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Lott

 
By Michael Lott,
Supervisor District One

   As we prepare to celebrate the season’s festive activities, it is again time for me to submit to you the voters of District One, my Annual Progress Report.
   As we look back on this year’s accomplishments, we can hold our heads up with pride regarding the many endeavors we can now count as successful. However, I will only mention a few.
   As we have discussed in previous yearly reports, our economic outlook as a nation has not been the best. We have seen double-digit unemployment numbers for several years while our nation as a whole suffered through a recession.
   Here in Grenada County, during the calendar year 2013, industries located here have continued to expand and add more jobs. Through these efforts, our already strong manufacturing base has been strengthened. Over 25% of all jobs created within the last year have been in the industrial sector, and, as the result of all the jobs created in 2013, Grenada County unemployment figures are now just over 8%; this is down from a high of 14.2% in 2010.
   Two major occurrences that played a significant part in these figures declining were the re-opening of Hankins Lumber Company and the expansion of Fly Timber Company.
   Hankins Lumber was originally incorporated in 1972, as a producer of yellow pine lumber products, and reopened its doors after a 15-month closure, adding 120 new jobs and making an investment of $1.5 million to the Grenada area.
   Likewise, Fly Timber Company, a local company that has been in business for over 32 years as a hardwood-only saw mill that produces mats for the oil and gas industry, expanded its operations to the tune of 30 additional employees and an investment of $6 millions.
   This year saw the new ultra-modern facility that will become home to the Physical Therapy Assistant program on the Grenada Campus of Holmes Community College begin to be used.
   While the Physical Therapy Assistant program is still taking applications for its first class that is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2014, the facility is currently being utilized by biology labs, office space, as well as housing some classrooms through the programs being offered by the University of Mississippi here in Grenada.
   Plans are being made to accept approximately 15 students into the Physical Therapy Assistant program for classes beginning in August 2014. The program will be a two-year program and will offer an Associate’s Degree, (AA) to students who successfully complete it.
   One of the major events that took place during 2013 was the lease agreement of Grenada Lake Medical Center, (GLMC) by the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). On Sept. 1, an official management agreement began between the county and UMMC whereby UMMC would manage the day-to-day operations of the county’s 156-bed facility until Dec. 31. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, UMMC will officially lease the former GLMC for a period of 20 years.
   The possibilities for advancements in health care for the citizens of our county and surrounding areas are unlimited. I personally believe with this relationship, we will begin to see advanced specialties, as well as the possibility of additional sub-specialists practicing here in Grenada. These possibilities will not only prove to be of value to patients seeking advanced treatment in a local setting, but they will also serve as a tool to strengthen our local economy.
   As we all know, the health care landscape is rapidly changing, not only locally and statewide, but also nationally. Being aligned with an educational and instructional facility such as UMMC will only help to make UMMC-Grenada a destination rather that a drop-off point for medical services in the future.
   One of the tasks that falls on your Board of Supervisors at the completion of every national census was completed during the year. As the result of each nationally-mandated census, every political entity is charged with redistricting at the completion of each census. Therefore, the board had the responsibility to redistrict, or realign all of the county districts to make sure each was as close to the ideal population as is mandated by law. This ensures the one-man, one-vote principle that was previously mandated by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
   As the result of the redistricting, District One lost approximately 900 voters that were moved, or redistricted to other districts within the county. To those 900 voters who were officially removed from the voter rolls of District One, there are a couple of things I would like to specifically mention: First, in an effort to make the voting process run smoothly for you during the next election, please contact the Circuit Clerk’s office to see if you are one of the citizens that was re-districted to another supervisor’s district. This will allow you plenty of time in advance of Election Day polling, so you will know where you need to report in order to cast your ballot. Secondly, please allow me to say it was my pleasure to have been your voice around the table where official county business was conducted over the past ten years. I have every confidence your voices will continue to be heard by the new supervisor that will now be representing you.
   Finally, another major accomplishment that has been completed during the year was the construction of the recently completed building that will house the new Mississippi Highway Patrol’s Driver Services in Grenada. This building, consisting of over 1,500 square feet, and completed at a cost of approximately $171,000, is ADA, (American Disability Act) approved, and is ready for occupancy. The building is located on the grounds of the Grenada County Office Building at the intersection of Govan and Fairground Streets. In addition to the ample parking that was not available at the previous facility, this location should prove to be an asset due to the fact those who visit the facility to renew or secure their driver’s license will not be attempting to enter or exit from a major highway that is consistently encumbered with heavy traffic.
   As I stated at the beginning of this report, these are only a few of the many accomplishments we celebrated during the previous year. As we prepare to celebrate the upcoming Christmas season, again allow me the opportunity to say “Merry Christmas” to you and your family, and remember it is my wish for you and your family to have the best and most joyous Christmas ever!
   As we now focus on what we will accomplish during the coming year, know that it is my honor to serve you as your Supervisor. If I may be of additional service to you as together we strive to make Grenada and Grenada County a better place to live, work, and raise our families, please feel free to give me a call.


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