Qualifying deadline passes for municipal elections

The qualifying deadline has passed for municipal elections in Collins where Democrat incumbent Mayor V.O. Smith is being challenged by Democrat Hope Jones Magee and Republican Tom Brooks. Magee served as Ward Two Alderman in a previous term until she was defeated by present Alderman Robert Thompson. Brooks is a local business owner.

Bobby Mooney, incumbent Alderman-at-Large does not have a challenger.

In the Ward One Alderman’s race, incumbent Lester Magee will face Merria Lisa Speight. Both are running as Democrats.

Ward Two Alderman Robert Thompson will face challenger Regina Daughdrill. Daughdrill is running as a Republican, and Thompson is running as aDemocrat.

Ward Three Alderman Gerald Buffington is not seeking re-election. In that open seat, Buffington’s wife Sally Buffington will run along with Johnathon L. Anderson and Ray Magee. All three are running as Democrats.

Ward Four Alderman Halbert Walker will face challenger Ann Lott. Walker is running as a Democrat while Lott is running as a Republican.

The primary election will take place on Tuesday, May 2.  The general election will be Tuesday, June 6.

Chamber of Commerce General Membership meeting is Feb. 20

The Covington County Chamber of Commerce will host its annual General Membership Meeting on Monday, February 20, 2017. The meeting will be held at Woodland Trails in Collins at 6:30 p.m. Special guest speaker for the meeting will be Sam Britton, Public Service Commissioner for the Southern District. Sam graduated from Jones County Junior College and the University of Southern Mississippi. He worked at the Office of the State Auditor and the Mississippi State Tax Commission. He received his CPA certificate and opened his own CPA firm in his home town of Waynesboro. He has been working in accounting and finance-related positions for 30 years. With his experience and education, Britton is truly a financial expert and was named one of “Mississippi Leaders in Finance for 2014” by the Mississippi Business Journal. He has been invited as a guest speaker at universities on the topics of finance including business valuation and accounting-related topics. Britton is a member of the University of Southern Mississippi’s Business Advisory Council, the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts, the Middle Market Investment Banking Association, the Association for Corporate Growth, the Mississippi Economic Council, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Southeast Chapter of the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants. Sam is also a life member of the University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association and the Jones County Junior College Alumni Association. Britton is a graduate of Leadership Mississippi and has served as Secretary-Treasurer for the Jones County Junior College Foundation Board and served as the finance committee chairman, Board of Governors of the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants, Past President of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, Past President of the Southeast Chapter of the Certified Public Accountants, and various other leadership positions in volunteer organizations. Britton is married to Robin Robinson and they live in Laurel. The chamber will also recognize area legislators including Senator Joey Fillingane, Representative Bob Evans and Representative Noah Sanford at the event. Cost to attend is $20 per plate. To make a reservation, call the Covington County Chamber of Commerce at 601-765-6012.

Contestants sought for Covington County Miss Hospitality pageant

The Covington County Miss Hospitality program is seeking contestants for the 2017 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 19, 2017 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 16-22, 2017. • 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 6, 2017. 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 Friday, April 7 at 5 p.m. Contestants are to meet on April 7 at 5 p.m. at the chamber office to have a group picture made for the newspaper and draw for interview times. The state Miss Hospitality pageant will be held July 16-22, 2017. Applications are available at the Chamber of Commerce office located at 500 Komo Street in Collins. For additional information call 601-765-6012.

Black Heritage celebration scheduled in Collins

The 20th annual Black Heritage Celebration of Covington County will take place during the month of February with the theme “A Legacy of Strength…A Future of Hope. Honoring Veterans.” The celebration includes a Beauty and Beau Pageant; Youth & Teens Health Fair and Heritage Museum. The celebration will end with a Heritage Parade on Saturday, Febraury 25 at 12 noon on Main Street in Collins. Entertainment will follow the parade.

Popeyes Chicken opening soon in the City of Collins

Popeyes Chicken is coming to the City of Collins. The fast food restaurant will be located along Highway 49 North just across from Huddle House. According to Mayor V.O. Smith dirt work on the project has begun and construction will soon follow. With a projected opening set for May, crews are hard at work on the project.

Fred McNair to serve as 2017 Okatoma Festival honoree

Fred McNair, head football coach at Alcorn State University, has been named as the 2017 Grand Marshall for the Okatoma Festival to be held in Collins on Saturday, May 6. A Covington County resident, is the brother of the late football star Steve McNair. Fred McNair was named the 21st head football coach at Alcorn in February of 2016. McNair began his college football career as a wide receiver at Alcorn in 1986 before moving to quarterback his junior season. The theme for this year’s festival is “Covington County Celebrates Mississippi’s Bicentennial.” Oliver Hitt​ is chair of this year’s festival.

Collins High Lady Tigers Shine

Members of the Collins High School Lady Tigers basketball team have received several honors this season. Tiera Barnes was named a Top Performer by the Clarion-Ledger and a MaxPrep Player of the Game last month. She had 19 points, 12 rebounds and six steals in the team’s win against Seminary. Tiera had 15 points and 12 rebounds in the Tigers’ game against Perry Central. Breanna Slay was named a MaxPrep Player of the Game and had eight points, 10 rebounds, four steals and a blocked shot in the team’s game against Poplarville. She was also 2-2 from the free throw line. Da’Shira Hawthorne was named a MaxPrep Player of the Game. She scored 25 points and had five rebounds, two assists and two steals to help the Tigers defeat Raleigh 50-42.

Junior Livestock Show to be held this weekend

It’s that time of year again – time for the Covington County Junior Livestock Show. Exhibitors have spent numerous hours in preparation for the 2017 County Livestock Show being held January 20-21, 2017 at the Covington County Multipurpose Building at the Industrial Park off Highway 49 in Collins. There are 45 total 4-H and FFA exhibitors ages 8-18. The show includes a total of 80 head of cattle, 47 pigs and two goats. The judging contest begin on Friday, Jan. 20 with a pig show. Saturday’s contest will include the goats and cattle. Concluding the show will be the Market Animal Auction held at the close of Saturday’s show. The judge for this year’s show will be Ricky Thompson from Texas A&M University. According to livestock officials, these youth are gaining valuable life skills that will make them more productive citizens. During the show and all the preparation and practices for this crowning event, exhibitors were given the opportunity to learn responsibility, self-discipline, self-esteem, decision-making, the importance of setting goals, communication skills; in addition to a vast knowledge of the livestock and agriculture industry. Some of the young people have found a career path while others may have only gained a knowledge that they will carry with them throughout the rest of their life. Some will receive scholarships enabling them to pursue college dreams; others have made industry connections that may prove beneficial when the time comes to find a job. But all have made friendships and built relationships with their families that will last a lifetime. “We hope everyone will come out and support these young people and the hard work they have put into their project animals,” said Covington County ANR\4-H Agent, Ellen Russell. “This is a yearlong project for most exhibitors and they have put a lot of time and efforts into making their animals look their best for this weekend.” For more information, please contact the Covington County Extension Office at 601-765-8252.