This is a viewpoint from James Moore, owner of Moore's Bike Shop in Hattiesburg.
In the days following Katrina I was prepared for business at my bicycle shop to fall off significantly.
Instead, our business had an unexpected increase in sales in the months following this disaster.
Financial aid from local charities, government agencies, and insurance settlements contributed to the surge in our local economy.
It was a painful time for area residents but our economy benefited from the increased cash flow.
Thanks to the Mississippi Power refunds our local economy is about to experience a similar boost but this time without the suffering that accompanied Katrina.
Residents have through Friday to choose either receiving a check or receiving a credit.
You can make this choice in person, on line, or over the phone.
I'd like to suggest that you ask for a check and that you donate this unexpected windfall to the local charity of your choice.
My charity of choice would be Southern Pine's Animal Shelter as I've seen their live release rate grow from under 30 percent in 2009 to over 94 percent in 2015.
This threefold increase in lives saved costs money as it's much cheaper to euthanize animals than it is to give them food and shelter, spay and neuter them, and place them in caring adoptive homes.
Donate to Southern Pines at Southernpinesanimalshelter.org.
The other non-profit I'll be supporting is See Spot Run, a partnership between citizens and local government to build a dog park in downtown Hattiesburg.
Donate to See spot Run through the Greater Pine Belt Community Foundation at 1507 Hardy, Hattiesburg, 39401.
Our refunds individually may be quickly spent in ways that yield little of lasting value or they can be invested into our community by supporting the worthy non-profits that make Hattiesburg a great place to live.