‘What Works’ Week 8

This week, Teen Vogue published an article about Taylor Swift’s comments about the midterm elections.

One reason I was drawn to this article was that it was about a celebrity and her political views. Another reason is that I just love Taylor Swift, because she’s Taylor Swift.

A lot of times, celebrities are always given grief about any-and-everything they post. They can’t say what they want or do what they want to do because they have millions of people watching their every move; however, with Swift, she goes against the grain and tells people the truth.

I thought this was a very good article because it highlights important issues in our country today. I truly think that celebrities should be able to say what they want to. After all, we are allowed to say whatever we want to — unfiltered. I know that celebrities are held to a higher standard almost, but I think we need to accept their opinions.

Another thing I liked about this article was the photos and the connection it made to social media. In today’s society, we connect to social media now more than ever. Having that example in this article was a great addition.

All in all, this article was very useful as it highlights celebrities using their platform to their advantage

Week 8: Small Town Business Owners Offer New Hang-Out Spot

By: Abby Vance and Pierce Morrison

Water Valley, Miss. –  On Saturday, October 6, Water Valley welcomed its newest business, The Humble Bee Cafe, to Main Street.

The Humble Bee Cafe serves a variety of coffees, teas, pastries and fresh-to-order beignets.

Sarah Stone and Maggie Richardson opened the cafe this past Saturday as mother/daughter partners and are hopeful the community responds the way they have envisioned.

“We can do just about anything Starbucks can,” co-owner Maggie Richardson said. “I can do hot, cold, frappucinos, lattes, anything.”

“I’ve always wanted to start my own business,” Stone said. “And at my age I finally decided to trust my instinct.”

Richardson lives in the upstairs apartment above the cafe and is currently their only worker. She was an Ole Miss student but withdrew for the semester to open up the coffee shop.

“When we opened, we opened with the mindset of wanting people to come hang out, like they do at Starbucks and other coffee shops in Oxford,” Richardson said. “We don’t have one of those in Water Valley, and the places in Oxford can be really loud.”

Water Vally resident Grant Thompson is hopeful that the coffee shop will be prosperous.

“With Water Valley, it’s all about location,” Thompson said. “If they make the right business moves, they will do just fine.”

Other members of the Water Valley community are supportive. Robert Turnage and his wife, Monica, own Turnage Drug Store right down from The Humble Bee Cafe and are eager and hopeful for the business’ success.

“This will be the third coffee shop in the past year or so,” Thompson said.

Heartbreak Coffee and Downtown Inn were both coffee shops located on Main Street but closed.

The previous shop was strictly a coffee shop, and then Richardson and her mother bought the building from the previous owners.

“This opportunity came up and it was absolutely perfect and fit exactly what we wanted,” Stone said. “We wanted a place for my daughter to live because if we bought the business then we would have to sell her house.”

Stone understands that with this type of business, there can be slow seasons; however, Stone and Richardson are prepared and want to keep their focus on coffee.

“We don’t want to have to change and we’re keeping from doing that by having the two rooms in the back,” Stone said. “So by renting out the two rooms in the back, we are able to offset any slow seasons in the coffee world.”

In addition to the coffee shop, they also have two bedrooms available for rent in the back of the cafe. Following the success of their first weekend, they are booked until the first week of November.

“We want this to become a place between work and home,” Richardson said.

“Coffee is a community thing,” Stone said. There are so many conversations that happen over a simple cup of coffee. We wanted to give a place that was nice and relaxing, so that people could have those conversation.”

The Humble Bee Cafe is located at 405 N Main Street and open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m-4 p.m.

The Humble Bee Cafe offers coffee, tea, seasonal beverages and fresh pastries. Photo by Abby Vance.

Week 7: Dockless electric scooters could be the next transportation method for Ole Miss students

By Abby Vance and Kennedy Pope


With a growing demand for carless transportation options on crowded college campuses, dockless electric scooter companies like Bird and Lime are vying for more buy-in from universities. Founded last year in California, Bird and Lime are now partnered with 47 universities across the United States.

Mike Harris, Director of Parking and Transportation at Ole Miss, said that he has been researching the potential benefits of using electric scooters on campus for nearly eight months now.

“They wouldn’t come to campus until they’ve gone through the proper channels,” Harris said. “There’s a process it needs to go through before we say ‘Let’s do this.’”

Harris also stated that although there are many benefits from Lime and Bird, there are also concerns.

“To me, ADA is at the forefront of my thought pattern,” Harris said, “because the last thing I want is for a scooter to be blocking the sidewalk for ADA students.”

Located roughly 80 miles north of Oxford, the University of Memphis partnered with Bird in August of this year. The University was the first university in the country to partner with the company. The Daily News in Memphis stated that for them, it is all about student success.

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Photo Courtesy of bird.co
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Photo Courtesy of li.me.com 

“Bird is another affordable transportation option for students to get to campus and back to the community they call home,” stated Ted Townsend of the University of Memphis.

Similar to the riding companies Lyft and Uber, Lime and Bird are app-based services that can range from $3 to $20 via the app. The former executive of Lyft and Uber Travis VanderZanden founded the dockless scooter company Bird. Since then, Bird has launched in over 50 cities and partnered with 20 schools throughout the United States.

Expected to be the fastest growing companies to reach the valuation of one billion dollars, they are potentially detrimental effects that can come when riding these electric scooters. Within the past two months, there have been multiple injuries, including two deaths, related to riding the electric scooters.

In an article from The Washington Post regarding a death from a Lime user, the victim “was dragged about 20 yards, according to a witness,” and was pinned under the SUV he collided with. The Post stated that “a shoe and a pair of headphones were left in the roadway. Firefighters had to extricate the man from underneath the SUV.”

Ole Miss broadcast journalism student DeAndria Turner thinks that these scooters could be beneficial to the University, but she is also concerned if they will decrease physical activity among college students.

“I think they’re innovative, especially for people who don’t wanna walk,” Turner said. “I would like to see statistics on the health rate to see if it makes people more obese or more active.”

Heather Gilley, a resident of Oxford, believes that introducing Lime or Bird to Oxford could yield great results in both the University and the community as a whole.

“As far as you have to drive across campus, I think hopping on one of the scooters would be awesome,” Gilley said.

Travis VanderZanden, CEO and founder of Bird is hopeful that this form of transportation will eliminate the gap of students seeking transportation so that they can focus on what they are on campus for, and that’s education.  

As for the University of Mississippi, Mike Harris believes that conversations need to start among different organizations and committees across campus if this is something we want to do.

“A lot of conversations must be vetted to make the decision of whether we do it or don’t do it,” Harris said.

‘What Works’ Week 7

This morning, Teen Vogue published an article on their website about how this famous star deals with break-ups. 

Noah Centineo, an American actor, recently posted a video on Glamour where he read tweets from his viewers and answered their questions about relationships, breakups and life. 

For starters, I think this article works because of the information it provided. The public is always so quick to listen to the advice from actors, especially after a breakup, We, as those who are not in the spotlight, seek advice from those who seem to be able to bounce back from a relationship so quickly. 

In Centineo’s video, one fan asked him how he got over a breakup, and he stated this compelling remark: “Focus on yourself.”

One reason why I think this works so well is because of the weight his answer carries. This remark is applicable to so many aspects of life.  He doesn’t say this in a selfish way but rather as a way to cope and move on. 

So many times we see celebrities almost bashing their previous relationships, but this was a very mature way to deal with a breakup. By focusing on himself after a breakup, he found out more of what he liked to do, and I think that is something worth noting. 

Centineo also answers how he deals with stress and feeling overwhelmed, to which he replies, “I don’t.”

In the last line of the interview, he humorously added that he takes bubble baths to relieve his stress. 

All in all, this article was beneficial and very interesting to me. I enjoyed having a celebrity being real and raw with his audience, which is crucial. Breakups are hard, and dealing with stress is also hard. It was just almost a breath of fresh air to have a celebrity’s opinion and to know that he does, in fact, stress a lot and feel overwhelmed.


Pathways Commission discusses intersection changes in Oxford

By: Abby Vance

On Monday, September 24, the Pathways Commission Board held it’s monthly meeting at 5 p.m. at City Hall.

Pathways Commission goal is to assist in the transportation opportunities in Oxford by utilizing bike lanes, sidewalks and pathways. More information about their goals and projects can be found on their homepage.

As with any local government meeting, this meeting began with the approval of the agenda as well as the approval of the minutes from August’s meeting.

In attendance at this meeting was Chairman Don Feitel, Secretary Roger Kuhnle, Greg Surbeck, Michael Worthy and Vice Chairman Kate Kellum.

One proposed project is the addition of either a signaling light or a roundabout at the intersection of McElroy Drive and College Hill Road.

“An argument could probably be made for either one,” Chair Don Feitel said.

Feitel also added, “I think the city is leaning more toward the roundabout there just in terms of long-term maintenance and functionality.”

Though there are advantages and disadvantages of utilizing either the roundabout or the signal, the city of Oxford is still considering all options to ensure that the best and most efficient method is installed; however, the city is in favor of the roundabout.

“A study was shown that in the morning, a signal would be better,” Vice Chair Kate Kellum, said. “But in the afternoon, the roundabout would be better.”

This potential installment would be right across from Lost Pizza Co., which opened last fall and has brought in more revenue and traffic to the area.

Feitel stated that “The developer of Lost Pizza is still on the project.”

Lost Pizza Co. employee Rachel McKellar is also in agreement with Feitel that both the roundabout and signal would be efficient.

“I think there’s always so much traffic around 5 p.m. that a roundabout would be more efficient,” McKellar said.

McKellar also stated, “But I also see both sides. A signal would be safer, but roundabouts are faster, and speed is definitely an issue.”

The city is still in the birthing stages of finalizing which installment will be the most effective for surrounding residents and transportation users as a whole.

Pathways Commission will hold its next meeting on October 22 at 5 p.m. at City Hall.

‘What Works’ Week 6

Headline:  Nappily Ever After Celebrates the Natural Beauty of Black Women

On Friday, September 21, Teen Vogue published a story about the release of a new Netflix-original movie, Nappily Ever After.

This op-ed piece was written by Teryn Payne, and in my opinion, it is very well-written. Most women struggle with accepting their bodies, hair, etc. in their natural state; however, this piece challenges us women to do that.

As a female who also has curly hair that often resembles a lion’s mane, I resonated with this piece and movie. Growing up, I did everything I could to make my hair less natural. I would blow dry, straighten, crimp, curl with rollers and put all kinds of chemicals in my hair because all the girls my age had beautiful, long straight hair.

And I thought that’s what I wanted. Or I thought that’s what was deemed ‘acceptable.’

However, in this article, Payne challenges us women to embrace our natural hair, especially black women.  The reason I liked this article and thinks it works so well is because it makes me think of how society has completely transformed our way of defining what is beautiful and what is not.

This opinion-piece was raw, authentic, thought-provoking and just an all-around good read. In addition, it made me want to watch the movie, which I think is something that is reflective of good writing.

In the article, pictures were also present to add another dimension. It validated the reality of embracing the natural beauty of black women. In the movie, the main character shaved her head to allow her hair to grow back in its natural state. She received hateful comments from her boss, her so-called fiance and society.

But she finally attained that level of confidence she had always wanted.

And that’s better than any ‘hate’ comment we could ever receive.

All in all, this article was touching, inspiring and thought-provoking. I enjoyed the point of view it was told from and the style in which it was written.

Week 5: Growth in Oxford Leads to Local Churches Finding Permanent Homes

By: Kennedy Pope and Abby Vance

OXFORD, Miss. – According to Pew Research, “the percentage of U.S. adults who say they regularly attend religious services has been declining, while the share of Americans who attend only a few times a year or never has been growing.”

However, with the population of Oxford steadily increasing, there has been a higher demand for more churches to serve the Oxford community.

St. John’s Catholic Church, located right off campus, started construction to expand its building due to an increased attendance.

“We did not have enough seats,” project manager Paul Behrndt said. “There would be times where we would be standing outside on Sunday mornings, so it was obvious we needed to expand.”

St. John’s has grown their sanctuary from seating 300 people to now seating over 600. They also offer a service for college students on Sunday nights.

“Our campus minister said we had about 500 students this past Sunday night,” Behrndt said.

Construction on St. John’s Catholic Church started last fall and is expected to be finished within the next six weeks.

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“Whenever I go to St. John’s I know I have to arrive early to get a seat,” Hannah Suvall, Ole Miss student and church member, said. “A lot of people usually have to end up standing in the back along the aisles.”

Grace Bible, another local church that has seen an increase in numbers, has been in operation for 13 years.

For several years, Grace has been looking to purchase land to build their church, as they have been renting out space on Sunday’s at Oxford Middle School’s auditorium, which is the only auditorium in the district.

“We are still several years away from leaving the middle school,” pastor J.D. Shaw said, “but I would love if in the next year we would close and find a piece of property.”

Shaw also states that he is eager to one day having a place that he and his members can call ‘home.’

The church originally met at Oxford Conference Center but moved to their now ‘office building’ in 2009. They quickly outgrew that space and moved to Oxford Middle School in 2015 but still use that building for office space, Wednesday night church meetings and counseling services for those who are in recovery from addictions.

Grace Bible also has many students that are connected to Ole Miss Cru, an interdenominational Christian organization on campus that meets every Tuesday night.

“We have a lot of students from Ole Miss affiliated with Cru, so that has always been a natural connection with us and students,” J.D. Shaw said.

Lauren Simpson, an Ole Miss graduate student and member of Grace Bible, is hoping that Grace will eventually have their own building one day so that they can better serve the community.

“Because we rent space from the school, we have people setting up and tearing down for services every Sunday,” Lauren said. “So if we had an actual church building, their efforts could be going elsewhere to serve the community.”

Simpson also stated that the office building had a more ‘homey’ feel to it and is eager to hopefully finding that ‘connected’ feeling again.

“We just feel very disconnected in the auditorium,” Simpson said. “We’re so far away from the leaders singing and just feel a huge disconnect.”

In addition to Grace Bible and St. John’s, Pinelake Oxford has also been in the process of making room to accommodate their quickly-growing community.

In 2015, Pinelake Oxford began church services for the first time at the Oxford Conference Center. Over those three years, the attendance has increased from 325 to 1,425 people. They have even added a third service on Sunday’s that is geared towards college students.

Executive Pastor of Communications, Troy Page, states that the primary goal is to better serve the people of Oxford.

“Our intention is to always to have a permanent presence in the Oxford community,” Page said.

Grant Thompson, Pinelake church member, said,I am excited for Pinelake to find its forever home.”

Pinelake Oxford recently purchased 12 acres of land across from FNC Park and is in the beginning stages of construction.

“Right now we are in the master planning process,” Page said. “Once we get that accomplished, we will have a better estimate as to when we can begin.”

“It is long overdue,” Thompson said. “I am looking forward to seeing how God’s going to work through Pinelake with FNC Park.”

More information about Pinelake’s construction updates can be found on their website at the following link: http://www.makingroom.in/oxford/