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Centre for Commerce holds annual meeting

The Selma Times-Journal

Local people investing in Selma and Dallas County is essential for the community’s growth, special speaker Dr. Vaughn L. Grisham Jr. told members of the Centre for Commerce at the group’s second annual meeting.

He said he had toured Selma and had seen “the parts you put in your brochures and seen the parts that you don’t.”

Grisham used the example of Tupelo in Lee County – once the poorest county in Mississippi – as he talked to the group gathered Monday night at the Morgan Convention Center.

Tupelo now has a growing economy, adds new jobs each year and has a medical center that is used as a model throughout the country.

Tupelo overcame its deficit by looking at what it had to offer, Grisham said.

“What do they have?” he asked. “They have the same thing you have – people who want a better life for themselves and their children.”

Grisham also pointed out what Tupelo did not have:

No natural beauty

No natural resources

No major municipality

Selma, on the other hand, has a lot to offer, he said, adding that it is up to the local residents to invest in the community by looking for cutting-edge ideas for future development.

Grisham ended his talk by quoting anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Centre for Commerce Chairman Kathi Needham welcomed the members and guests to the meeting and gave a Powerpoint presentation highlighting achievements of 2005.

The highlights of 2005 included the announcement of the Hanil E-HWA Interior Systems Company, out of Korea, to bring their supplier to the area, and along with it an estimated 240 jobs and a $38 million capital investment.

Needham then passed the gavel to incoming 2006 Centre for Commerce Chairman James W. Hodo, who introduced the other members of the 2006 board of directors: John Creer, vice-chairman; Allen Reeves, secretary; Kathi Needham, treasurer; and members Catesby ap R. Jones, Connie Messer and Mixon Russ.