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Vicksburg native TJ Taylor is a rising star in Mississippi political arena

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If you aren’t familiar with the name TJ Taylor it is probably because he truly tries to fly under the radar. In spite of his low profile, he may be one of the most influential young people currently in Mississippi political circles.

Taylor serves as policy advisor and chief counsel to Mississippi House Speaker Phillip Gunn. In this role, he is on the ground floor of decisions that will affect the state for decades to come. 

The 32-year-old Vicksburg native seems to relish the opportunity, saying “it gives me the chance to travel the state and hear the real concerns of the people.” 

Taylor grew up in Vicksburg attending school in the Vicksburg Warren School District before his parents moved to Utica, completing his education at Raymond High School. His father, Arnold, retired from the Corps of Engineers; his mother, Cynthia, retired from the postal service. Taylor is the youngest of four children and credits his parents with his love of politics and debate adding, “we were encouraged to discuss current events.”

Taylor moved on to the University of Southern Mississippi where he earned his political science degree in 2010. From there he entered the law program at Mississippi College. In the summer of 2013, he was afforded the opportunity to intern in Speaker Gunn’s office.

Following graduation in 2014,Taylor worked at a public policy think tank in Jackson for a year before returning to the Speaker’s office in 2015 and ascending to his current role.

Taylor was recently recognized as one of the top 50 influential leaders in the state. He served as Gunn’s appointee on the state flag commission. It was Taylor’s idea to fly the five finalists’ flags before narrowing the field to the final choice that will be voted on November 3.

When asked what it is like working for the first Republican Speaker of the Mississippi House, Taylor said, “It’s a really cool experience. Phillip Gunn is a man of integrity who is not afraid to make an unpopular decision.” He added that “the flag issue is one of the highlights of this experience but being involved with him on a daily basis gives me a unique insight on how committed he is to the state of Mississippi.”

Taylor is married to a former law school classmate, Colorado native Brittany Taylor, who practices as an associate attorney with Stephens Millirons P.C. They reside in Madison and have two sons.

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Flaggs asks judges to assist in curbing crime

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Mayor George Flaggs Jr. in a May 15, 2020 interview with the Vicksburg Daily News. (Photo via video screen grab. Video by David Day)

In a letter sent to Vicksburg and Warren County judges Monday, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. asked for help to curb crime in the River City.

Flaggs wrote that crime is “running rampant” in Vicksburg, and he “prayerfully and humbly” requested the judges consider adding two criteria to bails for anyone arrested on firearm-related offenses: GPS monitoring devices and a 7 p.m. curfew.

“I believe the only exceptions to the curfew should be for travel to or from work or to seek necessary medical treatment,” the mayor wrote. “These conditions of bail will help in protecting the public from future violence and assist our law enforcement officers in reducing and preventing crimes in our city.”

He added that he believes the measures are “imperative for the safety and future of our city.”

Read the entire letter below.

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COVID-19

Mississippi’s seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases remains over 600 Monday

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Sunday and Monday saw the expected weekend drop in reported new COVID-19 cases and deaths. Mississippi’s seven-day average remains above 600.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported three new COVID-19 cases Sunday in Warren County and no new cases Monday. No new deaths were reported either day. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,470, and the county’s death toll is 53.

Statewide, MSDH reported 294 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and 296 cases Monday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 105,228. The seven-day average of new cases is 646, higher by 197 cases from a month ago.

Most new cases are seen in younger people recently, and they are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. By far, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are young people from 18 to 29 years old.

MSDH reported Sunday that five additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. No new deaths were reported Monday. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,101. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 3%.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. While July saw the highest number of new cases since the crisis began, August saw the highest number of deaths. The highest number of deaths in any one day was 67 reported Aug. 25.

MSDH reported Sunday that five deaths occurred between Oct. 5 and Oct. 10 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Sunday
Lafayette 1
Leflore 1
Marion 1
Montgomery 1
Tate 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, and Sunday, Oct. 11. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s testing and death reports.

The primary metric concerning state health officials are the numbers of people hospitalized, and that number rose steadily with the rise of new cases in July and August. On June 6, the number of Mississippians hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 was at 358. Hospitalizations nearly tripled by late July. They leveled off in early August and began noticeably dropping in the middle of the month including critical cases and numbers of people requiring ventilators. Hospitalizations continued to drop in September but levelled off at the middle of the month. They continued to drop through Oct. 3; however, they began showing a definite rise last week.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, is 600, about half of the late July peak of more than 1,200. The number includes 491 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 109 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 136 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 59 were on ventilators.

Source: MSDH

MSDH has estimated the number of people who can be presumed recovered from COVID-19 in Mississippi. That number is 90,577 through Sunday, Oct. 4. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 86% of the cumulative 105,228 cases reported Monday, Oct. 11.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Monday, Sept. 21, was 1,381, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,328, or about 90.3% of the 1,470 cumulative cases reported as of Monday, Oct. 11. The county has an estimated 89 active cases.

These estimates are based on MSDH’s guidelines for calculating estimated recoveries when hospitalizations are not known, using the number of cases 21 days ago, less known outcomes (deaths).

The total number of Mississippians tested for COVID-19 (PCR and antigen tests identifying current infections) as of Sunday, Oct. 3, is 863,957 or about 29% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. The positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average) was 6.3% Sunday according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 5%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 126 Monday. About 40.1%, or 1,258, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities.

A total of 25 deaths in Warren County were residents of LTC facilities.

MSDH is no longer reporting outbreaks in individual long-term care facilities in Mississippi and has replaced it with access to a database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. You can access and search the data here. The latest data available is for the week ending Sept. 27.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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DOTD encourages travelers to use caution on roadways after Hurricane Delta

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Courtesy of LaDOTD

BATON ROUGE, La. – As the state begins recovery efforts from the aftermath of Hurricane Delta, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development encourages motorists to use caution when traveling on roadways.

With power outages across the state, motorists are reminded to treat traffic signals with no power as 4-way (all-way) stops.

Additionally, crews are working throughout the state to clear debris from roadways. Motorists are encouraged to drive with caution, be on the lookout for work crews and their equipment, and refrain from driving around “road closed” barricades.

Motorists are also encouraged to check the status of road conditions prior to traveling by using the following resources for the latest information regarding road conditions:

  • 511 Traveler Information: Travelers can also find information regarding road closures by visiting the 511 Traveler Information website at www.511la.org or by dialing 511 from their telephone and saying the route or region about which they are seeking information. Out-of-state travelers can access the system by calling 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).
  • MyDOTD: Motorists can receive automatic and up-to-date information on local projects, lane and road closures, and other DOTD activity by signing up for MyDOTD on the DOTD website.
  • Social media: Additional information can be found at DOTD’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
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