Eat fresh, buy local at new Market on Main

Blustery, damp weather didn’t stop the excitement for visitors to the first in a monthly series of farmers markets known as Market on Main in downtown Collins. Scheduled for the first Monday of every month through December, markets are open from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. and will feature a different theme at each market. Each market features local produce (depending on the season), beef, pork, chicken, and lamb. Guests will also find local honey, jellies and jams, baked goods, and yard eggs. Vendors will offer arts and crafts such as homemade soap, creams, and other products. Pictured is Market on Main organizer and Honestly Beef owner Jaclyn Rogers.

Smithfield to be featured at Okatoma Fest

Country music’s hottest rising duo and one of Sirius XM’s prestigious picks for a “Highway Find”, Smithfield will be the Grand Marshals and featured entertainment at this year’s Okatoma Festival, scheduled for May 4 in Collins.

Smithfield released their new single, “Our World,” to country radio recently. “Our World,” written by Jaden Michaels, Jordan Minton and Ben Johnson, is available now at all digital retailers. “Our World” was produced by David Fanning. “Our World,” an anthemic song capturing the feelings of youth and being invincible against the world, again embraces their unique energy-charged and unparalleled vocal chemistry between the longtime childhood friends Trey Smith and Jennifer Fielder.

Trey’s rock-influenced vocals blending with the sounds of Jennifer’s classic country influences add an even deeper dimension to the lyrics and energy in their new single “Our World.”

“We are so excited to not only be releasing a brand-new radio single, but a brand-new EP in 2019,” said Smithfield. “We always try to create music that connects with our fans as much as it does with us. We can’t wait to share what’s new in ‘Our World’!”

Smithfield will release their new EP We Make Our Own on March 1 and will include all new songs from the Texas-born singer/songwriters. “Our World” will be included only on the physical EP which is also available March 1. We Make Our Own, the title track of the EP, represents and is symbolic of Trey and Jennifer’s philosophy and personal anthem in how they live their life and how they handle their music careers by paving and making their own way and doing it all a little differently. The EP will be released by Deluge Records. Smithfield has teamed to work with multi Grammy-award winning producer/songwriter Seth Mosley and Mike “X.” O’Connor to produce and co-write the EP. Their credits including producing albums for Francesca Battistelli, for KING & COUNTRY, Newsboys, Mandisa, Tyminski, Jaci Velasquez and another country duo High Valley among many others.

“Our World” is the follow-up to their critically-acclaimed single “Hey Whiskey” which garnered rave reviews and was the song that caught the eye of not only Sirius XM and CMT but it put them on several “Artists To Watch” lists including People, Billboard, Huffington Post and Rolling Stone among others. Rolling Stone included “Hey Whiskey” as one of the “Best Country/Americana Songs” in their picks of the week and the Grand Ole Opry invited them to make their Opry debut and CMT championed the duo including them in their Artist Discovery Program to name a few. Smithfield was founded in 2011 with a dream as big as their home state of Texas. Vocalists Trey and Jennifer took the stage by storm with their memorable music and stunning harmonies. Having grown up together, their on-stage chemistry is undeniably genuine and natural.  Country duos are unique in the music industry. Two voices have to blend perfectly together, and that combination is often hard to find, even in two great singers. Against all odds, the duo has continued to persevere with their music and develop their sound. Trey and Jennifer have found that with a lot of hard work and passion that anything can be accomplished.

After only one year in Nashville, Smithfield had already landed opening gigs for established artists including Kane Brown, Scotty McCreery, Granger Smith, Dustin Lynch, Brothers Osborne and Old Dominion. Mixing the heavily rock influenced background of Trey and the classical country tendency of Jennifer, Smithfield creates a unique blend of country sound that’s different and compelling.

Fire fighters earn certification

Firefighters Jeffery Maung and Timothy A. Brown Jr. of the Collins Fire Department graduated February 21, 2019 from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1001 Firefighter I-II course held at the Mississippi State Fire Academy in Jackson. This intense seven-week course included classroom and hands-on instruction in the areas of fire behavior, fire suppression, rescue, incident command, hazardous materials and other fire related topics. This course meets and exceeds the National Fire Protection Association for Firefighter Qualifications and the uniform minimum training standards stated in the Mississippi Code section 45-11-7. The Mississippi State Fire Academy is a division of the Mississippi Insurance Department. Commissioner Mike Chaney and Academy Executive Director Reggie Bell conclude that firefighters, through their newly acquired skills and knowledge, will be an asset to the fire departments they represent in implementing fire protection and prevention for their community.

Black Heritage Celebration set for Saturday

The Black Heritage Celebration Association has rescheduled the day’s events for Saturday, March 2.

“The Power of a Dream” is this year’s theme, and the day begins with the opening of the Heritage Museum at Collins High School.  The museum, featuring many historic artifacts will open at 10 a.m.

At noon the annual Black Heritage Parade will be held in downtown Collins.

After the parade spectators are invited to the Collins High School football field where the Battle of the Bands competition will be held.

All are invited to attend the day’s celebration!

Senior Center gets surprise $850 donation

The Collins Senior Citizens Center received a surprise donation from a new Collins business recently.

What started out as a Christmas season raffle for employees at Brennan’s Vendworks ended up $850 to be used for a local charity.

“They wanted their money to go to something,” City Clerk Suzette Davis said.  “This is a brand new business located in the industrial park.”

According to Stephanie Sutton, the company matched donations from employees.

“The way we came about raising the donation was through our employees and the Brennans matching the donation,” Sutton said.  “We had a raffle and the employees participated by buying raffle tickets.  Brennan’s Vendworks matched dollar for dollar what we had raised.”

Davis said she knows exactly where the money can be used.  First, the exercise instructor recently retired, and that instructor owned the equipment needed.  Davis said she will purchase a projector to fill that void with part of the money.  Second, she said she plans to frame some of the puzzles completed by guests.  The other framed posters hanging throughout the building are quite popular with the crowd, Davis said.

“This will mean so much to the senior,” Davis said.  “I was not prepared for $850 to be donated.”

Sutton said she was very pleased with the result.

“It was a huge success!  We are so excited to be bale to contribute for the Senior Center!,” Sutton said.

Mayor Jones plays Bingo with Seniors

Mayor Jones called Bingo for the seniors in Collins for Municipal Week. We had sixteen playing Bingo this day. This is a  wonderful way for our officials to interact with the community and they are always excited when the Mayor, Alderwoman Buffington or Alderwoman Lundy come and call Bingo.


Lighting project approved by Aldermen

A lighting project worth nearly three quarters of million dollars will soon make travel safer for everyone while welcoming visitors to Collins.

The project, approved by the Collins Board of Aldermen, will improve lighting along U.S. Highway 49 and Mississippi Highway 184, also known as Main Street.  The new lights will be LED, which are more energy efficient and often brighter than others forms.  LED lighting often lasts longer than traditional lighting, too.

“We’re very excited about it,” Mayor Hope Magee Jones said.  “The lighting is just going to light our city up and make it even more visible for our community and bring a lot of exposure for people who are traveling on the highways.”

The lowest bid int he amount of $699,737.10 came in from Webster Electric.  A federal grand administered by the Mississippi Department of Transportation will pay for 80 percent of the cost while Collins is responsible for 20 percent.

Director of Public Works Bob Shoemake explained some existing infrastructure will be used.

“The poles that are existing, we’re going to put new arms on them and new LED lights and require them with new underground wiring.  That will all be improved greatly,” Shoemake said.

The lighting project should be completed in late 2019.

Collins to hold liquor vote

Voters in Collins will soon make the decision of whether or not to allow liquor to be sold inside the city limits.
Back in June, a group of Collins citizens submitted a petition which required city leaders to hold an election if there were enough verified signatures.
“We are doing what’s requested by the citizens and required by the state,” Mayor Hope Magee said. “I’ll voice my opinion at the poll when I cast my vote.”
City Clerk Suzette Davis explained a petition must include 20 percent of a municipality’s qualified electorate to trigger an election. Over the past few months, her office has been verifying each person’s signature. Out of a grand total of 539         names on the petition, only 372 were valid; however, it was over the required amount of 345 valid signatures, which is 20 percent of Collins’ 1,727 registered voters. According to Davis, some rejected because of non-registered voters or people signing twice.
The election is set for Tuesday, October 30, 2018, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. All voters will cast ballots at the City of Collins Civic Center at 3320 Highway 49. Absentee voting began September 24 and will continue at City Hall from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.  City Hall will open special hours for absentee voting from 8 a.m. until noon on Saturday, October 20 and Saturday, October 27.