Week in Vicksburg

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 28, 2009

It was a week without rain but there was plenty of heat. Highs ranged as far as 98 degrees two days and were in the mid-90s all other days. All lows were in the 70s, ranging from 72 degrees to 78.

The Mississippi River fell on two days and rose the next five. The initial reading on the Vicksburg gauge was 32.2 feet and the reading at week’s end was 33.4 feet. The forecast calls for a stage of 34.1 feet today.

North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said he will ask the two other city board members to reappoint all people in top city jobs when the new administration starts July 7 and follow up with 30-day performance reviews before any changes are made.

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Harry Gillespie of Vicksburg, approaching his 104th birthday, said he is looking forward to his visit from a great-granchild he’s never met. Gwendolyn Strong, 20 months, is visiting Vicksburg from her California home as part of a trip to raise funds for research into the terminal disease she faces.

The Rev. Troy Truly was named Mississippi’s 2009 Parent of the Year based on his work rebuilding family relationships. The military veteran said the need is great and, “I still consider myself a soldier.”

Mandy Fuller, catcher, and her coach, Dana McGivney, both of Warren Central were named the player and coach of the year in fast-pitch softball.

The first proven case of swine flu was reported in Warren County. The case was one of 21 new confirmations of the flu, which has been reported in 70 countries.

Land rolls showing the true value of all taxable property in the county are up slightly for the year, leading Warren County supervisors to say a tax increase may be avoided.

Specialty Process Fabricators, known as SpecFab, became the latest victim of the national recession. Officials said the subsidiary of Ergon Inc., will close over the next few months, leaving 50 people jobless.

Joshua Fairley, 35, an engineer at the Army’s scientific center in Vicksburg, was praised by U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss. Cochran said Fairley, a Mississippi State University graduate, had led a team developing models to interpret sensor data that had resulted in a 75 percent increase in detection of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Artist and arts education leader Jann Terral Ferris died. The developer of a curriculum that married the arts to basic education was 59.

The Vicksburg Warren School District applied for $3 million in interest-free bonds to build additions ending the need for portable classrooms at two schools.

Delayed in their planting or having to replant due to flooding, many area farmers are now dealing with drought and heat. Prospects for anything better than a mediocre crop year appeared slim.

Mayor-elect Paul Winfield said key personnel decisions will be made on the first day of his administration, expected to be July 7. He also said he will resign as attorney for Port Gibson if the job takes too much of his time.

Mayor Laurence Leyens made a brief appearance at what would have been his last business session with the aldermen. His 2-year-old son, Corey, sat on his knee as he watched a video tribute.

“Money man” Paul Rogers said he’s worked his last day as a full-time employee of the City of Vicksburg. Rogers’ title is strategic planner, but the 32-year employee’s duties are akin to a chief financial officer. Rogers was also the city’s highest-paid employee, earning about $150,000 per year.

In addition to Jann Ferris, deaths during the week included Derrick McGee, Erie Viola Sheppard, Charles Roland Lestage, Chandler Lee Saldana, Samuel E. Varnell, Tommy Lee Hopkins, Shaniya La’Niece Thomas and Walterine J. Wildee.