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More recreation opportunities needed for youth

There are very few recreational opportunities for young people in Copiah County, Rev. Martin Washington pointed out to the board of supervisors Monday. That’s why Antioch M.B. Church in Hazlehurst opens its gym every day to give kids a place to go.

The church has a basketball court, pool table, badminton, and exercise room, but keeping the doors open so much is stressful on the church’s handful of workers. But since the city’s Boys & Girls Club closed a couple months ago, Washington said they feel they have little choice. Washington believes it helps the crime rate and keeps kids out of trouble.

Washington asked the board if there was any help the county can provide in creating recreational opportunities for youth.

“It’s nearing summer time,” said Washington. “We need to do something in a hurry to keep our children off the streets doing mischievous stuff.”

The county can not make donations to any organizations except those narrowly defined by statute, so they can not support a church program like Antioch’s. Supervisor Earl Dixon offered to check with the county’s representatives with Central Mississippi Planning and Development District to see what grant funds are available for recreation.

In the meantime, Washington said Antioch’s gym will be open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Supervisors passed five resolutions honoring Eagle Scouts Will Davis, Adam Ganucheau, Jared Ganucheau, Rob Pyron, and Brandon Smith. The five are students at Copiah Academy and members of Troop 36 sponsored by the Hazlehurst United Methodist Church.

Problems with dropped cellular calls were discussed. The emergency management director was authorized to buy a repeater to boost cell phone signals in his vehicle to test it out and see how it works countywide.

The board reviewed a list of grants awarded to the Emergency Management Agency in fiscal year 2009. The county received a total of $227,251.84 in grant funds.

The boundaries of the Hopewell fire grading district were modified as advertised to include the Burt Loop neighborhood. No one from the public gave input on the action.

Michael Funchess was hired as groundskeeper and custodian for the services building and elsewhere as needed.

The county is eligible for $782,000 in Recovery Zone allocation bonds according to a letter from Governor Barbour. These funds are a reduced interest type program, not grant funds. If the county does not intend to use them, the governor’s office asked to be notified so the funds can be reallocated April 1.

The coroner was authorized mileage to use his personal vehicle to attend training on the coast. Stuart explained that the  coroner’s county vehicle has 260,000 miles on it and he hated to take it that far from the county.

The board discussed personnel and litigation in executive session but no action was taken.

A permit was approved for Copiah-New Zion Water Association to lay lines to service the Arrowhead Ridge subdivision.

Payment to Griner Drilling Service for work on the test well project was authorized and reimbursement from grant funds requested.

The other well site has been turned over to the DEQ by the Health Department. Investigation continues into why the site was not cleaned up following a train derailment many years ago. The county attempted to drill a well in the area to service the industrial park, but the groundwater is too contaminated to be used without extensive treatment.

The board reviewed proposals for engineer, attorney, and administrator on the CCI project. Selections were made as follows: Sample & Associates, administrator; Johnson & Associates, engineer; Berry & Munn, legal services, and Clark Appraisal Service as appraiser, although it was noted that the services of an appraiser will not likely be needed on this project as it involves a county road in the city’s industrial park.

Cultural affairs director Janet Schriver reported that 780 people participated in the Journey Stories Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition and its related activities. The blog is up on the Robert Johnson House website, and Schriver is pursuing grant funds through MDA for further restoration of the house.

The Juvenile Justice grant reimbursement schedule has been delayed, Schriver advised the board. The grant did not start on time so the county has not been reimbursed on time. The board approved paperwork related to the grant pending the attorney’s approval.

The board of supervisors will meet again on Wednesday, March 10, at 9 a.m. and on Friday, March 19, at 9 a.m.

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