Expansion of Juvenile Justice program planned

Dr. Janet Schriver, county cultural affairs director, introduced Bushwick Bill to the Copiah Conty Board of Supervisors. Bushwick Bill is a former gansta rapper who has since become a Christian. He will be working with the youth in the Crossroads Juvenile Justice program this summer.

Bushwick Bill gained fame as a rapper in the group Geto Boys, but he is concerned about the influence gangsta rap has on the behavior of youth today.

“Kids imitate what they hear in rap music,” said Bushwick Bill. “We used to rap about what was going on in our neighborhood,” adding that their early rap was largely political, taking inspiration from newspapers and current events. But he is concerned that today’s rap lyrics are influencing increasing violence in many areas without providing any educational substance to youth.

By looking at music from an artistic perspective, Bushwick Bill hopes to teach youth to make wholesome music and “break the trend of trying to live up to what the newest rapper is putting out,” he said. In his work so far with the youth of Copiah County, he noted, “The music they want to make is mostly about dancing. They all have potential for it.”

In addition to making music, Bushwick Bill and his colleagues will teach the youth about shooting videos and mixing sound, skills that could lead to jobs in a variety of areas, he pointed out.

Supervisors authorized the application for a renewal of the Juvenile Justice grant that funds the Crossroads program. Schriver advised that they are seeking an increase this year to expand the summer program.

STORM READY

Copiah County Emergency Management leadership and the Board of Supervisors were recognized March 10 for being “Storm Ready” by the National Weather Service and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency for the training that has been completed and the interagency cooperation that is in place.

Only 15 to 20 of the state’s emergency agencies are termed “storm ready.” In the presentation Copiah was recognized for the relationship between the weather service and emergency management, work with the municipalities, ability to disseminate emergency information to schools, etc. and conduct of spotter classes.

Other Matters

The detention center’s contract for inmate meals with Hardy Wilson Memorial Hospital was reported ready for renewal. Fire Investigator Chad Sills was authorized expenses for his membership and annual convention of the Fire Investigators’ organization.

Supervisors discussed final payment expected from federal and state sources on the courthouse restoration of $137,000.

Human Resource Director Bonnie Gustavis received authorization to accept a security system from the Mississippi Department of Transportation for her office and buses. The county authorized a check to the agency for an accident settlement deposited in the county account. The agency requested that funding be sought for a building for the agency east of the present building to provide needed space. Supervisors authorized the agency to proceed with architectural planning and seeking a Community Development Block Grant for the project. A request was also made for janitorial service in the Human Resource Agency office.

Dana Hartshorn of Airport Development Group updated the supervisors on the issues with the contractor for the T-hangars at the Copiah County Airport noting that engineer reports on the strength of the foundation are overdue. If this issue can be settled, Hartshort expressed his opinion that other issues can be settled. A certified letter has been sent to the contractor setting a deadline for settling the problem prior to calling in the bonding company. A report on this matter is expected at the next supervisors’ meeting on March 23.

Alan Kitchens was appointed to the Airport Commission and appointment of two other commissioners is expected. Kitchens and Airport Operator Gerry Mosley discussed problems they are experiencing with movement of planes in the hangar and after hour access. Some of these problems will be solved when the T-hangars are available for private airplane owners.

Tax Collector Holloway received authorization to dispose of outdated vehicle tags and decals.

Routine tax roll corrections were made upon recommendation of Tax Assessor Mooney.

OTHER BUSINESS

Reimbursement of payment of an erroneous tax assessment was authorized, as was reimbursement for overpayment on a homestead exemption that was mistakenly deleted.

Patsy Strong will be recertified as a dispatcher at a class costing $200, which will be reimbursed by the state.

The board discussed ongoing road projects with the county engineer. A meeting was held last week with a representative of the federal highway department. Although the county’s request to delete the rumble strip requirement from a road project was not approved, changes to the strips were discussed that should make it more practical for the county roads involved.

During the visit, the federal highway representative looked at several locations in Copiah County to see if a project is eligible for funding available to improve dangerous intersections. The Monticello and James Roads intersection attracted the most attention during the visit. James Road meets Monticello Road near Hazlehurst in a sharp curve. In addition to the sharpness of the curve, the bank is too high for proper visibility for traffic coming off James Road.

The visit also gave the supervisors some encouragement on getting a crossing gate at the Monticello Road railroad crossing. It will take time for the project to work through the system, but supervisors are hopeful that it will be funded.

A permit was approved for moving a water line on North Raymond Road where erosion has uncovered the line. The homestead reimbursement payment received from the state was reflected on the minutes. The county’s portion totaled about $176,000, with the county school district receiving $111,000.

A school bus turnaround was approved on Damascus Road for the Hazlehurst School District.

The interlocal agreement with the Town of Wesson for solid waste collection has been approved by the Attorney General’s office.

Justin Collins was hired as truck driver at the south road barn. Resignation was accepted from Eddie Arnold Sr.

Claims were approved totaling $2,477,915.98.

Judge Lamar Pickard visited briefly with the supervisors, remarking that the current term of court is probably the biggest term ever had in Copiah County. “We are getting a lot of business done,” said Judge Pickard. “The cases made have been very good.”

The board recessed to 6 p.m. that evening for the final hearing for the solid waste management plan to allow a developer to pursue a proposed Class 1 rubbish pit near Crystal Springs.

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