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The Week in Vicksburg

Week of July 16, 2001

All that needed to be said of the weather was it was Mississippi in July: hot and dry. The daytime temperatures ranged from a nearly cool feeling 89 to a steamy 95 while at night the thermometer showed readings from 71 to 75. No rain was reported.

The Mississippi River rose from a reading of 18.7 feet on the Vicksburg gauge to 20.2 before reversing and ending the week at 19.0 feet. Forecasters believed the fall would continue and the river reach a level of 16.5 feet by today.

A group of youth volunteers worked with the United Way of West Central Mississippi on a special project. The playground at the Good Shepherd Community Center needed some work and the young people supplied the muscle.

LeTourneau Inc. has just about completed its latest off-shore drill rig, Gorilla VII. Built on land, the rig “walks” from where it was built to the Mississippi River where it will be completed and sent on its way.

Becky Pruett was crowned Miss Mississippi at the end of the 2000 pageant in the Vicksburg Convention Center. She will now represent Mississippi in the Miss America Pageant in September.

District Attorney Gil Martin said two homicide cases and an aggravated assault case will be among the matters presented to the July term of the Warren County grand jury. He also said the panel will have a relatively light work load, which is normal for July.

Bed and breakfast and art gallery owner George Mayer developed a small, handy guide to downtown and near downtown businesses and attractions to help visitors find their way around. He said he got the idea after he had to frequently try to tell his B&B guests how to reach some business not listed in other visitor guides.

Officials of Vicksburg Factory Outlets made a huge splash by having ribbon cuttings for three businesses one morning. The new businesses were Book Warehouse, Billy’s Italian Restaurant and the Reebok clearance store.

After supporting and running the Mississippi Burn Camp Foundation for six years on its own, the Vicksburg Fire Department now has help from statewide groups in operating the camp for young burn victims. Joining the department were the Mississippi Firefighters Association and the Mississippi Firefighters Auxiliary.

Calsonic Kansei North America announced plans to build a plant at Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex. The plant will employ 138 people making parts for the Nissan plant near Canton.

Mayor Laurence Leyens and Police Chief Mitchell Dent checked out how evidence is stored at the Vicksburg Police Department. They found problems including inadequate security for confiscated drugs and cash.

Doris White Evans, 42, died in a drowning incident in the Yazoo Diversion Canal. She, her husband and others were boat riding when they decided to swim.

A group of Boy Scouts from Croatia spent a couple of days touring Vicksburg and learning about the Civil War. The scouts made the stop here while traveling to an international Jamboree.

Mayor Laurence Leyens told a meeting of the mayor and aldermen he wanted to explore putting the City Auditorium under the management of Compass Facility Management, the company that has the contract to manage the Vicksburg Convention Center. South Ward Alderman Gertrude Young said there may be a problem because the state may actually own the building, not the city.

Suzanne Singletary, sales and marketing director for the Vicksburg Convention Center, told a local civic club the center surveyed some of the people attending the Miss Mississippi Pageant on what they’d like to see at the center. Some of the suggestions were jazz concerts, boxing matches, consumer shows and other sporting events.

After being in office three weeks, Vicksburg’s new administration terminated nine city employees and hired seven others. At least one of the terminations was due to the elimination of the job while five were for violations of city policies.

Mayor Laurence Leyens began fulfilling one of his campaign promises, to hold neighborhood meetings. In the first, people attending said creating a safe environment for children is a major concern.

A low hanging electrical wire caught on a huge tank being moved from Efabco on the E.W. Haining Industrial Center, delaying the start of its trip to Minnesota. Electricity traveling through the tank and truck blew out several tires.

Warren County supervisors opened bids on a $1.25 million project to renovate the Warren County Jail. Board President Richard George said work could begin soon on a new roof and additional cell space.

Vicksburg elected officials decided the general public should be able to listen in on the primary radio channels used by local law enforcement and fire departments. Bill Ford, the city’s information specialist, has been testing the system to return the transmissions to a frequency capable of being picked up with a scanner and said the system should be fully operational before the end of July.

Donald Oakes, superintendent of education, wrote a letter to District Attorney Gil Martin detailing changes school trustees made in the Center for Alternative Programs. The May session of the Warren County grand jury cited several problems including truancy and drug use.

A man identified as Steve Warren was found dead from a stab wound to the leg in front of 223 Demby Drive. Jacqueline Williams, who lives at the address was charged with murder in the case.

David Drew Porter pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter by culpable negligence in the death of two Texas children in a wreck on Interstate 20 a year ago. When sentenced later on, Porter could receive up to 40 years in prison.

Arraignments began as the Warren County grand jury completed its work for the July term of circuit court. One of the first defendants arraigned was Reginald Carter who was indicted for murder in the shooting death of James Turner.

Local deaths during the week were Johnny D. Ross Sr., Margie L. Bass, Verna W. Carpenter Walls, Irvin Wilson Jr., Henry M. Hilliard, Patsy Wilson Hunt, Donald Smith, Doris Faye Evans, Grace M. Franco, Perry Nevels Dorothea Faye Loviza Vedros and Roslyn A. Levy.