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YEAR IN REVIEW: October – December 2020

Editor’s Note: This is the final installment of our four-part series, taking a look back at some of the most notable stories of 2020.

The year nobody saw coming finally came to a close with a historic firsts for Mississippi, another run at a second straight state championship and a holiday season that was anything but normal.

A FLAG FOR ALL

November’s general election made a historic moment in Mississippi official. Voters selected the approved design for the state’s new official flag, ending four months of not flying an official state flag.

In July, the former state flag, which included Confederate symbols, was repealed and taken down after flying for over 120 years. The new design, which included a white magnolia blossom and the phrase “In God We Trust,” which was a requirement by the Mississippi Legislature’s bill, received a large majority of the vote.

A flag committee of nine members was formed, including Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill, that met over the summer to decide on the design that was placed on November’s ballot.

The push to change the flag included efforts from student-athletes and coaches from across the state, which came within a week before the Mississippi Congress passed the historic bill.

WORTH THE WAIT

November’s general election brought about record voter turnout, including in Lafayette County.

The first Tuesday of the month saw long lines at all of the voting precincts in the early hours of the day. The lines only grew longer in some polling locations throughout the day with people waiting nearly two hours at times.

When the ballots were counted, over 70 percent of registered voters in Lafayette County cast their vote. The large turnout sparked conversation of potentially moving a polling location that saw long lines wind down a street towards the highway.

BRANCH TAKES THE CROWN

Another historic moment for Mississippi occurred in November when Aysa Branch was named Miss USA.

Branch, an Ole Miss alum and Booneville native, was the first Miss USA to hail from Mississippi. The 22-year-old had already made history when she became the first African-American to be crowned Miss Mississippi.

A HOLIDAY SEASON LIKE NO OTHER

The COVID-19 pandemic altered many parts of everyday living in 2020, but the most notably may have been how families spent the holidays.

Normal holiday traditions were not able to be held due to gatherings not being allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Because of it, Halloween saw people adapt to the new normal with how they did trick-or-treat. Trunk or treat events were held in several Oxford locations in lieu of children going door-to-door asking for candy.

The Christmas season saw an Oxford tradition canceled altogether. The annual Christmas Parade was shifted to more of a drive-thru format where people would drive by the floats at mTrade Park instead of the floats driving by them.

As the annual December event was getting closer, organizers made the call to cancel the event due to a low number of participants.

CHARGERS NEARLY PERFECT

After winning their first state championship in football last year, the Oxford Chargers followed it up with another run at a Class 6A crown.

The 2020 high school football season was one where teams canceled games due to COVID-19, but the Chargers managed to get all of their scheduled games in.

Not only did Oxford play all of their games, they had a perfect regular season. Some of the wins included comeback victories, which became a staple of the Chargers’ season.

Oxford had a shot at their first perfect season when they made it back to the state championship game in a high anticipated rematch against Oak Grove. The Chargers came up just short, but put together one of the more impressive seasons in recent memory.

Education

Community Church of Oxford ’embraces’ community with Back to School Bash

Education

University of Mississippi to temporarily require masks in indoor spaces

DEVELOPING NEWS

Taylor Bend property owners file for bankruptcy

Events

Eat in the Street set to commemorate opening of East Jackson Streetscape

Education

Oxford High teacher suspended for boycotting mask mandate

Education

LCSD keeps masks optional for start of classes

News

Townsend to be installed as pastor of Pleasant Grove

Education

School districts split on masks for returning students

Crime

Oxford Police Crime Stoppers offers reward for church burglary

Education

Oxford School District superintendent discusses entry plan

Education

Oxford School District requiring masks for first three weeks of school

Crime

Former Oxford cop pleads guilty to the murder of Dominique Clayton, sentenced to life in prison

Education

LCS Board approves YMCA after school program

News

Hyneman talks solutions, future of Taylor Bend with residents

Crime

Pontotoc man arrested for commercial burglary

Crime

Oxford man arrested for possession of a weapon by a felon

News

Sam Kendricks on missing Olympics due to positive COVID test: “I’ll weather this predicament”

Education

University of Mississippi reaches settlement agreement with former history professor

Business

Mississippi’s sales tax holiday will arrive this weekend

Crime

Oxford man arrested and charged with grand larceny

Crime

Pope man arrested on auto burglary charge

Lafayette County

State health department updates COVID protocols as cases rise

Crime

Former Lafayette High teacher to not serve jail time on sex crime charge

Education

LCSD: in-person class is required, masks optional