The City of Collins will be working on the Power System beginning around 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 23, 2019, for about 4 hours.  They hope to keep the power on for everyone during this time but they are asking for everyone to not use air conditioning unless you are a senior citizen or someone who needs to stay cool with special concerns for their health.  This should enable the City to keep everyone with lights and television.  Please use fans when possible and reduce the power load where possible.  For any questions or concerns, please call Bob Shoemake at 601-517-0076.
On Sunday, October 27, 2019, the City of Collins will be changing out poles close to the Police Department and Fire Station.  Power will have to be off on all customers east of the railroad tracks and some locations west of the tracks in this area.  This will involve customers on Salem Church Road, Salem School Road, and Highway 588.  They are asking for everyone to not use air conditioning unless you are a senior citizen or someone who needs to stay cool with special concerns for their health.  Please use fans when possible and reduce the power load where possible.  Please make arrangements for that Sunday morning for 4-6 hours beginning at 7:00 a.m.  Any questions concerning this outage, please call Bob Shoemake at 601-517-0076.
These dates and times may change if there is bad weather or an emergency.  Again, this will only involve customers on the City of Collins Power System, not SPEPA.
The Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Collins thank you for your help in this matter.

Mayor Jones Speaks At Rotary Meeting

Collins’ Mayor Hope Magee Jones was the guest speaker for the October 7, 2019 meeting of the Collins Rotary Club.

She was the guest of Rotarian Josh Clayton and spoke on upcoming events for the City of Collins.  Pictured, from left, are Mayor Jones and Josh Clayton, Administrator of Arrington Living Center in Collins.

Collins Elementary School Discovery Garden

Collins Elementary School has a new interactive, educational area thanks to a group of volunteer citizens. The Discovery Garden was actually established in the 1990’s when kindergarten teacher Annette Hamill and her husband, Bob, put in sidewalks and gardening grids. Their  daughter, Sherry, painted murals on the walls surrounding the area. Annette’s students planted radishes and sugar cane that they could harvest and taste on the spot. WDAM came to CES and filmed the students enjoying the garden.

Over the years, the Discovery Garden had fallen into disrepair and become an unused space. In fact, for more than ten years, the garden was off-limits to the students.
One school volunteer noticed the unused area and saw the potential for the space, envisioning a fun learning spot that needed a little tender loving care. Work began in mid-July and continued through August. The inspiration came from a community garden in Bay St. Louis called Ruth’s Roots. Ideas were also found on Pinterest.
Today the Discovery Garden is alive and vibrant with colorful plants and yard decorations. A “Music Wall” featuring metal scraps allows the students to make music (aka noise) with wood dowels. A “Touch & Feel” wall serves as a ta

ctile sensory board where students can experience different textures and surfaces. A faux succulent and cacti display, a photo area with pictures of insects, birds and flowers, a huge pvc xylophone, and several birdhouses and bird feeders also fill spaces in the garden.

A “Pollinator Area” filled with a variety of plants and flowers that will attract butterflies and bees is situated in a rear section. This area will be more natural and has pine needles as mulch. Cypress and bark mulch covers most other ground with pebbles covering an area that has a table and benches. Some potted plants can be found throughout the garden with hopes of adding more.

active areas include a hopscotch grid, ring toss and a tic-tac-toe game made from a wood slice and rocks painted like bees and ladybugs.

A story time area has been established where a teacher may read to the students or students may read individually. Books about nature, insects and gardens are provided in a storage tub. Currently, there are chairs for seating in the story area but plans are to replace these with tree stumps for a more natural look. Bob Shoemake, Public Works Director for the City of Collins, and his crew are cutting some felled trees for this project.
The revitalization of the CES Discovery Garden has been possible by donations and volunteers. Several people donated money, mulch, plants and yard decorations. Volunteers from Collins First Baptist Church have worked tirelessly to weed, mulch, plant and decorate the area. Plant markers have been placed around the garden so that students can learn their names.
During the recent CES Open House on September 12, an Open Garden was hosted by Sheila Fortenberry and Lane McLoud. Lemonade and cookies were served to families, and an “I Spy” scavenger hunt added to the fun. Prior to the school open house, donors were invited to tour the garden to see the marvelous results.
Plans f

or the future are to keep adding plants and changing decorations to celebrate the different seasons and holidays. Hopefully, these additions will keep students interested and add to their enjoyment.

As with any garden, upkeep is crucial. CES Beautification Committee members have agreed to maintain the Discovery Garden.

Covington County Hospital Wound Healing Center Wins Award

The Covington County Hospital Wound Healing Center is pleased to announce that it is a RestorixHealth dual award recipient. The Center has earned both Clinical Distinction and Excellence in Patient Satisfaction Awards.                                                  Recipients of the Clinical Distinction Award meet or exceed national quality benchmarks; and, the Excellence in Patient Satisfaction Award recipients meet or exceed national patient satisfaction benchmarks. Both awards recognize achievement over a six-month period – January through June, 2019.

“These achievements reaffirm our commitment to the patient experience and the quality of care the Covington County Hospital Wound Healing Center provides its patients every day,” said Amy Hancock, CFNP, Wound Center Provider. “We are proud to be a recipient of these awards that recognize the hard work and dedication of our staff.”
RestorixHealth launched its Clinical Distinction recognition program to recognize those centers that have demonstrated success by meeting or exceeding patient safety goals along with a 90% healing rate. The Patient Satisfaction program recognizes those centers that have met or achieved a patient satisfaction score of 96% or higher.
The Covington County Hospital Wound Healing Center is dedicated to optimizing outcomes and preventing lower limb loss in those patients with non-healing wounds. The approach to wound care is aggressive and comprehensive, coordinating traditional and advanced therapies and techniques that are proven to reduce healing time and improve healing rates.
The center is staffed with a team of providers and nurses with advanced training in wound care. Integrating a team of wound care professionals optimizes patient care, while offering the most advanced healing options.
The Covington County Hospital Wound Healing Center is located at 701 South Holly Blvd. in Collins, MS, and is open every Monday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please call 877.295.2273.

Pictured (left to right) Front Row: Karen Bell, Physician and Community Liaison for RestorixHealth; Julia Pierce, RN; Amy Hancock, CFNP; Kerri Eubanks, Specialty Clinic Coordinator; Robin Creel, RN; Back Row: Amanda Jones, Director of Radiology and Outpatient Specialty Services; Graham Broome, RN; and Whitney McPhail, RN

Covington County Schools on the Rise

The new round of assessments for public schools in Covington County revealed improvement in every school and in the district overall as compared to last year.  Two of the local elementary schools, Collins and Seminary, both received A ratings., and Seminary was the 10th highest elementary or middle school in the state.
A report released by the Mississippi Department of Education Office of Accountability provides data on each school’s score and ranking.  Grades  range from A – F.  Elementary and middle schools can score up to 700 points, and high schools up 1000 points.
Comparison of the report for 2018 and 2019 revealed the following improvements:

Seminary Elementary:  2018 – A (510 pts), 2019 – A (582 pts)
Collins Elementary:   2018 – C, (357 pts) 2019 – A (445 pts)
Seminary Middle School:  2018 – D (302 pts), 2019 – C (334 pts)
Hopewell Elementary:  2018 – D (282 pts), 2019 – D (302 pts)
Carver Middle School:  2018 – F (265 pts), 2019 – D (277 pts)
Seminary High School:  2018 – C (619 pts), 2019 – B (659 pts)
Collins High School:   2018 – C (611 pts), 2019 – C (629 pts)
Mount Olive High School:  2018 – F (483 pts), 2019 – C (593 pts)

Covington County School District:  2018 – D (533 pts), 2019 – C (581 pts)

Local school officials are understandably proud.  Dr. Arnetta Crosby, Superintendent of the Covington County School District, said, “We are very excited about the “C” rating of the district.  Everyone worked really hard for this! When I came into the Superintendent’s office in 2016 the district had a “D” rating.  We were allowed to keep a rating of “C” because of a waiver given to the district. This waiver was given to make adjustments to the accountability system because of the different test that had been used in previous years. The waiver year allowed the state time to work out problems with the new accountability system, the one that we presently use.  The next year, we did not show enough growth or proficiency to move to a “C”, so once the accountability system became somewhat consistent and reliable, we began implementing strategies to make improvements that would show growth and proficiency in our assessment results. Last year we were three points away from a “C” rating. This year we made it!  It was the hard work of the administrators, teachers, students, and parents who made the difference.
Before the academic year of 2018-2019 started, some strategic decisions about how we would monitor our student’s performance and achievement was put into place.  We needed this monitoring to be consistent and on a daily basis so that we might be able to do interventions at the appropriate time so that learning gaps would not linger too long.
Needless to say, that we are beginning to see the results of our hard work!  We are a long way from where we need to be, but in these four years, we are very proud of the accomplishments of our administrators, teachers, students, and parents.
We started this year off in a much better place academically than we have been in a very long time.  We are on course, if we follow the trajectory that has been laid out, to show continued growth and proficiency at all of our schools.”
Seminary Elementary School was one of the two county schools to receive an A rating.  Angie Palmer,  Principal of the Seminary Elementary School, said, “Seminary Elementary School is proud to have achieved the status of an “A” school for the second year in a row.  We are especially excited to be the 10th highest elementary or middle school in the state, based on the 700 point scale of which our school is rated.
We earned 582 points this year.  Our points were earned from our last year’s 3rd and 4th graders’ achievement in Reading and Math and from the growth of our 4th grade students in the same areas.
The staff at Seminary Elementary School works extremely hard to make sure students are learning the skills they need to be successful in school and in life.  This hard work begins in Kindergarten and only deepens as the students grow and progress through the years.  Our staff members in the lower grades work to build a foundation and an understanding of the skills and concepts needed for success as they develop.”
Collins Elementary School also received an A rating, up from a C rating last year.  Missy Rogers,  Principal of the Collins Elementary School, said, “How wonderful it is to be recognized and rewarded for our hard work, dedication, and determination to make CES “A” success.  Students, teachers, faculty, and staff moved Collins Elementary from a rating of “F” to “A” in only two years.
Collins Elementary School serves approximately 350 students- kindergarten to fourth grade, including district community based classes. CES focuses on achievement: academic and behavioral.  Learning for all students is ensured by assessing individual needs, using data to drive rigorous instruction, and consistently monitoring student growth and success. The elementary school serves as the foundation for learning and academic success; it is the first step on the road to graduation.  CES takes this responsibility very seriously.
A major factor in turning CES around has been PBIS, a positive behavior system.  Established behavior guidelines and expectations, and a system of incentives and rewards promote smart student choices.  With improved student behavior, CES teachers are able to focus more on academics and less on behavior issues in the classroom.
The community played a vital role in helping improve the school.  CES partnered with businesses and individuals to collect incentives to reward growth and advanced scores on state tests, and community members and church members have donated time to read with students, clean/paint outside and in the gym, and create a new discovery garden that students love!
Our students and this city deserve the best, and we will continue to give our best daily.  We are consistent – rules, procedures, consequences, quality instruction, high expectations never change at CES.”

Butch Bailey speaks to Rotary Club

    Butch Bailey with the Mississippi State Extension Service spoke at the September 16, 2019 meeting of the Collins Rotary Club.  He was the guest of Rotarian Thomas Brewer. Membership chair Zane Collins presented Rotary information packets to new members Johnathon Anderson and Dr. Evan Stout.  Collins Rotary President Noah Sanford presided over the meeting.

Richard Roberson Speaks to Rotary Club

Richard Roberson with the Mississippi Hospital Association was the speaker and guest of Rotarian Gregg Gibbes at the September 9, 2019, meeting of the Collins Rotary Club.  Also, visiting was Pam Smith with Rotary District 6820. Pictured are Gregg Gibbes, Richard Roberson, Pam Smith, and Collins Rotary President Noah Sanford.

Mitchell Farms 2019 Corn Maze


God Bless America!

The 2019 Mitchell Farms Maze will be open to visitors during their Pumpkin Patch hours.  The Maze and Pumpkin Patch will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from September 28 through November 10, 2019.  The Mississippi Peanut Festival will be held October 5 and 6, 2019.  For more information, go to www.mitchellfarms-ms.com.

(Photo by Ronnie Bishop)

Walt Grayson Special Guest of Covington County Chamber

The Covington County Chamber of Commerce will be holding its General Membership Meeting on  Monday, September 16, 2019.  The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and  will be held at Woodland Trails, 27 Dan & Joyce Lane, in Seminary.

Walt Grayson, renowned writer and broadcaster, will be the special guest speaker for the evening.

Other highlights of the evening will be the introduction of Covington County’s Miss Hospitality, Larsen Sanford, the presentation of the Volunteer of the Year Award, and the transition of officers.

The cost of the dinner is $25.00 per plate.  If you plan to attend, please RSVP by Thursday, September 12.  Your check and reservation should be sent to:

Covington County Chamber of Commerce                                P.O. Box 1595 Collins, MS  39428

New Superintendent Named

The Covington County School District Board of Education has named Ms. Babette Duty as the next Superintendent of Schools starting January 1, 2020. Ms. Duty is currently employed as Assistant Superintendent of the Covington County School District. She has worked in the District since 1993. Her previous roles include serving as a teacher, special education director, principal, and federal programs director.
The selection is the result of a statewide search conducted with the assistance of the Mississippi School Boards Association (MSBA) that produced 17 applicants from diverse geographic and professional backgrounds.
We are extraordinarily pleased with the outcome of the search process. Ms. Babette Duty proved herself the best fit to carry forward the vision of the District. Her professionalism and her reputation of driving academic excellence within our school district for the last 25 years, along with her passion for working with students, parents, administrators as well as the community, demonstrates her capability to succeed in this new role, board President Lynn Smith said.
Ms. Duty completed her Bachelor of Arts in English as well as her Master of Education from William Carey University. She is currently pursuing her Specialist in Instructional Leadership from that same University.