Collins officers take part in domestic violence training

Collins Police Officers took part in a Domestic Violence course held last week at the Collins Train Depot.
The course was presented by Emiko Faust with Attorney General Jim Hood’s office.
The eight-hour class included instruction on laws pertaining to domestic violence, protection orders, strangulation and stalking. Additionally, the course covered information from case studies.
“It’s beneficial to law enforcement officers because domestic violence is one of the most common calls they respond to,” said Rachael Ring, Public Information Officer for the Attorney General’s Office. “Domestic violence laws are constantly changing and being updated and require certain actions from our law enforcement so it’s important to keep up with the laws as they change.”
Police Chief Joey Ponder noted the importance of officers having training in dealing with calls pertaining to domestic violence.
“Just about the majority of our calls are domestic violence calls,” he said. “It’s important for our officers to keep up to date on the laws and how to respond. These are dangerous calls.”

Collins native Buffington named JCJC tennis coach

A former Jones County Junior College tennis player is returning to lead the Bobcat tennis program.
Collins native Brooks Buffington, who played at JCJC in 2002-04, will replace Mark Easley as head tennis coach. Easley is now the fulltime Dean of Student Affairs at Jones.
Buffington was approved by the JCJC Board of Trustees during its monthly meeting in June. He said it’s a lifelong dream to be the Bobcat tennis coach.
“If I could take a job anywhere in the state, this would be it,” he said. “I love the junior college system in Mississippi and what it offers. This is exciting and I am really looking forward to it.”
Buffington graduated from Collins High School in 2002 before coming to JCJC. He received the Bobcat Award for men’s tennis after his 2004 sophomore season.
He then played tennis at Mississippi College and received his Bachelor of Science degree from MC in 2006.
Buffington is no stranger to hard work.
He walked on and earned a scholarship not only at JCJC, but also at Mississippi College.
“I walked on at Jones and made the team and I walked on at MC and made the team,” he said. “I’ve been teaching in the Jackson area since 2007 and now I’m the head coach at Jones. It seems like it has all come full circle.”
Easley remembers when Buffington walked on for a spot on the Bobcat tennis team.
“Brooks played here back in 2003 and 2004 and I remember when he came over and tried out,” he said. “He came over in the summer and I fed balls and did drills with him and I could tell right then that he was somebody who loved tennis and was a very hard worker.”
Buffington has served as head professional at the Reservoir YMCA in Brandon from 2014 until now and also in 2007-08. He was also head professional at Castlewoods Country Club in Jackson from 2008-14. He has played on the USTA circuit since 2008.
Buffington has served as head coach at Hartfield Academy since 2013 and assistant coach at Northwest Rankin since 2012. He led Hartfield Academy to a second place overall finish in the 2015 MAIS boys state tournament and Northwest Rankin perennially has one of the top public tennis programs in the state.
Easley said when JCJC president Dr. Jesse Smith asked him who would be a good choice to be head coach, Buffington’s name was at the top of the list.
“Dr. Smith asked me if I had anybody in mind that would do a good job,” Easley said.
“Brooks was one of the first people I thought of and he loves Jones. He loved his time here and this job is one of the only jobs in the state that he has really wanted. He always had a dream of coming back to coach at Jones.
“He has a great tennis mind, is a very good coach, will do a great job and, I think, he can take the program to another level.”
Buffington said he wants the program to continue to enjoy the success it has achieved under Easley’s guidance.
“Basically, I want to keep doing what he’s been doing because it has worked,” Buffington said. “You go into his office and you see all of the championship and Coach of the Year trophies and it’s impressive.
“Ultimately, I want the kids to be successful in moving forward and to take care of business on the academic side of things.”
Buffington is familiar with some of the returning Bobcats, having coached Luke Armstrong at Hartfield Academy and watched Chase Pennington at Madison-Ridgeland Academy.
He said the fall would be an important time for him and the team as they prepare for the 2017 spring season.
“Obviously, I am going to enjoy getting started and getting to know the players this fall,” he said. “When I played at Jones, you could not play matches in the fall. Now, you practice and you get to play some matches. I don’t know exactly what we can do, but it’s definitely an advantage for me coming in this fall.”
Being a Collins native, Buffington also wants to see tennis grow in JCJC’s eight-county district.
“On the Division I and II levels in the NCAA, everything is moving towards all foreign players,” he said. “In Mississippi junior college tennis, we are allowed two foreign players for the men and women’s teams, but the majority of the players on the teams in the state are from Mississippi.
“That’s what I really love about junior college tennis in Mississippi. I want to help develop players locally and across the state.”

Beginning Hand Quilting Workshop to be held

A hand quilting workshop for beginners will be held July 26, 27 and 29 from 1:30 until 3:30 at the Collins Senior Citizens Center located at 900 South Civic Center Boulevard.

The class, sponsored by the Covington County MS Homemaker Volunteers, will teach students how to assemble materials to make a quilt and how to hand quilt and finish the edges of a mini-sized quilt.

All supplies will be furnished except for scissors and a thimble.

Minimum enrollment is 5 people and the class size is limited to 10.  The fee for the class is $15.

Pre-registration and fees paid is required by Thursday, July 21 to the Covington County Extension Office, 68 Collins Industrial Park Drive.  For more information, call 601-765-8252.

Retirement reception held for Feazell

A retirement luncheon was held for Leon Feazell at the Collins Tran Depot.  Feazell retired after 13 years of service to the City of Collins.  He was recently named Parks and Recreation Director.  Mayor V.O. Smith presented Feazell with a key to the city and a plaque.

Faler to compete for DYW state title

Alyssa Faler, Distinguished Young Woman of Covington County, will be one of 31 Mississippi high school seniors competing for more than $30,500 in college scholarships when the 2017 Distinguished Young Women of Mississippi Program gets under way Thursday, July 14, in Meridian.
“I’m looking forward to competing,” said Faler.  “I’m also looking forward to meeting the girls and getting to know them.  “I’ve already talked with my host family and I’m excited to get to know them too.”
Faler said she has put in a lot of hours of preparation for the competiton.
“I’ve practiced my talent and fitness and done a lot of research and mock interviews to get ready.  I’m excited for the week.”
The state program, which is held in Meridian, Mississippi, is now in its 60th year celebrating and spotlighting outstanding achievements of the state’s best and brightest high school girls. The three nights of competition in Meridian’s Temple Theater concludes on Saturday, July 16. Curtain opens 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday; 8 p.m. Saturday.
Reserved tickets for the 2017 Distinguished Young Woman Program are available for $60 for a three-night package. General admission tickets are available for $45 for a three night package, or may be purchased for individual evenings: $15, Thursday; $15, Friday; and $20, Saturday. Tickets are on sale now and may be obtained by calling 601-480-3438
“We are extremely excited about this year’s program,” said Sid Wilkinson, State Chairman of the Distinguished Young Women of Mississippi Program. “This program celebrates what is right with today’s young people and offers them cash scholarship opportunities to further their education.”
Alyssa, the daughter of Greg and Donielle Faler of Sumrall, attends Sumrall High School High School.  She is the granddaughter of Mike and Frieda Whiddon of Sumrall; Carolyn Faler of Seminary and Johnny Faler of Hattiesburg.  She is the great-granddaughter of Virginia Whiddon of Sumrall.
Academic accomplishments, membership and hobbies include the following: AP History Award
Citizenship Award Bobcat Award Outstanding Concert Choir Student and Beta Club Secretary She plans to attend University of Southern Mississippi to pursue a career Social Worker.
During the week-long program in Meridian, contestants are evaluated on scholastic achievement, fitness, self-expression, talent and interview. Faler has chosen a Violin presentation of “Ashokan Farewell” for her talent.
If selected as Distinguished Young Woman of Mississippi, Alyssa will compete in the Distinguished Young Woman for 2017 finals in June of 2017, held in Mobile, Alabama. There she will compete for the opportunity to win a share of more than $100,000 in cash scholarship awards, including the $50,000 national title scholarship award.
The Distinguished Young Woman Program (formerly America’s Junior Miss) was founded in 1958 and is the oldest and largest scholarship program for young women. More than 6,500 high school girls participate each year. This program has offered more than $1.1 billion in college scholarship opportunities to young women across the country. Past DYW participants include Diane Sawyer, Debra Messing, Deborah
Norville, Julie Moran, the late Mary Frann, Kim Basinger and Kathie Lee Gifford.
DYW’s national sponsors include Mobile County, the City of Mobile, and the Mitchell Company. National category sponsors include Alabama Power, Encore Rehabilitation, Mobile Gas, Regions Bank, and Wintzell’s Oyster House. The 60th annual America’s Junior Miss National Finals will be held in Mobile, Alabama, in June of 2017.

MHV annual Blueberry Tasting Tea scheduled for June 16

Covington County Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers (MHV) is sponsoring their 12th Annual “Blueberry Tasting Tea” on Thursday, June 16, 2016.  The event will be held at Collins Volunteer Fire Department, 200 South First Street, Collins, MS.   “Tasting” will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
MHV invites the public to attend this event.  For a small fee, the general public is invited to come “taste” the assortment of wonderful blueberry dishes and receive a copy of the Blueberry Recipe Booklet.  Profit from the “Tasting Tea” will be used for special projects at the “Youth Safe House” in our area.
For more information contact the Covington County Extension Office; 68 Collins Industrial Park Drive, off Hwy. 49 north of Collins, or 601-765-8252 or 765-4761.

Collins Fire Department to begin hydrant testing

When it comes to extinguishing fires, one second could mean the difference between life and death. To ensure the best possible outcome when responding to fires, the City of Collins Fire Department is dedicating the next two months to flow testing and performing maintenance on all fire hydrants in the city limits.
“The safety of our citizens and their property is everything to us,” said Fire Chief John Pope III, who’s supervising the hydrant testing. “Testing of the hydrants is done to ensure that all hydrants are operating properly and repainting ensures that they are visible to fire officials during fire responses. The annual testing is also required in order for the city to maintain its Class 5 Fire Rating. This rating helps keep home and commercial insurance premiums and rates low for residents and business owners.”
The testing began June 6 and is expected to last through August. During the testing periods, residents may notice a slight discoloration in their water or low water pressure while hydrants are being tested in their neighborhoods. Pope said this is normal and should not cause concern.
“Normally, we have complaints about the water being discolored. There is no need to be alarmed. The best way to solve that is to run water in a bathtub or sink for a few minutes until it clears up,” he said.
According to the fire department, testing times will take place between 9 a.m. and 12 noon. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
“We have 200+ hydrants in the city. This is something we’ll be doing along with our other duties,” said Pope.  He also said that testing will take place depending on daily weather and other job duties.
Pope also explained the color code for hydrants throughout the city. The colors represent the measure of water flow the hydrant is capable of. For instance, blue means that hydrant gives off the greatest flow and red means it gives the least. Green and orange hydrants are in the middle of that scale.
We also use a very visible reflective paint coating for the barrels of the hydrants, which aids in helping the firefighters in locating the hydrants quickly during response calls.
Pope said these are all measures that are required to keep residents and local businesses safe in the event of a fire.
Anyone with questions regarding the ongoing hydrant testing can contact Fire Chief John Pope at (601) 765-5110. The department appreciates the communities understanding & cooperation during the testing period.

Collins native leads University of Alabama to College World Series

The Alabama softball team will be making its 11th trip to the Women’s College World Series after defeating Washington 5-2 in game two of the NCAA Super Regional Saturday afternoon May 28.
The win came in part thanks to Collins native Reagan Dykes.
Three of Alabama’s five runs of the came came off the bat of Dykes who hit a three-run home run in the third inning to give theTide the first lead of the game.
Dykes, daughter of Bob and Donna Dykes of Collins, is already one of just 11 freshmen in the Alabama softball program with at least seven homeruns in their debut season.
“I’m extremely proud of this team,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. “We’ve gone through a lot of adversity this year but they just kept going.”
The Women’s College World Series appearance will be the 11th for Alabama (51-12), the most for any SEC team. The Crimson Tide has now won nine of the 12 Super Regional rounds it has played in, including eight of the nine played in Tuscaloosa. The series sweep over Washington (39-15) is the seventh for Alabama in Super Regional play.
Alabama stranded a runner in scoring position in the first and second innings before finally breaking through with two on and two out in the top of the third on a three-run home run by Dykes to take a quick 3-0 lead.
Alabama will open play at the Women’s College World Series on Thursday, June 2 against No. 3 Oklahoma (52-7). Game times and broadcast information will be determined at a later date.
Dykes is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Granville McDonald and Mrs. Betty Dykes all of Collins.

Boy Scouts to honor Mayor V.O. Smith at Community Dinner

Collins Mayor V.O. Smith will be honored at the Boy Scouts of America-Pine Burr Area Council Covington County Friends of Scouting’s annual Community Dinner.
The event will be held Thursday, May 26 at the Collins Civic Center at 6:30 p.m.
Smith will receive the 2016 Good Scouting award from the Boy Scouts of America.
The public is invited to attend the event.  To RSVP, please contact Harvey Lott at or 601-245-3538 or Rosie Jackson at or 845-641-5865.
Members of the steering committee include: Zane Collins, Rosie Jackson, Amanda Matherene, Oliver Hitt, Harvey Lott, Jim Todd, Dorothy Magee, Karen Mosley, Jim Lindsey and Leon Smith.