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Mississippi’s leaders come together in a show of unity

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Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, left, and House Speaker Philip Gunn, right, led the effort to strip Gov. Tate Reeves. center, of his power to solely allocate $1.25 billion in federal COVID-19 aid. (Photo composite from various sources)

Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann joined Gov. Tate Reeves in his daily COVID-19 update on Facebook Thursday in a show of unity.

The three Mississippi leaders have been engaged in a sometimes rancorous public disagreement over who should have spending authority over the $1.25 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds. The governor has maintained that he holds the authority under Mississippi law to disburse funds during emergencies. Gunn and Hosemann say that any allocation of funds belongs to the Legislature.

Last week, Mississippi lawmakers passed a bill to strip Reeves of his authority on the amount in question in a hastily called emergency session. Hosemann, although a member of the executive branch, stood against the governor and with the Legislature on the issue.

In Thursday’s Facebook update, the three shared the stage. Reeves profusely thanked Gunn and Hosemann for joining him, and said they met Wednesday night at the governor’s home at his invitation.

“It is critically important that we, as a state, come together in these challenging times,” Reeves said, adding that the one thing they all agree on is doing what’s best for the people of Mississippi.

The governor said they agreed to “hit the pause button” and work together to come up with a solution. Gunn and Hosemann agreed to hold the bill without a veto for a few days to work together on how the money will be spent.

“While we may be holding that bill, we’re not holding our work,” Hosemann said, and he mentioned a hearing with the Department of Employment Security to find out why the agency is still having serious issues to deliver much-needed unemployment benefits to all who need them.

Gunn seemed ready to move on from the squabble.

“The conclusion we have reached is that the Legislature will appropriate the dollars in conjunction with the governor administrating those dollars,” Gunn said. “The main concern for us right now is to set up relief for our small businesses. In our conversation yesterday, I think all three of us agreed that was our number one priority.”

Gunn said the legislature is working on a plan to provide relief to small businesses, many of which have had no revenue for weeks. He hopes to make the details—and the funds—available next week.

“We agree that for us to work together is a priority,” Gunn said.

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Search on the Mississippi enters third day; volunteers asked to coordinate with law enforcement

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Search efforts are being coordinated over a wide area. (photo by Thomas Parker)

Search efforts have entered a third day for two young men missing on the Mississippi River near LeTourneau Landing.

The young men, Gunner Palmer, 16, from Copiah County, and Zeb Hughes, 21, of Wesson, Mississippi, went out on a boat Thursday with their dog to find a good spot for duck hunting near Davis Island. They have not been heard from since Thursday.

Multiple police and fire agencies in the region have responded to a request for assistance for overland search and rescue, and the effort is being coordinated over a large search area.

Private individuals who are volunteering to search must also coordinate with law enforcement to ensure public safety and to preserve any evidence. Volunteers wishing to assist should coordinate through the incident command located south of LeTourneau Landing or contact Warren County Fire Coordinator Jerry Briggs at 601-218-9911.

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Vicksburg police officer shot while off duty

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VPD Patch

In the early morning hours of Saturday, Dec. 5, the Vicksburg Police Department was notified that one of their own, Investigator Eddie Colbert, was shot and seriously wounded in Jackson. He is listed in critical condition in a Jackson hospital.

We ask that all members of the public join us in our prayers for Investigator Colbert and his family in this most difficult time.

Updates on his condition will be provided.

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Massive search continues for two young men on the Mississippi

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(photo by Thomas Parker)

Nearly 24 hours after two young men disappeared on the Mississippi River near the Warren-Claiborne county line, rescuers, many of them community members and volunteers, are still on the job searching for them.

The young men, Gunner Palmer, 16, from Copiah County, and Zeb Hughes, 21, of Wesson, Mississippi, went out on a boat Thursday with their dog to find a good spot for duck hunting near Davis Island. Hughes’ mom spoke with her son at 2:48 p.m. Thursday, which may be the last time anyone has spoken to them since.

When they hadn’t returned by Thursday after dark, and family and friends couldn’t reach them by phone, they raised the alarm.

The search began in Warren County around 9 p.m. Thursday with county deputies and personnel from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. The rainy weather and fog hampered the search, which was called off after midnight.

“We had boats out last night until after 2 o’clock this (Friday) morning when the fog and the rain just made it too dangerous to be on the water,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said.

First light Friday morning, the search resumed, with more personnel and volunteers joining as the day brightened. They included volunteers with the Cajun Navy, MDWFP personnel, Warren County and Madison Parish deputies, and 28 men and women from the Central Mississippi Overland Search and Rescue Team, which consists of police and firefighters from around the state. A private aircraft and another plane from Madison Parish have also been searching, along with numerous people from the community on land and in the river.

Around 9 a.m., the hunters’ boat was found capsized in the water near Middle Ground Island, roughly adjacent to the Claiborne-Warren county line.

A few items from what would have been on the boat were located later; including one of the three life vests that were onboard.

People tend to underestimate the power of the Mississippi River and there’s nothing to say the two young men had experience traversing it.

“The Mississippi River is dangerous on its best day, and deadly on its worst, and yesterday was just not the best day to be on the water,” Pace said.

The overland search has been called off for Friday. Rescuers will rendezvous Saturday at 7 a.m. to continue, if necessary.

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Vicksburg
45°
Sunny
6:50am4:58pm CST
Feels like: 45°F
Wind: 1mph WNW
Humidity: 94%
Pressure: 30.26"Hg
UV index: 2
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59/36°F
55/32°F
61/39°F

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