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Dr. Donzell Lee retires from Alcorn after 45 years of service

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Dr. Donzell Lee (Photo courtesy Alcorn State University)

One of Alcorn State University’s longest-tenured employees is saying goodbye to the University after four decades of service.

Dr. Donzell Lee, who served as interim president during the 2018-2019 academic year, is retiring from Alcorn after 45 years. During his tenure, Lee served in numerous positions including instructor of music and chair of the Department of Fine Arts, director of the Honors Curriculum Program, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, and interim associate vice president for the Office of Academic Affairs. He was also appointed provost in 2015.

Lee holds degrees from Xavier University, Stanford University and Louisiana State University.

Initially, Lee said he planned to only work at Alcorn for one year. That changed once he got acclimated to the university’s surroundings, and he fall in love with the atmosphere.

“I have mixed emotions,” Lee said about leaving. “After so many years and so many memories, there will be a void. You can’t dismiss 45 years without some emotions.”

Engaging with his peers and students are two things Lee will miss about working at Alcorn.

“I will certainly miss the daily interactions with students and colleagues,” he said. “Those interactions are the things that have created the Alcorn family for so many.”

Alcorn has created many avenues for Lee to find career success and experience personal and professional growth.

“I have had the opportunity to grow from a young faculty member to the highest administration levels,” he said. “I have traveled to many places and met so many people, all while enriching myself in knowledge, skills and positive personal growth. I would not be the person I am today had it not been for Alcorn. I owe this institution a lot.”

Setting a positive example for others has always been a priority for Lee.

“I realized early in my career that being a great role model was important. I’ve tried to be one for my students and colleagues. That great sense of responsibility cultivated during my tenure here will forever be with me,” he said.

“As leaders, we are here to serve all of our constituents. When we do our job well, we gleefully witness students’ success, faculty and staff growth, and the upward progression of the University. It’s always great to hear from alumni who go on to be successful as professionals in their fields. It feels great when I get calls from students who want to say, ‘Thank you.’”

Crime

Woman in custody for Friday’s shooting over a parking space

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UPDATE: Akeyah Daniels, 26, of Vicksburg, appeared before Judge Penny Lawson on Saturday in Vicksburg Municipal Court. Lawson set her bond at $50,000 and bound her over to the Warren County grand jury.

Original story:

The woman is in custody in connection with a shooting that occurred Friday, allegedly over a parking space.

The shooting took place around 3:30 p.m. Friday at an apartment building at 2230 Grove St. in Vicksburg.

Akeyah Daniels, 26, turned herself in to Vicksburg police officers at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28. She was arrested at the police station.

Three men were also briefly detained and released in connection with the shooting, according to the Vicksburg police.

Daniels faces one count of drive-by shooting is being held without bond until her initial appearance, which is taking place Saturday.

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Business

Vicksburg entrepreneurs got the basics of business ownership at boot camp

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Kendra Reed and Willie Johnson were among the dozen entrepreneurs attending the Vicksburg Entrepreneur Boot Camp. (photos submitted)

Last week participants graduated from the first Vicksburg Entrepreneur Boot Camp where 12 individuals received information to start or expand their own businesses.

Myra Harris, who recently started a company making masks, joined the boot camp shortly after her grandchildren informed her of the opportunity.

“They provided all the resources you would need to start your business, and they also made themselves available after class just in case you had any questions,” Harris said.

Vicksburg Entrepreneur Boot Camp participants. Top L to R: Marcus Dufour (Vicksburg Warren Partnership), Tim Sanford, Cathy Sanford, Olivia Foshee, Amy Warren, Patricia Anderson, Willie Johnson, Myra Harris, Ginger Donahue (Regions Bank) and Pablo Diaz (Vicksburg Warren Partnership). Bottom L to R: Gwen Green, Kendra Reed, Rob Burnham (Instructor), De’Jonae Curtis and Anthony Curtis. Not pictured William Wooten. (photo courtesy Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce)

Retired businessman Rob Burnham facilitated the class and helped the participants plan out their businesses, assisting with marketing, accounting and distribution. Marcus Dufour and Pablo Diaz from the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce hosted the class, bringing in successful entrepreneurs as speakers including Kevin Roberts who owns Fit Chef Catering in Vicksburg.

“Every speaker gave us the opportunity to ask questions, and it definitely gave me the information I need to open a business, and I would recommend the class 100%,” said participant Willie Johnson.

Johnson was born and raised in Vicksburg. He’s now retired from the military and looking to launch a consulting business, which is what led him to attending the boot camp.

By having capable individuals at the boot camp such as James Harper from the Small Business Development Center at Hinds Community College, the participants were able to learn about available grants and other resources for entrepreneurs.

Starting a business can be stressful for first time entrepreneurs, but the boot camp provided planning advice to the participants, breaking down the information that participants need to launch their businesses.

“In the business process of starting and running a business, owners get very busy running the day-to-day aspects,” said boot camp participant Kendra Reed. “Entrepreneurship Bootcamp gave me the chance to step back and plan through the whole process to prepare my new company to be successful.”

Reed is the owner of Delta Dirt Shirt, and she was proud to be a graduating member of the camp.

Now that the camp has ended, the participants are in competition for a $1,000 seed grant for the best business plan presentation. A winner will be announced Dec. 8.

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COVID-19

Vicksburg Warren School District reports 14 new COVID-19 cases and 46 quarantined

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The Vicksburg Warren School District reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 last week (Nov. 16 through Nov. 20) among students and staff, and 46 individuals newly quarantined due to possible exposure in the same time period.

Cases and quarantines in individual schools:

Beechwood Elementary School 

  • 1 new positive case – staff
  • 1 new positive case – student
  • 6 quarantined – students

Dana Road Elementary

  • 1 new positive case – staff
  • 1 new positive case – student
  • 1 quarantined – staff

Sherman Avenue Elementary

  • 1 new positive case – student
  • 5 quarantined – students

South Park Elementary

  • 1 new positive case – student
  • 8 quarantined – students

Vicksburg High School

  • 3 new positive cases – students

Vicksburg Intermediate School

  • 1 new case – student
  • 8 quarantined – students

Vicksburg Junior High School

  • 2 new cases – staff
  • 2 quarantined – staff

Warren Central Intermediate School

  • 2 new cases – staff
  • 5 quarantined – staff
  • 16 quarantined – students
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