Board takes steps to hire superintendent

Members of the Covington County School Board have officially signed a contract to receive assistance in hiring the next superintendent since the State of Mississippi now requires superintendents to be appointed instead of elected following legislative action in 2016.

Mississippi School Boards Association Executive Director Dr. Michael Waldrop met with school board members and their attorney during a work session before their regular monthly meeting at the district’s office Monday, April 8, 2019.

The board chose a service level worth $4,700, plus travel and clerical expenses. This level allows the MSBA to help with advertising for potential applicants, vetting and background checks, and other steps required to find quality applicants. It also puts the burden of interviews on the local level, which could be a positive for the board to meet more people face to face before making a selection.

“Y’all have chosen a search y’all will have a little more responsibility for,” Waldrop said.

Waldrop also explained requirements set by the state for superintendents, such as being in charge of A or B schools, moving schools up a level and maintaining the advancement, or a seated superintendent or assistant superintendent the past five years. There are also alternative ways to find a new leader, such as departments directors, principals, and business professionals.

“You can’t take their word for it on their resume,” Waldrop explained. “You have to verify it.”

Now that the contract is signed, there are many other steps to take. There will be a profile created for potential candidates, ads placed in Mississippi and every other state through school board associations, and a final timeline. The new superintendent will more than likely take office on January 1, 2020.

The school board set a window of five weeks for applications to be accepted.

“We’re going to cast a really broad net as far as searching for candidates,” Waldrop told the board.

Board President Lynn Smith said the board unanimously chose to move forward with hiring the MSBA. Current Superintendent of Education for Covington County Dr. Arnetta Crosby won the previous election and is currently serving as an elected official; however, according to Smith, her term will expire December 31, 2019, with the appointed person taking office January 1, 2020.

We have to have an appointed person in place then,” Smith explained. “We have a great deal of respect for the current superintendent, Dr. Crosby, and we invite her to be a part of the process… We owe it to the legislators and the taxpayers to find the best person for the job.”

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Circus coming to town

A circus is coming to Collins! The Kelly Miller Circus will be at the Collins City Park at the Industrial Park on Tuesday, April 16. There will be two shows: 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at www.bestcircus.com .

Sanford wins Miss Hospitality

Three Covington County high school young women competing for the Covington County Chamber of Commerce’s Miss Hospitality met at the People’s Bank board room in Collins Thursday, March 7, 2019 for interviews and competition. Larsen Brooke Sanford, right, was selected by judges as the overall winner, and she’ll compete next at the state level. Also pictured are Laka Maureen Till, left, and Hannah Faith Kirby, center.

Collins student chosen as state level DECA officer

Stevion Alexander was selected as 2019 DECA District IV State Coordinator (District Vice-President). He is the first student from the Covington County Vocational Center to hold a state DECA office. The District Coordinator holds a very essential position on the DECA State Action Team. This job demands time, dedication, and organization. Stevion Alexander is responsible for keeping all chapters within his district informed of Chartered Association Activities. Stevion is a junior at Collins High School. This is his second year in the DECA Club. He is the son of Deannie Williams of Collins and Timothy Alexander of Pinola.

Shirley’s, popular Collins retailer, will rebuild after fire

Shirley’s of Collins, an extremely popular discount retailer, will build a new location once everything is settled following a massive fire that destroyed their U. S. Highway 49 building.

People from several states would visit Shirley’s to find the best deals and latest trends in home decor, wedding supplies, fabrics, furniture, and other items.

“Most definitely, yes, we will reopen. I don’t know how long it will take. We’re having to deal with insurance and reports and all that. We are looking for a possible temporary location, even close-by,” owner Tammy White said.

White continued by praising the word of the Collins Fire Department.

“I know they were there for 12 to 14 hours,” White said. “We just appreciate everything they did for us to help us out. They worked nonstop. They were so tired in the morning. We appreciate our customers,” she said. “The whole town has come together as they pray for us and check on us. Our customers are wonderful. So many people commenting that it’s their favorite store.”

 

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.