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Completing the Yazoo Pumps among the priorities in $1.4 trillion federal spending package

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Among the many provisions of the $1.4 trillion spending package the U.S. Senate sent to the president yesterday are items that will specifically benefit Mississippians in the South Delta.

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, called the two spending bills “solid” in a statement outlining the priorities in the bills for Mississippi. One of those priorities is completing the stalled Yazoo Pumps project.

“For Mississippi, these two measures represent a vote of confidence in Mississippi shipbuilding and aircraft manufacturing. It also supports agriculture and flood control in Mississippi, in addition to programs to support rural hospitals and rural development.”

The bills allocate $375 million to flood control and navigation—some of which is designated to allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to “conduct work on remaining unconstructed features of authorized projects impacted by recent natural disasters, such as the Yazoo Backwater Area Pump Project,” the statement specified.

South Delta residents experienced historic levels of flooding this year for more than 200 days, in a combination of events that put nearly 550,000 acres under water. The flooded acreage including 220,000 acres of prime farmland. While the pumps wouldn’t have mitigated all the flooding, advocates say no homes would have flooded if they were installed and working, and about half of the farm acres would have remained productive.

A total of $1.5 billion has been allocated to agricultural disaster assistance to assist “producers affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, which could benefit producers in the South Mississippi Delta,” the statement added.

Other priorities benefiting Mississippi in the bills include shipbuilding and funds for rural hospitals, among others.

The president is expected to sign the bills.

Read Hyde-Smith’s full statement.

COVID-19

Mayor taking the gloves off on businesses not complying with COVID-19 regulations

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Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. in Dec. 4 press conference. (photo via video screen grab)

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. is taking off the gloves when it comes to COVID-19 in Vicksburg.

In response to the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Warren County, Flaggs announced Friday that any business not conforming to the city’s COVID-19 restrictions will be cited and fined. If the business continues to flout the law, the city will turn off its utilities. This new, tougher restriction goes into effect at noon Saturday, Dec. 6.

The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases rose to more than 20 per day Friday with 46 cases reported. The average is four times higher than where it was a month ago.

“The mitigation of this disease is too important,” Flaggs said, his voice rising with emotion. He said that continuing the trend will land Warren County on the governor’s hot spot list.

“We will not compromise, and we will not negotiate,” the Mayor added.

Flaggs said that most businesses in Vicksburg are complying to the city’s orders, but a few continue to ignore them.

“We’re not going to let one business disrupt the economy of Vicksburg by not wanting to do what you should be doing,” he said.

Summary of the new order:
Read the complete supplemental order

In addition to the regulations effective Dec. 2, 2020:

  1. All persons are required to wear a face covering, both indoors and outdoors, at group/social gatherings if social distancing (6 feet apart from persons who are not household members) is not or cannot be practiced.
  2. Group/social gathering temperature checks – before entering a group/social gathering, inside or outside, of more than 20 people, the host or other designated responsible person must check the temperature of all persons requesting entrance. If a person’s temperature is higher than 100.4°, the person must not be allowed to enter the group/social gathering. Examples of a group/social gathering are a private party, house party, wedding, wedding reception, wedding or baby shower, sporting event, funeral, worship service or other social event. The host or other designated responsible person must also keep a list of persons attending the gathering and contact information for contact tracing if needed.
  3. Restaurants and bars – businesses that sell alcohol for consumption on its premises or businesses that allow consumption of alcohol on its premises must check the temperature of every employee and patron before entrance. If a person’s temperature is above 100.4°, the person must not be allowed to enter the premises.
  4. The Block Party scheduled for Downtown Vicksburg Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, is canceled and all future Block Parties are canceled until further notice.

Violation of this EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION will be subject to misdemeanor prosecution pursuant to Sec. 45-17-9 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, as amended, Sec. 33-15-7 and Sec. 1-9 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Vicksburg, including a fine of up to $1,000.00 and 90 days in jail.

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Events

Junior Auxiliary announces ‘Santa Stories’ fundraiser

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(photo courtesy Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary)

When it became clear that COVID-19 would make their fall Pirates and Princesses Tea Party impossible, the Junior Auxiliary of Vicksburg came up with a new fundraiser and called on an old friend to help them out—Santa Claus.

The new fundraiser, called “Santa Stories,” allows parents to purchase a special package from the North Pole for their children. The package will feature a bedtime story on video, as well as a personalized, handwritten letter from Santa.

“This has been a tough year for so many of us, but that doesn’t stop the magic of Christmas,” said Candice Reeder, chair of the Santa Stories fundraiser. “We wanted to help spread that, while also raising money for the projects we support.”

There are two packages available for purchase. The first includes one video and one letter, which can be addressed to one or multiple children, for $25, with the option for additional letters at $15 apiece. The second package includes two videos and one letter for $35, with additional letters for $10 apiece.

To purchase a package or learn more, visit www.javicksburg.org/santa_stories.html.

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Events

Annual ERDC Under the Lights community event scheduled

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A lighted boat was part of the Christmas light display at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory during ERDC Under the Lights 2019. This year’s event will be Dec. 17-19 from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m. each night, and participants are asked to bring a canned food item or one toy to be donated. (photo courtesy ERDC)

For the fourth consecutive year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center will open its gates to the public for a drive-by holiday light display on its 700-acre installation in Vicksburg Dec. 17, 18 and 19 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The entrance will be at the main gate located at 3909 Halls Ferry Road.

“This has become a great tradition for people in the Vicksburg area, and we’re excited to keep it going this year,” said Col. Teresa Schlosser, ERDC commander. “And this year, we have the added benefit that it is such a safe, socially distant Christmas activity for families.”

One goal of the event is to assist local families in need. Guests are encouraged to bring one canned good or one toy to be donated to people in need around the Vicksburg area. The ERDC collaborates with local community organizations to distribute the donations. Last year, more than 6,000 pounds of food were collected and donated to the local food pantry, an increase of about 2,000 pounds from the year before.

“Each year, ERDC Under the Lights grows a little more,” Schlosser said. “The more people who come, the more good we can do with food and toy donations.”

Students from the Vicksburg-Warren School District will also help with the event this year, collecting food items and toys at the gate.

 

 

 

 

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