Vicksburg eateries: a decade of difference

There was a time not too long ago when the quantity and quality of restaurants and cafes in Vicksburg left much to be desired. Some may still feel that this is true, but there has certainly been an improvement in numbers and variety. Share your experiences with the good, the bad, and even the ugly among our city’s epicurean offerings. And if you prefer to dine in Jackson or another nearby town, share that as well. We may all eat better and wiser (and maybe cheaper?) after hearing from you.

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Published in: on September 30, 2007 at 9:56 am  Comments (36)  

Is it time to legalize Marijuana?

Hardly a day passes without a report of someone being “busted” (who came up with this foul term that dismantles the English language?) here in Vicksburg. Nationwide, the problem of enforcement costs taxpayers billions. A number of online sites exist that promote legalization, including the following:

 

This report shows that marijuana legalization — replacing prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation — would save $7.7 billion per year in state and federal expenditures on prohibition enforcement and produce tax revenues of at least $2.4 billion annually if marijuana were taxed like most consumer goods. If, however, marijuana were taxed similarly to alcohol or tobacco, it might generate as much as $6.2 billion annually.

http://economics.about.com/od/incometaxestaxcuts/a/legalize_pot.htm

 

The following report emphasizes the harm that legal “drugs” cause to society as compared to that of marijuana:

 

ANNUAL AMERICAN DEATHS CAUSED BY DRUGS

TOBACCO …………………… 400,000
ALCOHOL …………………… 100,000
ALL LEGAL DRUGS ……………. 20,000
ALL ILLEGAL DRUGS ………….. 15,000
CAFFEINE ………………….. 2,000
ASPIRIN …………………… 500
MARIJUANA …………………. 0
—————————————-
Source: United States government…
National Institute on Drug Abuse,
Bureau of Mortality Statistics 

http://www.legalizationofmarijuana.com/

 Has the Republican party committed itself to legalization? The Republican Party has a new voter registration project in Fresno. It involves luring people to sign a LEGALIZE MARIJUANA petition and then re-registering them as Republicans.

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/08/03/18294421.php

 

Even Milton Friedman is behind the effort to legalize marijuana:

 

Milton Friedman: Legalize It!

http://www.forbes.com/2005/06/02/cz_qh_0602pot.html

 

Another site discusses the medicinal value of marijuana and the Netherlands’ successful policy towards the drug:

http://www.drugpolicy.org/marijuana/factsmyths/

 

Critics point to the harm that marijuana imposes on society, especially the effect of impairment on a person’s ability to function normally. The effects on health are discussed on several sites, including:

 

Marijuana: more harm than good:

http://www.vch.ca/living/smoking/mho_marijuana.htm

 

The Health Effects of Marijuana:

http://alcoholism.about.com/od/pot/a/effects.htm

 

We in Vicksburg would obviously be affected by any changes to the laws regarding marijuana, though it is unclear to what extent. Let’s have your opinion. If marijuana were legalized, what changes do you think we would see? Would legalized marijuana be a positive or a negative for our community?

 

Published in: on September 27, 2007 at 9:04 am  Comments (12)  

The Vicksburg Post – fair and balanced?

One of our readers thinks it’s time to critique Vicksburg’s main source of local news, the Vicksburg Post. Of concern is the Post’s seeming reluctance to publish stories that portray our city and its government in a less than favorable light, its incomplete reporting in some areas (the crime report, for example), its lack of investigative reporting (a failure to investigate high gasoline and natural gas prices within the county, for example), its tendency to avoid confrontation with local politicians, and its habit of censoring (deleting or editing) letters-to-the-editor. On the other hand, some feel we’re quite lucky to have a newspaper of such excellent quality. If you would like to share your opinion of the Post, please do so.

Published in: on September 24, 2007 at 1:35 pm  Comments (18)  

Are you registered to vote?

If so, congratulations, and be sure to VOTE in the upcoming elections. If not, get registered so you can VOTE! For your information, following are a couple of links that can guide you through the process:

Voter information guide

http://www.sos.state.ms.us/elections/voterinfoguide.asp

Voter registration application

http://www.sos.state.ms.us/elections/VoterRegistration/

  

Published in: on September 22, 2007 at 2:59 pm  Comments (1)  

And your vote for president will go to…

Who?

At this point in the process of choosing the next president of the United States, the field is wide open. From liberals Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama to conservatives Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson (and many others), you may choose a candidate who will come near to governing this country in a way you would find acceptable.

If the election were held tomorrow, who would get your vote? Explain why, if you like.

Published in: on September 21, 2007 at 10:22 am  Comments (6)  

Should the VWHS and the city pound merge?

The Vicksburg-Warren Humane Society performs its operations with several paid employees as well as volunteers. Its sources of income include grants, donations from the private and corporate sectors, and a substantial amount of money from the county. The figures that follow are estimates and are subject to correction by more knowledgeable parties.

The VWHS has approximately $150,000 in savings. The county has recently promised another $100,000 to the society to be used for construction of a new 3,700 square feet shelter, estimated to cost about $465,000, in addition to the amounts used to cover monthly expenses. The society has also received grants from the national humane society and others.

The amount spent by the city to operate its facility is approximately $180,000 per year, which includes the salaries of 3 employees.

 

Much has already been said about the lack of cooperation between the various animal control/animal rescue organizations; that point will not be belabored here.

Apparently, the city has tried for years to combine operations with the county in order to save money and streamline the animal control process. The county board of supervisors has refused to do so, however, apparently because of various differences between the way county and city approach animal control, e.g., leash laws, neutering/spaying regulations, adoption procedures, animal control ordinances, etc. In the words of one city official, the board of supervisors “doesn’t have any animal control ordinances.”

In the absence of cooperation by the county, the city is considering building its own shelter on land near the city park.

It appears obvious that combining city and county animal control operations would allow a bigger and better shelter to be built, adoption and spaying/neutering facilities could be added (animals are presently shipped to Jackson for euthanizing), and perhaps a veterinarian could be hired to supervise the operation. County supervisors receive a large amount of taxes from city residents, money for which few benefits are provided to city residents. Shouldn’t city, as well as county, taxpayers and concerned citizens demand a more efficient and more humane approach to animal control from their elected officials?

Published in: on September 21, 2007 at 10:07 am  Comments (4)  

The Fed’s rate cut… what does it mean to you?

On Tuesday, 9/18/07, the Federal Reserve cut the federal funds rate and the discount rate by 50 basis points (1/2%). The immediately obvious effects were a surge in stock, oil and gold prices. But what will be the long-term effect? A number of observations and postulations may be made, any one of which is subject to rebuttal:

 

  1. Having “bailed out the big boys” (large banks, financial concerns, mortgage companies, corporations, and possibly some home buyers), the move will also cause the value of the dollar to drop and inflation to increase.
  2. Gold, oil (gasoline), and other commodities will go up in price due to the effects outlined in item number 1.
  3. The standard of living of the elderly and others on fixed incomes will suffer.
  4. Prices of nearly everything you buy at Wal-Mart and at the grocery will increase.
  5. The working man will be least affected since wages will increase along with inflation; his standard of living will suffer, but a bit less so than the elderly.
  6. The rich will get richer as the poor get poorer.
  7. Foreign holdings will begin to buy even more of the USA – real estate, corporations, etc., as they become cheaper in foreign currency terms.
  8. Foreign countries will be less inclined to buy US Treasuries, exacerbating the drop in value of the dollar. Should they decide to sell substantial amounts of dollar-denominated securities, all hell could break loose.
  9. The dire consequences of the Federal Reserve’s foolish manipulation of interest rates over the past decade may be delayed, but not prevented.

 

We here in Vicksburg will certainly be affected by this decision of the Fed. Have you given it much thought? What is your perspective?

Published in: on September 19, 2007 at 8:20 pm  Comments (7)  

Mayor Leyens…above the law?

A front-page article in the Post Wednesday revealed that our mayor has made exterior modifications to a building he owns without going through the approval process that is required of every other citizen. An awning was added to the building at 1619 Walnut Street several weeks ago after Leyens paid an $11 fee and obtained “approval” from Paula Wright of the Planning Department. Wright has since denied she gave Leyens approval, stating that only the Board of Architectural Review has that authority.

 

Leyens visited with the members of the Board of Architectural Review Tuesday, insisting that the meeting not be called to order nor the channel 23 cameras be turned on, because, in his words, “I’m kind of tired of the public knowing all my personal business.” He afterwards stated, “I went to go see them today because I think the process is important. That board has no authority. I could dismiss that board tomorrow and it’s gone.” Members of the board afterward indicated that they have not voted on or given approval for any modifications to the mayor’s building.

 

Leyens has bought, renovated, and sold several buildings in the downtown historic district since he has been in office. And this is not the first time he has disregarded city codes and ordinances. During the renovation of 1208 Washington Street (the Audubon Society now leases the building’s first floor), Leyens installed aluminum frame windows throughout the building despite the requirement that the materials be wood or vinyl. The discrepancy was brought to the BAR’s attention, but no action was taken. There are rumors of similar and other misconduct as well which will not be repeated unless substantiated.

 

As you may recall, Leyens stated during the controversy over fireman Montgomery’s letter-to-the-editor that he wanted to modify the law regarding such “political activity” because it did not support his interpretation of it. In the present disagreement he has not only ignored the law, but has threatened to abolish the Board of Architectural review, the enforcing body for these city ordinances. This type of arrogance and abuse of power are what we might expect from the leaders of Cuba or Venezuela… but here, in Vicksburg, Mississippi?

 

Your comments are invited.

Published in: on September 13, 2007 at 3:06 pm  Comments (19)  

County supervisors… who will get your vote?

Are you angry enough to kick them all out? Or are you so happy with them that you want them all to be reelected?

Mr. McDonald had a scare in the primaries. Will he survive in the general election? Mr. Flanders seldom agrees with the remainder of the board (which may be a plus for him?) and faces a strong challenge from former supervisor Bill Lauderdale. Mr. George presides over the board with such quiescence that his position on some issues is sometimes not clear to the public. And Mssrs. Selmon and Banks are generally on opposite ends of the spectrum when the votes are counted. The members of the board should obviously work together harmoniously so as to form a competent governing body. Are they doing so? If not, how will you cast your vote in order to assure that this objective is reached?

Published in: on September 12, 2007 at 1:11 am  Comments (6)  

Where do you shop?

There have been quite a number of comments regarding the shopping experience here in Vicksburg versus that in Jackson and Monroe (among others). Where do you shop, and why? If you had it within your power, what would you do to make people want to shop in Vicksburg instead of traveling to other cities?

Published in: on September 11, 2007 at 11:33 pm  Comments (8)  

Your county taxes and charity…

Mississippi law prohibits local governments from giving your tax dollars to charity. Yet the Warren County Board of Supervisors, through a procedure requiring legislative approval, has budgeted and plans to donate over $600,000 of your taxes to various charities. No doubt the charities need the money and will make good use of it; but the law against such donations was intended to prevent local governments from using public revenue for such discretionary purposes. Is this an appropriate use of your tax dollars? Would you prefer your tax bill be reduced rather than tax revenues being given to an ever-growing list of charities? Your comments are invited.

Published in: on September 10, 2007 at 4:04 pm  Comments (6)  

Mexican truckers on US highways…

Apparently Mexican trucks and truck drivers will soon be allowed free access to all parts of the United States, even though safety and security issues have perhaps been inadequately addressed (or publicized) by the Bush administration. Interstate highway 20 is a major east-west thoroughfare that runs through Vicksburg and which will no doubt see its share of such commerce. How it will affect us is anybody’s guess. Care to comment?

More controversy for the humane society…

The writer of a letter-to-the-editor published in Sunday’s Vicksburg Post described the plight of their years-ago-rescued dog, Scruffy, who was apparently impounded by the Vicksburg Warren Humane Society for roaming his neighborhood along Redbone Road – and eating chicken from a neighbor’s garbage can. Though the details were not quite clear, the dog’s owner claimed the humane society would release Scruffy only under the conditions that he “serve out the rest of his life in a cage or at the end of a chain.”

Obviously, there are two sides to the story, and the humane society is entitled to defend and clarify its position. We hope they will do so.

Published in: on September 10, 2007 at 4:00 pm  Comments (2)  

Noise… does it bother you?

A letter-to-the-editor in Sunday’s Vicksburg Post highlighted problems faced by residents along National and Polk Streets with vehicles that are so noisy they “could cause severe medical conditions to occur in some of the older, frailer neighbors. Racing hearts and climbing blood pressure are two conditions that might arise…”

The aggravation caused by vehicles with illegal (or no) mufflers (or the “honky-tonks-on-wheels”) has been broached many times by this writer in letters to and conversations with Police Chief Tommy Moffett. Residents in the downtown neighborhoods, like those on Polk and National Streets, are subjected to extreme noise levels from cars, trucks, and motorcycles (especially) that wake them during the night or otherwise disturb and anger them at all other hours. Although the inconsiderate people who operate these vehicles are obvious lawbreakers, Moffett and the VPD will not to take action against them.

Your experiences and/or suggestions are invited. Why does Moffett refuse to crack down on these lawbreakers? Is the problem county- and city-wide? Have you complained to the police or sheriff’s departments? What has been your experience?

 

Published in: on September 3, 2007 at 12:36 am  Comments (6)  

Ask your county supervisor…

Okay, same scenario as with the mayor and aldermen… You are sitting in a chair across the desk from a member of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, and he has just asked ”What’s on your mind, today, Mr. Citizen? What have I done right? What have I done wrong? What would you do if you were sitting here in my seat?” Now, it’s your turn. How would you respond? Would you ask about the budget? Taxes? The $580,000+ the supervisors “give” to charities? The condition of our Mississippi River bridge? The status of lawsuits brought against the county? Or something else? Since the supervisors read Vicksburg Speaks, now is your opportunity. Use a pen name if you like.

Published in: on September 2, 2007 at 5:36 pm  Comments (1)