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Thirteen WIC food centers closing in Missisippi



Due to the transition to a retail food system via an electronic benefit transfer card, the Mississippi State Department of Health Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is preparing to close 13 food centers. These food centers have low participant usage, or the landlord has chosen not to continue the lease.

Twelve food centers, including those located in Rosedale, Ruleville, Okolona, Ackerman, Hollandale, Leland, Raymond, Dekalb, Raleigh, Eupora, Columbus and Southaven are scheduled to close Sept. 30. One food center located in New Albany is scheduled to close Dec. 31.

Food centers located in Rosedale, Ruleville, Okolona, Ackerman, Hollandale, Leland, Raymond, Dekalb and Raleigh are being closed due to low participant usage. Food centers located in New Albany, Eupora, Columbus, and Southaven are being closed per landlord request, as these leases are scheduled to expire Sept. 30.

“We are continuing to seek alternate locations in Columbus and Southaven,” said Diane Hargrove, director of the MSDH WIC program, in a statement. “We are also surveying WIC participants in New Albany and Eupora to determine unique ways to deliver food benefits and ensure access.”

The last date for WIC participants to pick up foods at the sites closing Sept. 30 is Aug, 28, and the last date for participants to pick up at the food center closing Dec. 31 is Nov. 25. However, participants are still eligible to pick up at any other food center they have access to in the state.

As the WIC program prepares to begin the transition from the use of paper food vouchers at food centers to the use of eWIC cards at retail grocery stores and pharmacies, it’s also working hard to ensure participants still have access to the supplemental foods they qualify for. The eWIC card will be piloted as early as January 2021.

“We know this will be a challenge for some of our participants, and we are doing everything that we can to supply them nutritious foods the best way that we can during this transition,” said Jameshyia Ballard, WIC vendor director.

The goal of the WIC program is to provide nutrition education, breastfeeding support and supplemental food for eligible pregnant, post-partum and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to the age of 5. The MSDH WIC program is working to ensure participants have an available food center within 30 miles of each WIC clinic.


Vicksburg luncheon and roundtable focused on domestic violence



Gina Hendrickson and Emmarie Flaggs hosted a luncheon and roundtable discussion on domestic violence. (photo by Keith Phillips)

Vicksburg community activists Gina Hendrickson and Emmarie Flaggs hosted a domestic violence awareness luncheon and roundtable Tuesday at the Biscuit Company.

Hendrickson and Flaggs were joined by judges, police officers, pastors other influential people in the community who deal with domestic violence on a daily basis.

Flaggs expressed the importance of knowing about domestic violence, and emphasized that everyone can find support locally in Vicksburg.

“If you are still here, you have a purpose,” Flaggs said, addressing those who have been victimized by domestic violence.

The roundtable covered topics related to the issue, including the mental, emotional and physical stress that domestic violence causes in a household.

Hendrickson shared her personal history of domestic violence and urged people in violent relationships to reach out to friends for support. Restraining orders do not always work against abusers, she said.

The luncheon also featured people who help domestic violence victims including representatives from Haven House and Positive Pathways.

Domestic violence crosses all socio-economic boundaries, and affects people from all walks of life. Vicksburg has seen its share of residents killed as a result of domestic violence Warren County Judge Marcie Southerland pointed out.

It also affects children, not only taking a toll on them now, but affecting how they respond in the future. Domestic violence tends to be cyclical in families when children grow up thinking that it’s normal.

“Always think about the children because childhood issues turn into adulthood issues,” Flaggs said.

To view the full round table discussion, visit Emmarie Flaggs Facebook page.

If you are a victim of domestic violence in Vicksburg, call 911 if you need immediate assistance.

If you need shelter and other types of assistance, call Mountain of Faith at 601-501-4508 or Haven House at 601-638-0555.

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Teenager missing near Big Black River



Sterling Powell (photo courtesy HCSO)

Authorities are searching for a Hinds County teenager near Edwards, Mississippi.

Sterling Powell, 17, was last seen Tuesday around 4:30 p.m. near the 6300 Blk. of Anderson Road in Edwards near the Big Black River.

He was wearing black pants, a white shirt, a black jacket and a blue cap.

A search and rescue team is combing the woods for Powell in Edwards near where he was last seen, WLBT reports.

If you have any information on Powell’s whereabouts, call the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office 601-352-1521

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Update: Mississippi River Bridge project on target for early 2021 completion



Paving work continues on the eastbound lane of I-20 over the Mississippi River. (photo courtesy LDOTD)

The $27.5 million rehabilitation of the Interstate 20 Mississippi River Bridge is on target for completion in early 2021, weather permitting, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced Wednesday.

The nearly 50-year-old structure provides one of the few interstate crossings over the river, connecting Madison Parish, Louisiana, to Vicksburg and Warren County.

Since the project began in January 2020, the contractor has completed the rehab work on the bridge deck in both westbound lanes and one eastbound lane. Paving continues in the other eastbound lane.

Repairs are also complete to the transverse beam of the structure, which serves to help transmit the loads crossing the bridge. Additionally, two bearings on one of the piers have been replaced.

The new inspection walkway on the downstream side of the bride is nearly complete, as well as the ladders that provide access to the aerial beacons.

The contractor continues to work on improvements to the electrical power distribution system, lighting and instrumentation. Nearly 100 roadway lighting fixtures are being replaced with a modern LED system.

Roadway fiber optics are also being replaced with new cameras and radar that will be integrated into Mississippi’s IT Network.

Soon, work will begin on the access stairs for the new inspection walkway, in addition to repairs to the major expansion joints of the bridge. The steel structural connections at certain locations on the bridge are being modified to improve resilience against a variety of loads and conditions.

DOTD reminds motorists that lane closures remain in place on the bridge as work continues. Drivers are urged to travel with caution through the construction zone.

In Louisiana, call 511 or visit for additional information. Out-of-state travelers may call I-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).


Paving work continues on the eastbound lane of I-20 over the Mississippi River. (photo source: LDOTD)


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