Newswire: LSU picks new leader, William Tate, naming system’s and SEC’s first Black president

William Tate

By The Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana State University chose its new leader Thursday, naming William Tate as the university system’s first Black president. Tate, provost at the University of South Carolina, was the unanimous pick of the LSU Board of Supervisors after public in-person interviews with three finalists and 90 minutes of closed-door debate among board members. He’ll start the job as LSU president — overseeing multiple campuses and serving as chancellor of the flagship campus in Baton Rouge — in July. “We set about to find a great leader, and we found one,” said Robert Dampf, chairman of the LSU board. In addition to becoming LSU’s first Black president, Tate will be the first African American university president in the Southeastern Conference, Gov. John Bel Edwards said. The Democratic governor, whose appointees fill the LSU board, issued a statement congratulating Tate and saying he’s confident Tate “is the right person to lead LSU.” “He has expressed a desire to ensure that more students have the opportunity for higher education at the schools in LSU’s system, including more minority students, those from rural areas and those who face financial challenges. He will also be charged with attracting first class researchers and research funding to our state as we seek to continue and expand LSU’s role as a national leader in innovation and discovery,” Edwards said. Tate, 56, will take charge of a system in the midst of several controversies, including an independent report that found widespread mishandling of sexual misconduct claims at LSU’s main campus in Baton Rouge and separate allegations of sexual harassment against the leader of LSU’s medical school in Shreveport. Terms of Tate’s contract with LSU have not been finalized, Dampf said. “For me, this position is all about what we can do to help students and give people access and opportunity in higher education,” Tate said in a statement. “That’s really in my DNA, how do we help people regardless of their background — we find the money, get you here and give you the opportunity to live your dream. I think there is no better place in the United States to come find your dream and to make it happen then right here at LSU.” Tate has been executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of South Carolina since July 2020. Before working there, the new president worked as graduate school dean and vice provost for graduate education at Washington University in St. Louis, was a professor at Texas Christian University and served on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He has a Ph.D. in mathematics education, master’s degree in psychiatric epidemiology and a bachelor’s degree in economics. The LSU System includes campuses in Baton Rouge, Alexandria and Eunice, medical schools in New Orleans and Shreveport, a law school, an agricultural center and research facilities spread across the state.

Bingo facilities contribute $485,958.87 for the month of March

On Wednesday, April 21, 2021, Greene County Sheriff’s Department reported a total distribution of $485,958.87 for the month of February from four licensed bingo gaming operations in the county. The bingo distributions were contributed by Frontier, River’s Edge, Palace and Bama Bingo. Greenetrack distributed an additional $71,000. The recipients of the February distributions from bingo gaming include the Greene County Commission, Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System). Sub charities include Children’s Policy Council, Guadalupan Multicultural Services, Greene County Golf Course, Branch Heights Housing Authority, Department of Human Resources and the Greene County Library. Bama Bingo gave a total of $114,990.90 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500, and the Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities, each received $1,132.50. Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $114,990.00 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,132.50. River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $114,994.98 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,333.33. Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $140,983.89 to the following: Greene County Commission, $37,478.82; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $41,377.50; City of Eutaw, $11,340.50; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,750.75; Greene County Board of Education, $12,873 and the Greene County Health System, $15,325; Sub Charities each, 1,389.47.

COVID-19

As of April 20, 2021 at 10:00 AM (according to Alabama Political Reporter) Alabama had 523,955 confirmed cases of coronavirus,(3,175) more than last week with 10,798 deaths (70) more than last week) Greene County had 914 confirmed cases, (4 more cases than last week), with 34 deaths Sumter Co. had 1,033 cases with 32 deaths Hale Co. had 2,187 cases with 75 deaths

Note: Greene County Physicians Clinic received Johnson and Johnson, one dose vaccination for COVID-19; vaccination has been paused by CDC; vaccination will be available again when CDC lifts pause. Call for appointments at 205/372-3388, Ext. 142; ages 18 and up.

GCHS graduation scheduled for Friday, May 21 Superintendent reports 53% of student enrollment returns to on-site classes

The Greene County Board of Education held its April 19, 2021 regular meeting face-to face in the Board’s Central Office, the first since November, 2020. All board members were in attendance and observed social distancing and wearing masks. In his report to the board, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones provided enrollment data of students since the Phase II Hybrid Plan went into effect on April 5, 2021. Eutaw Primary School reported 214 students (64.4 %) returning to on site classes; Robert Brown Middle School reported 184 students (52.8%) returning; and Greene County High School with 133 (42%) returning. “I am pleased that 511 (53.8%) of our students have returned to on site classes. We are continuing to provided our virtual academic program to the those students who have not chosen to return yet,” he said. Dr. Jones noted that he continues to monitor the status of COVID-19 rates in Greene County and surrounding areas. “Greene County had a positivity rate of 4.5% for the previous 14 days, but the risk factor was high, due to nine recent cases,” he stated. According to Jones, since Phase II has been implemented, zero cases have been detected in the schools, however one individual is in quarantine, due to exposure. Jones announced that Greene County High School 2021 graduation is scheduled for Friday, May 21, at 6:00 pm on the athletic field at Robert Brown Middle School, providing weather permits. Students will be allowed four invitations; social distancing and wearing masks and related safety measures will be observed. Regarding his report on facilities, the superintendent reported that water coolers have been installed in all school facilities; hot water will be added, where needed, to the bathrooms at Eutaw Primary and Robert Brown Middle. Phase I of the Bat Removal Project at RMB is completed, with Phase II to include installation of vents. The re-roofing at the central office did not meet the April 15 deadline due to inclement weather. The project is expected to be completed by mid May. The CSFO Lavonda Blair reported that the school system is financially sound, with an excess of $4 million in the combined fund balance. Blair presented the following financial snapshot as of February 28, 2021: General Fund Balance – $980,540.25; Accounts Payable Check Register – $390,509.33; Payroll Register – $811,704.03; and combined Fund Balance at $4,032,471.83. The board took action notifying the CSFO that it intends to continue her contract. The board approved the follow personnel items recommended by the superintendent. * Rescind employment of Vera Richardson, Special Services Bus Aide. * Employment of Stephanie L. Spencer, Special Services Bus Aide. * Catastrophic Leave for Bridgette Ward, from January 1, 2021 thru August 24, 2021. * Resignation of Brianna Bryant, Pre-K Teacher, Eutaw Primary School. * Retirement of Willie Gilmore, Cosmetology Instructor, Career Center, Effective June 1, 2021. The board approved the following administrative items. * Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll. * MariMac Academic Solutions, to perform ACT Testing services to Greene County Schools. * Contractual Agreement between Greene County Board and Denise Horton-Behavioral Aide, Eutaw Primary School. * Contractual Agreement between Greene County Board and Eleanor Smalls, Behavioral Aide, Greene County High School. * Approval of 2021-2022 School Calendar. * Adoption of Math Textbook Series. * Professional Development Agreement between Greene County Board and Kathi Wilson, LLC. for the 2021-2022 School Year. * School Resource Officer Contract for 2020-2021 School Year.

Greene County Schools equip classrooms to protect returning students and staff

The Greene County School System resumed face-to-face instruction at its school facilities utilizing the Phase II Hybrid Plan, beginning Monday, April 5, 2021. As shown in photos, each student desk has a three-sided plexiglass shield and masks are required for students and all school personnel. According to Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, temperature checks are administered each morning automatically as students and staff enter the facility. Hand sanitizers are available in each classroom and throughout the facility. Air purifiers are installed in each classroom. Dr. Jones stated that he is very pleased with the conduct of students and staff on the first days back at the schools. “ I want to commend our students, teachers and staff for the outstanding cooperation they demonstrated on returning to the face-to-face academic program. Everyone wore their masks and were sensitive to keeping safe distances and just trying to keep each other safe,” he said. Superintendent Jones noted the on-site school enrollments for the initial day back: Eutaw Primary with 214 students; Robert Brown Middle School with 220 students and Greene County High School with 125 students. Virtual classes are still available. Students who are returning to on-site classes are scheduled by the beginning letter of the last name. Students with last names A to M will attend classes on Monday and Tuesday; students with last names N to Z will attend classes Wednesday and Thursday. All academic programs are virtual on Fridays.

Newswire: Nation of Islam clarifies U. S. Capitol attacker not a member and condemns violence

Nation of Islam Flag

By Stacy M. Brown, 

NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

 The Nation of Islam has clarified and contradicted mainstream media reports that erroneously identified the individual who recently attacked the U.S. Capitol as one of its members. In a statement to the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the trade association of the 230-member Black Press of America, officials at the Nation of Islam said Noah Green, who killed a police officer in the attack and died from injuries sustained during his action, was not a member of the Nation of Islam. The organization also denounced the violent attack, noting that its members and leaders are appalled by violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol last week. Here is the full statement from the Nation of Islam on April 6, 2021. Brothers and Sisters of the Black Community, members of the press, and the American People: We have prepared this statement to answer some of the many inquiries that we have had over the last few days about Mr. Noah Green. Naturally, we, like most of you, were disturbed watching the news of an assault on the U.S. Capitol where one police officer was killed, one was injured, and Mr. Green was killed. We speak on behalf of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, the members of his family, all of the registered Muslim members of the Nation of Islam, and all people of good will everywhere, in that, we are in sympathy with the victims of this tragedy. And we are in sympathy with the families of these victims. And we, like you, can only offer them condolences and our deepest sympathy for their loss.  Our prayers are for the full recovery of the officer who was injured. The Nation of Islam has no history of violence against the government. Federal, state, and local law enforcement are all well aware of our history. We have held four national marches, including the Historic 1995 Million Man March, which we know to be one of the largest gatherings in the history of the United States of America and the most peaceful on the U.S. Capitol grounds. We had a good working relationship with the U.S. Capitol police during each of these historic events. It is being reported that Noah Green was a “follower” of the Nation of Islam. This young man, Noah Green, we believe may have attended our Saviours’ Day convention in Detroit, MI in February 2020. In March of 2020, due to the COVID 19 pandemic, we closed our Mosques, and began conducting meetings and classes remotely. A search of our records indicates Noah Green was not a registered member of the Nation of Islam.  It appears that in late summer (August-September) of 2020, he started the process to begin his study to become a member, but he did not complete the process. He did make a donation to the Saviours’ Day Gift. Every year, the followers and supporters make a charitable donation to the Nation of Islam’s Saviours’ Day Gift charity. Every donor who makes a donation of $1000 or more is issued a Certificate of Completion. This certificate does not establish that the donor is a member in good standing in the Nation of Islam. Mr. Noah Green’s alleged use of an automobile as a weapon and the alleged possession of a knife as reported, violates our teachings.  We absolutely disavow this act that resulted in the senseless loss of life. It is shocking for us to learn that someone who was attempting to be a part of our ranks may have been involved in something as tragic as this. But, we respectfully say to the members of the media and to the American people, Timothy McVeigh confessed that he was a Christian, but nobody blames the church for his misconduct. No one would blame Jesus or their pastor for unlawful and immoral behavior that is contrary to the teachings of Jesus.  You have criminals, people that do horrific things, but we never know their religion. It’s not important because religion does not teach criminal behavior. Criminal behavior is an aberration. Criminal behavior is a violation. Criminal behavior is absolute rebellion toward what God teaches through the mouth of His prophets. When thousands of American citizens engaged in an attempted insurrection, attacking the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, resulting in the deaths of five persons and injuring many, the news media did not question what their religion was. Nowhere in the teachings of Islam, nowhere in the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, could we countenance any man taking the life of an innocent human being. For us, human life is sacred. And the violation of human life is a violation of God, Himself, because He’s the giver of life and He’s the ultimate cause of death. But He doesn’t give us the right to kill innocent people. That is against our law. We are taught “to never be the aggressor in word or in deed”, for Allah (God) hates aggression and is not with the aggressor. This is our teaching. In fact, all of us who are members of the Nation of Islam have been instructed not to carry any weapons—not so much as a penknife—not on our persons and not in our homes. We do not rely on weapons of war to defend us. We rely on our belief and our faith in Allah (God). We condemn the wicked mischaracterization of some media reports trying to tie this tragic incident to the teachings of the Nation of Islam and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, and all people of good will should do the same as well. So, most of us, like you, are questioning why would this young man allegedly do such an act? If he did, what happened to him? What caused this? The family released a statement published in the Washington Post saying of Noah Green, he “was not a terrorist by any means.” He had been studying for his master’s degree in business administration but had also suffered from “depression and potential mental illness.” It has also been reported in an article from CNN, that he shared on social media, “I have suffered multiple home break-ins, food poisoning, assaults, unauthorized operations in the hospital, mind control.” This young man had struggled in his early life but overcame much as a student to graduate with a degree in finance. He had a wonderful, noble idea to help the black and brown people through his knowledge of finance. “I am sure,” Minister Farrakhan states, “had he been blessed to come through the crisis that he was going through, he would have been a star in the mission of the resurrection of our people. We need to know what happened to our brother.” So, our research is continuing into what happened to this young man and we cannot rest until we find out what caused him to take a turn like this. We are saddened by the loss of this brother with such great potential. With heavy hearts we offer sympathy and condolences to his mother, father, family and friends.

Greene County High School Graduating Senior, 2021

NOTICE

The Greene County Democrat staff invites all Greene County High School graduating seniors, 2021, to come to the Democrat’s office, with white shirts/tops, to get their graduation photos taken for the newspaper.  The deadline for the photos is Friday, May 14, 2021. 

Office hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. 

Students may also  make individual appointments with 

Mrs. Barbara Amerson Hunter at 205-372-3373, or submit a photo to bamerson1345@bellsouth.net

 
 

One quarter of Greene County’s adults have received one vaccination

Vaccination at Greenetrack parking lot conducted by the National Guard

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), 25% or more of Greene county’s adults, over the age of 16 have received one or more doses of coronavirus vaccine. The ADPH Coronavirus Dashboard, on the state’s website, shows that as of March 30, 2021 there were 2,927 does of vaccine administered to Greene County adults. This includes 2,081 who received one shot and 874 who are fully vaccinated with two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one shot of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. In a press release yesterday, the ADPH says 25% of adult residents of 35 Alabama counties including: Greene, Marengo, Hale, Wilcox, Perry, Lowndes, Dallas, Sumter, Choctaw, Monroe, Washington, Macon and Bullock in the Black Belt, have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine. Last Wednesday, March 24, a total of 396 people were vaccinated at the Health Department in downtown Eutaw and a special vaccination site administered by the National Guard at the Greenetrack parking lot. In all, the National Guard has administered 3,738 shots in 24 Alabama rural counties as part of a targeted effort that began last week. The ADPH says in its press release that, “Successful public health efforts to achieve vaccine equity have resulted in higher vaccine uptake among African American residents of Black Belt counties.” This comes after an initial period where immunization of African-Americans, who are more vulnerable to the disease, lagged behind in vaccinations. 64% of the most vulnerable populations above the age of 75 have received one dose or more in Alabama as of yesterday. ADPH says. “People in this age group are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. As we age, our immune cells become more difficult to activate. ADPH maximized our limited vaccine resources to help protect these Alabama residents. Regrettably, 78.8 percent of Alabamians who have died due to COVID-19 are age 65 and older. Vulnerable older residents have been prioritized in our Vaccine Allocation Plan for that reason.” ADPH says that supply remains an issue, as there is not yet enough vaccine available for everyone who would like to be vaccinated. The state continues to receive more vaccine distribution from the Federal government and hopes to make shots available to all who want the by the end of April 2021. ADPH encourages the use of facial coverings after the state mandate ends on April 9, 2021. Masks or other facial coverings will no longer be a mandate after April 9, but ADPH reminds everyone that masks remain one of the most successful tools to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Many businesses and healthcare facilities will continue to require facial coverings in their facilities. Hospitals and nursing homes are under federal guidance that supports the use of facial coverings, and we anticipate the requirement for facial coverings to remain in place at those facilities.

Superintendent Jones schedules reopening of on-site classes in Greene County Schools

Dr. Corey Jones

At the regular meeting of the Greene County Board of Education, held virtually, March 15, 2021, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones announced the reopening of schools, Monday, April 5, with on-site academic classes. Dr. Jones presented an overview of the Road Map to Reopening utilizing the system’s Phase II Hybrid Schedule. According to Jones, the decision to bring the students back is based on several factors including the substantial decrease in COVID-19 positive rates for the county; all school employees having had the opportunity to begin their vaccination process; continuous sanitation of all school premises; placement of plexiglass dividers in classrooms for teachers and students and other related safety measures. Dr. Jones noted that more than 50% of school personnel have had their first coronavirus vaccination. Reopening plans include the following: Students with last names beginning with A to M will attend classes all day Mondays and Tuesdays; Students with last names beginning N to Z will attend classes all day Wednesdays and Thursdays; Students will log in virtually on Fridays for tutoring or enrichment. Sanitizing of all facilities will also occur on Fridays; Students and school personnel must wear masks, reusable masks will be provided by the school system; School lunches will be served in the classrooms; Students school uniforms have been suspended for remaining current school term, but appropriate dress codes will be in place; School buses will operate at one half capacity with planned seating separation. The system’s reopening plan will be posted on the web site. Parents may elect to keep their children in the all virtual program. The superintendent emphasized that it is imperative to get students back with face-to-face instruction to further prepare for the State Department of Education ACAP Assessment. “This assessment will provide scientific basis of just where our students are academically,” he said. Dr. Jones announced that he is planning a summer school program with details to be provided later. The CSFO, Lavonda Blair, presented a snapshot financial report for January 2021. She indicated that the school system continues in a sound financial state, maintaining appropriate cash and investment reserves. Ms. Blair reported that, due to the coronavirus, there was a delay in the system receiving property taxes on a timely basis from the Revenue Commissioner’s office, however, there is an increase in the tax receipts. Ms. Blair noted that the State Examiners of Public Accounts office is conducting a routine financial and legal compliance audit of the Greene County Board of Education for the period October 1, 2019 through September 30, 2020. In other business the board approved the following personnel items recommended by Superintendent Jones. * Employment: Michael Moore, Maintenance, Greene County School System; Tina Cherry, Full-time Custodian, Eutaw Primary School; Vera Richardson, Special Services Bus Aide, Department of Transportation. * Retirement: Jeffery Wesley, Physical Education Teacher, Eutaw Primary School. • Catastrophic Leave: Kalya Gray, Science Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School. The board approved the following administrative items recommended. * Emergency contract with Conserv Wildlife Services, to resolve bat issues at Robert Brown Middle School. * County School System establish and maintain only one Athletic Booster Club with all funds being deposited therein and properly shared among teams regardless of gender. * Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.

Marsh’s lottery and casino bill falls two votes short in Alabama Senate

Greene County citizens who went to a rally at the State Capital steps in Montgomery on Tuesday against March’s Lottery and Casino Bill.

The Alabama State Senate voted Tuesday by 19 to 13 to defeat Del Marsh’s Lottery and Gambling bill. The bill since it was a Constitutional Amendment required a 60% majority – 21 votes to pass. The bill fell two votes short on this attempt. Marsh’s bill included a statewide lottery and five casinos. The five were the Mobile Greyhound Track, Victoryland in Macon County, Birmingham Racecourse and Greenetrack; as well as a new site in northeast Alabama near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Marsh amended his bill to add a casino near Dothan in Houston County and Senator Bobby Singleton amended the bill on the floor to add and Whitehall Enterprises in Lowndes County. Two Black State Senators were out for sickness at yesterday’s session, Senator Malika Sanders Fortier of Selma and Senator Priscilla Dunn of Bessemer, who may have voted for the bill, especially after it was amended to include the Whitehall facility, which is in Lowndes County, in Fortier’s district. These two additional votes would have given the proposal the necessary 60% majority vote for passage. Another looming challenge facing gaming in Greene County comes from legal actions against “electronic bingo” by Steve Marshall, Alabama Attorney General, who feels that bingo machines are equivalent to illegal slot machines. The Attorney General’s efforts are backed by decisions of the Alabama Supreme Court which are unfavorable to electronic means of playing bingo. Marsh’s bill would have legalized gambling at only certain recognized places in the state and invalidated Marshall’s efforts.