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Say goodbye to Mtel: Company drops moniker for ‘SkyTel Communications’

Jackson’s Mobile Telecommunication Technologies Corporation, commonly known as Mtel, announced last week that it will change its name to SkyTel Communications Inc., pending shareholder approval at the company’s May 21 annual meeting.

The move is expected to unify the company’s image and brand under that of its primary operating subsidiary, SkyTel Corporation. SkyTel represents more than 90% of Mtel’s total business.

“Our SkyTel name is known by more than a million SkyTel customers and is one of wireless telecommunication’s strongest brands,” said John N. Palmer, Mtel’s chairman. “We want to put that strength to work for all aspects of our business unifying our corporate identity for our customers, investors, employees and vendors.”

Once approved, the name change will take place at the close of business May 22. The company’s common stock, currently traded on NASDAQ as MTEL, will change to SKYT.

Additional information about the Mtel is on the Web at www.skytel.com.

Hotel planned for

Isle of Capri Casino

vicksburg — Casino America Inc. has unveiled plans for a 124-room hotel at its Isle of Capri Casino here.

“We are very proud of the Vicksburg property and are extremely excited to offer another amenity for our guests,” Casino America president John M. Gallaway said.

The six-story structure will connect directly into the southern entrance of the casino. The hotel is scheduled to open by the end of the year. Benchmark Construction Corp. and Cooke Douglass Farr Lemons Ltd., both of Jackson, are working on the project.

Minority business seminar set for April 21 in Columbia

A minority business training seminar targeting new and expanding businesses will be held Tuesday, April 21 at the Marion County Activity Center in Columbia. The seminar will provide minority men and women business owners essential information on developing their business and show potential business owners effective strategies for starting a new business.

Areas of emphasis for the training seminar include marketing, finance, business plan development, loan applications, construction, bonding and banking.

Sponsors of the event include the Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development Minority Business Enterprise Division, the Rural Minority Business Development Center and Pearl River Valley Opportunity Inc.

Pre-registration is recommended due to limited seating, but on-site registration will be available. Interested persons may contact Roger Swann at (601) 736-9564 or Nikki K. Robinson at (601) 359-3448.

New SuperCenter planned at Cloverleaf interchange

hattiesburg — Construction is expected to begin in July on a new Wal-Mart SuperCenter located at the Cloverleaf interchange on U.S. 49 and Lincoln Road.

Wal-Mart has purchased an option for 15.5 acres across U.S. 49 from the Cloverleaf Mall. The site located next to the Sack-N-Save grocery store is owned by the Overton-Currie family, which also owns the Cloverleaf Mall.

Steve Floyd, president of Steve Floyd Properties Inc., which manages Cloverleaf Mall and other Overton-Currie property in Hattiesburg including the Wal-Mart site, said there has been considerable interest in parcels of land near the Wal-Mart site since the store was announced.

“Certainly the Wal-Mart SuperCenter will bring in additional traffic,” Floyd said.

The 152,000-square-foot store is expected to open in January 1999.

Planned cotton acreage down for 1998 season

starkville — Mississippi cotton growers are expected to plant less than one million acres for the second consecutive year — a trend that could hurt cotton’s support industries in the state.

“We have significant concerns about cotton’s infrastructure as acres are converted to crops that generate less economic activity,” said Dr. O.A. Cleveland, an agricultural economist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service. “Cotton is a high-cost crop with a large support industry surrounding it.”

Many farmers are switching from cotton to corn.

1997 was the first year since 1983 that Mississippi cotton growers planted less than one million acres and only the third time since recordkeeping began in 1866. Growers had governmental incentive to reduce acres in 1983 due to abundant supplies. Market prices and production costs have chipped away at Mississippi cotton acres. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recently released planting intentions report predicts that Mississippians will plant 860,000 acres, down from 985,000 planted acres in 1997.

“The Mid-South region has the highest costs to produce cotton. Mississippi need 3

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