It’s a sight that has been absent for some time: Inmates on the roadside picking up trash.

It is back now with a new program in Alcorn County putting state inmates on the county roads to remove trash. While past programs for litter pickup have gone away for various reasons, the problem of litter has been an increasing concern for the county.

“We’re going to try to have six to eight inmates out there every day,” Sheriff Ben Caldwell told the Board of Supervisors during Monday’s meeting.

The county is currently working four inmates on the litter detail and has requested more from the state.

The effort started recently on Salem Road and County Road 405 and will be moving through the county. The sheriff asked the supervisors to report any hotspots where extra attention may be needed.

Thus far, the cleanup has been well received. Some residents who are happy to see the beautification effort have offered water and food to the inmates, he said.

“I think it’s going to help,” said Caldwell, although, “it’s not going to stop people from throwing out litter.”

Supervisor Jimmy Tate Waldon said it seems to be a generational issue, and he would like to see an educational program targeting the litter problem.

The board approved moving an employee from inmate transport/correctional officer to trash removal supervisor.

In other business:

Magnolia Regional Health Center CFO Mark Nakagawa reported on the hospital’s latest audit. The pandemic resulted in lower volumes and revenue during the past year, and ERs across the country continue to see patient volume down 20 to 30 percent, he said.

The board approved the hiring of Brandon Weber as a full-time deputy and Patricia Pierce, who recently retired, as part-time circuit court bailiff.

Supervisors approved moving the correctional facility’s meal service from Summit Food Services to Trinity Services Group. The county will save a few cents per meal but is mainly seeking more responsive customer service.

The board accepted Trustmark’s financing bid of 1.05 percent on a $500,000 note.

Airport Manager Donna Sowers discussed a $9,000 grant coming to the facility for coronavirus relief.

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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