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David Childers: Chasing things others run from

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Jamee and David Childers (Photo courtesy David Childers)

David Childers will forever be linked to the old Kuhn Memorial Hospital in Vicksburg.

He was the caretaker of the property for the Esther Stewart Buford Estate for a time, and he frequently checked the property because it was tended to be a target for adventure seekers and vandals.

On June 28, 2015, two men found Sharon Wilson’s body in the weeds outside the derelict hospital. Reportedly, they had followed a blood trail from inside the building and down a staircase. Wilson had been kidnapped from her Drummond Street home and murdered by Rafael McCloud.

Law enforcement officers summoned Childers to the scene. The men had used the story that they were ghost hunting on the property, which Childers frequently did. Law enforcement officials and media outlets interviewed Childers in the days following the incident. Some incorrectly identified Childers as the person who found Wilson’s body.

“I truly hate that was the thing most people will forever associate the hospital with,” he said.

Childers frequently was at the Kuhn doing what he’s done with most of his spare time for going on three decades—ghost hunting, although he prefers the term paranormal investigation. Now 40, the Vicksburg native has spent more than 25 years chasing after what most others run away from.

“I was playing ‘Crocodile Dundee’ complete with my wooden knife at our old home on Culkin Road when I saw an apparition of a Civil War soldier,” he said. “Our property wasn’t far from the Military Park, and battles were probably fought in the area. My Dad thought I was losing it.”

Childers is on the cover of G-Hunter magazine in June. (Photo courtesy David Childers)

Far from it, his spooky adventures have led to TV appearances on Destination America’s “Ghost Asylum,” the Travel Channel’s “Spirits Under Siege” and A&E’s “My Ghost Story.”

On Saturday, March 28, Childers will appear on the Travel Channel’s “Haunted Hospitals.” The episode airs at 8 p.m. Central.

Childers will also be on the cover of the June issue of G-Hunter magazine.

The veteran investigator has found some new places to explore in Vicksburg, including the old Wilson Hardware store at 1107 Washington St., which is owned by Karen Flaggs.

He is scheduled to travel to the Mississippi Coast next weekend to be locked in the Tara Coast House overnight, and in April, he will lead a group to explore the former Hardy Wilson Hospital in Hazelhurst.

Besides these adventures, Childers and his partner Gene Hamil have produced four movies. Hamil is the creative force behind the camera, handling graphics and editing. Their “Twisted Carnival” series has developed a devoted following. Their releases can be found at www.StrikeFastStudio.com.

Although he works for Bunge Corporation during the day in Issaquena County, chasing after spirits is his real passion.

“I would hope one day to find a way to do this full time,” he said.

Announcements

Mississippi VA announces changes to its annual Wreaths Across America ceremonies

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(photo courtesy MSVA)

This year, both State Veterans Memorial Cemeteries at Newton and Kilmichael will host private ceremonies for families with loved ones buried at both locations. The events will be held Saturday, Dec. 19, at 11 a.m.

“We must do our part to ensure that we keep as many Veteran families as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, and unfortunately, that means cutting back on the number of attendees at this year’s events”, said Mississippi VA Executive Director Stacey Pickering in a statement. “However, we feel that it is important to honor our resting heroes and allow their families to spend quality time at these hallowed grounds.”

Close to 1,260 Veterans and their families have chosen the State Veterans Memorial Cemeteries as their final resting place. For more information on both State Veterans Memorial Cemeteries, click here.

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‘Check Your Charity’ helps you be an informed giver

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(Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

Mississippians are known for their generosity, especially during the holiday season. During the last reporting year, Mississippi charities brought in roughly $1.7 billion. As we creep closer to Christmas, it’s important to remember the wisest giver is an informed giver. The annual “Check Your Charity” campaign encourages Mississippians to check the validity of a charity or organization on the secretary of state website before making a donation.

“Our Check Your Charity campaign aligns with one of our agency’s missions to make government more transparent,” said Secretary of State Michael Watson in a release. “We are committed to providing as much information as possible to shield Mississippians from scammers, not just during the holiday season but all year-round. This has been an incredibly challenging year for many families, and I am incredibly proud of the work our Charities Division is doing to protect Mississippians’ hard-earned money.”

All charitable organizations are required to register with the secretary of state’s office and renew yearly. Certain types of organizations are exempt from registration but are nevertheless required to file a notice of exemption with the secretary’s office.

Each year, the secretary’s office publishes a “Report on Charitable Organizations in Mississippi” to provide transparency and keep citizens informed of critical financial information regarding Mississippi charities. The annual report includes information such as total revenue, fundraising expenses and charitable purpose expenses.

Click here to view the 2020 Report on Charitable Organizations in Mississippi.

Mississippians should keep the following in mind when making decisions regarding charitable donations:

  • Check your charity. Use the “Charity Search” portal on the secretary of state website to verify the charity is registered with the State. Ask questions before giving and be sure to ask for answers in writing. Legitimate charities will always welcome your inquiries.
  • Avoid pressure tactics. You do not have to make a donation immediately; take time to evaluate the information provided by the charity.
  • Watch for similar names. Many charities have similar names. Often, scam artists intentionally use names resembling those of respected groups. Take a few extra minutes to research the charity online so you can be sure your donation goes to the right place.
  • Be wary of telephone calls. Always get the name of the person calling and the exact name and spelling of the charity. Ask if the caller is a professional fundraiser, and if they are, ask how much of your donation actually goes to the charity.
    • Consumer organizations recommend at least 65% of a charity’s total expenses be spent on program activities directly related to the charity’s purpose.
  • Verify mail solicitations. Be wary of mail containing novelty items you can keep “if you contribute.” Federal law states that unless you ordered the item, you can keep it without contributing.
  • Always get receipts. Receipts are vital for tax deductions and provide a tracking mechanism for donations. To be safe, always donate by credit card or check (directly to the charity).

Taking these extra steps will not only protect you, it will also ensure your donation goes to those who need it most. For more information, contact the Charities Division at 601-359-1599, or click here to send an email to one of the Charities team members.

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COVID-19

MS Health Department: Avoid social gatherings

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Due to the rapidly rising burden of COVID-19 cases, excessive hospitalizations and the high risk of COVID-19 infection in the community, the Mississippi State Department of Health  is issuing the following Public Health Guidance.

All residents of Mississippi should avoid any social gathering that includes individuals outside of the nuclear family or household. MSDH recommends that Mississippians only participate in work, school or other absolutely essential activities.

MSDH recommends that all Mississippians protect themselves and their families by avoiding public or social gatherings such as the following:

  • Social events or parties
  • Family gatherings outside of the household or nuclear family
  • Weddings
  • Funerals (other than close family and preferably outdoors)
  • Sporting events
  • In-person church services

MSDH reported nearly 2,500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, with 28 in Warren County. Cases and hospitalizations are setting new records daily in Mississippi, with a new spike in deaths sure to follow.

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