Crowd comes out for Black Heritage parade

The 19th annual Black Heritage Celebration was held Saturday, February 27, 2016.
This year’s theme was “United We Stand.”
The annual Heritage Museum was set up at Carver Middle School and included Carver High School class photos;  family portraits; community pictures, paintings from local artists, antique tools, farm equipment, posters, memorabilia and more.
The grand event was the parade in downtown Collins.
The Grand Marshal for the parade was Dr. Arnetta Crosby, Covington County Superintendent of Education.
Immediately following the parade, was a Battle of the Bands was held along with live music, children’s entertainment and concessions.  These events took place at the Collins High School football field.

Aldermen adjust water, sewer rates to help residents

The Board of Aldermen heard the concerns of Collins residents regarding the city’s water and sewer rates and went to work  to help them.
In the fall of 2015, the board voted to lower the usage of water by 1,000 gallons.
“Before, the rate was $14.00 for 3,000 gallons,” said City Clerk Suzette Davis.  “In the fall the board voted to lower it to $14.00 for 2,000 gallons.”
But after hearing from residents who have attended the board meetings and receiving phone calls at City Hall, the Aldermen answered with a change in the rate.
“The board decided to go back to the old rate,” Davis added, “of $14.00 for 3,000 gallons of water.”
The city charges an additional $3.35 per 1,000 gallons thereafter.
As for the sewer, the rate is $11.00 for 3,000 gallons or less with an additional charge of $3.35 per 1,000 gallons over that.  The board also adjusted the rate by 1,000 gallons.
While the change will help residents in the city, Davis noted that there was some shifting done within the budget to allow for the change.
“I don’t think people really realize what gets paid out of our water and sewer departments,” she said.  “Each department stands on its own, and we have salaries and upkeep that must be paid in each department.”
With a budget amendment which will take place later this year, the city was able to move an employee from the sewer department to the street department.
“With that shift we were able to lower the rates,” Davis added.
The adjustment in the rates does not mean that it could not go back up as the city plans its budget for next year, according to Davis.
“We have to show the State of Mississippi that we are making 10 percent off of our water and sewer in order for them to pay their matching part for some of the grants the city is able to receive,” she said.
Recently, the City of Collins had the Mississippi Rural Water Association come in and do an analysis of their water and sewer rates.
“The suggestion they came back with was for the city to make the adjustment that was made in October,” Davis said.
The Board of Aldermen went with the suggestion and adjusted the city’s rates.  Meanwhile, residents were upset with the change.
“The changes impact the person who uses a lot of water,” said Davis, “but an elderly couple on a fixed income, who use the minimum amount of water will not be impacted.
“At this point, the board went to work for its residents,” she said, “but they will have to look at it again when it’s time to work on the new budget.  They are always aware of the concerns of the residents and want to do everything they can to help them.”

Collins Police get new SUV

The City of Collins purchased a new vehicle for the Collins Police Department.  The 2016 Ford Explorer will be equipped with an in car video system and radar.  It will be patrolling the streets of the city.  Pictured above are Chief Joey Ponder, left, and Mayor V.O. Smith with the new vehicle.  The SUV, according to Chief Ponder, makes for easier access while officers are on patrol.

Meal program feeds needy seniors in Collins

Residents of the City of Collins came out with an overwhelming support for the senior adult feeding program to  be held at the Senior Citizens Center.
“We are very appreciative of those who came in to apply for the meals in an effort to help us bring this program to Collins for those residents who truly need it,” said Suzette Davis, City Clerk.
The program is a service of the Southern Mississippi Planning District Area Agency on Aging and the City of Collins.
In partnership with the Department of Human Services, Division of Aging and Adult Services and the U.S. Department of Human Services, Administration for Community Living, the Area Agency on Aging serves as the public advocate for the development and implementation of comprehensive and coordinated home and community based care systems responsive to the current needs and future growth of the aging population.
The agency has a contract with the City of Collins to offer congregate meal planning at no cost to seniors once they have been through the application process and have been approved.
A congregate meal is a nutritionally balanced meal served in a specific location such as a community or senior center. Congregate meals are primarily for the fairly mobile Senior population. In order to qualify for this program individuals must be age 60 or older, or be the spouse of an eligible person.
The contract specifies that the city will receive 20 meals to be served Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. beginning February 16.
“We are only allowed 20 meals to serve each day,” said Davis, “and those meals are handed out on a first come, first served basis.
“This program will help us to feed the elderly residents in the area who might otherwise not receive a meal because of a number of reasons,” said Davis.  “It might be because it’s an elderly lady in the community who is existing on her social security benefits and does not have the extra income to buy a hot meal every day, or it may be an elderly couple who just are not able to prepare those types of meals for themselves.”
While the service is one the Mayor and Board of Aldermen hoped could provide meals to all senior adults in the community, Davis noted that the Agency on Aging explained that the program was set up to help those seniors who would otherwise not have a meal without the program.
“We want to be sure our seniors are cared for and getting a hot meal,” said Davis.  “This way we know that they are able to get a meal and not skip it because they cannot afford it.”
Davis emphasized that this program is just one of many offerings that will be available at the Senior Citizens Center.
“The center was built as a place for seniors to come out and socialize and participate in activities throughout the week,” said Davis.
Activities that will be offered will include quilting, games, exercise classes, health classes and informational sessions.
“The center is open to all of our seniors,” Davis added. “This one meal program is a six-month pilot program to see if it is something the city wants to expand.  It’s a program designed to help with a need among our seniors who may otherwise not get a meal.  That doesn’t mean that we won’t have many other offerings and activities going on for all the senior adult community.  We are in the beginning stage of operating this facility.”

Family Care Express Clinic extends hours in Collins

To better serve the community, Family Care Express of Covington County Hospital has extended its hours. The clinic is now open one hour earlier than before, at 8 a.m., on weekdays.
The extension means the clinic serves patients for 11 hours each weekday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is also open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Walk-ins are always welcome.
The friendly, professional staff remains committed to quick service, pledging to get patients from seated to treated in 30 minutes or less.
“During the past year, Family Care Express has experienced tremendous growth.  Our goal has always been to be there when you need us and we feel that opening up earlier during the week helps us to do just that,” comments Gregg Gibbes, Clinic Director for Covington County Hospital.
Family Care Express, a clinic of Covington County Hospital, is the only after-hours and weekend clinic in Covington County. The clinic is located at 3275 Highway 49, Suite E, in Collins in the shopping center with Subway and Pizza Hut. For more information, call 601-765-6292 or visit the Covington County Hospital website at covingtoncountyhospital.com.

Collins firemen graduate from State Fire Academy

Collins firemen Joel Wilson and Michael Davis graduated from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1001 Firefighter I-II course held at the Mississippi State Fire Academy in Jackson.
The course, an intense and physically demanding seven-week session, included classroom and hands-on instruction in the areas of fire behavior, fire suppression, rescue, incident command, hazardous materials and other fire related topics.
The course met and exceeded the National Fire Protection Association training standard for firefighter qualifications and the uniform minimum training standards.
“Wilson and Davis, through their newly acquired skills and knowledge, will be an asset to the City of Collins Fire Department and the citizens that we have sworn to protect,” said Fire Chief John Pope. “These men represented our department and city well and we are very proud of their accomplishment in completing the Basic Firefighter Training Academy Class #159.”

Collins Tigers win second straight state title

By BRIAN KEYS

The Collins Tigers traveled to Oxford on Saturday to compete in the 3A Mississippi State Championship against Charleston. In the rematch of last year’s 3A final, Collins led for only 17 seconds, but those 17 seconds proved to be enough as Collins came out on top 34-32 and repeated as State Champions for the second time.

Charleston got on top early and kept the lead through most of all four quarters. With 6:56 left in the first quarter, Charleston took the lead on a 12 yard run. The conversion failed, but Charleston led 6-0. At the 4:22 mark in the first quarter, Charleston added a 2 yard TD run to extend their lead to 12-0. Detric Hawthorn scrambled into the end zone with 32 seconds left in the first quarter to close the gap to 12-6.The second quarter belonged to Charleston. At the 8:56 mark in the second, Charleston scored on a 15 yard run to extend the lead to 18-6, Charleston. With 29 seconds left in the half, Charleston scored again on a 17 yard TD run and took a 26-6 lead into the locker room over the return state champion Collins Tigers.

Both teams returned to play the third quarter with defense on their mind. Each team had a pair of turnovers in the quarter, but no touchdowns were scored. The Third quarter ended as it began, 26-6 Charleston.

The “heart attack kids” went to work early in the fourth quarter. With 11:30 left in the game, Hawthorn hooked up with Calvin Keys for a 19 yard TD pass. Hawthorn added the conversion to close the score to 26-14, Charleston. At the 8:56 mark, Hawthorn scrambled into the end zone for another Tiger score. The conversion failed, but the score was now 26-20, Charleston. Collins tied the game with 3:52 left in the regulation on a one yard score. The conversion failed, but the score was now tied at 26 all.

Charleston took most of the time on the clock to drive the length of the field and score with 28 seconds remaining. The conversion failed and with only 28 seconds, the Tigers were down 32-26. Charleston set up for a “squib” kick to avoid a long return, but Keys had other thoughts as he fielded the low kicked ball at his own 25 yard line and returned it 75 yards for the tying score. The conversion followed and Hawthorne hooked up with his brother Derrick Hawthorn in the front corner of the far end zone to score the winning points with 15 seconds remaining.

This year the Tigers dedicated their season to a fallen team member, Jabari Goudy, who passed away in July. The team wore his number, 66, on their helmets and their sleeves. Each of these thoughts was heart-warming, but none more than the final score of the game. Collins scored 34 and Charleston 32, and that total makes 66, which can be seen on every Tiger uniform representing the memory of Goudy.
The top performers for the Tigers were Hawthorn with 198 passing yards, 48 rushing yards, and 3 touchdowns, and Keys with 96 receiving yards and 2 TDs.

The Tigers had 198 passing yards and 112 rushing yards for 310 offensive yards.

Collins finished the season 15-1 with their only loss being to Hattiesburg High. For the second time in just over 10 years, the Tigers took home the 3A State Championship trophy.

Collins Tigers win 3A South State Championship, head to Oxford for state title

The Collins Tigers repeated as 3A South State Champions on Friday by overpowering the West Marion Trojans, 40-36.
Collins got their first score on a 15 yard run by Detric Hawthorn early in the first quarter. Timothy Durr added the conversion for Collins to go up 8-0. After a West Marion punt, Hawthorn hooked up with Dorrean McLaurin for a 65 yard pass completion for a touchdown. Hawthorn rushed for the conversion and the Tigers led 16-0 through the end of the first quarter.
Rakerian Forrest put the Tigers back on the board early in the second quarter with a 12 yard TD run. Forrest added the conversion and the defending state champions held a 24-0 lead. West Marion finally scored in the second quarter, but the Tigers answered right back with a 10 yard TD run by Durr. Durr added the conversion and the score stood at 32-6, Tigers. The Trojans added one more score before the half to close the score to 32-14 at the half.
On the opening drive of the third quarter, the Trojans completed a long pass for score and the Tiger lead was cut to 32-22. Early in the fourth quarter, the Trojans once again found a way to score and the lead was now 32-28, Tigers. Late in the fourth quarter, the Trojans overtook the lead 36-32, but the Tiger offense revived their spirit and put together one more scoring drive, which culminated in a one yard touchdown by Hawthorn. The conversion was good and the lead was now 40-36. That was as close as the game would get, though, and the Tigers earned the right to return to the 3A State Championship game on Saturday, December 5.
The top performer for the Tigers was Hawthorn with 210 yards passing, 158 yards rushing, and 3 touchdowns.
Collins finished the night with 257 rushing yards and 210 passing yards for 467 yards of offense.
The Tigers (14-1) will play Charleston (13-2) at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 5, for the 3A title game on the campus of the University of Mississippi.

Christmas in Collins to be held December 11

Participating merchants along Main Street in Collins will host Christmas in Collins on Friday, December 11 beginning at 5 p.m. Retailers will have extended hours for holiday shopping and dining.  There will be plenty of activities for the children including visits with Santa Claus, live music, games and more.
Those attending are encouraged to pick up a punch card at any of the retailers and have it punched by each of the participating retailers.  Once all locations on the card have been punched, drop it off in the bucket at Christmas in the Park at Bettie C. Robertson Park in Collins to be entered to win a sleigh full of prizes valued at $500.  The drawing for the sleigh will take place on Monday, December 14 at City Hall and the winner will be notified.