Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:


Oct. 20

The Greenwood Commonwealth on Gov. Tate Reeves reimposing a mask mandate for public indoor spaces in nine Mississippi counties weeks after he ended the statewide mask mandate:

Even as Gov. Tate Reeves reimposed Monday a mask mandate on nine Mississippi counties, he tried to argue that there’s no correlation between his earlier lifting of a statewide mandate and the recent upward trend in COVID-19 cases.

Reeves said he’s looked at the numbers and mask policies in neighboring states and they don’t support the connection.

Here’s the numbers we see. In the 21⁄2 weeks since the mask requirement expired on Sept. 30, documented cases of the virus in Mississippi have gone from averaging 517 per day to 767, a nearly 50% increase. If that’s a coincidence, it’s an odd one.



Oct. 17

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal on the 150th anniversary of the newspaper and Tupelo, Mississippi:

In today’s paper, we reflect on the sesquicentennial anniversary of both the city of Tupelo and the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. While the city’s official anniversary was in July, we could not let this year go without highlighting how far our community has come and how the Journal has played a role in telling the story of this community.

COVID-19 not only postponed, and possibly canceled, any celebration in town, but the virus also cast some doubt on how we could put together a comprehensive special section.

Thanks to the efforts of our staff and the Oren Dunn City Museum, you have a 28-page section highlighting the history of Tupelo and the Daily Journal. This section features the stories we know along with some less told angles. We look not just at President Roosevelt’s 1934 visit to Tupelo but the role of his wife, Eleanor, during this trip. And as we look back on the 1936 tornado, we highlight the new research, which tells us more about how this disaster affected the Black community.

And then we focus on far the community has come in the 21st century; the development of Fairpark in downtown; Toyota locating to Blue Springs and the economic impact, not just for Lee County, but for the region thanks to the PUL Alliance; the 2014 tornado and the recovery effort, which led to Tupelo earning its fifth All-American City award in 2015; two visits from President Donald Trump, as he held campaign rallies for Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and Gov. Tate Reeves.

This section was put together by special projects editor Caleb Bedillion, copy desk chief Amanda Burden and designer Scott Burden. The Oren Dunn City Museum curators Leesha Faulkner and Sihya Smith went above and beyond to assemble the timeline and provide several stories for the section.

This is an important story to share with the community, and we hope you enjoy the final product in today’s paper.



Oct. 16

The Commercial Dispatch on the replacement for a Mississippi county official who stepped down from his role after facing criticism about racist comments he made in June:

On Thursday, the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors chose a new board president.

Trip Hairston, who has been on the board for less than a year, will now serve as president, filling the vacancy created when Harry Sanders stepped down in late June after his racist comments created a firestorm of criticism and calls for Sanders to resign.

Leroy Brooks, now in his 37th year on the board and among the longest-serving public officials in the state, was again passed over for the president’s post, as has been the case multiple times.

However you may feel about this decision, the fact remains that the business of the board of supervisors will go on, and it will be Hairston’s principal job to heal the divisions and restore some semblance of cohesion in order to ensure the board can properly conduct the county’s business.

It will not be an easy task.

Since June, the board’s Black members -- Brooks and District 4 supervisor Jeff Smith -- have abstained on the majority of the votes taken by the board.

For Brooks, in particular, it’s a matter of both principle and pride.

He has steadfastly maintained he will not rest until Sanders is no longer a member of the board. But even after the board voted, 3-1, in June for Sanders to resign from the board, Sanders remains.

In vowing that he would not give up the fight to have Sanders removed from the board, Brooks promised more than he could deliver. Abstaining from votes is a symbolic measure, but has not produced the results he had hoped for. He has, at this point, run out of options where Sanders is concerned.

Sanders continues to remain a toxic presence on the board and an influential one, too. Changing seats in the boardroom has not changed that dynamic.

It is against that backdrop that Hairston must operate.

He has vowed that he will reach out to Smith and Brooks and make sure they are informed on the issues that arise. Both Brooks and Smith have said that they have often felt left out of the loop on issues over the years.

Brooks and Smith have a decision to make as well. Both men were elected to perform a job on behalf of the people of Lowndes County. That means voting on the proposals that come before the board. They have made their positions clear. They have taken symbolic action as a means of protest.

But they have a greater responsibility and must again resume performing their duties as elected officials.

As board president, Hairston has an equally important obligation -- to build a fully functioning board whose focus is on serving the people of the county.

That’s the job he signed on for when he accepted the position as board president.

For the sake of the residents of Lowndes County, we hope the board can find a measure of functional harmony.