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This Starbucks thing again



Once again the question of a Starbucks coming to Vicksburg has become a thing on social media.

The plans for a Starbucks have been submitted and are sitting on the shelves or desk at the city planning office. The Vicksburg Daily News published them a long, long time ago in internet days.

We took this picture way back in the dark ages of April, 2019.

The opposition to Starbucks in Vicksburg seems to be multifaceted. There are a lot of people who don’t like Starbucks for personal reasons. Reasons all the way from a dislike of Starbucks due to rumors of the CEO saying bad things about our military to rumors of the way police have been treated in their stores. The fact checkers say most of it is bull but that don’t seem to matter a whole lot to the internet.

It seems the big issue for most of Vicksburg is the chosen location. Right next to Chik-fil-a and, more offensively, right next to Cafe Paradiso.

Cafe Paradiso is Vicksburg’s favorite coffee shop according to a recent vote. It sits nestled in the corner of a strip mall that includes the wildly popular FitChef, Gumbo Pot and Atami eateries. The plans for a Starbucks places it right in front of Cafe Paradiso. Add in the rumors that the city was planning to spend a bunch of money for an access road to the fire department right in front of the proposed Starbucks and suddenly all the red flags are in the air.

This random picture of coffee makes you feel good.

For one, we support one another in the South, sometimes. But we really support one another in the South when some big name, out of state, and suspected commie folks come poking around. We’ve been writing songs about that stuff since Jeff Davis was plucking weevils off his mom’s freshly pulled turnip greens. Don’t come round here trying to tell us how to make our coffee. Weevils may or may not be up on some turnip greens, but you get the picture. Merica.

There are other locations. For example, there is a strip mall that could use a big name infusion. There is also a big mall that could use a big name infusion. There are a lot of locations around town at interstate exits that could use a big name infusion. But putting Starbucks  in front of Cafe Paradiso is a really, really bad idea that will cause that Starbucks to be forever scorned by the community.

People are going to go to anything new in Vicksburg. It is how we do things. The opposition to Starbucks can be overcome on all the other issues except the chosen location.

Give us a Starbucks.

Locate it where it won’t directly harm a locally owned coffee shop.


New Year’s resolutions will have you looking forward to reaching a goal



The coming of the New Year means room for new opportunities, new ideas and maybe, a new you.

New Year’s resolutions trace to ancient Roman mythology and the god Janus, where we get January. Janus had two faces. One of the faces looked to the future and the other face looked to the past. Romans believed that Janus could forgive them for their past actions while blessing them for the future. 

Over 66 million people make New Year’s resolutions in the United States, and those personal promises can lead to big improvements. Whether the resolution is to save money, get better grades or work out more often, looking forward to a goal can make each day purposeful. Making a promise to reach the goal makes it more likely that you will get there.

Here are a few tips to making resolutions and sticking to them:

  • Be realistic. Make the goal specific  and achievable. Big goals are great, but don’t set yourself up for failure.
  • Start with one goal, not several.
  • Make a plan. What steps do you need to take to achieve your goal?
  • Tell someone about your goal. Don’t keep it a secret. People will want to support you.
  • Track your progress. Keeping a daily journal is one way to keep the journey real.
  • Celebrate milestones along the way.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. Change is hard, and slip ups are human. Instead of seeing them as failure, try to see them as learning opportunities.
  • Keep trying. Take it a step at a time, recommitting to the goal every day.

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What’s it like to publish a newspaper?



For the most part, publishing a newspaper in Vicksburg is awesome. Most everyone loves what we do, but, sadly, some people do not love us after we report bad news about them or their family.

Most everyone is appreciative of the newspaper and the effort put into making it happen. Everywhere we go we’re greeted with smiles and usually a compliment of some sort about the reporting. It’s a nice feeling.

Then there are those with hate in their hearts who look for any reason to find fault. We try hard to love them and pick out the constructive parts of their rants while understanding that most times, they haven’t read the story they’re complaining about. They’ve heard someone else’s version of the story or just read a headline and looked at a picture.

We’ve had a couple of those situations this year. One was about chronic wasting disease in deer and the need to have harvested meat tested, especially because of the flood. While the actual number of infected deer found was small, it was enough to cause concern. Sadly, almost no one read that. They saw the picture we put up of an emaciated deer from the flood, went off on that photo and others piled on. None of them, apparently, read the story.

Another was a recent video we published about a young man who faked a suicide attempt. We posted the story to tell the folks blowing up social media (and our phones) that it was a hoax done for a music video, supposedly. Someone looking for an excuse went after us, and others piled on. It was obvious none of them watched the video, but they got their moment of righteous indignation to show their friends. Ironically, they also drove it to be the most watched video on our Facebook page in several months.

We get it, people are busy. Sometimes they just don’t have the few minutes it would take to read a story or watch a video. It’s easier to react to a headline. We always find it interesting that the folks who complain the most stop interacting the moment we put the ball in their court. What would you have done differently? Let us interview you about your take on the situation. How can we contact you to discuss your objections? Complainers don’t respond to those questions and requests. Ever.

In a town this size where everyone knows everyone, it seems nice people would just send a message or drop by and say, “Hey, I’ve got something to discuss with you.” People of good will do things like that.

But, basic psychology informs us that hateful folks only see hate and bad intent in everyone else. If you are a person of good will, you see the good in others.

Despite those who look for an excuse to cause drama at our expense, we really enjoy what we do.

Every day someone is making news, so every day we report that news. Often, the news is something fun and interesting. We take great pleasure in reporting our stories about local folks who do a service for the community. One of the things we try to do is report on the good people who do good things, and reporters Gabrielle Terret and Keith Phillips are all over our good news stories. The stories they do of good things happening in the community far outweigh our crime stories.

But readers are drawn to death and destruction. That is the nature of the news, I guess. No one wants to be in a train wreck but no one can look away. Everyone wants to know why traffic is backed up but they don’t want to discover from a news story their loved one was in that accident. We take great effort to ensure you don’t see your loved one in an accident.

But the bottom line is that it’s wonderful to be a part of an organization with such amazing people who love our community and want to serve it. Just recently, Kami May joined our team to focus on local government and economic development. She’s a great example of our local focus and is proving to be a wonderful new addition.

The stories and places and things we get to do make this so much fun. Just earlier this week, David got to ride the new trolley downtown with the mayor, other local dignitaries and select community individuals.

“That would not have happened if I wasn’t the publisher of the Vicksburg Daily News,” he said. “They invited me because they knew that the word would get out that the trolley was up and running, and people would come downtown to ride the trolley.”

And at the end of the day, that is what we do and what we enjoy the most—getting the news to you so you can know what is going on in Vicksburg—the good and the bad presented as quickly and accurately as we can. We know we’ve changed the way news is presented. As you know, you were getting the corporate version of the news designed to sell ads, now you’re getting the whole story. Don’t kid yourself: If we weren’t publishing the news, the corporate version would take over again and you would, once again, not be in the know.

The Vicksburg Daily News is honored that you come to us to get your news, even when it’s just about a trolley ride. We get to be the news source that lets you know you can help by donating blood to help a little girl with a rare form of cancer. Just last month that family was living their best life and now they are in the fight for a young life. While it is tough to report those stories, we love that the Vicksburg Daily News is there to make sure you get the news about where you can help. While we all personally want to hug that family and give them everything, we also have the duty to report the news. That implied distance is a necessary evil.

2020 is going to be a really big year for the Vicksburg Daily News. We are growing at a rapid rate, and we plan to use that growth to expand how you get the news, because Vicksburg deserves a news source that gives them all the news.

As the group who publishes the Vicksburg Daily News, we want to personally thank you for making us Vicksburg’s largest, most read and most trusted news source. We also want to thank those who try to find fault in everything we do—you keep us on our toes. You are more than welcome to message us on our Facebook page if you want to discuss something we need to improve. We sincerely look forward to hearing from you, and your input is what will help us to be the best news provider we can be.

From all of us at the Vicksburg Daily News, we want to wish you a Merry Christmas, Chag Urim Sameach, happy holidays and may you have the best new year of your life.


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The Great Hot Dog Caper of 2019



The Hot Dog Man, Carl Baker.

Really? We’re going to fight over a hot dog eating contest?

In case you didn’t know, this story is big. It dominated local social media Monday. It is getting a frightening number of views from overseas on our web page, and friends and family of mine in other states are following the hot dog story and sending me messages.

See what y’all have done now?!

As best as we can tell, here’s what happened: All the contestants agreed before the contest began that the winner would be the person who ate the most hot dogs. The time limit was lifted and the contest would go until there was a winner. After about an hour it became obvious that these champions were going to keep at it, and no one was going to give up any time soon. So the house decided it was time to put a time limit on it and end the misery of the increasingly rough looking contestants, five of whom had already dropped out.

On the left was Jeremy Summers, competitive to the finish. When it came down to the end, he made a massive power move and tried to eat two dogs as one. He was sending body language signals that it wasn’t going well. In the final seconds (graphic content at this link), just before the countdown ended, he disqualified himself in a glorious rush of remnants spewed earthward.

Elijah Rosenthal, son of the guy passing out the cash—and the eventual winner, —held steady and didn’t seem to stress too much. He was showing signs of fatigue, and it was obvious those hot dogs were not as delectable as they were when the contest began. It wasn’t until Summers revealed his, er,  inner morsels that Rosenthal could no longer hold his in. But, and this is everything, he did hold them for two more seconds. Long enough to last out the countdown. But then he also let go, creating a magnificent pile of partially digested hot dogs for all to admire.

And then we have Chris Boone. Steely eyed, focused, deliberate and determined to win he, not unlike the steadily paced tortoise of fairy tale lore, kept chowing through those hot dogs. When it came to the final moments of the contest, it was clear Chris’ plan was to outlast the other two in the race.  He needed them both to no longer hold down their hot dogs while trying to eat more hot dogs than the other.

It was a brilliant plan, and a single second of time stopped him from claiming the $400 prize.

In the end there was no rule about throwing up after time ran out, and clearly Rosenthal held his in until the final buzzer as the video apologetically shows.

The winners here should have been Carl Baker, owner of the Hot Dog Man, and Robert Rosenthal, the promoter, who organized the event. It should have been good, fun marketing for them both. As it stands now, I don’t think many people are mad at the Hot Dog Man, but Rosenthal is probably feeling some heat.

Why the controversy?

According to those involved—and unhappy with the outcome—the time limit changed and the rules were not clear regarding holding the food in. Also, and this is probably the big deal, the winner shares the same last name as the person passing out the money. There was nothing illegal, but the smell test, like the remnants spewed to the ground, isn’t going well.

No one asked for my advice but that’s seldom stopped me in the past. So, Mr. Rosenthal, is this how you want most of the community to find out about your product? If so, congrats. If not… Holy social media hits, Batman!! This story is hot! Act now and hold another contest this week. A rematch.

This time, carve some stone with the rules, and for the love of all that is good, don’t have any family members in the contest.

But keep the firefighters as judges. They rock.

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