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Supervisors asked to support Johnson anniversary celebration

Bonnie L. Jackson, News Editor

The Copiah County Board of Supervisors was asked by two representatives of the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation (RJBF) to contribute financially to the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of  Robert Johnson–King of the Delta Blues– during a recent meeting.

The State Legislature declared 2011 the Year of Robert Johnson. The RJBF plans  to use this momentous occasion as the springboard for a number of events throughout the state. Johnson’s son, Claud and his family live in Crystal Springs where the foundation is located. The family home is owned by the County and is stored next to the Heritage House–used recently as a cultural education center–in Hazlehurst.

Ben L. Minnifield and Tanya D. Scott requested that the board designate the  RJBF as Copiah’s Visitors and Convention Bureau in order to take full advantage of the eco-music tourism that RJBF could bring to Copiah County.

They believe that Hazlehurst’s claim to being the birthplace of Robert Johnson is an invaluable asset that has yet been fully realized.

Minnifield reminded the board that the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) and the State use the slogan ‘Birthplace of America’s Music’ to promote tourism in Mississippi, but have yet to capitalize on the full economic and international awareness likened to that of New Orleans and Memphis as cities who are world-famous for their music.

They requested a $5,000 contribution that will serve as seed money when trying to attract other investors or seeking grant money from the MDA.

The board suggested that Minnifield and Scott discuss their plans and claims with the Hazlehurst Chamber of Commerce and the Hazlehurst Historical Preservation Commission and take a direction from there.  No other action was taken.

General Business

The board approved several corrections to the homestead roles as advised by Tax Assessor Todd Mooney.

The board authorized advertising a public meeting to amend the solid waste contract to include a permit that allows the county to dump trimmings at the site specific location on Highway 28.

Sheriff Harold Jones received approval to cover the cost of sending deputy Tommy Roberts to an Advanced Crime Scene Seminar in Cleveland.

The board allocated  funds for reappraisal maintenance for the following: $60,819,  for the tax collector’s office;  for $65,631,  for sheriff’s administration; and, $383,170 and $237,651 for prisoner custody.

Eva Wince was given approval to hold her Sickle Cell Anemia Awareness Walk at the courthouse on April 9.

Board Attorney Elise Munn will write a letter on behalf of the Board that will be sent to property owners opposing the effort to allow hunting on Sundays on the Henneberry  Game Preserve.

The board approved a permit for AT&T to install a line on Thompson Lane.

The board entered into an executive session to discuss economic development and personnel matters.   After returning from the closed session, Munn announced that no acton had been taken.

Finally, the board approved advertising for bids on a bridge at Sugar Farm Road subject to State Aid approval.

The board adjourned until their next meeting, scheduled for Monday, April 18 at 9 a.m.

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