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AG Hood Offers Holiday Shopping Tips for Consumers




  • Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Use common sense.  If you think something is fishy with a website, it very well may be an illegitimate company.  You should be suspicious if you find a pair of jeans that normally retail for $300, for only $50 online.  Look out for sites with poor quality photos, spelling mistakes and lack of terms.  If you are purchasing items from an auction site, see how many identical products they have available.  For example, if they have too many of an expensive custom-made handbag, the handbags are probably fake.  Avoid websites offering unlimited downloads of music or movies, or offering mixed versions of songs.  For in-person transactions, trust your gut if the store’s location or policies are unusual.
    • Look for Secure Websites.  Shop from online sites that display https:// rather than http:// in the address bar. Also look for a padlock image at the bottom of the browser.  These indicate the website is secure, and has a safe encrypted connection.  Sites that do not have secure connections are not storing consumer data in a secure manner.
    • Authorized Retail Sites.  Many companies have lists on their websites or product packaging of sites where you can buy their goods.  These are sites that are considered authorized online retail stores, and you are guaranteed to purchase a legitimate product.  If you are uncertain whether a site is selling genuine products, ask the retailer where they got the goods and for other verifiable information.
    • Product Shipping.  Unfortunately, many illegitimate goods may look genuine, and unless you are a professional working at the company in question, you may not be able to tell the difference.  However, look for the small details.  Are the “use by” dates missing or expired?  Are the safety seals broken or missing? Did it come with the appropriate warranty information? Is there anything unusual about the packaging?
    • Prescriptions.  Be extra careful when ordering prescription drugs online or from an unauthorized dealer.  Instead, buy such drugs only from a reputable pharmacy.  If you purchase medicine from a website you haven’t used before, compare the new drugs to your current ones.  Do they match up in size, shape, color and taste?  Are you experiencing any new side effects after taking a dosage?  You may also contact your pharmacist or the manufacturer to determine if the new vendor is a legitimate company. Remember, all online pharmacies located in the United States must be licensed by the state board of pharmacy where the online vendor is located.  To check and see if your pharmacy is licensed go to
    For more information on Mississippi’s efforts to combat intellectual property theft crimes, please visit the Attorney General’s Mississippi Intellectual Property Crimes Center (MIPCC) website, .  You will also find a link via the Attorney General’s website, The MIPCC offers tips to help consumers recognize and alert authorities to bogus brand names.

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    Early morning armed robbery on Speed Street Tuesday



    The Vicksburg Police Department reports that an armed robbery and assault occurred Tuesday on Speed Street.

    At 3:24 a.m. Tuesday, a victim entered the police station at 820 Veto Street reporting that he had been robbed.

    The victim said he had given a Black male who he knew a ride from the Kings community to an address on Speed Street. When they arrived, the male struck him several times on his head with a handgun, causing minor injuries. The suspect then fled on foot with the victim’s Glock handgun.

    If you have any information on this incident, please call the Vicksburg Police Department at 601-636-2511.

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    Chris Wells to serve as permanent director of MDEQ



    Chris Wells (photo courtesy MS Governor's office)

    Tuesday, Gov. Tate Reeves announced that Chris Wells will serve as the permanent executive director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. Wells served as the chief of staff at MDEQ for six years, and the senior attorney for the department before that. He has served as interim executive director since the governor’s inauguration in January. Wells is a graduate of Mississippi State University and the Mississippi College School of Law.

    “Chris is a dedicated public servant who has spent the bulk of his career working for the people of Mississippi,” Reeves said. “He knows what it means to put their priorities first, and he has been a steady hand in this vital role since I took office. I have the utmost confidence in him, and I know that he will continue to serve the people well.”

    “I look forward to continuing our efforts to protect Mississippi’s air, land and water,” Wells said. “Our mission is to look out for the people of this state and ensure that we can always be proud of our incredible God-given resources. I’m grateful for the governor’s trust in me as we serve this state as a team.”

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    MIBEST program at Hinds CC adds up to success for Vicksburg woman



    Mayra Gomez (photo courtesy Hinds CC/April Garon)

    Mayra Gomez has always felt comfortable with the language of numbers.

    “I’ve liked numbers my whole life,” Gomez said, agreeing that they have been something of a security blanket for her since coming to the United States from Mexico with her parents when she was already 20. “Numbers are just universal, plus I just have a square head like that!”

    Gomez, now 41 and a working mother of three, attended high school in Mexico, but said an education there doesn’t translate well toward obtaining a good job in the U.S., particularly when a language barrier is factored in.

    “For my husband and me, it was hard learning the language,” she said, adding the internet played a big role in her learning the basics of communication to help support her family along with her husband, who works in construction. “I learned English just based on reading, software I could learn by myself and experiences we would have, such as going to the doctor. I would just look up words I was going to say.”

    Gomez still works a restaurant job by day but will soon be broadening her horizons beyond all expectations. This past spring, she earned a career certificate in Business Office Technology from Hinds Community College after having completed the MIBEST program. The program allows adult students to train for a job skill while earning their High School Equivalency certificate at the same time. Students are prepared to be job-ready in six months to a year, training in high-demand areas and earning national certifications.

    “I found the program while online, and I called to find out more about how it helps people get a high school diploma,” she said.

    This fall, Gomez is enrolled in classes at the Vicksburg-Warren Campus that will land her a technical certificate, then a full Associate of Applied Science degree. After Hinds, she wants to pursue a career in accounting, a goal she said gained steam while working a seasonal job as a tax preparer with a Vicksburg accounting firm. She also counts membership in the campus chapter of Phi Theta Kappa honor society as another plus in her social development.

    “I still have to take English Composition next semester, but I’m excited,” she said. “I still need to learn more about the language.

    All participants in MIBEST have access to support staff, or navigators, whose job it is to help students focus on their studies by advising them on a wide range of life issues – which often include everything from child care to transportation to ways to find rental assistance for those in such a situation.

    “My navigators and instructors are my angels here,” she said. “Whenever I feel lost, they guide me and make me feel welcome.

    “I consider them more than just instructors – they’re my friends. I was afraid to come back to school mainly due to language. I was wondering what would happen if I said something wrong or wrote something wrong. But they told me, ‘No, don’t be afraid. Just ask and we’ll see what we do to fix it.’”

    Instructors and navigators in the program even go so far as to say Gomez is the best MIBEST student ever.

    “Mayra entered into the Adult Basic Education program with definite goals set for herself,” said Vanessa Shiers, navigator in the program at the Vicksburg-Warren Campus. “Upon entering the program, she began working hard and showing a kind of determination that was a delight to see in a student.”

    Ramona Latham, her instructor in Business Office Technology, found it refreshing Mayra was willing to help fellow students as she herself needed help with class assignments.

    “Mayra is the type of student every instructor loves to have in their class,” Latham said.

    “When she required assistance, she reached out so that she could get a better understanding of the subject matter. When her classmates required assistance, she was always willing to help. In her three semesters with me, she proved to be dedicated, diligent and filled with compassion.”

    As inspiring as she might be for her instructors, her biggest driving force is her children.

    “I want my kids to feel proud of me,” she said. “I want to show them it’s not about age to be successful. You can go out and get something that you really like and dream about it. One of my dreams for me is to finish school, get a good job and show they can do it if they decide to do it.

    “Recently, I was working on my school work at home and my kids saw my grades. They were like, ‘Mama, you got a 98 or a 100.’ So, I can say if I can get good grades, you can do it, too.”

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