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Slippery conditions challenge motorists

Sleds were not alone in sliding around the roads Friday morning.

City and county law enforcement reported numerous problems for motorists Thursday night and Friday morning as melting and re-freezing created some of the worst road hazards yet from the two winter storms.

“We had a lot of cars sliding off the road this morning,” Police Chief Ralph Dance said Friday afternoon. “It iced over pretty good last night. As the day has progressed, it has gotten better because of the sunshine and the warmer temperatures.”

The highways in the city were looking pretty clear.

“A lot of the back roads – the roads that aren’t getting a lot of sunshine – are still covered over, and we expect them to stay that way until sometime tomorrow, maybe into Sunday.”

The hill on South Harper Road was shut down for some time.

“Everybody would get half-way up and start rolling back down,” said Dance.

Part of Shiloh Road near Shiloh Ridge was closed because of a troublesome curve.

“They couldn’t make the curve and they were running off the edge of the road yesterday and some this morning,” said Dance. “All that seems to have gotten better as the day has gone on.”

He encouraged people to continue to use caution if they get out on the roads.

Sheriff Ben Caldwell said there were mishaps all over the county Thursday night and early Friday. Highway 72 West was closed for awhile because of a jackknifed tractor trailer.

“We had a lot of trouble on Highway 2 going toward Kossuth with multiple vehicles off the road there,” he said.

The Kimberly Clark Parkway was another trouble spot.

While the main roads were looking much better by Friday afternoon, many county roads continued to be covered with ice and snow.

“There are some county roads that don’t get any sun,” said Caldwell. “They are shaded all the time, so that’s going to take a lot longer, even when it warms up.”

He was concerned the county could see some issues into Sunday, even as temperatures will be on the rebound after another very cold night Friday night. The mercury is expected to top 40 today and 50 on Sunday.

The chief and sheriff agreed it has been a challenging week.

“I’m ready for some 75 to 85 degree weather,” said Dance.

North Mississippi film will explore death of legendary explorer

The life of one of America’s greatest explorers came to an end when he was found dead of multiple gunshots in a small inn along the old Natchez Trace.

The death of Meriwether Lewis has long been the subject of debate among historians with some accepting the conventional wisdom that the explorer, one half of the legendary Lewis and Clark team that explored much of the Western United States, took his own life. Others have questioned that assumption and believe he died under much more “Mysterious Circumstances.”

Those circumstances caught the imagination of Baldwyn-based writer and filmmaker Clark Richey and will soon take to the silver screen as production begins on Richey’s new film “Mysterious Circumstances.” The film will be shot throughout North Mississippi and feature numerous stars including “Dukes of Hazzard” star John Schneider who came to fame as Bo Duke on the hit series and Evan Williams, who previously starred in Netflix’s “Versailles” and “Midnight at the Magnolia” in the title role of Meriwether Lewis.

The co-owner of Six Shooter Studios, Richey said the idea for the film was born of his own fascination with Lewis’ story.

“Before I’m a “filmmaker,” I am a lover of history, especially when a mystery is involved. The Lewis death tale has always been pointed to as the greatest mystery to be found on the historic Natchez Trace. I think most people drive right past the Meriwether Lewis historic site and don’t really connect “Meriwether Lewis” to “Lewis and Clark.” When you really dive into the history of this area, between Nashville and Natchez in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, you quickly find that Mississippi was the “Wild Wild West” in that time period, and you’ll also find that the movers and shakers in the young United States routinely moved up and down Mississippi on the Trace,’ said Richey.

Lewis, then governor of the Louisiana territory, was on his way to Washington, DC when he stopped at the small inn at Grinder’s Stand near Hohenwald, Tenn. In the predawn hours, he was found dead of multiple gunshots. Lewis had previously attempted suicide and many historians believe his death to be just that. However, many questions have arisen about missing money, the truth of the account of the innkeeper’s wife who found the body and other issues which have led some to believe Lewis’ death was something much more sinister.

The new film will be produced by Robbie Fisher, a veteran filmmaker who today owns Fisher Productions LLC in Water Valley and has worked on numerous film, television and commercial projects, winning a variety of awards.

“I was sent Clark’s script for Mysterious Circumstance by a mutal friend (Richey’s Six Shooter partner Amye Gousset) and I could not put it down. It compelled me to research Lewis and learn more about his story. I knew I wanted to be a part of this project, to be a part of such great storytelling.

Richey said the best writing comes when you connect with a story.

“I write about things that I am interested in. I think that’s all a writer can really do. And then if you write compellingly, you will convince people that what you’re interested in, in fact, is genuinely interesting. I think with the Mysterious Circumstance screenplay we have a winner because it combines many elements – western, history, mystery, action, etc,” he said.

Production is scheduled to begin soon and along with the cast of veteran performers including Sonny Marinelli (Entourage); Lance E. Nichols (House of Cards); Billy Slaughter (Magnificent 7); and Amye Gousset (The Purge) several locals will have roles as well.

“A friend of mine Senator Chad McMahan claimed one of the only spots we had for an adult, but we did cast two local boys from Tishomingo County in roles in the film – Rider Mayo (9) from Iuka and Keandre Wicks (13) from Burnsville. We have some local professional actors cast also though,” said Richey.

Specific locations for filming are not being released due to concerns about crowds and the need to protect the cast and crew from COVID, but Richey said North Mississippi was the obvious choice for the film.

“We wanted to film in Mississippi right out of the box. I’m a lifelong Mississippian, and where we would make our film really was not ever in question. We have the topography and resources here in our immediate area to perfectly suit the Meriwether Lewis story. Northeast Mississippi is the “hill country,” of course, and we are blessed to have a truly unique corner of Mississippi to live and play in. Our area is a great match for the Tennessee area where Lewis died. Beyond that, Six Shooter Studios has a strong desire to show this part of Mississippi as an efficient and rewarding place to make movies,” he said.

They expect the film to be ready to distribute in around a year and will begin by trying to sell the movie for theatrical distribution directly. Next would be efforts to take the film on the festival circuit and seek distribution through other avenues or streaming services.

City, county garbage pickup resumes Monday

Garbage pickup is set to resume on Monday along with other signs of life beginning to get back to normal after a week of wintry isolation for many area residents.

The City of Corinth suspended garbage pickup for the week in the city, and Waste Connections suspended pickup in the county, as well. Both are set to resume the regular schedules on Monday.

Public Works Director Clayton Mills said the city’s schedule will be on the usual start time and the normal pickup schedule.

After a week of City Hall being shut down, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen are set to get back to business with a meeting at 10 a.m. on Monday. It was originally set for last Tuesday and was twice rescheduled due to the winter storms.

Among the business on the agenda for the city board is a possible extension of the moratorium on the painting of outdoor murals. Some proposed guidelines have been under review but have not yet been put to a vote. The board will also be looking at a land lease agreement with Verizon, which is seeking a tower location to improve service in the city.

The board will also have public hearings for property cleanup at 504 Harper Road, 1208 Pine Road, 3013 North Haven Drive, 607 Scale Street, 1702 Proper Street, 402 Young Street, 1409 Washington Street, 201 Stanley Street, the corner of South Harper Road and Liddon Lake Road, and one other for which an address is not available.

The board will also consider a street closure for the Reconnect for Autism Color Run, and the public works director is requesting to purchase a work truck for the Solid Waste Department and a skid steer for the Street Department.

The Alcorn County Board of Supervisors would have had a regular meeting this past Monday. The board will next meet at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 1.

Visitor facilities at the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center and Shiloh Battlefield are reopening at noon on Saturday. Shiloh does not have snow removal equipment, and some of the auto tour route may remain closed due to hazardous conditions.

Winter storms cause issues across state


While the Crossroads area saw its fair share of snow, ice and cold temperatures this week, many parts of Mississippi experienced their first blast of winter weather in decades.

“Mississippians are .. used to hurricanes, tornados and flooding – We are not used to this,” Gov. Tate Reeves said during a livestream Wednesday. “Power lines have been frozen, fixed and frozen again. Roads have been iced over, cleared and then iced again. Water systems have frozen in some areas. Unlike a hurricane or tornado, where the event comes furiously and then ends, this has been a slow-moving disaster.”

Reeves issued a State of Emergency early in the week allowing federal aid and assistant to become available to Mississippians.

ACE Power and the local gas and water departments saw few issues. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for other areas of the Magnolia state.

Mississippi Today reported 74 of Mississippi’s 82 counties saw icy conditions by mid-week. Crews worked throughout the night to restore power to thousands and MDOT workers stayed busy all week attempting to keep the highways and interstates safe.

According to data shared by Mississippi Today, at least 250,000 Mississippians lost power at some point during the week, including about 170,000 who were still without power on Thursday.

Residents in dozens of Mississippi cities and towns are without water or have low water pressure including the capital city of Jackson where on Friday water was being treated like gold.

Reeves’ said his office building flooded during the week and the governor’s mansion was without running water. The state legislative also reported issues in the state Capitol building with no heat for several days and water issues.

Grocers – the few who remained open during the storms – saw bare store shelves and couldn’t keep essentials like bread, milk, canned goods and frozen and fresh meats in stock.

Hundreds of schools and colleges across the state canceled classes. Locally both the Alcorn School District and Corinth School District held virtual, distance learning classes all week before giving students and staff a traditional “snow day” on Friday.

Reeves asked Mississippians to “Look after your loved ones and neighbors – share resources and check on those who need it. Pray for the line crews, road crews, first responders and others who have to go out in the cold and do dangerous work to restore power, clear roads, and protect us.”

With a break in the freeze beginning Friday, recovery will begin this weekend with warmer weather following the long week that was Mississippi’s 2021 historic winter storm.

High school gets 'great school' nomination

One Alcorn County school may soon be considered a “great school” by the non-profit organization, GreatSchools.org.

Alcorn School District officials learned recently that Alcorn Central High School has been selected as a finalist for GreatSchools’s Gold Award and College Success Award.

The award identifies high schools that help underserved students enroll and persist in college by successfully preparing all students – regardless of income, race or ethnicity – for college and for life. According to the organization’s website, many of the highest performing public schools hand-pick their students through a selection process that confounds efforts to disentangle school quality from other factors.

Booneville School District was the only recipient of this award in the Crossroads area during the previous school year.

“Alcorn Central High School is being honored with this selection because of their multiple-year track record for preparing students to succeed in college based on college enrollment, precedence and remediation data,” said Interim Superintendent Brandon Quinn. “This is a true testament to the hard work of Alcorn Central teachers and staff for what they have done for preparing those students for college.”

Prior to taking on the interim superintendent position, Quinn was principal at ACHS for over six years.

In other school district news:

Quinn reported that prior to the winter storm all high schools were preparing to take the ACT.

“Boot Camps were being held to help give our students an edge when taking the ACT,” said Quinn.

Juniors were scheduled to take the test at the end of February.

Quinn said the district’s technology department has been “working hard to improve the public relations aspect of the district.”

Updates have been made to the district website, individual school websites and the district’s social media channels.

“Just since January, we have seen an increase in people visiting our social media accounts by 431%,” said Quinn. “It is great to see we are getting the good things going on in this district out to the public for everyone to see and celebrate.”

Donations accepted by the school board during the month of February included $200 for the ACHS Chorus and $200 for the ACHS band from Connie Holland, $500 to Alcorn Central Middle School from ExxonMobil Blue Sky No. 705, $25 to ACHS Pawtalk from Zach Depoyster and a $30,000 grant from Mississippi Community Oriented Policing Services in School (MCOPS) for use to help pay campus police officers.

Board members voted to move next month’s meeting from March 8 to March 15 at 5:30 p.m. due to Spring Break.