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Dangerous “Bath Salts” Heads to Governor

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Governor signs emergency declaration ahead of Zeta

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Source: NOAA/NHC

Gov. Tate Reeves signed an emergency declaration Wednesday morning ahead of Hurricane Zeta.

Zeta is expected to make landfall Wednesday afternoon along the Mississippi and Louisiana coastlines as a significant hurricane, bringing strong winds of up to 100 mph, heavy rain and life-threatening storm surge. The highest inundation will occur somewhere between the mouth of the Pearl River and Dauphin Island, Alabama.

Hurricane conditions are expected this afternoon within portions of the Hurricane Warning area between Morgan City, Louisiana, and the Mississippi/Alabama border. Damaging winds, especially in gusts, will spread well inland across portions of southeast Mississippi and southern and central Alabama Wednesday night due to Zeta’s fast forward speed.

A few tornadoes are expected beginning Wednesday afternoon and through the night over southeastern parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, southern Alabama, and the western Panhandle of Florida.

Heavy rain of up to 4 inches is expected through Thursday across most of Mississippi and Alabama.

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Warren Strain dead at 62

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Warren Strain, former WLBT anchor and Madison alderman, died Tuesday at age 62.

Strain served in several high visibility positions, including public affairs director at the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, public affairs director for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and public affairs director at the Mississippi Gaming Commission, WLBT reports.

Strain suffered a stroke in December 2019 which left him in a coma for several weeks and paralyzed on one side of his body. He was also dealing with other health issues and was bed bound since the incident.

Strain is survived by his wife, Sandra Strain, and two children.

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Vicksburg Police Department recognizes three officers for acts of heroism

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Left to right: Deputy Chief Penny Jones, honoree Officer Russell Dorsey, Chief Milton Moore, honoree Officer Mathew Barnes, Deputy Chief Bobby Stewart (photo by Thomas Parker)

At a ceremony Tuesday morning, the Vicksburg Police Department recognized three officers for acts of heroism.

Officers Africa Hunter and Matthew Barnes were awarded the Police Cross while Officer Russell Dorsey received the department’s top honor, the Medal of Valor. The officers were lauded by Police Chief Milton Moore and Mayor George Flaggs Jr. for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Dorsey joins Deputy Chief Bobby Stewart as the only active medal of valor recipient. Stewart and former Officer Greg Kurtz and Sgt. Jon Carter were awarded medals of valor for rescuing an infant on Royal Street from a burning structure in 2000.

Barnes was recognized as the departments “Top Cop” earlier this year by Central Mississippi Crime Stoppers. That award was before the incident for which he was recognized Tuesday.

Moore credited Capt. Michael Bryant with recommending the officers for these honors. He and Mayor Flaggs quoted scripture as they praised the officers. Flaggs said he hoped this would lead to recognizing officers on at least a quarterly basis for their good works. In an impassioned speech, he called on the community to support the department.

VPD provided details on the acts that led to the officers being honored:

Chief Milton Moore presents Officer Russel Dorsey with the Medal of Valor (photo by Thomas Parker)

Officer Russell Dorsey (Hire date Feb. 4, 2009. Assigned to Traffic Division)

On Monday, March 11, 2019, Officer Dorsey responded to a house fire on Howard Street. When he arrived, the house was already fully involved with flames visible. He learned from neighbors that the 68-year-old resident was still inside. Dorsey stepped onto the front porch and saw the resident inside the house, trying to exit through the front screen door, which was locked. The resident turned and walked back into the house.

Dorsey picked up a hatchet that was laying nearby and used it to chop through the door. He entered the house, looking for the resident, and located him in the living room. As Dorsey tried to reach him, part of the ceiling fell in at the rear of the house, and the structure filled with thick smoke. Officer Dorsey stepped back outside to draw a quick breath then reentered the burning house. He found the resident down behind a chair in the living room. Grabbing him by his collar, Dorsey pulled the resident out of the house to safety.

Officer Africa Hunter (Hire date Nov. 2, 2009. Assigned to B-Watch.)

On Saturday, July 18, 2020, Officer Hunter was dispatched to a local motel on a welfare check. The sister of a guest had called 911 to report that she had not heard from her sister and was concerned. Hunter tried to make contact with the guest, but no one answered when she knocked on the motel room door. She asked the desk clerk to unlock the door for her and when the door was opened, she found the 50-year-old female lying unconscious on the floor. Hunter checked the woman for a pulse and respiration but found none. She notified dispatch to send an ambulance and began performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. The victim responded and began to breathe on her own; however, she again stopped breathing so Hunter repeated CPR, which she continued until Vicksburg Fire Department emergency personnel arrived. The victim was again revived and transported to Merit Health River Region.

(Officer Hunter was unable to attend today’s ceremonies and will receive her award when she returns to duty.)

Police Chief Milton Moore presents Officer Matthew Barnes with the Police Cross. (photo by Thomas Parker)

Officer Matthew Barnes (Hire date May 11, 2016. Assigned to D-Watch. K-9 Officer.)

On Friday, July 24, 2020, Officer Barnes was dispatched to the area of Cherry and Clay streets in reference to a vehicle blocking the intersection. The driver of the vehicle had become disabled due to a medical emergency and lost unconsciousness. When Barnes arrived, he found the car in the middle of the intersection, engine running, with all the doors locked. The driver was in obvious distress and did not respond to Barnes’ calls to wake her. The unconscious driver began to press the accelerator, causing the car to advance further into the intersection. Along with bystanders, Barnes attempted to hold the vehicle in place. With the vehicle steadily moving and the occupant in need of medical attention, Barnes made the decision to break out a window. He told the bystanders what he was going to do and said that he needed a heavy object. A hammer was provided, and Barnes used it to shatter the window of the driver-side rear door. He then entered the vehicle through that door, put the vehicle in park and turned off the engine. Vicksburg Fire Department emergency medical personnel arrived, and they were able to get the driver out of the vehicle and into the ambulance. She was transported to Merit Health River Region for treatment.

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