For the first time in several years, Christmas will arrive without the Mississippi River standing near, at or above flood stage, Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft said during his weekly Facebook address on Tuesday.

The river stood at 28 feet on Tuesday and without additional rain will crest at 29.3 feet Dec. 27, well below flood stage of 48 feet.

On another matter, Craft said there were 290,960 COVID-19 cases in the state with 232,725 individuals presumed recovered.

He said statewide that 1,674 are presently hospitalized, 181 of which are on ventilators.

Deaths reported have reached 7,158 of which 35 were in Concordia, where the total cases have reached 1,333.

Craft said that vaccinations are starting to begin for segments of the population and that anyone with questions should contact their primary doctor or someone in healthcare.

He said while not everyone chooses to wear a mask, that he does, noting that he was diagnosed with the virus a few weeks ago.

Deciding whether to wear a mask and to celebrate Christmas with family are personal matters, he said.

“This may be the last Christmas with my father,” he said. “We are planning to have a celebration with my dad.”

Concerning projects in town, the mayor said the contractor is picking up reclaim amassed during recent street work. He said the town has another half million dollars set aside for street work.

He said sewer repairs are underway on Palm Street.

The port conveyor project is near completion with the final walk through underway, he said, while work on the new substation is “coming along well.”

Town engineers are assessing the drainage situation while a pump in District 2 will be installed to alleviate problems in the slough area.

He said work to provide internet service to residents along Bill Johnson Drive and Riverbend Avenue is progressing. Craft said cable installation should begin in four to six weeks.

Craft also noted that the Vidalia Beautification Committee will present a fireworks display on Dec. 31 beginning at 6:30 p.m. on the riverfront.

He thanked the committee for the fireworks show and for decorating the courthouse and other areas in town.

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