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Vicksburg woman Tonya Brooks celebrates two years of being breast cancer free



Photo courtesy of Tonya Brooks

Vicksburg native Tonya Brooks is now celebrating two years of being breast cancer free this month after defeating the disease that kills over 42 thousand people every year.

In March 2017, Brooks felt a lump in her left breast but didn’t get it checked out until September of that year. After receiving a biopsy and a mammogram, she was officially diagnosed with breast cancer on October 2, 2017.

“I was all over the place when I received the news,” Brooks said.

Just a couple of weeks after being diagnosed, Brooks began treatment which included 18 rounds of chemotherapy. Not only did she have chemotherapy treatment for nearly a year, but she also went through 25 rounds of radiation.

Surprisingly, Brooks never felt sick at all during her time dealing with breast cancer but she still encourages all women to get checked out.

“Lots of women don’t get tested because breast cancer doesn’t run in their family but checkups are good and always do a follow up, because it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Brooks said.

Brooks received all of her treatments at the Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi and she had a strong support system back home.

Brooks thanked family and friends Terry Brooks, John Lewis, Tiffany McDaniel, Carrol Harper, Sharnecius Jenkins, Shantavious Jones, Shakendrius Tyler, Laura Barnes, Warcheta Bunley, and her Tyson Foods family.

“Never give up and never lose faith,” Brooks said, as words of encouragement for those who are going through breast cancer.

As of October 19, 2018 Brooks has been cancer free and continues to live a happy and healthy life.


VIDEO – Ellen Jean Lewis’ birthday parade



Ms. Ellen Jean Lewis on her 64th birthday (photo by Thomas Parker).

Ms. Ellen Jean Lewis celebrated her 64th birthday Thursday, Oct. 29.

The Vicksburg Daily News was invited to join the festivities for her birthday parade. Ms. Lewis is the owner of Holy Smokes BBQ in Vicksburg.

Happy Birthday from your friends at Vicksburg Daily News.

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Vicksburg attorney receives award for outstanding pro bono service



Josie Mayfield Hudson (photo courtesy MVLP / David Wiggins)

Attorney Josie Mayfield Hudson of Vicksburg received the Curtis E. Coker Award for outstanding pro bono service during the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project’s Oct. 28 livestreamed awards presentation.

Hudson is a public defender in Warren County Circuit Court and maintains a private civil and criminal law practice. She received MVLP’s Pro Bona Award in 2015. Since 2015, Hudson donated more than 60 hours of civil legal representation in 22 cases through the Volunteer Lawyers Project. She has volunteered her time with MVLP since 2011.

“The main purpose of this award is to foster awareness of the need for involvement of the private bar in delivering legal services to the poor, particularly through MVLP,” said MVLP Vice-chair Ben Piazza. The Curtis E. Coker Award is named in honor of the late Mississippi Bar President Curtis E. Coker, who was a leading advocate for making legal services available to all. The Mississippi Pro Bono Project, the forerunner of MVLP, was founded in 1982 during Coker’s presidency.

Supreme Court Justice Dawn Beam was honored as the recipient of the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project’s Beacon of Justice Award. The Beacon of Justice Award is given annually to a member of the judiciary who provides outstanding leadership in promoting and supporting equal access to justice, Piazza said.

Justice Beam, of Sumrall, is co-chair of the Commission on Children’s Justice. The Commission works to develop a statewide comprehensive approach to improving the child welfare system; coordinates the three branches of government in assessing the impact of government actions on abused and neglected children; and recommends changes to improve children’s safety, strengthen and support families and promote public trust and confidence in the child welfare system.

Justice Beam also served as co-chair of the Commission on Guardianship and Conservatorship. The Commission made recommendations which led to legislative passage of stronger protections for children and vulnerable adults. Changes to guardianship and conservatorship laws went into effect Jan. 1.

MVLP also recognized individual attorneys, a corporate legal department and a law school program for outstanding efforts in providing free legal representation to the poor.

MVLP presented Pro Bono Awards to attorneys Erica Haymer of Lexington, Louwlynn Vanzetta Williams of Jackson and the University of Mississippi School of Law Pro Bono Initiative. The Pro Bono Award recipients contributed more than 135 hours of free legal services valued at more than $20,000 between June 2019 and June 2020, said MVLP Executive Director Gayla Carpenter-Sanders.

Haymer has provided more than 20 hours of free legal service each year since 2017. She practices law with the firm of Bryant Clark PLLC. She previously served as Municipal Judge of Cruger and Tchula, special prosecutor in Holmes County Justice Court and public defender in Lexington Municipal Court. Haymer currently serves as prosecutor in Holmes County Youth Court.

Williams spent many years representing indigent Death Row inmates, first as a staff attorney then as director of the Office of Capital Post-conviction Counsel. She is now in private law practice, representing clients in civil matters and criminal appeals. Williams has volunteered her time with MVLP since 2007, Carpenter-Sanders said.

Pro Bono Initiative students annually participate in more than 30 legal clinics and legal outreach presentations, providing approximately 1,000 volunteer hours, Carpenter-Sanders said. University of Mississippi School of Law Professor Deborah Bell and Pro Bono Initiative Director Kris Simpson accepted the Pro Bono Award on behalf of law students.

The Pro Bono Initiative began in 2011 as a poverty law class taught by Bell. Law students partnered with private practice attorneys in Washington County Chancery Court’s quarterly Pro Se Day starting in 2011. Students have worked in free family law clinics in four Chancery Court districts, helped with expungement clinics and veterans clinics and provided assistance to inmates.

MVLP presented its Torchbearers Award to the Entergy Mississippi Legal Department. Entergy’s attorneys co-hosted free legal clinics dealing with divorce, emancipation, guardianship and expungement, providing more than 65 hours of free legal services. Entergy attorneys also co-hosted an event to answer questions posed through the website Entergy provided $20,000 that allowed MVLP to conduct 30 free legal clinics during the past five years, assisting more than 250 individuals, said Kimberly Jones Merchant, immediate past chair of the board of MVLP. Funding from Entergy also supported MVLP’s direct representation program, assisting more than 40 individuals.

MVLP recognized Merchant for her prior service as board chair. “We sincerely thank you for your dedication and your service to the board,” Cockrell said.

The 2020 awards program was a livestreamed virtual presentation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

MVLP provides legal assistance to low income people through direct legal representation and legal clinics for self-represented litigants who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. MVLP relies on the donated time of attorneys who volunteer.

During 2019, nearly 500 attorneys provided more than 800 hours of free legal services through the Volunteer Lawyers Project, said Board Chair Courtney Cockrell. Those efforts finalized almost 350 cases and provided services to more than 6,200 people.

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Shay Robinson’s 20th birthday parade – VIDEO



Shay Robinson (right) enjoying the parade with her family (photo by David Day).

Friends and family lined Stillwater Drive to wish a very happy 20th birthday to Miss Shay Robinson on Wednesday.  Watch Shay’s heartwarming reaction to the birthday parade in her honor.


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