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Mississippians may need to update their driver’s licenses for air travel

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Mississippians who expect to do any traveling by air may need to get a new driver’s license this year, regardless of whether their license is due to expire.

New federal requirements called REAL ID go into effect on Oct. 1, 2020. The requirements will affect travelers’ ability to board commercial flights, access military bases and enter secure federal facilities.

REAL ID is a secure form of identification that meets federal security standards for state-issued driver licenses, driver license permits and identification cards. A REAL ID in Mississippi is indicated by a gold star in the upper right-hand corner of these IDs.

If you have a state ID issued within the last year, it’s likely to be a REAL ID, as the Mississippi Driver Service Bureau began issuing them in 2018.

“1.2 million drivers still need to become compliant with the gold star” in Mississippi, Becky Pierson, Mississippi Department of Public Safety Driver Services marketing and development director, told WLBT.

If your license doesn’t have the gold star, you can renew or get a duplicate at any Mississippi driver license station or go online. If your license isn’t within six months of its renewal date, you will need to purchase a duplicate, which costs $11.

You will not need a REAL ID to drive, vote or for most other functions, such as applying for social security or veteran’s benefits.

The federal Transportation Safety Administration does not require children under the age of 18 to provide ID when traveling within the United States. Contact the airline for questions regarding specific ID requirements for travelers under 18.

For more information on REAL ID, visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website or the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) website.

 

Crime

Vicksburg PD arrest woman for possession of methamphetamine

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Charlotte Coulter-Hull

Officers with the Vicksburg Police Department arrested a woman on drug charges yesterday.

During a traffic stop near Interstate 20 and Clay Street on Wednesday, Feb. 26, Charlotte Coulter-Hull, 50, of Oak Ridge Road was arrested for possession of methamphetamine.

Hull is scheduled to appear in Vicksburg Municipal Court on Friday, Feb. 28.

Also on Wednesday, officers responded to a shots-fired call in the area of Indiana Avenue and North Frontage Road around 3 p.m. Officers found no evidence of shots fired.

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USACE closed Steele Bayou gates around noon Thursday

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The Steele Bayou Control Structure (photo from USACE)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closed the gates on the Steele Bayou Control Structure just before noon Thursday.

Drew Smith, chief of the Water Management Section with the Corps, confirmed the information earlier today.

The Mississippi River is projected to crest at 48.1 feet on Sunday, March 1.

On Feb. 26, the Yazoo Backwater was at 95.7 feet, which has 460,000 total acres underwater in Mississippi’s South Delta including 176,000 acres of cropland.

The Backwater is predicted to crest at around 96 feet. At 96 feet, 470,000 total acres will be flooded including 183,000 acres of cropland.

While completing the pumps in the Yazoo Backwater will not completely prevent flooding in the South Delta, it can prevent quite a lot of it. Estimates from the Mississippi Levee Board are that about 154,000 acres could have been saved from floodwaters earlier this month.

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Crime

Statutory rape trial of former Warren County pastor begins Monday

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Troy Anthony Piccaluga

The trial of a former pastor of two Warren County churches is set to begin Monday, March 2, in Warren County Circuit Court.

Troy Anthony Piccaluga, 50, is charged with two counts of statutory rape and one count of sexual battery. The two female victims in the case were between the ages of 14 and 16. An initial report filed by one victim’s parents led to the second victim.

Piccaluga was arrested in March 2018, and the alleged incidents took place from January to March of that year. At the time of his arrest, Piccaluga was Pastor of Eagle Lake United Methodist Church and Redwood United Methodist Church.

The trial is expected to take several days.

A separate civil action was filled in Warren County Circuit Court in recent days.

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