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Storage units, restaurant get variance approval

A storage units expansion and the proposed Chick-fil-A restaurant gained zoning variances in the latest session of the Corinth Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

The board approved a side yard set back reduction from 25 feet to 6 feet at 1825 Proper Street, where John B. Mitchell plans to add additional mini storage units near the Norfolk-Southern Railroad. New buildings of 20 feet by 80 feet and 30 feet by 110 feet are proposed, with the smaller one situated alongside the railroad property.

The board also approved the request for a side yard set back variance from 25 feet to 1 foot for the drive-thu canopies at the proposed Chick-fil-A location at the southwest corner of South Parkway Street and Highway 72 East. The applicant says the variance is needed because the parcel is an irregular, narrowly shaped rectangle.

The open-air canopies are designed to keep the drive-thru traffic moving, and the format has been critical for the restaurant during the pandemic by serving multiple vehicles simultaneously at the order and pickup points.

In other business:

n Aldermen gave approval to several requests associated with the upcoming Slugburger Festival.

In addition to a permit for temporary beer sales on July 9 and 10, the board gave approval to close the street in the area from the corner of Cruise and Fillmore streets to the corner of Jackson Street starting at 5 p.m. on those days. The four corners at court square will close for a car show with about 100 cars scheduled for 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 10. In order for the car show to set up, Main Street Director Angela Avent requested the street closure begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 9.

As part of the approval, the board requested she notify businesses in the court square area.

n The board reappointed Thad Fulghum to a seat on the Corinth Public Utilities Commission for a five-year term.

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‘Business & Jobs Champions’
Watchdog grades lawmakers on business voting record

Local lawmakers are being recognized as “Business & Jobs Champions” by Mississippi watchdog group BIPEC.

The group releases its annual report card following each legislative session, which grades lawmakers from “A to F” on their business-related voting record.

The report card highlights senators and representatives and the work they do to support economic growth, job development and business-related issues from the most recent legislative session.

Republican Sen. Rita Potts Parks of Corinth received an “A” grade, while Republican Reps. Nick Bain of Corinth, Bubba Carpenter of Burnsville and Jody Steverson of Ripley received a “B” grade. Republican Rep. Tracy Arnold of Booneville received a “C” grade.

The group looked at the voting record of lawmakers on 17 business-related measures some of which did not become law.

Among the supported measures that passed included the voter-approved new state flag, exempting term bids from reverse auctions, requiring K-12 public schools to offer computer science, the repealing of the law requiring businesses to pay estimated sales tax, allowing for home delivery of alcohol, beer and wine and an act prohibiting governments from barring the use of natural gas in homes and businesses.

Also included in the scorecard this year were votes on two bills in the House of Representatives to phase out the individual income tax. BIPEC said exploring the elimination of the income tax had merit, but the proposal would have imposed significant increases in sales taxes on certain business inputs.

According to BIPEC, the support of the tax elimination by many House members negatively affected their grade resulting in a “B” grade or lower for all House members. Arnold’s score was also impacted by his vote against the alcohol delivery service.

“BIPEC recognizes and appreciates the efforts of these Business & Jobs Champion Legislators,” said BIPEC President and CEO Derek Easley. “For the members and supporters of BIPEC, the report card is a resource for the business community. It is a tool to see our legislators’ measured performance and their support for the growth of jobs and economic development in Mississippi.”

BIPEC (Business and Industry Political Education Committee) is a 501c6 membership organization founded in 1980 by Mississippi’s business and professional leaders.

BIPEC’s purpose is to learn backgrounds, voting records and key positions of members and candidates for the Mississippi Legislature, Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. BIPEC disseminates credible research findings to BIPEC members, educates BIPEC’s membership network on the impact that legislator and judge-made decisions have on Mississippi’s economic growth, business attractiveness and general prosperity of the State’s employers.

For more information, visit bipec.org.

Motive unclear in home attack

The motive is a question mark as Corinth police continue to investigate the attack at an East Second Street home last week.

The resident, Justin Lee Knight, 33, of 208 East Second Street, killed the assailant, John Elmer Reeves, 43. Knight has been released from Magnolia Regional Health Center after being treated for stab wounds.

Capt. Dell Green said the death of Reeves around 12:30 p.m. last Wednesday is being considered a justified homicide.

He said the car driven by Reeves was found in a dead-end area on Tishomingo Street.

“A witness had seen him approach the house with a crowbar and some gloves,” said Green. “He made contact with the homeowner at the front door and then immediately began to assault him.”

Facing an attacker with a knife, Knight was able to get to a handgun in the home and discharged it several times, striking Reeves. Although seriously injured, Knight was able to get to the home of a neighbor who called 911.

What led Reeves to Knight’s door is now the focus of the investigation.

“There doesn’t seem to be a clear connection between the two individuals,” said Green.

Knight told police he didn’t know Reeves.

The deceased had been in town for perhaps a couple of weeks, said Green, and has some family in the area. His last address on record was in Murray, Kentucky.

Poll shows citizens, politicians at odds over key issues

A new poll says a majority of Mississippi voters not only want the Legislature to create a medical marijuana program like the one the state Supreme Court nullified, but they favor allowing recreational use of pot.

Nathan Shrader, chair of government and politics and director of American studies at Millsaps, said the poll shows a vast divide between Mississippi voters and politicians on marijuana and other issues.

The latest State of the State survey by Millsaps College and pollster Chism Strategies reports that 63 percent of those polled want the Legislature to enact something “mirroring” Initiative 65 – a medical marijuana constitutional amendment that voters passed overwhelmingly last year but the state high court shot down. It reported that 52 percent of those polled support recreational marijuana legalization, with 37 percent opposed.

The poll reported that 20 percent said legalizing medical marijuana is the most important issue in how they’ll vote in the next statewide election.

The poll also reported that 52 percent of Mississippians support expanding Medicaid to cover roughly 200,000 working poor Mississippians. A move to put this before voters were also derailed by the recent Supreme Court ruling that declared the state’s ballot initiative process constitutionally flawed because of outdated signature-gathering rules.

Despite years of debate and fizzled attempts, lawmakers have balked at allowing medical use of marijuana or at accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid despite growing movements to do both. The divide has typically fallen along partisan lines, with the supermajority GOP leadership thwarting both efforts.

“Mississippi voters overwhelmingly support legalizing medicinal marijuana, which was actually done by the electorate last November,” Shrader said. “They also favor legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes and expanding Medicaid by healthy margins. If you look closely at what the voters are expressing in terms of their policy preferences, you will see they do not appear to be anywhere near the same ideological positions as the majority of the state’s elected officials. The coming months, including the 2022 legislative session, will be a test of how long the state’s elected leaders can hold positions that are greatly at odds with the majority of Mississippi’s voters.”

The poll, part of a continuous quarterly survey since 2017, was conducted May 26-28 with a sample size of 659 via cell phone and landline, weighted to reflect voter turnout in 2020 elections. The margin of error is reported at 3.82 percent.

The poll also reported:

n 38 percent of voters believe the state is heading in the wrong direction, while 34 percent think the state is moving in the right direction. Just over 28 percent are unsure.

n A 28-point gap exists between those who approve and disapprove of the state Legislature’s performance, with 49 percent disapproving and 21 percent approving of their work. 30 percent are unsure.

n 48 percent disapprove of the performance of Gov. Tate Reeves, while 35 percent approve and 17 percent are undecided.

n 64 percent of voters who favor expanding Medicaid do so because they believe too many Mississippians are unable to get access to the healthcare coverage they need.

n Opponents of Medicaid expansion are almost evenly split between their concern of becoming overly dependent on Washington, D.C., and those who think expansion is too expensive for taxpayers.

n 55 percent support Gov. Reeves’ decision to opt-out of federal unemployment benefits that provided an additional $300 to help Mississippians who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. 35 percent oppose the decision, while 10 percent are unsure.

n Less than a quarter of those who have not already received the COVID-19 vaccination say they are likely to get vaccinated, while 61 percent of those who are unvaccinated say there is nothing that will convince them to get the vaccine.

n Nearly 40 percent of voters want the census-driven congressional and legislative redistricting process this year to be conducted by a non-partisan commission of citizens and experts. 24 percent would like a hybrid panel of citizens and elected officials, 15 percent think redistricting should continue to be handled by the state legislature, and 22 percent are unsure.

n 60 percent support the job police are doing in their local communities, and nearly 75 percent believe police should have pay raises.