Bay St. Louis

Joe Paul to serve as Southern Miss interim president

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Longtime administrator Joe Paul to serve as Southern Miss interim president

Joe Paul will serve as interim president at University of Southern Mississippi.

Joe Paul, the former vice president for Student Affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi, will come out of retirement to serve as interim president of the state’s third-largest public university.

The Institutions of Higher Learning board of trustees announced Thursday that Paul, who served in student affairs for more than 40 years, would serve as interim president of the University of Southern Mississippi, replacing former President Rodney Bennett.

Bennett, who has served as USM president since 2013, announced in January he was stepping down before the termination of his current contract. Bennett will serve as president until July 15, according to the IHL press release, and Paul will begin as interim president on July 16.

Bennett, when he announced his resignation, initially said he would step down in June 2023.

“Dr. Paul’s vast experience through a lifetime of service to the institution makes him the perfect choice to lead the university during this transition period,” said IHL Board Chair Tommy Duff. “I appreciate him stepping up to the plate when asked and know that the university will be in steady hands with him at the helm. As decades of alumni can attest, he has great affection for the university and tremendous concern for its students.”

The IHL board will soon begin the search for a full-time USM president, according to the IHL news release sent out Thursday afternoon. Duff and Gee Ogletree will serve as co-chairs of an IHL board search subcommittee, and they’ll be joined by other IHL board members Jeanne Luckey, Alfred McNair Jr. and Steven Cunningham.

The search for a new USM chief administrator comes after the IHL board made its presidential search process more confidential through a series of policy changes earlier this year. In April, the board voted to make it so search committee members are anonymous, even to each other, and to decrease the role that campus advisory groups play in selecting the president. 

Faculty are concerned these changes will make university presidents less accountable to students, faculty and staff.

Bennett, who became the 10th president of USM in 2013, was the first African American to lead a predominately white Mississippi university. Bennett earned his academic honors from the state of Tennessee university system and was serving as vice president of student affairs at the University of Georgia when tabbed to lead USM.

Duff praised Bennett for what he said was his many accomplishments, including the school earning “the distinguished R1 designation as a top-tier research university.”

The news release announcing Paul as the interim president said the IHL board decided on the transition plan earlier this month.

“I am honored to serve my alma mater as the IHL Board of Trustees completes its search for the University of Southern Mississippi’s next permanent leader,” Paul said in a statement. “I am eager to lead Southern Miss as we chase bold dreams, and I will be happy to return to chasing our grandsons once our next leader is on board. I am fully confident the IHL Board of Trustees will identify a dynamic leader as our 11th Southern Miss president.

“Our role is to ready the ship so that the next president finds an institution in good order, energized, and poised for this pivotal transition. I will pursue those ends with full vigor.”

Paul retired from the university in 2015. During his retirement, he has held part-time or volunteer positions with the University Foundation as a fundraiser, as Citizen Service Coordinator for the city of Hattiesburg and in various other roles.

Paul earned a doctorate in administration of higher education from the University of Alabama and was named the university’s Most Outstanding Doctoral Student in the field in 1985. Paul, a native, earned his undergraduate degree in communication and political science from USM in 1975, graduating magna cum laude.

Mississippi Today reporter Molly Minta contributed to this report.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Bay St. Louis/Waveland Mississippi Tour | Nice & Relaxing Vacation Spot

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2022-06-08 09:48:47, 1654699727

journeyalongwithshannon #tour #mississippi #vacation #angel #beachlife #beach #antiqueshop #tourist #travelvlog Hope y’all …

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Juneteenth in Coastal Mississippi

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Juneteenth – A Celebration of Freedom (Waveland)


June 18, 2022, 11:00 am – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Herlihy Street in Waveland, MS


Waveland Helping Hands Community Organization will host a Juneteenth to include vendors, music, games, food, raffles, and Empowerment Events. Click here to see the flyer.


The Ancestors Weekend at 100 Men Hall (Bay St. Louis)


June…

by , Gulfcoast.org

This article first appeared on Gulfcoast.org.

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Bay St. Louis specks hard to beat in summer

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2022-06-02 22:43:44, 1654227824

Speckled trout are ravenous this month off , and you can tag-team them all day with topwaters and soft-plastic …

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Pirates to Take Over Bay St. Louis Next Weekend

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by John Dolan, Our Mississippi Home

Yo ho ho!

The 7th Annual Pirates Day in the Bay is almost here, kicking off on Friday, May 20, at 4 p.m. and lasting throughout the entire day on Saturday, May 21.

The scuttlebutt is the entire town of will be taken over by pirates as landlubbers and seadogs all “become pirates” for the weekend, they’ll fill the…

This article first appeared on Our Mississippi Home.

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Pirates to Take Over Bay St. Louis This Weekend

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by John Dolan, Our Mississippi Home

Yo ho ho!

The 7th Annual Pirates Day in the Bay is here, kicking off on Friday, May 20, at 4 p.m. and lasting throughout the entire day on Saturday, May 21.

The scuttlebutt is the entire town of will be taken over by pirates as landlubbers and seadogs all “become pirates” for the weekend, they’ll fill the festive…

This article first appeared on Our Mississippi Home.

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Plastic Free Gulf Coast helping find alternatives to single-use plastic

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Biloxi - Local News Feed Images 011

www.wxxv25.com – WXXV Staff – 2022-04-21 15:27:05

Local group Plastic Free Gulf Coast was started over three years ago by community leaders in with the simple promise to ‘skip the straw.’

Now the group has expanded its efforts and mission to help others find alternatives to reduce single-use plastics within our daily lives.

Earlier today, News 25 met with a coordinator to see examples of plastic free alternatives. The group recommends evaluating your…

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Bay St. Louis, MS Hwy 603 Fire April 13, 2022

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2022-04-13 14:41:12, 1649878872

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How the Gulf Coast train beef between Amtrak and CSX is intensifying

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Snarky tweets, time lapse videos: How the Gulf Coast train beef between Amtrak and CSX is intensifying

– Marc Magilari leaned against a railing at a community civic center, perched above the railway as a CSX freight train roared by. 

It was the fourth train to come through Bay St. Louis that Wednesday, just after 4 p.m. Magilari, a spokesman for Amtrak, and a small camera had been keeping watch since 8 a.m. to survey the train traffic. It rolled footage of hours of empty tracks live on Twitch

In a railroad beef that’s been building for years, Amtrak has turned to live streams, snarky tweets and time lapse videos to help prove its point: Passenger and freight trains can coexist on the railways that run through Mississippi from Mobile to New Orleans. 

Marc Magliari of Amtrak watches as a CSX freight trains passes through Bay St. Louis on April 6. Amtrak is fighting to have a passenger train run on the track from Mobile to New Orleans with four stops in Mississipi.

“We can help people in this town,” Magilari said during his Bay St. Louis visit. “That’s why we’re here.” 

Amtrak wants to expand access to public transportation. CSX and other freight companies say the addition of passengers at this time could heighten supply chain issues and harm businesses relying on the Port of Mobile.

Freight company officials say Mississippi’s railway corridor is congested; that Amtrak is over simplifying obstacles; and that the repairs and updates needed to accommodate passenger trains will cost taxpayers upwards of $400 million. In a statement, CSX called Amtrak’s and others live videos misleading.  

Amtrak contends that CSX’s explanations are largely scare or delay tactics because the transport company doesn’t want passenger rail to expand on its tracks, even if federal law says they’re supposed to share. It also disputes CSX’s hefty repair and update estimate. The project already has more $77 million in secured funding. 

The back-and-forth – which has been near constant since 2015 and beyond – is why a federal board has been tasked to find the truth and make a decision about the route’s future. Amtrak wants to run two round-trip trains between Mobile and New Oreleans – one in the morning and one in the evening – with four stops in Mississippi. 

READ MORE: The fate of Amtrak’s Gulf Coast return rests with a federal board

The Surface Transportation Board, a body of transportation experts selected by the president and approved by congress, entered its second week of an evidentiary hearing over the Gulf Coast route dispute on Tuesday morning. The hearing is based in Washington, D.C. but being live streamed to the public. 

It’s not just Gulf Coast leaders and Amtrak watching closely. The debate has turned into a test case that experts say could dictate the future of railroad expansion across the United States. 

By law, Amtrak can run passenger trains on tracks owned by a freight company as long as it doesn’t “unreasonably impair” businesses. The law stems from a 1970s agreement – often called the “great bargain” – between struggling railroad companies that needed debt forgiven and the federal government. 

The board is litigating what constitutes “unreasonable” impacts on business for the first time. And that definition could affect the 160 other communities Amtrak wants to grow or restore service to as part of its “Amtrak Connects” plan, as they would all share tracks with freight companies. 

Experts have said its unlikely freight rail companies will let up on the fight easily since Amtrak first filed a complaint with the board over a year ago. 

“This is their Waterloo,” said Thomas “Todd” , an Amtrak senior manager from

In the second 8-hour day of the hearing last week, CSX’s legal team began laying what seemed to be the groundwork for an argument to appeal the board’s pending decision. 

In a statement to Mississippi Today, CSX said it doesn’t comment on legal strategies. 

CSX attorney Raymond Atkins – who was once the transportation board’s own lawyer – told the board last week that some of their questions of a witness could be veering into advocacy. 

“This is a unique case where you’re charged by congress and stepping into the role of a judge and you can overstep those bounds if your questioning is too partisan or too extensive,” Atkins said, referencing case law examples of decisions being overturned. 

Board chair Martin Oberman disagreed, saying while CSX’s team could continue to object to questions, he and other board members wouldn’t change how they were questioning witnesses. 

Oberman said that, if anything, not asking questions to get facts that make the record as robust as possible could leave room for the future decision to be overturned. 

“We are not a court, we are not a jury,” Martin said during the hearing. “We have some similarities to those bodies but we are an administrative agency with an obligation to protect the freight network to ensure the law is enforced in regards to the passenger rail network with a very broad and important public interest.” 

Public transportation advocates like Jim Matthews, the CEO of the National Association of Railroad Passengers, said it’s likely CSX will appeal a ruling that’s in favor of Amtrak. 

“But I think the (board) is doing an excellent job,” Matthews said. “And that bodes well for passenger rail because it makes an appeal based on the merits likely to fail.” 

But an appeal, regardless of its success or failure, would likely mean even more waiting for a region that hasn’t had access to an Amtrak route since 2005. 

Marc Magliari, a spokesman for Amtrak, poses in front of a stream of the Surface Transportation Board hearing during a visit to the Gulf Coast.
Marc Magliari, a spokesman for Amtrak, poses in front of a stream of the Surface Transportation Board hearing during a visit to Bay St. Louis on April 6. Magliari set up a “gold-plated” railroad model as Amtrak’s commentary on what it calls freight train’s inflated repair estimates to run passenger routes on their tracks.

“We’re not giving up,” Magilari said. 

After Amtrak’s live stream in Bay. St. Louis, Transportation for America – an advocacy group – posted a time-lapse video out of Pascagoula

The group’s camera ran from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and captured seven trains, with a bridge moving up and down to accommodate each train. Like Amtrak, the advocacy group argues train traffic over this stretch of about 150 miles of railway isn’t excessive. 

CSX says that focusing on one point on the route doesn’t show the full scope of the corridor.

“Purporting that it is indicative of the operational realities of the entire line is grossly misleading,” CSX said in a statement. “Anyone that understands railroad operations, including Amtrak, would know that.” 

CSX says it averages eight to 10 through trains (that make limited stops), one to three coal and giant trains and “numerous local trains” on the track each day.

While the board could make a ruling that calls for the parties to go to mediation to solve the access quarrel, that route seems unlikely given how little the parties can agree on historically. A spokesman for the board said there is no mandated timeline they have to follow once the hearing is over to announce their decision. 

The board has made it clear it takes the weight of the case seriously. The hearings were first scheduled to only last a week, but by the end of day one it was clear it would stretch beyond that. As of Tuesday, April 14, 18 and 19 were scheduled as hearing dates. 

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

South Mississippi Native Wins Basketball National Championship

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by Curtis Rockwell, Our Mississippi Home

While the ultimate champions in men’s college basketball will be crowned this weekend at the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans, one native has already secured his national championship ring as a member of a team in The Big Easy.

Luke Ladner, who prepped at St. Stanislaus in , is a reserve guard for Loyola University. The Wolf Pack wrapped up an historic season…

This article first appeared on Our Mississippi Home.

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