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Animal control supervisor Kacie Lindsay’s life in animal care

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Kacie Lindsey (with permission)

In October of 2017 when the city of Vicksburg was looking for an animal control supervisor, Kacie Lindsay was an obvious choice to everyone except herself. 

“When I saw an opening come up at the city shelter, I made a Facebook post and asked my friends and family if they thought I had it in me to do it,” Lindsay said. “A lot of my friends are people that are pretty big names in animal care work, and they really encouraged me to go for it.” 

Lindsay applied, interviewed and started Nov. 1, 2017. 

“I’d always wanted to be a veterinarian, but life went in a different direction when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter,” she said. 

Lindsay, her husband, son and daughter lived in Georgia at the time, and Lindsay was a stay-at-home mom. In 2007, her daughter began pre-K, and Lindsay’s career in animal care officially began. 

“I got a part-time job at Fantana Farm and Kennels, a boarding facility,” she said. “I absolutely loved it.” At the time, a family that bred English Bulldogs lived across the street from Lindsay’s parents and she soon began working there as well. 

Lindsay had to say goodbye to those places when their family moved back to Vicksburg in 2012. It didn’t take long for her to get a job at the Vicksburg Animal Hospital. 

“I was trained there to do everything a vet tech does and eventually, I was able to do every position except the doctor’s jobs,” she said. 

At Vicksburg Animal Hospital, Lindsay worked with Robert Mays who would go on to become supervisor of the city shelter. Lindsay credits her contacts and the opportunities Vicksburg Animal Hospital gave her for her current position as Animal Control Supervisor for the City of Vicksburg. 

“I had great teachers at Vicksburg Animal Hospital. Even now, if I have questions they’re available to help me,” she said. 

The city animal shelter and the Humane Society are often confused, she said.

“We’re two different entities, but Georgia [Lynn, director of the Humane Society] and I do work together when necessary. Basically, they’re county, and we’re city. The county doesn’t have leash laws or a maximum number of animals someone is allowed to have. They don’t go out and pick up strays like we do,” Lindsay explained.

The city picks up dead animals, stray animals and animal surrenders, she said. They also set traps for cats, dogs and wildlife. 

“We go on emergency calls like animal attacks, snakes or wildlife inside homes, injured domestic animals and wildlife, and we investigate animal neglect. With those, we do welfare checks every week. The list really goes on and on,” she said.

The city shelter works closely with outside agencies to rescue animals. Some more recognizable agencies include HART (Helping Animals Reach Tomorrow), PAWS Rescue, Safe Haven Rescue MS and ARF (Animal Rescue Fund). The shelter also depends greatly on the many volunteers and donors who open their hearts and wallets to animals in need. 

Running the shelter is a group effort, and Lindsay said it wouldn’t be possible without their dedicated staff.

“Martel Carroll and Jeffrey Fisher are literally running all day long from one end of the city to the other,” she said. “They’re checking traps, picking up animals and taking calls from 911. Bryant Williams keeps the shelter spotless and handles the day-to-day cleaning and feeding of the animals. And of course, the community. We couldn’t function without the community’s support.” 

“The ultimate goal is to be able to have every animal in a safe, loving home,” she said.

Education

Vicksburg’s Karen Gamble teaches integrity along with communication

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Karen Gamble (photo courtesy HInds CC)

Karen Gamble hasn’t lost sight of what has produced results for her students and for the workforce for generations.

“I teach communication classes – public speaking, interpersonal communication and business communication,” Gamble said. “In all three cases, students are afraid to communicate. I grade like college, because that’s what it is here. Communication is a scary, scary challenge for these students, particularly in this day and age when they’re all about their technology – their computers, their cellphones, their videos. Then, they have to stand up and present something face-to-face that’s on a piece of paper. They have trouble with that.

“They’re not any less smart than students 20 years ago, but their skillset is different. But, in my class, they have to participate in class and give examples of concepts we’re studying. But, when they finally do it and get a decent grade, there’s nothing like it for me when that light turns on for them. Their reaction is a bit like, ‘Mama, look what I was able to do!’”

Gamble was managing editor of The Vicksburg Post for 23 years and an adjunct instructor on the Vicksburg-Warren Campus until 2013, when she began teaching at Hinds full time.

The kinds of examples she uses to direct class discussion is pulled not just from her own experiences, but from the workforce as a whole.

“In my business communication class, we had talked about integrity and what it is,” she said. “The point we came to is that integrity is typified by the person who puts the grocery buggy back in the stall at the store. Nobody will come after you if you don’t put your buggy back. But integrity is the person who puts it back knowing full well it could hurt someone or get in somebody’s way if they don’t. And the reason they’re putting it back is because it’s the right thing to do.

“One of my students came back to me a week or two after we had that discussion. ‘Miss Gamble, Miss, Gamble,’” she said. ‘I got offered a job where I just interviewed!’ The student told me she was asked straight-up, ‘What’s the best characteristics you can bring to the table if we hire you?’ She told me she said, ‘I have integrity, and I can embrace the challenge.’”

Confident self-presentation is paramount to landing any job opportunity, Gamble said.

“Business people and professional people of all walks of life want professional candidates for their jobs,” she said. “They want people who can communicate. One of the top requirements before someone is hired is that they’re able to communicate. Communication covers writing, speaking, presenting oneself, everything. Our students know this is their community. It’s also my community, so I try to help them do the best they can in our community.”

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News

Two Vicksburg police officers graduate academy with top honors

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Officer Michael Whitley, Chief Milton Moore and Officer Jeremy Hooper (photo by Thomas Parker)

The ranks of the Vicksburg Police Department grew by two Thursday as Michael Whitley and Jeremy Hooper graduated from the Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Academy in Pearl, Mississippi.

The curriculum at the academy has been modified due to COVID-19. Recruits are required to stay at the academy for eight straight weeks. Previously, the program ran several additional weeks while allowing weekends off.

Both officers took top honors, with Hooper being recognized as the best in the class in physical agility. Whitley was recognized for the highest average academically.

The class, the 245th class of the academy, consisted of 53 recruits.

The officers will report back to their respective shifts for additional instruction with a field training officer before being assigned to one of four shifts with the patrol division.

Congratulations, officers, from your friends at Vicksburg Daily News.

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People

Pastor Reginald Harris Celebrates 17 years at Bright Morning Star Church

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Photo by Thomas Parker

Vicksburg Daily News was on hand to celebrate a special day with Pastor Reginald Harris and his family.

Sunday, the congregation at Bright Morning Star Church honored Pastor Harris for 17 years of leading the church.

Churchgoers decorated their vehicles and took the opportunity to join in the drive-by celebration and show their appreciation to the Pastor and his family.

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