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Let your voice be heard: Primary elections are today, Tuesday, March 10

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Voters across Mississippi will head to the polls today, Tuesday, March 10, to vote in the 2020 primaries.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If you’re not sure where you should cast your ballot, find your polling place on the Mississippi Secretary of State website. Be sure to follow the directions carefully.

You can also ensure that your registration is on file and accurate here.

For residents of Eagle Lake, your regular polling place at the Eagle Lake Volunteer Fire Department (15115 Highway 465) will be open Tuesday. If you have been displaced by flooding, you can vote with an absentee ballot at the Warren County Courthouse (1009 Cherry St., second floor), through tomorrow, March 7, at noon.

You will be required to show a photo ID to vote. Your ID can be expired if it hasn’t been expired for longer than 10 years, but it must be one of the forms below and show your photo.

Any of the following photo IDs may be used:

  • A driver’s license
  • A photo ID issued by a branch, department or entity of the State of Mississippi
  • A United States passport
  • A government employee ID card
  • A firearms license
  • A student photo ID issued by an accredited Mississippi university, college or community/junior college
  • A United States military ID
  • A tribal photo ID
  • Any other photo ID issued by any branch, department, agency or entity of the United States government or any State government
  • A Mississippi Voter Identification Card

Sample Democratic and Republican ballots are shown below.

Despite the multitude of choices for the office of president on the Democratic ballot, the only two candidates still in the race for the party’s nomination are Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

Business

Vicksburg inks deal with Viking River Cruises valued at $2.5 million

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The Viking Mississippi (image source: Viking USA)

Although Vicksburg hasn’t seen a riverboat docking in months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it hasn’t stopped the city or the companies running riverboat cruises from planning for the future.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. announced Tuesday that the city had signed an agreement with Viking USA, the parent company of Viking River Cruises. The contract includes $2.5 million in improvements that Viking will make to the waterfront. According to its website, Viking will begin Mississippi River cruises beginning in October 2022.

“This is a big win for Vicksburg’s future at no cost to taxpayers,” Flaggs wrote in a social media post Tuesday.

The agreement states that Viking will build a floating dock to accommodate its boats and a 10-foot wide sidewalk leading to parking and a pedestrian crossing over nearby railroad tracks. It could also include utility tie-ins, benches, pavilions, curbing, striping and signage Viking may want to add.

The city included the pedestrian crossing in its waterfront improvement plan announced in September.

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Crime

Former community college employee arrested for embezzlement

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(photo courtesy of Mississippi Office of the State Auditor)

Today State Auditor Shad White announced Special Agents from his office have arrested former Northeast Mississippi Community College employee, Amy Haynie, after she was indicted for embezzlement. Hanie was issued a $68,762.87 demand letter upon her arrest. That demand total includes interest and investigative expenses.

Amy Haynie (photo courtesy of Mississippi Office of the State Auditor)

Haynie is accused of embezzling cash from a college petty cash fund and from students as they paid various college-related fees. Investigators determined over $57,000 was stolen from the college. Haynie was able to hide the alleged scheme from May 2016 to February 2020 because the internal controls in her office allowed her to manipulate records of how cash was collected and deposited.

“The auditor’s office is committed to putting a stop to all fraud, but particularly fraud that involves theft from the students of Mississippi,” said Auditor White. “These are not victimless crimes. We will continue to pursue cases like these to make sure every dollar is spent in accordance with the law.”

Haynie surrendered to Special Agents at the Prentiss County Jail. Her bond was set at $10,000 by the court.

If convicted, Haynie faces up to 20 years in prison and $5,000 in fines. All persons arrested by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The case will be prosecuted by the office of District Attorney John Weddle.

A $10,000 surety bond covers Haynie’s employment at Northeast Mississippi Community College. A surety bond is similar to insurance designed to protect taxpayers from corruption. Haynie will remain liable for the full amount of the demand in addition to criminal proceedings.

Suspected fraud can be reported to the Auditor’s office online any time by clicking the red button at www.osa.ms.gov or via telephone during normal business hours at 1-(800)-321-1275.

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COVID-19

Vicksburg Warren School District reports eight new COVID-19 cases and 47 quarantined

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The Vicksburg Warren School District reports eight new COVID-19 cases in schools for the week of Nov. 9 through Nov. 13.

In addition, 47 individuals were newly quarantined due to possible exposure to the virus in the same time period.

The following schools were affected:

Beechwood Elementary School 

  • 2 quarantined – teachers/staff
  • 3 quarantined – students

River City Early College

  • 2 new positive cases – teachers/staff
  • 1 new positive case – student
  • 6 quarantined – students

Vicksburg High School

  • 1 new positive case – teacher/staff
  • 4 new positive cases – students
  • 5 quarantined – teachers/staff
  • 30 quarantined – students

Vicksburg Junior High School

  • 1 quarantined – teacher/staff
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