Happy thanksgiving sports • B1 world • A10 big talk Russia Mullen gives Bulldogs swagger Thurs day, N o v e m b e r 24, 2011 • 50¢ people NATALIE WOOD DEATH INVESTIGATION Country threatens U.S. missile shield www.v ick sburgp ost.com Home for the holidays The two-story Harper home burns on April 27. The Harpers’ new home Lifeguard says actress could have been saved Tonight: clear, lows in the lower 40s Friday: sunny, highs in the lower 70s Mississippi River: 17.5 feet Rose: 2.6 foot Flood stage: 43 feet A11 DEATH • Terry W. Rowland A11 TODAY IN HISTORY INDEX Business................................A9 Classifieds............................. B9 Comics................................... B5 Puzzles................................... B8 Dear Abby............................ B8 Editorial.................................A4 People/TV............................. B6 CONTACT US Call us Advertising....601-636-4545 Classifieds....... 601-636-SELL Circulation......601-636-4545 News................601-636-4545 E-mail us See A2 for e-mail addresses ONLINE www.vicksburgpost.com VOLUME 129 NUMBER 328 2 SECTIONS Mekus seeks recount of votes By Danny Barrett Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org B6 WEATHER 1863: The Battle of Lookout Mountain begins in Tennessee; Union forces succeed in taking the mountain from the Confederates. 1963: Jack Ruby shoots and mortally wounds Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy, in a scene captured on live television. 1969: Apollo 12 splashes down safely in the Pacific. 1971: A hijacker calling himself “Dan Cooper” (but who became popularly known as “D.B. Cooper”) parachutes from a Northwest Orient Airlines 727 somewhere over the Pacific Northwest after receiving $200,000 dollars in ransom — his fate remains unknown. Ever y day Si nCE 1883 Eli Baylis•The Vicksburg Post Jennifer Harper and her husband, Jim, tell stories about the rebuilding process since a fire took their home in April. ‘Turkey and all the trimmings’ has special meaning for Harpers By Danny Barrett Jr. email@example.com Each side of Jim and Jennifer Harper’s family was to crowd into their living room for Thanksgiving dinner today — in itself, a milestone among countless helpings of love served up by so many since a devastating spring fire. For Jennifer, the longtime director of the Vicksburg Senior Center, they’re angels. And they’ll be at her dinner table in one sense or another. “Losing your possessions — the little things that mean the most — that’s hard,” she said as she prepared to make good on a goal to be back in the house by the holidays. “To see people coming and helping. They were just angels. We have a lot to be thankful for this year.” She said the chronicle of help begins with telltale barks and an emergency call from a passer-by. Cookie, the family’s black Labrador retriever, was “barking his liver out” at booms of thunder during the 1 a.m. hour April 27 — the third of four days of severe storms and tornadoes across the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada. The storms caused about $11 billion in damage and nearly Republican Patty Mekus, who was defeated by 56 votes in her challenge to become Warren County tax collector, has asked for a full recount of ballots cast in the Nov. 8 general election, according to a letter delivered to county officials Wednesday. Patty Antonia Mekus, 45, Mekus Flaggs-Jones director of development and alumni affairs at Vicksburg Catholic School, cited loyalty to her supporters in her loss to incumbent Antonia Flaggs-Jones in results certified last week by the Secretary of State’s Office. “Due to the very narrow margin of the Tax Collector’s race, the number of absentee ballots, and affidavit ballots, I hereby notify you that I am exercising my right as stated in Mississippi Code 1972, Section 23-15-911, to canvass the contents of the ballot boxes from the Nov. 8, 2011, election,” stated a letter Mekus said was delivered by campaign representative Bob Croisdale to Flaggs-Jones’ home and via phone message. Flaggs-Jones was visiting relatives in Dallas on Wednesday for the Thanksgiving holiday, said state Rep. George Flaggs, See Recount, Page A11. Jay Harper, left, and friend Patrick McGuffie help move the Harper family belongings into their new home this month. 350 deaths, including at least seven reported in Mississippi but none in Warren County. The National Weather Service confirmed 336 tornadoes across 21 states on April 27, with 322 deaths attributed to the twisters, which made it the deadliest day for twisters in the U.S. since 1925. Barking led to shaking — what Jim had to do to cajole sons Jay, 19, and Ben, 16, and two of Jay’s visiting friends out of bed as flames ignited by lightning tore through the Henry Drive home’s upper story while Bovina, Culkin and Fisher Ferry volunteer fire departments fought to save the bottom floor. “The volunteers were here before I realized they were here,” she said. The emergency call to Vicksburg Warren E-911 was placed at 1:17 a.m. from a female passer-by still without a face to the Harpers. “Never found her,” she said. “Just a name.” Neighbors used chains hooked to their own vehicles to save the Harpers’ vehicles, lawnmowers and four-wheelers in the fire’s path. A mad dash to save some valuables as the fire grew hotter netted a few things: an old jewelry box with insurance papers, marriage license, a letter from her father, bits of jewelry, a photo of her parents, one of Jay signing his baseball scholarship at Hinds Community College. “I grabbed keys, cell phone, and, as soon as I stepped foot on the grass, I heard the upstairs collapsing,” she said. Later that morning, she said, an army of help arrived to clear the front yard of soot, ash and whatever else covered the soaked ground. “The yard was literally covered with people. Just coming through picking up everything See Home, Page A11. Levee Street Depot Depot third-floor work to begin next month By John Surratt firstname.lastname@example.org Renovations to the third floor of the old Levee Street Depot for Vicksburg Main Street’s offices are expected to begin in December. The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen Wednesday approved a $105,660 change order with Kenneth R. Thompson Jr. Builder of Greenwood, the depot renovation contractor, to build the Main Street offices on the south end of the third floor. City buildings and inspection director Victor Gray-Lewis, the renovation project coordinator, said the work should begin early next month and is expected to take at least three months. “The first and second floors of the depot are completed,” he said. “The third floor is pretty much the same as it has been, but the air conditioning and sprinkler systems have been installed.” Plans accompanying the change order See Depot, Page A11.