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Interior Secretary commits to making repairs at Vicksburg National Military Park – video

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Cemetery Road collapse in the Vicksburg National Military Park.

During a U.S. Senate committee meeting on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith requested and received a personal commitment from Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt to undertake repairs to the storm-damaged Vicksburg National Military Park.

“I visited the park personally on Feb. 21 and was astonished by the magnitude of damage, and the way those graves have just slidden into piles of mud,” Hyde-Smith said.

“Will you commit to me that you will explore all available resources within your Department to address the damages at the Vicksburg National Military Park and Vicksburg National Cemetery as soon as possible?” she asked Bernhardt.

“Resources are focused on it,” he responded. “It’s obviously a very dynamic situation right now, but we are 100 percent there, and we will be there, and I will personally work on it.  We have a big interest in making this right, too.”

Hyde-Smith and Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. focused attention on getting federal aid for the park for a few weeks, with Flaggs sending a letter directly to President Donald Trump. The park closed roughly 30% of its total roads in the northern section of the park on Feb. 12 due to erosion.

The National Park Service sent a team to the park on March 1 to begin the process of assessment and repairs.

Wednesday’s Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee hearing was the first of many to review budget requests for the 2021 fiscal year. Repairs to the Vicksburg National Military Park are expected to run to several million dollars.

COVID-19

Reeves puts seven more counties under mask mandates

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Gov. Tate Reeves providing a COVID-19 update from home Nov. 12 (image from video screen capture)

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced Monday that seven additional counties have qualified to be under more restrictive conditions due to rising COVID-19 cases.

The conditions, listed under his “Safe Recovery” executive order in effect through Dec. 11, include wearing masks in almost all public places.

Counties added to the list Monday are Hinds, Madison, Pontotoc, Tate, Winston, Itawamba and Montgomery. Added to the 15 counties already under more restrictive conditions, Mississippi now has 22 of its 82 counties included in the executive order.

“Let’s keep fighting COVID. Let’s protect ourselves and protect our neighbors,” Reeves said in a statement. “Let’s also keep praying. I believe if we work together, we can make a difference. We can slow the spread and bridge the gap between now and when this vaccine becomes readily available and protect the integrity of our health care system.”

The seven-day average of new cases in Mississippi is currently over 1,000. The state is part of a nationwide surge that is averaging more than 150,000 new cases daily from coast to coast.

Two vaccines have recently shown great promise in early testing. Neither is expected to be available to the general public until the spring of 2021.

The governor and his family are self-isolating after his youngest daughter tested positive for the virus.

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COVID-19

Three Vicksburg police officers test positive for COVID-19

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(Image by Felipe Esquivel Reed, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87846813)

Three officers of the Vicksburg Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division have tested positive for COVID-19.

Monday, the department announced the results of tests completed earlier in the day.

The officers, who will not be named, will be quarantined for up to 14 days.

The department reminds the public to wear masks when conducting business at the police station.

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VIDEO – Capt. Randy Rippy honored at his retirement from the Vicksburg Fire Department

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Left to right: Pat “PatMan” Scallions, Doris Rippy, Capt. Rippy, Brittany Eaves, Cooper Eaves, Daniel Eaves and Colton Eaves (photo by Thomas Parker)

The Vicksburg Fire Department honored retiring Capt. Randy Rippy Monday.

Family and current and former co-workers gathered at Station 3 to honor Rippy, whose retirement becomes official at the end of his shift Tuesday morning.

Rippy has been a member of the department for 29 years. Chief Craig Danczyk spoke about working with Rippy as a young firefighter and how Rippy set the standard for public service with his work ethic.

Although Rippy is retiring from the Vicksburg department, he will continue to work with the fire department at Continental Tire where he has been working part time since March.

He becomes the third Vicksburg firefighter to retire and accept a position with Continental.

Left to right: Chief Craig Danczyk, Captian Rippy, Deputy Chief Trey Martin, Deputy Chief Derrick Stamps and Battalion Chief Carl Carson (photo by Thomas Parker)

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Vicksburg
39°
Sunny
6:35am5:01pm CST
Feels like: 39°F
Wind: 1mph SSE
Humidity: 89%
Pressure: 30.43"Hg
UV index: 0
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70/45°F
73/48°F
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