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Economic Development News – September 14

In a recession where companies are consolidating and unemployment is rising, communities and economic development groups are giving area businesses the personal touch.  While issues vary by business, some general concerns are emerging these days, said Benjie Barham, director of business development for the Hinds County Economic Development District.

It’s among her responsibilities, she said, to make companies in the Southeast including Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia more aware of the opportunities for collaboration in research and development with companies in Quebec.

The number of hotel rooms in Vicksburg has grown by 25 percent over the past year, a growth rate is five times larger than the state industry average.

“If we don’t get new taxes, we’re going to be in trouble,” Brown told the Community Development Foundation in Tupelo on Friday.

Gov. Haley Barbour today announced the appointment of Les Range as executive director of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

Economic development officials in Tupelo say a program to donate land to first-time homebuyers will help several families and contribute to urban renewal. http://tinyurl.com/mc42wf

“The purpose of this year’s (Leadership Summit at Mississippi State University) conference, ‘Creating the New Economy,’ is both to assess and to support the transition to the entrepreneurial, information rich, sustainable economy that we must achieve in the early days of the 21st century,” Richardson said. http://www.starkvilledailynews.com/content/view/166187/1/ 

President Barack Obama has named two nominees for the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors.

The Mississippi Heritage Trust’s biennial 10 Most Endangered Historic Places list, unveiled Thursday night in Jackson, includes the Alcazar Hotel in Clarksdale, Arlington in Natchez and Church Street in Port Gibson.

Cognevich to serve as SEDC chair.

The thrill is gone at many attractions across the country as recession-mired tourists stay home, but in Indianola, Miss., a favorite son is packing ’em in at the B.B. King Museum.

George County Board of Supervisors voted last week to join four, and perhaps five, other counties in forming the Regional Railroad Authority of East Mississippi. The rail authority seeks to build 50 to 55 miles of rail line, depending upon the exact route that will connect Waynesboro and Lucedale.

Budget hearings to begin Sept. 21…Also appearing before the JLBC will be the State Tax Commission, the economic developers at the Mississippi Development Authority and Dr. Phil Pepper, the state economist.

A $9.4 million proposal to convert a vacant building in the historic Mill Village neighborhood in Tupelo into loft-style apartments has received the housing tax credits needed to proceed.

Madison County will soon have a new hospital.  …”There is no question that we need a new hospital, and those of us in public service and economic development are 100 percent for this project.”

Mississippi’s community colleges are seeing record-breaking enrollment for the fall of 2009.

DeSoto County Economic Development Council President and CEO Jim Flanagan said he was saddened to hear of (Bob) Williams’ death. Williams served as the first chairman of the DeSoto County Economic Development Council.

The United States Mint announced today (Sep. 9) that the nation will honor Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi through its new quarter-dollar coin program. The Vicksburg design will be the ninth to be featured on coins released under the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program, and will be issued in 2011.

“They’ll never hear you coming” may be Bad Boy Buggies’ slogan, but the builder of silent, electric-powered 4x4s is starting to scream.  Bad Boy Enterprises, which designs, manufactures and markets the buggies from its Natchez headquarters, is poised for big growth says its new CEO John Skrabo.

The Mississippi World Trade Center in partnership with Northrop Grumman Ship Systems presents “Making Waves in a Sea of Change” international trade & small business conference for women & minorities scheduled for October 14-15 at the IP Casino Hotel & Conference Center in Biloxi.  Companies from across the state are invited to participate in this exciting and informative program beginning with a “Power Breakfast” and keynote speech by Brigadier General Catherine S. Lutz. http://www.mswtc.org/resources/documents/brochure.pdf

The 2008 Salary Survey of Economic Development Professionals in Mississippi is on the MEDC website. http://www.medc.ms/Salary_Surveys.html

Please note that this Economic Development News is provided via online links.  We are welcome your online news links for consideration for inclusion in this report.  We are not able to attach pdfs or word documents emailed to the MEDC office.  Do you have a google alert for news about your organization?  Go to
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Carol Hardwick, Executive Director
Mississippi Economic Development Council (MEDC)
P. O. Box 3721, Jackson, MS  39207
MEDC 2010 Winter Conference . February 3-5 . Hilton . Jackson
MEDC 2010 Summer Conference . July 21-23 . Beau Rivage . Biloxi
MEDC is Mississippi’s professional association of economic development and chamber of commerce professionals. 

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