Around the South: This Week’s Top 10 Southern News Stories
by Xander Norris
At the Overby Center, our mission is to keep our audience as up to date as possible on the news of our region. So! Starting this week, we’ll be bringing you the most prominent news stories happening right now south of the Mason-Dixon line. This week’s news is extremely diverse, from the water crisis in Jackson, Miss., to Alabama midwives pushing back against state regulations. We hope you enjoy:
- Much of Jackson’s water failures have been chalked up to general divestment in the city, exacerbated by a shrinking population and tax base. But at this point it’s more about how to fix the issue than who to blame. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, appeared together for the second time at the Jackson State University Student Center this week to speak on the water crisis.
- Civil rights activists and some lawmakers are concerned that new redistricting maps in Alabama, Florida and Louisianawill dilute the voices of Black people. Civil rights leaders worry the maps could diminish minority representation on Capitol Hill. In Florida, Plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the state’s new congressional map have launched a statewide six-week tour aimed at educating Black voters about changes to U.S. House district lines. Advocates will share presentations that explain how gerrymandering works and what districts looked like before the lines were drawn and where the boundaries are under the new map.
3. Body found in Memphis is that of abducted teacher and a suspect is being charged with murder, police say
- Eliza “Liza” Fletcher, 34, was identified as the person found dead Monday in the rear of a vacant duplex in the Tennessee city, roughly 7.5 miles from where surveillance video shows she was forced into an a van. Cleotha Abston, 38, was arrested over the weekend and is suspected of abducting and murdering Fletcher. Abston served a sentence in a previous kidnapping case more than 20 years ago. In November 2001, Abston pleaded guilty to the charge and was released in November 2020, court records show.
- Moon Landrieu, who faced down segregationists as a young Louisiana state legislator in the 1960s, integrated the New Orleans city government during his transformative years as mayor in the ’70s, and was the patriarch of a Democratic political dynasty, died Sept. 5 at his family home in New Orleans. He was 92.
- John Ragan, a Republican member of Tennessee’s House of Representatives and chair of its Government Operations Committee, sent letters to state-sponsored universities in Tennessee advising them to remove implications that LGBTQ students are a protected class under Title IX. In his letters, Ragan requested institutions reply by Sept. 2. Eastern Tennessee State University, a small school in Johnson City, Tennessee, and the University of Tennessee sent back response letters.
- Students who survived the May 24 shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, are spending the summer with a host of mental health issues including grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Parents are finding themselves unable to help, and experts worry because communities of color such as the largely Hispanic city of Uvalde face disparities in access mental health care. For low-income families, it can be even harder, as access to limited resources requires long waits for referrals through medical assistance programs.
7. Not so fast: Greg Abbott, Texas Republicans face a complex election landscape after abortion ruling, Uvalde shooting
- Both Gov. Greg Abbott and Beto O’Rourke hope to define the election on issues viewed as favorable to their own parties. The political environment in Texas still favors the GOP, however the public’s opinion on gun control and abortion rights has turned against Republicans.
- Midwives from Alabama and elsewhere visit the Mothers of Gynecology monument in Montgomery, Ala. in August 2022. They are among the people challenging the state’s proposed regulations on freestanding birth centers, which if enacted would prevent most Alabama midwives from operating or even working in a freestanding birth center.
- Knott County and Letcher County, both in Eastern Kentucky, are expected to lose more than 43% of their population in the next 30 years, based on projections from the University of Louisville State Data Center. Those are the two highest rates of any county in Kentucky. They’re also two of the counties hardest hit by historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky, which cost 39 lives and countless structures. That has some worried that the projections could get even worse.
- It is no secret Jackson State football coach Deion Sanders knows a lot of athletes. On Saturday, as his team was holding a pregame walk-through in Miami Gardens before playing Florida A&M the next day, Michael Vick, one of the fastest quarterbacks to play in the NFL, showed up. Vick advised the players to keep listening to the wisdom of Sanders, stay consistent, and keeping hydrated.