Green
929 Coffee Bar
Midtown Pilates
Restaurant Tyler
Bin 612
Local Culture
The Biscuit Shop

Mississippi State University
Barnes & Noble
Kappa Delta Sorority House (Wednesday Only)


Deep South Pout -- Social Shop customers can comment "Help" on DSP social media accounts to donate a case of water and will be charged $5. Deep South Pout will match each donation.

Buffalo Wild Wings -- 10% of all proceeds on Friday, May 2 go to relief efforts.

Starkville High School and Armstrong Middle School Bands --
The SHS and AMS Bands are collecting baby items for the relief effort in Louisville: diapers of all sizes; powdered formula; baby wipes; bottles and other baby related items. Items may be dropped off at the SHS and AMS band halls through noon on Tuesday, May 6. The SHS band hall will also be open on Saturday from 9 – 10:30 to accept any donations.

Rice Fitness --
Car Wash benefitting City of Louisville Relief
Saturday, May 3
10am - 2pm
at CSpire on Hwy 12

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Starkville Participates in Sustainable Communities Development Program

Starkville has applied and been accepted to participate in the Valley Sustainable Communities Program. This program, now in its second year, is being sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and managed by Boyette Strategic Advisors (BSA).

The Valley Sustainable Communities Program was initiated by TVA Economic Development in 2013 as part of its community preparedness offerings. Sustainability has become a key issue for economic development organizations and communities as more corporations have demonstrated an increasing commitment to sustainability. In addition, more than 90 percent of corporate real estate executives who responded to a CoreNet Global survey said that sustainability is a consideration in their company location decisions. The typical reasons for this corporate commitment are reduced operating costs for increased profitability and greater employee satisfaction.

The goal of the program is to increase the likelihood that communities will be viewed as progressive and competitive by companies planning to invest in new or expanded business locations. BSA and TVA staff will be administering the program and meeting in person with communities’ sustainability teams to help inventory, develop and implement sustainable initiatives and increase awareness of Starkville’s sustainable assets.

The program recognizes communities at three levels – Silver, Gold and Platinum – based on the sustainability programs in place. While a wide variety of sustainable initiatives contribute to a community’s level or recognition, those programs directly related to business and industry support and economic development receive greater emphasis. Read more at TVAed.com/sustainable.

“Starkville has already made a significant commitment to sustainability. This new program provides us with the opportunity to document, further develop and be recognized for our sustainable initiatives, which will help differentiate us in the tough competition for new business investment and community development,” said Jennifer Gregory, Greater Starkville Development Partnership (GSDP) CEO.  

The mission of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership is to promote a healthy and sustainable Starkville and Oktibbeha County by enhancing the quality of life for all citizens through business growth and job creation, tourism and retirement opportunities, and progressive educational and community initiatives. The GSDP is comprised of the Starkville Area Chamber of Commerce, Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority, Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Starkville Main Street Association.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Archives & History Task Force Gets to Work

As we announced in January, the Partnership has launched a set of new Task Forces this year to address several of the items in our 2014 and ongoing program of work. After a period of allowing members to sign up for participation in the groups, the Task Forces have completed a round of initial meetings designed to discuss and establish specific goals to be addressed. As the work of the Task Forces continue, we hope to share progress and report on their work here.

The GSDP Archives and History Task Force was formed in response to member feedback after the 2014 Annual Banquet. As many of you know, during the Banquet, we were pleased to recognize many of our long-time members for their years of support of the Chamber of Commerce. During the course of compiling milestone records, we realized that many of our records are missing information.

In 1992 the Chamber adopted an online member management system called Chamber Master -- the same system we now use for creating member profiles, managing our event calendar and facilitating registration for Partnership member events. Many membership records prior to the implementation of Chamber Master are antiquated or incomplete. With changes in the GSDP Chamber Director position during that same time period, we realized the need to recover as much of that membership history as possible. After several members expressed an interest in helping with that process, a Task Force devoted to the job was formed.

The Archives and History Task Force held its initial meeting on Friday, March 27 with seven members convening along with Heath Barret, Partnership Director of Membership. Members of the Task Force include Nellah Taylor, David and Sherrie Van Landingham, Gary Allen, Nancy Walsh, Cory Lucious, and Stuart Vance.

After discussion, the Task Force developed a goal of creating a synopsis history of the Starkville Chamber of Commerce and membership that can be made available to Partnership staff and members as needed so that a record of membership history prior to online archiving can be preserved.

Nellah Taylor said she hoped to come out of the Task Force with a "synopsis of the history of the Chamber to make available to each new Chamber Director hire so that he or she will not have this problem in the future."

The Task Force members discussed a number of ways to obtain missing information, including contacting Past Presidents of the Chamber to glean oral history or documents they may have from their tenures serving in leadership positions. Members of the Task Force also agreed to search Starkville Daily News archives and Starkville Public Library holdings as sources of information. In addition, David and Sherrie Van Landingham agreed to provide old paper records that will be copied for research purposes.

The Partnership is grateful to the Task Force members for their willingness to dig through these multiple sources to compile more accurate records. Some of our long-time members may be contacted by volunteers about obtaining additional information. If any of our members have records you feel would be useful, please contact Heath Barrett at the Partnership office.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Partnership Presents Annual Awards

The Greater Starkville Development Partnership presented a slate of yearly awards at the 2014 Annual Banquet on January 27. We are proud to honor the following recipients who have impacted our community:

  • R. Clay Simmons Exemplary Enterprise Award --  Cadence Bank
  • T.E. Veitch Community Service Award – Paige Lawes
  • Education Hall of Fame – Ty Adair
  • Service to the Military Community Award – Jeff Donald & Robert Green
  • Crystal Pineapple Tourism Award – Mississippi State Diamond Dogs Baseball Team
  • Industry of the Year Award -- Southwire
  • Ambassador of the Year – Melanie Mitchell
  • Downtown Revitalization Award – Dan Camp    

Broadcast Media Group helped the Partnership create videos showcasing each of the recipients to be presented at the banquet. Take a look and help us congratulate the award winners!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What to Expect at Tonight's Twitter Town Hall on Consolidation

We hope you are planning to join the Greater Starkville Development Partnership and Parents for Public School of Starkville for tonight’s Twitter Town Hall (7-8pm) to discuss the proposed plan for consolidation presented by the Commission on Starkville Consolidated School District Structure in a live Q&A format.

The Commission was established by HB716 with the task of creating a report for the Legislature with recommendations for the structure of the new district. PPS Starkville has embraced the consolidation process as an opportunity to create better educational opportunities for students in both the city and county, and has taken a leading role in informing and educating the public about the issues involved. The Partnership believes that a quality public school system is an essential element for quality of life, economic and business development for Starkville.

The Commission has met a number of times to gather information and formulate a plan to provide the efficient and quality academic success for all. The initial proposed plan to be discussed tonight contains short term & long term components. View the proposed plan here

Below are the general guidelines and structure of the Twitter chat. We invite the public to submit any questions for discussion to PPS through their twitter account at @ppsstarkville

The panel tonight includes the following guests. Please give them a follow on Twitter!
@rgbii Rex Buffington, Commission member
@suptholloway Lewis Holloway, Commission member & SSD Superintendent
@gmwj Michelle Jones, President PPS
@jeremiah_dumas Jeremiah Dumas, Vice Pres PPS
@jenglazegregory Jennifer Gregory, CEO GSDP
@sfped Nelle Cohen, SFPE Pres
@StarkvilleSD Starkville School District

Be sure to include #StkCSD in every tweet so that it will appear in our stream for all to see

PPS Starkville will be facilitating the discussion through their twitter account, so be sure to follow @ppsstarkville to see the questions being discussed. In order to simplify the discussion, PPS Starkville will number questions for our panel as Q1, Q2, etc. Please tag your corresponding comments with A1, etc.

PPS Starkville wants to entertain as many questions as possible. So, please tweet new questions to @PPSStarkville to add to the numbered list.

PPS has already received some questions to get the conversation started, and we will tweet other questions as we receive them. Tonight's discussion will begin with...

Q1: MSU has not been mentioned in the proposed plan. What role or involvement do you expect them to have in the new district?

Q2: We've fielded concerns about classroom size with the addition of 7-12 County students. Can you address that?

Q3: What is the reasoning for a proposed new 8-9 school as opposed to a new high school?

Q4: Will the county and city ad valorem taxes be the same so that everyone is contributing at same millage rate?

Q5: Has the Commission considered moving OCSD high schoolers to Starkville before 2015?

If the PPS account becomes restricted by Twitter because of tweet volume, we will move to @GSDPartnership to facilitate. So, be sure to follow both!

New to twitter chats? Tweetchat.com<http://tweetchat.com/> is a good tweet engine. Click login to join through twitter and indicate #StkCSD as hashtag

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

School Consolidation: Twitter Town Hall to Discuss Commission's Proposed Plan

The Greater Starkville Development Partnership is proud to partner with Parents for Public School of Starkville to host a Twitter Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, November 6, from 7 until 8 pm to provide an opportunity for a question and answer session regarding consolidation -- particularly the proposed plan released by the Commission on Starkville Consolidated School District Structure (shown below.)  The Partnership recognizes that a high quality public school system is an essential part of Starkville's quality of life and economic development efforts. We urge all our members and community stakeholders to become informed about this important process to expand the Starkville School District.
PPS will facilitate Wednesday's discussion from their twitter account (http://twitter.com/ppsstarkville) using the hashtag #StkCSD. In addition to GSDP and PPS leaders, Commission members Rex Buffington and Lewis Holloway, Starkville School District Superintendent, have confirmed that they will be available to respond to questions. The live chat is an opportunity to share information and discuss consolidation prior to the public hearing scheduled for Thursday, November 7, at the Greensboro Center at 6 pm.  While a public hearing allows individuals to provide input, it typically does not allow for a dialogue exchange, which is why PPS Starkville and GSDP wanted to offer another forum.
“The Commission's work has been extensive over the past few  months, and we recognize that parents might not have been able to follow every meeting,” PPS Starkville President Michelle Jones said.  “With that in mind, PPS Starkville felt that it was important for there to be a forum that would allow for questions and answers so that parents and other stakeholders could develop informed opinions on the proposed plan.”
Members of PPS Starkville, GSDP, Starkville School District, and the Commission on Starkville Consolidated School Structure will be available during the live chat to answer questions about consolidation and the proposed plan.  During the hour, PPS Starkville and GSDP will facilitate conversation about the merits of the proposed consolidation plan as well as invite feedback on the points of the plan.  This Twitter chat is also an opportunity for stakeholders to ask questions about the work of the Commission, including how the Commission decided on their recommendations for the consolidation plan.
“It is our hope that this Q and A discussion offers an informative session so that our stakeholders can be better informed about consolidation and better prepared to provide input to the Commission members during the public hearing on Thursday,” Jones said.
PPS Starkville and GSDP invite you to join us in this effort to engage our community and our state to help create the best plan for consolidation that does the most to impact the quality and delivery of education in every classroom for every child.

Reminder:  Public Hearing set for Thursday, November 7
Greensboro Center


(This Proposed Plan is for discussion purposes only and is subject to change.)

1.    All public school students who reside in Oktibbeha County will be educated by the Starkville Consolidated School District.

Elementary Schools

2.    East Oktibbeha Elementary School will remain a Pre-K through Grade 6 elementary school at the same location in the Starkville Consolidated School District.  The school zone for East Oktibbeha Elementary School will remain the same.

3.    West Oktibbeha Elementary School will remain Pre-K through Grade 6 elementary school at the same location in the Starkville Consolidated School District.  The school zone for West Oktibbeha Elementary School will remain the same.

4.    As a result of East Oktibbeha Elementary School and West Oktibbeha Elementary School remaining Pre-K through Grade 6 schools at the same
locations, the following elementary schools in Starkville will remain at the same location and serve the same grades in the consolidated school district:
·      Sudduth Elementary (Grades K-2);
·      Ward-Stewart Elementary (Grades 3-4); and
·      Henderson (Grade 5).

The school zones for Sudduth Elementary, Ward-Steward Elementary and Henderson will remain the same.

Middle Schools

5.    The following are the Short-Term and Long-term Proposed Plans for providing an education for the 6th, 7th and 8th grade students in the Starkville Consolidated School District:

Short Term –
·      Sixth Grade Students in the Starkville School District will attend Overstreet.  (8/1/15)
·      The Alternative School will move to an alternate site.
·      All 7th and 8th grade students in Starkville and Oktibbeha County School Districts will attend Armstrong Middle School.

Long Term –
Plan A –
·      Reassign the 9th grade from the High School.
·      Build an 8th and 9th grade school.
     - Cost approximately $14M
     - Move-in date of August 2017
·      All 6th and 7th graders in the Starkville Consolidated School District will attend Armstrong Middle School.

Plan B
·      Build 16 classrooms at Armstrong Middle School to provide classrooms for all 7th and 8th grade students in the Starkville Consolidated School District.
·      Cost approximately $3,069,000.00.
·      Move-in date of August 2016.
(Plan B is not the preferred plan to provide the best educational opportunities for students and will only be initiated if there is a lack of funding.)

High School

6.    Students in Grades 9-12 at East Oktibbeha High School and West Oktibbeha High School will attend Starkville High School.   (August, 2015)

Pre-Kindergarten Classrooms

7.     Increase the number of Four-year-old Pre-Kindergarten classrooms.  (Currently, Starkville School District has two (2) four-year-old Pre-kindergarten classes.  Currently, Oktibbeha County School District has one (1) four-year-old Pre-kindergarten class at East Oktibbeha Elementary and one (1) four-year old class at West Oktibbeha Elementary.)