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City schools opt for no face masks


Temperature checks will continue at Corinth schools this fall, but students won’t be required to wear a face mask.

The Board of Trustees discussed the Corinth School District reentry plan during a Tuesday night meeting. After much discussion, the board went with a discretionary face-covering policy with an understanding that masks may become required.

“It is a living document and it could change at any time,” said Superintendent Lee Childress. “It is also required that we revisit the policy every six months, and there may be some changes then.”

When classes resume on Monday, students and staff will be subjected to temperature screenings multiple times each day. Childress said the help this measure provides goes beyond Covid-19. “Children just don’t need to be at school with a temperature,” he added.

Looking at recommendations from the CDC, Department of Education and Department of Health, trustees considered requiring face coverings be worn by all unvaccinated staff and students while indoors. Childress said he worried that such a policy might cause staff frustration.

“With no public mask mandate in place like we had last year, I just think its enforcement would be extremely difficult,” he said. “Teachers might end up spending more time trying to enforce wearing a mask and less time teaching.”

The district will however enforce a federal government mask requirement for public transportation. All students and staff regardless of vaccination status will be obliged to wear a face-covering while on a school bus. Masks will be provided. This order expires Sept. 14, and Childress said the board can revisit the policy at that time.

For those who are exposed to the virus, individuals won’t have to quarantine if vaccination proof is provided. Nonvaccinated individuals must agree to Covid-19 testing administrated by school nurses every two days to continue attending school. Testing will end after three consecutive negative tests are produced. Parental release forms will be required for testing.

The district will have virtual school options in place for students who must quarantine.

One change comes for students who opt for a full year of virtual school. Childress said students in grades 6-12 who have a B-average from the previous school year will be allowed to select 100 percent virtual school but will not be allowed to participate in any athletics or extracurricular activities per new guidelines from the Mississippi High School Athletics Association. For pre-k through fifth grade, a full virtual school option will only be available to students who have a medical condition. MHSAA will begin considering these students as homeschooled.

Trustees admitted an outbreak during the school year is possible, but said a return to normal is necessary.

Childress added, “I know things don’t look promising right now, but we are exactly where we were last year at this time. We got through it then, and we will get through it now.”

The district has more student-geared vaccination clinics scheduled. The clinics will happen on July 30 and Aug. 20 at the middle and high school.

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New Way Trucks announces major expansion in Prentiss County

New Way Trucks will bring 120 new jobs to Prentiss County through a $4 million expansion project announced Wednesday.

The company will open additional manufacturing operations in a 66,000-square-foot facility purchased by Prentiss County where employees will manufacture and fabricate parts and sub-assemblies, as well as conduct research and new product development.

The new expansion comes almost two years after the company announced in October 2019 it would locate operations in the former Wolverine Tube building in the Booneville/Prentiss Industrial Park where they now manufacture a full line of refuse trucks designed for the collection of residential and commercial solid waste.

The newly announced jobs will be added at both Booneville facilities.

“We have been so pleased with the partnerships created with the State of Mississippi, MDA, Prentiss County, and the City of Booneville that increasing our presence here was an easy decision. The skilled workforce and business-friendly climate here in northeast Mississippi are key to helping New Way meet our planned growth strategies and to support our growing customer base across North America and beyond,” said New Way Trucks CEO Mike McLaughlin.

The Mississippi Development Authority is providing assistance for building upgrades. MDA also certified New Way Trucks for the Advantage Jobs Rebate Program, which is available for eligible businesses that create new jobs exceeding the average annual wage of the state or county in which the company locates or expands. Prentiss County and the Tennessee Valley Authority also are assisting with the project.

New Way Trucks expects to begin operations in the new facility by the end of the year and plans to fill the new jobs over the next two years.

“Mississippi boasts a strong portfolio of business advantages, all of which assist in keeping companies like New Way Trucks competitive in today’s marketplace. Mississippi’s strongest advantage is our people, who are committed their employer’s success just as much as their own. That can-do spirit pays off tremendously when companies are ready to grow, and we thank the New Way Trucks team for again recognizing the benefits of a Mississippi location and bringing these new jobs to Prentiss County,” said Gov. Tate Reeves.

“New Way Trucks has quickly become part of the Prentiss County family. The fast and successful ramp-up of new operations, quality products being manufactured locally and the company’s commitment to being active in the community has the Prentiss County Board of Supervisors excited about the future of our county and New Way Trucks. The Board welcomes this expansion and vows continued partnership for the future,” said Matt Murphy, President, Prentiss County Board of Supervisors.

“The city of Booneville is proud of the success that New Way Trucks has had and excited about their growth. The capital investment and great-paying jobs being added are a testament to the quality of our workforce. The Board of Aldermen and I thank New Way for their commitment to doing business in our great city,” said Chris Lindley, Mayor, City of Booneville.

“Prentiss County continues to see progress. The local workforce has proven its capability and dependability to New Way’s leadership and in response, the company is adding investment and jobs to Prentiss County. This project’s success benefitted from a strong partnership for progress which included: County officials, City officials, the State of Mississippi, TVA, ARC, Northeast MS Community College, NEMPDD and others. It takes many partners playing many roles to foster a competitive environment for economic development and we are winning in Prentiss County. At an average of $50,000 per year, these new career opportunities will make a significant impact. PCDA Thanks the McLaughlin family and all of New Way’s team for their commitment to our area,” said Prentiss County Development Association Executive Director Leon Hays.

“The strong manufacturing workforce found in Prentiss County stepped up to the plate to get to work for New Way Trucks when the company announced it was locating in Booneville nearly two years ago. Since then, employees have worked hard for the company, producing some of the best refuse and recycling vehicles in the industry. That dedication to a job well done, combined with their strong manufacturing skills, played a significant role in the company’s decision to grow so quickly in north Mississippi,” said MDA Executive Director John Rounsaville.

“TVA and Prentiss County Electric Power Association congratulate New Way Trucks on its decision to expand operations in Booneville. It is always an exciting day when we can celebrate a company’s continued commitment to growth in the Valley. We are proud to partner with Prentiss County Development Association, Prentiss County, city of Booneville, and Mississippi Development Authority to help companies, like New Way Trucks, create job opportunities and growth in the region,” said TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley.

Police: Fatal shooting appears accidental


A fatal shooting at a local security business last week appears to be an accident, according to the Corinth Police Department’s investigation.

The victim, Aaron Keith Hughes, 26, of County Road 430, Rienzi, was taken to Magnolia Regional Health Center, where he died.

Capt. Dell Green said officers responded to a call that an individual had been shot about 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 15, at Advert Group, 102 North Cass Street.

“Apparently, one security guard was handing a handgun to another security guard and, during the exchange, there was an unintentional discharge, striking the other in the chest,” said Green.

The case will be presented to a grand jury to make a determination.

Hughes, a father of one son, was associated with the Jacinto Fire Department. Funeral services are Friday at Victory Baptist Church with burial at the church cemetery; see the complete obituary inside today’s edition.

Shiloh hosts bike tour, kids' camp

Shiloh National Military Park continues to fill summertime weekends, and next up on the calendar are a bicycle tour and kids’ camp.

This Saturday’s bicycle excursion explores the Confederate monuments of the battlefield, while a children’s day camp will follow on the next Saturday, July 31, for those in grades 1 through 5.

“We hope the fun-filled, yet educational activities will introduce young people to history and the importance of preserving places like Shiloh,” said Superintendent Allen Etheridge.

The ranger-led “Meaning of Monuments (Confederate)” tour will explore the efforts of those who placed the monuments so that soldiers who fought there would never be forgotten and the significance of the location of the monuments.

It is a 6-mile tour on moderate terrain, beginning at the park visitor center at 10 a.m. and going until noon. All but one of the monuments are located next to the roadway. Riders will walk their bike to the monuments located off the paved surface.

Participants must provide their own bikes, and those under 16 must wear a helmet. The tour is free but advance registration is required by calling (731) 689-5696.

The kids’ day camp is free and will run from 10 a.m. to noon. Children will get involved in hands-on activities such as making their own regimental flag and participating in a “school of the soldier,” during which they will use toy rifles to learn different Civil War marching drills and the nine steps required to load and fire a Civil War musket.

Participants will need to bring water, snacks, bug spray and sunscreen.

Registration is required by calling (731) 689-5696.