AMORY – Employees of the Amory School District were joined by their families Oct. 13 at The Arbors to celebrate the school’s first A rating from the Mississippi Department of Education since 2013. The score was representative of the 2018-2019 school year, and the event was funded by the Haskell Foundation.
Formalities of the evening were limited to a short presentation of a proclamation by Mayor Brad Blalock declaring Oct. 13 as Teacher Appreciation Day in Amory.
“We gladly accept,” said Amory School District Superintendent Ken Byars.
He took a minute more to express appreciation to district food service director and event planner Steve Stockton for putting together a terrific evening. Stockton was characteristically modest about his part in the effort.
“I thought it up in a couple of hours,” he said.
Students were on hand to direct incoming traffic to parking spots, and volunteers with the Haskell Foundation managed the guest register. Other students helped with food tables and a photo station to capture the memories for the staff and families.
“When you work with a crew like this, it makes it a lot easier,” said East Amory Elementary School third-grade teacher Taylor Nevins, who attended with her husband, Austin.
A field of inflatable activities was set up for children of employees near a pedestrian walk lined by crepe myrtles with framed photos of every district employee hanging from the branches.
Food such as tacos, pulled pork, ribs, burgers, white chicken chili, kettle corn and desserts was served, and a cornhole tournament was set up for the enjoyment of adults and children alike.
Soft, jazzy tunes wafted with the cool breezes as a band under the direction of Larry Burrell provided music. He was joined by Doug Thomas, Andrew Fox, Jr. and David East.
“We’re mostly retired band directors. We call ourselves The Directors,” Burrell said.
Amory School District Special Education Director Paula Wax enjoyed the evening with her daughters, Madison and Morgan.
“It’s nice to see everyone getting together outside of the work environment,” she said.
Byars couldn’t have been more pleased with how things turned out.
“I hope to do this every year. We’ll need an extra hour next time,” he said.
The board of supervisors met with the county’s 2020 census chairman John Allmond Oct. 11 to discuss preliminary plans to ensure an accurate population count next year, which equates to a number of factors such as available funding and local- and state-level government representation.
“The board [of supervisors] that’s sitting the next term, don’t think this is not going to affect you. The trend we’ve got, you’ve got some real issues to live with, so getting these people to help is really important,” said board president Billy Kirkpatrick.
He said with the 2010 census, supervisor District 5 didn’t have much change, but if there’s a change with one district, there’s usually changes with all of them.
U.S. census day will be April 1, 2020, and it will be conducted mostly online and also by telephone and by mail. It’s unsure when the window for people to enter census information will begin next year, but the bulk of the county complete committee’s push to the public will begin close to that time.
“I think it’s getting people to understand the needs, number one, of how it’s going to impact Monroe County. We’re not looking to arrest you for anything or find warrants. It’s strictly so we can advance Monroe County,” Allmond said.
Supervisors are submitting names of the complete count committee, which will brainstorm ways to spread the word of how important the census is.
“My plan is to sit down with the people you’ve provided me and then basically rely on churches and schools to push this forward. Everything, to my understanding, is going online and so between the churches and schools, I think we will cover the bulk,” Allmond said. “The big thing with this committee is to pinpoint all the churches in the communities and set up a meeting with each of them and ask them to have at least one day to open it up to their community and their church to assist in people filling out the census.”
He also suggested utilizing libraries and places with higher influxes of people.
Allmond also suggested census nights at the schools that would follow the same models as their accelerated reader nights.
Other methods of communicating the need for census participation included newspaper and radio public service announcements, Facebook, church bulletins and the county’s CodeRED alert system.
District 5 Supervisor Hosea Bogan asked how long the process of filling out the census is, and Allmond said it’s filling in basic information such as the number of people in a household and household income that won’t take long to complete.
“People are so Gung ho the government will deceive you that they don’t want to share their information. To a certain extent, they just don’t trust them so they say, ‘Well, I just won’t give it out.’ You see everything that goes on on TV, and it makes it even worse,” Bogan said.
During the workshop, the board adopted a proclamation regarding the county’s complete count committee.
Separate from the county-led work, people are needed to fill temporary jobs regarding the census. According to the 2020 census website, the pay rate per hour for Monroe County is $13.50. Anyone interested in applying may call 1-855-JOB-2020 or visit www.2020census.gov/jobs.
AMORY – A vacant storefront near Vinegar Bend that once housed Charlotte’s Wallpaper recently suffered a roof collapse during renovations that resulted in gutting out the building from top to bottom.
Mark and Lindsey Mitchell are the new owners of the property, which is located at 235 North Main St. They bought it and the neighboring unit at 233 North Main St.
“We didn’t plan it this way, but when the roof came down, it was more cost efficient to tear it all out,” Lindsey said.
She said the ground floor will house offices for Keller Mortgage and Mitchell Appraisal. The couple will make their new home in the 2,800 square feet located upstairs. Development for the existing upper level next door will be determined.
Skinner Construction of Tupelo is collaborating on the reconstruction with general contractor Stafford Developments of Tupelo.
“The roof had been leaking for years,” said Tim Skinner.
He said plans call for the two-story elevation of 233 North Main to be matched once the neighboring building is rebuilt.