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News
M-Pulse Fiber availability anticipated for early 2021

BECKER – The Monroe County Electric Power Association Board of Directors held its first meeting at its new headquarters in Becker on Feb. 4. As part of business, meeting times, a name for the broadband subsidiary and the anticipated rollout time frame for high-speed internet availability were among the talking points.

Monroe County EPA General Manager Barry Rowland announced the new internet subsidiary will have a name, thanks to a submission from cooperative member Crystal Murray. Her nomination to MCEPA’s call for entries was the word “pulse.”

Rowland said the board added “M” for Monroe County, creating the name M-Pulse Fiber LLC. He added the time frame to begin providing service to the first hook-ups is projected to be early next year.

In a related matter, Rowland said MCEPA selected Conexon, LLC to serve as the consultant to engineer the project to bring fiber-to-home service to its customers. During the next few weeks, management and partners with Conexon will meet to coordinate a plan to launch the new broadband subsidiary.

With an audience of more than 20 members present, concern was again raised for the board to consider changing the meeting time to an evening hour rather than 10 a.m. on a weekday.

The board took quick action to keep meetings scheduled as they are, beginning with a motion made by District 2 board member Roy Lindsey.

“We’ve been this way for 65 years,” he said.

Lindsey then took aim at cooperative member Gerald Weathers’ initiative to form the Monroe County Citizens for Broadband group, which successfully pushed for the referendum to change the bylaws to create a subsidiary to provide high-speed internet.

Tensions flared briefly about Lindsey’s remarks that he felt the mission of Weathers’ initiative was to purge the board of directors and oust manager Barry Rowland.

“We’re among the best run co-ops in the state. It’s due to this board that we are where we are. We paid off all debt before beginning construction of this new facility,” said board of directors chairperson Lem Holman.

John Malone, who is the Tennessee Valley Authority district manager for Mississippi, gave a guest presentation, briefing the audience on the function of 87-year-old government utility and its plans for the area.

He mentioned that TVA is striving to keep rates steady until 2030 as part of its next 10-year plan and that the company rates were in the lower quartile of 100 power companies in the United States.

“Seventy-five percent of the world pays higher rates than you do,” Malone said.


Ray Van Dusen / RAY VAN DUSEN/BUY AT PHOTOS.MONROECOUNTYJOURNAL.COM  

Laissez le bon temps rouler

Above: Members of the Prairie RCDC make their way down Aberdeen Main Street as part of the town’s inaugural Mardi Gras parade. People lined both sides of the street from Hickory to Maple to join in the revelry. Many wore Mardi Gras masks and colors, and the fun continued with beignets and coffee after the parade at Lagniappe Square and later that night with a Mardi Gras ball. The event benefited the Friends of the Aberdeen Animal Shelter. Right: People dance to the sounds of the Juke Joint Gypsies at the Mardi Gras ball. For more photos, check out page 4B.


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People dance to the sounds of the Juke Joint Gypsies at the Mardi Gras ball.


Business
Indulge, Mississippi State athletics partner for enhanced fan experience

AMORY – Beginning with baseball season, Mississippi State University’s athletics program wants fans to have more dining options than just concession stands, and food trucks will play the pivotal role.

For at least four home game series at Dudy Noble Field, Indulge’s Munch Box food truck will have a spot, and its owner, Mike Brummitt, hopes the new partnership is the beginning of more great opportunities to come.

“MSU’s mindset is they’re trying to create a better fan experience by offering different food items,” Brummitt said. “They have a waiting list of 100-plus vendors who want to get into the football area. I was told if this works out good for baseball, it’s a no-brainer to carry through football season. I’m excited about the future and what this might morph into.”

The Indulge food truck will be set up inside the stadium even with the third baseline, and games committed so far include the Feb. 21-23 series against Oregon State, Arkansas March 13-15, Ole Miss April 9-11 for Super Bulldog Weekend and Missouri May 8-10.

In addition to these series, Brummitt said there may be an option for additional baseball games this season.

“I am set up to do one series each month. I wanted to take a smaller bite and not over-commit,” he said.

MSU opens its baseball season Feb. 14 with a weekend series hosting Wright State. The first game of the new season starts at 4 p.m. Friday.

For its games, the Indulge food truck’s menu options will include hibachi, southwest spring rolls, wraps, quesadillas, sandwiches, boneless wings and desserts.

Brummitt met someone at this past year’s Amory ChiliFest who said she would pass along Indulge’s name to MSU’s athletic director. He recently set up on campus and gave samples to administrators while working out the partnership.

“After baseball season, I don’t know where it will go. I told them I’m in it to carry it through baseball season,” Brummitt said.

Induldge’s food truck has had a presence across northeast Mississippi and northwest Alabama for festivals and other community events, and it has good working relationships with North Mississippi Medical Center and the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association.

“It’s not like we’re randomly parking on the side of the road and hoping to drum up business,” he said of the NMMC partnership. “Years ago, there were five or six food trucks in Tupelo, and now there are 10 or 11. There’s not enough space at Elvis Fest, and they call in five or six and we always get invited.”

Additionally, he has been approached by Starkville’s mayor and the Greater Starkville Development Partnership about helping start a food truck scene.


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News
Qualifying period ends for Aberdeen city elections

ABERDEEN – Feb. 7 marked the end of qualifying for Aberdeen’s Democratic primaries being held April 7 and general election on May 5, when the mayor, police chief and board of aldermen for the next four years will be decided.

For the six-candidate mayor’s race, Democrat contenders Toni Reece, Dr. Roderick Van Daniel and Alonzo Sykes Sr. will face off April 7. The winner advances to face incumbent Mayor Maurice Howard, Mike Bunch and Cecil Belle, who are all running on the Independent ticket, for the May 5 general election.

Howard, Bunch and Belle will not face off against each other in the primaries since they are running Independent.

For chief of police, incumbent Henry Randle will face Quinell Shumpert in the primaries, and both candidates are running as Democrats.

For the Ward 1 alderman seat, Robert Devaull, Rose Hodges, Nicholas Holliday and Terry Smith are seeking office.

In Ward 2, incumbent alderman Doug Stone will face Lady B. Garth and Antonio C. Rogers in the Democratic primary.

The Ward 3 alderman race will be between incumbent David Ewing, Sammie Burroughs and Edward Haynes. All four men are running as Democrats.

Incumbent Ward 4 Alderwoman Carolyn Odom is facing Dean Irvin in the Democratic primaries. The winner between the two will face Harold Holliday Jr., who is running as an Independent.

For Ward 5, Democrat John Allen is running unopposed.

The Aberdeen Democratic Executive Committee met Monday afternoon to certify candidates, and three of the people who qualified to run for office were not certified due to a change in state law that went into effect Jan. 1.

Senate Bill 2030 passed last July stating anyone running for city, county or county district seats shall be a resident of that city, county or county district for two years preceding Election Day.

Charles Scott, who qualified to run for mayor; Justin Crosby, who qualified for the Ward 3 alderman seat; and Tony Tillman, who qualified for chief of police, will have the opportunity to appeal the Democratic executive committee’s decision at a Feb. 18 hearing.

If any runoffs are required for the Democratic primaries, the date is April 21.

Anyone who wants to participate in the primaries or general election and isn’t already registered to vote must do so 30 days before them.

The elected officials will be sworn in May 5 to begin the new term.