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SCHOOL & YOUTH • B1 TOPIC • C1 A NEW WORK ‘TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE’ Art group focusing on scholarship Two-man show coming to city WE DN E SDAY, December 1, 2010 • 50¢ Mississippian picked as River Region CEO By Pamela Hitchins Doug Sills, who grew up less than 40 miles from Vicksburg, has been chosen as the new chief executive officer for River Region Health System, the company announced this morning. Sills, 56, replaces Vance Reynolds who left for a similar job in his hometown of Sherman, Texas, after two years at the helm of River Region Medical Center, Vicksburg’s only hospital. “We are very pleased to have found someone of Doug’s caliber and credentials to lead River Region, and we feel his long and deep roots in Mississippi will be of speDoug cial benefit,” Sills said Howell Gage, Chairman of the hospital’s board of trustees. “He is the perfect person for this position and will help build on River Region’s many successes.” Sills, 56, is a native of Belzoni who grew up in south Jackson. He has nearly 30 years of health care management experience and has received numerous awards and honors for professional achievement. He will begin his new position on Jan. 3. “River Region has outstanding physicians, excellent technology and a terrific staff,” said Sills. “I am truly excited about the opportunity to return home to Mississippi and be a part of such a great organization.” Sills currently is CEO of Northern Louisiana Medical Center in Ruston, La., where in three years he recruited about 40 physicians, opened a level II neonatal intensive care unit and added a new catherization laboratory. “He has high energy and good foresight,” said Diane Gawronski, RRMC’s vice president for marketing and business development. “He is very interested in continuing to move River Region forward into areas we have not yet reached. We are all looking forward to him starting with us.” Sills is also credited with See CEO, Page A8. NRoute audits ‘clean,’ director tells board By Manivanh Chanprasith A preliminary report of independent audits conducted on the NRoute bus system returned a longawaited positive opinion, officials said Tuesday. Jackson accounting firm Banks, Finley, White & Co., which had been hired by the City of Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen in October, issued an “unqualified opinion,” or clean audits, for NRoute’s books in 2008 and 2009, the years for which the city sought reviews before releasing any of this fiscal year’s $135,000 allocation for the system. “The books are clean,” Executive Director Evelyn Bumpers told NRoute’s five-member Transportation Commission Tuesday. “This is the best audit that an agency can get. There were no financial issues or misuse of funds. There’s See NRoute, Page A9. New president picked for ASU happy, humbled PROGRESS NEAR BRIDGE By Pamela Hitchins David Jackson•The Vicksburg Post Cars drive Tuesday along the completed first phase of the new detour road connecting Washington Street around the demolished bridge over Kansas City Railway tracks at Clark Street. This phase opens the new temporary city street between the DiamondJacks Casino intersection with Washington Street and the area near the entrance to Ergon. The second phase, expected to be complete in about three weeks, will finish the connection from the Ergon area to Lee Street and back to Washington Street. The detour provides a shorter way around the bridge construction than the city-routed detour that runs east around the site through City Park. The Washington Street bridge was closed in January 2009 and demolished in August 2010. It served as the main north-south corridor connecting downtown with Interstate 20. Completion of the road-topped tunnel is expected in April. Tractor-trailer rigs are required to detour onto U.S. 61 North. State welcome center reopens after 2 months By Danny Barrett Jr. The traveling public returned to the Mississippi Welcome Center this morning, as offices at the rest stop at Washington Street and the Mississippi River bridges reopened after two months of landscaping. New crepe myrtle trees, Indian hawthorn bushes and groundcover grass are now in green spaces around the building now outfitted with a timed irrigation system. A row of benches was installed facing the bridges to encourage visitors to take a load off as they view the horizon. “The barriers are down,” center ONLINE VOLUME 128 NUMBER 335 4 SECTIONS supervisor Elmerree Bradley said. “We have a lot of different benches around here now, and some shrubs.” Operating hours have returned to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. , Bradley said. Workers at the rest area along the Mississippi/Louisiana border had worked out of the Mississippi Development Authority’s offices in Jackson since Oct. 1 when the greenery was uprooted and tourists seeking information were rerouted to the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, all funded by federal stimulus money awarded to the Mississippi Department of See Center, Page A8. WEATHER DEATHS Tonight: Clear, lows in the 20s Thursday: Clear, highs in the 60s • R.W. Boydstun • Lanny Roy McCann • Sha’Colby Savell • Curtisene Brooks Smith Mississippi River: 13.0 feet Rose: 1.5 foot Flood stage: 43 feet A9 A9 KATIE CARTER•The Vicksburg Post The Mississippi Welcome Center on Washington Street reopened its doors today with new benches, irrigation system and landscaping. LORMAN — After spending Tuesday meeting with community and school leaders, faculty, students and staff, Dr. Christopher Brown said he was hopeful about the future of Alcorn State University and happy and humbled to have been named its new Dr. Christopher Brown speaks Tuesday at president. “I am thank- the Alcorn campus in ful and blessed Lorman. to be here,” Brown said at a late-afternoon press conference on the ASU campus. “On last night’s drive to the hotel, and this morning, it was raining, the winds were blowing and there were tornadoes up and down the corridor. But this morning, when it looked like the sun wasn’t going to shine any more, God put a rainbow — a purple and gold rainbow — in the sky.” Brown earned laughter and a round of applause for his reference to Alcorn’s colors. Brown was the unanimous choice of the Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning and will begin serving in January. At 38, he will become the youngest public university president in Mississippi. Among the first challenges he will face is managing a possible 15 percent drop in state funding next year. He replaces Dr. Norris Edney, who agreed to serve as Alcorn’s interim president when George Ross stepped down in February to become president of Central Michigan University. Ross, 58, a Utica native, had been in office 13 months after succeeding Clinton Bristow, who died on the campus after suffering an apparent heart attack. Almost 50 applications were reviewed for the job by the search committee. Brown was the committee’s unanimous choice. See Alcorn, Page A8. TODAY IN HISTORY CONTACT US INDEX Sports 1955: Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Ala., city bus. 1921: The Navy flies the first nonrigid dirigible to use helium. 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