Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Youth With Local Roots Hired as Gulf Coast Park Guide Ranger, Florida

C:\Users\elmetra patterson\Downloads\Jeremiah Edwards in uniform photo.jpg

Jeremiah Edwards was recently hired as the new permanent Gulf Coast Park Guide for the Division of Interpretation. Jeremiah started his new position, Sunday, August 30, 2020. He announced to his family and friends that, “Everglades National Park is my first federal job where I’ll be a Park Guide. I am thoroughly excited to work with everyone and really want to share the story of diversity within Everglades National Park. When I am not at work you can find me leading Bible studies, talking with my family, or working with arts and crafts. I am very excited to meet and work with everyone while here.” It is believed that Jeremiah is the first African American park guide ranger to become employed in the Everglades National Park. The Everglades National Park constitutes the largest subtropical wilderness left in the United States – located in Florida City, FL.

Jeremiah, of Snellville, GA, graduated from Hampton University, June 1919, with a Bachelor’s Degree in History. He previously worked with the Greening Youth Foundation at the Everglades National Park where he independently prepared and presented ranger talks, facilitated a variety of tours, and issued backcountry permits in compliance with park regulations. Jeremiah learned critical thinking and data analysis skills as a Ronald McNair Scholar. Also, he was an outstanding public speaker at Hampton and used those skills to give talks at Minute Man National Historical Park. As an intern, he used his skills as an event photographer and Hampton University’s Marching Force Announcer.

Jeremiah was elected as president of the NAACP Youth and College Chapter at Hampton University. Under his leadership, they were able to rebuild the NAACP on campus with the mindset that all lives can’t matter without black lives, and every goal that was set was achieved. The chapter sponsored tutorial programs, conducted voter registration drives and hosted a campus wide Mr. and Miss NAACP pageant. The chapter arranged workshops for college bound student, focusing on financial aid, curriculum selection and scholarship applications. They also offered consultation for at-risk students, youth seminars on the cause and effects of racial discrimination and facilitated multiracial meetings. The chapter hosted Rev. Jesse Jackson on campus and he spoke on the importance of voting and health care.

Jeremiah is the grandson of Charles and Carolyn Hampton of Louisville, MS, both of whom are very involved members of the NAACP. Charles was president of the Winston County Branch NAACP and President of the Mississippi Conference NAACP. Carolyn is the president of Women in the NAACP (WINN) of Winston County. Jeremiah was active with them as a youth in Louisville with the NAACP during summer vacations. He also attended the NAACP National Convention with them. He has been mentored to be a leader by his grandparents. His parents are Terrell Edwards and Charee Hampton. His sister is Tamera Edwards.

Like some other graduates, Jeremiah stated, “When I graduated from Hampton University, I really had no idea what I was about to do. I wanted, still want to, to be a minister and go to law school; however I was not ready to go back to school. Thankfully, my friend Whitney Bronson introduced me to the Greening Youth Foundation which was a 10 week internship at Minute Man National Historical Park. After those 10 weeks, I applied for another internship at Everglades National Park. This position was supposed to last 6 months and now almost one year later I am a permanent park guide ranger. Trust the process, do what you’re supposed to be doing at this present moment and always have faith in God. I am a living witness that He will handle everything else.”

Monday, September 21, 2020

ECCC Announces 2020 Football Ticket Distribution Plan

East Central Community College has announced plans for the distribution of tickets to the Warriors three home football games this fall in Bailey Stadium on the campus in Decatur, as well as tickets to the three away contests.

A limited number of fans will be allowed to attend each game as required by Executive Order 1519 signed Aug. 20 by Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves. The order limits attendance to 25 percent of stadium capacity, in addition to other restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19.

Executive Order 1519 means that about 1,000 fans will be allowed to attend each home game in Bailey Stadium. This number does not include members of the football team, coaches, and support staff; the cheerleading squad; or credentialed game-day workers.

East Central will reserve an allotment of tickets for family members of the football team, cheerleading squad, and Wall O’ Sound Marching Band to purchase online. There will also be an allotment of tickets for ECCC students and employees with valid college ID, and information about the distribution of those tickets will be communicated by campus email.

All Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference members will allot 160 tickets for visiting teams for each football game this fall.

All other fans are encouraged to purchase a three-game home season ticket package for $25. Season tickets can be purchased online at www.eccc.edu/estore. There is a limit of two home season ticket packages per person. Tickets may be picked up from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Fridays from the main Athletics Department Office in Brackeen-Wood Gym located adjacent to Bailey Stadium on the ECCC campus.

Any remaining tickets under the 1,000 capacity will be on sale on a first-come, first-served basis for $10 each regardless of age at the main Bailey Stadium ticket window starting one hour prior to each home game.

All ticket and concession transactions at Bailey Stadium will be cashless.

Mississippi High School Activities Association and Mississippi Association of Independent Schools passes will be accepted provided the pass holder reserves entrance before 4:30 p.m. on the day of each home game by calling the college’s Athletics Department at 601-635-6310. Those pass holders who have reserved entrance will enter through the large rolling gate to the left of the main Bailey Stadium entrance. Only one person will be admitted per pass.

East Central hosts Southwest on Thursday, Oct. 8, Gulf Coast on Thursday, Oct. 22, and Hinds on Thursday, Nov. 5. All home games kick off at 6:30 p.m.

Season tickets to ECCC’s three away games this fall can also be purchased online at www.eccc.edu/estore. The three-game away season ticket package costs $30. The limit is two away season ticket packages per person. Tickets may be picked up from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Fridays from the main Athletics Department Office in Brackeen-Wood Gym.

The Warriors will play Jones in Ellisville at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, Pearl River in Poplarville at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15, and Copiah-Lincoln in Wesson at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29.

All East Central Community College football games in 2020 can be heard on WKOZ “Cruisin” 98.3. Links to the audio, as well as live stream video for all home games, can be found online at www.eccc.edu/eccc-media and at www.cruisin98news.com.

Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. for each of ECCC’s three home games this fall. Ticket holders will enter through the left side ticket window at the main Bailey Stadium entrance, while those wishing to purchase available tickets and visiting fans with tickets will enter through the right side ticket window. ECCC students and employees with tickets and all essential game-day workers with passes will enter through the large rolling gate to the left of the main entrance.

Parents of Warrior football players with tickets should park in the lot to the north of Warrior Hall and enter through the designated gate at the northwest corner of Bailey Stadium.

All fans are asked to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms prior to coming to campus and to not enter Bailey Stadium if they exhibit any of the symptoms as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Everyone over the age of 6 must wear a face mask at all times when not seated and when it is not possible to maintain six feet of separation from persons not in the same household. Face masks are encouraged while seated.

Social distancing is required at all times, especially when entering and exiting the stadium, at the concession stands, and at the restroom facilities.

Tailgating or other fan gatherings outside or inside of Bailey Stadium are prohibited.

Access to the sidelines will be strictly limited to the two football teams and their support personnel and to those with special credentials issued by the college’s Office of Public Information.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

A Local Leader Meets a National Icon

Most citizens are now aware that Civil Rights Icon Congressman John Robert Lewis, who spent more
L to R: Charles Hampton, Congressman John Lewis
than three decades in congress, passed on July 17, 2020 and was eulogized by former president Barack Obama on July 30, 2020 at the historic Ebenezer Church, Atlanta, GA. He was the first lawmaker to lie in state at the U. S. Capitol Rotunda. He also laid in state at the Alabama State Capitol and the Georgia State Capitol. Congressman Lewis is known for his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement which started in Nashville, TN when he was a student and continued on to the Selma March that galvanized support for the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He was also implemental in the passing of the Fair Housing Act which as of recently was rescinded by President Donald Trump. Congressman Lewis was brutally beaten by law enforcement agents and the Ku Klux Klan on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, AL and was jailed repeatedly. This did not stop him from committing to six decades of non-violent protests. 
Congressman Lewis was one of the original Freedom Fighters that traveled through southern states in 1961 to force the issues of segregation which was regulated by federal law. He was also one of the “Big Six” who organized the March on Washington and was its youngest leader and speaker. One of his last marches was, June 13, 2018, to the headquarters of U. S. Customs and Border Protection to protest the Trump administration’s separation of family policies. One of his favorite tweets to inspire others was in response to Trump’s criticism of him, “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” Before his death, at 80 years old, he made his last public appearance at the Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C. in June 2020 which has become a symbol of the nation’s fight for racial justice. He was in awe of the young people’s fight for justice and for police reform which included a diverse group of people.

Local resident, Charles Hampton reminisced about meeting Congressman Lewis at the Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, MS. Congressman Lewis was being honored at the museum on February 23, 2018, considered the 2nd opening which was sponsored by the Friends of Mississippi Civil Rights. Charles stated that he adored Congressman Lewis and considered him an American Hero. Charles is well known in Louisville, MS as the former president of the Winston County Branch NAACP, and former president of the Mississippi State Conference NAACP. He presently serves as the State Chair Revitalization of Branches, Mississippi State Conference and the Chair Legal Redress, Winston County Branch NAACP.

Charles stated that Congressman Lewis’ bravery and dedication to equality is an inspiration to him to continue his work in the NAACP. He said, “One thing I noticed when meeting him was that he was a humble man. I was encouraged by his words good trouble and his concern for us to be concerned about our children. He also encouraged us to speak up so we can bring about a change for justice. My heart is feeling sad today but all we need to do is keep moving forward. I regret that Congressman Lewis did not make it to speak in Louisville as promised.” Charles’ hope is that pressure continues in order to restore Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act that was gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013. The 1965 law required that lawmakers in states with a history of discriminating against minority voters get federal permission before changing voting rules. Since then, voter suppression rules have been passed and they are discriminatory against minorities. Congress has approved Congressman James Clyburn’s proposal to rename voting rights bill after John Lewis. Charles also hopes that the Edmund Pettus Bridge will be named after Congressman John Robert Lewis.

By Elmetra Patterson

Monday, September 14, 2020

Airport Improvements Continue

In 2019, the Louisville-Winston County Airport was selected as one of only 3 airports in the state of Mississippi to receive a special supplemental grant for airport improvement.  The grant which totals nearly $5.4M will allow for extension of the runway by 151 feet to the south and alleviate a line of sight problem with the existing runway elevations.  In addition, work will be done on the northwest end of the airport property to improve the safety of runoff areas, eliminate some unstable terrain features and enhance storm water drainage.  In addition, new runway LED lighting will be installed and the entire 4,700 feet of runway will be resurfaced with new markings.

The work is progressing rapidly with recent good weather.  A total of 250,000 cubic yards of fill material is being sourced from 65 acres  of property to the west which was recently acquired by the airport authority. The general contractor estimates the runway extension work will be completed by mid to late October, allowing jet aircraft to once again take off and land at KLMS.  The airport will remain open for propeller driven light aircraft and turboprops during most of the construction.

ECCC Warriors Open Unprecedented 2020 Football Season Oct. 1

The long and unprecedented road to the start of the 2020 football season for the East Central Community College Warriors will finally end Thursday, Oct. 1, when they hit the gridiron against the Jones College Bobcats. Kickoff from Bobcat Stadium at Sim Cooley Field in Ellisville is 7 p.m.

It will be the start of just a six-game season, all Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference South Division contests as the MACCC hopes to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The season is also starting five weeks later than usual amid concerns about the pandemic.

Each of the 13 MACCC teams competing this fall will have an open week, with the North and South division champions playing for the MACCC Championship on Thursday, Nov. 19, at the home of the South Division Champion. East Mississippi Community College opted out of the fall football season.

The MACCC will be the only National Junior College Athletic Association league playing football in the fall. Thus, no MACCC school will be eligible for a national championship this season as that title will be awarded in spring 2021.

Ken Karcher enters his eighth season as ECCC head coach and will be looking to take the Warriors to the postseason for the third time since 2013. It won’t be an easy task against the always tough South Division lineup. It begins with preseason No. 7 Jones as ranked by Street & Smith’s magazine. Also on the schedule are defending national champion and preseason No. 1 Mississippi Gulf Coast and No. 18 Hinds, both at home. ECCC is ranked No. 21 nationally going into the first game. The entire ECCC schedule can be found at www.ecccathletics.com.

Jones defeated ECCC 35-13 in Ellisville in the 2019 season finale.

East Central is coming off a 4-5 2019 season that included a 3-3 mark in the South Division. The Warriors faced seven ranked teams during the season, including the last five games in a row.

The Warriors will enter the contest with Jones without several key players from a year ago, including a dozen who signed with four-year programs. Gone are linebacker Anthony Blakely, wide receiver Depodray Coburn, wide receiver Dontrell Green, defensive back Fred McGee, and linebacker Ronnie Thomas, Mississippi Valley State; offensive lineman TyKeem Doss and defensive lineman Joshua Ratcliff, Southern Mississippi; defensive end John Cartwright, Memphis; offensive lineman Carrington Davis, Mississippi College; defensive lineman Alvin Dempsey, Florida Atlantic; offensive lineman Fabian Pickering, Louisiana Monroe; and linebacker Payton Rogers, Ole Miss.

Despite the loss of talent, Karcher said he is optimistic about the 2020 version of the Warriors.

“I feel really good about our football team,” he said. “Obviously, there will be obstacles and challenges to work through, this year especially, but I think we have a good nucleus of players returning and some talented new players coming into the program. We lost several starters from last season and two returning starters who signed with four-year programs over the summer, but overall I feel good about the season.”

The Warriors return both quarterbacks from last year, including starter Holman Edwards (French Camp Academy). Sophomore tackle Jacqui Graham (Montgomery, Ala., Jefferson Davis), Second Team All-State last year, will anchor the offensive line, which returns three starters.

“Our offense will be experienced and I expect them to play with a lot of maturity and confidence as a unit,” noted Karcher. “We should be able to give other teams some problems with the type of skill players we have.”

Defensively, Karcher said the Warriors have a good nucleus of players returning from a unit that finished No. 14 in the nation in total defense last year, giving up 18.3 points and 354 yards per game. Among those is defensive back Desmond Williams (Forsythe, Ga., Mary Persons), who earned Second Team All-State last fall with 45 total tackles and a team-leading four interceptions.

Maybe the biggest weapon for ECCC this year will be sophomore kicking specialist Robens Beauplan (Lehigh Acres, Fla., Riverdale). The NJCAA First-Team All-American, First-Team All-Region 23, and First-Team All-State specialist averaged 45 yards per punt as a freshman and hit 9 of 14 field goals and 15 of 18 extra points.

“I believe we have the best punter in the country by far and he’s improving all the time as a place kicker,” said Karcher of Beauplan. “He’s a threat in any game at any time to help with field position. He’s definitely a weapon for us.”

The Warriors are in their new home for the 2020 season, the 12,300 square-foot Warrior Hall football operations center located just outside the north end zone of Bailey Stadium. The facility houses locker rooms for players and for coaches, a team meeting room, position conference rooms, coaches’ offices, an equipment room, a players’ lounge, and a laundry room. It also houses a state-of-the-art training room with hydrotherapy pool to be used by student-athletes in all nine varsity sports at the college.

“Warrior Hall is huge for the players because anyone who runs an organization knows that having everything in one place makes it so much easier to be successful,” said Karcher. “We are much more organized logistically having all our meetings, locker room, training, and offices in one location.”

Karcher will have three new faces on his coaching staff this season.

Blaine Miller will coach the defensive line. He most recently was a defensive graduate assistant for the University of Colorado Buffaloes and has been on the staffs at the University of Georgia, University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and University of Alabama in Birmingham.

McComb native and former Mississippi State special teams standout Deontay Evans will coach safeties. He played defensive back for Mississippi State for three years and his senior year at Middle Tennessee State. He has coached at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D., and at South Pike High School in Magnolia.

Khalil Pope of Hattiesburg will coach running backs. A collegiate place kicker for Faulkner University in Montgomery, Ala., he was on the staff at Southern Mississippi a year ago.

Information on tickets to ECCC’s home and away games will be available at www.ecccathletics.com and www.eccc.edu/estore.

All East Central Community College football games in 2020 can be heard on WKOZ “Cruisin” 98.3. The audio, as well as live stream video for all home games, will be streamed online at www.eccc.edu/eccc-media and at www.cruisin98news.com.

Nanih Waiya Chapter of the DAR Celebrates Constitution Week

 The national celebration of Constitution Week begins on September 17, 2020. Our Constitution stands as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties and freedoms, and to ensure those inalienable rights to every American.

The tradition of celebrating the Constitution was started many years ago by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). In 1955, the Daughters petitioned Congress to set aside September 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week. The resolution was later adopted by the U.S. Congress and signed into law on August 2, 1956 by President Dwight D, Eisenhower.

The aims of the celebration are to (1) emphasize citizens' responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution, preserving it for posterity; (2) inform the people that the Constitution is the basis for America's great heritage and the  foundation for our way of life; and (3) encourage the study of the historical events which led to the framing of the Constitution in September, 1787.

The United States of America functions as a Republic under the Constitution. This landmark idea that men had the inalienable right as individuals to be free and live their lives under their own governance was the impetus of the American Revolution. Today, the Constitution stands as an icon of freedom for people around the world.

All citizens across the country are encouraged to take time during the week of September 17-23 to reflect on our heritage of freedom and come together to celebrate America.