Friday, May 29, 2020

Presley Works with Congress to Speed Up $940 Million for Broadband Deployment in Mississippi

Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley joined a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers and industry leaders in showing support for legislation accelerating the timeline to make federal dollars available for rural broadband deployment.

The Rural Broadband Acceleration Act (H.R.7022) is sponsored by U.S. House of Representatives Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) and Representative Fred Upton (R-Michigan). Currently, $16 Billion are expected to be awarded to projects across America in October as part of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) administered by the Federal Communications Commission.

The legislation also prioritizes projects that can begin within six months of receiving the funding and provide service within a year. It also gives preference to projects providing one-gigabit speeds.

“Nothing has exposed the cruel digital divide in America like COVID-19. The bill brought forward today by Representatives Clyburn and Upton and is supported by our Mississippi Congressmen, Trent Kelly (R) and Bennie Thompson (D), prioritizes faster installation of broadband services, cuts red tape and federal bureaucracy. The fact is that the funds from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund have been allocated long before the pandemic. These funds are sitting idle at the FCC at a time when Mississippians have their greatest need for broadband service. There is no reason to delay the disbursement of these funds. I am particularly thankful that Congressmen Kelly and Thompson support this bill because they understand it may mean up to $940 Million for Mississippi immediately. It is my sincerest hope that Mississippians can count on the support of Congressmen Palazzo and Guest and Senators Hyde-Smith and Wicker. Senator Wicker, in particular, has a vital role in this effort as Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, with jurisdiction over the FCC. Mississippi is fortunate to have our senior senator in such an influential position.”

Commissioner Presley continued: “Anything that we, especially as officials elected by the people, can do to bring these resources to these communities, we should do so without delay. Anyone who is serious about bridging the digital divide should support this common sense legislation. This money is already appropriated, just waiting to be sent to communities that need it. Let’s get it there now.”

Monday, May 25, 2020

Supply of Masks to be Available for Local Churches

Winston County will be issuing a limited number of masks to all churches within Winston County on
Monday June 1st, 2020. These efforts are being made to help local churches meet CDC recommendations as many of our local churches are making plans to safely return to in-door worship services.

Our local churches have made huge sacrifices and shown great leadership through-out the pandemic. In an effort to assist our faith-based partners, Winston County will be providing an opportunity for each church within Winston County to receive and have protective masks for their members who want to attend services but may not have a mask.

While there are still many considerations for our religious leaders to make concerning returning to in-door worship services such as maintaining social distancing, limiting exposure of at-risk members, sanitation of facilities, ventilation of the facility, wearing of masks; Winston County would like to assist by providing a limited supply of masks for church members who may not have had an opportunity to acquire a mask for their personal use.

In order to receive these masks, we need each church leader to determine how many masks they may
need to supplement their congregation. Many members will already have their own masks, some members of the “at risk group for Covid-19” will need to continue to isolate themselves for protection. These and other factors should allow for a small number of masks to be made available for those members who may not have access to a mask that might prevent them from attending services.

When the church leader has determined how many masks they will need, we need them to send an e-mail to In this e-mail we will need the following information:

  • Church Name

  • Church Address

  • Number of Masks Requested

  • Contact Person

  • Contact Phone Number.

Winston County will use these requests to develop a listing of needs and to begin the packaging process.

Masks will be available for drive-through pick-up by an official designee at:

Mt Olive Bethel Harmony District Building

529 Armstrong Street

Louisville, MS 39339

Masks will be handed-out through a drive-through process on June 1st, 2020 between 3 and 5 PM.
If anyone should have any questions please feel free to contact Buddy King at 662-803-9473.

Friday, May 22, 2020

ECCC’s Girling Named DSU Music Alumnus of the Year

Ed Girling, who retired as director of bands at East Central Community College following the spring 2020 semester, was named 2020 Alumnus of the Year by the Delta State University Department of Music.

“The Alumnus of the Year Award is given to an outstanding music alumnus or alumna of Delta State whose career achievements reflect a sustained level of professional excellence that all our students can aspire to,” wrote Dr. Douglas L. Mark, DMA, Associate Professor of Trombone/Low Brass at Delta State University. “We are pleased to present the Career Achievement Award to Mr. Ed Girling and salute Ed for his many contributions to the field of music education and the exceptional model of success he provides for our students.”

Girling has spent 38 years as a music educator in Mississippi, including stints at Yazoo City, Cleveland, Neshoba Central, Stringer, Scott Central and Forest high schools, as well as North Sunflower and Manchester academies.

During his nine-year tenure at East Central, which began as an assistant and later taking over as director of bands, Girling also served as applied percussion instructor, director of the drumline, front ensemble, and the ECCC Percussion Ensemble.

He is a frequent clinic and contest judge, invited band clinician, and guest conductor. He has served the discipline as former president of both the East Central Mississippi Band Directors' Association and the Mississippi Junior and Community College Band Association. He also served director of the award-winning Scott County Honor Band.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

EMCC Conducts Virtual Graduation

East Mississippi Community college conducted a virtual commencement ceremony Tuesday, May 20, for the Class of 2020.
More than 600 academic and career-technical students who completed their coursework at the Scooba, Golden Triangle, Columbus Air Force Base, Macon, Lion Hills, West Point Center, Communiversity and online/eLearning campuses qualified to graduate. In-state graduates hail from 46 counties and 88 cities in Mississippi, with additional graduates from nine other U.S. states.

EMCC’s graduation ceremony was conducted online for the first time as a result of the novel coronavirus. During the virtual graduation, which can be viewed online via a link on the college’s Facebook page, EMCC President Dr. Scott Alsobrooks spoke about the pandemic that closed schools nationwide and prompted a shift from in-class instruction to online learning. “Many of you had never taken an online class, but you successfully transitioned to virtual instruction midterm and embraced new skillsets need to navigate remote learning tools such as Zoom video conferencing, virtual labs and online tutorials,” Alsobrooks said. “You navigated unfamiliar waters with new challenges presented by social distancing and shelter-in-place measures, children suddenly at home, and, for some, loss of income. Yet, you are here and, while it may not be apparent right now, you are stronger for it.”

He congratulated the students for overcoming unprecedented challenges. “A novel coronavirus that altered the course of the world couldn’t stop you,” Alsobrooks said. “You persevered in the face of uncertainty in order to be here today. Who would have thought when we closed for spring break that you would not return for the remainder of the school year? None of us could have seen it coming. But you rose to meet that challenge.”

In his charge to the students, EMCC Vice President of the Golden Triangle Campus Dr. Paul Miller told the graduates that although life can be tough at times, the best is yet to come. He encouraged them to make good use of their time and seize new opportunities as they arise. “Time is an abundant resource that is replenished every day for you to use to grow, give and learn,” Miller said.

EMCC Executive Director of College Advancement and Athletics Marcus Wood presented the closing remarks to students. He welcomed them to the college’s alumni family and encouraged them to register with the EMCC Foundation via the college’s website.

“Each of you have developed meaningful relationships and friendships with peers, instructors and administrators during your time here at EMCC,” Wood said. “Joining the alumni association is a fantastic way to keep those relationships going, reconnect with classmates years down the road and stay up with EMCC news and events.”

The list of students who applied for graduation from Winston County:
  • Louisville: Joyce Ainsworth, William Bane, Tyrique Carter, Lakisha Cistrunk, Nicholas Dempsey, Ronald Gibson, Clark Graham, Patrick Hill, Clay Jackson, Brianna Jaudon, Porcha Jones, Chelsey Kelly, Nathan Letteri, Jadea Shannon, Jalen Triplett
  • Noxapater: Hunter Johnson, Jarin Lewis, Levi Wekenman, Madelyn Wilkes

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Louisville Garden Club Presents Check to Winston County Library

The Louisville Garden Club recently presented a check to the Winston County Library for the purchase of gardening books. Pictured (l-r) club President Glenda Chandler, past President Judy McLeod, Treasurer Ouida Donald and librarian Beth Edwards. "We are so fortunate to have the support of our local garden clubs," said Edwards. "The Winston Garden Club means so much to this library and has for many years. These ladies are very active in the community and our town is the more beautiful for it!"

Friday, May 15, 2020

Some Local Businesses May Be Eligible for Ms Relief Funds

The Mississippi Legislature has  just approved a $300 million financial relief plan to create two
programs providing a direct payment to some businesses and a grant to others.

The "COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund" ($60 million in total) will provide a $2,000 direct and automatic payment to small businesses with under 50 employees who filed tax returns in 2019 or 2018 and were required to close by State, County, or Municipal Executive Order. These small businesses - including some restaurants, hair stylists, salons, barbers, furniture stores, florists, sporting goods, clothing stores, office supplies, gift stores, etc. - that were registered with the MS Department of Revenue (DOR) before March 1, 2020, with an EIN number or SSN should receive the $2,000 direct payment.

The "Back to Business Mississippi Grant Fund" ($240 million total) is a relief grant program that will be administered by MDA. To be eligible, small businesses under 50 full-time employees that have filed a 2019 or 2018 tax return must be in good standing and formed before March 1, 2020. The amount of the grant will be a base amount of $1,500 plus the greater of 1) $500 per full-time equivalent employee or 2) the amount of itemized "eligible expenses" the applicant demonstrates in the sworn application. The grant cannot exceed $25,000.

For the first 60 days, $40 million from the grant program will be set aside for minority-owned businesses. For the first 21 days of the application period, only businesses which did not receive funds from the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance, any other federal program, or compensation from business interruption insurance will be considered.

For more information on the bill, please see:

If you have questions or need further assistance, contact the Winston County Economic Development Partnership at 662-773-8719.