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U.S. Senators visit Batesville; praise local leadership

Last Thursday, April 1, was a busy day for local officials as both of Mississippi’s U.S. Senators were in the city marking different events and activities.

The day began with a meet-and-greet and press conference held at TVEPA where Sen. Roger Wicker was on hand to celebrate the final approval of $91 million from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund that is bringing high-speed internet to more than 42,000 homes in areas served by nine electric cooperatives in North Mississippi, including Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association.

Thursday in Tupelo state Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (Northern District) issued the final documents and approval for all nine cooperatives.

TVEPA subsidiary TVIFiber has been the leader in the installation of high-speed internet to homes and businesses with the foresight of local power association leaders and community officials, according to Sen. Wicker.

In the press conference he compared President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1934 visit to Mississippi when the federal government announced the major rural electrification undertaking that brought power to the farms and homes long neglected by private companies.

Through the FCC’s reverse auction and bidding process, Tallahatchie Valley EPA won ver $20 Million in funding on behalf of its subsidiary, Tallahatchie Valley Internet Services (TVIfiber), through the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF).

This initiative, funded by the FCC’s Universal Service Fund, is designed to partner with internet providers and invest in their efforts to bridge the digital divide and provide rural areas with high-speed internet service.

Sen. Wicker praised TVEPA CEO Brad Robison and Batesville officials for leading the way in North Mississippi in bringing world-class internet to local homes and businesses.

Acouple of hours later and four miles across town, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith made an industrial and economic development tour of CITE Armored, Batesville’s newest industry located in the former Serta building located at the corner of Keating Rd. and Hwy. 35N.

Panola County native Teresa Hubbard is co-owner of the industry that builds armored vehicles for clients ranging from banks to government agencies. Hubbard and her business partner Ken Russell have a well-established plant in Marshall County, and expanded to Batesville a year ago.

Sen. Hyde-Smith was at CITE Armored partly to highlight a woman-owned business, and congratulate Mayor Jerry Autrey and Panola Partnership CEO Joe Azar for their efforts to secure state and federal loans for renovation of the building and support of the new industry and the jobs it has brought to Batesville.