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Chamber marks successful year; LEADER named top industry

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce members celebrateda successful year Thursday during the organization’s 71st AnnualMeeting at the Multi-Use Facility.

Chamber leaders presented annual awards in several areas, andthe night’s featured presentation highlighted economic developmentaccomplishments over the past year.

Chandler Russ, executive vice-president, announced the annualUnited Way campaign had surpassed $192,000 fund-raising goal. Hepraised campaign chairman Rob McCreary’s efforts in meeting thegoal despite difficult financial times.

“It has been a very tough economy,” said Russ, who also citedarea manufacturers’ contributions making up 73 percent of thefund-raising total.

Among annual awards, The DAILY LEADER was recognized as theIndustry of the Year. First published in 1883, the locally-ownednewspaper is the county’s oldest industry.

Chamber officials highlighted the newspaper’s 49 full andpart-time employees and its over $9 million economic impact on thecommunity. In addition, officials said the newspaper not onlyproduced its own editions but provides printing services forseveral other newspapers and publications in south Mississippi.

“We are honored to receive this recognition of our efforts toserve the public,” said Bill Jacobs, the newspaper’s publisher andeditor. “But the real award goes to our staff, advertisers andsubscribers who help make it all possible.”

Robert Earl and Barbara Case were recognized at the Farm Familyof Year for their Case Farm Paints. The family trains paint horsesand counts several champion horses among its ranks.

Sarah Haley received the 4-H Scholarship. Haley has been activein a variety of club activities and is a senior at Brookhaven HighSchool.

In another education-related award, Kimberly Eubanks was chosenas the Teacher of the Year. Eubanks teaches Spanish and ComputerDiscovery at Loyd Star.

Also honored Thursday were Cable One’s Cynthia Price as theAmbassador of the Year, and Catherine Dickey received the chamber’sContact Club award in recognition of her efforts during thechamber’s annual membership drive.

Russ, 2003 Chamber President David Phillips and 2003 IndustrialDevelopment Foundation Phillips Grady made a presentation onchamber and IDF activities and accomplishments during the year.

“We want to show the value of chamber membership and what thechamber is doing to help our community,” Phillips said.

Among the accomplishments were the creation of 300 new jobs and$98 million in new business investment. Chamber events highlightedincluded 25 ribbon cuttings, helping over 300 people through theWorkforce Development Lab and attracted over 15,000 people to thecity through various community events like the Ole Brook Festivaland Tour of Homes.

Following the presentation, Phillips passed the president’sgavel to Kenny Goza, who will lead the chamber in 2004. The 2004IDF chairman will be Ryan Brownhill.