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State budget cuts hit Vicksburg Drivers License branch – Video

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Last year the state of Mississippi Legislature made the decision to cut funding for state drivers license offices all over the state. Now that several of them are actually closed, many affected people are traveling to Vicksburg for their services. The result is extremely long lines and a very angry electorate.

The budget cuts were due to revenue shortfalls after the state cut $150 million a year in revenue from the budget and gave that money to corporations in the form of corporate tax breaks. That money has yet to come back to state revenue coffers as jobs or increased tax revenue. As a result, the state has cut services in everything from child protective services to cutting grass on the highways and now the state drivers license branches.

People are livid. Said one at 1:30 in the afternoon, “I’ve been here since 9 a.m. and was the next in line before they went to lunch. Now I have to wait again.”

The crowd was understanding and cordial to Rhonda Hall Howard as she returned from her lunch break. They understood she was doing all she can. “Our Vicksburg people can’t even get in most days,” Howard said.

Here is a video of the scene and a conversation with one of the people who had been waiting:

The budget cuts were very popular with corporations and were overseen by Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Speaker of the Mississippi House Phillip Gunn, both Republicans.

Vicksburg Daily News staff has seen numerous complaints from all over the state in recent weeks on social media.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves at the Champion Hill dedication July 2.

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Crime

BREAKING: Another shooting at Azalea Trace Apartments in Warren County

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Update 8:50:

The stabbing is not related to the shooting. It apparently occurred in the city of Vicksburg.

Original story:

Another shooting occurred Tuesday around 8 p.m. at the Azalea Trace Apartments on Fisher Ferry Road in Warren County.

The information we have is that a 17-year-old male has been shot once in the ribs and has been transported to Merit Health River Region. Another male has been hospitalized with multiple lacerations in what appears to be the same incident. Apparently, the second man was not transported to the hospital by ambulance.

The incident happened in the same building as the shooting Saturday. It’s not known if the two incidents are connected.

This is a breaking story. The Vicksburg Daily News will provide more details as we get them.

Check our Facebook page for live updates.

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Business

Vicksburg Gap to close its doors after Christmas

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Michael Woodrick captured this image of the Gap at the Outlet Mall

Vicksburg photographer Michael Woodrick captured the image of signs in the window of the Gap at the Outlet Mall that say “Store Closing.”

The nationwide chain has been experiencing the same troubles as most brick and mortar stores nationwide: Everyone is buying online and retail stores are closing in record numbers.

In March, the chain announced it would be closing 230 of its under-performing stores within two years and increasing its internet presence. Worldwide at the end of 2018, Gap Inc. had more than 3,000 stores which included brands such as Banana Republic and Old Navy.

Michael Woodrick’s photo of the “Store Closing” sign at the Gap.

The Vicksburg location should close after Christmas according to media reports.

The Outlets at Vicksburg have been in receivership with an uncertain future.

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Food & Drink

When stocking your bar, is it worth it to go across the river?

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Toney's 61 North Liquor & Wine(photo from their social media)

A post on Facebook yesterday brought up an interesting question. Is it cheaper to go across the river to buy your liquor?

The Vicksburg Daily News investigated this question by going across the river and getting the price on seven big sellers in the world of liquor at Delta Discount Wine and Spirits.

We then went to three Warren County liquor stores—Toney’s on U.S. Highway 61 North, The Liquor Store on the South Frontage road and Far East Liquors on Halls Ferry Road—to check the prices. At each store, we checked the price on the seven items, surveyed the wine selection, and, finally, we spoke with the staff (all of whom had already asked if they could help us at every single location) about wine.

Melissa Mullen stocks up at The Liquor Store on South Frontage Road.

We should clarify there are some differences in state law from across the river and here. In Mississippi, Alcoholic Beverage Control dictates what liquors and wines they allow in the state. If you want a rare wine in Mississippi that is not in stock, you are at the whim of the ABC on whether you can get it. In Louisiana, retailers buy from the wholesalers with no state middle man.

Every one of the stores we visited had very friendly staff who were eager to show us their wares and show off their selection. Every one of the stores also said they would order whatever wine or liquor we wanted if they could get it.

The well stocked aisles of Far East Liquors on Halls Ferry Road.

For the purposes of comparison, all prices listed include sales tax, as the tax across the river is 9 percent, and in Warren County it is 7 percent.


In the 750 ml, “Fifth” size (prices include tax):

Crown Royal in Delta is $26.51. In WC the best price was at The Liquor Store, $24.98. Far East was $25.95 and Toney’s $26.74.

Hennessy in Delta is $38.14. In WC the best price was at Far East, $34.95. Toney’s was $35.30 and The Liquor Store was $36.37.

Taaka Vodka in Delta is $8.16. In WC the best price was The Liquor Store at $6. Far East was $6.95 and Toney’s was $7.39.

Tito’s Vodka in Delta is $19.61. In WC the best price was Far East at $18.95. The Liquor Store was $19.25 and Toney’s, $19.77.

Burnett’s Vodka in Delta is $7.07. In WC the best price was at The Liquor Store, $7.26. Toney’s was $7.48 and Far East, $8.95.

Seagrams Gin in Delta is $11.98. In WC the best price was at Toney’s, $9.73. Far East was $9.75 and The Liquor Store, $10.

Jack Daniels in Delta is $21.79. In WC the best price was at The Liquor Store, $20.00. Toney’s was $21.34 and Far East, $21.50


In the 375 ml, “Pint” size (prices include tax):

Crown Royal in Delta was $16.34. In WC the best price was at The Liquor Store, $11.99. Far East was $12.50 and Toney’s $13.90.

Hennessy in Delta was $22.24. In WC the best price was at The Liquor Store, $16.25. Toney’s was $18.18 and Far East $18.50.

Taaka Vodka in Delta was $5.44. In WC the best prices was at Far East, $3.95. The Liquor Store was $4 and Toney’s $4.27.

Tito’s Vodka in Delta was $11.98. In WC the best price was at The Liquor Store, $9.62. Far East was $9.95 and Toney’s $10.69.

Burnetts Vodka in Delta was $4.35. In WC the best price was at Far East, $3.95. The Liquor Store was $4 and Toney’s $4.27.

Seagrams Gin in Delta was $6.53. Both Far East and the Liquor Store was $5.50 while Toney’s was $6.41.

Jack Daniels in Delta was $16.08. In WC the best price was at The Liquor Store, $10.69. Far East was $11.75 and Toney’s $13.90.

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Allen Kitchens Sr. of The Delta Wine and Spirits gave The Vicksburg Daily News a grand tour including  four fully stocked trailers out back.

The wine selection was huge in Delta but so was the selection at The Liquor Store on Frontage. We couldn’t tell from a visual comparison which store stocked the largest inventory. Far East and Toney’s both had a large wine selection as well, but their buildings are not as large as the other two.

So, in conclusion, Delta is worth the trip if you want a frozen daiquiri or a special wine not available in Mississippi.

For liquor, Warren County prices are just as good, if not better, on the seven items we compared.

 

 

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