Around the South Weekly Top News Stories in the South (10/22/22)


by Xander Norris

Graphic by Zoe Keyes
The South is a big, complicated place. The irregular happens regularly, and many of the nation’s most important debates and happenings seem to either start or end somewhere within our borders. That’s why every Saturday morning, the Overby Center is committed to bringing you a rundown of this week’s most prominent southern news stories, all in one easily-digestible place. So grab a cup of coffee, settle into your most comfortable chair, and prepare to get caught up on what’s currently happening… Around the South.

Lumumba, Reeves continue to point fingers as Congress calls for probe of Jackson water spending

  • About a month removed from a unified effort to lift Jackson, Miss., out of its water crisis, city and state officials continue to trade public jabs, with the future of the water system on the line. In his strongest statements yet about Jackson’s water crisis, Gov. Tate Reeves criticized Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba in a release Monday for being unwilling to work with the Unified Command Structure, a multi-agency taskforce that the state formed in late August to help diagnose, fund and fix issues at Jackson’s main water treatment plant. However, Mayor Lumumba disputed that he was unwilling to participate in the unified approach, saying instead that city officials hadn’t had a chance to review the RFQ before the state published it.

Demings goes on attack against Rubio in Florida Senate debate

  • Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings went on the attack Tuesday in her first debate against Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, castigating him as a serial liar. At the same time, Rubio criticized her for supporting President Joe Biden’s economic agenda. Each accused the other of being an extremist on abortion. Rubio, a two-term senator, and Demings, a three-term congresswoman and former Orlando police chief, faced questions on inflation, voting rights, gun violence, immigration and foreign policy.

At Georgia debate, Abrams and Kemp clash on abortion, crime

  • Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams painted different visions for the future of Georgia. The two clashed on the economy, crime, voting and education as they debated Monday night after more than 100,000 Georgians swarmed to the polls of the first day of early voting. Kemp issued perhaps his clearest commitment yet that he won’t pursue any new restrictions on abortion or birth control, clarifying his position on an issue he’s sometimes avoided as he seeks a second term. Abrams, pushing uphill to unseat the incumbent four years after she narrowly lost to Kemp, told voters his record of accomplishments was scant.

Voters of color had mail-in ballots rejected at higher rates than white voters in Texas’ March primary

  • Asian voters were most disproportionately affected by the new ID requirements included in voting restrictions passed by the 2021 Legislature, a Brennan Center for Justice analysis found.

Florida sees rise in flesh-eating bacteria amid Ian concerns

  • Florida has seen an increase in cases of flesh-eating bacteria this year, primarily driven by a surge in the county hit hardest by Hurricane Ian. The state Department of Health reports that as of Friday there have been 65 cases of vibrio vulnificus infections and 11 deaths in Florida this year. That compares with 34 cases and 10 deaths reported during all of 2021. In Lee County, where Ian stormed ashore last month, the health department reports 29 cases this year and four deaths. The advisory said that people with open wounds, cuts, or scratches can be exposed to the bacteria through contact with seawater or brackish water. People with open wounds should avoid such water and seek medical care immediately if an infection is apparent.

In one of the worst regions to have a baby, southern universities bet big on midwives

  • In states like Tennessee, Alabama and Louisiana, nurse-midwives are leading efforts to improve pregnancy outcomes, hoping to improve healthcare in a region long known for some of the nation’s highest rates of maternal and infant death.

Worker admits dumping raw waste into Jackson water system

  • An employee of a Mississippi wastewater hauling company pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday for his part in illegally discharging industrial waste into the Jackson, Miss., city sewer system. William Roberts, an employee of Partridge-Sibley Industrial Services, admitted to supervising the improper disposal of industrial waste at a commercial entity in Jackson. As a result of Roberts’s negligence, the waste was trucked and hauled to a facility that was not a legal discharge point designated to receive the waste, federal prosecutors said.

Tennessee Titans’ stadium would have NFL’s lowest capacity, focus on viewing experience

  • If approved, the Tennessee Titans’ proposed $2.1 billion stadium would be both the newest and smallest by capacity in the NFL. Nissan Stadium ranks No. 17 among NFL stadiums for capacity; opened in 1999, it seats 69,143. A new Titans stadium would have a capacity of between 55,000 to 60,000, CEO Burke Nihill revealed at an Oct. 17 news conference. A driving factor in the argument to build a new stadium has been the ability to host economy-boosting events like the Super Bowl or NCAA Final Four. In the past, the NFL has required a 70,000-seat minimum to host a Super Bowl; however, AtoZ Sports reports that the NFL has assured the Titans that their stadium design would be eligible to host the big game.

We Salted Nannie: A True Southern Ghost Story

  • In September of 2014, Tom Maxwell moved with his family into a large, historic home in Hillsborough, North Carolina. With its affordable rent and lush surroundings, it seemed too good to be true. Nine months later, they broke their lease, loaded the truck, and ran away as fast as possible from the spirits and apparitions that tortured them. Only afterward would Maxwell learn about the 300 years of bad mojo piled up in the house they called Nannie.

Tennessee seeks help for goalposts torn down after win vs. Alabama

  • After Tennessee beat Alabama 52-49 on Saturday night, fans stormed the field and carried away both goalposts before dumping them in the Tennessee River. Now the bill is due.