Bagels and Bluegrass renamed for founder

Saturday, October 12 will be the first time for cyclists to ride under the KJ100 moniker. Organizers of the Bagels and Bluegrass Bicycle Century Tour made the decision to rename the 18-year old event to honor and memorialize its founder Dr. Kent Jones.

The newly-renamed Kent Jones Bicycle Century Tour will maintain the established routes of the former Bagels and Bluegrass ride. The routes are designed for beginners to advanced riders. There are 14-, 32-, 62- and 100-mile routes. Both the 100-mile century and 62-mile metric-century routes will take cyclists through Pinson Mounds and Chickasaw State Parks.

In addition to the bicycle tour, a 5K run will also be held on the JSCC campus. “This will be the second year for the 5K run,” said event organizer Mary Beth Hopper. “This allows for the event to be more inclusive for friends and family members that don’t ride. The addition of the run is also an excellent opportunity to grow this long-standing annual event.”

Jones, a prominent physician and avid cyclist, started the century tour in 2001 as a way to bring cyclists together for a day and enjoy a scenic tour of the rural West Tennessee countryside. He also saw this as a way to help fund scholarships for students at Jackson State Community College.

While serving as chief of staff at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, Dr. Jones was instrumental in establishing the EMT program in 1982. Since the ride’s inception in 2001, nearly $40,000 has been raised to help students with expenses related to attending the college.

Sadly, Dr. Jones passed away in November. Consequently, the presentation of funds from the 2018 event was delayed until this past April. The Dr. Kent Jones Scholarship at JSCC received a $2,000 donation and the Pinson Mounds and Chickasaw State Parks received $400 each at the check presentation ceremony.

For more information about the KJ100 and 5K, go to or call 731-616-7474.

Evolving role has not changed librarian’s commitment to student success

Imagine Jackson State Community College’s library when Scott Cohen first started as a reference librarian in 1972 – five years after the college opened. From the card catalog, which contained the library’s book collection, to bound magazines on the shelves, everything was print-based.

In those days, if you needed a certain book, you would first look in the card catalog to see if the book was in the collection. If it was, you would search for it on the shelves. Computers were so primitive, they operated on keypunch cards.

“The library has changed so dramatically,” said Cohen, who was named Director of the Library in 1992. “It’s hard to even fathom.”

Today, Jackson State’s library has six times as many electronic books as it has printed books. Magazines and individual articles are part of its electronic databases. The library also has streaming media with about 17,000 movies, most of which are documentaries.

“Doing research is much easier,” Cohen said. “The number of electronic files is even creating a problem in some ways of having too much information.”

Though electronic materials have changed the face of the library, it’s purpose of helping students research has not. And, with the amount of misinformation on the internet, Cohen’s job is also to help students evaluate those resources.

“My job is to help people navigate to find the most credible and best resources,” he said.

He’s seen other changes, as well. Instead of physically going to meetings, there are more video conferences and webinars. Librarians at the college are embedded in online classes.

“Students can call on you through an online discussion forum to help them find sources for their papers,” Cohen said. “We also have chat and text-a-librarian services to assist students.”

Advances at Jackson State’s library through the years have been felt across Tennessee. Cohen, for example, is proud of an online program he created that provided instruction for public library support staff across the state from 2006 to 2011.

“I have been lucky to have a great library staff to assist me through the years,” he said. “I also owe a lot to my mentor, Van Veatch, who hired me in 1972 and whom I replaced in 1992.”

Cohen has spent his career at Jackson State. At home, he and his wife, Carmen, had three children and are now grandparents of four. The Cohens celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in August.

Every day at work, he said, is a new challenge, and he plans to keep working as long as he can be productive.

“I find it stimulating. It’s gratifying to help people in their studies. I feel very attached to Jackson State. It’s a big part of my life.”

JSCC Library closed during HVAC replacement

Beginning August 7, the Jackson State Community College Library will be closed for replacement of the original 50-year old HVAC system. The Library, Academic Assistance Center, and Writing Center will be moved to alternate locations around campus while the renovations are being completed. The completion of the project is anticipated by the first of October.

Library offices will be temporarily relocated to the student lounge of the Nelms Classroom Building in room CLR01. Library book requests will be filled starting in September with an exact date to be announced. The “Ask a Librarian” chat service will be available during regular library hours and can be accessed via the library’s webpage at The library can be contacted by calling 731-425-2609.

The Academic Assistance Center (AAC) will be temporarily relocated to room L09 in the basement of the Nelms Classroom Building. The AAC provides free tutoring services, computers, testing services, and a variety of instructional media available to JSCC students. The AAC can be contacted by calling 731-425-2614.

The Writing Center will be temporarily relocated to room 224 of the Jim Moss Center for Nursing. The Writing Center provides assistance to students for any class and helps with personal writing projects, including scholarship application, creative projects, etc. The center can be contacted by calling 731-425-8848.