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Supervisors stop short of enacting county-wide curfew

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Supervisors kept plenty of distance between themselves at Monday's board work session (Photo by Thomas Parker)

Warren County supervisors left plenty of room between themselves when they met Monday morning in their regularly scheduled work session.

As usual, the meeting was held in the board room on the second floor of the Warren County Courthouse, but complying with COVID-19 social distancing protocols meant they were spread around the room instead of all being up front in their regular seats. A proposal was made to move future meetings to one of the courtrooms not in use.

Most of the discussion centered on how the county is adapting to guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus and whether the county would adopt the measures from the City of Vicksburg’s civil emergency proclamation announced yesterday afternoon.

The most contentious issue of the meeting was whether to enact a curfew.

“We need to do ours and let them do theirs,” said District 2 Supervisor William Banks. “We don’t have to follow the city.” This led to an almost hour-long discussion of the legalities surrounding curfews and potential problems. The board decided it would not impose a curfew for now.

Some county employees have chosen to go home due to compromising medical conditions, Interim County Administrator Loretta Brantley reported. One golf course employee resigned following last week’s guidance issued to county employees.

County work crews are being asked to keep their workgroups consistent as much as possible, said District 1 Supervisor Edward Herring. This would allow the entire group to be quarantined if one became ill.

District 3 Supervisor Shawn Jackson is studying various methods for telecommuting or working at home for employees in different agencies. She hopes to have some methods that will work for the county shortly.

Chancery Clerk Donna Ferris Hardy reported that the circuit clerk and tax collector’s offices have begun rotating employees’ workdays. Currently, they are working schedules of two or three days on, then two or three days off. Hardy said there is a discussion of changing to a two week on and off scenario. She added that the Mississippi Supreme Court is issuing opinions on many of these issues due to statutory requirements.

Board President Jeff Holland instructed Board Attorney Blake Teller to get a copy of the recent action by the state Legislature that allows the board to pay employees under administrative leave policies during the crisis.

Emergency Management Director John Elfer said emergency resources have begun to arrive daily. He has named Reid Birdsong as chief of logistics during the crisis to oversee gathering resources from state and federal agencies and manage distribution. Elfer also said he has sent three employees home due to compromised immune systems.

Sheriff Martin Pace asked the board to use some mechanism to close the bars in the county, and the board agreed.

“With the city closing all of their establishments, (residents) will migrate to the county,” he said.

Pace referred in particular to two trouble spots on Greenhill Road off U.S. Highway 80 where his office frequently responds. Another potential problem is people gathering at convenience-store parking lots.

Pace said he would bring up additional issues at a later date, referring to Warren County’s lack of ordinances to enforce loitering and open container rules.

Teller will be crafting a resolution for the board’s review by Tuesday which will allow the county to implement and enforce additional measures to protect the public from the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Another meeting will take place to approve the resolution prior to making it public.

News

Single vehicle crash sends local man to hospital

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Photo by Thomas Parker

A local man was injured after crashing into a pole Sunday morning.

Vicksburg EMS/Fire and Police were dispatched to a single vehicle crash on Mission 66 near its intersection with Military Avenue at around 7:30 Sunday morning.

The vehicle left the roadway striking a utility pole.

The driver was transported by Vicksburg Fire Medic 40 to UMMC for treatment.  His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

The investigation into this accident is ongoing.

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Fire

Fire at Cato Fashions Saturday evening

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(photo by Thomas Parker)

Vicksburg firefighters were called to a fire at Cato Fashions, 2184 Iowa Blvd., Saturday around 6:30 p.m. near the Walmart Supercenter.

Firefighter checks the HVAC vents. (photo by Thomas Parker)

First reports say smoke could be seen coming from the vents, and firefighters are checking the HVAC system for problems. The situation seems well under control.

The store has been evacuated as are staff and customers in nearby stores. There are no reports of injuries.

Numerous Vicksburg fire and police units have responded including Engines 7 and 8, Ladder 15, Rescue, Fire Medic 80 and Battalion 1 (Tim Love).

The Vicksburg Daily News will provide updates as we receive them.

See our live, on-the-scene report on our Facebook page.

 

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Education

Mississippi native elected as Harvard student body president

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(photo courtesy Noah Harris)

A Mississippi high school graduate has been elected as Harvard University’s student body president.

Noah Harris, a 2018 graduate of Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is the first African American to serve in the role at prestigious Harvard University in Massachusetts.

“I’m really grateful that the student body is entrusting me with such a historic and unprecedented moment,” Harris told WDAM. “To make the right moves and to really bring their voices to the forefront. I just never expected that I would be in a position to run for this.”

Harris is a junior and a political science major at Harvard. He served as treasurer on the finance committee in his first two years. His vice president and running mate is neuroscience major Jenny Gan. Both plan on making a difference at the university.

Harris and Gan will be sworn in Dec. 6.

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