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Port Gibson High School modifies commencement plans for graduates and families



From Claiborne County School District Superintendent Dr. Annie Kilcrease:

While the situation surrounding COVID-19 or Coronavirus is still very prevalent, the administrative team of the Claiborne County School District has worked diligently 10 develop an alternate plan to properly celebrate the commencement of graduating seniors, while continuing to be compliant with social distancing guidelines. Commencement exercise for the Port Gibson High School Class of 2020 is scheduled for Friday, May 22, 2020, at 6 p.m. and will be held at the Port Gibson High School Football Stadium. Our goal is to give the graduates the best opportunity to celebrate their achievement in light of the current situation and restrictions.

This process has been methodically planned with the following guidelines: Each graduate will ride in a vehicle which will line up on the high school campus. At the designated time, the convoy of vehicles will be led to the football stadium parking lot in a parade-like fashion, escorted by the sheriff department, city police department and other local law enforcement officers. The courtesy police escorts will control the traffic, ensuring the safe and organized arrival of our students, while also ensuring that the processional is not interrupted with vehicles that are not graduation participants. Upon the arrival and parking of all vehicles in their assigned parking spaces, graduates are to remain in their vehicles until directed to exit. The graduation ceremony, as it is being conducted, will be projected on two large video monitors, whereas family members will be able to view the ceremony from their vehicles. The administration, valedictorian and salutatorian will deliver their addresses to the graduating class.

When the time comes for the graduates to receive their diplomas, only ten (10) students (maintaining six feet apart for social distancing) at a time will be allowed in the processional to walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, and to be professionally photographed. After being photographed, the graduates will then proceed back to their vehicles and the next set of 10 graduates will be permitted to exit their vehicles to proceed to receive their diplomas.

To ensure that we adhere to the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, we are mandating that everyone, other than the graduates, upon directions, remain in the parked vehicles. We ask that parents cooperate with this process to make it a memorable occasion for our seniors.

Further, due to our efforts to remain compliant with CDC guidance, we are in the process of developing a method for organizations, colleges, universities. clubs, groups, businesses and individuals to award seniors of their choice scholarships and other gifts. More details regarding this opportunity will be provided at a later date.

Continue to watch the District’s web page and Facebook for updates as we continue to roll out alternate plans in lieu of the traditional Class Night. Our goal is to provide the best opportunities for our 2020 graduates as we attempt to simulate the usually traditional final week of the seniors· high school career during these untraditional and tumultuous times. Stay Connected!


High speed chase ends in fiery crash



(photo by David Day)

A high-speed chase Saturday evening that began near the Waffle House in Vicksburg has ended in a crash in Claiborne County and a vehicle in flames.

First reports indicate the incident began around 5:10 p.m. as an argument at the Waffle House at 4100 Pemberton Square Blvd. A man and woman left the scene and stopped at a Shell gas station on U.S. Highway 61 South where the man pulled the woman, who is pregnant, out of the vehicle by her hair.

The man, Bojara O’Quinn of Claiborne County, then fled, leading Vicksburg police officer Michael Battle on a high-speed chase south on 61 South. The chase exceeded 110 mph at times.

The chase ended just inside the Claiborne County line on Shiloh Road in a crash where the vehicle, reportedly a rental with Illinois plates, burst into flames. The crash occurred right at 5:30 p.m.

O’Quinn is in custody and received minor injuries in the crash. The woman involved received very minor injuries and is apparently safe.

Deputies with the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department, and troopers with the Mississippi Highway Patrol assisted in O’Quinn’s capture.

Bojara O’Quinn (photo by David Day)

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Woman in custody for Friday’s shooting over a parking space



UPDATE: Akeyah Daniels, 26, of Vicksburg, appeared before Judge Penny Lawson on Saturday in Vicksburg Municipal Court. Lawson set her bond at $50,000 and bound her over to the Warren County grand jury.

Original story:

The woman is in custody in connection with a shooting that occurred Friday, allegedly over a parking space.

The shooting took place around 3:30 p.m. Friday at an apartment building at 2230 Grove St. in Vicksburg.

Akeyah Daniels, 26, turned herself in to Vicksburg police officers at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28. She was arrested at the police station.

Three men were also briefly detained and released in connection with the shooting, according to the Vicksburg police.

Daniels faces one count of drive-by shooting is being held without bond until her initial appearance, which is taking place Saturday.

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Vicksburg entrepreneurs got the basics of business ownership at boot camp



Kendra Reed and Willie Johnson were among the dozen entrepreneurs attending the Vicksburg Entrepreneur Boot Camp. (photos submitted)

Last week participants graduated from the first Vicksburg Entrepreneur Boot Camp where 12 individuals received information to start or expand their own businesses.

Myra Harris, who recently started a company making masks, joined the boot camp shortly after her grandchildren informed her of the opportunity.

“They provided all the resources you would need to start your business, and they also made themselves available after class just in case you had any questions,” Harris said.

Vicksburg Entrepreneur Boot Camp participants. Top L to R: Marcus Dufour (Vicksburg Warren Partnership), Tim Sanford, Cathy Sanford, Olivia Foshee, Amy Warren, Patricia Anderson, Willie Johnson, Myra Harris, Ginger Donahue (Regions Bank) and Pablo Diaz (Vicksburg Warren Partnership). Bottom L to R: Gwen Green, Kendra Reed, Rob Burnham (Instructor), De’Jonae Curtis and Anthony Curtis. Not pictured William Wooten. (photo courtesy Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce)

Retired businessman Rob Burnham facilitated the class and helped the participants plan out their businesses, assisting with marketing, accounting and distribution. Marcus Dufour and Pablo Diaz from the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce hosted the class, bringing in successful entrepreneurs as speakers including Kevin Roberts who owns Fit Chef Catering in Vicksburg.

“Every speaker gave us the opportunity to ask questions, and it definitely gave me the information I need to open a business, and I would recommend the class 100%,” said participant Willie Johnson.

Johnson was born and raised in Vicksburg. He’s now retired from the military and looking to launch a consulting business, which is what led him to attending the boot camp.

By having capable individuals at the boot camp such as James Harper from the Small Business Development Center at Hinds Community College, the participants were able to learn about available grants and other resources for entrepreneurs.

Starting a business can be stressful for first time entrepreneurs, but the boot camp provided planning advice to the participants, breaking down the information that participants need to launch their businesses.

“In the business process of starting and running a business, owners get very busy running the day-to-day aspects,” said boot camp participant Kendra Reed. “Entrepreneurship Bootcamp gave me the chance to step back and plan through the whole process to prepare my new company to be successful.”

Reed is the owner of Delta Dirt Shirt, and she was proud to be a graduating member of the camp.

Now that the camp has ended, the participants are in competition for a $1,000 seed grant for the best business plan presentation. A winner will be announced Dec. 8.

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