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Ole Miss a step closer to relocating Confederate statue with MDAH approval

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Photo source: Oxford Eagle

A statue of a Confederate soldier is a step closer to being moved from its prominent spot on the University of Mississippi campus.

In an email to Ole Miss students on Wednesday, Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks said that “progress that has been made to relocate the Confederate monument to the cemetery on campus, which is a more suitable location.”

The school received notification today that the Mississippi Department of History and Archives has approved the move, smoothing the way for the statute’s relocation.

As a final step, Ole Miss must also secure approval from the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

“As we move toward this important change for our university, the university administration remains committed to abiding by the state rules and laws and IHL policies that govern all construction projects on our campus,” Sparks said in his email.

In February, the Associated Student Body Senate for inclusion and cross-cultural engagement at Ole Miss passed a resolution that stated: “Confederate ideology directly violates the tenets of the university creed that supports fairness, civility, and respect for the dignity of each person.”

About a week later, the organization voted unanimously to move the statue to a Confederate cemetery on the campus.

The university contracted with an outside source to develop plans for the move, which it submitted to MDAH at the end of August.

The Confederate statue was erected in 1906, and it served as a rallying point for people who rioted to oppose integrating the campus in 1962.

Over the past two decades, Ole Miss has worked to distance itself from the once-ubiquitous iconography of the Confederacy on its campus, from banning “Dixie” from the marching band repertoire to no longer flying the state flag, which features a Confederate battle emblem in its canton.

In 2016, the school revised a plaque at the base of the Confederate statute to provide historical context.

“These monuments were often used to promote an ideology known as the ‘Lost Cause,’ which claimed that the Confederacy had been established to defend states’ rights and that slavery was not the principal cause of the Civil War,” the plaque says, in part. “… Although the monument was created to honor the sacrifice of Confederate soldiers, it must also remind us that the defeat of the Confederacy actually meant freedom for millions of people.”

“… This historic statue is a reminder of the university’s divisive past. Today, the University of Mississippi draws from that past a continuing commitment to open its hallowed halls to all who seek truth, knowledge, and wisdom.”

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MDOT announces I-20 lane closures near Clinton

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If your commute regularly takes you to and from Clinton, Miss., be advised that you will likely be dealing with slow traffic for a couple of months starting next week.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation announced today that it would be closing the inside lanes of both eastbound and westbound Interstate 20 at Norrell Road (exit 31) starting Monday, Jan. 27, at 7 a.m.

The work, which will make repairs to bridges over Norrell Road in Hinds County, is expected to take about 60 days.

Please use caution in the area and expect delays.

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Corps’ mat sinking unit suspended revetment season due to flooding

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District’s Mat Sinking Unit suspended its 2019 revetment season Jan. 21. The season was suspended due to adverse river conditions caused by flooded riverbanks and high velocity flows. The unit will remain on standby for approximately one month as district engineers and technical experts monitor river conditions for the opportunity to complete scheduled work. If conditions are favorable, the unit will potentially resume work in late February. (photo courtesy USACE)

From the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District’s Mat Sinking Unit suspended its 2019 revetment season Jan. 21.

The season was suspended due to adverse river conditions caused by flooded riverbanks and high-velocity flows. The unit will remain on standby for approximately one month as district engineers and technical experts monitor river conditions for the opportunity to complete scheduled work. If conditions are favorable, the unit will potentially resume work in late February.

During the 2019 season, the unit has placed approximately 170,000 squares of articulated concrete mattress along the banks of the Mississippi River to prevent erosion, protect key areas of the riverbank and flood control works and provide a safe, reliable channel for navigation.

“For more than 70 years, the Mat Sinking Unit has taken on the unique and important task of preventing erosion and maintaining navigation up and down the Mississippi River,” said Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard in a statement. “The Mississippi River serves as a vital commercial waterway and drainage system for the nation, and the hard work of the unit allows it to perform those crucial functions.”

Unparalleled across the world, the Mat Sinking Unit is a feat of skilled labor and technological innovation. A mat sinking barge, a mat supply barge, quarter barges, spar barges, gantry cranes, bulldozers and motor vessels are among the equipment used by the unit to help maintain the Mississippi River’s stabilization and navigation. Each season, approximately 50 full-time and 220 seasonal or temporary employees live on quarter boats and work 10-hour shifts and 12-consecutive-day work periods to execute the mission. The unit typically operates when river stages are at their lowest and conducts work that spans the jurisdictions of the Memphis, Vicksburg and New Orleans districts.

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Warrenton Road blocked due to accidents

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Warrenton Road is blocked from U.S. Highway 61 South to near Lady Luck Casino due to two accidents reportedly caused by a vehicle pulled over due to a medical incident.

Plan on taking another route until about 4:30 p.m.

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