Jenifer Branning (R) 3,277 62% Mark Forsman (R) 2,029 38% State Senate Dist. 47 Rep. Primary Runoff 100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING > Joseph Seymour (R) 2,671 51% Mike Tyson (R) 2,544 49% State Senate Dist. 34 Dem. Primary Runoff 100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING > Juan Barnett (D) 4,506 63% Trey Chinn (D) 2,608 37% State Senate Dist. 38 Dem. Primary Runoff 100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING > Tammy Witherspoon (D) 4,139 54% Angela Brooks (D) 3,519 46% State House of Rep. Dist. 24 Rep. Primary…Mississippi runoff results Jenifer Branning has won the Senate District 18 seat in parts of Leake, Neshoba and Winston counties. She defeated Mark Forsman in Tuesday's Republican primary runoff. Branning will be unopposed in November and will begin a four-year term in January. The current District 18 senator, Republican Giles Ward of Louisville, did not seek re-election. Ward is currently the Senate president pro tempore, and presides over the Senate when Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is not available. All 52 senators choose the pro tem. ClarionLedger 8/25/15 Uselton claims Superintendent post, Hale edges Goudy for House seat Cory Uselton has become the new Superintendent of Education in DeSoto County.... ...Meanwhile Jeff Hale is the apparent winner of the House District 24 race over Rob Goudy by a scant 13 votes. There are 18 provisional or affidavit ballots remaining to be counted. To change the outcome, Goudy would need to receive almost all of that vote margin to eek out a win. Affidavit ballots will be counted Wednesday. DeSoto Times 8/25/15 Incumbent Gibbs wins House 36 race Karl Gibbs, who won a special election in 2013 to replace his father, David Gibbs, who died in office, captured the House District 36 seat in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. Daily Journal 8/25/15 From MSGOP: If it wasn’t clear enough already that the Mississippi Democratic Party has lost its way, it certainly is today. The Party is bringing liberal superstar Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, in to Jackson to headline their next big fundraiser. Wasserman Schultz was not only a lead cheerleader for ObamaCare, she continued to defend the President’s lie about keeping your coverage long after 14 million Americans started losing their coverage. Wasserman Schultz presided over the Democratic platform that removed any mention of God, calling it a technical oversight, and then presided over the Democratic…U.S. Senator Roger Wicker in South Mississippi Wicker says he will join other members in Congress to vote a measure to disapprove President Obama’s agreement. Closer to home, Senator Wicker says high insurance is the biggest remaining problem from Katrina. “The increase in the premiums is still a huge problem. What we did lately, was to take time out there and say we aren’t going to get these huge premiums take effect. So, we put a stop to that. We’re looking at it. It’s not a permanent solution.” The Senator will be traveling throughout South Mississippi over the next few…Who You Voted For: Choctaw Chief to Keep Job, Transportation, Public Service Commission Run-offs CHOCTAW, Miss.–The do-over election for chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians left former Miko Beasley Denson without the job and current Chief Phyliss J. Anderson to continue serving her second four-year term. NewsMS 8/26/15 WTOK 8/25/15Pine Belt election runoff results State Senate Dist. 38 Democratic 100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING > Tammy Witherspoon (D) 4,139 54% Angela Brooks (D) 3,519 46% State Senate Dist. 34 Democratic 100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING > Juan Barnett (D) 4,506 63% Trey Chinn (D) 2,608 37% State House Dist. 87 GOP 100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING > Chris Johnson (R) 1,949 59% Michael Davis (R) 1,351 41% State Senate Dist. 47 GOP 100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING > Joseph Seymour (R) 2,671 51% Mike Tyson (R) 2,544 49% WDAM 8/25/15 WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi WLOX 8/25/15Coleman, Britton win party primary runoffs for commissions JACKSON, MISS. — Democratic and Republican party slates are now set for statewide and regional offices in Mississippi, with voters on Tuesday deciding one primary runoff for each party for a seat on a state commission. Longtime state Rep. Mary Coleman won the Democratic nomination for the Central District seat on the state Transportation Commission, defeating businessman Robert Amos. Both are from Jackson. Coleman will challenge Republican incumbent Dick Hall of Brandon in the Nov. 3 general election. Business investor Sam Britton of Laurel defeated first-term state Sen. Tony Smith to win…Judge orders temporary halt to Mississippi executions A federal judge has temporarily blocked the state of Mississippi from carrying out executions. U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate issued an oral temporary restraining order Tuesday in the federal lawsuit filed in April against the Mississippi Department of Corrections challenging the use of compounded drugs in executions. The state Attorney General's office filed an appeal late Tuesday on behalf of the MDOC... ..."I am disappointed in today’s decision," Gov. Phil Bryant said late Tuesday. "The state of Mississippi will exercise its full legal rights to ensure that crime victims and their families…Bill Weisenberger loses runoff election A suspended justice court judge lost his seat on the bench in Tuesday’s runoff election. Challenger Lloyd Spivey III defeated incumbent Bill Weisenberger by more than 1,000 votes Tuesday night. Unofficial but final results had Spivey with 2,240 votes to Weisenberger’s 1,094. ClarionLedger 8/25/15 Initiative 42 VS. Initiative 42-A WTOK 8/25/15RELEASE: State Auditor Arrests and Issues Demand Against Former Gunnison Town Clerk Jackson, Miss –State Auditor Special Agents arrested former Town Clerk of Gunnison, Marquita Payne. Payne was also served with a demand today totaling $70, 392.66. Based upon the evidence developed in this investigation, Payne embezzled funds from the town of Gunnison from January 2012 through December 2013. She accomplished this by not depositing funds she collected on behalf of the town of Gunnison. “Our office is responding to public corruption all across our state,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. “In the fight to create more transparency and accountability…Nobody & AG go at it Carner wrapped up his argument by stating that once the case began, the plaintiff's anonymity will be "forever lost". The TRO will protect his identity until the case is actually adjudicated. The anonymity will be dropped and thus moot if the state can prosecute the case. Carner sat down and Pizetta stepped up to take his swings at bat. He said this case was different than McIntyre. He said the court can't find a statute to be unconstitutional based upon a hypothetical case because one could always create another hypothetical case. There must be…RELEASE: State Auditor Makes Arrest and Issues Demand for Two Hundred Thousand Dollars Jackson, Miss –State Auditor Special Agents arrested former Administrative Assistant of Meridian Community College, Sandra Gail Young, after a Lauderdale County Grand Jury indicted Young on embezzlement charges. Young was also served with a demand in the amount of $202,919.72. This amount represents funds misappropriated by Young during the time period of August 2008 through February of 2015. “As soon as our staff at MCC detected the unaccounted for funds, we immediately notified the State Auditor’s Office and local authorities,” said MCC President Dr. Scott Elliot. “Our…Apparently, Hillary's Mississippi pals are so confident in their upcoming fundraiser on Wednesday night that their hosting it in a place no one can find. Hillary Clinton Jackson, MS fundraiser - Undisclosed LocationWDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS WDAM 8/24/15Trent Lott endorses John Kasich; Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden head to Cleveland: Ohio Politics Roundup Trent Lott endorses Kasich: The Mississippi Republican and former Senate majority leader gives Kasich his second big endorsement from the South in as many weeks. Here's what Lott said in a release from the Kasich campaign: I've known John Kasich a long time and watched with pride and admiration as, time and again, he's shown the world what conservative ideas can do to strengthen economies and make our country more secure. His leadership on the House Budget Committee was essential to getting the federal…Dawkins drops challenge in Mississippi House District 121 The Democratic race for the state House seat in District 121 apparently is over. Hunter Dawkins said he won't pursue his challenge after the Democratic Executive Committee refused to accept it. Dawkins said his only recourse would be to take his case to Circuit Court, a move that he and his attorney estimated would cost $10,000. "And if I was successful," he said, "then I would have to take on (Republican incumbent) Carolyn Crawford and I know she's going to have some campaign money. And where would I get any money?" SunHerald…MDE: Accountability report unfounded The Mississippi Department of Education is calling a report questioning the way the department grades its districts and schools misleading. The state watchdog agency the Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) released a report on Thursday saying flaws in MDE's accountability system are leading to inaccurate or unrepresentative scores. The Mississippi Department of Education's accountability system assigns letter grades A-F to school districts and schools based on student assessment scores and growth along with graduation rates. The standards are designed to show how well schools and districts are doing and identify those that…Jackson City Council budget proposal calls for no tax increase The Jackson City Council’s 2015-2016 budget proposal is sound and doesn’t require the 8 percent tax increase proposed by Mayor Tony Yarber, Council President Melvin Priester Jr. said Monday. Earlier this month, Yarber’s administration proposed a $119 million general fund budget that included an 8 percent tax increase, once a month furloughs of many city workers, a hiring freeze, a moratorium on new vehicle purchases and some higher city fees. “What I have to absolutely emphasize is that we are saving $7.6 million and are trying to prevent the 8…Mississippi holds Democratic and GOP primary runoffs Tuesday Mississippians will vote in runoffs to choose party nominees for two regional commissions and 12 legislative seats. Polls will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday. ClarionLedger 8/24/15 Bryan Fischer: Gov. Bryant can strike blow for religious liberty But in Judge Reeve's Hitleresque world (Hitler famously said, "the church must be separate from the state"), it will now cost the Rankin County School Board a cool $10,000 to exercise a constitutionally guaranteed right that should be theirs for free. Now Todd Starnes, to his everlasting credit, is willing to fork over the 10 grand himself if the school goes ahead and authorizes the band to play "How Great Thou Art" at their next home game. And to the everlasting credit of Brandon High School fans, they broke into…Mississippi DOT awards four grants for railroad projects The Mississippi Transportation Commission (MTC) in the US has granted approval to the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) to award four grants to fund maintenance and improvement projects on the state's railroads. The MDOT is providing $394,319 to Mississippi Railway to upgrade the rail to a weight capacity of 286,000lb, including rail and bridge upgrades in Fulton. In Belmont, the Mississippi-Alabama Railroad Authority is receiving $297,000 to replace 1,100 cross ties, switch tie rehab for three switches, ballast replacement and track surfacing. "These grants will help make needed improvements that will continue…RELEASE: COCHRAN STATEMENT COMMEMORATING 10th ANNIVERSARY OF HURRICANE KATRINA WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today issued the following statement to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the deadly Aug. 29, 2005, storm that smashed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast and affected the entire state of Mississippi: Remaining Post-Katrina Challenges Cannot Diminish Pride in Mississippians Following Deadly 2005 Hurricane Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina came ashore on the Mississippi Gulf Coast with devastating force, inflicting billions of dollars in property and personal damages. It was amazing that more were not killed.…Latest Kemper rate hike challenged A candidate for Southern District public service commissioner and a longtime challenger to Mississippi Power Co.'s Kemper County coal plant has asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to halt the latest rate increases regulators approved for the facility. Thomas Blanton, a Hattiesburg who's running as a Democrat, filed court papers Friday that claim the 18 percent rate increase the Mississippi Public Service Commission approved Aug. 13 defies the court's February opinion that invalidated a prior hike. The court also ordered the revenue from that increase be refunded. The utility, through the use of Construction Work in…Education Analysis: Do Results Following Spending? Each year, there is considerable debate in Jackson about how much Mississippi should spend on education. Since we regularly find Mississippi at the bottom of most K-12 rankings, there is a belief among some that if Mississippi would spend more money, we would see better results in the classrooms. This fall, a proposed Constitutional amendment will be on the ballot, which supporters believe will force the legislature to spend more state dollars on education and empower a Hinds County judge with enforcement authority. All this focus on increased spending begs the question: Are the…BILL CRAWFORD — Initiative 42 may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing Initiative 42 is only about fully funding MAEP,” they will get proponents to say. But the wily amendment the masterminds crafted is so broad, so undefined in state law, and so susceptible to judges’ preferences that reasonable people should be concerned that it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Are Initiative 42 supporters being misled by their masterminds? Ask why they didn’t draft simple language saying “fully fund MAEP,” why they divorce the Legislature from school funding and oversight, what they really mean by the words “adequate and…Anderson and Denson Campaign Hard as Choctaw Election Nears Philadelphia, Miss. Voters will headed to the polls for a third time to elect a Chief since the run off where Anderson defeated Denson was overturned by the Choctaw Tribal Council. Both candidates tell me they have confidence in the upcoming election. "I believe that the Choctaw people will come out and vote for the 6th time to reelect me Phyliss J. Anderson. I have a proven record with real results and I’m a leader that Choctaw people can trust," Anderson says. "When we ran the second run nearly 50 percent…Sheriff's race hottest in Harrison County The hottest race in the primary runoff is in Harrison County where the sheriff is being challenged by a longtime member of his staff. It's a county that will see a lot of new faces in key positions next year. Troy Peterson, a 23-year employee of the office, said it has always been his goal to be sheriff. He said he thought his chance arrived when Sheriff Melvin Brisolara announced he would not run. Brisolara later changed his mind and got back in the race. Sunherald 8/23/15 MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS WLBT 8/23/15Metro area’s future linked to Jackson’s: Blount (State Sen. David Blount) Most of us who live in Jackson are not asking for a handout. We are asking that Mississippi state government recognize (as other states have) that the success of the capital city is in everyone’s interest. Here is a reasonable plan that citizens of the state can support: •Locate state agencies in the Capitol complex. This will save state taxpayers money (due to office consolidation and cheaper rent), provide more convenient access to citizens coming from around the state and bring more people to our downtown. State government should…Wicker: 10 years after Katrina, Miss. has endured When Hurricane Katrina arrived on our shores a decade ago, it was clear that parts of our state would never be the same. The storm was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, slamming into the Gulf Coast with a 30-foot surge and 100-plus mile per hour winds. Its massive impact touched all 82 of our counties and took the lives of 238 Mississippians. At the time, I was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives for Mississippi’s First District, which includes the state’s northernmost counties. My wife, Gayle, and I traveled…Suspended Madison judge fighting for job Embattled incumbent Madison County Justice Court judge Bill Weisenberger, suspended from the bench for allegations of racism and assault, will try to hold onto his seat Tuesday in a runoff election against a businessman. Lloyd Spivey III is facing Weisenberger for the Justice Court Judge 3 seat. In May 2014, Weisenberger allegedly assaulted a mentally challenged African-American man and yelled racial slurs at him at the Canton Flea Market. ClarionLedger 8/21/15 No ruling in anonymous campaign flier lawsuit A federal judge in Jackson did not rule Friday on a request to keep hidden the origin of a political mailer that depicted the Madison mayor manipulating Madison County supervisor candidates with puppet strings. Judge Carlton Reeves took the matter under advisement after a 90-minute hearing. He indicated it could be a couple of weeks before he rules after attorneys further brief the matter. ClarionLedger 8/21/15 Reeves staffer MacNabb injured in ATV crash Parks MacNabb, legislative affairs director for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, is recovering in the intensive-care unit at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis after an ATV crash, Reeves spokeswoman Laura Hipp said Saturday. ClarionLedger 8/22/15 Irb Benjamin, 69, of Madison, and Sam Waggoner, 61, of Carthage, were charged today with paying bribes and kickbacks to former Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner (MDOC) Christopher B. Epps in exchange for receiving contracts involving the MDOC and its operations, announced Acting United States Attorney Harold Brittain, FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Donald Alway, IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jerome McDuffie, U.S. Postal Inspector Robert Wemyss, and Mississippi State Auditor Stacey Pickering. Benjamin was charged in a three count indictment returned by a federal grand jury with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and with two…Obama not coming to Mississippi for Katrina anniversary, but Bush is President Barack Obama may not be visiting Mississippi to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, but his predecessor is. Former President George W. Bush announced Thursday that he and former first lady Laura Bush will be in Gulfport on Friday, Aug. 28 to attend a Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) event honoring first responders at the Barksdale Pavilion in Jones Park at 11 a.m. Gulflive 8/20/15WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS WDAM 8/20/15Trump's Mobile event drawing South Mississippians Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile could be packed Friday, but it will be Donald Trump, not high school football, drawing the crowd. And there will be South Mississippians among the spectators, expected to be up to 40,000, organizers say. The Donald Trump for President pep rally started out in the Mobile Civic Center, but was moved to the much-larger outdoor stadium as the number of ticket requests swelled. Who knows how big the crowd would be if the event didn't compete with Friday night football. SunHerald 8/20/15UPDATE: Mississippi wildlife commission passes deer baiting In Wednesday's Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks meeting, members voted unanimously in favor of baiting deer. The change came when a vote was taken on a proposal to remove language from the current supplemental feeding regulations that states hunters cannot hunt within the line of sight of a feeder. By removing that language, hunters will be able to shoot deer at feeders. Clarion Ledger 8/21/15Yesterday, "Anonymous" filed a lawsuit in Carlton Reeves courtroom against Phil Bryant, Delbert Hosemann and Jim Hood. At issue is subpoenas issued to uncover possible campaign finance violations at the tail end of the most recent party primary. Three weeks ago, Delbert Hosemann issued a release stating that they had initiated an investigation. We've covered two incidents that may have been involved - the first involving a mailer sent against Mayor Mary Hawkins and the other attacking Republicans over the flag issue. Anonymous v Phil Bryant, Delbert Hosemann & Jim Hood Complaint There is a court hearing at 1:30 p.m.…Marsha Barbour the ‘face of Mississippi recovery’ Being the governor’s wife meant “I could go where other people couldn’t go.” She also, Gov. Barbour said, became his “eyes and ears” in the field. “I had FEMA’s ear, and (Mississippi Power President) Anthony Topazi’s, and I had all these wonderful cell numbers,” Marsha Barbour said. In working with families, she would discover problems and red tape holding things up, and try to cut through it. “You had to get shelter for people,” Barbour said. “But the FEMA trailers brought their own problems. We started getting them in, but then I don’t… WTOK 8/20/15Cartoonist politely sums up Mississippians' feelings on presidential snub Ramsey posted an open letter to President Barack Obama acknowledging that part of the decision on where to visit is likely political, but that didn't keep Mother Nature from visiting both of us on August 29, 2005. Ramsey's Facebook post reads: Dear Mr. President, I read yesterday where you're attending a Katrina remembrance in New Orleans. I'm glad you'll be there for the folks in New Orleans. No doubt they have suffered and I know they'll find comfort in your words and you just being there. I am sorry to hear…Dawkins challenges one-vote loss in Harrison County's House District 121 A Democratic candidate is challenging his one-vote loss in the House District 121 primary. Hunter Dawkins' challenge says a "mystery" ballot tainted six other affidavit ballots and none of them should have been counted. If those are thrown out, the challenge says, Dawkins would be the winner. It asks the Harrison County Democratic Executive Committee to do just that. The winner will face Republican incumbent Carolyn Crawford in the Nov. 3 general election. SunHerald 8/20/15 Judge finds SRHS owes plan JACKSON COUNTY -- Singing River Health System owes money it failed to contribute to the employee pension fund over the years, Judge Breland Hilburn ruled Thursday morning, according to Biloxi attorney Jim Reeves. Reeves said the amount Singing River must pay is still to be determined, but the ruling is "huge and potentially shaves years off the litigation." Earl Denham of Ocean Springs said Hilburn also indicated those responsible for underfunding the pension must be identified. SunHerald 8/20/15 RELEASE: Corinth Businessman Arrested and Indicted on 60 Counts Corinth, Miss - Doug Essary, owner of Essary Truck Sales & Parts Inc., was indicted on 60 counts by an Alcorn County Grand Jury and taken into custody today, announced State Auditor Stacey Pickering and District Attorney John Weddle. Essary was indicted on fifty-six counts of submitting fraudulent documents and four counts of conspiracy to fraudulently obtain public funds. A demand in the amount of $44,168.17 was also served. Essary is accused of scheming with former Alcorn County officials by submitting fraudulent invoices to Alcorn County Districts one and two. He…MSU to name dorm for Nunnelee JACKSON — Mississippi State University will name a dormitory after late Congressman Alan Nunnelee. The College Board approved plans Thursday to name what is known as North Hall, a dormitory opened in 2007, for the Tupelo Republican who died in office in February. HattiesburgAmerican 8/20/15 Helmick: Mississippi educators support Initiative 42 Our students, educators, and communities, as well as our local businesses, towns and cities deserve thriving public schools. We know that when state elected leaders fully fund our public schools year in and year out, our students will thrive and so will the communities and businesses where they live. Joyce Helmick - MEA (teachers union) Clarion Ledger 8/20/15Ex-President George W. Bush to commemorate Katrina in Gulfport Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush will visit Gulfport on Aug. 28 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Clarion Ledger 8/20/15A Great Start for Mississippi's First Charter Schools Governor Bryant paid a visit to ReImagine Prep, one of Mississippi's first two public charter schools, the other day. Speaking with teachers and students, it was clear that this new educational option is going to lead to greater opportunities for all Mississippians. At ReImagine Prep, these students will get a well-rounded and tough education, with an emphasis on coding and computer science. There are more than 1,200 unfilled computing jobs in Mississippi right now. This charter school, open to all in in the Jackson Public School District with no tuition, is preparing…RELEASE: PEW-MACARTHUR RECOGNIZES MISSISSIPPI AS LEADER IN FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY Lt. Gov. Reeves, Speaker Gunn speak at national forum in Washington, D.C. WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mississippi’s efforts to hold state agencies accountable for tax dollars has been recognized as a national model by the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn spoke on the issue in Washington, D.C. today. “Agencies will have to account for exactly how they’re serving the public through real data – not simply anecdotes,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “And as policy makers, we can target areas for efficiency and evaluate whether… WTOK 8/19/15 WTOK 8/19/15UPDATE: Obama not visiting MS for Katrina anniversary UPDATE: According to a White House release, President Obama will not visit Mississippi to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Obama plans an Aug. 27 visit to New Orleans to commemorate the storm, which made landfall in Mississippi on Aug. 29, 2005, destroying Waveland, Bay St. Louis and much of the Mississippi Coast and causing poorly maintained levees in New Orleans to break and flood the city. ClarionLedger 8/19/15 Rethink Mississippi: How Robert Gray’s Upset Was More Than a Century in Making In the days since the election, the questions have shifted from who to how. And while no explanation is definitive, Gray almost certainly benefited from an uncommon confluence of factors. The two active gubernatorial candidates had never run for elected office before, so neither possessed high name recognition or a pre-existing constituency. Slater and Short raised more money than Gray’s $0, but neither came close to what successful Democratic candidates have spent in past primaries. In the end, his opponents’ relative anonymity allowed Gray to capitalize, inadvertently,…Presley addresses rural broadband access Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley heard concerns about the lack of good wireless coverage and broadband service in rural areas at a public meeting in Eupora last week. Holding his 145th town hall meeting since taking office, Presley addressed around two dozen people on Aug. 13 at the Eupora Community Center. Some of those in attendance voiced concerns about the lack of broadband Internet service in their community, poor cell phone service, frequent power outages and water system problems. Presley said providing high-speed Internet service in rural areas is of the utmost priority…Miss. Gov. Bryant touts jobs brought to state during his tenure Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant brought his economic development message to Southaven Wednesday, touting the jobs created during his time in office. CommercialAppeal 8/19/15 Bennie Thompson: Over $75K awarded to Hinds volunteer fire depts. Congressman Bennie Thompson, Dem.-Miss., announced grants totaling $75,358 to Hinds County volunteer fire departments, Wednesday. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration has awarded the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG). ClarionLedger 8/19/15 Gautier leaders raise MS flag at Veterans Tribute Tower Gautier city leaders have decided to let the Mississippi state flag fly above the Veterans Tribute Tower. A WLOX viewer noticed that the controversial flag had been replaced by the City of Gautier's flag Wednesday morning. Bill Whatley posted a picture on Facebook, and expressed his dismay at the decision in a phone call to WLOX.... ... Mayor Gordon Gollott had this to say about the situation: I have heard from my brothers and sisters in the American Legion. And I will request that this issue be brought to a vote…WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi WLOX 8/19/15Delta State condemns state flag, calls for change In a statement recently released, Delta State University joins a host of others around the state and has called for a change in Mississippi’s state flag. Cities, towns, counties and schools across Mississippi have taken stands against the flag recently, including Oxford and Greenwood voting to remove the flag from public places this week. As for the public universities, all but Mississippi University for Women has either released a statement denouncing the flag or has taken it down altogether. MBJ 8/19/15 RELEASE: Rep. Harper Saddened by Passing of Long-Time Staffer, Hank Moseley Starkville – Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) released the following statement after learning that Henry A. "Hank" Moseley, the Congressman’s Special Assistant for Constituent Services, passed away earlier today: "Sidney and I are incredibly saddened by news of the passing of Hank today. Hank was a dedicated, passionate public servant and a true gentleman; he cared deeply for everybody and lived to serve others.” Harper said. Hank Moseley served as a Special Assistant for Constituent Services in the Starkville, Mississippi office and worked for both of Rep. Gregg Harper’s predecessors,…Gov. Barbour ‘a good man in a storm’ Barbour wasn’t immune from criticism and admits to making mistakes. In his Katrina memoir “America’s Great Storm,” Barbour notes, “I made a number of bad decisions in the recovery, but I made a whole lot of decisions.” Barbour calls the state port at Gulfport “the biggest fish that got away.” He caught flak for “diverting” $570 million some community leaders say should have gone to housing projects to port renovation and expansion. He envisioned the port’s channel being deepened to take advantage of larger ships becoming the shipping industry norm, but the…In Mississippi, defenders of state’s Confederate-themed flag dig in In the primary round of elections earlier this month — which included every elected office in the state — no campaign turned on the issue. Few candidates even mentioned it. Whit Waide, a political science professor at Mississippi State whose family has been in Mississippi since statehood, said, “I would give up this job if it would mean a new state flag.” He’s also well placed to help make that happen. His college roommate and best friend is Reeves, the lieutenant governor. If Reeves supported a bill for a new flag,…GOVERNOR HALEY BARBOUR TO KICK OFF BOOK TOUR Barbour’s new book, “America’s Great Storm,” details the first 12 months after the worst natural disaster in American history Today former Governor Haley Barbour announced his Mississippi tour schedule for his new book, America’s Great Storm: Leading through Hurricane Katrina. The tour, which begins Aug. 22, will give Mississippians an opportunity to visit with Gov. Barbour during visits to several cities across the state. “As we approach the ten-year anniversary of Katrina, I look forward to visiting with many of the same individuals who made the Mississippi Katrina story unique. Our state…Former Cochran aide pleads guilty to drug conspiracy The arrest cost Pagan his job, where he earned around $160,000 annually working as Cochran’s personal assistant and office administrator, according to the LegiStorm database. Cochran’s office dismissed Pagan on May 15, after he spent decades working for the Mississippi Republican. Pagan, a native of Jackson, Mich., first came to the Senate as a page for Cochran when he was 16 years old, and essentially never left. He reportedly finished his high school degree while continuing to work for Cochran, and confirmed in court Wednesday that he did not earn a college…PERRY/Mississippi Book Festival For those more politically inclined, the book festival has that covered as well. Former Governor Haley Barbour will participate in the History and Biography panel to discuss his new book on leadership during Hurricane Katrina: America's Great Storm. Also on the panel is Don Thompson, author of Stennis: Ploughing a Straight Furrow; Stuart Stevens, author of several political, travel and sports books; and Minion K.C. Morrison, author of Aaron Henry of Mississippi: Inside Agitator; among others. Another event features Congressman Gregg Harper conducting a live interview ex-POW and World War II Veteran Earl Derrington as part of…Flag discussion packs council chambers Jim High said it is time for Mississippi to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state flag. “Mississippi is alone in fighting a battle that was lost in 1865,” High said. “Change comes slow, very slow sometimes, but the right thing to do it always the right thing. “The thing to do is to not fly it anywhere until the state leaders in Jackson have the courage to change the flag to one that represents all Mississippians.” While the council has not discussed whether or not to remove the state flag from city-owned properties,…Senate race decided Tuesday Branning polled 3,370 votes or 43 percent in the three counties while Forsman had 1,865 votes or 24 percent in the first primary. Others in the race were Speedy Calvert who tallied 1,636 votes and Curt Pace who had 945 votes. Branning won Neshoba and Leake counties, while Forsman carried Winston County. In an advertisement this week, Branning said she was a fifth generation Neshoba countian and a practicing attorney who helps businesses to grow and create jobs. If elected, she said she would "reduce the size and scope of government in our daily lives and…Former Jackson County state senator, football coach William "Son" Rhodes passes away at 84 Former Jackson County state senator and one time prep football coach William C. "Son" Rhodes passed away Sunday at the age of 84. Rhodes, of Vancleave, was born on February 1, 1931 in Moss Point to H.M. and Hazel Rhodes. He was a lifelong resident of Jackson County, and served with the United States Army during the Korean Conflict. He was a former Senator with the Mississippi Legislature, He graduated from Moss Point High School, and University of Southern Mississippi. He taught school and coached football…Change the State Flag: Oxford City Council Takes Down the Flag, Sends State a Request to Change It OXFORD, Miss.–Change our state flag, is the request from the Oxford city council after a unanimous vote Tuesday night to remove the flag from city buildings... ...That is, until a change is made. Oxford took a step further than most Mississippi cities that have voted to change the flag. The drafted a resolution to go to the state legislature, asking state lawmakers to change it. NewsMS 8/18/15 SID SALTER: Initiative 42 changes who decides funds Backers of Initiative 42 says that their proposal is for a “phased-in” move to full funding, but the language of the constitutional amendment absolutely does not provide such a mechanism. But while MAEP has indeed only been “fully funded” twice, the fact is that current state government leaders and the Legislature provided the largest amount of funding for K-12 education in state history during the most recent legislative session. Daily Journal 8/18/15 WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS WLOX 8/18/15CHARLIE MITCHELL: Sadly, in Mississippi some parents, students don't value education Mississippi schoolchildren are back in class, most working earnestly under the tutelage of skilled educators who really want them to achieve. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is holding hearings around the state in keeping with the processes required leading to November's vote related to public school funding. The separation between those who gathered petitions leading to Initiative 42 and the state legislators who added a competing proposal on ballots to confuse voters could not be more clear. SunHerald 8/18/15 SUN HERALD | EDITORIAL: Give us the facts, not gimmick and games If the Jackson County supervisors want voters to believe their message in the past primary election has been heard, the public officials should stop horsing around with gimmicks such as the pension calculator they offered up to Singing River Health System employees and retirees. Retirees saw right through the questionnaire supervisors asked them to complete. Those questions were loaded, they said, and they boycotted. What everybody really wants is a full accounting of the pension plan disaster. They want to know what happened to the money that should…New board approves millions in no-bid contracts The new board tasked with clamping down on state agencies giving out no-bid contracts signed off on millions of dollars in no-bid contracts Tuesday. The board did question some of the spending. It initially declined to approve two contracts worth nearly $1 million but then came back later in its meeting and approved them. The board issued directives and statements to agencies that it wants to see state government use competitive bidding or requests for proposals whenever possible and get the best bang for taxpayers’ dollars. The revamped Personal Services Contract Review Board…Wicker plans to vote against Iran nuclear deal U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker said he plans to vote against the Iran nuclear deal. The Mississippi Republican spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday about the agreement that was negotiated between Secretary of State John Kerry and top Iranian leaders. WAPT 8/18/15 " />
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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi


WLOX
8/27/15

Posted August 28, 2015 - 5:33 am

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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi


WLOX
8/27/15

Posted August 28, 2015 - 5:31 am

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Congressman Bennie Thompson: Miss.rebounding after Katrina but more work to be done




The initial response and recovery processes after Hurricane Katrina were slow and inadequate. The magnitude of the storm’s destruction exposed serious systemic problems with how federal, state, and local governments were responding to disasters at the time. For example, opportunities to pre-stage important resources before the storm were missed. Chain of command coordination failures hampered the distribution of critical federal resources. There was a lack of well-qualified, well-trained, and well-funded emergency response personnel. Emergency communications hiccups — reminiscent of September 11 — undermined response efforts. And states lacked the ability to quickly or effectively drawdown much-needed federal recovery funds. Unfortunately, parts of southern Mississippi are still feeling the impact of these mistakes 10 years after the storm.

After Hurricane Katrina, Congress tried to address these gaps in preparedness, response and recovery by passing the Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act in 2006. This legislation aims to drastically improve disaster planning efforts, streamline leadership and authorities for future disasters, improve coordination with federal, state, local and private sector partners, and ensure we had effective evacuation and temporary housing plans as well as a public emergency alert and warning system.

Nationally, we have made marked progress on addressing many of these gaps. Our planning and exercise programs have led to quicker, more effective response and recovery efforts. The Integrated Public Alerts and Warnings System has saved lives by getting people out of harm’s way. However, significant challenges remain, particularly with respect to federal policies related to long term recovery. Interoperable emergency communications is still a vexing problem and substantive disaster housing options are still severely limited. During the remainder of the 114th Congress, I will continue to work to address these and other issues critical to improving our ability to respond and recover from storms like Hurricane Katrina.



ClarionLedger
8/27/15

http://www.clarionledger.com/story/opinion/columnists/2015/08/28/thompson-mississippi-rebounding-katrina-work-done/71284856/

Posted August 28, 2015 - 5:24 am

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Sid Salter:Book Festival success was typical day at Mississippi Capitol



The inaugural Mississippi Book Festival was an unqualified success — one that surpassed the rudimentary shade tree estimates of just how many Mississippians would sacrifice an extremely hot Saturday to attend an outdoor festival for the purpose of celebrating reading, writing and the state’s impressive literary accomplishments of past and current authors.

As it turned out, more than 3,000 people braved the summer sun and sweltering heat outside the Mississippi Capitol and crowded conditions that produced standing-room-only crowds for seminars inside the building — and the event got off to a marvelous start.


ClarionLedger
8/26/15

http://www.clarionledger.com/story/opinion/columnists/2015/08/26/salterbook-festival-success-typical-day-mississippi-capitol/32439781/

Posted August 28, 2015 - 5:22 am

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Judge issues restraining order in sheriff smear campaign



A judge ruled in favor of Sheriff Tyrone Lewis’ request for a restraining order against a group of people for cyberstalking, bullying, defamation, and several other allegations.

Lewis’ attorney Dennis Sweet pointed out that smear campaigns such as the one he says was leveled against his client are much easier in the digital age, and cost Lewis irreparable harm to his campaign.

According to court documents, Lewis contends that Tony Davis, Sheila Lewis, Tangue Davis, Kristie Nichols and John Does 1-10 “commit unlawful acts,” namely defamation, malicious prosecution, filing false police reports, extortion, cyberstalking/bullying, and other charges.


ClarionLedger
8/27/15

http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2015/08/27/judge-issues-restraining-order-sheriff-smear-campaign/32479257/

Posted August 28, 2015 - 5:19 am

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HUD Secretary lauds progress in South Mississippi since Katrina




Aid from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was integral to the Coast's housing and economic recovery after Hurricane Katrina, Gov. Phil Bryant told HUD Secretary Julian Castro during Castro's first trip to Mississippi on Thursday.

HUD also changed after Katrina, Castro said, becoming better at teaming with states for disaster relief.

Castro, who was in Gulfport to commemorate Katrina's 10th anniversary, toured the Coast on Thursday, accompanied by Bryant, several members of Mississippi's congressional delegation and Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes.

Mississippi received $5.4 billion through HUD to help with long-term recovery and restoration of housing and infrastructure.


Sunherald
8/27/15

http://www.sunherald.com/2015/08/27/6385779_hud-secretary-lauds-progress-in.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

Posted August 28, 2015 - 5:15 am

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Vicksburg Post: Wicker wise to listen to small business operators, who are today’s job creators




During his visit, Wicker made a point of asking Golding company officials about their experience with the Affordable Care Act. Steve Golding said it has meant less broad and more expensive coverage for some in his company. Golding said, as a perk for its barge pilots, it paid their entire group medical, dental and vision insurance coverage. However, Golding said his company is no longer allowed to do that. He also said benefits for his pilots have decreased. “It has to be the same for everybody,” he said.

Wicker is wise to take the time to listen to small business owners and operators and work to lessen the burden of compliance for them when reasonable and responsible. For the foreseeable future, economists predict small businesses will be the cornerstone of our country’s economy.

Taking care of those job creators benefits us all.


Vicksburg Post
8/27/15

http://m.vicksburgpost.com/2015/08/27/wicker-wise-to-listen-to-small-business-operators-who-are-todays-job-creators/#sthash.3iPHW8n5.dpuf

Posted August 28, 2015 - 5:10 am

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RELEASE:

Sen. Roger Wicker op-ed:


While Everyone’s Talking About the Presidential Race, Here’s Where the GOP Stands in the Senate (IJ Review)

By U.S. Senator Roger Wicker



The race for the White House is in full swing. We’re months away from the first vote of the presidential primaries, but Americans are already fully engaged in the campaigns, and with good reason. However, in battleground states across the country, voters will make another important decision about the future of our country because control of the Senate is once again at stake.

As Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, it’s my duty to ensure our next president has a Republican Senate majority to guide the country in the right direction. The 2014 election sent a clear message that the do-nothing status quo in the Senate was unacceptable. I’m proud that the Senate is back to work under the leadership of Sen. Mitch McConnell, and it is crucial that we maintain a Republican majority in 2016.

With just over 14 months until Election Day, we’ve already laid the proper groundwork. Republican Senators who are on the ticket are already working hard to build their reelection efforts. In states where Republicans have an opportunity to gain a seat, we have top-tier candidates running strong campaigns. And in key states where Democrats are expected to run their strongest races, recruitment failures and brutal primary battles threaten to derail their best efforts.

Republicans have seen overwhelming success on the ballot over the past several election cycles, building a remarkable stable of viable potential candidates ready to take the big stage. Democrats have had the opposite experience. Devastated by losses in Congress and at the state level, national Democrats have been forced to adopt a “Rookies and Retreads” recruiting strategy. They have no choice but to pin their electoral hopes on past losers and untested candidates in their biggest races.

Candidates like Russ Feingold in Wisconsin and Ted Strickland in Ohio have been emphatically rejected by voters in past elections. And novices such as Jason Kander in Missouri and Harry Reid’s handpicked successor Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada are untested, unproven, and unprepared for a tough race.

Even in races where Washington Democrats thought they had found their preferred candidates, messy primary fights are already underway. Democrat activists in Illinois have rejected Tammy Duckworth’s candidacy, with both the state party and Cook County Democrats refusing to endorse her over former Chicago Urban League CEO Andrea Zopp. In Florida, Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy are already at open war with each other. And in Pennsylvania, national Democrats finally convinced Katie McGinty to run against activist favorite and 2010 loser Joe Sestak, forcing a Democrat primary.

To put it plainly, Democrats are in total disarray in key races. These primary battles promise to bolster Republicans’ chances for success in these states.

Candidates matter, and Republicans have strong candidates. Independent leaders like incumbent Senators Kelly Ayotte, Pat Toomey, Rob Portman, Ron Johnson, and Mark Kirk are successful, well-liked, and ready to run winning campaigns – with the fundraising and poll numbers to prove it. When Harry Reid decided to retire rather than face Nevada voters, Republicans were presented with the top pick-up opportunity of the cycle. We couldn’t ask for a better candidate than Joe Heck, a practicing physician, Army Brigadier General, and Congressman from a swing district with a significant Hispanic population.

Make no mistake. We know that Democrats are gunning for our majority. Democrats opened this cycle with many advantages on paper and have set their expectations accordingly. We’re taking nothing for granted, but we also know that we have the best team on the field. Our campaigns will be well-funded, well-prepared, and ready to communicate their messages to voters with every available tool. We’re ready for a fight, but we stand on solid ground as we build and maintain an enduring Republican majority in 2016 and beyond.



8/27/15

Posted August 28, 2015 - 5:08 am

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Remembering Katrina+10
by Frank Corder
Life on the Mississippi Gulf Coast was forever changed on August 29, 2015.

Having been born and raised in Pascagoula I was accustom to the occasional inconvenience of boarding windows and packing up necessities to head north as a hurricane came ashore. Most of the time, however, we stayed home and weathered the winds and the rain, sweated through the brief power outage, boiled some water and fixed a shingle or two as the winds died down.

"If Camille didn't wash us away, if we survived Camille these storms surely won't be too rough on us," was the general thinking of many on the Coast.

As Hurricane Katrina churned its way through the warm Gulf waters, I'd like to tell you that something felt different, that there was an eerie sense of the pending destruction and loss we were about to experience, but there wasn't. Call it complacency if you will, but most of us couldn't fathom what was about to happen to our homes, our communities and our lives.

If you were from the Coast prior to August 29, 2015, you would hear old timers refer to life as pre-Camille and post-Camille. It was a benchmark event for all who experienced it and for all who came along in its wake.

Now, not a day goes by that I don't hear someone somewhere use Katrina in that same way, yet minus the personification of a name. "Before the storm...," or "Since the storm..." Most don't even say the word Katrina; it's just "the storm." We are tired of hearing the very name Katrina.

Very little in my hometown of Pascagoula is as it was when I was a child. If not for the pictures that were salvaged I would have little to no recollection of how things looked before the storm. It's as if my memory has been invaded with the sights of the destruction and it will not go beyond that point.

Yet, we have collectively moved forward. We have rebuilt but in many ways we are still recovering.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Pascagoula City Council appointed the Pascagoula Renaissance Commission to develop a vision for revitalizing the Flagship City. The task was overwhelming because the devastation was beyond belief.

Pascagoula is one of the lowest lying cities on the Coast. The city is surrounded by water on three sides and the terrain is flat. So when the massive waves rushed ashore behind the extremely high winds which had already battered homes for hours over 90% of the city became part of the Gulf of Mexico for a time, washing away much of what was still standing.

Almost every structure in the city had some form of damage, whether from the good kind of water (rain and wind) or the bad kind of water (Gulf waters that flooded the city). I say "good" and "bad" water because as we all soon learned that was the determination for many insurance battles to come.

I was appointed to chair the Pascagoula Renaissance Commission and was able to work with many dedicated community members and city employees focused on offering a realistic vision for our city's future. We sought to make Pascagoula more stable, more sustainable, and better prepared for the future long term. It was a huge undertaking, yet one of my most rewarding memories from this trying and uncertain time.

My family and I, and the families of those on this commission, like our neighbors across the city, had lost almost everything we owned and were struggling to rebuild ourselves. We lived in FEMA trailers and tore down our homes. The most striking picture of what we lost was when the claw truck came down our street and in a matter of minutes, the huge pile of debris and personal items - furniture, my baby daughter's clothes and toys, pictures, memories - everything we had worked for and invested in was scooped up and dropped in the back of a garbage truck.

Yet our commission knew we had a task worth investing ourselves in, that of helping our community - our neighbors - and building a vision for our city's future even in the midst of our own hardships.

We worked with the Governor's Commission led by former Gov. Haley Barbour and mulled through the city's ongoing Strategic Plan. Having been a part of these as chairman of the Pascagoula Ecomonic Development Advisory Council I had gained a perspective in recovery and community planning which initially helped me but I wasn't prepared for the enormity of the task at hand.

The Renaissance Commission held public meetings and charrettes aimed at providing a workable vision for the city council to use as they sought to lead Pascagoula's redevelopment, a template of where to expend resources. We coordinated recovery efforts alongside churches and non-profits, most of which were volunteers from out of state who came to our city because they truly cared about our people. I still thank God for them everyday. We went into every area of the city asking questions and trying to address concerns. It was heartbreaking to hear the stories of loss and rewarding to know we were making a real difference. We talked with industry leaders and business owners, and sought input from state and federal officials on what was possible and how to get people back to work, back on their feet and back to some sense of normalcy.

The final presentation of the Pascagoula Renaissance Commission was presented to the Pascagoula City Council in April 2006, just eight months after the storm. It was used as a guide in the initial redevelopment to know where the city should focus its energy and resources. I know when I was elected to the city council in 2008 I often referred back to the report for guidance on moving the city forward still then.

I'm proud to say that while not every initiative listed in the report has been accomplished, almost every area has been touched in some way over the past ten years. Quite an amazing feat if you truly understand the devastation and uncertainty we faced in the months and years since Katrina.

Looking back, the time frames we listed in the report for achieving goals were far too optimistic, politically speaking. The bureaucracy was thicker than imagined and the political will at times shifted. There were too many requirements and strings attached to recovery funds for local communities who were struggling just to operate which slowed development projects. FEMA seemed to have a different point of contact every few days. The frustration and confusion was palpable.

But all in all the work the Pascagoula Renaissance Commission did has had a real, lasting impact on the future of Pascagoula. We see it from The Point to the Senior Center to our parks and neighborhoods to our city's beautification and infrastructure. New businesses have opened, schools have been upgraded and our population shows signs of increasing.

Yes, there's always more to be done and I'm sure the next ten years will bring its own set of successes and challenges. But for me, as the former chairman of the Pascagoula Renaissance Commission, I want to thank everyone who played a role in the process of setting a workable vision for our city. We can stand here today ten years later as a city proving that when citizens take the time to engage themselves in our community (even when faced with their own tragedy), earnestly listen to their neighbors, and work together without worrying about who gets the credit great things that make a true impact can happen.

Every citizen in the State of Mississippi should be proud of the leadership former Gov. Haley Barbour (R) exhibited during this trying time in our history. His knowledge of state and federal government truly made a difference in how the Coast recovered.

U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R) and former U.S. Senator Trent Lott (R) were in the right places at the right time to benefit our people, and they did so with great skill and tact. Former Congressman Gene Taylor (D) was able to leverage his long tenure to aid in initial recovery and redevelopment, taking stands within his own party to highlight Coast needs.

Insurance rates still plague the Coast. Many pay as much or more for insurance than their principle and interest on their homes. Attempts have been made by state and local officials to curb the risk by increasing building codes, offering fortifying grants, and requiring reporting from insurance companies. However, ask any Coast resident ten years later and insurance remains the number one issue.

From my perspective, our Mississippi Gulf Coast is stronger than before. We hitched up our britches and got to work, as Barbour famously said, just as Mississippians have always done.

My prayer for us (which was engraved on the Hurricane Katrina monument at Pascagoula Beach Park) remains the same today as it was ten years ago: "May the winds of destruction and the waves of sorrow forever remind us of the opportunity and hope we have found."




(Photos courtesy of Alan Hinkle Photography)

Posted August 27, 2015 - 8:39 am

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Barbour speaks at USM Katrina anniversary event



Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour helped the University of Southern Mississippi mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Wednesday night. He gave a lecture at the Trent Lott Center titled, "Overcoming Katrina: 10 Years of Progress."


WDAM
8/26/15



Posted August 27, 2015 - 5:18 am

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HUD Secretary to Visit Gulfport



U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro is coming to Gulfport, where he plans to privately tour the state port before a news conference Thursday for Hurricane Katrina's 10th anniversary. He'll be in New Orleans Friday.

Mississippi Development Authority spokeswoman Marlo Dorsey told The Sun Herald Gov. Phil Bryant and port Executive Director Jonathan Daniels will join Castro on the port tour. Bryant and Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker are expected to attend the 2:30 p.m. press conference in Jones Park.


WTOK
8/26/15



Posted August 27, 2015 - 5:15 am

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Beauvior administrator helping lead push for initiative to keep Confederate emblem on state flag



Gulfport resident Kitsaa Jon Stevens, an employee at Beauvior, the last home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, is the sponsor of Initiative 54, which would keep the current flag design by writing it into the Mississippi state constitution.

Supporters say the wording of the initiative by the Mississippi Attorney General's office could be confusing. It refers to the state flag as the "current" flag. Supporters want it described as the "1894 flag."

Stewart told the Associated Press Wednesday he is concerned the state legislature might vote to change the flag before the initiative could come to a vote -- which could be as much as three years away -- and thus the term "current" flag would no longer be a valid description of the flag in use today.



Gulflive
8/26/15



Posted August 27, 2015 - 5:08 am

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Real battle begins for state House control



The real legislative battle, for partisan control of the state House, is expected to begin in earnest now, ahead of the Nov. 3 general election. The state Republican Party is pushing to increase its hold on the House to a supermajority. The state Democratic Party is trying to take back the House majority it lost in 2011. Republicans in the House currently hold a 67-55 majority. A three-fifths majority, which would allow the GOP to control most taxing and spending legislation, would require 74. Republicans are starting with an effective majority of 69.



ClarionLedger
8/26/15



Posted August 27, 2015 - 5:01 am

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Mayor: Fraud investigation looms in Pearl



Pearl Mayor Brad Rogers said he has discovered potential theft of public funds in the court clerk’s division of the Pearl Police Department and has asked the state auditor’s office to investigate.

Because it is a personnel matter, Rogers said he will not discuss the situation in detail. “It does deal with a court clerk,” he said.

“We found some discrepancies in some of the reporting that was coming in from the court clerks to the city clerks,” Rogers said.



ClarionLedger
8/26/15



Posted August 27, 2015 - 4:59 am

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$14.6 million in tax forfeited property to be auctioned



The Secretary of State’s office is partners with Jackson to offer 360 parcels of tax forfeited property in Hinds County to the highest bidders at a public auction over the next three weeks.

“Our goal is to place this property back on the tax rolls to benefit Jackson and the state of Mississippi,” Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said today, flanked by Mayor Tony Yarber at a news conference at City Hall. “By partnering with the city of Jackson, we are taking an aggressive step to return these properties to productive use.”



ClarionLedger
8/26/15



Posted August 27, 2015 - 4:56 am

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Bill Minor: Initiative 42 says ‘adequate’



Those, specially opinion writers, who pedal the GOP argument that Initiative 42 is some untried scheme giving a lower court judge power to take control away from the Legislature over school funding are doing a disservice to students in the state’s poorest school districts....



...Initiative 42 doesn’t say a “Cadillac” school program. Just an “adequate” one as defined in the Mississippi Adequate Education Program law. When the 1997 Legislature enacted MAEP, it was a rare instance where Mississippi got out in front of a growing national issue before a court ordered it to do so. Republican Gov. Kirk Fordice vetoed the bill but was overridden by lawmakers, including four GOPers.


DeSoto Times
8/26/15



Posted August 27, 2015 - 4:49 am

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Cochran’s chief of staff addresses Rotary



A member of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s leadership team was the Eupora Rotary Club’s guest speaker last week.

Keith Heard, chief of staff for Cochran, (R-Miss.), said in his Aug. 18 address that one of the main things the senator wants to work is creating jobs for Mississippi. Cochran, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, has secured funding for another Coast Guard National Security Cutter to be built in Mississippi.

He also supported committee passage of a spending bill that includes provisions protecting wireless broadband Internet service in rural Mississippi. The bill would prevent the FCC from making additional cuts to a program used to expand internet service in rural areas, and will expand the use of telehealth technology in the Delta and this area, according to Heard.



Webster Progress Times
8/26/15



Posted August 27, 2015 - 4:46 am

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I know all eyes in Mississippi are looking toward this weekend and the momentous occasion of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. It’s important this week to take time and reflect on the unprecedented scale of destruction that the Gulf Coast in particular came back from and how we as Mississippians responded. We have a LOT to be thankful for.

It’s hard to believe, but Y’allPolitics also celebrates its 11th Anniversary of continuous operation this week. With over 42,000 posts, a book, a couple of open records court cases (we won), several national media stories picked up, and over 50,000,000 page views I really believe that Y’allPolitics has distinguished itself in the Mississippi landscape and we have you, our readers, to thank for that.

Our plan is to keep plugging away aggregating and creating the best political news and commentary around.

Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter (with over 6,000 followers), Y’allPolitics.com or the Y’allPolitics App, we again appreciate so much you interacting with us and helping to make Y’allPolitics what it is.

Thanks.


Posted August 26, 2015 - 6:43 am

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Decision 2015 Election Results




State Senate Dist. 18 Rep. Primary Runoff
100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING
> Jenifer Branning (R) 3,277 62%
Mark Forsman (R) 2,029 38%

State Senate Dist. 47 Rep. Primary Runoff
100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING
> Joseph Seymour (R) 2,671 51%
Mike Tyson (R) 2,544 49%

State Senate Dist. 34 Dem. Primary Runoff
100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING
> Juan Barnett (D) 4,506 63%
Trey Chinn (D) 2,608 37%

State Senate Dist. 38 Dem. Primary Runoff
100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING
> Tammy Witherspoon (D) 4,139 54%
Angela Brooks (D) 3,519 46%

State House of Rep. Dist. 24 Rep. Primary Runoff
100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING
Jeff Hale (R) 1,666 50%
Rob Goudy (R) 1,653 50%

State House of Rep. Dist. 46 Rep. Primary Runoff
100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING
> Karl Oliver (R) 522 60%
Shed Hunger (R) 345 40%

State House of Rep. Dist. 87 Rep. Primary Runoff
100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING
> Chris Johnson (R) 1,949 59%
Michael Davis (R) 1,351 41%

State House of Rep. Dist. 27 Dem. Primary Runoff
100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING
> Kenneth Walker (D) 1,588 52%
Leroy Lacy (D) 1,444 48%

State House of Rep. Dist. 30 Dem. Primary Runoff
100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING
Robert Huddleston (D / Inc.) 2,083 52%
Lester Williams (D) 1,911 48%

State House of Rep. Dist. 36 Dem. Primary Runoff
100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING
> Karl Gibbs (D / Inc.) 2,036 58%
Jimmy Davidson (D) 1,482 42%

State House of Rep. Dist. 42 Dem. Primary Runoff
100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING
Carl Mickens (D) 3,232 54%
Eugene Crosby (D) 2,727 46%

State House of Rep. Dist. 70 Dem. Primary Runoff
100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING
Kathy Sykes (D) 1,144 54%
Samuel Begley (D) 963 46%



WLBT
8/25/15



Posted August 26, 2015 - 5:38 am

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Mississippi runoff results




Jenifer Branning has won the Senate District 18 seat in parts of Leake, Neshoba and Winston counties.

She defeated Mark Forsman in Tuesday's Republican primary runoff. Branning will be unopposed in November and will begin a four-year term in January.

The current District 18 senator, Republican Giles Ward of Louisville, did not seek re-election. Ward is currently the Senate president pro tempore, and presides over the Senate when Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is not available. All 52 senators choose the pro tem.



ClarionLedger
8/25/15



Posted August 26, 2015 - 5:35 am

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Uselton claims Superintendent post, Hale edges Goudy for House seat


Cory Uselton has become the new Superintendent of Education in DeSoto County....


...Meanwhile Jeff Hale is the apparent winner of the House District 24 race over Rob Goudy by a scant 13 votes. There are 18 provisional or affidavit ballots remaining to be counted. To change the outcome, Goudy would need to receive almost all of that vote margin to eek out a win. Affidavit ballots will be counted Wednesday.



DeSoto Times
8/25/15



Posted August 26, 2015 - 5:28 am

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Incumbent Gibbs wins House 36 race


Karl Gibbs, who won a special election in 2013 to replace his father, David Gibbs, who died in office, captured the House District 36 seat in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.



Daily Journal
8/25/15



Posted August 26, 2015 - 5:26 am

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From MSGOP:



If it wasn’t clear enough already that the Mississippi Democratic Party has lost its way, it certainly is today. The Party is bringing liberal superstar Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, in to Jackson to headline their next big fundraiser.


Wasserman Schultz was not only a lead cheerleader for ObamaCare, she continued to defend the President’s lie about keeping your coverage long after 14 million Americans started losing their coverage.

Wasserman Schultz presided over the Democratic platform that removed any mention of God, calling it a technical oversight, and then presided over the Democratic National Convention where the crowds hissed and booed when they tried to insert a reference to God, from whom all our rights flow.

Wasserman Schultz represents all the most extreme elements of the Left wing, from abortion on demand to big deficit-widening spending to higher taxes. Just a couple of months ago, she was justifying abortion in the third trimester and was calling Republicans “bigots” for opposing President Obama’s executive amnesty for illegal immigrants.


8/25/15

Posted August 26, 2015 - 5:23 am

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U.S. Senator Roger Wicker in South Mississippi


Wicker says he will join other members in Congress to vote a measure to disapprove President Obama’s agreement.

Closer to home, Senator Wicker says high insurance is the biggest remaining problem from Katrina. “The increase in the premiums is still a huge problem. What we did lately, was to take time out there and say we aren’t going to get these huge premiums take effect. So, we put a stop to that. We’re looking at it. It’s not a permanent solution.”

The Senator will be traveling throughout South Mississippi over the next few days as we approach the tenth anniversary of Katrina.


WXXV
8/25/15



Posted August 26, 2015 - 5:19 am

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Who You Voted For: Choctaw Chief to Keep Job, Transportation, Public Service Commission Run-offs



CHOCTAW, Miss.–The do-over election for chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians left former Miko Beasley Denson without the job and current Chief Phyliss J. Anderson to continue serving her second four-year term.


NewsMS
8/26/15



Posted August 26, 2015 - 5:15 am

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WTOK
8/25/15

Posted August 26, 2015 - 5:12 am

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Pine Belt election runoff results


State Senate Dist. 38 Democratic
100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING
> Tammy Witherspoon (D) 4,139 54%
Angela Brooks (D) 3,519 46%

State Senate Dist. 34 Democratic
100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING
> Juan Barnett (D) 4,506 63%
Trey Chinn (D) 2,608 37%

State House Dist. 87 GOP
100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING
> Chris Johnson (R) 1,949 59%
Michael Davis (R) 1,351 41%

State Senate Dist. 47 GOP
100% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING
> Joseph Seymour (R) 2,671 51%
Mike Tyson (R) 2,544 49%


WDAM
8/25/15



Posted August 26, 2015 - 5:07 am

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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi


WLOX
8/25/15

Posted August 26, 2015 - 5:02 am

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Coleman, Britton win party primary runoffs for commissions



JACKSON, MISS. — Democratic and Republican party slates are now set for statewide and regional offices in Mississippi, with voters on Tuesday deciding one primary runoff for each party for a seat on a state commission.

Longtime state Rep. Mary Coleman won the Democratic nomination for the Central District seat on the state Transportation Commission, defeating businessman Robert Amos. Both are from Jackson. Coleman will challenge Republican incumbent Dick Hall of Brandon in the Nov. 3 general election.

Business investor Sam Britton of Laurel defeated first-term state Sen. Tony Smith to win the Republican nomination for Southern District seat on the Public Service Commission.


SunHerald
8/25/15



Posted August 26, 2015 - 4:58 am

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Judge orders temporary halt to Mississippi executions



A federal judge has temporarily blocked the state of Mississippi from carrying out executions.

U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate issued an oral temporary restraining order Tuesday in the federal lawsuit filed in April against the Mississippi Department of Corrections challenging the use of compounded drugs in executions.

The state Attorney General's office filed an appeal late Tuesday on behalf of the MDOC...


..."I am disappointed in today’s decision," Gov. Phil Bryant said late Tuesday. "The state of Mississippi will exercise its full legal rights to ensure that crime victims and their families receive the justice they deserve and that perpetrators of heinous crimes do not go unpunished.”


ClarionLedger
8/25/15




Posted August 26, 2015 - 4:53 am

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Bill Weisenberger loses runoff election


A suspended justice court judge lost his seat on the bench in Tuesday’s runoff election.

Challenger Lloyd Spivey III defeated incumbent Bill Weisenberger by more than 1,000 votes Tuesday night.

Unofficial but final results had Spivey with 2,240 votes to Weisenberger’s 1,094.


ClarionLedger
8/25/15



Posted August 26, 2015 - 4:51 am

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Initiative 42 VS. Initiative 42-A



WTOK
8/25/15

Posted August 25, 2015 - 2:15 pm

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RELEASE:


State Auditor Arrests and Issues Demand Against Former Gunnison Town Clerk



Jackson, Miss –State Auditor Special Agents arrested former Town Clerk of Gunnison, Marquita Payne. Payne was also served with a demand today totaling $70, 392.66.

Based upon the evidence developed in this investigation, Payne embezzled funds from the town of Gunnison from January 2012 through December 2013. She accomplished this by not depositing funds she collected on behalf of the town of Gunnison.

“Our office is responding to public corruption all across our state,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. “In the fight to create more transparency and accountability here in Mississippi, we will leave no stone unturned.”

Payne served as the Clerk for Gunnison from February 2012 to February 2014. Prior to this, she served as the Deputy Town Clerk for Gunnison from February 2011 to February 2012.


8/25/15

Posted August 25, 2015 - 9:11 am

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Posted August 25, 2015 - 9:03 am

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Nobody & AG go at it

Carner wrapped up his argument by stating that once the case began, the plaintiff's anonymity will be "forever lost". The TRO will protect his identity until the case is actually adjudicated. The anonymity will be dropped and thus moot if the state can prosecute the case.

Carner sat down and Pizetta stepped up to take his swings at bat. He said this case was different than McIntyre. He said the court can't find a statute to be unconstitutional based upon a hypothetical case because one could always create another hypothetical case. There must be some limits to the court's discretion. However, Pizetta made his strongest argument as he claimed the Mississippi statute is similar in all aspects to the federal statute and those of most other states. The defender for the Attorney General said Citizens United clearly held that speech limitations were unconstitutional but disclosures and disclaimers would pass muster.


Kingfish
8/25/15

Posted August 25, 2015 - 8:48 am

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RELEASE:


State Auditor Makes Arrest and Issues Demand for Two Hundred Thousand Dollars


Jackson, Miss –State Auditor Special Agents arrested former Administrative Assistant of Meridian Community College, Sandra Gail Young, after a Lauderdale County Grand Jury indicted Young on embezzlement charges. Young was also served with a demand in the amount of $202,919.72. This amount represents funds misappropriated by Young during the time period of August 2008 through February of 2015.

“As soon as our staff at MCC detected the unaccounted for funds, we immediately notified the State Auditor’s Office and local authorities,” said MCC President Dr. Scott Elliot. “Our staff thereafter worked tirelessly with the Auditor’s Office to conduct a thorough investigation of the matter in an effort to determine the total amount of missing funds to the extent our records allowed, as well as identifying any responsible parties.”

“Throughout this investigation, Meridian Community College has been completely transparent and cooperative,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. “Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Elliot and his staff, as well as our investigators, restitution will be made and this crime will not go unpunished.”

Based upon the evidence developed during this investigation, Young used her position and influence as administrative assistant to create and submit false documents which allowed her to embezzle public funds from her employer, Meridian Community College. Young was a full-time employee of MCC from 1990 until February of this year.


8/24/15

Posted August 25, 2015 - 7:41 am

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Apparently, Hillary's Mississippi pals are so confident in their upcoming fundraiser on Wednesday night that their hosting it in a place no one can find.

Hillary Clinton Jackson, MS fundraiser - Undisclosed Location



Posted August 25, 2015 - 7:08 am

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WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS


WDAM
8/24/15

Posted August 25, 2015 - 6:38 am

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Trent Lott endorses John Kasich; Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden head to Cleveland: Ohio Politics Roundup



Trent Lott endorses Kasich: The Mississippi Republican and former Senate majority leader gives Kasich his second big endorsement from the South in as many weeks.

Here's what Lott said in a release from the Kasich campaign:

I've known John Kasich a long time and watched with pride and admiration as, time and again, he's shown the world what conservative ideas can do to strengthen economies and make our country more secure. His leadership on the House Budget Committee was essential to getting the federal budget balanced and he's applied that same approach in Ohio and it's brought his state back to life. We need his keen budget mind in the White House to help get our federal budget reined in.

His long experience on national security and foreign policy is just as critical, and his call for a stronger military – especially a stronger Navy, and better allied relationships will help make our country safer as the world only becomes more dangerous. I'm proud to join his team and I look forward to doing all I can to help him take back White House and strengthening our great nation.


Cleveland
8/25/15



Posted August 25, 2015 - 5:57 am

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Dawkins drops challenge in Mississippi House District 121



The Democratic race for the state House seat in District 121 apparently is over.

Hunter Dawkins said he won't pursue his challenge after the Democratic Executive Committee refused to accept it. Dawkins said his only recourse would be to take his case to Circuit Court, a move that he and his attorney estimated would cost $10,000.

"And if I was successful," he said, "then I would have to take on (Republican incumbent) Carolyn Crawford and I know she's going to have some campaign money. And where would I get any money?"



SunHerald
8/24/15


Posted August 25, 2015 - 5:22 am

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MDE: Accountability report unfounded


The Mississippi Department of Education is calling a report questioning the way the department grades its districts and schools misleading.

The state watchdog agency the Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) released a report on Thursday saying flaws in MDE's accountability system are leading to inaccurate or unrepresentative scores.

The Mississippi Department of Education's accountability system assigns letter grades A-F to school districts and schools based on student assessment scores and growth along with graduation rates. The standards are designed to show how well schools and districts are doing and identify those that need help.

State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright said the report produced by the PEER committee, a group of 14 state legislators, was not scientifically based.


ClarionLedger
8/21/15



Posted August 25, 2015 - 5:19 am

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Jackson City Council budget proposal calls for no tax increase



The Jackson City Council’s 2015-2016 budget proposal is sound and doesn’t require the 8 percent tax increase proposed by Mayor Tony Yarber, Council President Melvin Priester Jr. said Monday.

Earlier this month, Yarber’s administration proposed a $119 million general fund budget that included an 8 percent tax increase, once a month furloughs of many city workers, a hiring freeze, a moratorium on new vehicle purchases and some higher city fees.

“What I have to absolutely emphasize is that we are saving $7.6 million and are trying to prevent the 8 percent tax hike that the mayor has proposed,” Priester said. “And if you look at the proposal, there is no mass layoffs. There are $2 millions of cuts to unfrozen positions.”



ClarionLedger
8/24/15



Posted August 25, 2015 - 5:17 am

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Mississippi holds Democratic and GOP primary runoffs Tuesday



Mississippians will vote in runoffs to choose party nominees for two regional commissions and 12 legislative seats.

Polls will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday.




ClarionLedger
8/24/15



Posted August 25, 2015 - 5:14 am

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Bryan Fischer: Gov. Bryant can strike blow for religious liberty



But in Judge Reeve's Hitleresque world (Hitler famously said, "the church must be separate from the state"), it will now cost the Rankin County School Board a cool $10,000 to exercise a constitutionally guaranteed right that should be theirs for free.

Now Todd Starnes, to his everlasting credit, is willing to fork over the 10 grand himself if the school goes ahead and authorizes the band to play "How Great Thou Art" at their next home game. And to the everlasting credit of Brandon High School fans, they broke into their own rendition of the hymn when this mean-spirited judge wouldn't let the band do it...


...Gov. Bryant would be well within his rights, both under the federal Constitution and the MIssissippi constitution, to tell the Rankin school board that the band is free to play "How Great Thou Art" as often as they want to on the football field or in a concert or at a graduation ceremony, and that he will use every bit of his authority as governor to protect their freedom to do so...


...It's time for Gov. Bryant to say this about Judge Reeves, "The judge has issued his ruling. Now let him enforce it." And the reality is there wouldn't be a single, solitary thing Judge Reeves could do about it other than fume and rant and rage. He has no enforcement powers whatsoever, no officials he can order out to detain anybody or to compel servile underlings to comply with his outrageous ruling.



RenewAmerica
8/25/15



Posted August 25, 2015 - 5:08 am

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Mississippi DOT awards four grants for railroad projects




The Mississippi Transportation Commission (MTC) in the US has granted approval to the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) to award four grants to fund maintenance and improvement projects on the state's railroads.

The MDOT is providing $394,319 to Mississippi Railway to upgrade the rail to a weight capacity of 286,000lb, including rail and bridge upgrades in Fulton.

In Belmont, the Mississippi-Alabama Railroad Authority is receiving $297,000 to replace 1,100 cross ties, switch tie rehab for three switches, ballast replacement and track surfacing.

"These grants will help make needed improvements that will continue to support local economic growth and development."

MTC transportation commissioners Dick Hall, Tom King and Mike Tagert said in a joint statement: "The railway system has long been an efficient and cost-effective way of moving local goods from Mississippi to other parts of the county.


RailwayTechnology
8/24/15



Posted August 25, 2015 - 5:03 am

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RELEASE:


COCHRAN STATEMENT COMMEMORATING 10th ANNIVERSARY OF HURRICANE KATRINA

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today issued the following statement to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the deadly Aug. 29, 2005, storm that smashed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast and affected the entire state of Mississippi:

Remaining Post-Katrina Challenges Cannot Diminish Pride in Mississippians Following Deadly 2005 Hurricane

Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina came ashore on the Mississippi Gulf Coast with devastating force, inflicting billions of dollars in property and personal damages. It was amazing that more were not killed.

The tragic loss of life and horrible property destruction shocked us all. Our recovery has required enormous dedication and determination, and thousands of Mississippians rose to that challenge.

In the days, months, and years after the storm, Mississippians pitched in to help neighbors and strangers alike. The dedication and sacrifice of the Coast Guard, the National Guard and other first responders saved lives and help enable the large-scale rebuilding that would follow. The resilience and hard work of the people, as well as the outpouring of church and volunteer workers from across the state and nation, made recovery possible.

Over the past decade, state, local, and federal elected officials have also aggressively promoted and assisted in the Gulf Coast's recovery. But our recovery is not yet complete.

While the serious problems exposed by the Katrina recovery effort have been used to improve our national response to emergencies and natural disasters, work remains to be done to ensure a full recovery in Mississippi and along the Gulf Coast. Unsustainable insurance practices and overbearing federal regulations continue to hamper recovery and economic development efforts.

Those challenges, however, cannot diminish the pride I have in the people of Mississippi for exemplifying the strength, vision, and resilience necessary to ensure the cultural and economic vitality of our state.

This August, we commemorate the decade since Hurricane Katrina claimed lives and left indelible marks on our state. Ten years after Katrina, I remain confident that we will continue to work together to rebuild Mississippi and to advocate for common-sense policies and intelligent investments that will ensure the continued vitality of the Gulf Coast.


8/24/15

Posted August 25, 2015 - 4:57 am

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Latest Kemper rate hike challenged

A candidate for Southern District public service commissioner and a longtime challenger to Mississippi Power Co.'s Kemper County coal plant has asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to halt the latest rate increases regulators approved for the facility.

Thomas Blanton, a Hattiesburg who's running as a Democrat, filed court papers Friday that claim the 18 percent rate increase the Mississippi Public Service Commission approved Aug. 13 defies the court's February opinion that invalidated a prior hike.

The court also ordered the revenue from that increase be refunded. The utility, through the use of Construction Work in Progress funds, was allowed to recover $125 million via increased power bills in 2013, and $156 million in 2014. Rates jumped 15 percent in 2013, and another 3 percent in 2014. The court ordered PSC to mandate Mississippi Power refund that money. Justices also ordered the PSC to provide notice to Mississippi Power ratepayers before any proceedings in which rate increases were on the agenda. "The increased rates on 186,000 South Mississippi ratepayers fail to comport with the (Base Load) Act or, otherwise, with our law," presiding justice Mike Randolph wrote in the majority opinion.

The refunds will arrive via bill credits, unless a ratepayer

requests a check. All the money should be returned by early December.

Clarion Ledger
8/24/15

Posted August 24, 2015 - 12:04 pm

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Education Analysis: Do Results Following Spending?

Each year, there is considerable debate in Jackson about how much Mississippi should spend on education. Since we regularly find Mississippi at the bottom of most K-12 rankings, there is a belief among some that if Mississippi would spend more money, we would see better results in the classrooms.

This fall, a proposed Constitutional amendment will be on the ballot, which supporters believe will force the legislature to spend more state dollars on education and empower a Hinds County judge with enforcement authority.

All this focus on increased spending begs the question:

Are the school districts that currently receive more state dollars doing better academically than those districts who currently receive less?

If a small increase in funds statewide would have a dramatic impact on achievement, as supporters of Initiative 42 claim, wouldn’t we expect to see a correlation between districts that currently receive more money and achievement? Unfortunately, no such correlation exists. In fact, there appears to be an inverse relationship between greater funding and academic achievement.

In a recent Clarion-Ledger column, we wrote about the Tunica School District, a failing district that has now been taken over by the state. Tunica failed despite the fact that they spend $11,471.74 per student – about $2,500 more than the state average and almost $4,500 more per pupil than neighboring A-rated Desoto County spends.

But this is not an isolated example. Many of the school districts that spend the most money per student have the lowest test scores, graduation rates, and rankings from the Mississippi Department of Education. On the flip side, many of the top performing school districts spend significantly less than the state average.

In fact, the school district that spends the most per student is the Clay County School District, a small district in Northeast Mississippi. This district spends $18,107.54 per student, according to 2012-2013 data from the Mississippi Department of Education, the most recent data available. By comparison, the annual tuition at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Ridgeland – considered one of the best college preparatory institutions in the nation – is $15,450 for grades 9-12.

The top five school districts in the state based on per pupil spending (with accountability rankings) are:
1. Clay County School District (C)*- $18,107.54
2. Hollandale School District (C)- $15,500.98
(For comparison: St. Andrew’s School- $15,450)
3. Montgomery County School District (D)- $14,811.00
4. Benoit School District (C)**- $14,198.17
5. Coffeeville School District (C)- $13,509.46

Of the 42 school districts that spend more than $10,000 per student, only seven are rated an A or B.


YOU CAN FIND A FULL LIST OF WHAT EACH SCHOOL DISTRICT SPENDS PER STUDENT HERE


In Mississippi, average per pupil spending in 2013 was $8,932, which includes local, state, and federal dollars. Here is a look at the average spending by accountability ranking classification:
- The average per pupil spending for A rated school districts is $8,499.71
- The average per pupil spending for B rated school districts is $8,674.10
- The average per pupil spending for C rated school districts is $10,074.55
- The average per pupil spending for D rated school districts is $9,994.50
- There were no F rated school districts in 2014.

Like gas in a car, it takes money to run a classroom. And perhaps it requires more money to run a school district in a high poverty area. But just as pouring more gas into a car will not make it run faster or more efficiently, simply increasing spending on education will not solve our education woes.

We must fund our schools. No one is arguing against that. In fact, the legislature has poured more money into K-12 education in the last four years than ever before. But money alone won’t solve this. Our public education challenges run deep. Improving academic results will require innovation solutions and evidence-based, student-centered reforms, some of which the legislature has already implemented. Mississippi has a long way to go, but we are headed in the right direction.


EmpowerMS
8/24/15


Posted August 24, 2015 - 11:52 am

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BILL CRAWFORD — Initiative 42 may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing



Initiative 42 is only about fully funding MAEP,” they will get proponents to say.

But the wily amendment the masterminds crafted is so broad, so undefined in state law, and so susceptible to judges’ preferences that reasonable people should be concerned that it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Are Initiative 42 supporters being misled by their masterminds?

Ask why they didn’t draft simple language saying “fully fund MAEP,” why they divorce the Legislature from school funding and oversight, what they really mean by the words “adequate and efficient system,” and why they give the courts authority over much more than full funding.

Don’t be deceived like Aesop’s sheep.



MBJ
8/23/15



Posted August 24, 2015 - 5:29 am

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Anderson and Denson Campaign Hard as Choctaw Election Nears



Philadelphia, Miss. Voters will headed to the polls for a third time to elect a Chief since the run off where Anderson defeated Denson was overturned by the Choctaw Tribal Council. Both candidates tell me they have confidence in the upcoming election.

"I believe that the Choctaw people will come out and vote for the 6th time to reelect me Phyliss J. Anderson. I have a proven record with real results and I’m a leader that Choctaw people can trust," Anderson says.

"When we ran the second run nearly 50 percent of the people voted to be with us and I want those same people to come out but I think there are a few out there that didn't vote and we are trying to get them out,” Denson says.


WTOK
8/22/15



Posted August 24, 2015 - 5:26 am

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Sheriff's race hottest in Harrison County



The hottest race in the primary runoff is in Harrison County where the sheriff is being challenged by a longtime member of his staff. It's a county that will see a lot of new faces in key positions next year.

Troy Peterson, a 23-year employee of the office, said it has always been his goal to be sheriff. He said he thought his chance arrived when Sheriff Melvin Brisolara announced he would not run. Brisolara later changed his mind and got back in the race.




Sunherald
8/23/15



Posted August 24, 2015 - 5:20 am

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MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS


WLBT
8/23/15

Posted August 24, 2015 - 5:17 am

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Metro area’s future linked to Jackson’s: Blount (State Sen. David Blount)



Most of us who live in Jackson are not asking for a handout. We are asking that Mississippi state government recognize (as other states have) that the success of the capital city is in everyone’s interest. Here is a reasonable plan that citizens of the state can support:

•Locate state agencies in the Capitol complex. This will save state taxpayers money (due to office consolidation and cheaper rent), provide more convenient access to citizens coming from around the state and bring more people to our downtown. State government should be located in the state capital, as established by the state constitution, especially when it saves money and focuses economic development.

•Help all cities (including Jackson) with infrastructure needs. This is especially important in Jackson since state government does not pay local taxes. All cities must make necessary repairs and upgrades to streets, water and sewer systems. A portion of any new revenue generated to support state highways and large “one-time” sources of revenue should be dedicated to urban infrastructure.



ClarionLedger
8/22/15



Posted August 24, 2015 - 5:09 am

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Wicker: 10 years after Katrina, Miss. has endured



When Hurricane Katrina arrived on our shores a decade ago, it was clear that parts of our state would never be the same. The storm was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, slamming into the Gulf Coast with a 30-foot surge and 100-plus mile per hour winds. Its massive impact touched all 82 of our counties and took the lives of 238 Mississippians.

At the time, I was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives for Mississippi’s First District, which includes the state’s northernmost counties. My wife, Gayle, and I traveled down to Pascagoula as part of a relief effort in the days that followed. We witnessed the overwhelming generosity of Mississippians across the state, from the donations that filled an eighteen-wheeler truck in Tupelo to the compassionate outreach at Agricola Baptist Church in George County, which became a vital hub for delivering supplies.

Katrina will always be remembered as a storm of profound loss, but it also revealed our state’s incredible strength. Despite almost total devastation, Mississippians refused to be defeated by the extraordinary challenges that Katrina had put before us.



ClarionLedger
8/23/15



Posted August 24, 2015 - 5:05 am

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Suspended Madison judge fighting for job



Embattled incumbent Madison County Justice Court judge Bill Weisenberger, suspended from the bench for allegations of racism and assault, will try to hold onto his seat Tuesday in a runoff election against a businessman.

Lloyd Spivey III is facing Weisenberger for the Justice Court Judge 3 seat.

In May 2014, Weisenberger allegedly assaulted a mentally challenged African-American man and yelled racial slurs at him at the Canton Flea Market.


ClarionLedger
8/21/15



Posted August 24, 2015 - 5:02 am

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No ruling in anonymous campaign flier lawsuit



A federal judge in Jackson did not rule Friday on a request to keep hidden the origin of a political mailer that depicted the Madison mayor manipulating Madison County supervisor candidates with puppet strings.

Judge Carlton Reeves took the matter under advisement after a 90-minute hearing. He indicated it could be a couple of weeks before he rules after attorneys further brief the matter.


ClarionLedger
8/21/15



Posted August 24, 2015 - 4:58 am

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Reeves staffer MacNabb injured in ATV crash


Parks MacNabb, legislative affairs director for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, is recovering in the intensive-care unit at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis after an ATV crash, Reeves spokeswoman Laura Hipp said Saturday.


ClarionLedger
8/22/15



Posted August 24, 2015 - 4:56 am

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Irb Benjamin, 69, of Madison, and Sam Waggoner, 61, of Carthage, were charged today with paying bribes and kickbacks to former Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner (MDOC) Christopher B. Epps in exchange for receiving contracts involving the MDOC and its operations, announced Acting United States Attorney Harold Brittain, FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Donald Alway, IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jerome McDuffie, U.S. Postal Inspector Robert Wemyss, and Mississippi State Auditor Stacey Pickering.

Benjamin was charged in a three count indictment returned by a federal grand jury with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and with two counts of bribery. According to the indictment returned against Benjamin, from some time in 2010 until September, 2014, Benjamin gave Epps bribes and kickbacks in exchange for Epps awarding or directing the awarding of MDOC contracts or work to Benjamin’s company, Mississippi Correctional Management (MCM), to provide alcohol and drug treatment services to inmates at MDOC work centers in Alcorn and Simpson Counties. MCM was paid about $774,000.00 as a result of those contracts.

The indictment alleges that Benjamin paid Epps for Epps’ help in getting MCM consulting contracts with Alcorn, Washington and Chickasaw Counties. Those contracts involved Benjamin providing consulting services during the construction and the subsequent operation of three regional corrections facilities. Benjamin purportedly provided consulting services to assist the regional corrections facilities in obtaining and maintaining accreditation by the American Correctional Association. The contract with Alcorn County paid MCM about $399,260.00; the contract with Washington County paid MCM about $245,080.00; and, the contract with Chickasaw County paid MCM about $217,900.00.

The indictment also alleges that Benjamin paid Epps monthly kickbacks from the consultant fees Benjamin received from Carter Gobal Lee Facility Management (CGL), after CGL obtained a contract in 2014 to provide maintenance services to MDOC facilities. Epps used his influence over CGL to get Benjamin the job as a consultant for CGL. The value of the CGL contract was $4,800,000.

Waggoner was charged by Criminal Information with one count of bribery related to his payments of bribes and kickbacks to Epps from sometime in 2012 until at least August 26, 2014. According to the Criminal Information, Waggoner was a consultant for Global Tel-Link (GTL), which provided telephone services at MDOC facilities. The Criminal Information cites two specific instances in 2014 where Waggoner paid Epps kickbacks from money Waggoner received from GTL as a consultant.
Harold Brittain, Acting U.S. Attorney in this case, stated: "The abuse of power and position by public officials has plagued our state for many years. Our tolerance for public corruption is zero. We will hold accountable under the law everyone who bears the responsibility of public service and sells the trust that has been bestowed upon them. We will not tolerate such fraud and abuses by public officials that have cost our citizens so dearly."

In commenting on this case, FBI SAC Donald Alway applauded the investigators and prosecutors, whose hard work and determined efforts revealed these additional participants in this conspiracy of public corruption, and led to the charges announced today. He added, “Our society will not tolerate bribery, kickbacks, or other ‘under-the-
table’ deals. This is not just another cost of doing business with government. The FBI, working alongside its law enforcement partners, will use every appropriate tool and available resource to find, stop, and punish those who conspire to betray the public trust in order to enrich themselves.”

“Postal Inspectors bring to a task force unique skills for hunting down suspected fraud through the U.S. Mail,” said U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Adrian Gonzalez. “Postal Inspectors steadfastly work with our partners and defend the nation’s mail system in hopes that criminals abusing the American public’s trust are brought to justice.”
Special Agent Jerome R. McDuffie, IRS – Criminal Investigation, stated: “This is a very important investigation to the state of Mississippi and all individuals who rely on the trust they instill in their public officials, whether elected or appointed. The extent to which Christopher Epps has damaged that trust will require as much effort to rebuild as it did to uncover. The Special Agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation remain committed to working with our law enforcement partners in uncovering public corruption at even the highest levels of government, as well holding accountable those individuals involved.”

“We will continue to fight public corruption in Mississippi and work with our partners,” said State Auditor Pickering. “Our agents and this team are working daily to identify and bring charges against all individuals associated with the Mississippi Department of Corrections case. I’d like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, IRS, and the U.S. Postal Service for a joint effort in this ongoing case."

Both defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball on Friday, August 21, 2015, at 1:30 p.m. Waggoner faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine, as well as forfeiture of the proceeds he obtained as a result of the illegal conduct. Benjamin faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine for the conspiracy count, and a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine for each of the bribery counts. Benjamin also faces the forfeiture of his ill-gotten gains.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Mississippi State Auditor’s Office and IRS Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Deputy Criminal Chief Darren LaMarca, Assistant United States Attorney Scott Gilbert, and financial analyst Kim Mitchell.

DOJ/OSA Joint Press Release
8/2115

Posted August 21, 2015 - 10:35 am

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Obama not coming to Mississippi for Katrina anniversary, but Bush is



President Barack Obama may not be visiting Mississippi to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, but his predecessor is.

Former President George W. Bush announced Thursday that he and former first lady Laura Bush will be in Gulfport on Friday, Aug. 28 to attend a Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) event honoring first responders at the Barksdale Pavilion in Jones Park at 11 a.m.



Gulflive
8/20/15

Posted August 21, 2015 - 9:31 am

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WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS


WDAM
8/20/15

Posted August 21, 2015 - 9:30 am

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Trump's Mobile event drawing South Mississippians



Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile could be packed Friday, but it will be Donald Trump, not high school football, drawing the crowd.

And there will be South Mississippians among the spectators, expected to be up to 40,000, organizers say. The Donald Trump for President pep rally started out in the Mobile Civic Center, but was moved to the much-larger outdoor stadium as the number of ticket requests swelled.

Who knows how big the crowd would be if the event didn't compete with Friday night football.



SunHerald
8/20/15

Posted August 21, 2015 - 9:24 am

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UPDATE: Mississippi wildlife commission passes deer baiting



In Wednesday's Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks meeting, members voted unanimously in favor of baiting deer.

The change came when a vote was taken on a proposal to remove language from the current supplemental feeding regulations that states hunters cannot hunt within the line of sight of a feeder. By removing that language, hunters will be able to shoot deer at feeders.



Clarion Ledger
8/21/15

Posted August 21, 2015 - 9:11 am

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Yesterday, "Anonymous" filed a lawsuit in Carlton Reeves courtroom against Phil Bryant, Delbert Hosemann and Jim Hood. At issue is subpoenas issued to uncover possible campaign finance violations at the tail end of the most recent party primary. Three weeks ago, Delbert Hosemann issued a release stating that they had initiated an investigation. We've covered two incidents that may have been involved - the first involving a mailer sent against Mayor Mary Hawkins and the other attacking Republicans over the flag issue.

Anonymous v Phil Bryant, Delbert Hosemann & Jim Hood Complaint



There is a court hearing at 1:30 p.m. today in Jackson to discuss a motion for a temporary restraining order.

TRO Motion in Anonymous v. Bryant et al



The attorney listed on behalf of "Anonymous" is Graham Carner of Jackson.

This could shape up a to be an interesting case. At issue - does the state of Mississippi have the right to regulate campaign finance rules or does the first amendment trump that. All you pro-Libertates out there should be getting your state's rights on.

Posted August 21, 2015 - 9:03 am

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Marsha Barbour the ‘face of Mississippi recovery’



Being the governor’s wife meant “I could go where other people couldn’t go.” She also, Gov. Barbour said, became his “eyes and ears” in the field.

“I had FEMA’s ear, and (Mississippi Power President) Anthony Topazi’s, and I had all these wonderful cell numbers,” Marsha Barbour said. In working with families, she would discover problems and red tape holding things up, and try to cut through it.

“You had to get shelter for people,” Barbour said. “But the FEMA trailers brought their own problems. We started getting them in, but then I don’t know if it was written in some act or what, but the electrical pole they needed didn’t come with the trailer. But the trailer won’t be delivered until they have electricity. I had to go to Anthony and my husband and tell them.”

People in Hancock County needed food, and Marsha Barbour learned a shuttered school cafeteria had some locked away. Through the governor, she got in touch with School Superintendent Hank Bounds, who told her to find someone to cut the locks. She did and distributed it.


Clarion Ledger
8/21/15

Posted August 21, 2015 - 8:17 am

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WTOK
8/20/15

Posted August 21, 2015 - 5:38 am

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Cartoonist politely sums up Mississippians' feelings on presidential snub


Ramsey posted an open letter to President Barack Obama acknowledging that part of the decision on where to visit is likely political, but that didn't keep Mother Nature from visiting both of us on August 29, 2005.

Ramsey's Facebook post reads:

Dear Mr. President,
I read yesterday where you're attending a Katrina remembrance in New Orleans. I'm glad you'll be there for the folks in New Orleans. No doubt they have suffered and I know they'll find comfort in your words and you just being there.
I am sorry to hear you don't have time to stop by the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I know you know how good the people are there -- you visited during the BP oil spill and had a sno-cone on the beach.
I really don't know why you're not coming. Politically it might not be a good move. I'm sure the conversation between you and Governor Phil Bryant would be one awkward pause after the other. Or you might be busy -- being President is a full-time job I hear. I'm sure some folks are probably glad you're just doing a flyover -- I read the comments and sometimes they're ugly. Oh yeah, it's easy to point out its not the first time the Coast as been ignored. It's easy to make a Landmass joke right about now.
But let me tell this: You should be proud of the people on the Gulf Coast. They got hammered hard. First by Katrina then by the economy after the BP oil spill. Dealing with insurance and flood plain maps hasn't been a bucket of chuckles either. I don't live on the Coast but have spent a good amount of time there and marvel at the resiliency of the people there. As this country struggles to get back on its feet after the Great Recession, I'd think you'd want to really put that kind of spirit on the center stage.
Hope you have a great trip to New Orleans. It's fun town and the people there need your encouragement. And when you're there, stop into Cafe Du Monde. You'll thank me later.
Signed a guy who draws cartoons about you from time to time.


WLOX
8/20/15



Posted August 21, 2015 - 5:35 am

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Dawkins challenges one-vote loss in Harrison County's House District 121


A Democratic candidate is challenging his one-vote loss in the House District 121 primary.

Hunter Dawkins' challenge says a "mystery" ballot tainted six other affidavit ballots and none of them should have been counted. If those are thrown out, the challenge says, Dawkins would be the winner. It asks the Harrison County Democratic Executive Committee to do just that.

The winner will face Republican incumbent Carolyn Crawford in the Nov. 3 general election.


SunHerald
8/20/15



Posted August 21, 2015 - 5:31 am

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Judge finds SRHS owes plan



JACKSON COUNTY -- Singing River Health System owes money it failed to contribute to the employee pension fund over the years, Judge Breland Hilburn ruled Thursday morning, according to Biloxi attorney Jim Reeves.

Reeves said the amount Singing River must pay is still to be determined, but the ruling is "huge and potentially shaves years off the litigation." Earl Denham of Ocean Springs said Hilburn also indicated those responsible for underfunding the pension must be identified.



SunHerald
8/20/15


Posted August 21, 2015 - 5:26 am

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RELEASE:


Corinth Businessman Arrested and Indicted on 60 Counts

Corinth, Miss - Doug Essary, owner of Essary Truck Sales & Parts Inc., was indicted on 60 counts by an Alcorn County Grand Jury and taken into custody today, announced State Auditor Stacey Pickering and District Attorney John Weddle. Essary was indicted on fifty-six counts of submitting fraudulent documents and four counts of conspiracy to fraudulently obtain public funds. A demand in the amount of $44,168.17 was also served.

Essary is accused of scheming with former Alcorn County officials by submitting fraudulent invoices to Alcorn County Districts one and two. He allegedly inflated the cost of invoices and also turned in invoices for work that was never done.

“My office will continue to expose the individuals taking advantage of the taxpayers, and we will continue to pursue this case until justice is served,” Pickering said. “The citizens of Alcorn County can be confident that we will work to restore integrity in their county government."

In addition to Essary’s arrest, special agents from the auditor’s office searched Essary Truck Sales & Parts Inc. this morning looking for records related to the indictments.

Weddle said today that, "The investigation into these matters resulting in multiple indictments of public officials has been thorough and the District Attorney's office has worked closely with the State Auditor and his staff to get these cases to the grand jury. We recognize that confidence in our elected officials cannot be restored until the corruption is revealed. I would like to thank Stacy Pickering's office and his staff for their cooperation and tireless work."

The State Auditor and District Attorney said the investigation in Alcorn County is ongoing and additional information will be released when it becomes available. Additionally, a summary update in early September is planned.


8/20/15

Posted August 21, 2015 - 5:18 am

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MSU to name dorm for Nunnelee



JACKSON — Mississippi State University will name a dormitory after late Congressman Alan Nunnelee.

The College Board approved plans Thursday to name what is known as North Hall, a dormitory opened in 2007, for the Tupelo Republican who died in office in February.




HattiesburgAmerican
8/20/15



Posted August 21, 2015 - 5:14 am

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Helmick: Mississippi educators support Initiative 42

Our students, educators, and communities, as well as our local businesses, towns and cities deserve thriving public schools. We know that when state elected leaders fully fund our public schools year in and year out, our students will thrive and so will the communities and businesses where they live.

Joyce Helmick - MEA (teachers union)
Clarion Ledger
8/20/15

Posted August 20, 2015 - 12:53 pm

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Ex-President George W. Bush to commemorate Katrina in Gulfport

Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush will visit Gulfport on Aug. 28 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Clarion Ledger
8/20/15

Posted August 20, 2015 - 12:51 pm

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A Great Start for Mississippi's First Charter Schools

Governor Bryant paid a visit to ReImagine Prep, one of Mississippi's first two public charter schools, the other day. Speaking with teachers and students, it was clear that this new educational option is going to lead to greater opportunities for all Mississippians.

At ReImagine Prep, these students will get a well-rounded and tough education, with an emphasis on coding and computer science. There are more than 1,200 unfilled computing jobs in Mississippi right now. This charter school, open to all in in the Jackson Public School District with no tuition, is preparing kids to fill these jobs and to succeed in a global, cyber-based economy.

Both new charter schools opened up in Jackson. ReImagine Prep currently serves 121 fifth graders in South Jackson, though it will eventually grow to cover 5th-8th grades. 100 percent of the student body is African American and most of the students qualify for free and reduced school lunch. About 10 percent are considered special needs, or have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).

By expanding charter schools in this great state, we give more parents alternatives to failing schools. Charter schools are just part of Governor Bryant's plan to reinvigorate Mississippi education. This year, he signed into law a $2.5 billion school funding bill. That's more money than ever in our state's history for Mississippi schools. He's prioritized literacy and job training. And, he's supporting teachers with a merit pay program to reward teaching excellence.

Gov. Phil Bryant Press Release
8/20/15


Posted August 20, 2015 - 12:37 pm

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RELEASE:


PEW-MACARTHUR RECOGNIZES MISSISSIPPI AS LEADER IN FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

Lt. Gov. Reeves, Speaker Gunn speak at national forum in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mississippi’s efforts to hold state agencies accountable for tax dollars has been recognized as a national model by the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn spoke on the issue in Washington, D.C. today.

“Agencies will have to account for exactly how they’re serving the public through real data – not simply anecdotes,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “And as policy makers, we can target areas for efficiency and evaluate whether certain programs are needed. We can stop funding a program that doesn’t work and invest in those that do.”

Legislative leadership and staff members explained the state’s performance-based budgeting plans at a meeting by Pew-MacArthur Results First. The plan, “Building a Better Mississippi,” will have an impact on the legislative budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. The plan initially targets the departments of corrections, education, health and transportation.

The performance-based budgeting plan will allow the Legislature to establish clear priorities for agencies; create a comprehensive database of programs offered by agencies and performance measures; and evaluate the benefit-to-cost ratio of programs.

“I think taxpayers are about to see real changes in Mississippi’s spending habits,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “Funding initiatives that work and stopping or changing those that don’t work seems like common sense. It’s what taxpayers expect. I look forward to seeing the results over the next few years.”


8/20/15

Posted August 20, 2015 - 9:46 am

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WTOK
8/19/15

Posted August 20, 2015 - 5:49 am

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WTOK
8/19/15

Posted August 20, 2015 - 5:46 am

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UPDATE: Obama not visiting MS for Katrina anniversary



UPDATE: According to a White House release, President Obama will not visit Mississippi to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Obama plans an Aug. 27 visit to New Orleans to commemorate the storm, which made landfall in Mississippi on Aug. 29, 2005, destroying Waveland, Bay St. Louis and much of the Mississippi Coast and causing poorly maintained levees in New Orleans to break and flood the city.


ClarionLedger
8/19/15



Posted August 20, 2015 - 5:40 am

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Rethink Mississippi points to Gray’s win as Democrats opting for a man over two women
YP note: Republicans have now voted twice to reelect two women statewide
Rethink Mississippi: How Robert Gray’s Upset Was More Than a Century in Making



In the days since the election, the questions have shifted from who to how. And while no explanation is definitive, Gray almost certainly benefited from an uncommon confluence of factors.

The two active gubernatorial candidates had never run for elected office before, so neither possessed high name recognition or a pre-existing constituency. Slater and Short raised more money than Gray’s $0, but neither came close to what successful Democratic candidates have spent in past primaries. In the end, his opponents’ relative anonymity allowed Gray to capitalize, inadvertently, on his one major advantage: he was running against two women in the only state that has never elected a female governor or member of Congress. Without anything else to distinguish among them, more than half of primary voters opted for the man.


Hotty Toddy
8/19/15



Posted August 20, 2015 - 5:32 am

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Presley addresses rural broadband access



Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley heard concerns about the lack of good wireless coverage and broadband service in rural areas at a public meeting in Eupora last week.

Holding his 145th town hall meeting since taking office, Presley addressed around two dozen people on Aug. 13 at the Eupora Community Center. Some of those in attendance voiced concerns about the lack of broadband Internet service in their community, poor cell phone service, frequent power outages and water system problems.

Presley said providing high-speed Internet service in rural areas is of the utmost priority to him but that it is not happening as quickly as he’d like. His office has been compiling information it receives from consumer survey forms to determine where there is demand, yet little or no wireless or broadband coverage in north Mississippi. He urged those with such problems who have not completed a survey to do so through the “Zap the Gap” program.


Webster Progress Times
8/19/15



Posted August 20, 2015 - 5:29 am

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Miss. Gov. Bryant touts jobs brought to state during his tenure



Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant brought his economic development message to Southaven Wednesday, touting the jobs created during his time in office.



CommercialAppeal
8/19/15



Posted August 20, 2015 - 5:26 am

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Bennie Thompson: Over $75K awarded to Hinds volunteer fire depts.



Congressman Bennie Thompson, Dem.-Miss., announced grants totaling $75,358 to Hinds County volunteer fire departments, Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration has awarded the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG).


ClarionLedger
8/19/15



Posted August 20, 2015 - 5:24 am

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Gautier leaders raise MS flag at Veterans Tribute Tower



Gautier city leaders have decided to let the Mississippi state flag fly above the Veterans Tribute Tower. A WLOX viewer noticed that the controversial flag had been replaced by the City of Gautier's flag Wednesday morning. Bill Whatley posted a picture on Facebook, and expressed his dismay at the decision in a phone call to WLOX....


...
Mayor Gordon Gollott had this to say about the situation:

I have heard from my brothers and sisters in the American Legion. And I will request that this issue be brought to a vote by the City Council. The City of Gautier is proud to be the home of the state’s only Veterans’ Tribute Tower. We were selected for this honor in 2012 by the Veterans Coalition of America, due to the number of veterans and memorials in and around our fair city. The American Legion, comprised of all veterans, has ceremoniously and proudly acted as stewards of this tower, providing the flags and keeping them in good condition. The City of Gautier is aware that the state flag has become a divisive symbol for some. We seek to be representative of all our citizens. However, this is the state’s official flag and I hope my fellow councilmen will stand with me and my fellow American Legioneers.


WLOX
8/19/15



Posted August 20, 2015 - 5:19 am

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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

WLOX
8/19/15

Posted August 20, 2015 - 5:15 am

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Delta State condemns state flag, calls for change



In a statement recently released, Delta State University joins a host of others around the state and has called for a change in Mississippi’s state flag.

Cities, towns, counties and schools across Mississippi have taken stands against the flag recently, including Oxford and Greenwood voting to remove the flag from public places this week.

As for the public universities, all but Mississippi University for Women has either released a statement denouncing the flag or has taken it down altogether.



MBJ
8/19/15



Posted August 20, 2015 - 5:12 am

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RELEASE:


Rep. Harper Saddened by Passing of Long-Time Staffer, Hank Moseley



Starkville – Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) released the following statement after learning that Henry A. "Hank" Moseley, the Congressman’s Special Assistant for Constituent Services, passed away earlier today:

"Sidney and I are incredibly saddened by news of the passing of Hank today. Hank was a dedicated, passionate public servant and a true gentleman; he cared deeply for everybody and lived to serve others.” Harper said.

Hank Moseley served as a Special Assistant for Constituent Services in the Starkville, Mississippi office and worked for both of Rep. Gregg Harper’s predecessors, Rep. G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery and Rep. Chip Pickering.

“My staff and I lost a dear friend and mentor today, and our Congressional delegation, our state and our country are all better off because of Hank's life. We will miss him dearly.”


8/19/15

Posted August 20, 2015 - 5:10 am

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Gov. Barbour ‘a good man in a storm’

Barbour wasn’t immune from criticism and admits to making mistakes. In his Katrina memoir “America’s Great Storm,” Barbour notes, “I made a number of bad decisions in the recovery, but I made a whole lot of decisions.”

Barbour calls the state port at Gulfport “the biggest fish that got away.” He caught flak for “diverting” $570 million some community leaders say should have gone to housing projects to port renovation and expansion. He envisioned the port’s channel being deepened to take advantage of larger ships becoming the shipping industry norm, but the state has received neither permission nor funding to do so. Port business today is a fraction of its pre-Katrina peak.

Barbour said he started thinking about the task ahead while still on that first helicopter surveillance trip.

“Can we come back?” Barbour asked. “What are we going to do to come back? … As the helicopter flew towards Ingall’s shipyard, I saw the yard from a distance, it dawned on me, what will we do if these big companies don’t reopen — Ingall’s, Chevron, DuPont … 12 casinos that employed nearly 15,000 people? How do you get people that stayed to continue to stay and rebuild? How do you get people who evacuated to come back?”

Barbour said he figured the answer was: “People need a place to live, a job and a place for their kids to go to school.” That would be the rough outline of recovery plans.

Clarion Ledger
8/19/15

Posted August 19, 2015 - 3:31 pm

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In Mississippi, defenders of state’s Confederate-themed flag dig in

In the primary round of elections earlier this month — which included every elected office in the state — no campaign turned on the issue. Few candidates even mentioned it.

Whit Waide, a political science professor at Mississippi State whose family has been in Mississippi since statehood, said, “I would give up this job if it would mean a new state flag.”

He’s also well placed to help make that happen. His college roommate and best friend is Reeves, the lieutenant governor. If Reeves supported a bill for a new flag, along with Gunn, the House speaker, it would almost certainly pass.

“I love him. He’s my best friend,” Waide says, shaking his head. “And I just hate that he’s on the wrong side of this.”



Washington Post
8/19/15

Posted August 19, 2015 - 3:13 pm

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GOVERNOR HALEY BARBOUR TO KICK OFF BOOK TOUR

Barbour’s new book, “America’s Great Storm,” details the first 12 months after the worst natural disaster in American history

Today former Governor Haley Barbour announced his Mississippi tour schedule for his new book, America’s Great Storm: Leading through Hurricane Katrina. The tour, which begins Aug. 22, will give Mississippians an opportunity to visit with Gov. Barbour during visits to several cities across the state.

“As we approach the ten-year anniversary of Katrina, I look forward to visiting with many of the same individuals who made the Mississippi Katrina story unique. Our state was forever changed by America’s great storm, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to tell the Mississippi story to readers across the country. I hope I do this wonderful story justice,” Governor Barbour said.

When Hurricane Katrina hit Mississippi on August 29, 2005, it unleashed the costliest natural disaster in American history, and the third deadliest. Haley Barbour had been Mississippi’s governor for only twenty months when he assumed responsibility for guiding his pummeled, stricken state’s recovery and rebuilding efforts.

America’s Great Storm is not only a personal memoir of his role in that recovery, but also a sifting of the many lessons he learned about leadership in a time of massive crisis. Joined by co-author Jere Nash, Gov. Barbour’s memoir includes interviews with more than forty-five key people involved in helping Mississippi recover, including local, state, and federal officials as well as private citizens who played pivotal roles in the weeks and months following Katrina’s landfall. In addition to covering in detail the days in September and October of 2005, chapters focus on the special legislative session that allowed casinos to build on shore; the role of the recovery commission chaired by Jim Barksdale; a behind-the-scenes description of working with Congress to pass an unprecedented, multi-billion-dollar emergency disaster assistance appropriation; and the enormous roles played by volunteers in rebuilding the entire housing, transportation, and education infrastructure of south Mississippi and the Gulf Coast.

A final chapter analyzes the leadership lessons and strategies Barbour employed on behalf of the people of the state, observations that will be valuable to anyone tasked with leading in a crisis.

Gov. Barbour will participate in the inaugural Mississippi Book Festival on Saturday, Aug. 22 at the State Capitol. A full listing of the book tour is included below.

America’s Great Storm Book Tour
(including public events and press availability)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

2-3:30 p.m. Mississippi Book Festival panel (State Capitol, Room 216)

6-8 p.m. Turnrow Books book signing (304 Howard Street, Greenwood, MS 38930)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

2-4 p.m. Square Books book signing (160 Courthouse Square, Oxford, MS 38655)

Monday, August 24, 2015

11-12:30 p.m. Reed’s Gumtree Bookstore book signing (111 S. Spring Street, Tupelo, MS 38804)

2:30-3:30 p.m. Mississippi State University lecture and book signing (Mitchell Memorial Library – John Grisham Room, 395 Hardy Road, Mississippi State, MS 39762)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

1-2 p.m. Community Bank book signing (301 22nd Avenue South, Meridian, MS 39301)

4:30-6 p.m. Lemuria Bookstore book signing (4465 North Hwy 55 #202, Jackson, MS 39206)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

12-1:30 p.m. Mississippi Department of Archives & History’s “History is Lunch” lecture and book signing (Old Capitol, Jackson)

3:30-5 p.m. Lauren Rogers Museum of Art book signing (565 N. 5th Avenue, Laurel, MS 39440)

6-7:30 p.m. University of Southern Mississippi lecture and book signing (Trent Lott Center, 118 College Drive, Hattiesburg, MS 39406)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

9 a.m. Leadership Mississippi lecture and book signing (open only to class participants)

10:30-11:15 a.m. Media Press Avail (Beau Rivage, Biloxi, MS). For more information, please contact Rebekah Staples at the number and/or email listed above.

12-2 p.m. Pass Christian Books book signing (300 East Scenic Drive, Pass Christian, MS 39571)

2:15-3:30 p.m. Bay Books book signing (131 Main Street, Bay St. Louis, MS 39520)

Friday, August 28, 2015

8-9 a.m. Mississippi Gulf Coast Business Council/University of Southern Mississippi joint event (USM’s Gulf Park Campus – Fleming Education Center & Auditorium, 730 E. Beach Blvd., Long Beach, MS 39560)

General inquiries about the book tour can be sent to americasgreatstorm@gmail.com. Residents can also keep track of Gov. Barbour’s events by following @AmericasGr8Strm on twitter or liking “America’s Great Storm: Leading through Hurricane Katrina” on Facebook. Individuals interested in purchasing the book online can do so by visiting the publisher’s website (http://www.upress.state.ms.us) or Amazon.com.

Governor Haley Barbour Press Release
8/19/15


Posted August 19, 2015 - 2:54 pm

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Former Cochran aide pleads guilty to drug conspiracy

The arrest cost Pagan his job, where he earned around $160,000 annually working as Cochran’s personal assistant and office administrator, according to the LegiStorm database. Cochran’s office dismissed Pagan on May 15, after he spent decades working for the Mississippi Republican. Pagan, a native of Jackson, Mich., first came to the Senate as a page for Cochran when he was 16 years old, and essentially never left. He reportedly finished his high school degree while continuing to work for Cochran, and confirmed in court Wednesday that he did not earn a college degree.

By pleading guilty to the felony offense, Pagan faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. He also could receive a term of supervised release of a minimum of three years and up to life. Pagan also agreed to pay a “special assessment” of $100 per felony conviction.

Pagan was released under the same prior conditions that he continue treatment and return to court. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 30.


Clarion Ledger
8/19/15

Posted August 19, 2015 - 2:04 pm

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PERRY/Mississippi Book Festival


For those more politically inclined, the book festival has that covered as well. Former Governor Haley Barbour will participate in the History and Biography panel to discuss his new book on leadership during Hurricane Katrina: America's Great Storm. Also on the panel is Don Thompson, author of Stennis: Ploughing a Straight Furrow; Stuart Stevens, author of several political, travel and sports books; and Minion K.C. Morrison, author of Aaron Henry of Mississippi: Inside Agitator; among others.

Another event features Congressman Gregg Harper conducting a live interview ex-POW and World War II Veteran Earl Derrington as part of the Library of Congress's Veterans History Project. And state Representative-elect Joel Bomgar will join a panelist of entrepreneurs featuring Toni Cooley, Monica Sethi Harrigill and Ambassador John Palmer moderated by Polly Dement, author of Mississippi Entrepreneurs.

The events and panels begin at 10:00am and run through 6:00pm on Saturday, August 22 in downtown Jackson at venues in or around the Capitol Building. "The Last Chapter" - the final panel of the festival - is moderated by former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, William Ferris, with authors Ellen Gilchrist, Steve Yarbrough and Natchez native and New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles. They close the book on the event, but celebrations worthy of storytelling will continue through the evening at downtown Jackson venues like Parlor Market.

The festival is free and open to the public (except for the Willie Morris Luncheon which requires separate tickets). The event has been spearheaded by the Mississippi Book Festival executive director Holly Lange, and chairman of the Festival's Board of Director, Jere Nash who co-authored with Andy Taggart "Mississippi Politics: The Struggle for Power, 1976-2008" and Mississippi Fried Politics: Tall tales from the Back Room" and is co-author on Barbour's Katrina book.

Brian Perry
Neshoba Democrat
8/19/15

Posted August 19, 2015 - 11:06 am

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Flag discussion packs council chambers

Jim High said it is time for Mississippi to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state flag.

“Mississippi is alone in fighting a battle that was lost in 1865,” High said. “Change comes slow, very slow sometimes, but the right thing to do it always the right thing.

“The thing to do is to not fly it anywhere until the state leaders in Jackson have the courage to change the flag to one that represents all Mississippians.”

While the council has not discussed whether or not to remove the state flag from city-owned properties, the council has mentioned passing a resolution asking the governor and lieutenant governor to bring up the matter of a new flag during the next legislative session.


Daily Journal
8/19/15

Posted August 19, 2015 - 9:33 am

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Senate race decided Tuesday

Branning polled 3,370 votes or 43 percent in the three counties while Forsman had 1,865 votes or 24 percent in the first primary.

Others in the race were Speedy Calvert who tallied 1,636 votes and Curt Pace who had 945 votes.

Branning won Neshoba and Leake counties, while Forsman carried Winston County.

In an advertisement this week, Branning said she was a fifth generation Neshoba countian and a practicing attorney who helps businesses to grow and create jobs.

If elected, she said she would "reduce the size and scope of government in our daily lives and fight Obama's EPA and their job-killing regulations."

She vowed to "stand up for farmers and other agri-businesses and to oppose Obamacare Medicaid expansion in Mississippi."

Branning said she would support local control of schools, oppose Common Core, defend the second amendment, the right to life and traditional marriage.

In an advertisement this week, Forsman pledged to use his "48 years of experience owning a business that has generated tens of millions of dollars in sales to help Mississippi balance its $6.2 billon budget without raising taxes."

Forsman, who has identified with the tea party and its supporters, vowed to use his "31 years of experience in manufacturing to help our community attract jobs that match what our folks do best."




Neshoba Democrat
8/19/15

Posted August 19, 2015 - 9:15 am

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Former Jackson County state senator, football coach William "Son" Rhodes passes away at 84



Former Jackson County state senator and one time prep football coach William C. "Son" Rhodes passed away Sunday at the age of 84.

Rhodes, of Vancleave, was born on February 1, 1931 in Moss Point to H.M. and Hazel Rhodes. He was a lifelong resident of Jackson County, and served with the United States Army during the Korean Conflict.

He was a former Senator with the Mississippi Legislature, He graduated from Moss Point High School, and University of Southern Mississippi. He taught school and coached football at East Central High School. He was a member of Dantzler Memorial United Methodist Church, a member of the Young Men's Business Club of Moss Point, the American Legion Post#160, VFW Post #3373, BPOE Elks Lodge #1120, as well as other clubs and organizations.



Gulflive
8/18/15



Posted August 19, 2015 - 5:54 am

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Change the State Flag: Oxford City Council Takes Down the Flag, Sends State a Request to Change It





OXFORD, Miss.–Change our state flag, is the request from the Oxford city council after a unanimous vote Tuesday night to remove the flag from city buildings...


...That is, until a change is made. Oxford took a step further than most Mississippi cities that have voted to change the flag. The drafted a resolution to go to the state legislature, asking state lawmakers to change it.




NewsMS
8/18/15


Posted August 19, 2015 - 5:48 am

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SID SALTER: Initiative 42 changes who decides funds



Backers of Initiative 42 says that their proposal is for a “phased-in” move to full funding, but the language of the constitutional amendment absolutely does not provide such a mechanism.

But while MAEP has indeed only been “fully funded” twice, the fact is that current state government leaders and the Legislature provided the largest amount of funding for K-12 education in state history during the most recent legislative session.



Daily Journal
8/18/15



Posted August 19, 2015 - 5:43 am

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WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS


WLOX
8/18/15

Posted August 19, 2015 - 5:39 am

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CHARLIE MITCHELL: Sadly, in Mississippi some parents, students don't value education



Mississippi schoolchildren are back in class, most working earnestly under the tutelage of skilled educators who really want them to achieve.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is holding hearings around the state in keeping with the processes required leading to November's vote related to public school funding.

The separation between those who gathered petitions leading to Initiative 42 and the state legislators who added a competing proposal on ballots to confuse voters could not be more clear.


SunHerald
8/18/15



Posted August 19, 2015 - 5:26 am

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SUN HERALD | EDITORIAL: Give us the facts, not gimmick and games





If the Jackson County supervisors want voters to believe their message in the past primary election has been heard, the public officials should stop horsing around with gimmicks such as the pension calculator they offered up to Singing River Health System employees and retirees.

Retirees saw right through the questionnaire supervisors asked them to complete. Those questions were loaded, they said, and they boycotted.

What everybody really wants is a full accounting of the pension plan disaster. They want to know what happened to the money that should be in the plan.

They want to know who is responsible for the near collapse of the system that was supposed to pay for their Golden Years. And they want to know how SRHS is being managed.

SRHS should release all the financial statements and let people see what transpired at one of the county's largest employers.



SunHerald
8/18/15


Posted August 19, 2015 - 5:22 am

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New board approves millions in no-bid contracts



The new board tasked with clamping down on state agencies giving out no-bid contracts signed off on millions of dollars in no-bid contracts Tuesday.

The board did question some of the spending. It initially declined to approve two contracts worth nearly $1 million but then came back later in its meeting and approved them. The board issued directives and statements to agencies that it wants to see state government use competitive bidding or requests for proposals whenever possible and get the best bang for taxpayers’ dollars.

The revamped Personal Services Contract Review Board is part of a contracting reform bill the state Legislature passed this year after much debate, with the Senate watering down sweeping House proposals.


ClarionLedger
8/18/15



Posted August 19, 2015 - 5:14 am

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Wicker plans to vote against Iran nuclear deal



U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker said he plans to vote against the Iran nuclear deal.

The Mississippi Republican spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday about the agreement that was negotiated between Secretary of State John Kerry and top Iranian leaders.



WAPT
8/18/15



Posted August 19, 2015 - 5:11 am

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