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Radio personality chooses Vicksburg

Oliver Stoutner, Mississippi Public Broadcasting Radio personality, relaxes at his home on Drummond Street Sunday. (Jon GiffinThe Vicksburg Post)

[10/25/04]The big, green city-issued garbage cans that caused so much controversy in 2002 and 2003 were a draw to the city for Vicksburg newcomer and Mississippi Public Broadcasting Radio personality Oliver Stoutner.

“We have been impressed with how progressive the city is, from trying to rehabilitate downtown to the nice, big trash cans,” Stoutner said.

Stoutner, 30, and his wife, Kimberly Stoutner, 31, moved to Vicksburg a year ago after moving to Mississippi three years ago.

The relocation from Jackson followed a search for a community with things to do but still a small-town feel. Stoutner said Vicksburg has been a wonderful surprise.

“We have both fallen in love with Vicksburg,” he said.

The wheeled garbage cans were an issue in October and November 2002 when city officials allocated $360,000 for them, issued instructions for their use and left residents to fuss about the size of the containers and the rate increase that accompanied them.

But they’re an asset, say the Stoutners who have joined a church, shop downtown and celebrated their anniversary at a local restaurant. He even has a gig with the Vicksburg Theatre Guild, making his Vicksburg debut as “Freddy” in “My Fair Lady.” Kimberly will likely help backstage.

During the week, work keeps him pretty tied up as he commutes to Jackson via Interstate 20, he said. Stoutner joined the staff of MPB Radio three years ago as an announcer and producer, hailing from Iowa where he received a bachelor’s degree in music in 2001.

He did some on-air work with Iowa’s public radio station and found his niche.

“I thought it would be a good way to pursue and stay involved in the arts that I was interested in,” he said.

While he announces for the classical music played daily from 2 to 4 p.m., Stoutner’s own preferences in music span from jazz and blues to the alternative band Radiohead.

“My taste in music is all over the place,” he said.

Stoutner also co-hosts two programs, Magnolia Arts Hour, at 9 a.m. Friday, and The Gestalt Gardener, at 9 a.m. Tuesday with Felder Rushing.

The arts hour is something of which he is particularly proud.

“I like how focused everyone is on telling Mississippi stories and promoting Mississippi’s authors, filmmakers and all sorts of people the public might not otherwise know about,” he said.

As for his gardening show with Rushing, “I’m not a gardener, but it has inspired me to do more in our yard,” he said.

He’ll have to juggle that with the daily 40-mile commute, and renovate their home on Forest Street off Drummond a never-ending process, he said.