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MDOT suspending work for Labor Day travel

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(Photo by Ken Lund from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - Interstate 20 Westbound, Near Raymond, Mississippi, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36874270)

Mississippians planning to hit the road to spend time with family and friends this Labor Day will notice fewer travel delays due to construction. The Mississippi Department of Transportation will suspend all interstate and four-lane highway work in anticipation of increased holiday travel.

MDOT crews and contractors will halt all road construction requiring lane closures from Friday, Sept. 4, at 5 p.m. until Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 6 a.m. This will provide maximum travel capacity and minimal construction delays to motorists traveling throughout the state during the holiday.

“Even though no highway construction work will be occurring across the state, motorists should be aware that some lane closures will remain in place,” MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath said in a statement. “These lanes closures are there to protect motorists, and drivers should treat these areas as active work zones.”

Motorists are urged to continue to pay attention to work zones, which can present unfamiliar driving patterns. Motorists should slow down when approaching and traveling through work zones, and always avoid distracted driving.

“MDOT wants to make travel safe and convenient for the public during this holiday,” McGrath said. “While MDOT construction crews won’t be working, staff will be putting additional effort into monitoring the state’s highways to make sure everyone is able to enjoy this Labor Day safely.”

Highway traffic may increase on Labor Day weekend as travelers fit in a final trip for the summer. MDOT offers these tips to help motorists stay safe this Labor Day weekend:

  • Buckle up and make sure your passengers do so as well.
  • Make sure all children are in safety seats appropriate for their size.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Always plan a designated driver when needed.
  • Allow enough time for travel to avoid excessive speed and observe speed limits.
  • Eliminate distracted driving activities such as eating or cellphone usage.
  • Let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive.

“Stay safe and make memories while celebrating this weekend,” McGrath said. “Take advantage of the state’s useful travel resources to make your trip safer and more enjoyable.”

If you’re traveling this holiday weekend, know before you go. Download the MDOT Traffic app to access real-time traffic information. For additional travel tips or other travel related information, visit MDOTtraffic.com.

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Martin and Mosher inducted as ERDC Distinguished Civilian Employees

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Dr. William "Bill" Martin and Dr. Reed Mosher (photos courtesy ERDC)

The U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center will induct two former employees to the Waterways Experiment Station Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. in the ERDC Headquarters Auditorium.

Dr. Bill Martin and Dr. Reed Mosher will join the ranks of more than 100 former employees whose significant career achievements left a lasting impression on both ERDC and the nation.

Martin and Mosher both served as directors of laboratories at the ERDC. Both pioneered technologies that proved to be life saving for American Soldiers and both left behind a remarkable legacy when they retired from federal service.

Each year, the ERDC inducts new members to the gallery, the highest honor bestowed to those who have worked at WES in Vicksburg.

Martin, a U.S. Army veteran, ended his 41-year ERDC career in 2013 as director of the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory. In that role, he led a $90 million research program that provided cutting-edge technology solutions to more than 500 projects around the world. Martin was also instrumental in updating the lab’s world-class facilities, including the development of a state-of-the-art Ship Simulator Complex, which allows engineers and pilots to simulate ports, harbors and maritime environments all over the world.

Martin is also remembered for being a leader in addressing complex groundwater issues on military installations, as well as for leading a team that performed emergency modeling of the Sava River in Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of the 1st Armor Division’s peacekeeping role after the Balkan War. His team provided daily river condition forecasts and answered engineering questions for more than 450 consecutive days, which led to the creation of the WES Tele-Engineering Program. Today that program is known as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Reachback Operations Center, which is located in Vicksburg and connects deployed troops in the field to subject-matter experts back home who can help solve engineering challenges for them.

Mosher, who spent 40 years as a federal employee, retired as director of the Information Technology Laboratory  in 2018. Under his leadership, the lab’s staff grew by 108%, becoming the second largest ERDC laboratory. He also oversaw the construction of a 66,000 square-foot expansion to the laboratory, and his vision for a new secure computing facility is under construction and scheduled for completion later this year.

Before his ITL role, Mosher served as the lead technical director for military engineering in the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory, where he was also directly involved with assessments after some of the world’s most notorious attacks and bombings — Oklahoma City in 1995, the U.S. Embassies in Africa in 1998 and the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon. He was instrumental in developing new technologies designed to protect soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan from rockets, mortars and other explosives.

Even after their retirements, both inductees are still involved with the ERDC today. Martin is a member and served as the 2019 president of the ERDC Alumni Association, while Mosher is the director of the Mississippi State University Institute for Systems Engineering Research, a partnership initiative with the ERDC.

 

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Crime

Vicksburg police make a drug bust after brief pursuit

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James Morris (photo courtesy VPD)

Vicksburg police officers arrested a man Tuesday on drug charges after a brief pursuit.

James Morris, 30, of Vicksburg was arrested shortly after 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, on U.S. Highway 80 just outside the city limits. The officers found that Morris was in possession of crack cocaine.

Charged with one count of possession of cocaine, Morris appeared Tuesday before Judge Angela Carpenter in the Vicksburg Municipal Court for his arraignment. Carpenter bound him over to the Warren County grand jury on a $30,000 bond.

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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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