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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.

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

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. 


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 


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 


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.

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
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
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

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!

Lawmakers miss deadline to pass state budget, will likely extend session

Mississippi lawmakers missed a Monday night deadline to complete their budget work and now will have to extend the regular session or wait for Gov. Tate Reeves to call a special session to fund public education and other key agencies.

Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, told House members late Monday afternoon there were about 25 budget bills where work had not been completed to reach agreement between legislative leaders ahead of a midnight deadline. He said House leaders will attempt on Tuesday to garner the two-thirds majority vote needed to extend the session for “one or two days” in order to meet the Mississippi Constitution requirement that all appropriations and revenue bills be passed before the final five days of the session.

The session is currently scheduled to end Sunday. Lawmakers could vote to extend the session on paper but still finish by Sunday’s scheduled final day.

At the heart of the missed deadline is a fight between House and Senate leaders over the budget bill for K-12 schools.

The Senate voted to make small adjustments to the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, the formula that provides the state’s share of funds to local school districts, and fully fund it for the first time since the 2007-2008 school year.

House leaders, though, have rejected the Senate plan, saying they do not want to put any additional funds in the MAEP formula. The full membership of the House has not been allowed to vote on the Senate plan.

House leaders have said they wanted to provide specific earmarks for education, but not provide additional funds for MAEP, which pays the state’s share for the basic needs of school districts, such as teacher salaries, textbooks and transportation.

While agreement eluded lawmakers on education and other budget bills, many of the more than 100 budget bills have already been passed.

Lawmakers agreed on spending $104 million to bail out the states struggling hospitals.

Another bill – funding the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks – provides $13 million for the LeFluer’s Bluff Education and Tourism Complex in Jackson “in coordination” with the Mississippi Children’s Museum.

Last year Gov. Tate Reeves vetoed a similar appropriation that included a golf course in the LeFluer’s Bluff area. The governor said then that the state did not need to be in the business of building golf courses.

Supporters at the time said the project included various improvements in an area where multiple museums and playgrounds and other recreational facilities are located.

The bill this year does not say whether the project includes a golf course, but said the money is being appropriated “to provide tourism, education and recreational activities that contribute to community well-being.”

The post Lawmakers miss deadline to pass state budget, will likely extend session appeared first on Mississippi Today.

Grand jury meets in Oxford for Jay Lee case

A special grand jury hearing was held at the Lafayette County Courthouse Monday for Sheldon Timothy Herrington Jr., the Ole Miss graduate charged with murdering Jimmie “Jay” Lee, Mississippi Today has confirmed. 

Lee was a queer, Black student at the University of Mississippi known for performing at a local drag night. His death has shocked Oxford’s tight-knit LGBTQ+ community and sparked a movement called “Justice for Jay Lee” which wants Herrington convicted.

The grand jury hearing comes about three months after Herrington was released from jail on a $250,000 bond. He was charged with Lee’s murder in July 2022.

In Mississippi, grand jury hearings are secret. It is unclear when the grand jury will return a decision, but it could be as soon as Tuesday. A text and call to Steven Jubera, the Lafayette County Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case, was not returned. 

This hearing, the final step in a criminal investigation, marks a critical juncture in Herrington’s case. The grand jury could either vote to indict Herrington, meaning the case could proceed to trial, or return what is called a “no true bill” if there is not enough information to indict. 

This became public on Sunday morning when Justice for Jay Lee posted on Instagram that Herrington “will be appearing in court for indictment” this week. Braylyn Johnson, a friend of Lee’s and one of the group’s main organizers, said Justice for Jay Lee learned the grand jury would be meeting through a “whistleblower.” 

The post called for people to protest at the courthouse to show Herrington that Lee and his family have support in Oxford. 

“We need ALL of our supporters to make it here to rally with us for JUSTICE!,” the post read. 

That night, the Justice for Jay Lee page received a direct message from the Oxford Police Department’s Instagram page. 

OPD’s Instagram message to Justice for Jay Lee. Credit: Courtesy Justice for Jay Lee

“We appreciate your steadfast promotion for Jay Lee,” the message read. “But please hear us out. This is a special grand jury session just for this case due to the amount of evidence. Herrington WILL NOT be at the court house (sic). Disturbances could cause us not to be able to present to the grand jury. It could also lead to a request for a change of venue and we do not want that.” 

“We have worked hard on this case and do not want to do anything to jeopardize it,” the message concluded. 

OPD Captain Hildon Sessums, who sent the message, told Mississippi Today he was intending to warn Justice for Jay Lee that protesting could jeopardize the case. Sessums said he also wanted people to know that Herrington would not be at the courthouse. 

“We’re never going to try to stymie anybody’s First Amendment right,” Sessums said. “We just want people to realize that some actions have consequences, and the last thing we want to do is to do anything to jeopardize this case. We try to run everything by the book.” 

Sessums added that OPD isn’t trying to be secretive. Justice for Jay Lee has repeatedly called on the department to release more information about the case — specifically more details on the possible whereabouts of Lee’s body, which still has not been found more than 260 days after he went missing. 

“I just don’t think they understand all the logistics and what we’re doing and maybe that’s on us for not being as transparent as they would like us to be,” he said. “But again, this case has a lot of moving parts and we’re doing everything we can to get a guilty verdict.” 

Herrington’s attorney, Kevin Horan, was not at the grand jury hearing on Monday. A state representative, Horan was at the Capitol working on a bill when reached by a Mississippi Today reporter on Monday afternoon. He said he was not expecting to hear anything about the case. 

“I’m fixin’ to do a bill in about 30 seconds,” he said. 

It is unclear who testified before the grand jury hearing, though Johnson said that she spoke with Jay Lee’s mom, Stephanie Lee, as she was leaving the courthouse. 

At a preliminary hearing last fall, an OPD detective presented evidence obtained from Herrington’s computer and cell phone. That included Snapchat messages sent between Herrington and Lee the night that Lee went missing, and a Google search that Herrington made as Lee was coming over to his house that said, “how long does it take to strangle someone gabby petito.”

The post Grand jury meets in Oxford for Jay Lee case appeared first on Mississippi Today.

Marshall Ramsey: Helping Hands

A few years ago, I wrote a book titled “Chainsaws & Casseroles.” The title came from a short story about a disgruntled meteorologist who came home to find his hometown destroyed by a tornado. He soon learned the power of love and healing by the people who showed up to help after the storm. I’ve always said that when there is a storm, before you can get out of the rubble, there will be a church van full of people with chainsaws and casseroles. They’ll cut the tree off your house and then they will feed you. That’s how we roll in Mississippi. It may because we know that eventually it will be our turn to need help. Or we’ve been already been on the receiving end of that help. We’ve seen that all across Mississippi the last few days. It’s when we’re at our best.

No tornado can match its power.

The post Marshall Ramsey: Helping Hands appeared first on Mississippi Today.

How to help Mississippi tornado victims

Tornadoes ripping through Mississippi Friday night left at least 21 dead, dozens injured and a trail of destruction throughout the Delta and into the state’s northern region.

Photo gallery: Tornadoes devastate Mississippi towns

As the eyes of the nation turn to the Magnolia State, many readers have asked how they can help residents affected by the storms. We’ve compiled a resource page that includes information about how to give to organizations working to help Mississippians.

How to donate

Remember, experts routinely encourage donors to research organizations before giving money, especially in times of crisis. Local advocates and others who spoke with Mississippi Today, however, vouched for the organizations listed below.

  • Volunteer Mississippi is sharing updates on local donation centers — mostly for supplies and clothing, not cash donations — on its Facebook page.
  • United Way of West Central Mississippi is collecting donations of water at their office in Vicksburg. It is also accepting monetary donations on its chapter website, and organization leaders ask you specify “Rolling Fork” in the donation notes.

Additionally, GoFundMe created a dedicated page for the recent Mississippi storms.

How to volunteer

If you are looking to volunteer time or resources, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency officials ask that you do not self-deploy but instead volunteer in coordination with Volunteer Mississippi. Click here to visit the Volunteer Mississippi website.

Shelters for victims

  • National Guard Armory/Civic Center located at 19719 US Highway 61 in Rolling Fork.
  • Humphreys County Multipurpose Building located 417 Silver City Road in Belzoni.
  • Old Amory National Guard Building located at 101 S 9th St. in Amory.

The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and other nonprofit organizations will continue to offer food at these sites.

Government assistance

FEMA has made available federal assistance for affected individuals in Carroll, Humphreys, Monroe, and Sharkey counties. Individuals must visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362

The Mississippi Department of Human Services has allowed SNAP households that lost food to receive replacement food if they submit a MDHS-EA-508 form at their local MDHS office within 10 days of the disaster.

The Mississippi Division of Medicaid has enacted a state of emergency that allows affected Medicaid patients to receive early refills and additional prescriptions above the standard monthly limits.

Legal assistance

The Mississippi Center for Justice offers “free legal services to the survivors who need an advocate to help them fight for a fair recovery following the aftermath of these devastating storms.”

Help local journalists

The Mississippi Press Association has established two separate funds to assist local journalism efforts in the state. It launched a GoFundMe page to assist the Deer Creek Pilot newspaper in Rolling Fork, and it reestablished its Local Journalism Relief Fund to assist journalists and outlets affected by the storms.

The post How to help Mississippi tornado victims appeared first on Mississippi Today.

In the wake of deadly tornadoes, schools react to power outages and building damage

Four school districts are closed Monday as a result of the deadly tornadoes that made their way across the state over the weekend and killed 21 people, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. 

The districts are: 

  • South Delta School District
  • Amory School District
  • Carroll County School District
  • Winona-Montgomery Consolidated School District

Brian Jones, superintendent of the Amory School District, described the situation as “very, very overwhelming.” He said schools will be closed all week in the district and the goal is to have students back by next Monday. Amory High School was the only school building to sustain damage in one part of the campus, allowing it to be used for instruction once schools reopen. 

Jones said the district’s school buses had all the windows blown out by the storm, which they are working to repair, adding that they have been in communication with other districts about borrowing school buses. He also said the athletic facilities are gone and students will not be playing any sports for the remainder of the year while the district works to rebuild.

“The community has rallied around itself with everybody trying to help everybody,” Jones said. 

No buildings were damaged in the Winona-Montgomery Consolidated School District, according to Superintendent Teresa Jackson, but the district and much of the surrounding community are currently without power. 

Jackson said the estimate from Entergy was that power would be restored by 10 p.m. Tuesday night, but said she considers this optimistic. She added she is concerned about food access since the one grocery store in Winona is running on generators and most other stores are without power. 

“We want to get our schools open as soon as possible so that we can serve breakfast and lunch, have mental health resources, and just get back into a routine,” Jackson said. “Kids need routine.”

Jackson said they hope to be back in school before the end of the week. She also expressed her appreciation for the fellow superintendents, state leaders, and local companies who have checked on them and offered assistance. 

“When there are tragic events like this, the state of Mississippi really wraps their arms around those people,” she said. “That is why I love Mississippi so much, because we take care of each other, we care about each other, and we’re going to reach out and say ‘How can we help?’”

A spokesperson for the Mississippi Department of Education said it has been in continued contact with all affected districts, and is working with federal, state and local agencies to administer support services. State Superintendent Robert Taylor visited the communities most severely affected on Monday. 

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said the New Albany School District and Humphreys County School District, also in the path of the tornadoes, were operational on Monday, which the New Albany Superintendent Lance Evans confirmed to Mississippi Today. Evans added that the damage to facilities in his district was extremely minimal compared to other districts. 

Superintendents of the South Delta School District and the Carroll County School District could not be reached for comment. According to the Mississippi Department of Education, school buildings in South Delta sustained roof damage but are not destroyed and Carroll County school buildings were undamaged but are currently without power. 

Hank Bounds, the former state superintendent of education during Hurricane Katrina, said for the most severely affected districts, reopening schools is secondary to ensuring their students and staff are safe and cared for. Bounds said he has offered his assistance through state leaders to districts trying to figure out their disaster recovery plans, but has not been in contact with any yet. 

“My guess is they are doing nothing but thinking about the welfare of their people right now, as they should be,” he said. 

No colleges or universities in the state appear to have sustained damages. 

On Saturday evening, Mississippi Valley State University in Leflore County posted a message from its president, Jerryl Briggs, on social media. The campus “avoided a severe blow,” Briggs wrote, but the families of students, faculty and staff were affected. To support those community members, the university was organizing a community service event.

“Our hearts ached as we watched the news coverage and have since heard of the reports of those who lost their lives, property, and so much more,” Briggs wrote.

Molly Minta contributed to this report.

The post In the wake of deadly tornadoes, schools react to power outages and building damage appeared first on Mississippi Today.

Senate, in 11th hour, tries to revive ballot initiative measure it previously killed

The Senate on Monday, at Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann’s request, voted to revive a measure it killed last week that would restore voters’ right to sidestep the Legislature and put issues on a statewide ballot.

“At my request, the Senate passed a suspension resolution to revive the initiative process (Monday) morning,” Hosemann said in a statement. “House leadership has also expressed a desire to continue working on this issue. If the House agrees to this suspension resolution, the Senate will again address legislation providing Mississippians with direct input on policy. We are hopeful to come to a final agreement before (the legislative session ends).”

As the 2023 legislative session enters what’s scheduled to be its final few days, the House would have to follow suit with a two-thirds vote to suspend rules and revive the ballot initiative measure. Then the two chambers would have to come to agreement on a final version.

But House Speaker Philip Gunn said he would need more information before deciding whether the House would take up the  Senate proposal to suspend the rules to pass an initiative proposal. He said the House had passed two initiative proposals – one last year and another this year – and both had been rejected by Senate leaders.

“We are clear on our position,” Gunn said. Unless the position in the Senate had changed on the initiative, Gunn asked, “What would be accomplished?” by taking up the rules suspension resolution.

In general, Gunn said he does not like such rules suspension resolutions because they could be used to try to revive other bills that had died earlier in the legislative process.

Citing irreconcilable differences between House and Senate positions, Senate Accountability Efficiency and Transparency Chairman John Polk, R-Hattiesburg, let the ballot initiative measure die with a deadline without a full Senate vote last week. A similar measure died in the Legislature without a final vote last year, after the state Supreme Court in 2021 shot down the ballot initiative right Mississippi voters had for three decades.

Hosemann last week said he was in favor of restoring the right — which is popular with voters according to recent polling — but that he lets his chairmen, such as Polk, make their own decisions.

The death of the bill drew bipartisan criticism, including from Hosemann’s challenger in the lieutenant governor GOP primary Sen. Chris McDaniel. If it stands, the bill’s death is likely to be an issue with voters in this year’s statewide elections.

READ MORE: Is ballot initiative a ‘take your picture off the wall’ issue for lawmakers?

Many Mississippians were angry when the state’s high court stripped voters of this right in 2021. This was in a ruling on a medical marijuana initiative voters had overwhelmingly passed, taking matters in hand after lawmakers had dallied for years on the issue. Legislative leaders were quick at the time with vows they would restore this right to voters, fix the legal glitches that prompted the Supreme Court to rule it invalid. Many lawmakers said they support the right.

The House and Senate versions of the measure, which would have required ratification by voters in November, differed. But both would have greatly restricted voters’ right to ballot initiative compared to the process that had been in place since 1992. Many supporters of restoring the right have been angered about legislative leaders’ proposals to date. In the House, most Democrats despite supporting restoration of the right voted “present” on the House version they found it so restrictive.

House Minority Leader Robert Johnson, D-Natchez, said if a bill is passed this session restoring the initiative, it should be a “clean” proposal that requires the same number of signatures to get an issue on the ballot as the initiative process that was struck down by the Supreme Court. Johnson said the proposal should not ban issues, such as abortion, from being taken up through the initiative process as was in the most recent House version.

The Senate position on the initiative would require the signatures of at least 240,000 registered voters to place an issue on a statewide ballot. The House version would require about 106,000, nearer the previous threshold required for the last 30 years.

Under both proposals, the Legislature by a simple majority vote could change or repeal an initiative approved by the electorate. Unlike the previous process voters had for decades, voters could only pass or change state laws, not the state constitution.

READ MORE: Senate kills Mississippi ballot initiative without a vote

Senate President Protem Dean Kirby, who proposed the rules suspension to revive the measure, on Monday said he believes many senators still support the higher signature threshold but, “Hopefully we can work out some kind of compromise.”

“We all want something passed,” Kirby said. “I think a lot of people out there do want a ballot initiative and we are going to make an effort.”

A recent Mississippi Today/Siena College poll shows Mississippi voters across the spectrum want their right to put issues directly on a statewide ballot restored.

The poll showed 72% favor reinstating ballot initiative, with 12% opposed and 16% either don’t know or have no opinion. Restoring the right garnered a large majority among Democrats, Republicans, independents and across all demographic, geographic and income lines. 

Rep. Sam Creekmore, R-New Albany, heard about the Senate’s attempt to revive the measure as he walked off the House floor Monday afternoon.

“Good,” Creekmore said. “Let’s get it done.”

The post Senate, in 11th hour, tries to revive ballot initiative measure it previously killed appeared first on Mississippi Today.

Reeves’ nominee to state Education Board rejected by Senate Education panel

The Senate Education Committee has rejected Gov. Tate Reeves’ nomination of DeSoto County resident Carra Powell to the Mississippi Board of Education.

Late Sunday, the Education Committee tabled the nomination. The Education Committee is expected to meet again before the session ends — presumably later this week — to take up the nomination of Robert Taylor for state superintendent of education.

At that meeting, an effort could be made to revive Powell’s nomination. On Sunday, Sen. Sollie Norwood, D-Jackson, made the motion to table the nomination. It was overwhelmingly approved on a voice vote. No one asked Senate Education Chair Dennis DeBar, R-Leakesville, for a roll call after the voice vote.

It is not unusual for such action to occur on a voice vote. But members have the option to ask for a show of hands or even a roll call if they believe the ruling of the chair is inaccurate.

No one asked for additional clarification of the vote.

Powell’s nomination was considered controversial. A resident of DeSoto County, near the Tennessee line, she is a registered lobbyist for a charter school association in Tennessee.

Before the vote, Reeves posted on social media, of Powell, “She is a strong conservative, active in her kids’ public schools, and a tremendous advocate for education freedom. Many left wing groups trying to stop her. Can’t imagine why! Do not let them win!”

Reeves had not yet posted on social media anything about the Education Committee’s decision. The Education Committee consists of 10 Republicans and five Democrats.

In Reeves’ first legislative session as governor, his nomination of former state Sen. Nancy Collins, R-Tupelo, to the state Board of Education also was rejected. She, like Powell, was opposed by many public education groups who voiced concern with her pro educational choice advocacy positions.

The nine-member Board of Education consists of four appointees of the governor and two each from the lieutenant governor and speaker of the House.

The post Reeves’ nominee to state Education Board rejected by Senate Education panel appeared first on Mississippi Today.

Jackson County selects Catholic nonprofit as Singing River hospital’s new owner

Jackson County’s Board of Supervisors announced Monday it chose Louisiana Catholic nonprofit Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System to purchase the Gulf Coast’s Singing River Health System. 

The decision comes after an extensive proposal period in which potential buyers put in bids for the Mississippi hospital system. Singing River CEO Tiffany Murdock announced last year the 700-bed hospital system was seeking a buyer to put it on firmer footing for the future.

 “This is an exciting day for Singing River Health System,” Murdock said in a statement. “Our future with the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System ensures that Singing River will be able to meet the needs of our employees, patients and community members for years to come. Together, we will build on the strong foundation Singing River has established since we first originated as Jackson County Hospital in 1931.”

While hospitals across Mississippi came out of the pandemic in the red, Singing River’s finances were in decent shape, and it even grew its revenue in 2021. Murdock said she was pushing for a buyer while the system was an appealing investment, fearing the challenges in years to come.

Tiffany Murdock, CEO of Singing River Health System, speaks during a public hearing over the potential sale of Singing River Health System during a Jackson County Board of Supervisors meeting in Pascagoula on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022. Credit: Hannah Ruhoff / Biloxi Sun Herald

“We’re coming at it now at a place of strength,” Murdock told a community group in the town of Hurley in August 2022. “And in five years, I can’t promise you the same thing.”

Hospitals have been facing increasing costs from labor to supplies. Rural Mississippi hospitals have been struggling to stay afloat. Singing River hopes that by teaming up with a larger system, they’ll be able to better trim costs because of the scale at which purchases are made. 

While not in danger of shuttering its doors like other hospitals in the state, Singing River hasn’t been without its own challenges since seeking a buyer. Its Gulfport hospital recently suspended its labor and delivery services because of a physician staffing shortage.

The system says it wants to reopen obstetric care but it’s unclear when that will happen. Its last day of service is April 1.

In its announcements about acquisition, Singing River said the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System is committed to “keeping care local, investing in our community and investing in our people.” 

“We are excited about the possibilities for healthcare in our region and believe the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System is the right choice,” Jackson Board of Supervisors President Ken Taylor said in a statement. “Fundamentally, they share our community values and have a mission to provide equal access to healthcare for all.”

The Catholic system already operates St. Dominic Memorial Hospital in Jackson and nine facilities throughout Louisiana. Its headquarters are in Baton Rouge.

Singing River has hospitals in Gulfport, Ocean Springs and Pascagoula and several walk-in clinics and other medical facilities across the Coast.

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On this day in 1867

MARCH 27, 1867

In one of the nation’s first sit-ins, a group of Black men boarded a “whites-only” streetcar in Charleston, South Carolina, sitting among the white passengers. The conductor ordered them to move. They stayed. The police ordered them to move. They stayed. The driver unhitched the horses and left the streetcar. 

Protests expanded beyond the single line, and police arrested 11. The continuing protests led Black residents to win the right to ride in the streetcars. Their victory expanded in June when the discrimination of railroads, horse-cars and steamboats were also banned.

The post On this day in 1867 appeared first on Mississippi Today.

Podcast: Biggest surprises of the wild 2023 legislative session

Mississippi Today’s political team shares their biggest surprises of the 2023 legislative session, breaking down major issues that lawmakers are debating (or not debating) in the final days of the session.

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