Week in Vicksburg

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas week was a roller-coaster weather week, with highs approaching 80 degrees on a couple of days and not making it to 40 degrees on another. Lows also covered a wide range. One overnight reading was 65 degrees and at the other extreme was a night when the temperature dipped to 23. While several days were overcast and gray, only a quarter-inch of rain was officially recorded.

The Mississippi River rose every day on the Vicksburg gague, starting at 14.8 feet and ending at 21.6 feet. The forecast was a for a reading of 23.1 today.

Timothy Gandy, 41, was arrested in Hattiesburg and returned to Vicksburg to face bank robbery charges. Gandy, whose last known address was in Forest, was identified by bank cameras after a robbery there, followed a day later by a robbery here at BancorpSouth on Indiana Avenue.

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Elbert Stelivan, 71, who had been working in the renovation of the former Valley Dry Goods building at Washington and South streets died after falling down an elevator shaft.

Charles Jones Jr., 45, a 25-year employee and manager of the Vicksburg Housing Authority, was arrested after authorities said he accepted delivery of a 2.2-pound shipment of cocaine at the VHA office. Police Chief Tommy Moffett said Jones, supervisor of maintenance, shipping and purchasing, had long been suspected of trafficking to housing authority clients, but a case against him was difficult to make. VHA executive director James Stirgus Sr. said he apologized to police, of whom he had been critical for not doing enough to fight drugs in VHA homes and apartments.

Toys for 203 children who have an incarcerated parent were among the hundreds locally receiving donated gifts through the Beyond Walls Ministry and the Sheriff’s Department.

Representatives of the Jackson branch of the Guardian Angels expressed an interest in starting programs here. While the group became widely known for its street patrols, the representatives here said the Vicksburg Chapter would offer counseling and nurturing.

Seventy members of the 412th Engineer Command turned over their duties in Iraq to their replacements, meaning members of the contingent of the Vicksburg-based U.S. Army Reserve unit can start making their way home.

Ryan Hoover, a 25-year-old Marine on leave, lit up the consoles at the Emergency Dispatch Center after being spotted swimming in the Mississippi River on a sub-freezing morning. Hoover, reluctant to be plucked from the water, said his intention was to follow the 10-mile swim with a six-mile run.

The conviction and 6 1/2-year prison sentence of former Vicksburg attorney Robert Arledge was upheld by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Arledge, found guilty of knowingly submitting falsified claims to a diet drug settlement fund, began serving the sentence in January.

Doug Branning of Tallulah Academy was selected by The Vicksburg Post’s sports staff as area coach of the year. Branning came out of retirement to coach the team for its 2008 season, which ended 7-5.

Vicksburg officials announced that more than a half-million dollars will be spent buying and clearing 19 wooded acres north of Vicksburg Municipal Airport’s runway and adding fencing to meet Federal Aviation Administration standards. The FAA will pay for half of the project, which continues a revitalization of the 60-year-old airport on U.S. 61 South.

For those interested, a new fitness program will be offered for $400 in January. Those who enroll will start off walking, but the eventual goal is to progress to becoming marathon runners.

In addition to Mr. Stelivan, deaths during the week included Louise Brooks, Carrie Jane Browning, Susie Lee Bland Lacey, Martha Renae Delaughter, Rita Griffing McCain, Albert Parker, Martha Jean Andrews, Ke’Marrian Qua’Shawn Parker and Laurence Lee Lancaster Jr.