Looking back at some of the biggest stories of 2021
From Mississippi’s abortion law to marijuana and sports championships it was quite a year
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - There was heartbreak, history, big wins and some tough losses in 2021. On New Year’s Eve, we take a look back at some of the stories that impacted the state and some that brought national attention to Mississippi.
Governor Tate Reeves’ signature was the last step in making the In God We Trust flag Mississippi’s new state flag. The Governor and members of the State Flag Commission held the signing ceremony at the Two Museums and then took the flags to the State Capitol, where they were raised for the first time.
Governor Tate Reeves said, “It’s done with the hope that we can work together. That we can put aside our differences. That we can be neighbors in the state and then this country.”
Traffic was brought to a standstill on I-55 in Jackson shortly after the New Year began in January. Drivers’ street racing and doing do-nuts went viral. City and state leaders came together to put a stop to street racing and the danger for other drivers.
The big freeze in February caused extensive damage to water systems around the state, especially in Jackson, creating a water crisis for the city that left many residents without water for weeks gaining national attention.
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said, “the only remedy that we have is time. Time to fill those tanks, time for the ice to melt so that we can make the repairs to the breaks within the pipes and the distribution system all across the city.”
In November, EPA Administrator Michael Regan came to Jackson to meet with city leaders to work on long-term solutions to the city’s water woes.
In August, the surge of COVID cases filled hospitals and emergency rooms. A garage at the University of Mississippi Medical Center was transformed into a field hospital to help patients.
Dr. LouAnn Woodward of UMMC said, “the response that they are responding to here in Mississippi today is a disaster of our own making.”
In November of 2020, voters approved Initiative 65, but the State Supreme court overturned it in May 2021, citing a flaw in the state’s constitution regarding the number of congressional districts.
“It is time for the legislature to come together to make medical marijuana the law in Mississippi.”
Shock, sadness, loss, and disbelief were felt with the unexpected death of Hinds County Sheriff Lee Vance.
“The people of Hinds County and Jackson, Mississippi will miss Lee Vance. He’s one of those superheroes as it turned out to bring some credibility back to law enforcement in Hinds County.”
Vance died in August of complications from COVID-19.
More national attention on Mississippi came as State Attorney General Lynn Fitch argues for Mississippi’s abortion law before the nation’s Supreme Court. The state law blocked by lower courts that calls for bans on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. There isn’t a clear-cut answer on what the Justices will do. Mississippi wants the court to completely overturn Roe vs. Wade.
There were also celebrations for sports in Mississippi and historic wins. Over 361 thousand fans set a record at the College World Series in Omaha to watch the Mississippi State Bulldogs become the 2021 National Champions of college baseball.
The celebrations did not stop there. Under the leadership of Coach Deion Sanders, Jackson State University’s football team won the SWAC Championship on December 4th, which was their first since 2007. The successful football season also meant a big boost in the economy for the Capital City.
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