‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ by Muddy Waters

Hoochie Coochie Man was first recorded by Issaquena County native Muddy Waters in 1954. The song, which was written by Vicksburg native Willie Dixon and is replete with references to hoodoo folk magic, became one of Waters’ most popular songs. It also helped secure Dixon as Chess Records’ chief songwriter. Waters was recorded in Mississippi by Alan Lomax, an American ethnomusicologist,  for the Library of Congress in 1941. In 1943, he moved to Chicago to become a full-time professional musician, and his talent earned him the reputation as the father of modern Chicago blues.

‘I Wanna Be Down’ by Brandy

I Wanna Be Down, by McComb native Brandy Norwood (known professionally simply as Brandy), was the singer’s first single. It was released in 1994 on her self-titled debut album, which was certified quadruple platinum in the United States and sold 6 million copies worldwide. I Wanna Be Down spent four weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart in the United States and reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Top 20 in Australia and New Zealand. A hip-hop remix with new vocals from rappers MC Lyte, Queen Latifah and Yo-Yo was released in 1995.

‘Misery Business’ by Paramore

Paramore’s Misery Business is the rock band’s lead single from its second studio album, Riot!, which was released in 2007. The song, based on a phrase heard in the Stephen King-adapted psycho-thriller film Misery, peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 26 in January 2008, making it the band’s highest-charting single until Ain’t It Fun reached No. 10 in 2014. It also peaked at No.

‘Mississippi in July’ by Charlie Worsham

Charlie Worsham wrote Mississippi in July for a friend’s wedding. In the song, Worsham, who was born in Jackson and grew up in Grenada, describes the landscape of the Mississippi Delta. Mississippi in July also appeared on Worsham’s debut country album, Rubberband, in 2013. Worsham has toured with Taylor Swift and opened for country stars Miranda Lambert and Wade Bowen. Worsham’s second album, Beginning of Things, was released in April.

Ole Miss business program cited for ‘excellence’ by international society

The School of Business Administration at the University of Mississippi will be awarded the Global Centers of Insurance Excellence designation this summer at the International Insurance Society’s forum in London. The school’s Risk Management and Insurance program is among only 12 programs in the U.S., and 20 worldwide, to receive the designation. The aim of the designation is to encourage universities to play an integral role in advancing insurance education, to enhance industry research and intellectual development, and to build connections between the insurance industry and top-tier academic programs and faculty. “This designation requires that an RMI program is staffed by highly qualified faculty and that its graduates are hired in the insurance industry,”  said Andre Liebenberg, the Gwenette P. and Jack W. Robertson Chair of Insurance and associate professor of finance. “Our ability to meet these requirements is due to the commitment and support of our administration, advisory board, employers, donors, and sustaining sponsors.”

Story, photos stripped from Emmett Till marker

A sign on the Mississippi Freedom trail documenting the kidnapping and lynching of Emmett Till has been defaced, obliterating information about the 1955 incident that galvanized a nascent Civil Rights movement, the Associated Press reports. The marker in Money was scratched with a blunt tool in May. Now vinyl panels containing photos and text about Till have been peeled off the back of the metal marker. The sign was erected in 2011, the first in a series of state-funded markers at significant civil rights sites. The damaged sign is near the long-closed Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market, where a 21-year-old white shopkeeper, Carolyn Bryant, said 14-year-old Till whistled at her in August 1955.

Vicksburg agrees to restructure city government

Vicksburg’s Board of Aldermen approved a resolution Monday that will restructure city government in a manner proposed by Mayor George Flaggs Jr., The Vicksburg Post reported. Flaggs’ proposal to amend the city’s 105-year-old charter had undergone more than two years of debate, arguments and attempts at compromise. “I feel relieved, now that all the work we put in is not in vain, and I think it’s the most progressive thing that ever happened to this city,” Flaggs said. “I intend to restructure and reorganize this city so that we can have more day-to-day oversight and accountability, and I hope that translates in to saving dollars.”
Flaggs said he believes about $1.5 million could be saved through restructuring the city government. The board voted Monday to put Flagg’s amendments on the board’s minutes, signalling their approval.

Church, cemetery, schools added to National Register of Historic Places

Mt. Olive Cemetery in Hinds County, one of the oldest private African American graveyards in the state, is one of five Mississippi properties recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. The United States Department of the Interior also approved the addition of Hillsboro Methodist Church and Cemetery, Scott County; Mt. Moriah School, Walthall County; Walthall County Training School, Walthall County; and the Wharlest and Exerlena Jackson House, Adams County. Hillsboro Methodist Church, established circa 1836, initially was a log chapel called Cypress Grove.

Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi honored in NYC

Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi was honored at the Education Innovation Awards presented by EVERFI, Inc., for its efforts to strengthen communities and empower students through unique digital learning opportunities. Twenty institutions were honored with this distinction at a ceremony hosted on June 12 at the Nasdaq Marketsite in New York City, the foundation said in a press release. 

Honorees were selected based on a set of criteria that included the scale and impact of their digital education initiatives as well as unique student engagement and employee volunteering activities that supplement their programs.

The Mississippi foundation’s Community Digital Scholars program this year involved 25 percent of the 4th-12th grade public school students in its 11-county region. The largest number of those students engaged with the financial literacy segment and, on average, increased their knowledge of personal finance by 91 percent, the foundation’s release said. “Education is one of the main causes that matters to the Community Foundation’s mission. From our earliest successful efforts to place Internet-accessible computers in all of Mississippi public classrooms, we have used technology to improve education,” said Community Foundation President Tom Pittman.

Baptist Hospital transfers Oxford facility to Ole Miss

The University of Mississippi will take over the Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi building in Oxford when the hospital moves to its new facility in November. The Board of Directors of the Institutes of Higher Learning approved the $22 million purchase of the 15-acre location south of the Ole Miss campus during its Thursday meeting. “The purchase of this property allows us to provide improved space for our support units and other functions that serve external constituencies,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said in a press release. “It will also be a major factor in helping us effectively address our capacity for future growth.”

The purchase agreement will be submitted to the city of Oxford and Lafayette County under their right of first refusal, but both Oxford Mayor Pat Patterson and Lafayette County Board of Supervisors president Jeff Busby expressed support for the transfer of the property to the university. The agreement includes a lease-back to allow Baptist Hospital sufficient time to complete the move into its new facility, which is currently under construction on Belk Boulevard between South Lamar and Old Taylor Road.

State bond refinancing saves $32M for FY2018

The state Bond Commission has restructured nearly $450 million in outstanding state bonds, saving more than $32 million in Fiscal Year 2018 alone, Treasurer Lynn Fitch announced Thursday in a press release. “The Bond Commission pays close attention to the financial markets so we can take advantage of favorable market conditions to save Mississippians money,” Fitch said in the release. “Today’s refunding not only eliminates the need for a deficit appropriation for debt service in FY 2018, but also saves taxpayers millions throughout the remaining life of the bonds.”

Such proactive management of state debt is saving $34 million this time, for a total of $69 million since Fitch took office, the release said. Fitch and Gov. Phil Bryant are in New York City this week for their annual meetings with analysts from the three top credit rating agencies. Fitch said she and Bryant are emphasizing steps taken to improve the state’s budgeting and borrowing, including the Fortify Act passed during the Legislature’s special session earlier this month and debt management rules adopted by the Bond Commission. Current ratings, according to the release from the Treasurer:

Fitch Ratings: AA/Stable

S&P: AA/Negative

Moody’s: Aa2/Negative

Tuition up, jobs down at community colleges

Mississippi’s 15 community colleges are raising tuition and eliminating jobs for the upcoming school year to close budget gaps, the Associated Press reports. Tuition will increase an average of 13 percent, bringing average tuition and fees to $3,104 annually, up from $2,748 this year. Approximately 250 jobs will be cut, and five schools are dropping at least one intercollegiate sport, according to AP. Schools began the current budget year with $265 million in state funding but will start next year with $237 million. Eighty-one people will be laid off, 122 jobs will be eliminated after employees leave the positions and 35 student jobs will be eliminated, Community College Board Executive Director Andrea Mayfield said in a statement.