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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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Be On The Lookout for a Gray Impala with a Pizza Hut sign on top

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Vicksburg Police stopped a gray Impala with a Pizza Hut sign on top for a traffic violation.

 

The officer returned to his vehicle to write the citation and do an information check on the driver. When the officer began to return to the gray Impala the driver sped away.

The officer gave a brief chase but the car was too far gone. Police are at the Pizza Hut to gather information on the driver. There is no word at this time on why the driver might have fled from police. More on this story as the information comes available.

BOLO – Be On The Lookout for a gray Impala with a Pizza Hut sign on top.

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Shell casings found at Robert Walker Building

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The fight that led to shots fired at The Event Place last night also led to a conundrum; no one could  find the shell casings.

 

That all changed just a few minutes ago when a couple of Valley residents found them.

There were varying reports from eyewitness of the origin of the gunfire. Some thought they came from Washington Street and others said from Walnut Street. It turns out the shots were fired from the corner of South and Walnut street right next to the Robert Walker building.

The red marker shows the location where the shells casings were found. The Event Place is under the blue marker for Michel’s Record Shop.

Recovered were 4 nine millimeter rounds and one 40 cal round.

Here is a video from the scene:

 

 

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Amtrak resumes full Chicago-to-New Orleans service after flooding

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Amtrak’s City of New Orleans is back on its full route between Chicago and Louisiana.

Since May, the train trip ended in Jackson for travelers headed south, another victim of this year’s Mississippi River flooding. The route south of Jackson has been closed because the Louisiana tracks were in danger, reports WJTV.

“They have to open the Bonnet Carré Spillway at a certain point in flooding,” Knox Ross of the Southern Rails Commission told WJTV. “And when they do that it becomes dangerous for passenger trains to get into New Orleans.”

Not only was the closure an inconvenience for passengers forced to find alternatives to the popular train route, it cost Amtrak money.

“If they’re going to ride a bus, they’re just not going to buy a ticket, so all of that is at Amtrak expense,” Ross continued. “So when the Bonnet Carré Spillway opens they can’t run the trains. They have to be serviced here in Jackson or Memphis and Amtrak has to pay for the buses.”

“It’s the convenience, it’s the comfort and the fast time that it takes so it’s … better than the bus,” a passenger said.

The City of New Orleans makes the trip every day from Chicago to New Orleans, making seven stops in Mississippi, and then returns. It’s roughly 19 hours one way for the full trip.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to Amtrak.com.

 

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