Okatoma Festival set for May 5 in Collins

The Covington County Chamber of Commerce will host the 29th annual Okatoma Festival on Saturday, May 5, 2018. This year’s theme is “Home Sweet Home.” The special guest for the day will be recording artist and native Travis Clark. Pairing solid “Real Country Music” story-telling with a blend of modern and traditional country sound, Clark is a fresh take on popular country music. His original songs range from rockin’ country hits, to big ballads, to traditional country anthems – all telling honest stores about life, love, and lessons learned from growing up in rural Mississippi. Backed by a band of deeply talented musicians, Clark is an energetic entertainer with a unique sound that has broad appeal. The event begins at 8 a.m. with the annual 5K Run/Walk. Meanwhile, numerous arts and crafts booths and food vendors will be located at every corner in downtown Collins. Live entertainment, a health fair, quilt exhibit, art display, children’s park, fair rides, rubber duck race, golf tournament and much more will be provided. The traditional street dance will be from 6 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. with the Cowboy Blues Band. For more information about the festival, contact the Covington County Chamber of Commerce at 601-765-6012 or go to www.CovingtonChamber.com.

Sanderson Farms of Collins named Feed Mill of the Year

Sanderson Farms’ feed mill located in Collins, Mississippi has been named the 2017 Feed Facility of the Year. Co-sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association and Feedstuffs, the Feed Facility of the Year award recognizes overall achievement in feed manufacturing operations. “Sanderson Farms demonstrates excellence in each of the areas the Feed Facility of the Year program measures,” said Joel G. Newman, AFIA President and CEO. “They quickly rose to the top of this year’s competition, and we are happy to present the company with this award.” To date, only 32 facilities have received this industry best practices honor. The Feed Facility of the Year award recognizes Sanderson Farms’ commitment to safety, quality, regulatory compliance, and employee development. According to AFIA, Sanderson Farms’ work to increase employee engagement and promote morale also factored into the award decision. “Sanderson Farms employees are included in daily conversations about safety and encouraged to offer their suggestions for improvements,” said Bill Bray, plant manager of the Collins facility. “The company’s training programs allow supervisors to assist employees by providing personal attention.” The Feed Facility of the Year award highlights the Collins facility’s overall operating efficiencies. As one of Sanderson Farms’ eight feed mills, the facility produces more than 400,000 tons of poultry feed each year. Sanderson Farms, Inc., founded in 1947, is engaged in the production, processing, marketing and distribution of fresh and frozen chicken and other prepared chicken items. Employing more than 14,000 employees in operations spanning five states and 14 different cities, Sanderson Farms is the third largest poultry producer in the United States. As a company, Sanderson Farms is committed to adopting a fresh approach in everything that we do. Not only where products are concerned, but companywide as well. Though the company has grown in size, it still adheres to the same hometown values of honesty, integrity and innovation that were established when the Sanderson family founded the company back in 1947.

Miss Hospitality program to be held March 23

The Covington County Miss Hospitality program is seeking contestants for the 2018 title of Covington County’s Miss Hospitality. Requirements for the local program include:

• Be a resident of Mississippi – parent or guardian must also be a resident of Mississippi

• Represent her hometown and/or county, not the city where she attends college.

• Not currently hold a title that would interfere with duties of Miss Hospitality.

• Be a high school graduate, never married, have no children and be age 18 and not over 24 by Wednesday, July 18, 2018 of the pageant week.

• Have a 2.5 scholastic average for the last completed semester.  A transcript is required upon registration for the state pageant.

• Must be present at the coronation ceremony for Mississippi Miss Hospitality and participate in events scheduled for the period July 15-21, 2018.

• If attending an out of state university and wins the state pageant, you must enroll immediately in a university in Mississippi.

• Participate in the Okatoma Festival on Saturday, May 5, 2018.

The entry fee is $20. Local Miss Hospitality contestants will have a seven minute personal interview with a panel of three out-of-town judges and present a 90-second speech in front of the judges and guests on “How would you promote our state to a visitor?” The dress is Sunday dress or a suit. Contestant applications and entry fees must be turned in to the chamber office by Thursday, March 15 at 5 p.m.

The state Miss Hospitality pageant will be held July 20-21, 2018. Applications are available at the Chamber of Commerce office located on First Street South. For additional information call 601-765-6012.

Chamber to host General Membership Meeting February 5

The Covington County Chamber of Commerce will host its annual General Membership meeting on Monday, February 5 at the Collins Civic Center. The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. This year’s guest speaker will be Scott Waller, President of the Misissippi Economic Council. Recently named to the position, Waller has had an integral role in the growth of MEC over the last 10 years. Waller is only the fourth CEO in MEC’s 69-year history. He previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at MEC, where he refined and deployed a comprehensive advocacy plan by building strong relationships with members of the Mississippi legislature and bolstering involvement among MEC’s membership. He has worked to build coalitions and strengthen alliances between MEC members and other organizations to make the Chamber a policy leader on key issues of economic development, education, workforce training, taxes, tourism, and business climate. He also pioneered a comprehensive communications plan using innovative approaches to take advantage of ever-changing technology. Prior to joining MEC, he spent more than 20 years as a newspaper journalist, including four years as Business Editor of The Clarion-Ledger. He is also the former owner and editor of the Madison County Journal and was a co-owner of Siwel Homes, a residential construction company. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University and has completed the respected Institute for Organization Management program, an intensive four-year nonprofit leadership training program conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and held at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. Waller has continued his dedication to scouting since his days as an Eagle Scout and serves on the executive board of the Andrew Jackson Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He has served on the board of directors of the Mississippi State University Alumni Association’s Central Mississippi Chapter. Professionally, he serves as Chair of Board of the Council of State Chambers’ Policy Center and serves on the council’s board of directors. He is a member the Institute for Organization Management’s National Board of Trustees and the IOM’s Southeast Board of Regents. Waller is also a member of the National Transportation Investment Advocacy Council. He and his wife Kim live in Madison and are active at St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church. Their son, Shane, and daughter-in-law, Whitney, are both graduates Mississippi State University and live in Washington, D.C. Also on the program is the annual “Meet Your Legislators” event. Senator Joey Fillingane, Representatives Bob Evans, Noah Sanford and Mark Tullos will be in attendance to discuss legislative matters. Dinner will be catered by Main Street Café. The deadline to RSVP is Thursday, February 1. The cost is $20 per plate. To make reservations, call the chamber office at 601-765-6012.

City of Collins recognizes Municipal Government Week

The City of Collins is proud to join the Mississippi Municipal League and its 295 member municipalities across the State of Mississippi in celebration of Municipal Government Week, January 14-20, 2018.

City government is, without question, the government closest to the people. At a time when people nationwide seem to have less faith in their government, we in municipal government want to be sure the people here at home are aware of the critical services we provide.

Over 50% of Mississippi citizens live in a city, town, or village. In addition, thousands more rely on cities for places of employment, professional services and retail trade centers. These citizens look to us to provide important services such as police and fire protection, garbage pick-up, street and sidewalk maintenance, electric, water and sewer service, parks and recreational services, and much more. It is a constant challenge for Collins to provide such services within our budget and in the face of requirements imposed on us by other levels of government.

During the current legislative session, the City of Collins will join municipalities across the state in support of a bill that would increase the amount of sales tax diverted back to each city by the State of Mississippi. This increase in sales tax revenue must be used for street, water and sewer improvements. The best part of this proposed plan is that our city will receive additional revenue without increasing anyone’s taxes.

Even in challenging times, I believe that our elected officials and employees are doing a great job in meeting the needs of our citizens. I am proud of our city’s record and look forward to the opportunity to showcase our services during Municipal Government Week. Please visit our website at (cityofcollins.com), like our official Facebook page or call City Hall at (601) 765-4491 if you have questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Suzette Davis City Clerk

Reindeer Games to be held Dec. 7

The Main Street Merchants in the City of Collins will host the “Reindeer Games” on Main Street on Thursday, December 7 from 5:30-8 p.m. The event is designed to bring families out along Main Street to enjoy the Christmas season. There will be plenty of activities for children as well as shopping and dining throughout the evening. Guests are invited to stroll Main Street and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Christmas season.

Christmas parade to be held November 30

The City of Collins will hold its annual Christmas parade on Thursday, November 30 at 6:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Magical, Musical Christmas.” Individuals and groups interested in participating in the parade are invited to enter by contacting city hall. Parade organizers are asking businesses, churches, schools and organizations to participate in this year’s parade. In addition to floats, 4-wheelers, trucks, cars and golf carts are permitted to enter. Due to safety concerns, walkers will not be permitted to participate in the parade with the exception of bands, color guards and the Camp Shelby Youth Challenge group. Entry forms for the parade are available at Collins City Hall and online at www.cityofcollins.com. Floats will be judged for creativity, personalization and spirit of Christmas. Awards will be given for first, second and third place. For more information, contact City Hall at 601-765-4491.