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USDA and Ag Commissioner address mystery seeds

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A sample of the mystery seeds received. (Photo courtesy MDAC)

Many Mississippians—in fact, people across the nation—have reported receiving suspicious packages from China containing seeds.

“USDA is aware that people across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture wrote in a statement Tuesday. “USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.”

“At this time, we don’t have any evidence indicating this is something other than a ‘brushing scam’ where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales,” the agency continued. “USDA is currently collecting seed packages from recipients and will test their contents and determine if they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment.”

Mississippi Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Andy Gipson also addressed the issue Tuesday.

In a Facebook video Gipson asked that people keep the packaging and the seeds intact and contact his office at 662-325-3390. They will send a representative to pick them up.

Gipson said at this time they are not sure of exactly what the seeds are or their exact origin. He encouraged people not to plant them as it could import some form of disease that would impact crops in our state.

Fire

Leaf fire spread to neighboring wooden fence in Openwood Plantation Tuesday

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Culkin Deputy Fire Chief Bobby Rufus operates the pump control panel on Engine 209 while firefighter McKinley Skipper extinguishes the Fire. (photo by Thomas Parker)

A fire in the Openwood Plantation subdivision was quickly extinguished by Warren County firefighters Tuesday afternoon.

The fire was located at a wooden fence at 102 Plantation Drive, and a passerby alerted firefighters to the scene shortly after 4 p.m. The adjacent homeowner was burning leaves and the fire spread catching the fence on fire, according to Warren County Fire Coordinator Jerry Briggs. A classic pickup parked near the fence was not damaged and no one was injured.

Culkin Engines 204 and 209 responded to the scene.

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

(photo by Thomas Parker)

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Announcements

Vicksburg among MS communities to see boost in wireless connectivity

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Vicksburg is among many communities in Mississippi that will be seeing a big boost in wireless connectivity, AT&T announced Tuesday.

AT&T said in a statement that it has added dozens of new sites already this year to enhance coverage and help give residents and first responders faster, more reliable wireless service. These investments will help customers get the most out of their mobile devices.

“As we all continue to recognize the growing importance of connectivity in our daily lives, these type investments help us stay connected to the world around us, and they also help us remain competitive and make us more attractive to outside investment and job creation,” said Gov. Tate Reeves in the statement. “While we all recognize that there is more work to be done to connect Mississippians, we applaud AT&T for doing that work.”

Without question, it is essential that our customers stay connected in today’s environment, the company said. That’s why we’re boosting network reliability and capacity as we expand our network. This helps residents in communities across Mississippi to get the best possible experience over the AT&T network wherever they live, work and play, including the following areas:

  • Ashland
  • Braxton
  • Canton
  • Carthage
  • Coila
  • Collinsville
  • DeKalb
  • Ethel
  • Gloster
  • Grace
  • Grenada
  • Hazlehurst
  • Iuka
  • Leakesville
  • Magee
  • Morton
  • Mount Olive
  • New Albany
  • Ovett
  • Parchman
  • Perkinston
  • Pontotoc
  • Poplarville
  • Port Gibson
  • Sandy Hook
  • Shaw
  • Silver Creek
  • St. Louis
  • State Line
  • Starkville
  • Swiftown
  • Union
  • Utica
  • Vicksburg

“We are committed to enhancing connectivity for businesses, residents and first responders in communities across Mississippi, and these network expansions are good examples of the work we’re accomplishing as a result of the hundreds of millions of dollars we’ve invested in Mississippi,” said Mayo Flynt, president, AT&T Mississippi.

The upgrades will also benefit public safety and first responders on FirstNet – public safety’s dedicated communications platform — and giving Mississippi’s first responders access to the nation’s fastest overall network experience. FirstNet is bringing public safety communications into the 21st century with new, innovative capabilities to help those users stay safe and save lives.

At many of these new locations, our enhancements also bring Band 14 spectrum to the areas. Band 14 is nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. We look at Band 14 as public safety’s VIP lane. In an emergency, this band – or lane – can be cleared and locked just for FirstNet subscribers. When not in use by FirstNet subscribers, AT&T customers can enjoy Band 14’s added coverage and capacity.

From 2017 to 2019, AT&T invested nearly $750 million in wireless and wired networks in Mississippi. These investments boost reliability, coverage, speed and overall performance for residents and their businesses, the company said.

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Crime

Early morning armed robbery on Speed Street Tuesday

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The Vicksburg Police Department reports that an armed robbery and assault occurred Tuesday on Speed Street.

At 3:24 a.m. Tuesday, a victim entered the police station at 820 Veto Street reporting that he had been robbed.

The victim said he had given a Black male who he knew a ride from the Kings community to an address on Speed Street. When they arrived, the male struck him several times on his head with a handgun, causing minor injuries. The suspect then fled on foot with the victim’s Glock handgun.

If you have any information on this incident, please call the Vicksburg Police Department at 601-636-2511.

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