Around the South: Weekly Top News Stories in the South (09/17/22)


by Xander Norris

Graphic by Zoe Keyes

At the Overby Center, our mission is to keep our audience as up to date as possible on the news of our region. So! Each week we’ll be bringing you a rundown of the most prominent news stories currently happening… Around the South.

From new texts linking Brett Favre to Mississippi’s ongoing welfare scandal to a Charleston neighborhood fighting back against a highway expansion threatening to destroy their community, this week’s roundup explores a wealth of different topics. So grab a cup of coffee, settle into your most comfortable chair, and prepare to get caught up on the week that was.

Gov. Tate Reeves Lifts Boil-water Notice

  • Gov. Tate Reeves announced yesterday that Jackson’s 40+ day boil-water notice has been lifted. Recent testing indicates water is safe to drink and the state will continue to monitor the water and conduct additional testing.

Text messages link Brett Favre, more than $1 million in welfare grant money and a volleyball facility in Mississippi.

  • New court documents show that the Mississippi governor in 2017 knew of a plan for a nonprofit group to pay Brett Favre more than $1 million in welfare grant money so the retired NFL quarterback could help fund a volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Florida flies dozens of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard

  • Around 50 migrants arrived unexpectedly to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. on Wednesday, officials said. This was part of an accelerating campaign by some Republican state officials to relocate asylum-seeking migrants to liberal bastions like Washington, Massachusetts, and New York. This tactic is presumably in protest to the significant rise in illegal immigration under President Biden.

New poll shows Beto O’Rourke within 5 points of Gov. Abbott, but midterm terrain still favors GOP

  • Democrats in Texas appear to be gaining ground less than two months before the midterms, according to new polling from the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Politics Project, with statewide candidates within single digits of Republican incumbents and the race for governor shaping up to be one of the most competitive Texas has seen in decades. In the 2022 race for governor, O’Rourke is seeking to unseat Greg Abbott by courting voters in the panhandle to turn the race in his favor.

Teacher shortages in Alabama, US are real, but not for the reason you heard

  • The Birmingham school system is struggling to fill around 50 teaching spots, including 15 in special education, despite $10,000 signing bonuses for special education teachers. However, there is little evidence to suggest teacher turnover has increased nationwide or educators are leaving in droves. The real problem appears to be that fewer new teachers appear to be joining the profession… 

Art Rosenbaum, Painter and Preserver of Folk Music, Dies at 83

  • Art Rosenbaum, a painter and folk musician acclaimed for a half-century of field recordings of American vernacular music, including old-time Appalachian fiddle tunes and ritual music imported from Africa by enslaved people, died on Sept. 4 at 83. As an artist and exponent of American traditional songs, Rosenbaum sought to blur the lines between outsider and insider art.

Mortgage rates hit 6%, first time since 2008 housing crash

  • As of Friday, Sept. 16, current rates in Mississippi are 6.39% for a 30-year fixed and 5.60% for a 15-year fixed. Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates climbed over 6% this week for the first time since the housing crash of 2008, threatening to sideline even more homebuyers from a rapidly cooling housing market. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday, Sept. 15, that the 30-year rate rose to 6.02% from 5.89% last week.

The Path of Resistance 

  • The West Virginia Great Barrel Company (WVGBC), is one of the most advanced cooperages in America. WVGBC focuses on digitally shaped staves, precise infrared wood toasting, and a number of other factors, WVGBC makes barrels with both distillers and the local economy in mind. 

Meet the New Orleans recycler who turns glass into climate change solutions

  • Reckon spoke with Fran Trautmann, 24, a chemical engineering graduate from Tulane University and the co-owner of Glass Half Full, a New Orleans startup that recycles glass into sand. But rather than sprinkling it back on the country’s beaches, Trautmann and her co-founder Max Steitz ensure that most of it goes toward fighting the cascading effects of climate change.