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Flaggs proposes city employee layoffs and sets out gradual plan to re-open businesses

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Mayor George Flaggs Jr. during his April 6 Facebook live Q&A. (Screen grab from video by Thomas Parker)

During his live Q&A session on Tuesday, evening, Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs outlined how much revenue the city was losing under COVID-19 restrictions including a lack of casino and hotel revenue.

To continue to pay 412 employees without additional revenue will cause the city to go into a budgetary shortfall situation, he said.

“That don’t make no sense to a drunk man,” Flaggs said.

As a stop gap measure, Flaggs presented a proposal for city employee layoffs. His proposal might include:

  • 12% termination of employees
    • Eliminating/Combining positions
    • Eliminating/Combining departments
    • Outsourcing services
  • 5% across-the-board pay cut
  • Layoff of employees with less than 1-year, 3-years or 5-years of service.

Flaggs also set out a specific way to gradually re-open all businesses in Vicksburg. His recommendations for reopening sectors of the local economy would be as permitted and with guidance from the governor, the Mississippi State Department of Health and the CDC, he said. No part of the proposal can go into effect without similar guidance from the governor’s office:

WEEK 1: Restaurants, barber shops, beauty salons, massage, nail and day spas, tattoo parlors, tanning salons, and pet grooming services allowed to resume some business operations under the strict health guidelines announced by Mayor Flaggs on April 21.

WEEK 2: Recreation facilities such as parks and playgrounds allowed to reopen (this also includes gyms and fitness facilities).

WEEK 3: Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi, dance studios, and children’s party and play facilities allowed to reopen.

WEEK 4: Church and funeral services allowed to resume.

WEEK 5: Bars, lounges, night clubs, the Vicksburg Convention Center, and City Auditorium allowed to reopen.

WEEK 6: Swimming pools allowed to reopen.

WEEK 7: Museums and tourist destinations allowed to reopen.

WEEK 8: Senior Center allowed to reopen.

Throughout the re-opening, businesses should encourage employees to wear masks, practice proper hand hygiene and observe social distancing.

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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