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B&B at odds with neighborhood over zoning decision

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Zoning for Stained Glass Manor on Drummond Street, a bed and breakfast owned by Dallas, Texas, residents Don and Elizabeth Nelson, was the subject of heated debate at Tuesday’s Mayor and Aldermen meeting in Vicksburg.

Drummond Street residents came to discuss their protest and appeal of the Zoning Board’s Jan. 7 ruling that will allow Stained Glass Manor, located 2430 Drummond St., to operate without event-venue conditions.

Dalton McCarty, zoning administrator for the City of Vicksburg, held a public appeal hearing regarding the ruling. Concerned residents suggested three public-safety conditions they feel should be adopted for holding events at the property: The events must have adequate and legal parking onsite; the out-of-state owner, a representative or keyholder must be on the property during the entire event; and lastly, all events at this location must conclude by 10 p.m. 

The Zoning Board ruled the property could operate without those conditions.

“We went to a meeting at the residence on Drummond Street, and the residents voiced their concern about the noise and the inability to come out of their driveway and park at their own residence,” South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour said. “The residents’ biggest concern is it is a residential section, and it does get congested.”

Marilyn Corley, who lives across the street from the property, addressed the parking concerns. Corley said that many of the events held at Stained Glass Manor reduce the street to one lane due to event attendees parking on both sides of the street and disregarding city-posted “No Parking” signs. 

“We will agree to having a bed and breakfast if the requested conditions are met,” she said.

“Drummond Street is a major thoroughfare for police,  fire and ambulance routes,” another concerned resident said. “Having that closed down to one lane for any reason whatsoever, to me, is unacceptable because of the public safety for the entire city.”

North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said the neighborhood had to come to an agreement that satisfied all parties to some extent.

“We need to find a happy medium regarding the conditions,” Mayfield said. “… If I told you, you had to close your facility at 10 o’clock at night, and one three blocks down the road is able to stay open ’til midnight, and that facility is still in a neighborhood, then they would have a good argument, so we need to find that happy medium.”

Mayfield said he knows it’s impossible to make everyone happy but he ensured Corley and other residents the board will do what is right and fair.

At the hearing, the Zoning Board listened to the residents’ request and the proposed restrictions and granted the special exceptions for Stained Glass Manor to operate in a residential area without any restrictions, said City Attorney Nancy Thomas. The neighbors appealed it because they didn’t agree with the decision.

The appeal kicked the decision to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, which seemed to frustrate Mayor George Flaggs Jr.

“So, (the Zoning Board) could have denied the whole thing, but they didn’t do that,” Flaggs said. “They sent it to us for a political judgment.”

Mayor Flaggs questioned owner Elizabeth Nelson on what her remedy for the situation will be.

“We have sufficient parking for the B&B onsite to support the number of rooms we have already,”  Nelson said. “Our plan for larger gatherings is to, obviously, do a better job of communicating to not park on both sides of the street.”

Owners of other Vicksburg bed and breakfast homes attended the meeting as the final decision could impact their businesses as well.

“If the decision is to end Duff Green events by 10 o’clock, you would significantly impact my revenues from wedding receptions,” said Harley Caldwell, owner of Duff Green Mansion,

“In Mrs. Nelson’s case, our community has watched her put a lot of money into that property, and if we don’t let her make it income-producing, then the next people aren’t coming to Vicksburg because the city didn’t support tax credit initiatives,” Caldwell added, “and it’s very important for the bigger picture for other people coming to town and investing in our community.”

The board chose to take this situation under advisement, and the mayor requested a meeting with aldermen, residents and owners to come to a final agreement. 

COVID-19

Warren County saw its first COVID-19 death in November as cases across the nation continue to surge

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Sunday, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported the first COVID-19 death in Warren County this month. The death was identified on a death certificate report and could have occurred any time between July 29 and Nov. 14.

Nationally, the seven-day average of new reported cases remains dangerously high at more than 171,000 daily. Hospitalizations and deaths are also increasing, with nearly 84,000 people hospitalized and 844 deaths reported Sunday. The seven-day average for new deaths is more than 1,500 daily.

In Warren County, MSDH reported 10 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and one new death, and another four cases Monday. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,721, and the county’s death toll is 57.

Statewide, MSDH reported 779 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and 699 cases Monday bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 143,879. The seven-day average of new cases is 1,283 per day, about 623 cases and more than double the seven-day average a month ago. The average is on par with numbers seen in July.

At the beginning of the crises, the age group with the most COVID-19 cases were those over 65. Now, most new cases are seen in younger people who are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. In September, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi were 18 to 24 years old. That has shifted to a slightly older group. In November, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are from 25 to 39 years old followed by those 50 to 64 years old.

MSDH reported Sunday that 19 more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. No new deaths were reported Monday. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,676. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.6%. This rate has dropped slightly as the number of cases are going up faster than the number of deaths at this time.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. While July saw the highest number of new cases since the crisis began, August saw the highest number of deaths. The highest number of deaths in any one day in Mississippi was 67 reported Aug. 25.

Of the 19 deaths MSDH reported Sunday, four occurred between Nov. 20 and Nov. 21 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Sunday
Desoto 1
Lamar 1
Neshoba 1
Tate 1

An additional 15 COVID-19 related deaths reported Sunday occurred between July 29 and Nov. 14 and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Coahoma 2
Desoto 1
Franklin 1
Lee 2
Marshall 4
Neshoba 1
Oktibbeha 1
Prentiss 1
Warren 1
Yazoo 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, and Sunday, Nov. 22. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s testing and death reports.

The primary metric concerning state health officials are the numbers of people hospitalized, and that number rose steadily with the rise of new cases in July and August. On June 6, the number of Mississippians hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 was at 358. Hospitalizations tripled by late July.

Hospitalizations then steadily dropped through Oct. 3 when they began rising again along with increased cases. The last week in October, hospitalizations began levelling off; however, since Nov. 4 hospitals have seen a steady rise in COVID-19 patients once again.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, was 1,017, about 85% of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 897 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 102 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 223 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 106 were on ventilators.

Source: MSDH

MSDH has estimated the number of people who can be presumed recovered from COVID-19 in Mississippi. That number is 121,637 through Sunday, Nov. 22. It represents about 84.5% of the cumulative 143,879 cases reported as of Monday, Nov. 23.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Monday, Nov. 2, was 1,583, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,526, or about 88.7% of the 1,721 cumulative cases reported as of Monday, Nov. 23. The county has an estimated 139 active cases.

These estimates are based on MSDH’s guidelines for calculating estimated recoveries when hospitalizations are not known, using the number of cases 21 days ago, less known outcomes (deaths).

The total number of Mississippians tested for COVID-19 (PCR and antigen tests identifying current infections) as of Saturday, Nov. 21, is 1,237,802 or about 41.6% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. MSDH reports statewide test results once a week. Without daily updated numbers of tests, it is impossible to accurately calculate Mississippi’s positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average); however, the rate was 21.1% Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 9.8%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 172 Monday, an decrease of one since Saturday. About 38.1%, or 1,402, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in LTC facilities is 7,397, about 5.1% of the state’s total cases.

A total of 26 deaths in Warren County were residents of LTC facilities.

MSDH is no longer reporting outbreaks in individual long-term care facilities in Mississippi and has replaced it with access to a database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. You can access and search the data by provider here. The latest data available is for the week ending Nov. 8.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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COVID-19

Third COVID-19 vaccine proving 90% effective

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(Photo by by LuAnn Hunt from Pixabay)

A third COVID-19 vaccine has proven effective in late-stage testing.

AstraZeneca, headquartered in the United Kingdom, announced Monday that its vaccine has shown to be 90% effective. Trials were conducted in the U.K. and in Brazil with about 23,000 subjects.

The vaccine will also be cheaper and easier to distribute that those from Pfizer and Moderna. AstraZeneca says its vaccine does not have to be stored in ultra-cold conditions, a big benefit in rural areas and developing countries around the globe.

The company has also committed to not making a profit on the vaccine, bringing its per-dose price to about $2.50. Pfizer’s vaccine will cost about $20 and Moderna’s between $15 and $25.

Additional trials are underway around the globe including in the U.S.

Pending approval, AstraZeneca expects to be able to begin distribution in January 2021.

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Polk Street home destroyed in overnight blaze

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(photo submitted by VDNews reader)

An overnight fire on Polk Street has left one home destroyed and two neighboring homes damaged.

Photo by Thomas Parker

The fire at 1028 Polk Street was first reported at 12:53 a.m. and was reported as a burning mattress on the front porch. Vicksburg Fire Department Battalion Chief Henry Williams reported that the house was heavily involved upon firefighters’ arrival, and VFD spent several hours battling the blaze.

Engines 6, 7, 8, Platform 1, Rescue, Fire Medic 40 and Battalion 1 responded to extinguish the fire.

Photo by Thomas Parker

According to Vicksburg Fire Department Chief Craig Danczyk the structure is a total loss, and the homes at 1026 Polk Street and 1030 Polk Street also received damage.

There were no injuries reported.

 

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