Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Day of Fun with Seniors at Dean Park - July 26


The Friends of Dean Park, Inc. will host a Day of Fun and Recruit with the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)/The National Caucus and Center on Black Aging, Inc. (NCBA). All NCBA staff, trainees, potential trainees (55 Years and older), host agencies, potential employers and government officials are invited, Friday, July 26, 2019, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Trainees from Winston and surrounding counties are invited.

There will be food, presentations, and tour of Dean Park, music and food. Food and refreshments will be donated by Walmart #00183. Candidates seeking public office for the August 6, 2019 election are invited to participate in this fun day. There will be Human Resource persons from CVS, Walmart and other employers present to discuss opportunities for employment of seniors.

SCSEP is funded by the U. S. Department of Labor, the nation’s oldest, to help low-income, unemployed individuals aged 55+ find employment. SCSEP matches eligible older adults with part-time training assignments for non-profit organizations. Participants build skills and self-confidence, while earning a modest income. For most, their SCSEP experience leads to permanent employment. Friends of Dean Park, Inc. (FODP) has been under contract with SCSEP for over 9 years. FODP trains individuals to be landscape assistants and community organizers. Four members of FODP completed Master Gardener classes via MSU Extension Services which included landscaping to qualify to teach the trainees. There were three slots allotted to FODP until last year when the budget was cut. Now there is only one trainee – Willie Norris Shields who was recently hired. These trainees help maintain the landscaping; help with gardening and help to keep Dean Park clean. The program is for 4 years or until a trainee is hired. FODP has been successful in helping trainees find employment or become self-employed. One trainee, Jerome Moncrief, was hired by Winston County Board of Supervisor and he remains working in Dean Park as a landscape assistant.

FODP is honored to host this Fun Day. The public officials and community are asked to come show gratitude to this great organization for allowing FODP to continue with this contract.

For more information, please contact: Louise Shavers, NCBA – 662.402-6127, Chester Johnson, NCBA Program Director – 662.846-6992 or Elmetra Patterson, Friends of Dean Park, Inc. – 510.672-2106

Presley Touts Increase in Utility Contracts Through Hire Mississippi Program

Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley announced today that in the first year of implementation of the PSC’s Hire Mississippi Rule, in-state utility construction contract to Mississippi-based companies has risen by 12.6 percent, representing millions spent with Mississippi-based businesses.

Construction contracts to Mississippi-based contractors have increased to 42.1 percent in the past year, up from 30 percent when the Public Service Commission measured operations and maintenance spending in 2017.

For example, Atmos Energy reported a 95 percent rate of Mississippi projects performed by Mississippi companies, followed by Spire Energy at 50 percent, CenterPoint Energy at 47 percent, Mississippi Power at 36 percent, and Entergy at 25 percent.

Additionally, contracts to Mississippi-based businesses from Atmos Energy, CenterPoint Energy, and Entergy totaled more than $79.4 million for the preceding year.

The Hire Mississippi Rule, which was authored by Commissioner Presley, was passed by the Public Service Commission in 2017 and encourages the use of Mississippi contractors for construction projects by the state’s major utility companies.

Under the Hire Mississippi Rule, utilities are required to publish quarterly notices in local newspapers to advertise the opportunity to be on the Hire Mississippi List and must explain to Mississippi contractors the bidding process, qualifications, and other procedures for the awarding of contracts. Utility companies must also send notices of bidding opportunities to businesses that have registered on the Hire Mississippi List.

Under each contract where bidding is required, corporate utilities are asked whether Mississippi companies were awarded contracts for each project. In the event an out-of-state firm is selected for a project, the company must explain that decision.
“If the state government of Mississippi doesn’t fight for Mississippi businesses, no one else will,” said Commissioner Presley. “Keeping dollars spent by Mississippians on projects in our communities across our state just makes sense. My goal is to look out for Mississippi businesses and Mississippi contractors who want these contracts. These are investments in our local communities, neighbors helping neighbors. There’s no reason why qualified companies in our state should be passed over for this work.”

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Update on Courthouse Damage

Winston County Supervisors met this morning in an emergency meeting to deal with the  building damage that occurred overnight (see our previous article).  Bricks from the south wall of the courthouse collapsed and separated from the structure around 5:15 am this morning.

Supervisors met with insurance officials and staff from Pryor and Morrow and after discussion, the Board declared a state of emergency related to the courthouse building. Preliminary review indicates the failure of more brick on the rear structure of the building may be a possibility. As a result the Board agreed to close all entries to the Courthouse except the front entrance for public use. The Board also moved to close the sidewalk on the west side of the courthouse and the parking lot behind the courthouse.

By declaring the situation an emergency, the county was able to hire Pryor and Morrow to begin the process of determining the extent and nature of required repair and to immediately begin the process of hiring a contractor to remove and potential current hazard from loose brick.

Pryor and Morrow and the County's Insurance provider will be providing structural engineers to examine the building and how to proceed. Initial review indicates that the issue is the brick and brick ties to the structure and that the courthouse itself is structurally sound.

The public is asked to avoid South Court Street between Main and Park  and be aware that entrance to the Courthouse will be limited to the North main entrance for the forseeable future.

Winston County Courthouse Suffers Damage Overnight!

The Winston County Courthouse has exterior damage this morning as the brick veneer on the backside (southern) of the structure collapsed in the early morning hours. District 1 Supervisor Burr Warner was first on the scene as the bricks collapsed around 5:15 this morning sending broken bricks across the south parking lot.

It is too early to determine the cause of the collapse. Engineers from the firm Pryor and Morrow are on the scene now and the Board of Supervisors have called an emergency meeting for 9:00 am this morning. The public is urged to stay away from the scene and South Court Avenue.It is highly possible that more of the structure may yet fall. The County is actively working to place a barrier around the area. We will have more info as it becomes available.

Winston Master Gardner Tour, a Great Success!

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Van Hull’s Raised Bed Garden

The Winston County Master Gardner’s organized an educational tour last Saturday morning for anyone interested in horticulture. The tour was hosted by homeowner Mr. Van Hull and local business, Evergreen Nursery.

Mr. Hull hosted the group first at his home and shared his experience as a gardener raising vegetables in raised beds. He shared a wealth of information on soil health, fertilization methods, weed control, and some new vegetable varieties. He also, introduced participants to blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry varieties for home owner production. He educated the group on berry’s need for cross pollination, and timely pruning techniques required for successful production.

Not only is Mr. Hull’s gardening management practices very thorough, his garden was constructed for weed prevention in walking pathways, ease of harvest, and protection from wildlife. Lastly, Mr. Hull’s raised bed garden is without a doubt the most pleasing to the eye garden I’ve personally seen in my Extension career.

Our next tour stop was at local business, Evergreen Nursery. Ed and Linda Waldron gave a great presentation, and tour of the nursery starting with plant identification, and spacing for mature plant sizes. Mr.Ed explained tree planting techniques, how to prevent potted plants/trees from becoming root bound, climatic zones for plant survival, and how transplants are researched and brought to the commercial market.

The group had a chance to ask questions, and learn many different aspects of commercial horticulture. It was a great experience for all attendees, and we all learned much from the Waldron’s experience in the industry.

I’d like to thank our hosts last Saturday for taking time to meet with our tour group. I’d also like to thank our very knowledgeable Master Gardeners for organizing the tour, and sharing their expertise with attendees.

There will be future tours, and Master Gardner events, so if you’re interested in these events or becoming a Master Gardner, call the local Winston Extension office at 662-773-3091.

Submitted by: Jim McAdory, MSU Extension Agent Winston County

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Van Hull’s Raised Bed Gardens
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Van Hull’s Raised Bed Gardens
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Evergreen Garden Center with Ed and Linda Waldron
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Evergreen Garden Center with Ed Waldron

Monday, July 15, 2019

Quilt Display at Library

This beautiful quilt is on display at the Winston County Library throughout the month of July and August. Entitled “ In Bloom”, it was pieced by Master Quilter Martha Dubard and quilted by Colleen Eskridge.