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Coffee Shop Stop – Lost & Found Coffee Company

Lost+Found Coffee Company @ 248 South Green Street, Tupelo,MS. inside Relics in Downtown Tupelo. Open Monday through Saturday from 10:00am till 6:00pm.

With most any restaurant or coffee house, it’s a balance between atmosphere, menu, and know how. For a coffee shop, Lost & Found has it going on!

You could spend the better part of a day just strolling through both floors of the antique building looking at all the treasures. When your ready for a coffee break, the knowledgeable baristas can help you choose the perfect pick me up!

They have everything from a classic cup of joe to the creamiest creation you could imagine! From pour overs to cold brews. From lattes, mochas, to cappuccino’s, Lost & Found Coffee Company has got ya covered!

So the next time you want to hunt for lost treasures, or find the perfect cup of coffee, Lost & Found Coffee Company has got ya covered! See y’all there!

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Food Truck Locations for Tuesday 9-8-20

Local Mobile is at TRI Realtors just east of Crosstown.

Gypsy Roadside Mobile is in Baldwyn at South Market.

Taqueria Ferris is on West Main between Computer Universe and Sully’s Pawn.

Magnolia Creamery is in the Old Navy parking lot.

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Stay tuned as we update this map if things change through out the day and be sure to share it.

Food Truck Locations for 9-1-20

Taqueria Ferris is on West Main between Computer Universe and Sully’s Pawn

Local Mobile is at a new location today, beside Sippi Sippin coffee shop at 1243 West Main St (see map below)

Gypsy Roadside Mobile is in Baldwyn at South Market

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Today’s Food Truck Locations

How to Slow Down and Enjoy the Scenic Route

Do you thrive on the unexpected? Are you waiting for the next fire to crop up?

Have you ever noticed that you can plan something so intricately and you are still going to catch the glitches when life throws you a curve ball? It is one of the beauties of life that we can never prepare for. The unexpected. The only difference is our response to the unexpected. Do we have a knee jerk reaction that finds us swerving to gain back control of our life? Or do we instead just go with the flow and decide to embrace the scenic route life decided to take us on? Our response to life can cause us more stress or we can just enjoy it for what it is in that moment of time. I used to thrive on the unexpected. It was part of my career for many years. The never knowing what “fire” was going to sprout up that day and how I was going to need to put it out. Even this week as we launched our newest book in my publishing company. I thought I had it all planned out only to run into major “hiccups” within 72 hours of the launch. I could either stress out or take it in stride. 

Slow and Steady

As my dad retired I watched him take a different approach to life than I had ever seen him take before. I mean, all you have to do is climb up in the cab of his king ranch Ford pick-up and see he is a changed man. He drives slower than anyone should even be allowed to drive out on the roads these days. He knows how to drive, so don’t go yelling at him next time you are stuck behind him. Trust me, my mom does enough yelling for all of us at him about that! He just takes life these days. His sentiments are that he lived in the fast lane his whole life. Rushing to be on time to work, rushing to come home to his family, the constant busy we get entangled with as adults…now, he doesn’t have to be busy and he is going to enjoy that. Truth is, I can’t even be mad at him for that. Now that I am an adult out here rushing from one thing to the next, I totally could use some driving twenty miles per hour in my life some days. Took me getting to nearly forty to even be able to say that though.

The lesson in his wisdom can be heard by all. Some things we lose it over won’t even amount to anything five years from now, yet we gave them so much energy in the moment. All the things we think are so important that we must do and do now. Most will not really matter years from now, yet we poured our soul into them. What would change if we took the time to just enjoy life? To just flow with things as they happened? When hit with something we didn’t expect, we embraced it instead of fighting it? What would happen? I dare say we might have more peace? I probably would be a lot calmer. I probably wouldn’t lose my temper near as much. I probably wouldn’t have anxiety or stress on the daily. I would probably take time to enjoy life more. I certainly wouldn’t yell at the slow driver in front of me.

What about you? Next time you get behind someone driving slowly…take back the name calling and curse words. Maybe take back all of the assumptions that they don’t know how to drive. Maybe use it as a reminder to take a moment, roll down your window, soak in the sunshine. I can promise you that wherever the heck you are going, you will still get there. Maybe that person figured out life and you can use their wisdom too. If they are driving a blue king ranch Ford truck, I can assure you that he is just enjoying his day and he would want you to enjoy yours too. Matter of fact, I wish I had listened to his wisdom a lot more in my earlier days instead of waiting until now. 

See you on down the road…take it easy my friend.

Looking for the Text from Tupelo’s New Mask Order? Here you go.

Here is a plain, searchable text version (most other versions we found were Images or PDF files) of City Of Tupelo Executive Order 20-018. Effective Monday June 29th at 6:00 PM

The following Local Executive Order further amends and supplements all previous Local Executive Orders and its Emergency Proclamation and Resolution adopted by the City of Tupelo, Mississippi, pertaining to COVID-19. All provisions of previous local orders and proclamations shall remain in full force and effect. 

LOCAL EXECUTIVE ORDER 20-018 

The White House and CDC guidelines state the criteria for reopening up America should be based on data driven conditions within each region or state before proceeding to the next phased opening. Data should be based on symptoms, cases, and hospitals. Based on cases alone, there must be a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period or a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period. There has been no such downward trajectory in the documented cases in Lee County since May 18, 2020. 

Hospital numbers are not always readily available to policymakers; however, from information that has been maintained and communicated to the City of Tupelo, the Northeast Mississippi Medical Center is near or at their capacity for treating COVID-19 inpatients over the past two weeks without reopening additional areas for treating COVID-19 patients. The City of Tupelo is experiencing an increase in the number of cases of COVID-19. The case count 45 days prior to the date of this executive order was 77 cases. That number increased within 15 days to 107, and today, the number is 429 cases. The City of Tupelo is experiencing increases of 11.7 cases a day. This is not in conformity with the guidelines provided of a downward trajectory of positive tests. By any metric available, the City of Tupelo may not continue to the next phase of reopening. 

Governor Tate Reeves in his Executive Order No. 1492(1)(i)(1) authorizes the City of Tupelo to implement more restrictive measures than currently in place for other Mississippians to facilitate preventative measures against COVID-19 thereby creating the downward trajectory necessary for reopening. 

That the Tupelo Economic Recovery Task Force and North Mississippi Medical Center have formally requested that the City of Tupelo adopt a face covering policy. 

In an effort to support the Northeast Mississippi Health System in their response to COVID-19 and to strive to keep the City of Tupelo’s economy remaining open for business, effective at 6:00 a.m. on Monday, June 29, 2020, all persons who are present within the jurisdiction of the City of Tupelo shall wear a clean face covering any time they are, or will be, in contact with other people in indoor public or business spaces where it is not possible to maintain social distance. While wearing the face covering, it is essential to still maintain social distance being the best defense against the spread of COVID-19. The intent of this executive order is to encourage voluntary compliance with the requirements established herein by the businesses and persons within the jurisdiction of the City of Tupelo. 

It is recommended that all indoor public or business spaces require persons to wear a face covering for entry. Upon entry, social distancing and activities shall follow guidelines of the City of Tupelo and the Governor’s executive orders pertaining to particular businesses and business activity. 

Persons shall properly wear face coverings ensuring the face covering covers the mouth and nose, 

1. Signage should be posted by entrances to businesses stating the face covering requirement for entry.  (Available for download at www.tupeloms.gov).

2. A patron located inside an indoor public or business space without a face covering will be asked to  leave by the business owners if the patron is unwilling to come into compliance with wearing a face covering 

3. Face coverings are not required for: 

a. People whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face covering.
b. Those who cannot wear a face covering due to a medical or behavioral condition.
c. Restaurant patrons while dining.
d. Private, individual offices or offices with fewer than ten (10) employees.
e. Other settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear a face covering, including when obtaining or rendering goods or services, such as receipt of dental services or swimming.
f. Banks, gyms, or spaces with physical barrier partitions which prohibit contact between the customer(s) and employee.
g. Small offices where the public does not interact with the employer. h. Children under twelve (12).
i. That upon the formulation of an articulable safety plan which meets the goals of this 

Executive Order businesses may seek an exemption by email at covid@tupeloms.gov 

FACE COVERINGS DO NOT HAVE TO BE MEDICAL MASKS OR N95 MASKS. A BANDANA, SCARF, TSHIRT, HOMEMADE MASKS, ETC. MAY BE USED. THEY MUST PROPERLY COVER BOTH A PERSONS MOUTH AND NOSE

Those businesses that are subject to regulatory oversight of a separate state or federal agency shall follow the guidelines of said agency or regulating body if there is a conflict with this Executive Order. 

Additional information can be found at www.tupeloms.gov COVID-19 information landing page. 

Pursuant to Miss. Code Anno. 833-15-17(d)(1972 as amended), this Local Executive Order shall remain in full effect under these terms until reviewed, approved or disapproved at the first regular meeting following such Local Executive Order or at a special meeting legally called for such a review. 

The City of Tupelo reserves its authority to respond to local conditions as necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. 

So ordered, this the 26th day of June, 2020. 

Jason L. Shelton, Mayor 

ATTEST: 

Kim Hanna, CFO/City Clerk 

Restaurants in Tupelo – Covid 19 Updates

Thanks to the folks at Tupelo.net (#MYTUPELO) for the list. We will be adding to it and updating it as well.

Restaurants
Business NameBusiness#Operating Status
Acapulco Mexican Restaurant662.260.5278To-go orders
Amsterdam Deli662.260.4423Curbside
Bar-B-Q by Jim662.840.8800Curbside
Brew-Ha’s Restaurant662.841.9989Curbside
Big Bad Wolf Food Truck662.401.9338Curbside
Bishops BBQ McCullough662.690.4077Curbside and Delivery
Blue Canoe662.269.2642Curbside and Carry Out Only
Brick & Spoon662.346.4922To-go orders
Buffalo Wild Wings662.840.0468Curbside and Tupelo2Go Delivery
Bulldog Burger662.844.8800Curbside, Online Ordering, Tupelo2Go
Butterbean662.510.7550Curbside and Pick-up Window
Café 212662.844.6323Temporarily Closed
Caramel Corn Shop662.844.1660Pick-up
Chick-fil-A Thompson Square662.844.1270Drive-thru or Curbside Only
Clay’s House of Pig662.840.7980Pick-up Window and Tupelo2Go Delivery
Connie’s Fried Chicken662.842.7260Drive-thru Only
Crave662.260.5024Curbside and Delivery
Creative Cakes662.844.3080Curbside
D’Cracked Egg662.346.2611Curbside and Tupelo2Go
Dairy Kream662.842.7838Pick Up Window
Danver’s662.842.3774Drive-thru and Call-in Orders
Downunder662.871.6881Curbside
Endville Bakery662.680.3332Curbside
Fairpark Grill662.680.3201Curbside, Online Ordering, Tupelo2Go
Forklift662.510.7001Curbside and Pick-up Window
Fox’s Pizza Den662.891.3697Curbside and Tupelo2Go
Gypsy Food Truck662.820.9940Curbside
Harvey’s662.842.6763Curbside, Online Ordering, Tupelo2Go
Hey Mama What’s For Supper662.346.4858Temporarily Closed
Holland’s Country Buffet662.690.1188
HOLLYPOPS662.844.3280Curbside
Homer’s Steaks and More662.260.5072Temporarily Closed
Honeybaked Ham of Tupelo662.844.4888Pick-up
Jimmy’s Seaside Burgers & Wings662.690.6600Regular Hours, Drive-thru, and Carry-out
Jimmy John’s662.269.3234Delivery & Drive Thru
Johnnie’s Drive-in662.842.6748Temporarily Closed
Kermits Outlaw Kitchen662.620.6622Take-out
King Chicken Fillin’ Station662.260.4417Curbside
Little Popper662.610.6744Temporarily Closed
Lone Star Schooner Bar & Grill662.269.2815
Local Mobile Food TruckCurbside
Lost Pizza Company662.841.7887Curbside and Delivery Only
McAlister’s Deli662.680.3354Curbside

Mi Michocana662.260.5244
Mike’s BBQ House662.269.3303Pick-up window only
Mugshots662.269.2907Closed until further notice
Nautical Whimsey662.842.7171Curbside
Neon Pig662.269.2533Curbside and Tupelo2Go
Noodle House662.205.4822Curbside or delivery
Old Venice Pizza Co.662.840.6872Temporarily Closed
Old West Fish & Steakhouse662.844.1994To-go
Outback Steakhouse662.842.1734Curbside
Papa V’s662.205.4060Pick-up Only
Park Heights662.842.5665Temporarily Closed
Pizza vs Tacos662.432.4918Curbside and Delivery Only
Pyro’s Pizza662.269.2073Delivery via GrubHub, Tupelo2go, DoorDash
PoPsy662.321.9394Temporarily Closed
Rita’s Grill & Bar662.841.2202Takeout
Romie’s Grocery662.842.8986Curbside, Delivery, and Grab and Go
Sao Thai662.840.1771Temporarily Closed
Sim’s Soul Cookin662.690.9189Curbside and Delivery
Southern Craft Stove + Tap662.584.2950Temporarily Closed
Stables662.840.1100Temporarily Closed
Steele’s Dive662.205.4345Curbside
Strange Brew Coffeehouse662.350.0215Drive-thru, To-go orders
Sugar Daddy Bake Shop662.269.3357Pick-up, and Tupelo2Go Delivery

Sweet Pepper’s Deli

662.840.4475
Pick-up Window, Online Ordering, and Tupelo2Go Delivery
Sweet Tea & Biscuits Farmhouse662.322.4053Curbside, Supper Boxes for Order
Sweet Tea & Biscuits McCullough662.322.7322Curbside, Supper Boxes for Order
Sweet Treats Bakery662.620.7918Curbside, Pick-up and Delivery
Taqueria Food TruckCurbside
Taziki’s Mediterranean Café662.553.4200Curbside
Thirsty DevilTemporarily closed due to new ownership
Tupelo River Co. at Indigo Cowork662.346.8800Temporarily Closed
Vanelli’s Bistro662.844.4410Temporarily Closed
Weezie’s Deli & Gift Shop662.841.5155
Woody’s662.840.0460Modified Hours and Curbside
SaltilloPhone NumberWhat’s Available
Skybox Sports Grill & Pizzeria (662) 269-2460Take Out
Restaurant & CityPhone NumberType of Service
Pyros Pizza 662.842.7171curbside and has delivery
Kent’s Catfish in Saltillo662.869.0703 curbside
Sydnei’s Grill & Catering in Pontotoc MS662-488-9442curbside
 Old Town Steakhouse & Eatery662.260.5111curbside
BBQ ON WHEELS  Crossover RD Tupelo662-369-5237curbside
Crossroad Ribshack662.840.1700drive thru Delivery 
 O’Charley’s662-840-4730Curbside and delivery
Chicken salad chick662-265-8130open for drive
Finney’s Sandwiches842-1746curbside pickup
Rock n Roll Sushi662-346-4266carry out and curbside
Don Tequilas Mexican Grill in Corinth(662)872-3105 drive thru pick up
Homer’s Steaks 662.260.5072curbside or delivery with tupelo to go
Adams Family Restaurant Smithville,Ms662.651.4477
Don Julio’s on S. Gloster 662.269.2640curbside and delivery
Tupelo River 662.346.8800walk up window
 El Veracruz662.844.3690 curbside
Pizza Dr.662.844.2600
Connie’s662.842.7260drive Thu only
Driskills fish and steak Plantersville662.840.0040curb side pick up

Honeyboy & Boots – Artist Spotlight

Band Name : Honeyboy and Boots

Genre: Americana

Honeyboy and Boots are a husband and wife, guitar and cello, duo with a unique style that is all their own. Their sound embodies Americana, traditional folk, alt country, and blues with harmonies and a hint of classical notes.

Drew Blackwell, a true Southerner raised in the heart of the black prairie in Mississippi. First picked up the guitar at fourteen, he was greatly influenced by his Uncle Doug who taught him old country standards and folk classics. Later on in high school, he was mentored and inspired to write (and feel) the blues by Alabama blues artist Willie King. (Willie King is credited for bringing together the band The Old Memphis Kings.)

Drew has placed 3rd in the 2019 Mississippi Songwriter of the Year contest with his song “Waiting on A Friend” and made it to the semi finalist round on the 2019 International Songwriting Competition with his song “Accidental Hipster.”

Honeyboy (Drew) can also be found belting out those blues notes as the lead vocalist for the Old Memphis Kings and begins everyday with a hot cup of black coffee!

Courtney Blackwell (Kinzer) grew up in Washington State and comes from a talented musical family. She began playing cello at the age of three taking lessons from the cello bass professor Bill Wharton at the University of Idaho. Her mother was most influential in her progression of technique, tone quality, and ear training. Since traveling around much of the South, she has enjoyed focusing on the variety of ways the cello is used in ensembles. When she plays, you will feel those groovy bass lines making way to soaring leads create an emotional and magical connection between you and her music.

Courtney enjoys working in the studio, collaborating with artists and continuing to challenge the way cello is expressed.

They have opened for such acts as Verlon Thompson, The Josh Abbott Band, Cary Hudson (of Blue Mountain), and Rising Appalachia. 

Honeyboy And Boots have performed at a variety of venues and festivals throughout the southeast, including the 2015 Pilgrimage Fest in Franklin, TN; Musicians Corner in Nashville; the Mississippi Songwriters Festival (2015-2018); and the Black Warrior Songwriting Fest in Tuscaloosa, AL (2018-2019). They also came in 2nd place at the 2015 Gulf Coast Songwriters Shootout in Orange Beach, FL.

They have two albums, Mississippi Duo and Waiting On a Song, which are available on their website, iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby.

The duo also just released their fourth recording: a seven-song EP called Picture On The Wall, which was recorded with Anthony Crawford (Williesugar Capps, Sugarcane Jane, Neil Young). It is now available on Spotify, Itunes, Google Music, and CD Baby.

Who or what would you say has been the greatest influence on your music?

My Uncle Doug, because he began to teach me guitar and introduced me to a lot of great older country music.

Favorite song you’ve composed or performed and why?

“We Played On” because it’s about our family reunions, where we would sit around and play guitar and share songs.

If you could meet any artist, living or dead, which would you choose and why?

Probably Willie Nelson. He’s my all time favorite.

Most embarrassing thing ever to happen at a gig?

A guy fell on top of me while I was performing. I was sitting down. He busted a big hole in my guitar.

What was the most significant thing to happen to you in the course of your music?

Getting to perform at Musicians Corner in downtown Nashville. Probably the biggest crowd we’ve ever been in front of.

If music were not part of your life, what else would you prefer to be doing?

I don’t know, maybe fishing or golf.

Is there another band or artist(s) you’d like to recommend to our readers who you feel deserves attention?

Our friends, Sugarcane Jane. They are a husband/wife duo from the Gulf Shores area. Great people and great artist.


Interested in seeing your own artist profile highlighted here on Our Tupelo?

Simply click HERE and fill out our form!

Federal grant funds professional growth for Mississippi Delta STEM teachers

Delta State University has launched a new program to help STEM teachers in the Delta.

The Collaborative for Rural STEM Education program provides resources and professional development. Its funding comes from a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

This year’s program has 22 teachers from 12 districts, including Clarksdale Municipal School District and the Holmes County and Sunflower County Consolidated school districts.

Each teacher receives specialized training and resources based on a needs assessment. They’ll also receive support throughout the year and stipends for travel and lodging each summer.

“The need for STEM teachers in the Delta is crucial due to their relevance in today’s society and

workforce,” project director Jessica Hardy  said in a statement.

Teachers and instructors spoke highly of the program and its potential.

“The power of this program is in the growth of teachers and their capacity to develop and enhance not only STEM content, but also STEM dispositions and skills in students,” said faculty instructor Daphne Smith, 

Said Yazoo County Middle School teacher Melanie Hardy: “I am honored to have been selected to study alongside so many outstanding Mississippi Delta educators, and I look forward to implementing all of the resources provided by the CRSE into my middle school math and science classes.”

The program will run throughout the year until summer 2025. 

The post Federal grant funds professional growth for Mississippi Delta STEM teachers appeared first on Mississippi Today.

For young Konnor Griffin, MLB Draft night could not have gone much better

Konnor Griffin (in grey suit) and his father, Kevin Griffin, embrace, while his mother, Kim Griffin (red dress), and girlfriend Dendy Hogan (seated at right) look on. The Pittsburgh Pirates had just made Konnor Griffin the ninth pick of the 2024 Major League Draft. Credit: Photo courtesy of Reed Hogan

First things first: Jackson Prep baseball phenom Konnor Griffin, 18 years young, will become approximately $7 million richer when he signs a Major League contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates one day soon.

Rick Cleveland

The Pirates made Griffin, the national high school player of the year, the ninth pick of Sunday night’s MLB Draft about 55 minutes into the proceedings. It might have seemed more like three hours to those in attendance at a draft watch party at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. As the first eight drafted players, all college players, were announced, the tension mounted among the scores of Griffin’s family, friends, teammates and classmates in attendance. Konnor Griffin, dressed in a dapper grey suit, clasped and unclasped his hands while seemingly staring a hole through the TV screen. Kevin Griffin, his father, kept a stoic face, but his legs twitched, belying his nerves. Dendy Hogan, Konnor’s girlfriend, silently prayed.

Then at 6:55 p.m. came the news: The Pirates had picked Konnor Griffin, and the crowd thundered its approval in a startling, prolonged explosion of noise. Immediately, Konnor and Kevin Griffin stood and embraced. Behind them, Griffin’s Jackson Prep teammates hooted, hollered and high-fived, several in tears.

“I saw my name, but I couldn’t hear a word,” Konnor said, minutes later. “We’re recording it at home. I’ll hear it later.”

Dendy Hogan, girlfriend of Jackson Prep baseball star Konnor Griffin, said a silent prayer just before Griffin was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Credit: Reed Hogan

In the several minutes between virtually every earlier pick, the Griffin family retreated to a more private room for phone calls with agent, Joey Devine of Excel Sports. Sources told this reporter the Griffins turned down an offer from a team that drafted several notches above the Pirates because that team wanted him to sign for far less money than the slot value. Behind-the-scenes negotiation is common before and during the draft.

In the end, everyone in the building was thrilled. Griffin, as predicted, was the first high school player picked. And he was picked by what appears to be an up-and-coming Pirates team that has improved its record dramatically in 2024. The Pirates boast several outstanding young players, including Paul Skenes, the 2023 No. 1 overall pick, who has instantly become one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Despite Konnor Griffin’s enormous talent, his path likely will take longer than Skenes’ meteoric rise. Skenes, 22, pitched three years of college baseball, the third for national champion LSU. Griffin, recently turned 18, reclassified from the Class of 2025 to 2024, completing four years of high school in just three years in order to fast-track his baseball career. He will need at least a couple years — maybe more — of minor league seasoning to make it to The Show. He is expected to begin his pro career at Bradenton, Fla., playing for the Pirates’ Class A Bradenton Marauders in the Florida State League. Griffin had signed to play college baseball at LSU, but Baton Rouge seems a highly unlikely destination now.

The best Mississippi comparison to Griffin in recent years is probably Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley, picked by the Braves in the first round (41st pick) as an 18-year-old in 2015. For the next four years Riley, who had signed to play college ball at Mississippi State, worked his way through the Braves’ farm system, step by step, until his promotion to the Major League team in 2019. He has since become a two-time National League All-Star.

The good news: Konnor Griffin already knows the lengthy task ahead — and relishes it.

“I’m ready to work,” he said. “I’m ready to do what it takes. This is the starting line. I’ve got a journey to the Big Leagues ahead of me.”

Konnor Griffin was all smiles for local and national TV cameras after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Credit: Photo courtesy of Reed Hogan

Sunday’s MLB Draft was a reward for many years of hard work, and nobody knows that better than Kevin Griffin, the father who pitched hundreds of hours of batting practice and hit countless ground balls and fly balls for his middle son to field. “That’s what makes this so special,” Kevin Griffin. “I know how hard Konnor has worked.”

As Kevin Griffin talked to reporters, the TV above him flashed the news that former Madison Central star Braden Montgomery was the No. 12 draft pick of the Boston Red Sox and is expected to sign a contract for the slot value bonus of $5.5 million. 

When a reporter pointed that out to Kevin Griffin, he responded, “That’s just awesome. What does that tell you about Mississippi baseball, and the quality of baseball in the Jackson metro area? Two of the first 12 picks are from right here. It’s a tired act when people around the nation downplay the quality of competition in Mississippi.” 

It really is, and with the No. 15 pick, the Seattle Mariners chose Mississippi State pitcher Jurrangelo Cijntje. Surprisingly, State’s slugging outfielder Dakota Jordan, projected as a top 30 draft prospect, fell out of the first two rounds. The draft continues today with rounds 3-10. Rounds 11-20 will take place Tuesday.

Over the course of these three days, many dreams will be realized, others dashed. Konnor Griffin lived the first part of his dream Sunday night. He seems more than ready to pursue the second part sooner rather than later.

The post For young Konnor Griffin, MLB Draft night could not have gone much better appeared first on Mississippi Today.

Mississippi officials respond to Trump rally shooting

Editor’s note: This is a breaking and developing story. It will be updated.

Former President Donald Trump appeared to have blood on his face and was rushed to a hospital by the U.S. Secret Service following an apparent shooting during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania.

A spokesman for the Secret Service said Trump was safe after “an incident,” and a Trump campaign spokesman said the former president was “fine and is being checked out at a local medical facility.”

Numerous national news reports on Saturday evening indicated the suspected shooter was deceased, a rally attendee was deceased, and at least one more attendee was rushed to the hospital following the incident.

A nation closely following the 2024 presidential election — including Mississippi’s elected officials and other prominent public figures — responded to the news on Saturday evening.

State Rep. Robert Johnson of Natchez, the Democratic leader of the Mississippi House: “We need to find a way to become less strident, less divisive. This kind of atmosphere is not good for our country.”

The post Mississippi officials respond to Trump rally shooting appeared first on Mississippi Today.

Number of faculty layoffs at Delta State still in flux

Delta State University is still working out the number of faculty it needs to lay off after the college board last month approved the president’s plan to achieve financial sustainability.

The regional college in the Mississippi Delta had initially planned to let its more than 200 faculty know on July 1. But the president, Daniel Ennis, wrote in an email a few weeks ago that he can’t finalize the number of layoffs until he knows more about the shape of the four new interdisciplinary degrees that will replace the 21 programs the university is shuttering.

This means faculty will learn whether they need to start looking for new jobs for the 2025-26 academic year on a case-by-case basis around the start of the fall semester — a delay that Ennis wrote is necessary but regretful.

Other considerations for layoffs, Ennis wrote, include if faculty will be needed for general education courses or to teach students who are currently enrolled in degrees the university plans to stop offering, like English, history and mathematics.

“We are working throughout the summer to finalize next steps,” Ennis told Mississippi Today through a university spokesperson.

The cuts come as Delta State has been struggling amid the region’s population decline to keep its tuition-dependent budget in the black — a situation likely to be exacerbated by increased competition among the eight public universities for the declining number of high school graduates going to college.

Last month, the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees approved Delta State’s proposal to close 21 programs the university selected through an academic review process that weighted metrics like total enrollment and awarded degrees more heavily than departmental profits or enrollment growth and decline.

Initially, some faculty were relieved to see in the IHL board book that just 16 faculty would be “affected” in four programs — music, art, languages and literature, and chemistry.

But Ennis wouldn’t say why faculty would be laid off from those four departments and not others, or if 16 is the total number of faculty that will be laid off considering some have already departed from the institution.

In total, about $750,000 needs to be cut from the payroll, Ennis previously told Mississippi Today. Seventeen staff have already been laid off, and 49 vacant positions were left unfilled.

Faculty have been working over the summer to write plans for the four new degree programs that will replace the deleted 21: Visual and performing arts, humanities and social science, digital media and secondary education.

Ennis said these four programs will be introduced to faculty in the fall through a curriculum review process, with the goal of implementing the programs by January 2025.

The post Number of faculty layoffs at Delta State still in flux appeared first on Mississippi Today.

‘We will be in court’: Monticello pushes back on Corps’ new Jackson proposal

MONTICELLO — Even with an adjusted proposal to tackle flood risk in Jackson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers still faces a steady flow of opposition downstream along the Pearl River.

“Let me assure you that Louisiana and Mississippi will sue you,” Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven, told a panel of Corps officials Thursday night. “We will be in court fighting over you destroying our recreation, our way of life, our wildlife, our fishing and hunting and recreation. We will be in court.”

Last month, the Corps released a new draft environmental impact statement as part of the process for selecting a plan to create flood control in Jackson. The report suggested that a plan that would cost anywhere from $487 million to $655 million may be the most justifiable under the agency’s cost-benefit analysis.

The agency is receiving public feedback on the report until Aug. 6 after recently extending the deadline. The Corps will then use feedback from the public, as well as other government agencies, to craft a final EIS. The agency’s timeline projects a final decision in December from Michael Connor, the assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works .

Over the last decade or so that Rankin and Hinds County officials have pushed a flood control plan known as “One Lake,” officials and residents downstream have shouted back. They argue that the plan, which would relocate a dam and widen the Pearl River near Jackson, would disrupt the river’s downstream flow and, thus, also the wildlife and industries that rely on it.

In its June report, the Corps suggested that One Lake may have too large of a price tag to justify. However, the report also says that “Alternative D,” which includes similar components as One Lake, may be the most justifiable based on the agency’s cost-benefit analysis.

Alternative D would create a smaller lake (about two-thirds the size) than what the One Lake plan would, and decrease mitigation costs by avoiding potential hazardous waste sites along the river. Alternative D also includes the option of elevating homes and voluntary buyouts for some of those in the floodplain.

Regardless of the differences, though, those in Monticello on Thursday still saw the fundamentals of what they’ve spent years protesting: a lake that, to some degree, is being advertised as recreation for those in the Jackson metro area.

Rep. Becky Currie talking to the Corps panel at a meeting in Monticello on July 11, 2024.

“What’s this going to do to my paper mill?” Scotty McCloud asked the panel. McCloud has spent the last 44 years working at the local Georgia Pacific paper mill, one of the largest employers in the area. He argued that, if the mill doesn’t get the right quantity of water at the right temperature, not only would the mill suffer but so would Lawrence County as a whole.

Troy Constance, an environmental expert for the Corps, said that the agency’s modeling of the remaining flood control proposals shows minimal impact to the Pearl River’s flow once it reaches Monticello.

“We’re not seeing huge changes very far from (where the proposed weir, or dam, would go),” Constance said, adding later that the models the Corps used were some of the best he’d work with in his 39 years on the job.

A chart from the Corps’ presentation about flood control proposals in Jackson.

Others in the audience, such as Alton Letchworth, argued that the Corps’ cost-benefit analysis didn’t make sense.

“You could buy out every home in the flood area, and you wouldn’t use half the money that you’re going to spend on this,” Letchworth said.

So far, the federal government has made $221 million available for the flood control project, meaning if Alternative D were selected, the project would still need another $266 million to $434 million in funding. Moreover, the local sponsor for the project — in this case the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District — would be responsible for 35 percent of those costs, or $170 million to $229 million.

Constance replied to Letchworth that Alternative D would have a wider impact in terms of flood control than simply just offering buyouts, which would vary in success depending on the participation rate of property owners.

Earlier, though, a Corps official clarified how the agency calculates a project’s potential benefits: while at least 50 percent of the benefits have to come from flood control, additional benefits from recreational opportunities can be included in the agency’s analysis. Constance explained that the benefits of damming the river — which is what separates Alternative D and One Lake from other options the Corps is considering — would be recreational, not flood control-related.

Columbia Mayor Justin McKenzie and others argued, despite the Corps’ hydrological models, that the weir would harm those downstream similarly to what they saw after the Ross Barnett Reservoir was built in the 1960s.

“I do think there’s some responsible ways to do (this project) without creating a weir,” McKenzie said. “I don’t want any of my tax revenue to be spent on recreation of the lake in Jackson.”

Another possible impediment to the project is the Pearl River map turtle.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Pearl River map turtle as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, estimating that only 21,000 of the species remain in existence. The Pearl River map turtle’s habitat, the agency says, includes the Pearl River system in Mississippi and Louisiana.

“The science that the Service has gathered on the Pearl River map turtle indicates it could become endangered in the near future,” said Fish and Wildlife Biologist Luke Pearson in a press release. “These native freshwater map turtles are at risk and need our help. Working with state fish and wildlife agencies and our partners to conserve them is a priority.”

According to the Corps’ draft EIS, Alternative D is “likely to adversely affect but not likely to jeopardize the continuing existence of” the turtles. During Thursday’s meeting, Corps officials said they are still consulting with the USFWS on potential impacts to animals listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and that the agency’s advice will be incorporated into the final EIS.

“(The project) would require some excavation for the banks (along the Pearl River), and those turtles have been known to rely on those banks,” Brandon Davis with the Corps said.

For more information on how to submit comments before the Aug. 6 deadline or on the draft EIS, visit the Corps’ project website here.

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After first publicized shutoff, JXN Water won’t say how many others have happened

JXN Water confirmed to station WLBT this week that it shut off drinking water for an apartment complex in the city that was late on paying its bills, but declined to tell Mississippi Today how many total accounts have been suspended so far.

The third-party utility, which was established in 2022 through a federal court order, said it began shutting off water connections for not paying water bills in March. But when asked if it had a number of how many accounts or connections were shut off for overdue bills, JXN Water declined to say.

“No, as in we are not releasing that number,” Aisha Carson, a media spokesperson for JXN Water, told Mississippi Today on Thursday. “We’re not talking about it publicly.”

The complex that JXN Water did comment on was The Gardenside Apartments, a property just west of State Street on Northside Drive. Management with the complex didn’t respond to a request for comment, but an advertisement on Apartments.com says Gardenside contains 144 units with rent for one-bedroom apartments starting at $749.

The advertisement also reads: “Water, Sewer and Trash included!”

The complex’s website listed just two vacancies as of Thursday afternoon.

JXN Water told WLBT that it made “repeated attempts” to collect on Gardenside’s past due bills. The TV station reported that complex owes $149,000 and has not made a payment since 2017.

“That company that owns (Gardenside) owns more than one apartment complex in Jackson,” Carson said. “None of their accounts are current, and they have not been responsive to our requests at all.”

The registered agent for Gardenside on the state’s business registry database is Moshe Weber. The address listed for Weber in the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website matches one listed for a New York Life insurance agent with the same name in Brooklyn, New York. Weber did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

In April, JXN Water told WLBT that five apartment complexes, not including Gardenside, owed over $1.8 million in water bills. All five were owned by out-of-state companies.

Carson wouldn’t specify what other complexes are at risk of having their water shut off, but said some have reached out to JXN Water to work out payment plans since the April news.

“We are actively enforcing our severance process for apartment complexes that are more than 90 days behind (on their water bill),” she said.

In a Wednesday press release, JXN Water said it will send a property manager multiple notices before beginning the severance process. The utility also encouraged tenants in Jackson apartment complexes to ask their property management companies whether their accounts with JXN Water are current.

If you live in Jackson and have had your water shutoff due to your apartment complex not paying its bill or for any other reasons, reach out to us at info@mississippitoday.org.

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As heat rises, inmates and staff swelter in Mississippi’s prisons

As of Friday, five of the six locations where Mississippi’s prisons are located are under a National Weather Service heat advisory.

And the Mississippi Department of Corrections has no clear timeline as to when it will install air conditioning to bring relief to inmates and staff.

“We are continuing to explore our options to provide air conditioning where possible; however, there is no timetable for that installation at this time,” MDOC spokesperson Kate Head wrote in an email. 

One woman incarcerated at the women’s prison at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl said relief from the heat is hard to come by and the temperatures inside are worse than outside without any shade or trees. The woman asked not to be named for fear of retaliation. 

“It’s actually worse (in) here,” she said Tuesday. “The heat just hits you in the face.” 

The heat index, also known as what temperature feels like on the body, takes into account humidity and air temperature. Friday’s advisory was said to expect index temperatures up to 110.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who are at an increased risk of heat-related illnesses include those without access to air conditioning, those over the age of 65 and people with chronic conditions – populations that include incarcerated people. 

Last year was the incarcerated woman’s first summer at the prison, and she witnessed people pass out or experience seizures because of the heat. 

Head, the MDOC spokesperson, wrote in an email that the department is taking steps to mitigate the heat by providing incarcerated people with water, ice and fans. 

Some men incarcerated in Parchman’s Unit 29, which doesn’t have air conditioning, secure 8-inch fans purchased from the commissary to the bars of their cells and place their mattress on the floor beneath the fan, to try to deal with the summer heat. Credit: Courtesy of Hope Dealers Prison Reform of Mississippi.

This is similar to what has been done in previous years, but some incarcerated people have said that distribution of ice isn’t always regular or enough to support hundreds of people and that fans move hot air around. MDOC did not respond to these concerns Friday. 

Air conditioning installation has been completed at the women’s prison at CMCF in the church, school and dining areas, the incarcerated woman said. Several weeks ago it was completed in her housing zone, she said, but the AC there has not been turned on. 

Tuesday evening, the prison superintendent visited the building where the incarcerated woman lives and told residents the air conditioning would not be turned on for the foreseeable future because it requires a part that is on backorder, the woman said. 

The woman has also seen how three emotional support dogs trained by seminary students are moved to air conditioned areas and provided pools of water to stay cool. She doesn’t understand how the animals get access to the relief but she and the other women don’t. 

In this March 20, 2019, photo, a watch tower stands high on the grounds of the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

“We get the short end of the stick on everything,” she said, in reference to how the men at CMCF already have AC and the dogs in the women’s prison get access to it. 

MDOC did not respond to questions about the air conditioning and the dogs’ access to it.  

Last year as air conditioning was installed at three-fourths of the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, Commissioner Burl Cain estimated that by sometime in 2025, AC would be coming Parchman’s Unit 29, South Mississippi Correctional Institute in Leakesville and other facilities, so long as funding was available to support those upgrades. 

“It just takes a good while to get it all done,” he said in an April 2023 interview with Missisisppi Today. “That’s just the way the funding is.” 

At Parchman, the heat index was above 130 degrees –  within the extreme danger category where a person’s risk of heat-related illness is likely – for 25 of the past 72 hours, according to the National Weather Service records. 

On four separate instances Wednesday afternoon, the heat index reached 185 at Parchman, according to weather data. 

Pictures from Parchman’s Unit 29, which doesn’t have air conditioning, shows how men have secured 8-inch fans purchased from the commissary to the bars of their cells and placed their mattress on the floor beneath the fan, which some have told advocates is how they get relief from the heat. 

The majority of Parchman has had air conditioning since last summer, but Unit 29 is part of the group of prisons that are expected to get AC sometime in the future. 

At all prisons, an 8-inch fan is available to buy from the commissary for $29.95, which is among one of the most expensive on the prison’s commissary list compiled by The Appeal

Even if an incarcerated person has a job, Mississippi prison industry jobs can pay between 20 cents and $1.30 an hour, which falls within an estimated national average calculated by the Prison Policy Initiative. The group also estimated regular prison jobs nationwide have an estimated range of 14 cents and 63 cents an hour. 

Privately operated Eastern Mississippi Correctional Facility has AC including in its housing units, but family members told advocates that since the end of May, the air conditioning has not been functional. 

The maximum daily temperatures in Meridian, where the prison is located, have been above 90 degrees since the end of May, according to the National Weather Service. 

Meridian is also under a heat advisory, and within the past three days, the highest heat index was 107 degrees – 95 degrees at 75% humidity, which is in the danger category for heat-related illnesses. 

Management and Training Corp. spokesperson Emily Lawhead said technicians have diagnosed problems with air conditioning units and will install new units when they arrive. 

“We’re working hard to get all AC units back online as soon as possible,” she wrote in an email. 

In the meantime, Lawson said cold water and fans are available, and Gatorade is provided to staff and incarcerated people for them to stay hydrated. Swamp coolers are cooling the air in areas where AC units are waiting to be repaired, she said Friday. 

Heat in prison is a national issue that Families Against Mandatory Minimums, which represents incarcerated people and their families, and One Voice United, a group representing corrections staff, have teamed up to address. 

The Safer Prisons, Safer Communities campaign is highlighting a nationwide crisis through overcrowding, understaffing and deteriorating conditions that make prisons unconducive to rehabilitation and create poor conditions for incarcerated people, prison staff, families and communities. 

Andy Potter, executive director of One Voice United and a former Michigan corrections officer, recognizes prison infrastructure can be old and it can be expensive to install air conditioning.

But he said it’s not enough for incarcerated people and the corrections staff to rely on fans, water bottles and Gatorade to stay cool. The incarcerated and staff do not have the freedom or ability to seek relief in a similar way as those not in a prison system can do, Potter said. 

Daniel Landsman, vice president of policy for FAMM, said air conditioning can help decrease incidents of violence and fatalities, which research has found increases with heat. 

“Heat is just going to make all the things we are experiencing in our prison system worse,” he said. 

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