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.

Properties delinquent in taxes to be sold at auction


I, SUZETTE DAVIS, City Clerk of the City of Collins, Mississippi, in said state and county
will sell on the last Monday of August being August 26, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. in the Board Room at City Hall, 300 Main Street, Collins, Mississippi, to the highest bidder for cash, all real property upon which the Ad Valorem Taxes be delinquent and unpaid for the year 2018 and listed as follows, to-wit:

Jones updates Rotary members about city

Fellow Rotarian and Mayor Hope Magee Jones, left, highlighted progress and projects in and around the City of Collins at the July 29, 2019 meeting of the Collins Rotary Club. Lillian Thomas, center, hosted the meeting, and Collins Rotary President Noah Sanford is pictured on the right.

CCSD superintendent list cut by 10

The Covington County School District Board of Education has cut 10 from the list of candidates for the next superintendent, going from 17 to seven.
The board met in executive session at the school district’s central office on Thursday, July 18, 2019.

Although the meeting was behind closed doors, Board President Lynn Smith has previously committed to being as transparent as possible through the process. He wasn’t able to provide personal information or many details, but did say the seven candidates will be interviewed between August 1 and August 15.

“We’re in the process over the next week of setting up interviews,” Smith said. “There could be second interviews, but we hope to make an offer to a candidate by August 31.”

The Covington County School District Board contracted with the Mississippi School Boards Association (MSBA) to assist in the search for the first appointed superintendent of the Covington County School District.

The vacancy announcement was sent to the National School Boards Association, which posted it on their website. All inquiries to MSBA regarding the position were answered, and a brochure outlining the procedures to apply for the position was sent to each. Telephone and email responses were made to those who had been recommended or who had expressed an interest in the position.

Among the original applicants were four superintendents, one assistant superintendent, three directors, two coordinators, five principals, one assistant principal, and one teacher. Eight of the applicants have a doctorate degree. Ten of those applicants are male, and seven of the applicants are female. Fourteen of the applicants are from Mississippi, two are from Alabama, and one is from Tennessee.

Each application was reviewed, analyzed, and evaluated according to the established criteria, and references were checked.

Reference letters for each applicant were received. Telephone calls and personal contacts were made to gain additional information about each applicant. A determination was also made as to whether each applicant met the qualifications to be a superintendent in Mississippi as defined in the Mississippi Code of 1972, 37-9-13, which went into effect on July 1, 2017 or met the Mississippi Department of Education Alternative Qualifications for Prospective District Superintendents of Education.

Shirley’s sets plans to rebuild

The news of which bargain fans have been waiting is finally set in stone, or concrete in this case.

After month’s of anticipation, Shirley’s of Collins has announced plans to rebuild their popular discount warehouse after one of the largest commercial fire’s in Collins history destroyed the previous building.

“We’re building back!” owner Tammy White told The News-Commercial. “We’re going to get in there as soon as we can. I’m hoping before Christmas.”

Concrete work is starting very soon, making a place for the new facility being built by Davis Construction of Collins.

“”We’re going to be bigger than before,” she announced. “It’s going to be 25,000 square feet instead of the 17,000 or 18,000 square feet. The building has been ordered. We also have to overlay the existing slab because of the damage.”

Even though Shirley’s will be larger, there will be another major change.

“We’re definitely not bringing back the furniture store,” she said. “We may have a few small pieces, but everything else will be back.
The March 10, 2019 fire was ruled an arson after a burglary.

The people arrested were also tied into several other burglaries that were solved through the investigation, including a local school and discount store. Camera footage at the discount store, according to its owner, was able to provide evidence to help identify suspects.

Kendrick Jordan, 19, of Collins, faces commercial burglary and other charges from the Collins Police Department in relation to the Shirley’s of Collins burglary and fire.

An unidentified juvenile also faces similar charges.

Collins enforcing youth curfew

Collins has issued a curfew that is effective now.

“Do to the rise in criminal activity involving juveniles, we will enforce this to the letter,” Police Chief Joey Ponder said. “We’re asking all parents to cooperate with us.”

The Collins Board of Alderman voted unanimously to pass the ordinance during their regular meeting held on Tuesday, July 16, and the full text is published as a legal notice in this week’s edition of The News-Commercial.

According to the ordinance, everyone under 18 years old shall not be in public after 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday nights and midnight Saturday and Sunday mornings. The curfew ends at 6 a.m. every day. This includes any public street, highway, park, vacant lot or any public place within Collins.

The ordinance also makes it unlawful for a parent (or other legal guardian) to permit a juvenile to break the curfew.

Violations can begin with a warning, but fees can add up very quickly with fines up to $1,000 and/or one year in jail. After the second violation, the youth court becomes involved.

There are some exceptions. Of course, underage people with their parents is exempt at any time from the curfew. Also, if a minor is legally employed, they have 30 minutes before or after work to travel directly between their place of employment and home; however, the juvenile must have proof in writing from the employer.

Minors also have 30 minutes to get home following a school activity or religious activity. Volunteer duties also count, along with leaving a place of public entertainment, but there’s a catch:
“If the event is not commercial in nature or does not have a fixed, publicly known time at which it will or does end, the sponsoring organization must register the event with the Chief of Police of the City of Collins, Mississippi Collins Police Department (or his assigned representative) at least 24 hours in advance, informing the Police Department of the time such event is scheduled to begin, the place at which it shall be held, the time at which it shall end and the name of the sponsoring organization,” the ordinance reads.

Homemaker members enjoy state convention

The Covington County Homemaker Volunteers group attended the annual conference from May 20 through May 24, 2019 at Mississippi State University in Starkville. A program of Mississippi State Extension, they enjoyed meeting and learning with other council members from Mississippi’s 82 counties. The convention included workshops, a meet-and-greet, a memorial service and ended with a grant banquet with awards ceremony. Members, both Bulldogs and non-Bulldogs, enjoyed the beautiful Mississippi State campus and exceptional hospitality. Those attending include, from left, Carolyn Williamson, Frances Speed, Margaret Ellis, Martha Douglas, Betty Pritchett, Jo Bucklew.

Hitt named Humanitarian of the Year

Photo/Rotarian Dr. Word Johnston, right, congratulates 2019 Collins Rotary Club Humanitarian Irving Hitt, center, during the annual awards banquet on Thursday, June 20, 2019. Hitt’s son, Oliver, is shown to the left and beside Mistress of Ceremony Jessica Bowman.

(The News-Commercial) An evening of great food, inspiring speakers, and a festive atmosphere celebrated the Collins Rotary Club’s Humanitarian of the Year and scholarship winners. Held on Thursday, June 20, 2019 at the Collins Civic Center, Irving Hitt was announced as this year’s recipient of the top honor. Member Dr. Word Johnston introduced the crowd to Hitt before giving the award. He recognized Hitt’s impact on Covington County through his work before retirement as a hospital administrator and after retirement as a community volunteer and trailblazer. He also recognized Hitt’s wife, Gwen, as being a vital part of the couple’s strong partnership. “People, we need you,” Hitt said after accepting the award. “Our world is in trouble. We take for granted our drinking water. We take for granted our health. We need to commit ourselves to building a better world, a better community. I dare you and me to recommit ourselves to be the kind of people to make our community a better place.” The banquet is now an annual event, used to unite the Rotary membership from the community. The audience heard from guest speakers and members.

AmeriCorps volunteers helping with Boys and Girls Club

The Boys and Girls Club of Covington County, in partnership with the University of Southern Mississippi Campus Link AmeriCorps, are excited to kick off the summer program with our AmeriCorps Volunteers. These recent high school graduates have displayed great interest in serving their communities and have met the requirements to serve as AmeriCorps Volunteers. As volunteers, these students will be tutoring fourth through eighth graders in summer programs with the goal of improving academic success. The current AmeriCorps members are Ta’Rasha Bolton, Madison Weary, Tamija Alexander, Kaitlyn Harvey, and Joanna Barnes (pictured above). Once these students have completed their hours, they will be awarded an academic scholarship to the institution of their choice. Organizers are proud to have these students and hopeful for the outcome of the program.