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State eyes new COVID surge

In light of the latest COVID numbers, “more aggressive action” from the state may be forthcoming, according to State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs.

Following the discontinuation of the mask mandate, “People have not maintained mask behavior like I had hoped,” the doctor said during a talk with reporters Friday afternoon.

The state had 1,116 new cases and nine new deaths counted on Friday, following 1,322 new cases on Thursday. Dobbs said the governor “is extremely concerned, and so we would expect that there may be some additional action taken from his office in the early part of next week.”

With a new surge in cases and flu season approaching, strain on the health care system is a major concern.

“We really need the public – businesses, churches, everyone – to engage and understand the seriousness of our current situation,” said Dobbs.

In some of the trends accompanying the current uptick in activity, State Epidemiologist Paul Byers said the state is seeing increased clusters of cases associated with church attendance where proper precautions are not taken.

“In some counties, we are starting to see 65 and older as our fastest-growing age group,” he said.

“We’re also seeing some growth in the 50- to 64-year-old age group. That is concerning, because we know those individuals are at highest risk. When you look overall statewide, however, our fastest growing population is now the five-year-old to 17-year-old age group.”

Reflecting the increase in cases, the percent positivity number has risen from 8.5 percent during the last week of September to 9.5 percent during the first week of October.

“Indoor social events are what’s driving the transmission of coronavirus in Mississippi,” said Dobbs.

“We would advocate for people not having indoor social events. If you’re going to do something, do it outdoors. Otherwise, we would recommend not doing it at all. Even if you’re going out to eat, outdoors is safer.”

There remains a “very high risk of death” for people who get coronavirus and then require hospitalization, he said, with 10 to 11 percent of those cases ending in death.

The state currently has a dozen hospitals with 10 percent or less ICU capacity and six in the Jackson metro area with no ICU capacity, he said. As of Friday, the state had 146 COVID patients in ICU units and 75 on ventilators.

Corinth native returns home as community development director

Corinth and Alcorn County are on the move and The Alliance’s new director of community development is looking forward to being part of an even brighter future.

Corinth native Lane Williams Yoder and her husband, Bill Yoder, recently returned to her hometown after living the past nine years in Tullahoma, Tenn. and she’s thrilled to see the progress the community has made.

“It’s just amazing to see the transformation throughout Alcorn County. We’re just glad to get swept up in that momentum that’s already been started,” she said.

Yoder said Corinth is a very special place and she’s glad to be able to take on a role allowing her to help share and build on all the good things happening in the community.

As community development director, she oversees the activities of the Community Development Council and its numerous programs.

“The overarching goal of the community development council is to continue the great work that’s been started to make Corinth and Alcorn County an amazing place to live for those of us who are here now, for those who will live here in the future and for those who want to visit,” she explained.

Among the efforts operated through the Community Development office of The Alliance are the biannual Leadership Alcorn for adults and the annual Junior Leadership Alcorn programs aimed at high school sophomores and juniors. Both programs are designed to teach participants about the county and help them work on leadership skills to create and support new and future leaders.

She will also be in charge of Corinth Professionals, a program which offers opportunities for professionals of all ages to make connections with others and find ways to get more involved in the community.

Corinth First is also a key part of The Alliance’s vision for the community and encourages people to always think local first when they’re shopping, dining and doing any other activities.

“We want to try to keep the tax dollars that we all spend on the necessities and wants of life here in Alcorn County to benefit our citizens,” she explained.

She’s also excited about the EnvisionCorinth 2040 long-term plan and will be looking at ways to aid that program.

“We want to see what the CDC through The Alliance can do to move things along to improve an already amazing community,” she said.

Yoder, the daughter of Corinth’s Sandy and Rosemary Williams, married her husband, new Trustmark National Bank Community Bank President Bill Yoder, in 2011 and made the move to Tullahoma. She most recently served as executive director of the Motlow College Foundation at Motlow State Community College in Lynchburg, Tenn. where she served as the primary fundraiser for the school building relationships with the community and donors.

A graduate of Corinth High School and former city president for Regions Bank, the University of the South economics graduate has found her hometown to be a welcoming and unique place.

One of the first things she discovered was the lengthy history many share.

“There are so many people who were born here and raised here, generations upon generations,” she said. “As a result, you have this built in camaraderie when you come back home.”

Yoder said she also believes the community’s dedication to preserving and building on its history places it in a special position.

“We’ve really done a great job of preserving our historic facades and our historic homes and telling Corinth’s history and that makes it special,” she said.

Mississippi’s reputation for hospitality also makes it a wonderful place to live and work.

“Mississippi has to be the friendliest state in the nation. You don’t meet a stranger.”

Live music returns to the Crossroads Arena

Music is set to return to the Crossroads Arena next month as the facility hosts its first concerts since the pandemic put a damper on live music and events earlier this year.

“We’re beyond excited to be back in business,” said arena general manager Tammy Genovese.

The upcoming Homegrown Social: Songs and Stories acoustic series kicks off on November 13 with Tupelo native Paul Thorn. Amory native and American Idol Season 15 winner Trent Harmon performs Saturday, November 21 and country singer Doug Stone is set for Saturday, December 5.

Genovese said the three shows will be a great return to live music for the arena with family-friendly, intimate performances from singer-songwriters who excel in that format. They’re also keeping ticket prices affordable with all tickets between $25 and $50.

The upcoming performances will mark the first live music inside the arena since last November. Genovese says they’ve been able to host several outdoor motorsports events and last weekend had a big crowd for their first indoor motocross event this fall.

The arena is working partnering with Ticketmaster and taking advantage of their expertise to ensure the upcoming shows are safe. The company has helped coordinate seating at Nissan Stadium in Nashville for the return to NFL football and the arena manager said that experience will help keep patrons safe in Corinth.

The shows will be socially distanced with seating in separated groups of 2, 3 or 4 people. Temperature checks will be conducted and masks will be available.

Genovese said one of the strengths of the arena is its ability to scale up or down to fit the size of the event. These shows will be presented using 10 percent of the facility’s capacity with curtains and staging designed to create an intimate feel while ensuring safety.

She said the cutbacks of live music and entertainment have had major effects on venues and artists across the country along with support staff including crew and production personnel.

She’s excited to be able to bring more events back to Corinth which will help support the local economy as people visit restaurants, stay in hotels and shop during their visit.

Genovese said there’s more excitement to come as well. They’ll be announcing several major shows for 2021 soon and are looking forward to a busy year next year.

Visit www.crossroads arena.com for tickets and more information on upcoming events.

School board president resigns

Alcorn County school board president Ricky Fields has resigned.

Fields told the Daily Corinthian that the selling of his old home in the second district and purchasing of his new home in the first district forced his resignation from the Alcorn School District Board of Education.

“It was actually a surprise to me,” he said. “My wife and I were not looking to sell, but when given the opportunity, we decided to take it. When we started looking for a new place, I never even thought about (county district) election lines.”

He said the house purchase was already in the process when he contacted Alcorn County Circuit Clerk Crystal Starling to clarify district lines.

Fields was serving in his fourth year of a six-year term, including three years as board president. His resignation was effective Thursday.

“It has been a great honor to have been elected to the Alcorn School Board and to serve along side some wonderful board members,” he said. “I am very proud to have worked with the teachers and administrators to improve the educational opportunities for our students.”

He said one of the top moments from his time on the board was first hearing the district received an overall A rating from the Mississippi Department of Education.

“Clearly, the Alcorn School District is one of the finest systems in the state of Mississippi,” added Fields. “Although I can no longer be on the board, I am excited for the further improvements that are being implemented and those being planned for the future.”