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This Day in History – January 3, 2012

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1431 – Joan of Arc is handed over to Bishop Pierre Cauchon. 1496 – Leonardo da Vinci unsuccessfully tests a flying machine. 1777 – General George Washington defeats British General Charles Cornwallis at the Battle of Princeton. 1823 – Stephen F. Austin receives a grant of land in Texas from the government of Mexico. 1831 – First US building & loan association organized, Frankford PA 1861 – American Civil War: Delaware votes not to secede from the United States. 1861 – US Fort Pulaski & Fort Jackson, Savannah, seized by Georgia 1870 – The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge begins; completed May 24, 1883 1872 – First patent list issued by US Patent Office 1876 – First free kindergarten in US opens in Florence MA 1888 – The refracting telescope at the Lick Observatory, measuring 91 cm in diameter, is used for the first time. It was the largest telescope in the world at the time. 1888 – First wax drinking straw patented, by Marvin C Stone in Washington DC 1911 – US postal savings bank inaugurated 1912 – Southern Pacific RR offers to bring Liberty Bell to Exposition, free 1918 – US employment service opens as a unit of Department of Labor 1919 – At the Paris Peace Conference, Emir Faisal of Iraq signs an agreement with Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann on the development of a Jewish homeland in Palestine and an Arab nation in a large part of the Middle East. 1920 – New York Yankees purchase Babe Ruth from Red Sox for $125,000 1922 – First living person identified on a US coin (Thomas E Kirby) on the Alabama Centennial half-dollar 1925 – Benito Mussolini announces dissolution of the Italian parliament and becomes dictator 1926 – Greek General Theodorus Pángulos names himself dictator 1933 – Minnie D. Craig becomes the first female elected as Speaker of the North Dakota House of Representatives, the first female to hold a Speaker position anywhere in the United States. 1938 – The March of Dimes is established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. 1943 – First missing persons telecast (New York City NY) 1944 – World War II: Top Ace Major Greg “Pappy” Boyington is shot down in his Corsair by Captain Masajiro Kawato flying a Zero. 1945 – World War II: Admiral Chester W Nimitz is placed in command of all U.S. Naval forces in preparation for planned assaults against Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Japan. 1952 – “Dragnet” with Jack Webb premieres on NBC TV 1957 – The Hamilton Watch Company (Lancaster, PA) introduces the first electric watch. 1958 – The West Indies Federation is formed. 1958 – Edmund Hillary reaches South Pole over land 1959 – Alaska is admitted as the 49th U.S. State. 1961 – The United States severs diplomatic relations with Cuba. 1962 – Pope John XXIII excommunicates Fidel Castro. 1962 – Ground is broken for the Houston Astrodome 1987 – Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducts First female artist Aretha Franklin 1988 – Margaret Thatcher becomes longest-serving British PM this century 1993 – In Moscow, George H. W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin sign the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). 1994 – More than seven million people from the former Apartheid Homelands, receive South African citizenship. 1997 – Bryant Gumbel co-hosted his final “Today” show on NBC-TV 1999 – Israel detains, and later expels, 14 members of Concerned Christians. 2004 – Flash Airlines Flight 604 crashes into the Red Sea, resulting in 148 deaths, making it the deadliest aviation accident in Egyptian history.]]]]> ]]>

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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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