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Grabblers catch near-record catfish at Arkabutla Lake

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A fisherman with the Southern Boyz Grabbling guide service holds a 81.2-pound catfish caught at Arkabutla Lake July 2020. (Photo courtesy USACE)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District visitors and staff received a surprise July 19 when a catfish grabbling guide service caught a near-record specimen at Arkabutla Lake.

The guide service, Southern Boyz Grabbling, used the lake’s natural structure and a weighted wooden box to catch the 81.2-pound female flathead catfish by hand. At 54.5 inches long with a 36.5-inch girth, the catfish was just 8.3 pounds shy of the state record. Fishermen Dalton Scott, Josh Bennett and Jacob Bennett were guiding a client through her first grabbling experience at the time. Scott discovered the catfish when he checked the box and quickly secured it with a stringer.

“The catfish instantly hammered my hand as soon as I reached into the box,” said Scott. “Her mouth went all the way up to my elbow, and she began to thrash around.”

Scott’s client then retrieved the fish from the box and brought it to the surface. The group opted to swim the catfish to shore rather than risk losing it trying to get it into the boat. The fish was kept overnight in a large aerated tank and weighed on a certified scale the following day.

The fishermen contacted the Arkabutla Lake Field Office to inform the staff of their find and brought the fish to the office. Park rangers supervised the fishermen’s safe release of the catfish back into the lake. The fisherman said they hoped to catch the fish again in the future when it has gained enough weight to be the new state record.

The sport of hand grabbing catfish, sometimes called noodling or grabbling, has existed for decades and grown in popularity from online exposure as well as advancements in technology and techniques. Anglers supplement the lake’s natural structures by building weighted wooden boxes to attract and hold nesting fish. Catfish strike at moving objects near their nesting site, and hand grabbers take advantage of this behavior by using their hands as bait. Anglers can catch many fish from the same spot in each season as catfish move in and out of nesting sites while they spawn.

Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid and Grenada lakes, the four Mississippi flood control reservoirs in the Vicksburg District’s area of responsibility, were authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1936, which provided a plan designed to address flooding that originated in the Yazoo Basin. The four reservoirs are used to hold runoff, or excess rainwater, as a flood-prevention measure. With approximately 3.2 million visitors each year, the north Mississippi lakes also contribute approximately $82 million into the local economy.

Crime

Williams arrested for two separate burglaries at the Vicksburg Mall

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Felix Williams (photo courtesy VPD)

Vicksburg police arrested Felix Williams, 30, of Vicksburg, for two separate burglaries at the Vicksburg Mall.

For a break-in Sunday, Oct. 11, into the mall and Jordan’s, Williams was charged with two counts of business burglary. Williams was also charged with two counts of business burglary and one count of grand larceny for the Oct. 2 burglary at the Sports Addition.

Monday, Oct. 12, Judge Angela Carpenter in the Vicksburg Municipal Court set Williams bond at $400,000 and bound him over to the Warren County grand jury.

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News

Warren County – Vicksburg Library offering computer use by appointment

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The Warren County – Vicksburg Library at 700 Veto St. has updated its services.

While still limited due to COVID-19 precautions, patrons can now access the following services:

Computer Use

by appointment, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  1. Call 601-636-6411for an appointment
  2. General browsing or computer use time slots are 30 minutes each
  3. Researching local history or genealogy time slots are one hour each
  4. Patrons 2-years-old and up must wear masks covering the mouth and nose
  5. Parents may bring one child, or one baby (carried or in a stroller) and one child
  6. Children 12-years-old and up may book separate appointment with a parent
  7. Patrons will be screened before entering the library

Curbside Service

Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.
Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

  1. Call 601-636-6411 or email [email protected]
  2. Provide your name, library card number, cellphone number and up to five items to check out
  3. Library staff will assign a pickup time; please allow at least two hours
  4. Arrive at the appointed time; call the library at 601-636-6411 to announce your arrival
  5. Staff will bring the items to your car; if you’re returning items, hand them to the staff
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COVID-19

Six new COVID-19 cases Tuesday in Warren County; 713 statewide

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New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to climb in Mississippi as they have been doing for more than 10 days.

“I do think we are on the front end of something that could be bad,” said State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs in a Zoom meeting Monday. “The last time we saw that was before the summer surge,” Dobbs added. “That doesn’t mean we can’t turn that around. It’s not that hard. We just have to have a little bit of patience.”

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported six new COVID-19 cases Tuesday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,476, and the county’s death toll is 53.

Statewide, MSDH reported 713 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 105,941. The seven-day average of new cases is 609, higher by 183 cases from a month ago.

Most new cases are seen in younger people recently, and they are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. By far, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are young people from 18 to 29 years old.

MSDH reported Tuesday that 14 additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,115. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.9%.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. While July saw the highest number of new cases since the crisis began, August saw the highest number of deaths. The highest number of deaths in any one day was 67 reported Aug. 25.

MSDH reported Tuesday that 13 deaths occurred in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Tuesday
Amite 2
Hancock 1
Harrison 1
Lee 1
Lowndes 1
Marshall 1
Monroe 1
Rankin 1
Tishomingo 1
Washington 3

One COVID-19 related death occurred Sept. 25 in Adams County and was identified from a death certificate report.

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s testing and death reports.

The primary metric concerning state health officials are the numbers of people hospitalized, and that number rose steadily with the rise of new cases in July and August. On June 6, the number of Mississippians hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 was at 358. Hospitalizations nearly tripled by late July. They leveled off in early August and began noticeably dropping in the middle of the month including critical cases and numbers of people requiring ventilators. Hospitalizations continued to drop in September but levelled off at the middle of the month. They continued to drop through Oct. 3; however, hospitalizations have been showing a definite rise since then.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12, is 600, about half of the late July peak of more than 1,200. The number includes 507 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 93 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 145 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 69 were on ventilators.

Source: MSDH

MSDH has estimated the number of people who can be presumed recovered from COVID-19 in Mississippi. That number is 94,165 through Sunday, Oct. 11. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 89% of the cumulative 105,941 cases reported Tuesday, Oct. 13.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Tuesday, Sept. 22, was 1,382, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,329, or about 90% of the 1,476 cumulative cases reported as of Tuesday, Oct. 11. The county has an estimated 87 active cases.

These estimates are based on MSDH’s guidelines for calculating estimated recoveries when hospitalizations are not known, using the number of cases 21 days ago, less known outcomes (deaths).

The total number of Mississippians tested for COVID-19 (PCR and antigen tests identifying current infections) as of Sunday, Oct. 3, is 863,957 or about 29% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. The positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average) was 6.3% Sunday according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 5%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 128 Tuesday. About 40.6%, or 1,265, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities.

A total of 25 deaths in Warren County were residents of LTC facilities.

MSDH is no longer reporting outbreaks in individual long-term care facilities in Mississippi and has replaced it with access to a database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. You can access and search the data here. The latest data available is for the week ending Sept. 27.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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