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Finish the Pumps gets promise of support from EPA Environmental Justice Council

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Finish the Pumps members at the NEJAC meeting last week. Left to right, front row: Victoria Darden, EPA Southeastern District Administrator Mary Walker and Paige Adcock. Back row: Larry Walls and Clay Adcock. (photo courtesy Finish the Pumps)

Members of the Finish the Pumps group traveled to Jacksonville, Fla., to appear before the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council last week.

The NEJAC is a 25-member council that normally meets twice a year to hear complaints from indigenous and minority groups along with those who are underrepresented before the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is not bound to act on the council’s recommendations; however, they have significant influence on agency decisions.

Finish the Pumps is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed last year to educate and lobby for completion of the Yazoo Backwater Project. The project was approved by Congress in the 1940s and it consists of a series of levees, channels and drainage structures designed to protect the South Delta from flooding. Most of the project was completed by the late ’70s; however, the final piece of the project, pumps to evacuate water from the Delta even when the rivers were high, were not. In 2008, the EPA vetoed the completion of the pumps.

The result is that the South Delta has experienced unprecedented levels of flooding. Last year, more than 550,000 acres were underwater for months, including 225,000 acres of farmland.

Most speakers at last week’s meeting were given five to seven minutes, and mainly discussed issues related to pesticides and farming. When Holly Bluff-based farmer Clay Adcock testified, he was at the podium for over an hour, fielding questions from council members unaware of the situation with the incomplete Yazoo Backwater Project and the decimation of the South Delta due to flooding.

Finish the Pumps came well prepared with detailed documentation along with letters of support from local, state and federal officials. Adcock was accompanied by his wife Paige, fellow Holly Bluff farmer Larry “Joe” Walls and Onward based farmer Victoria Darden.

Because of the advocacy efforts of Finish the Pumps, council members indicated they would draft a recommendation of support to the EPA to complete the pumps, Adcock said. The group also had the opportunity to again meet with EPA Southeast Region Administrator Mary Walker.

Adcock is optimistic the trip will have an impact on the issue.

“We learned about this last minute and decided it was an opportunity to plead our case to a different group who carries a big stick with the EPA,” he said. “We feel like the trip was worthwhile.”

News

Single vehicle crash sends local man to hospital

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Photo by Thomas Parker

A local man was injured after crashing into a pole Sunday morning.

Vicksburg EMS/Fire and Police were dispatched to a single vehicle crash on Mission 66 near its intersection with Military Avenue at around 7:30 Sunday morning.

The vehicle left the roadway striking a utility pole.

The driver was transported by Vicksburg Fire Medic 40 to UMMC for treatment.  His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

The investigation into this accident is ongoing.

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Fire

Fire at Cato Fashions Saturday evening

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(photo by Thomas Parker)

Vicksburg firefighters were called to a fire at Cato Fashions, 2184 Iowa Blvd., Saturday around 6:30 p.m. near the Walmart Supercenter.

Firefighter checks the HVAC vents. (photo by Thomas Parker)

First reports say smoke could be seen coming from the vents, and firefighters are checking the HVAC system for problems. The situation seems well under control.

The store has been evacuated as are staff and customers in nearby stores. There are no reports of injuries.

Numerous Vicksburg fire and police units have responded including Engines 7 and 8, Ladder 15, Rescue, Fire Medic 80 and Battalion 1 (Tim Love).

The Vicksburg Daily News will provide updates as we receive them.

See our live, on-the-scene report on our Facebook page.

 

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Education

Mississippi native elected as Harvard student body president

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(photo courtesy Noah Harris)

A Mississippi high school graduate has been elected as Harvard University’s student body president.

Noah Harris, a 2018 graduate of Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is the first African American to serve in the role at prestigious Harvard University in Massachusetts.

“I’m really grateful that the student body is entrusting me with such a historic and unprecedented moment,” Harris told WDAM. “To make the right moves and to really bring their voices to the forefront. I just never expected that I would be in a position to run for this.”

Harris is a junior and a political science major at Harvard. He served as treasurer on the finance committee in his first two years. His vice president and running mate is neuroscience major Jenny Gan. Both plan on making a difference at the university.

Harris and Gan will be sworn in Dec. 6.

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