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Dick’s Sporting Goods destroyed $5 million in inventory of assault-style rifles

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Photo by Mike Mozart from Funny YouTube, USA - Dick's Sporting Goods, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48434443

Dicks Sporting Goods has destroyed $5 million of its inventory of assault-style rifles since it announced last year it would stop selling them.

Dick’s Chief Executive Officer Ed Stack wrote in his book that rather than return the weapons to manufacturers, it turned them into scrap, USA Today reported. The book, “It’s How We Play the Game: Build a Business. Take a Stand. Make a Difference,” goes on sale today.

Stack reiterated the statement in an interview with “CBS News Sunday” on Oct. 6.

“I said, ‘You know what? If we really think these things should be off the street, then we need to destroy them,” Stack said.

He added that he removed AR-15s from all Dick’s stores after the Connecticut Sandy Hook shootings in 2012, which left 27 dead including 20 6- and 7-year-old children. Then, after last year’s Parkland, Fla., shooting left 17 dead at a high school, he pulled high-capacity magazines, removed all assault-style weapons from Dick’s shelves and stopped selling guns to anyone younger than 21.

In a February 2018 statement, Stack made his company’s stand on guns clear.

“We have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us,” he wrote. “Gun violence is an epidemic that’s taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America — our kids.”

The company lost about $250 million because of those decisions, Stack told CBS.

Reaction to the interview has been mixed.

The National Rifle Association tweeted that the company destroyed the weapons “to keep them out of private hands” and referenced an article by right-wing media outlet Breitbart, which reported that 100 Dick’s stores no longer sell guns at all.

Dick’s announced last March that it pulled all firearms in 125 of its 720 stores. Depending on how well those stores perform, it may expand the policy to additional locations.

Dick’s has seven stores in Mississippi. It’s unclear whether any of those stores have been affected by the policy.

Some on social media said Dick’s gun policies had them stop patronizing them, while others said they were proud to support the store.

Last month, CEOs from 145 companies signed a letter urging U.S. Senate leaders to enact gun reforms including expanded background checks. Signatories included companies such as Conde Nast and Twitter.

“These proposals are common-sense, bipartisan and widely supported by the American public,” the CEOs wrote about legislation passed by the House. “It is time for the Senate to take action.”

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Vicksburg ‘moving into the future’ with Barge Design Solutions implementing airport expansion

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Photo by MarcusObal - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4398700

On Thursday, Oct. 10, South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour announced what could be an economic game changer for the City of Vicksburg: the expansion of the city’s airport.

The Vicksburg Municipal Airport is located seven miles southwest of the city on U.S. Hwy. 61 and one mile east of the Mississippi River. Today, it serves private and business customers with a 5,000-foot runway, a 2,400 square foot terminal and an aircraft maintenance facility, in addition to providing hangar and storage space.

To accommodate commercial flights, the runway must be extended to 6,500 feet in addition to meeting other Federal Aviation Administration requirements for big jets and consumer air-travel safety. The work of planning and implementing the airport’s expansion now falls to Barge Design Solutions, based in Dothan, Ala.

South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour. (photo from his City of Vicksburg Profile)

The project is in its very early stages, and the city is negotiating with Barge regarding contract specifics. Nonetheless, airport expansion has been on the minds of many Vicksburg residents for decades. Alderman Monsour has been one of its biggest advocates since becoming part of the city’s leadership.

“The one thing I always ‘knew’ about Vicksburg … is that we couldn’t expand the runways,” he said. “Well, that was a fallacy. We know it because I talked with FAA and everyone involved.”

In addition to enhancing prospects for business development in the city and Warren County, a nearby commercial airport is convenient for local people and makes the city more attractive to tourists.  “We want to make Vicksburg, Mississippi a hub, where you can get commuter flights anywhere you want to go,” Monsour said.

In an interview with the Vicksburg Daily News, Monsour talked about the concept of the city becoming “multi -modal” with the addition of a commercial airport.

“When you have all means of transportation, that is what industries look for. They want to know can they get their product in and out of here whether it be from air, rail, highway, river—we got it all,” with an expanded airport, Monsour said.

The alderman also indicated that although the preliminary estimate for the project is about $8 million, most of the funds could come in the form of FAA and other grants. In the best case scenario, the city’s contribution would be a tiny fraction of that, about $8,000.

“Now why wouldn’t we do that?” Monsour asked. “That’s smart business.”

Monsour and Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. will be on the way to Washington, D.C. soon to ensure the city can secure those grants, he said.

What we know about Barge Design Solutions

The city selected Barge from its response to a Request for Qualifications issued in September. The city’s request stated the type of services required could range from consulting and environmental analysis to planning and straight on through to construction. The city was looking for a company that could take on the project from soup to nuts, in other words, and Barge seems more than capable to fill that bill.

Based on its Statement of Qualifications, Barge has completed similar airport projects in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. About half of its 64 years in business has included aviation engineering and design services.

“Our dedicated and highly skilled aviation group has served municipal airports of all sizes, providing the Vicksburg Municipal Airport with a well-rounded team that understands the local market, airport operations, and the FAA and [Mississippi Department of Transportation],” the company wrote.

Among the qualifications that surely gave Barge a hand up in the selection process is its naming of Vicksburg resident Keafur Grimes as project manager, reporting directly to the City of Vicksburg. Grimes holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Tennessee State University and has completed graduate studies in the subject at Mississippi State University.

For more information on Barge Design Solutions, visit its website.

“Vicksburg is moving into the future now,” Monsour said. “We’re not holding back any more.”

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Tim’s barbecue opens on Clay Street

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There’s a new barbecue restaurant in Vicksburg.

Tim’s Smokehouse Barbecue (1713 Clay St.) originated with Timothy and Jennifer Sanford’s catering business.

“We dabble with a few different things and see what we like, what our customers like and what tastes good,” said Jennifer Sanford. 

Before opening the restaurant, Timothy Sanford had a long history of being a pit boss, which started by watching his father.

“My dad was a grill master,” he said. “He used to do functions for the family. He never did anything for money. I just kind of grew up under that and followed after his footsteps.”

“With our food we want people to feel love through our food,” Jennifer said. “We want people to feel love through our service, we want people to feel love through everything that we do. So we really just want to make good food that people like that they can afford.”

Tim’s is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. It’s closed on Monday. Delivery is available by calling 601-885-3791. See the Facebook page for more info.

“Follow the smoke down to Clay Street” Timothy said. “It’s insanely delicious.” 

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Mississippi AG drops opposition to phone company merger on agreement to expand mobile service in the state

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Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. Photo from the AG's website.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has dropped his opposition to a major telephone company merger.

In a statement released today, Hood said that Mississippians will have better access to 5G networks thanks to the agreement he reached with T-Mobile.

Hood originally opposed the T-Mobile/Sprint merger as part of multistate litigation filed to prevent it. Before the agreement reached between Mississippi and T-Mobile, the merger did not include any specific commitments benefiting Mississippi. Only 2 percent of Mississippians would have benefited from future 5G services by the stand-alone T-Mobile.

As a result of Hood’s agreement, T-Mobile agreed to the following commitments:

  • Within three years of closing on the merger, the new T-Mobile will deploy a 5G network in Mississippi with at least 62 percent of the state’s general and rural populations having access to download speeds equal to or greater than 100 Mbps.
  • Within six years of closing, it will cover at least 92 percent of Mississippi’s general population and 88 percent of Mississippi’s rural population.
  • These commitments include 5G service in rural areas, including but not limited to Amite, Carroll, Choctaw, Covington, Franklin, Greene, Issaquena, Kemper, Lawrence, Marion, Perry, Smith, Tippah and Walthall counties.
  • The parties also made limited price commitments and, in discussions with the Attorney General’s Office, vowed to decrease prices as supply increased, particularly as DISH enters the mobile market.

“The world around us is almost fully digital, but Mississippi is lagging behind with internet deserts across the state” Hood said in the statement. “My agreement with T-Mobile will help fill this gap, and I appreciate their commitments made specifically to Mississippi counties that lacked service. Access to the internet results in better access to education, jobs and health care.”

This 5G technology is expected to drastically decrease latency or buffering, which will be more convenient for consumers and will enable access to valuable technologies in Mississippi, such as telemedicine, in ambulances and hospitals, and automated farming. The 5G internet service will be available to customers in their homes and businesses and beyond with their smart phones, thanks to mobile routers. T-Mobile has also promised to roll out a broadband service that will be available to hundreds of thousands of Mississippians including those in rural areas.

In conversations with the parties, the Attorney General’s Office also confirmed that there would be no retail job loss and that new stores would be opened in rural areas.

 

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