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LeBron James Family Foundation grants 193 scholarships

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I Promise students get the news of their scholarships (photo via Kent State website)

The parents of I Promise students were watching from another room as the students looked under their chairs. They were visiting the Kent State campus in Ohio, and they burst into tears as their kids got the news: 193 high school juniors received scholarships to Kent State University in Ohio because of the LeBron James Family Foundation.

LeBron James (photo by Keith Allison CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36918815)

In 2018, James opened the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, for at-risk children in grades one through eight. The school deploys a STEM-based curriculum, mentoring, college and career preparation, and wrap-around family support.

James has a great relationship with Kent State which is what made the scholarships possible for the kids. I Promise students attend summer enrichment college preparation programs at the university.

“We are so pleased to take our partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation to this next level and welcome these students fully into the Kent State family,” Kent State President Todd Diacon said in a press release. “Kent State looks forward to the time when our campus is teeming with I Promise students.”

The students will receive one year of free room and meal plans, along with four years of free tuition. Kent State is starting a fund-raising program to extend the scholarships to include room and board for the other three years.

To remain eligible for the free tuition each year, the students must remain in good academic standing, must complete a minimum number of credit hours annually and must take part in a required number of community service or volunteer hours.

Part of the free tuition program may include work-study jobs on campus, which will give the students a true “sweat equity” stake in their education. The free tuition guarantee includes no loans that would have to be repaid.

“The I Promise program is built on the ‘earned, not given’ philosophy. We are so excited that our students that have worked incredibly hard have earned even more life-changing opportunities to grow and excel,” said Michele Campbell, executive director of the LeBron James Family Foundation. “We are so thankful to the entire Kent State family for believing in our students and providing exactly the type of programming and support they need to be successful not only in school but in life.”

 

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Final day for comments on Corps’ Yazoo Backwater Pumps statement

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U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith spoke with flood victims at Valley Park, Miss., in 2019. (Photo by David Day)

Monday, Nov. 30 is the final day to submit comments on the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Impact Statement in support of finishing the Yazoo Backwater Pumps. State officials are urging Mississippians to weigh in.

“We’ve seen the devastation that the backwater flooding has caused to Mississippi agriculture, farmers, ranchers and wildlife for years now, unnecessarily. The solution is simple, we need to finish the Yazoo Pump Project, which would prevent flood damage to urban and agricultural areas throughout the state for years to come,” said Andy Gipson, commissioner of agriculture and commerce, in a statement.

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently accepting comments from citizens through Monday, Nov. 30, on the Yazoo Area Pump Project, and I encourage all Mississippians to take a moment and submit a comment of support. We need to stand up for our friends in the Mississippi South Delta and help them in their time of need. It’s time to finish the pumps.”

Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann tweeted a brief video Monday in support of the finishing the pumps.

Comments must be submitted by Monday, Nov. 30. Submit comments using one of the following methods:

  • Text PUMPS to 50457.
  • Send a voicemail or text message to 601-392-2237.
  • Go to https://www.forgottenbackwaterflood.com/ or https://finishthepumps.com/ to fill out an online form to send to the Corps.
  • Fill out a postcard available at sites around the state including Valley Park Elevator in Valley Park, Lo-Sto and Yore Convenience Store in Eagle Lake, Mississippi Ag Company and Chuck’s Dairy Bar in Rolling Fork, Mississippi Levee Board and Sherman’s Restaurant in Greenville, Toney’s Grill in Vicksburg and the Mississippi Delta Council in Stoneville.
  • Send an email to [email protected]
  • Write to the Corps at the following address:
    District Engineer
    S. Army Corps of Engineers
    Vicksburg District
    4155 Clay Street
    Vicksburg, MS 39183-3435
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The old state flag with the Confederate battle emblem isn’t dead just yet

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The old flag of the State of Mississippi once flew along High Street between the Mississippi State Capitol, Supreme Court and Walter Sillers State Office Building in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=68498465)

Despite a massive vote on Nov. 3 in favor of a new Mississippi state flag that proclaims “In God We Trust,” additional official actions are needed to ensure the death knell for the 126-year-old state flag that features the Confederate battle emblem as part of its design.

During the 2021 legislative session that begins in January, lawmakers must ratify the new state flag approved by voters on Nov. 3. The bill passed this summer — which retired the old flag and formed a commission to recommend a new design (the “In God We Trust” flag) to be approved or rejected by voters on Nov. 3 — included a little-noticed provision that requires legislators to ratify the action of the voters.

That means lawmakers must take at least one more vote on the flag in the rapidly approaching legislative session.

In 2001, during an earlier failed attempt to change the state flag, legislators voted to hold a referendum where the choice would be between the old flag and a new design recommended by a commission. The bill passed by the Legislature that year stated that whatever flag voters approved would be the official flag of the state without any additional action by the Legislature. In 2001, voters overwhelmingly voted to retain the old flag.

But the bill approved this year states that once voters approved the new design, “the Legislature shall enact into law the new design as the official Mississippi state flag.” Of course, the courts have ruled that the word “shall” does not force legislators to do anything they do not want to do.

The vote to change the flag this past summer was a difficult one for many legislators to take, and several lawmakers have taken heat for it in their home districts. That begs the question of why language was put into the bill essentially forcing legislators to take yet another vote on the contentious issue. It seems the easier option would have been to mandate that the vote of the people for a new flag would ratify that banner as official.

As the bill was being crafted in June, concerns were raised about an 1860 Supreme Court case, Alcorn v. Hamer. Some said the ruling in that case could be interpreted to say it was unconstitutional for the Legislature to leave it to a vote of the people to enact general law.

Despite the controversy surrounding replacing the old flag, there is good reason to believe the ratification of the new flag by the Legislature during the 2021 session will be nothing more than a formality and will perhaps happen early in the session.

After all, more Mississippians voted for the new state flag on Nov. 3 than voted for President Donald Trump or U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith. Heck, more people voted for the new flag than voted for medical marijuana, which also got more votes than Trump and Hyde-Smith.

The only ballot item receiving more votes than the new flag this year was the proposal to change the Constitution to remove the language requiring candidates for statewide office to garner both a majority of the popular votes and to win the most votes in a majority of House districts in order to win the election.

That proposal received 957,420 votes, or 79.2%, in still unofficial returns, while the flag garnered 939,585 vote, or 73.3%. Trump received 756,731 votes, or 57.5%.

Both the electoral provision that was repealed by voters and the old state flag were remnants of the 1890s, when Mississippi’s white power structure took extraordinary steps to deny basic rights to African Americans. The electoral provision was enacted as a method of preventing Black Mississippians, then a majority in the state, from being elected to statewide office.

Placing the Confederate battle emblem on the state’s official flag during the same time period, no doubt, was a way for white lawmakers to pay homage to the Civil War in which Southerners fought to preserve slavery.

Even if the Legislature, as expected, does ratify the new flag in 2021, the controversy may not be quite over. The Let Mississippi Vote political committee plans to try to garner the roughly 100,000 signatures of registered voters needed to place a proposal back on the ballot to allow people to choose between four flags — one being that 126-year-old banner.

Most likely later this month or early next month, the clock will start ticking on the one-year time frame supporters of that ballot initiative will have to gather the signatures to place the flag proposal on the ballot.

Whether Mississippians, who voted overwhelmingly for a new flag on Nov. 3, will want to vote again on the contentious issue remains to be seen.


This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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Vehicle takes out hydrant and utility pole

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Photo by David Day

A single vehicle collision has taken out a fire hydrant and a utility pole on Cherry at Baum.

Photo by David Day

At 10:40 p.m. E-911 Dispatch received a call that a dark blue Kia SUV had impacted a utility pole on Cherry Street near East. The first officer on scene called in that a fire hydrant had also been impacted and that water was gushing into the roadway.

Photo by David Day

Neither the driver or the passenger of the Kia was injured however a man was taken into custody at the scene.

No disruption of utility services in the area was noted and that traffic was flowing smoothly.

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Vicksburg
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