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This Day in History – December 31, 2011

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1600 – The British East India Company is chartered. 1660 – James II of England is named Duke of Normandy by Louis XIV of France. 1687 – The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope. 1695 – A window tax is imposed in England, causing many householders to brick up windows to avoid the tax. 1744 – James Bradley announces discovery of Earth’s motion of nutation (wobble) 1759 – Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness. 1776 – Rhode Island establishes wage & price controls to curb inflation: Limit is 70¢ a day for carpenters, 42¢ for tailors 1781 – Bank of North America, First US bank opens 1783 – Import of African slaves banned by all of the Northern states 1831 – Gramercy Park is deeded to New York City. 1841 – Alabama becomes First state to license dental surgeons 1857 – Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa, Ontario, then a small logging town, as the capital of Canada. 1862 – American Civil War: Abraham Lincoln signs an act that admits West Virginia to the Union, thus dividing Virginia in two. 1862 – American Civil War: The Battle of Stones River is fought near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 1879 – Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time, in Menlo Park, NJ. 1890 – Ellis Island (New York NY) opens as a US immigration depot 1896 – 25th auto built in US 1897 – Brooklyn’s last day as a city, it incorporates into NYC (1/1/1898) 1907 – The first New Year’s Eve celebration is held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in New York City, New York., First time a ball drops to signal the new year. 1909 – Manhattan Bridge opens. 1923 – The chimes of Big Ben are broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC. 1924 – Edwin Hubble announces existence of distant galactic systems. 1935 – Charles Darrow patents Monopoly 1946 – President Harry Truman officially proclaims the end of hostilities in World War II. 1951 – First battery to convert radioactive energy to electrical announced 1953 – Jockey Willie Shoemaker shatters record, riding 485 winners in a year 1955 – The General Motors Corporation becomes the first U.S. corporation to make over $1 billion USD in a year. 1958 – Willie Shoemaker becomes First jockey to win national riding championship 4 times 1960 – The farthing coin ceases to be legal tender in the United Kingdom. 1961 – First performance of the Beach Boys 1963 – Jerry Garcia & Bob Weir of Grateful Dead fame played music together for the First time 1970 – Congress authorizes the Eisenhower dollar coin 1970 – Paul McCartney files a lawsuit to dissolve the Beatles 1974 – Free agent pitcher Catfish Hunter signs record $3.75 million 5 year New York Yankee contract 1974 – Lindsey Buckingham & Stevie Nicks join Fleetwood Mac 1974 – Popular Electronics displays Altair 8800 computer 1976 – The Cars play their First gig 1978 – Taiwan’s final day of diplomatic relations with the US 1981 – CNN Headline News debutsri ends the Nigerian Second Republic. 1983 – The AT&T Bell System is broken up by the United States Government. 1984 – Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen loses his arm in a car crash 1984 – NYC subway gunman Bernhard Goetz surrenders to police in New Hampshire 1990 – The Sci-Fi Channel on cable TV begins transmitting 1991 – All official Soviet Union institutions have ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union is officially dissolved. 1993 – Barbra Streisand does her first live public concert in 20 years 1997 – Microsoft buys Hotmail E-mail service 1998 – US movie box office hits record $6.24 billion for year (Saving Private Ryan, Armageddon, Something About Mary, A Bug’s Life & The Waterboy are Top 5 moneymakers of the year) 1999 – The United States Government hands control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties. 2004 – The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft)]]]]> ]]>

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Mississippi Development Authority accepting applications for 2020 Aspire Mississippi program

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From the Mississippi Development Authority:

The Mississippi Development Authority’s Asset Development Division is accepting applications for the 2020 Aspire Mississippi program. The program is designed to help communities become better places to live, work and visit through economic, community and workforce development.

“Participants of MDA’s Aspire Mississippi program master the leadership = community development = economic development model, sharpening their leadership skills to effectively develop their communities, which attracts private capital investment creating new jobs in their communities,” MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough Jr. said in a statement. “Past participants of Aspire Mississippi demonstrated their commitment to bettering their communities through a variety of proactive projects that will bolster their economic development efforts for years to come.”

Aspire Mississippi provides support to counties as they identify marketable assets, allowing participants to increase industrial and economic development in their counties. The program helps communities develop projects that achieve significant and sustainable community and economic development outcomes. Curriculum focus areas include data-driven decision making and project mapping, as well as community, economic and workforce development.

The location for each session will alternate among the Aspire Mississippi counties. In addition to support from MDA, participants receive guidance from partners at the state’s universities, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, and state and federal agencies.

Each Aspire Mississippi team is typically formed through the local economic development office and consists of approximately eight to 10 local stakeholders committed to enhancing their knowledge in key community and economic development areas. Teams from the following counties recently graduated from the 2019 Aspire Mississippi program: Covington, Lawrence, Leake, Panola, Sharkey and Walthall.

The 2020 Aspire Mississippi program begins in April and will conclude in late fall with each team’s project presentations and a graduation ceremony.

The deadline to apply for the 2020 program is Monday, Feb. 3. To apply, go to mississippi.org/aspire. For additional information, contact Ellen Bourdeaux with MDA’s Asset Development Division at 601-359-9333 or [email protected].

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Adopt-a-School training seeks to empower partnerships between churches and public schools

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Pastor Tony Evans, the Urban Alternative

Vicksburg will play host to a unique training designed to help churches partner with local schools to transform individuals, families and communities.

The training, a project of Pastor Tony Evan’s Urban Alternatives organization, is part of a nationwide Adopt-a-School Initiative, which provides attendees “the building blocks for starting or enhancing the delivery of social services to urban youth and their families,” the organization’s website states. “Participants will receive an overview of the process for adopting public schools and creating programs, including school-based mentoring, to meet the vast needs of public-school youth and their families.”

The training is hosted by the Warren County Youth Court and Unite Mississippi, the parent organization of numerous faith-based organizations that have “a desire to make communities whole in a grass-roots way,” said Larry Nicks, deputy director of Unite Mississippi.

Recognizing that churches and faith-based organizations are probably the most influential organizations inside many communities in Mississippi, the Adopt-a-School program seeks to develop partnerships between churches and public schools and offer mentoring to children and families.

“Our prison population is growing, and our school literacy problem is getting worse. If we can tap into the school population at the third-grade level, then we can make a difference in the quality of graduates and, of course, our workforce,” Nicks said.

Mentoring at-risk children at an early age, particularly at the third-grade level, is crucial, he said. If children can’t read by third grade “they’ll never catch up and be on level in college and in life.”

The goal is not to only mentor children but to make the family whole through mentoring, job skills and more. Churches with resources will be partnered with churches with few resources.

The problem of literacy must be addressed before it gets to the justice or penal system, said Judge Marcie Southerland with the Warren County Youth Court.

“We have got to reach these children and their families when the children are … in second and third grade, not when they’re 13, 14 and on up to 17 years of age,” she said, adding, “I know this will work.”

“The kids we’re trying to reach are the kids that, for whatever reason, haven’t had proper mentoring and proper upbringing at home,” said Chip Miskelly, chairman of Unite Mississippi. “These are kids who are falling through the cracks.”

“What we’re trying to do more than anything else, is give these kids a fighting chance,” he added.

“It’s a holistic approach to reach not only the kids, but the families as a whole.”

In this one-day training, attendees will learn how to analyze the needs of the community, engage with a local school, recruit and develop volunteers and how to raise the necessary funds to support the endeavor.

The training is Jan. 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the George Oaks Building at the Vicksburg-Warren County Hinds Community College Campus. Lunch will be served, sponsored by Mississippi Tobacco Free Coalition of Claiborne and Warren Counties.

Cost of the training is $75 per person, and everyone is welcome. The training is designed for pastors, church and community leaders, and for people who are stakeholders in public schools including parents and teachers, or those who may be interested in becoming stakeholders.

“This is a top-notch training” with a successful track-record of more than 30 years, said Michelle Johnson, a Unite Mississippi board member and Vicksburg coordinator for the training.

For more information or to register, see the Adopt-A-School website or call Bill Collins with Urban Alternatives at 1-800-800-3222, Pastors’ coordinator Pastor James Bowman at 601-529-2044 or Vicksburg coordinator Michelle Johnson at 601-715-0522.

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Vicksburg Chess Club provides a way to exercise the brain for adults and children

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Vicksburg Chess Club

To many, chess is a complex board game that takes time and a great deal of focus to learn and play. It’s also a fun way to pass the time.

Chess is a great way to exercise the brain, too. Research has shown chess helps adults prevent or delay Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia and some mental illnesses. In children, it sparks an interest in math and science as it helps them improve critical thinking and abstract reasoning skills, and find solutions to complex problems.

Vicksburg schools understand the benefits of chess and have added the board game to their extracurricular activities with the help of the Vicksburg Chess Club.

“Right now the Chess Club is trying to promote chess in lots of areas,” said Dr. Donald Rathburn, a member of the Vicksburg Chess Club. “We have the grade-school programs. We run chess tournaments. We have a men’s championship and a women’s championship every year. We now have the Chess League that’s been going on for four years and that gives us a championship, and there are more possible tournaments.”

Each Tuesday and Thursday the club meets at the Vicksburg Mall, 3505 Pemberton Square Blvd., at 6 p.m. to play chess and improve their skills. Everyone is invited to join in to watch or play in the matches.

At the weekly club meetings, members and guests have an opportunity to learn different tactics and styles of the game.

“There is a variety of chess,” Rathburn said. “It isn’t just two people playing chess. That is, of course, the most common way to play chess, but it could be two people on two boards or it could be two people on one board. There’s even a thing called random chess.”

The Vicksburg Chess Club also holds monthly chess matches. The next meet is on Jan. 11, 2020, at 10 a.m. in the Vicksburg Mall and as always, the event is free and everyone is welcome. 

For more information or to join the Vicksburg Chess Club and enhance your mind simply join them at their weekly meetings.

“Just come out on Thursday nights to the Vicksburg Mall,” Rathburn said. “We’ll train you and show you how to play chess. I emphasize having a good time. If your ego is involved, I don’t think you should play chess. Accept the fact that when you lose, you’re learning.”

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