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Vicksburg to become first city in Mississippi to offer app-based electric scooter rentals



(Photo courtesy Blue Duck)

Blue Duck, a San Antonio-based micromobility company operating in Texas and the Southeastern U.S., will partner with the City of Vicksburg to roll out Mississippi’s first fleet of shared electric scooters under new legislation recently signed by Gov. Tate Reeves.

The company’s scooters will launch on the streets of downtown Vicksburg Sept. 17.

Last fall, Vicksburg city officials and Blue Duck initiated discussions to explore the possibility of bringing micromobility to downtown Vicksburg. At that time, state law did not permit the operation of electric scooters on public streets. A local ordinance was drafted permitting the use of electric scooters in Vicksburg, pending the authorization from the state that the governor has now signed.

“On Thursday, Sept. 17, Vicksburg will become the first city in the State of Mississippi to offer app-based electric scooter rentals,” said Mayor George Flaggs Jr. in a statement. “In Vicksburg, we’ve taken a fundamentally different approach to allowing a scooter company to operate in our city. We’ve worked closely with only one company – Blue Duck – to allow scooter use in a portion of downtown between the hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Each Blue Duck scooter is equipped with GPS technology, which prevents the scooters from being operated or parked in prohibited zones. Additionally, this company has agreed to hire employees to deploy, collect and maintain its scooters all at no cost to city government. Hopefully, this will be one more amenity that will encourage people to choose Vicksburg.”

“This legislation marks a new era for shared micromobility in the state of Mississippi,” said Megan McNamara, Blue Duck’s senior director of partnerships.

“Blue Duck is proud to partner with Vicksburg as the city leads the way, introducing e-scooters to residents and visitors alike. We know other cities across Mississippi will follow in Vicksburg’s footsteps, and we are eager to collaborate with them to guide those initiatives,” she added.

Blue Duck will hire a local operations team and operate its scooters out of a local warehouse. The Blue Duck team will monitor scooter use continuously, and will be out in the field, inspecting scooters, removing any devices that need maintenance or charging. They will also be sanitizing the scooters at least twice a day.

“Blue Duck has implemented enhanced cleaning protocols to help combat the coronavirus,” said Jeff Mangold, Blue Duck’s co-founder and senior director of fleet management. “Scooters are sanitized daily in order to protect the health and safety of the community. As businesses reopen and regular activities resume, scooters provide a transportation option that allows people to maintain physical distancing measures.”

Initially operating in areas of downtown designated by city officials, Blue Duck’s scooters will be available to rent from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Riders will download the Blue Duck app from Apple’s App Store or Google Play and use their mobile phones to locate and unlock scooters. Each Blue Duck scooter is equipped with GPS technology, which allows for geofencing to prevent them from being operated or parked in prohibited zones.

A news conference and launch event will take place Sept. 17 at 9 a.m. at the intersection of Washington and China Streets in Downtown Vicksburg.


Martin and Mosher inducted as ERDC Distinguished Civilian Employees



Dr. William "Bill" Martin and Dr. Reed Mosher (photos courtesy ERDC)

The U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center will induct two former employees to the Waterways Experiment Station Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. in the ERDC Headquarters Auditorium.

Dr. Bill Martin and Dr. Reed Mosher will join the ranks of more than 100 former employees whose significant career achievements left a lasting impression on both ERDC and the nation.

Martin and Mosher both served as directors of laboratories at the ERDC. Both pioneered technologies that proved to be life saving for American Soldiers and both left behind a remarkable legacy when they retired from federal service.

Each year, the ERDC inducts new members to the gallery, the highest honor bestowed to those who have worked at WES in Vicksburg.

Martin, a U.S. Army veteran, ended his 41-year ERDC career in 2013 as director of the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory. In that role, he led a $90 million research program that provided cutting-edge technology solutions to more than 500 projects around the world. Martin was also instrumental in updating the lab’s world-class facilities, including the development of a state-of-the-art Ship Simulator Complex, which allows engineers and pilots to simulate ports, harbors and maritime environments all over the world.

Martin is also remembered for being a leader in addressing complex groundwater issues on military installations, as well as for leading a team that performed emergency modeling of the Sava River in Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of the 1st Armor Division’s peacekeeping role after the Balkan War. His team provided daily river condition forecasts and answered engineering questions for more than 450 consecutive days, which led to the creation of the WES Tele-Engineering Program. Today that program is known as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Reachback Operations Center, which is located in Vicksburg and connects deployed troops in the field to subject-matter experts back home who can help solve engineering challenges for them.

Mosher, who spent 40 years as a federal employee, retired as director of the Information Technology Laboratory  in 2018. Under his leadership, the lab’s staff grew by 108%, becoming the second largest ERDC laboratory. He also oversaw the construction of a 66,000 square-foot expansion to the laboratory, and his vision for a new secure computing facility is under construction and scheduled for completion later this year.

Before his ITL role, Mosher served as the lead technical director for military engineering in the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory, where he was also directly involved with assessments after some of the world’s most notorious attacks and bombings — Oklahoma City in 1995, the U.S. Embassies in Africa in 1998 and the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon. He was instrumental in developing new technologies designed to protect soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan from rockets, mortars and other explosives.

Even after their retirements, both inductees are still involved with the ERDC today. Martin is a member and served as the 2019 president of the ERDC Alumni Association, while Mosher is the director of the Mississippi State University Institute for Systems Engineering Research, a partnership initiative with the ERDC.


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Vicksburg police make a drug bust after brief pursuit



James Morris (photo courtesy VPD)

Vicksburg police officers arrested a man Tuesday on drug charges after a brief pursuit.

James Morris, 30, of Vicksburg was arrested shortly after 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, on U.S. Highway 80 just outside the city limits. The officers found that Morris was in possession of crack cocaine.

Charged with one count of possession of cocaine, Morris appeared Tuesday before Judge Angela Carpenter in the Vicksburg Municipal Court for his arraignment. Carpenter bound him over to the Warren County grand jury on a $30,000 bond.

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Williams arrested for two separate burglaries at the Vicksburg Mall



Felix Williams (photo courtesy VPD)

Vicksburg police arrested Felix Williams, 30, of Vicksburg, for two separate burglaries at the Vicksburg Mall.

For a break-in Sunday, Oct. 11, into the mall and Jordan’s, Williams was charged with two counts of business burglary. Williams was also charged with two counts of business burglary and one count of grand larceny for the Oct. 2 burglary at the Sports Addition.

Monday, Oct. 12, Judge Angela Carpenter in the Vicksburg Municipal Court set Williams bond at $400,000 and bound him over to the Warren County grand jury.

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