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Vicksburg gun shop doing booming business



Greg Brown works on a shotgun in his store, Brown's Gunsmith Repair. (Photo by Thomas Parker)

While most retail businesses are seeing a downturn or are closing, Greg Brown’s is busier than ever.

His shop, Brown’s Gunsmith Repair, is open, and the phone is ringing with constant requests for ammunition, guns and repairs.

“I got a huge order in last Friday of firearms, and most are gone already,” Brown said while working on a shotgun.

The 62-year-old has operated his shop at 1193 Sherman Ave., adjacent to his home, for almost 20 years. He retired last year from Ameristar Casino and now devotes his time to manufacturing, repairing and selling firearms and related accessories. He also carries archery equipment including the APA Archery line.

“From the age of 21, I have been working towards having a place where I could work on guns,” Brown said. He particularly enjoys restoring firearms that need special attention.

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, some states and municipalities have ordered non-essential retail shops to close to prevent the spread of the virus. Gun stores are not singled out as essential by most of the orders, causing a rash of lawsuits to challenge the closures. Rumors that gun stores are being specifically targeted for closure have some city’s  ammunition sales rivaling that of toilet paper. In Mississippi, firearm and ammunition manufacturers and retailers have been deemed essential.

Brown says inventory is well stocked with more on the way. He carries or has access to just about every brand on the market today including Smith & Wesson, Ruger and Sig Sauer, along with many lesser-known brands. He also holds a federal license as a manufacturer so he can custom build and modify firearms of all types. The small shop is filled with many hard-to-find firearm and hunting accessories.

He also recommends that anyone purchasing a weapon, in particular a handgun, should consider taking a training course from a certified trainer. He stresses firearm safety above all else.

Visit Brown’s Gunsmith Repair on Facebook, or give Greg a call at 601-415-4734.




Tyson Foods paying $60 million in ‘thank you’ bonuses



From Tyson Foods, Inc.:

Tyson Foods, Inc. announced Tuesday, March 31, it will pay approximately $60 million in “thank you” bonuses to 116,000 frontline workers and Tyson truckers in the U.S. who support the company’s operations every day to provide food during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible team members will receive a $500 bonus, payable during the first week of July. The bonuses are in addition to other company-announced efforts to support workers, plant communities and livestock producers during the global pandemic.

“We’re proud of how our team members have stepped up during this challenging time to make sure we continue fulfilling our critical mission of feeding people across America,” said Tyson Foods CEO Noel White in a statement. “Our company recently relaxed our attendance policy and we encourage our team members to stay at home if they’re exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 infection. We’re taking additional precautionary measures, such as daily temperature checks at all our facilities and daily cleaning with extra sanitizing in high traffic areas.

“Our team members are leading the charge to continue providing food to the nation,” White said. “The bonuses are another way we can say ‘thank you’ for their efforts.”

The payments are in addition to other changes Tyson Foods has made to protect and support workers and ensure continuity in the U.S. food system.

The company is restricting visitor access to its facilities and relaxed its attendance policy to reinforce the importance of staying home when sick or to meet childcare needs. It has implemented the use of temporal thermometers to check the temperature of team members before they enter company facilities and expects delivery of infrared temperature scanners following a successful trial. In addition, the company is offering protective face coverings for production workers who request them and is working with the CDC on additional guidance on the use of personal protective equipment.

Tyson Foods, which has mandatory health care coverage, is waiving the five consecutive day waiting period for short term disability benefits, so workers can receive pay while they’re sick with the flu or COVID-19. In addition, it is:

  • Waiving the co-pay, co-insurance and deductible for doctor visits for COVID-19 testing as well as eliminating pre-approval or preauthorization steps.
  • Waiving co-pays for the use of telemedicine.
  • Relaxing refill limits for 30-day prescriptions of maintenance medication.

The company recently announced it has committed $13 million to support critical needs in local communities where the company operates in response to the pandemic. This includes $2 million in grants that will be allocated to non-profit organizations to help support Tyson team members and the local community. Investments will be focused on non-profit partners providing emergency response efforts such as rent and utility assistance, food distribution, health care, childcare, small business support and other economic recovery services.

In an effort to help cattle feeders weather the impact of the pandemic, Tyson Fresh Meats also provided a one-time premium for cattle harvested the week of March 23rd.

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Sanderson Farms offering attendance bonuses to hourly workers



From Sanderson Farms:

Sanderson Farms announced it will implement a temporary weekly attendance bonus for employees equivalent to $1 an hour for each hour worked. The incentive began Monday, March 30, 2020, and will end Friday, June 26, 2020.

Employees must have perfect attendance during the week in order to earn the bonus. The attendance bonus is applicable to all hourly positions, including new hires.

“By offering a weekly bonus for employees, we hope to show our appreciation for their hard work and contribution to maintaining the U.S. food supply during this critical period,” said Lampkin Butts, Sanderson Farms president and chief operating officer in a statement. “When Sanderson Farms employees come to work each day, they are supporting not only themselves and their families, but the entire nation.”

Sanderson Farms recently announced additional measures the company is taking to protect the health and safety of its employees, and the quality of its products, during the COVID-19 pandemic. These precautions include travel restriction for employees, growers, contractors, and vendors, as well as denying access to every person attempting to enter any Sanderson Farms location with a temperature of 100° Fahrenheit or greater.

“Our top priority is keeping our employees safe and healthy. Sanderson Farms is doing everything it can to protect its employees while they are at work,” Butts said. “The company consults daily with physicians and other health experts on how best to ensure employee well being.”

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COVID-19 shutters recycling and in-house Midd-West Works programs



(photo by Thomas Parker)

Citing concerns over the safety of their clients, Midd-West Works has closed its recycling program along with its adult day care and in-house work programs until theCOVID-19 pandemic subsides.

Midd-West provides work and care for disabled adults in the Vicksburg and Warren County area.

“With these being disabled individuals, many of these people have compromised immune systems and medical conditions, and the risk is too great,” said Director Kearney Waites. “I have to put their health and safety above everything else.”

Estimates are that many as 60 percent of the recycling centers across the United States may have shut down citing concerns over how long the virus can live on various forms of recyclable materials.

“It will probably be as much as 30 days after we are given the all clear before we allow the program to resume,” Waites said.

Other Midd-West programs continue to function normally around the area. Approximately 45 Midd-West clients perform janitorial services for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District and the Engineer Research and Development Center. Others operate the mail rooms in both facilities. Midd-West clients also provide janitorial and stocking services in many stores around the area.

Waites hears frequently how the disabled workers are some of the company’s most valued employees.

“They have a tendency to work harder and value the opportunity to be self-sufficient more than the average worker,” Waites said.

Waites took over what was then called the Sheltered Acres Program in 1980. At the time, they had four clients and $22,000 in the bank. Through the years and with the addition of various programs, the non-profit organization has grown to generate more than 90% of its operating budget. They also receive some funding from the United Way and additional donations from private sources.

For more information on how disabled individuals can join the program, call them at 601-638-2770 and be sure to visit the Midd-West Facebook page.

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