Listening sessions kick off Alcorn State’s presidential search

The Mississippi board of trustees want to hear from the campus community what qualities and qualifications they want in the next president of Alcorn State University. The state board of trustees have scheduled listening sessions Tuesday, Oct. 2 on the ASU campus. Former ASU president Al Rankins was appointed to oversee Mississippi’s college board earlier this summer – becoming the first African American to be named Commissioner of Higher Learning for the state. Dr. Donzell Lee is currently serving as the interim president.

Two police officers killed in the line of duty in Brookhaven

Two Mississippi police officers were killed Saturday morning in Brookhaven. Officials say James White, 35, and Zach Moak, 31, were killed after answering a call of gunshots fired. They were killed in an exchange of gunfire that also left the suspect wounded. Gov. Phil Bryant later tweeted: “Let us all pray just now for the family and loved ones of these fallen heroes. May the Good Lord hold them in his everlasting arms.”

Read the complete story as reported by the Clarion Ledger  here.

Methodology used for report on Mississippi evictions

In the reporting of “Fighting to keep my place’: How a housing program to help families out of poverty may trap some in it,” Mississippi Today used the following methodology:

Using Eviction Lab – a Princeton-based research team – data that aggregated every eviction across the nation from 2000 to 2016 and ranked Jackson fifth and Mississippi eighth highest for eviction rates, we analyzed trends and demographic data from the same 17-year window and narrowed our focus to DeSoto and Hinds counties. Tunica had the state’s highest eviction records according to the data, but we excluded it from original analysis due to its small population. We specifically zeroed in on Horn Lake, Southaven and Jackson – all of which consistently ranked highest for mid- to large-size cities for per-capita evictions compared to their county and the state overall, and represent very different parts of the state. In a Mississippi Today analysis of every eviction in DeSoto County from 2006 to July 2018 (more than 17,000 eviction court filings), we found a high rate of repeat evictions in justice court. Repeat evictions differ from estimates of actual removals, calculated by the Eviction Lab.

Over 200 inmates moved ahead of Gordon’s landfall

The Mississippi Department of Corrections has evacuated more than 200 people under the agency’s supervision from the Gulf Coast as Tropical Storm Gordon approaches. Individuals from the Harrison County Community Work Center, the Pascagoula Restitution Center, and the Harrison County jail were moved to other MDOC facilities, according to a statement released by the department Tuesday afternoon. “All movement was made without incidents,” Commissioner Pelicia E. Hall said in the statement. “I thank all of our dedicated staff for a job well done. The department will continue to monitor the weather and assess any further need for movement or relocation of its population.” The department did not specify which facilities where people were moved, but a department spokeswoman said the prisoners would be out of harm’s way.

Associated Press: Judge wants new look at prison conditions before ruling

Earlier this year, Mississippi Today reported on the trial start in a lawsuit over conditions at East Mississippi Correctional Facility – a privately run prison. The lawsuit alleges that the Mississippi Department of Corrections “has deliberately ignored or failed to remediate the life-threatening conditions that persist” at the prison, which is operated by a Centerville, Utah-based company — Management & Training Corp., Mississippi Today reported. The Associated Press is now reporting that the federal judge overseeing the trial on Friday ordered that the prison be re-examined. According to the AP report, U.S. District Judge William Barbour wants experts from both sides to see whether conditions have improved. He ordered reports filed by December, with a possible hearing in January.

Organization gets $1 million grant to aid Gulfport, region

The efforts of the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District of Gulfport got a boost last week when the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded the organization a $1 million grant. The funds, announced last week in a news release, will provide a cash infusion for the organization’s Revolving Loan Fund – a program that helps supplement small businesses and entrepreneurs in the region. According to the organization’s estimate, the project is expected to help create 168 jobs, retain 59 jobs and spur $4.8 million in private investment. “The Department of Commerce and its bureaus have been working diligently to aid communities across the country which have been devastated by natural disasters,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in the news release announcing the grant. “This Revolving Loan Fund will provide critical support to businesses throughout Mississippi, empowering local entrepreneurs all over the state.”

The Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District is a regional planning organization that supports development and a variety of services in 15 southern Mississippi counties along with 38 municipalities, its website states.