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Gravel truck accident on I-20 near the Springridge exit causing long delays



An accident on Interstate 20 involving a gravel truck is causing long delays in the west-bound lanes.


The east bound lanes are also partially blocked due to road work in the area.

The eastbound lanes start to back up just after the Natchez exit. The west lanes are at a standstill after Robinson Road to Springridge.

Expect long delays if you are travelling that road.


Educators honored by the Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce



Left to right: Mathew Austin Crabtree, Malissa Flowers, Theresa Bell and Marion Margaret Hern. (photo by Larry Walker)

No matter what your current profession may be, many can thank a teacher or an educator for getting you there in some way, shape, form or fashion. Today, the Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce honored educators during their 31st Annual Educators of the Year Awards Luncheon.

“This is a very special event because we get to celebrate one of the main components of what makes a community happen, and that’s our teachers,” said Pablo Diaz, Vicksburg-Warren Chamber director. 

Twenty-one amazing candidates out of both the private and public school sector were selected by their peers to represent their school at the luncheon. The candidates were split up between elementary educators (Pre-K through sixth grade) and secondary educators (seventh through 12th grade).

A runner up and a winner was announced for both divisions. Each runner up received a $500 prize provided by Mutual Credit Union, and winners received a $1,000 prize provided by Ameristar Casino. Chick-fil-A extended a caring gesture to all 21 candidates by offering them one free meal per week during the summer.

“Our chamber is committed to education,” Diaz said. “We want to be there as a business community, supporting education to make it the best that it can be for kids and our future.”

Buddy Dees, chamber education chairman, mentioned that during the months of October and November, each school is asked to hold an election at their school to nominate a candidate. Once nominated, candidates go through an extensive application process and a 10-minute interview with six retired educators. 

Diaz shared a special moment during the meeting.

“Teachers you have a huge job on your hands,” Diaz said. “It’s an important job that you have. You are crafting and molding the future leaders of our community. You are crafting and molding the workforce of the future.”

The $500 elementary runner up was Marion Margaret Hern from Bovina Elementary.

Winning the grand prize of $1,000 elementary winner was Malissa Flowers from Beechwood Elementary. Flowers is a special education teacher for 3 and 4-year olds.

“On my way back to Beechwood, I pulled off to my bank and cashed the check,” Flowers said.

Arriving back to Beechwood, Flowers said she gave money to both of her assistants.

“It’s a group effort,” Flowers said. “I cannot do what I do without support.”

The $500 secondary runner up was Thresa Bell from Warren Central High School. 

Winning the grand prize of $1,000 for secondary educators was Austin Crabtree.

The youngest nominee, Crabtree could not hold back excitement as he walked toward the podium pointing towards heaven and mouthing, ” Thank you, Lord.”

Crabtree graduated from Porters Chapel Academy in 2014.  He completed college and is now employed instilling the same core values at the school where they were instilled in him just a few short years ago.

The 2020 elementary nominees are as follows: Malissa Flowers, Beechwood Elementary; Marion Margaret Hern, Bovina Elementary; Christine Jones, Bowmar Elementary; Valerie Benard, Dana Road Elementary; Elizabeth Westerfield, Porters Chapel Academy; Amber Jones, Redwood Elementary; Cassandra Brown, Sherman Avenue; Cassandra Ringo, South Park; Martha Amborn,  St. Francis Xavier; Monica Williams, Vicksburg Intermediate School; Woodrow Price, III, Warren Central Intermediate School; and Jasmine Island, Warrenton Elementary.

The 2020 secondary nominees are as follows: Brittany Prowell, Academy of Innovation; Austin Crabtree, Porters Chapel Academy; Kayla Sorrels, River City Early College; Joan Thornton, St. Aloysius High School; Cynthia Price, Vicksburg Junior High School; Jessica Griffin, Warren Central Junior High School; Grangerette Hayes-Ivory, Vicksburg High School; Theresa Bell, Warren Central High School; and Eloise Ford, Vicksburg Warren School District Career and Technical Center. 

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Coronavirus update: What you should know now



The coronavirus has world economists in a panic, especially as the number of cases balloon in China and around the world.

Apple has warned that iPhones could become scarce, and other businesses with critical supply chains in China are ringing alarm bells as well. Cruise operators and airlines are taking a big hit as are credit card companies and health insurers.

Monday, the Dow closed down more than 1,000 points, the biggest drop in more than two years, and today’s market was almost as bad with the Dow down another 879 points. Similar tumbles have occurred in both the Nasdaq and S&P 500.

What’s the current situation on the coronavirus?

Countries were the coronavirus has been confirmed (source: CDC)

Three dozen countries around the world have now confirmed cases of the coronavirus, called COVID-19. In the past 24 hours, three countries were added to the list: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq and Oman.

With just over 80,000 cases, the epicenter of the disease remains in China, where more than 77,000 cases have been reported and 2,666 people have died.

Outside of China, 2,459 cases have been confirmed and 234 deaths.

In the U.S., 53 cases have been confirmed, but no deaths. Another 10 cases have been confirmed in Canada.

The World Health Organization says the risk of the disease spreading globally is high.

How will this affect the U.S.?

U.S. Health officials warned Tuesday that Americans should prepare for “significant disruption” to their lives as a result of the virus, saying it’s not a matter of if, but when it spreads further, as the disease is highly contagious.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is saying Americans should avoid any non-essential travel to China or South Korea. Further, the CDC strongly advocates simple anti-virus hygiene: frequent hand washing, staying home when ill and so forth (see below).

State and local governments and businesses should prepare in the event face-to-face interactions need to be reduced. Those preparations might include having employees work from home and instituting tele-schooling. Health care facilities should be prepared to increase telehealth systems and delay elective surgeries should the need arise, ABC reports

Messages from the Trump administration are mixed. Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Tuesday the threat to the U.S. from coronavirus “remains low.” Meanwhile, the White House is seeking $1.25 billion in emergency funding to combat the virus.

How can I avoid getting sick?

Individual risk is dependent on exposure. The CDC says that for the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.

Nonetheless, there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, and it is highly contagious. The risk of a global pandemic is high.

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The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Avoid travel to China and South Korea and avoid interacting with people who have recently traveled there.

The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that well people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

What are the symptoms of COVID 19?

The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

For confirmed COVID-19 cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. About 14% of sufferers, generally older people and those with already-compromised immune systems, develop pneumonia and become very ill, while about 2% of sufferers will die. Also, some people exposed to the virus may not get ill but could still be infectious.

The rate of death for COVID-19 is currently considerably lower than that of deaths from influenza and pneumonia, which is around 14% in the U.S. and 23% in Mississippi.

Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

For more information, visit the CDC website and the WHO website.

Also, see our previous story on the issue, Coronavirus: What you should know.

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Suspect in Jones County killing charged with capital murder



Michael Shane Askew

Michael Shane Askew, 52, the accused killer of Betty Dickerson has been charged with capital murder and denied bond.

Askew was arraigned today in the Jones County Justice Court.

Investigators found the body of Dickerson, 82, in her Shady Grove home in Jones County Feb. 17. Reportedly, Dickerson’s throat had been cut. She was the mother of Vicksburg resident Tina Daugherty Cole.

Jones County Sheriff Joe Berlin said at a news conference Friday that Askew knew his victim, but that no clear motive for the crime has emerged.

“It saddens me to know that the person involved in this was … a known offender that knew the victim,” Berlin said. “It was not just a person traveling through the area. A lot of people have thought that, you know, it was a homeless person just traveling through the area that committed this crime, and it wasn’t.”

U.S. Marshals captured Askew in a Nashville, Tenn., hotel only a few days after the murder.

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