Supes updated on chamber activities
by Rory Doyle
Jun 14, 2013 | 4101 views | 0 0 comments | 103 103 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Judson Thigpen presented an update to the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors in Rosedale on Thursday.

Thigpen noted Bolivar County's continued success in raising money for college scholarships given to graduating high school seniors.

"This year, through the help of local businesses, we raised $12,000," said Thigpen. "With that we were able to provide 30 $400 scholarships.

"When I speak with other communities they are always amazed that we raise this much on a yearly basis. We typically raise between $10,000-$13,000 and we're very thankful for the generous businesses of Bolivar County."

The chamber also had another positive sponsorship of Teacher Appreciation Week and Teacher of the Year awards.

In other education news, the Chamber continues to work on its College/Career Day held each November.

Thigpen and his staff are also heavily involved with the ongoing support of Teach For America, which has returned to Delta State University for its intensive summer training.

"The Teach For America Summer Institute is back in full swing with over 1,000 members on campus," said Thigpen. "They will once again be doing their practice teaching in various school districts around the Delta.

"They make a big impact economically and by going into our schools."

The Cleveland-Bolivar County Young Professionals is another new program under the Chamber's leadership.

"The group hopes to get the young people involved in community activities," Thigpen said. "We've had a great response with about 50-100 participants that are very active already."

The CBYP has performed volunteer cleanups at parks, held social networking events and will soon be host to a community-welcomed kickball tournament. Learn more about the organization at

The chamber recently hosted a Plant Manager/Top Executive dinner with 11 of the counties top employers. The event allowed the businesses to provide an update on their current conditions and discuss their top challenges.

Thigpen next made note of the local pride that remains after March's announcement of Cleveland as the second best small town in America to visit, as published in Smithsonian Magazine.

"While this may sound like a distinction strictly for Cleveland, the article recognized surrounding towns with their various amenities," he said. "So it is a great honor for Cleveland, Bolivar County and the Delta as a whole. Any time attention is brought in a positive way to any place in the Delta, it is good for the Delta as a whole."

He mentioned another positive vibe following Tuesday's celebratory groundbreaking of the upcoming GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi, to be completed in 2015.

"What a great event we had Tuesday with the groundbreaking ceremony. This dream project is moving along at a good pace and we will soon be reaping the rewards of our collective efforts," he said. "I thank the board of supervisors for your role in making this project a reality.

"We have started a Task Force to determine what we need to do to prepare for the opening, such as working to make sure we have enough hotel rooms, enough restaurant space, RV parks, adequate traffic adjustments and so on.

"When tourists and visitors arrive, we want them to have a great experience and have every opportunity to spend their money while they are here."