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What is SPLC's real game in Mississippi?

The Southern Poverty Law Center is attempting to knock charter schools out of business in Mississippi. It sued Governor Phil Bryant, Jackson Public School District, and the Mississippi Department of Education in Hinds County Court recently as it seeks to block the funding of three charter schools in Jackson. The SPLC is apparently waging a lawfare campaign against charter schools in Mississippi and other states. SPLC attorney Will Bardwell whines to anyone who will listen that SPLC is not against charter schools per se, just their funding in Mississippi. Uh-huh. The SPLC fight against charter schools in New Orleans gives the game plan away.


Louisiana blogger Peter Cook wrote about the Charter Battle of New Orleans on August 1.

Kingfish
8/31/16

Posted August 31, 2016 - 12:43 pm

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RELEASE:


COCHRAN, WICKER ANNOUNCE $1 MILLON FAA AWARD FOR GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGIONAL AIRPORT

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today announced that the Golden Triangle Regional Airport, near the intersection of Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha Counties, Miss., has received a federal grant for more than $1 million to increase passenger safety.

The grant, totaling $1,063,485, was provided through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Improvement Program. It will allow the Golden Triangle Regional Airport Authority to rehabilitate the airport’s apron, which is the area of an airport where aircraft are parked, loaded, and boarded.

“The Golden Triangle Regional Airport is an important asset for an area that is growing as a hub for technology, research and manufacturing. I am pleased that local authorities will have these resources to improve the efficiency of this airport,” Cochran said.

“This federal investment represents a continued commitment to improving the existing airport infrastructure at Golden Triangle,” Wicker said. “These enhancements, along with the construction of a third new industrial park, highlight the tremendous economic progress being made in the area.”

Wicker serves a senior member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which last spring drafted a new FAA reform bill that expands the Airport Improvement Program. The legislation was enacted into law in July.

Cochran chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, which in May approved the FY2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill. This measure provides $3.35 billion from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund to continue support for the Airport Improvement Program. Many Mississippi airports benefit from this program, which is designed to help facilities meet FAA operations and safety standards.


8/30/16

Posted August 31, 2016 - 8:11 am

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RELEASE:


Leah Rupp Smith to Serve as Assistant Secretary of State of Communications

Jackson, Miss.—Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is pleased to announce Leah Rupp Smith as the Agency’s new Assistant Secretary of State of Communications.

“Leah’s varied skills and experience in media, communications, and the legal world give her a unique perspective in this role which will undoubtedly be an asset to the public and the Agency,” Secretary Hosemann said.

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in English/journalism from Miami University of Ohio. After graduation, Smith reported on state and local politics at The Clarion-Ledger, and later served as Director of Communications for the State Institutions of Higher Learning under Commissioner of Higher Education Hank Bounds.

Smith received her Juris Doctor from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law in 2013. She worked for two years as a management-side labor and employment attorney at a large regional firm in Louisville, Kentucky. In 2015-16, Smith clerked for The Honorable Leslie H. Southwick on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Smith lives in Jackson with her husband, Solon Brown Smith III of Greenville, Mississippi.


8/30/16

Posted August 31, 2016 - 8:10 am

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Board of Aldermen vote to suspend Moss Point Chief of Police without pay



The Moss Point Board of Aldermen held an emergency meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss a controversy surrounding Moss Point Chief of Police Art McClung.

Following discussion, the board voted to suspend McClung while it investigated the matter further.

On Tuesday, the Sun Herald released dash cam footage of McClung being pulled over by Pascagoula police for reckless driving. When an officer approached the driver, he recognized it was McClung and according to dash cam footage, the officer could be heard saying, "he's toasted."



Gulflive
8/30/16

Posted August 31, 2016 - 8:07 am

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Pascagoula residents narrowly reject 2 percent food & beverage tax



Residents had the opportunity to go to the polls to allow their voices to be heard in regard to the hotly contested 2 percent food and beverage tax. While some were heavily in favor with the tax increase, a great percentage were not.

According to the poll results, 56% were for the tax hike, while 44% voted against the tax. In order for the referendum to have passed, 60% of those voting were required to vote "yes."



Gulflive
8/30/16

Posted August 31, 2016 - 8:05 am

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Ocean Springs teacher launches bid for mayor



This week, Jay Twilbeck became the first of what is expected to be multiple challengers to Connie Moran for the Ocean Springs mayor's seat in the 2017 municipal elections.

Twilbeck, a teacher at Magnolia Park Elementary, announced his candidacy on his personal Facebook page and also launched a Jay Twilbeck for Mayor of Ocean Springs page.



Gulflive
8/30/16

Posted August 31, 2016 - 8:04 am

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MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

WLBT
8/30/16

Posted August 31, 2016 - 8:02 am

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MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS


WLBT
8/30/16

Posted August 31, 2016 - 7:54 am

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Clarion Ledger
8/30/16

Posted August 31, 2016 - 6:51 am

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Arizona U.S. Senate Primary Election — Sen. John McCain Def. Dr. Kelli Ward


30 minutes after polls closed, Kelli Ward’s campaign manager stood up at the campaign’s election night event and introduced Ward as the next U.S. Senator from Arizona. She spoke a minute later and said that everything seems to have broken her way at the last second, foreshadowing victory.

Ward received a boost in the last month, with high-profile endorsements and financial support from Robert Mercer in the form of a $200,000 contribution to a Ward-supporting PAC, according to Politico. The publication also noted that the PAC helped fund a $600,000 ad campaign attacking McCain. Several Arizona state legislators endorsed Ward last December.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, and Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel, Rep. Thomas Massie, Rep. Jim Bridenstine, Virginia State Senator Richard Black, former Rep. Ron Paul, conservative leader Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum, Tea Party Patriots leader Jenny Beth Martin, talk radio host Laura Ingraham, and three parents who have each lost children at the hands of illegal aliens joined Ward’s endorsees. She also picked up the endorsement of former Reagan official Bay Buchanan on Monday, who announced of her endorsement in the Daily Caller.

Breitbart
8/31/16

Posted August 31, 2016 - 6:01 am

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Charter schools seek to join legal fight over funding in Mississippi



One of the charter schools in Jackson and the state charter organization are asking a Hinds County judge if they can enter a legal fight over charter funding in Mississippi.

Midtown Public Charter School and the Mississippi Charter Schools Association want to join the defendants in a lawsuit filed in Hinds County Chancery Court by the Southern Poverty Law Center and some parents of Jackson Public School District students.

The two parties filed letters Monday (here and here) with Hinds County Judge Dewayne Thomas asking to join the suit, which also includes Gov. Phil Bryant and Jackson Public Schools.



Watchdog Mississippi
8/29/16

Posted August 30, 2016 - 7:28 am

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8/30/16

Posted August 30, 2016 - 7:24 am

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Facebook
8/29/16

Posted August 30, 2016 - 7:12 am

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WTVA
8/29/16

Posted August 30, 2016 - 7:09 am

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Mississippi seeks groups for pre-K expansion



Mississippi's state-funded effort hasn't expanded until now beyond the initial groups serving 1,700 students statewide for lack of funding.

The Mississippi Department of Education is accepting applications until Sept. 26. Officials say they will choose new grant recipients based on ability to provide services, showing improved kindergarten preparation, needs of local children and other factors.

An information meeting will be held Sept. 6 in Jackson. The state will notify winners Nov. 10.



WTOK
8/29/16

Posted August 30, 2016 - 7:06 am

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WTOK
8/29/16

Posted August 30, 2016 - 7:00 am

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Lobbyists see roads, bridges as priority for Mississippi



JACKSON – During this year’s legislative session, the Mississippi Economic Council made a lobbying push for $375 million in additional revenue to address the state’s immediate transportation needs. Alongside the MEC stood several lobbyist groups that similarly prioritized the maintenance and expansion of Mississippi’s infrastructure system...


...But, as Waller points out, the longer the Legislature takes to pick a method, the less each dollar will be able to do....


...The chairman of the state’s House transportation committee, Rep. Charles Busby, R-Jackson County, wants the lobbying actions taken by the groups to be just the start.

“We need to do what is fiscally responsible,” Busby said. “How are we going to leave here not having funded something that we all agree is a core responsibility of government. Our infrastructure is a core responsibility of our government. How are we going to make a case for being fiscally responsible?”




Daily Journal
8/30/16

Posted August 30, 2016 - 6:54 am

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Late revenue report follows declining collection trends



Mississippi’s July revenue report, released on Monday during the final days of August, reveals the state collected $11.5 million or 3.9 percent less than it did during July 2015.

The staff of the Legislative Budget Committee normally has the monthly report finished within a week of the end of the month. Legislative staff said the delay in the July report resulted from having to deal with legislative changes made during the 2016 session in how revenue is collected and with end-of-fiscal-year closeout issues.

At any rate, the report continued the string of bad news confronting legislators and Gov. Phil Bryant in regards to the budget and revenue collections.



Daily Journal
8/30/16

Posted August 30, 2016 - 6:51 am

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Analysis: Miss. lawmakers jockey for BP money



But there’s already jockeying as lawmakers consider spending $750 million in economic damages that oil giant BP has pledged to pay Mississippi over 12 years.

The money is part of nearly $2.2 billion from BP that’s supposed to be spent on Mississippi projects. But the state will have less control over the $1.42 billion that’s allotted for environmental restoration and cleanup. State government could spend the economic damages, meant to make up for decreased tax collections following lost economic activity, on pretty much anything.

“This is the Legislature’s money,” said Andrew Whitehurst of the Gulf Restoration Network. His group says it hopes Mississippi will spend on infrastructure projects that improve water quality.



Clarion Ledger
8/28/16

Posted August 30, 2016 - 6:48 am

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RELEASE:


Speaker Philip Gunn Appoints Rep. John Read as New House Appropriations Committee Chairman



Jackson, MS—Speaker Philip Gunn announced today the appointment of John Read (R-Gautier) as the new Chairman of Appropriations in the House of Representatives.

“John has more experience and knowledge of the appropriations process than anyone in the House of Representatives,” said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn. “He has 25 years of legislative experience. He has been a member of the Appropriations Committee for more than 20 years and has served as the Vice-Chairman of Appropriations for eight of those years.

“He has also served in various other leadership roles during his legislative career, including Chairman of the Fees and Salaries Committee, Chairman of the Conservation and Water Resources Committee, and Vice-Chairman of the Rules Committee, one of the most powerful committees in the House,” continued Speaker Gunn. “John has served well in all of these roles and has proven himself to be a competent leader. His resume and his record of service make it clear that he is very qualified to be the Chairman, and I believe he will do an excellent job.”



8/29/16

Posted August 29, 2016 - 12:00 pm

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RELEASE:



Governor Phil Bryant To Announce Trump Campaign Headquarters in Mississippi


JACKSON, MS — Governor Phil Bryant, Campaign Chairman for Donald Trump in the state of Mississippi and Joe Nosef, Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, will hold a press conference on Tuesday, August 30 to announce the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign headquarters to open at the Mississippi Republican Party.


Who: Governor Phil Bryant, Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef, and Mississippi State Director for the Donald J. Trump Campaign, Dane Maxwell. Other Republican elected officials have been invited and will also attend depending on availability.

What: Announcement of the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign headquarters at the Mississippi Republican Party.

When: Tuesday, August 30, 2016, at 2:30pmCST

Where: Mississippi Republican Party Headquarters
415 Yazoo Street
Jackson, MS


8/29/16

Posted August 29, 2016 - 11:25 am

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RELEASE:


Governor Phil Bryant Appoints Crear, Fenn to Veterans Affairs Board

Jackson, Miss. – Gov. Phil Bryant announced today that he has appointed retired Brig. Gen. Robert Crear and retired Sgt. 1st Class Max Fenn to the Mississippi State Veterans Affairs Board.

Crear and Fenn will replace Hayes Dent and James Richmond. The appointments are effective immediately. Crear and Fenn are both retired from the U.S. Army.

“I thank Sgt. 1st Class Fenn and Brig. Gen. Crear for serving their country as members of the most powerful fighting force in the world,” Gov. Bryant said. “That their service will continue on the Veterans Affairs Board is great news for Mississippi, and I am delighted they have accepted these appointments.”

Crear, a native and resident of Vicksburg, earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Jackson State University in 1975. Upon graduation, he earned a commission as a second lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers through the ROTC program.

Crear has served worldwide, commanded and led soldiers and civilians at every level, while serving in high-level leadership positions with the Corps of Engineers. At the Pentagon he served as the military assistant to the assistant secretary of the Army for civil works. At the Corps Headquarters in Washington D.C., he served as assistant director of civil works and as the chief of staff. In the field he commanded the Corps’ Vicksburg District, the Southwest Division and the Mississippi Valley Division. Additionally, he served as president of the Mississippi River Commission.

Crear retired from the Army in 2008.

“My wife Reatha and I decided to retire in our hometown of Vicksburg in order to give back to our community that laid the foundation for our success,” Crear said. “I thank Gov. Bryant for giving me this opportunity to give back to the broader Mississippi community. And more importantly, I welcome the chance to serve my fellow veterans and their families whom have sacrificed the best years of their lives to the service of their country and were prepared to give life itself for all of us. I'm humbled by this opportunity to serve.”

Crear’s military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Army Staff Identification Badge and Parachutist Badge.

In 1999 he received the Chief of Engineers and Secretary of the Army Award for Small Business Utilization; and the Silver de Fleury Medal for his outstanding support to the Engineer Regiment. He was inducted into the Society of American Military Engineers Academy of Fellows in November 2002.

Other awards include the 2004, 2006 and 2007 Black Engineer of the Year Award for Professional Achievement in Government, Alumni of the Year and Stars and Stripes Lifetime Achievement awards (respectively). In 2006 he received the Infrastructure Security Partnership Award for Distinguished Leadership for his leadership during response and recovery efforts after hurricanes Katrina and Rita; and Rock of the Year award for his contributions to the Army and the nation.

In 2010 Crear was inducted into the Jackson State University Alumni Hall of Fame. In June 2016 he was inducted into the inaugural class of the National Reserve Officer Training Corps Hall of Fame.

Crear makes time to speak and mentor young people at schools throughout the nation. He has served as past chairman of the executive board of the United Way of West Central Mississippi. He is a member and past post president of the Society of American Military Engineers. He has also served on the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

He currently serves as president of the Friends of the Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign and is a member of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps’ Southern Regional Working Group. He currently serves on the board of directors of The Salvation Army, the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Jackson State University Development Foundation.

Crear is president and CEO of The Crear Group LLC, a business development and governmental relations consulting firm in Vicksburg. He is chairman of Rye Development, a hydropower developer based in Boston.

He is married to his high school sweetheart, the former Reatha Hall. They have four adult children and four grandchildren.

Fenn is a native of Pike County. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1981-1985, from Parris Island, S.C., to Camp Lejeune, N.C., serving with the 3rd Battalion, 10th Marines.

This tour included three deployments to the Mediterranean Sea with Marine amphibious units, one of which was land-based as part of the multi-national peacekeeping force in Beirut, Lebanon. His unit responded to the terrorist bombing of the United States Embassy in 1983.

Honorably discharged as a sergeant/E-5 in 1985, he served in the Individual Ready Reserve before re-entering the Marine Corps Reserve in 1987, serving with the 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company at Mobile, Alabama until 1993. There, he successfully completed numerous tradecraft schools to include SCUBA, airborne, and the U.S. Army Ranger School. The unit was mobilized and deployed to Operation Desert Storm in 1990-1991. His platoon saw action in the Battle of Khafji.

In 1993, Fenn transitioned from the Marine Corps Reserve as a gunnery sergeant to the Mississippi Army National Guard as a sergeant first class, joining Company C, 2nd Battalion of the 20th Special Forces Group (A) at Grenada. He successfully completed the Special Forces Selection and Assessment Course and the Special Forces Qualification Course as an 18B weapons sergeant.

The unit was mobilized in support of Operation Uphold Democracy in the Republic of Haiti in 1995, where Fenn was injured while conducting military operations and medivacked to the U.S. After lengthy rehabilitation, he was medically retired as a sergeant first class/E-7 from the U.S. Army in 1998.

Utilizing the Veterans Administration Vocational Rehabilitation Program, Fenn enrolled at the University of Mississippi in the fall of 1998, graduating in 2001 with a bachelor of arts in political science.

After Sept. 11, 2001, he went to work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi in Jackson as an anti-terrorism intelligence research specialist.

Fenn transitioned to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2006, where he currently serves as protective security advisor for the Office of Infrastructure Protection. He supports state homeland security efforts and contributes to the development of the national risk picture by assisting with the identification, assessment, monitoring and minimizing of risk to critical assets at the local level. He maintains a Top Secret/SCI Clearance.

“I look forward to serving our veterans, their families and the state of Mississippi,” Fenn said.

Fenn lives in Summit with his wife Anita and their two children, James Max and Emma Ann. He is a member of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.


8/29/16

Posted August 29, 2016 - 11:24 am

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Two qualify in Southaven



Two individuals have qualified to run in the special election set for Sept. 13 to fill the Ward 2 Alderman seat vacated by Shirley Kite.

Candidates submitting qualifying petitions for the post are Ronnie Hale and Brandon Henley. The deadline to qualify to run for the Ward 2 seat was Aug. 24.



Desoto Times
8/26/16

Posted August 29, 2016 - 7:42 am

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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

WLOX
8/28/16

Posted August 29, 2016 - 7:38 am

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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi


WLOX
8/28/16

Posted August 29, 2016 - 7:37 am

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Hattiesburg mayor apologizes for snatching camera



Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree is apologizing after trying to snatch a camera Friday from a blogger who's long been critical of DuPree.

The longtime mayor says he "acted in a way that was the wrong way, and I apologize."

DuPree tells WDAM-TV that he should have walked away instead of grabbing the phone from Tom Garmon, who operates the Hattiesburg Patriot website. Garmon has alleged that DuPree's administration is incompetent and corrupt.


WTOK
8/27/16

###


Video from Hattiesburg Patriot Facebook page:





Posted August 29, 2016 - 7:31 am

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WTOK
8/28/16

Posted August 29, 2016 - 7:29 am

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Reeves restarts discussion over spending BP money



Last week, Lt. Gov Tate Reeves held a meeting in Long Beach to say that he wants to spend the money on ways that will grow the economy. This is a consistent Reeves theme, that what is maybe state government’s biggest job is to encourage private investment in Mississippi.

But that report may not be the final word on the subject. Bryant spokesman Clay Chandler said last week that “The Go Coast 2020 report is a good starting point, and Gov. Bryant hopes the group stays involved in the process moving forward.”



Daily Journal
8/29/16

Posted August 29, 2016 - 7:25 am

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BILL CRAWFORD: Mississippi needs every federal dollar it can get



Mississippi is a poor state, persistently landing near the bottom on income, health, and education rankings. Many families depend heavily on federal benefits to survive. So, too does state government (44 percent of total spending). Many small businesses’ survival depends heavily on federally subsidized families and government.

Yes, federal spending is out of control. Yes, we have too many people on the dole. But, the reality is we desperately need every federal dollar we can get.

So, how smart was it for Mississippi to cut off SNAP (food stamp) benefits early?




Daily Journal
8/28/16

Posted August 29, 2016 - 7:20 am

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Congressman Trent Kelly (R-MS01) appeared on the Paul Gallo Show Monday morning on SuperTalk radio to discuss state and national politics.

Gallo asked Kelly about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's chances in November.

"I'm Trump," Congressman Kelly said. "I think the polls are wrong and Trump is going to win this thing."

Kelly said Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton would bring more of the same to Washington, something he wants to change.

Gallo mentioned the media's attempt to paint Trump as a racist.

Kelly responded, saying, "I don't see him as being a racist. I see him as wanting to empower the poor."

Kelly noted Trump's straight talk on the need to go into the inner cities and change the social and economic environments in those neighborhoods by providing jobs.



8/29/16

Posted August 29, 2016 - 7:10 am

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Justice recuses himself in Hinds DA case\



A state Supreme Court justice has recused himself from a case involving Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, who was arrested in June over allegations he aided two criminal defendants.

Justice Jim Kitchens removed himself Friday from a request by Smith before the Supreme Court to throw out an order barring him from participating in Hinds County grand jury procedures. Under seal in the same Supreme Court case, the state attorney general’s office made its own requests of the court, the details of which remain unknown to the public.



Clarion Ledger
8/28/16

Posted August 29, 2016 - 7:08 am

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Officials speak out on intimidation allegations



Congressman Bennie Thompson's spokesman told the Hattiesburg American on Friday that Thompson is glad the Department of Justice is looking into allegations raised by some Hattiesburg community members stemming from the 2013 municipal election....



...Baker said Thompson's office has not been in touch with 4th District Rep. Steven Palazzo, a Republican whose district covers Hattiesburg and south Mississippi, so he did not know if the congressman was aware of his constituents' complaints....



..."This particular mayoral election was bitterly fought and was divided, chiefly, along racial lines as many elections are in Mississippi," Thompson wrote. "The divisive election was exacerbated by challenges of voter fraud and electioneering that resulted in a court-ordered new election."

Since the election, Thompson said he has received numerous complaints alleging "DuPree's supporters, both public officials and private citizens, have been the victims of systematic targeting."



Clarion Ledger
8/26/16

Posted August 29, 2016 - 7:02 am

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From Mississippi Democrat Party email:



Hey!

Throw us a bone on National Dog Day! Join the Yellow Dog club for $20 a month!

CLICK THIS LINK TO SIGN UP TODAY!

Sincerely,

Bobby Moak
Chairman

(Democrats love dogs... and kittens, too.)



8/26/16

Posted August 26, 2016 - 8:58 am

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From Facebook:




8/25/16

Posted August 26, 2016 - 7:42 am

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WTVA
8/25/16

Posted August 26, 2016 - 7:40 am

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Supreme Court candidates campaign



Three of the four Mississippi Supreme Court candidates running for a seat on the high court in the Nov. 8 general election campaigned in Southaven on Tuesday with an appearance before the DeSoto County Republican Club at the group's August meeting.

A crowd of about 100 people gathered inside the BankPlus Training Center in Southaven to hear the high court hopefuls speak.

Circuit judges Robert "Bobby" Chamberlin of Hernando and James T. "Jim" Kitchens of Caledonia along with attorney Steve Crampton of Tupelo gave remarks and took questions from the audience.



Desoto Time
8/24/16

Posted August 26, 2016 - 7:37 am

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Biloxi says Secretary of State owes city $1.2 million




The City of Biloxi and the Institutions of Higher Learning are joining forces against the Secretary of State in Chancery Court to get money they say they are owed.

The city is arguing that the Secretary of State owes the city $1.2 million in tidelands rent from the Golden Nugget property at Point Cadet....



...Blessey says Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann transferred the money in April, which was held in trust, to help the state Legislature meet a budget shortfall.

"Whatever the secretary's differences with the legislature are, that's his problem," Blessey said. "He shouldn't be blaming this on the Legislature. He should have paid the city and IHL the money that was been owed all year."




WLOX
8/25/16

Posted August 26, 2016 - 7:34 am

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Legislative forum covers variety of topics



Mayor Percy Bland was on hand for the forum. He says everyone should take advantage of sessions like this because it will answer many questions people have about what’s going on in Mississippi.

“You can actually ask questions that might have an impact on your life and get the answers in a small form like this. After the question and answering period, you get a chance to go up to them individually and talk with them about specific issues, Bland says.

There will be other meetings just like this one hosted by Representative Charles Young Jr. in the future.



WTOK
8/25/16

Posted August 26, 2016 - 7:32 am

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From Mississippi Democrat Party email:


Friends,



Donald Trump found a comfortable group tonight when like-minded Mississippi Republican officials hosted him with a rally at the Coliseum. Front and center behind Mr. Trump was State Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith, one of the architects of the state beef plant fiasco. They all clapped for the political optics and tied their political fortunes to the Trump campaign's record of disparaging women, minorities, and military families - just to name a few.

As if Mississippi's Republican leadership's own poor record of job losses, increased government spending, high unemployment, and a lowered economic outlook coupled with a budget mess they do not have the political courage to solve, this same group couldn't wait to welcome a very special guest that helped usher in the same for our British cousins.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE $100, $50, OR $20 ONLINE RIGHT NOW!

Called the "most stupid idea of the century" the British EU Referendum, or Brexit, continues to "cost UK companies billions if not trillions of pounds" and "the price will continue to be paid for years to come," says The Independent. (8/23/16; J.Moore) The ongoing shock has led some financial analyst to predict the UK will slump into technical recession by the end of the year. (Sputnik International 8/24/16)

Donald Trump and local friends were selling those same ideas in Jackson, Mississippi tonight when they highlighted the leader of the EU's exit vote, by having Nigel Farage, speak to the rally. The Farage speech boasted immigration as an important base issue for the successful vote. However, that may have been lost on Trump.

You see Trump has wilted (imagine that) on his immigration stance from removing 11 million immigrants in the US to following the Obama approach. He said "...Obama got tremendous numbers of people out of the country." "Lots of people were brought out of the country with the existing laws. Well, I'm going to do the same thing." (MPB; Detrow; 8/23/16)

Not much good news tonight from this rally for average Mississippians looking for jobs or economic upturn. Mr. Trump noted, "Mississippi has lost 40 percent of its manufacturing base," since the Fordice administration. But there is a plan we can all work together on.

Join Democrats in offering logical and reasoned approaches to help solve issues right here at home. You must be the one to send the message that it takes all of us working together.




CLICK HERE TO DONATE $100, $50, OR $20 ONLINE RIGHT NOW!





Sincerely,

Chairman Bobby Moak


8/24/16

Posted August 26, 2016 - 7:29 am

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RELEASE:


‘SHAPE UP AT THE CAPITOL’ TO PROMOTE HEALTHY LIVING

JACKSON – The Mississippi Legislature will sponsor Shape Up at the Capitol on Friday to promote healthy lifestyles for employees of state government and downtown Jackson businesses, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Speaker Philip Gunn announced today. The event will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the south side of the Capitol.

Shape Up at the Capitol will offer music, food, exercise demonstrations, and a fitness fair where participants can talk with representatives from local fitness-related programs and facilities. Both Lt. Gov. Reeves and Speaker Gunn will speak.



“Shape Up at the Capitol brings together individuals in both the public and private sectors to stress the importance of healthy living,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “I appreciate the work of state employees and sponsors to emphasize nutrition and exercise in our state.”

“I’m happy to see this event occurring again at the Capitol,” said Speaker Gunn. “Health costs are high in Mississippi. Being physically active and eating healthfully are good ways to combat a lot of preventable diseases. This event is a wonderful way to encourage people. Thank you to all the sponsors for participating this year and for promoting healthy lifestyles among Mississippians.”



Encouraging healthy living habits can maintain a healthy workforce, increase productivity and manage health care costs. Vendors at the event include Baptist Healthplex, Mississippi Farmer’s Market, AARP, American Cancer Society, athenafit Barre Studio and many more.




8/24/16

Posted August 26, 2016 - 7:28 am

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8/25/16

Posted August 26, 2016 - 7:26 am

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8/24/16

Posted August 26, 2016 - 7:24 am

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8/24/16

Posted August 26, 2016 - 7:21 am

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Report on state revenue completion lagging



With the month of September quickly approaching, the report detailing Mississippi revenue collections for the month of July is still not complete.

Normally, the staff of the Legislative Budget Committee has the monthly reports completed within a few days of the end of the month.

But the July report has created unique problems. Debbie Rubisoff, director of the Budget Committee staff, said changes made to the method of collecting state revenue during the 2016 legislative session is having to be incorporated into the July report – the first of a new fiscal year.



Daily Journal
8/25/16

Posted August 26, 2016 - 7:18 am

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Ex-assistant to Jackson mayor alleges sexual harassment




A former executive assistant to Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber tells a story of sex, strippers and campaign parties in her sexual harassment suit filed against the mayor Thursday.

Kimberly Bracey alleges Yarber sexually harassed her and others and fostered a "sexual hostile work place" at City Hall.

"It’s just my hope that no one else has to go through this," Bracey told The Clarion-Ledger. "Hopefully people start coming forward."

Yarber did not return calls to his cell. An official city statement called the lawsuit "vicious and scandalous" and called Bracey a "former disgruntled employee."



Clarion Ledger
8/25/16

Posted August 26, 2016 - 7:12 am

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Ex-assistant to Jackson mayor alleges sexual harassment

The suit also paints a picture of the parties held by Atlanta businesswoman Mitzi Bickers for Yarber in late 2014. "Ms. Bickers had arranged for a woman to have a sexual relationship with Defendant Yarber," the suit states.

The filing alleges that on one of these trips, the mayor visited a strip club "where Ms. Bickers paid for everything" and that Bracey was required to "watch the door where Mayor Yarber and one of the strippers went in to be alone."

The Clarion-Ledger has reported on fundraisers held at Bicker's home in Jonesboro, Georgia, that went unreported in Yarber's campaign finance reports. The suit states that "strippers wearing only body paint" greeted guests at her door.

"That's ridiculous," Bickers said. "We do regular fundraisers. I've never known a fundraiser where sex was solicited."

Clarion Ledger
8/25/16

Posted August 25, 2016 - 3:58 pm

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Thompson: Political motivation is behind Hattiesburg prosecutions

In his letter, Thompson says that “high-profile” supporters of Dupree are being punished through actions by the FBI, District Attorney's office, U.S. Attorney's office in Jackson and the Mississippi state auditor.

Kelley Ryan, an auditor's spokesperson, and Brett Carr with the FBI declined to comment. Other agencies named in Thompson's letter have not yet responded to Mississippi Today's inquiries.

Patricia Burchell, the district attorney for Forrest and Perry counties, and state Auditor Stacey Pickering are Republicans. The FBI is a part of the Department of Justice, and U.S. Attorney Greg Davis of Jackson was appointed by President Obama.

Federal prosecutions are pending against the Rev. Kenneth Fairley, Dupree's campaign manager, and Sheriff's Chief Deputy Charles Bolton and his wife, Linda, also Dupree supporters.

Fairley is charged with fraud in a housing rehabilitation program, and the Boltons are charged with income tax evasion. Fairley is set for a Sept. 6 trial and the Boltons on Sept. 16, both before U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett.

Court documents show that the Bolton case is being handled by federal prosecutors from Louisiana's Eastern District in New Orleans.


Ma
Mississippi Today
8/25/16

Posted August 25, 2016 - 1:28 pm

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TRUMP IS REDRAWING THE ELECTION MAP, TO REPUBLICANS’ PERIL

Nathan Shrader, assistant professor of political science at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, says a general election visit to the state by a presidential candidate is rare, and that’s ginned up plenty of local excitement about the rally. But Shrader called the visit “kind of perplexing,” particularly after the campaign canceled two rallies this week in the swing states of Colorado and Nevada. “I think you have something happening here where their campaign is becoming increasingly worried that if things keep going the way they’ve been going, they may get wiped out,” says Shrader. So it wants to at least shore up the base, he hypothesizes. Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef, however, says he doesn’t think it hurts for Trump to hold a rally in Mississippi while he also visits the state for a fundraiser. It not only motivates local Republicans to engage in the election at home but also may lead them to do canvassing and other volunteer work in nearby states like Florida, which are more competitive. “It sort of fires up the troops,” Nosef says.


Newsweek
8/25/16

Posted August 25, 2016 - 12:50 pm

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Hood talks mental health, cyber crime

Hood said his office has to pick its battles.

"It's fun to fight the federal government, but I have to look at the law and see what the courts have done on issues," Hood said.

Hood also said his office is working with small business owners on data breaches and putting together a manual on how to deal with the issue.

"We find most of the problems we find are human error," Hood said. "It's just one of the things we do to help people."

Hood was elected attorney general in 2004. Before that, he served as a law clerk at the Mississippi Supreme Court and as a special assistant attorney general. In 1995, he was elected district attorney for seven counties in north Mississippi.

Meridian Star
8/25/16

Posted August 25, 2016 - 10:26 am

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COCHRAN: URGENT RURAL MISS. PROJECTS WIN SUPPORT FROM DELTA REGIONAL AUTHORITY

Eight Grants Awarded from Large FY2016 Funding Increase

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today applauded the distribution of Delta Regional Authority (DRA) grant secured last year to support infrastructure improvements and community development projects in rural Mississippi.

The DRA is awarding more than $3.28 million in eight grants, which when combined with nonfederal contributions, will result in more than a $14.8 million investment in eight Mississippi communities. The grants are the result of a $10 million funding increase Cochran worked to secure for the DRA as part of the FY2016 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill.

"These grants give rural communities greater leverage to put money in place to repair and improve infrastructure, provide services and attract economic activity," Cochran said. "I am pleased that rural Mississippi will benefit from the additional resources provided to the Delta Regional Authority."

Overall, the DRA was appropriated $25 million for FY2016, of which $10 million was set aside specifically for basic public infrastructure for underserved communities. The FY2016 appropriation was the highest funding level for the DRA since Congress authorized it in 2000.

DRA awarded the following infrastructure grants:

* City of Cleveland - $1,014,000 to support Phase I of an overall sanitary sewer system improvement project that will serve 19,000 residents in Cleveland and Bolivar County. Combined with local and state revolving loan funds, $9,444,000 is available for Phase I.
* Lincoln County - $1,250,000 to support industrial access road repairs for the Brookhaven Industrial Park, which supports more than 1,000 jobs. With nonfederal funding, $2,747,491 is available for this project.
* City of Hollandale - $450,000 to support a city-wide water system improvement project involving the repair of system deterioration, which affects water delivery to residents.

DRA approved the following States' Economic Development Assistance Program grants to support community-based and regional projects:

* Humphreys County - $307,000 to support a project to establish an urgent care clinic in Belzoni, in cooperation with the University of Mississippi Medical Center. With nonfederal funding, $888,889 is available for this project.
* Symonds Water Association, Pace - $156,000 to support the Association's need to address emergency work to help ensure potable water and wastewater services.
* City of Moorhead - $44,232 to support the installation of lighting on the Highway 3 Corridor from Highway 82 to the Mississippi Delta Community College (MDCC). This project, for which $633,982 is available, also includes contributions from MDCC and Sunflower County.
* City of Lexington - $36,107 to help address health and safety hazards resulting from collapsed sewer lines, which cause sinkholes on city streets and residential backups.
* Town of Coahoma - $26,250 to support installation of a Package Wastewater Treatment Plant to help the city meet Biochemical Oxygen Demand and Ammonia Nitrate limits.

Other Mississippi projects are expected to be funded as the DRA distributes the remaining $15 million of its FY2016 appropriation by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.


Sen. Thad Cochran Press Release
8/25/16


Posted August 25, 2016 - 10:07 am

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Henry Barbour: Busy behind the scenes

“I just see myself as a guy who works in organizational politics with the objective that we try and elect good people – people with integrity,” Barbour said. “People who, for the most part, share the values and principles and desire to make Mississippi better and the country better.”

Although many might not be familiar with Barbour’s work, Mississippians will certainly recognize his uncle, former Gov. Haley Barbour.

While Haley has historically served a much more public role, Henry has a reputation of being an instrumental member of many successful candidates behind the scenes. Whether that be managing the campaigns of his uncle in 2003, or Rep. Chip Pickering’s campaign in 1996 and 2003, Henry has proven his resilience in the role of politics.

He also helped in campaigning for the current Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, which drew controversy towards the end of 2010 given his strong opposition of the previous chairman, Michael Steele.


Daily Mississippian
8/25/16

Posted August 25, 2016 - 10:06 am

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States Start to Approve Steep Increases in Health Premiums

The Obama administration and insurers are still trying to expand the number of enrollees in HealthCare.gov and state equivalents in a bid to turn the tide.

Higher rates typically push down enrollment, especially among people who don’t feel they badly need health care, which can lead to a cycle of falling enrollment and rate increases.

Many insurers have said they need a larger and more mixed group of enrollees than they currently have in many places to ensure that the health law’s markets stabilize.

“We’ve got to get a balanced risk pool, which means we need more healthy people,” said Patrick Getzen, chief actuary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, which has said it requested an 18.8% increase for its individual plans for next year after seeing rising costs that led to sharply increased losses on Affordable Care Act plans in 2015. The insurer said it has yet to resolve final 2017 rates with North Carolina’s regulator.

In Kentucky, Anthem Inc. sought and won an increase of 22.9%. Humana asked for 33.7% and was granted 31%, the insurance regulator’s office said.

In Mississippi, Humana has been approved for a 43% increase, said insurance commissioner Mike Chaney. In Virginia, Anthem has been granted its request for a 15.8% increase.

Georgia’s insurance agency said it had signed off on rates including a 21.4% increase for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia.

WSJ
8/25/16

Posted August 25, 2016 - 10:02 am

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Second Amendment tax-free weekend starts Friday

Mississippi hunters can keep a little more cash in their pockets this weekend during the Second Amendment sales tax holiday.

Starting Friday, hunters can choose from a list of items that are exempt from the normal state sales tax. Items included are archery equipment, rifles, pistols, shotguns, ammunition, sights and more. Some items related to hunting such as dogs, trucks, ATVs and hunting clothing are not tax-free during the event.

Clarion Ledger
8/25/16

Posted August 25, 2016 - 7:58 am

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Reeves questions cuts made by agencies

The Republican lieutenant governor also criticzed the pay raises the agency has given in recent years. Mikula said the pay raises met state law guidelines, such as increasing the pay for 3,000 direct care workers from about $16,000 annually to $17,000 annually as they received mandated training.

Reeves said he was more concerned with the raises averaging $20,000 per year for about 35 employees. Mikula said she assumes those are psychiatrists and other doctors, whom the agency struggles to keep on staff because of competition in the private sector.

Reeves pointed out the Department of Health is receiving more state funds than it received in 2012, But Currier pointed out 2012 was in the midst of the Great Recession. Information provided by the Health Department revealed the agency received $36 million in state funds for the past fiscal year – about $4 million more than for the current fiscal year that began on July 1.

Daily Journal
8/25/16

Posted August 25, 2016 - 7:44 am

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Report on state revenue completion lagging

Normally, the staff of the Legislative Budget Committee has the monthly reports completed within a few days of the end of the month.

But the July report has created unique problems. Debbie Rubisoff, director of the Budget Committee staff, said changes made to the method of collecting state revenue during the 2016 legislative session is having to be incorporated into the July report – the first of a new fiscal year.

“Senate Bill 2362 of the 2016 legislative session impacted the general fund by requiring that various funds previously designated as special funds now be deposited into the general fund,” Rubisoff explained in an emailed response. “This is a big change to the revenue reporting process, and since July is the first month in this new process, it’s simply taking us more time to adequately review collections.”

Daily Journal
8/25/16

Posted August 25, 2016 - 7:40 am

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MDOC understaffed, official says

Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Marshall Fisher appeared Tuesday before lawmakers looking at ways to save on department and agency spending.

From Fisher's presentation, the things the public need to know about MDOC:

The number of inmates in MDOC custody: 19,478
MDOC's inmate capacity: 23,981
Inmate population: range in age from 15 to 91
Approximately 17 percent of the inmate population have a mental illness
MDOC is understaffed by about 400 corrections officers.


Clarion Ledger
8/25/16

Posted August 25, 2016 - 7:38 am

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Mississippi NAACP leaders say Trump’s effort to capture African American vote is questionable




WJTV
8/25/16

Posted August 25, 2016 - 7:23 am

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Gibbs, Green in runoff for Mississippi House District 72

Debra Gibbs and Synarus Green advanced from a field of four candidates in Tuesday's special election in parts of Hinds and Madison counties. The winner will fill more than three years of a four-year term.

The special election was set after Democratic Rep. Kimberly Campbell of Jackson stepped down in May to become state director of AARP. She had been in the House since 2008. The winner will fill the final three years of her term.

Special-election candidates run without party labels, but Gibbs and Green are Democrats.

Unofficial results show Gibbs, an attorney, had 701 votes and Green, policy director for the city of Jackson, had 696.


Clarion Ledger
8/25/16

Posted August 25, 2016 - 7:21 am

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Trump rallies faithful, rakes in money in Jackson

Donald Trump in Jackson made an appeal for African-American votes, vowed to continue to take a hard line on illegal immigration and raked in a reported $1.2 million or so in campaign donations Wednesday night.

“Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as people,” Trump, flanked by Gov. Phil Bryant, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and a UK leader of the Brexit movement, said to a crowd of thousands at a rally at the Mississippi Coliseum.

Clarion Ledger
8/25/16

Posted August 25, 2016 - 7:19 am

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Posted August 25, 2016 - 6:20 am

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Nigel Farage appearance on The JT Show on Supertalk

Link here

Posted August 24, 2016 - 2:24 pm

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Nigel Farage To Tell 'Brexit Story' At Trump Rally In Mississippi

The Republican presidential nominee is due to campaign on Wednesday evening in Jackson, Mississippi, as Mr Farage visits the southern US state.

Mr Farage is expected to talk about how the "anti-establishment beat the establishment" to bring about Brexit.

Raheem Kassam, a former UKIP adviser, told the Press Association that Mr Farage will not endorse the Republican candidate.

"As I understand it," Mr Kassam said, "I think the plan is for him to speak ahead of Trump's speech, and basically just to walk the audience through the Brexit campaign and how the anti-establishment beat the establishment."

Ahead of the appearance, Mr Farage appeared on the radio show SuperTalk Mississippi.


Sky News
8/24/16

Posted August 24, 2016 - 2:21 pm

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Nigel Farage of Brexit fame appeared on SuperTalk radio's JT Show Wednesday morning ahead of his appearances with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Mississippi.

He will be attending a $1,000 per ticker fundraiser with Trump and a rally at he Mississippi Coliseum today, both in Jackson.

Farage said he was being careful not to tell the American people how to vote, as President Barack Obama seemingly did in Great Britain when he joined Prime Minister David Cameron in the summer.

Instead, Farage said he was telling his story - the Brexit story - and compared it to what was happening in America with the movement around Trump.

The British politician told of the abuse he took prior to the vote to leave the European Union, abuse from "the establishment and the liberal media." Farage said at the heart of it was immigration, a familiar tune to that of Trump who has called for a strengthening of US immigration policy, halting the refugee program, and building a wall on the southern American border.

Farage said the polls and pundits did not accurately predict the Brexit vote. He believes that could be the case for Trump heading into the November general election. Trump has consistently polled below Democrat Hillary Clinton nationwide.

Here in Mississippi, Trump is well ahead of Clinton, according to our Yall Politics recent polling.

Farage said he was not officially endorsing Trump, careful to not follow the example of Obama in Britain, but he's actively telling the Brexit story and sees similarities of what can happen in the US.

He said in no uncertain terms that he would not support Clinton. Farage said Clinton represents the establishment class, of which so many are tired of in America and Great Britain, he noted.

Farage says Trump needs to stick to his key messages - security, safety, economy and the like - and not veer off message.

Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to join the events today with Farage and Trump. Farage told of meeting Bryant at the Republican National Convention and took to the Mississippi governor quickly.

Farage said, "Don't sit around... If you want to change things, you have to get your walking boots on... This election gives you a very clear choice... Doing nothing isn't an option."



8/24/16

Posted August 24, 2016 - 9:19 am

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Ocean Springs mayor takes to social media, TV to protect her job



In her post, Moran made several claims:
•"There are only six city-manager forms (in Mississippi)." In reality, there are seven -- with five of them on the coast, with Biloxi and Gulfport also employing city managers in addition to a full-time mayor.
•"There are no cost savings" -- noting that city managers are frequently paid as much or more than full-time mayors. The National League of Cities, however, reports that "local governments have found that overall costs actually have been reduced with competent management. Savings come in the form of reduced operating costs, increased efficiency and productivity, improved revenue collection, or effective use of technology."
•"Nationwide it is more suited for large urban cities." The NLC says the city manager form is used primarily by cities with populations of 10,000 or more. Ocean Springs current population is around 18,000.
•"A City Manager proposes the budget, does all the hiring and firing and controls all departments. Those tasks are completely taken from the aldermen." According to the NLC, a city manager does have the authority to hire and fire city personnel, but only with council approval. The city manager also proposes a budget, but it remains at the council's discretion to accept, reject or amend the budget.



Gulflive
8/23/16

Posted August 24, 2016 - 8:26 am

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Tweets on Democrat Congressman Bennie Thompson's thoughts on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump visiting Mississippi today from Clarion Ledger's Jimmie Gates:













8/24/16

Posted August 24, 2016 - 8:19 am

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Supes OK radios, air DeSoto Schools budget



The board established as part of the formal record and entered into the minutes, the DeSoto County School District's combined budget for fiscal 2017 with millage figures that appear to result in a tax increase.

DeSoto County School District officials maintain they have held the line on the school budget this year and the budget reflects no tax increase...



....DeSoto staff reported Monday that the school district budget's millage-levy sheet showed in notes the addition of 1.5 mills, which would result in the millage increasing from 53.7 to 55.07 mills, or about $2 million more from taxpayers...



...While this doesn't show up as an increase on budget entries that would trigger public hearings and official publication, "it's still a 1.5-mill increase any way you slice it," said Supervisor Mark Gardner of Southaven.



Desoto County Times
8/22/16


Posted August 24, 2016 - 8:14 am

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


WDAM
8/23/16

Posted August 24, 2016 - 8:03 am

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ROGER WICKER: Portion of Senate collection will go to state libraries



In an effort to keep Mississippi’s 235 public libraries vibrant places for research and learning, I am working to donate a portion of my book collection as well as raise awareness about the Library of Congress Surplus Books Program. The Library of Congress receives more than 20,000 items every day but retains only about half of the items for its permanent collection.

Through the Surplus Books Program, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and state and local public agencies can apply to receive these materials for their own collections. The materials – which include paperback and hardback books, audio and video recordings, and maps – cover a number of subjects and interests. To learn more about this program and how to participate, please e-mail my office at wicker_ books@wicker.senate.gov.

We are lucky to live in a state with such a world-renowned literary tradition. Last year, nearly 4,000 people gathered at the state Capitol in Jackson for the first Mississippi Book Festival. This year’s festival on Aug. 20 brought in even more visitors and authors, including Pulitzer Prize winners Richard Ford and Jon Meacham. As a participant, I was honored to interview author Anne L. Webster, whose book “Mississippians in the Great War: Selected Letters” offers an emotional portrait of war through the eyes of the soldiers, nurses and relief workers from our state who traveled far to defend freedom.



Daily Journal
8/23/16

Posted August 24, 2016 - 7:51 am

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DAILY JOURNAL - OUR OPINION: Medicaid expansion could improve Mississippi’s health



Setting aside politics offers the clearer picture about Medicaid in Mississippi. Adding 300,000 clients to the Medicaid roll would place more than 1 million Mississippians in the program.

Our state’s number is large because our state’s poverty level qualifying people for Medicaid is among the highest in the nation.

Adding as many eligible people as possible also means providers like physicians and hospitals would get some reimbursement of expenses, a burden that would be cripplingly heavier without insurance coverage....



...Asked recently about expansion, Hospital Association Chief Executive Officer Timothy Moore said MHA maintains support for increasing insurance coverage for Mississippians, but recognizes there are legitimate concerns about funding expansion.

The action of Arkansas and Louisiana in expanding Medicaid suggests an affordable way can be found in Mississippi if elected leaders keep in mind that politics never cures anything, but good medical care does.



Daily Journal
8/23/16

Posted August 24, 2016 - 7:47 am

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MDOC understaffed, official says



Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Marshall Fisher appeared Tuesday before lawmakers looking at ways to save on department and agency spending.

From Fisher's presentation, the things the public need to know about MDOC:


•The number of inmates in MDOC custody: 19,478
•MDOC's inmate capacity: 23,981
•Inmate population: range in age from 15 to 91
•Approximately 17 percent of the inmate population have a mental illness
•MDOC is understaffed by about 400 corrections officers.



Clarion Ledger
8/23/16

Posted August 24, 2016 - 7:43 am

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Lawmakers grill health directors as they seek savings



Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves on Tuesday asked pointed questions of state agency leaders about their spending, and chided a couple for bellyaching about their budgets to the media.

"You've been in the news a lot lately," Reeves told state Department of Mental Health Director Diana Mikula. "Your communications director is doing a good job. I would tell you to give them a raise, but you probably already have."

New special panels of lawmakers held hearings with agency leaders Monday and Tuesday, looking for ways to overhaul state government and cut spending. The panels — an idea promoted by House Speaker Philip Gunn — are expected to recommend "comprehensive reform" of state taxing and spending to the full Legislature next year.

Two panels on Tuesday tackled health-care agencies and spending, which accounts for a huge chunk — more than $1.4 billion — of the $6 billion state budget.



Clarion Ledger
8/23/16

Posted August 24, 2016 - 7:36 am

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Gibbs, Green in runoff for Mississippi House District 72



Debra Gibbs and Synarus Green are headed to a runoff as the top two vote-getters in a special election Tuesday night for Mississippi House District 72.

Gibbs received 701 votes and Green received 692 votes. District 72 includes Hinds and Madison County.



Clarion Ledger
8/24/16

Posted August 24, 2016 - 7:35 am

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One of the leaders of the Brexit movement that pushed for Great Britain to leave the European Union will be joining Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on the stump in Mississippi today.

Governor Phil Bryant made the announcement on the Paul Gallo Show Wednesday morning.

Nigel Farage, described by the New York Times as "the politician who probably did more than any other to force the referendum on British membership in the European Union...," will speak at a $1,000 per ticket fundraiser and at a public rally at the Mississippi Coliseum, both in Jackson.

Farage will also be on statewide radio on the SuperTalk network of stations today. He will join The JT Show at 10am for an interview.

Trump has repeatedly said he supported the Brexit vote, comparing the British movement to his own effort to "take our country back."

Farage has been described as "brash, outspoken, loquacious and divisive, a commodities broker turned politician who loves widely striped suits and large glasses of beer..."

Sounds like he's tailor made for a Mississippi campaign stop with Trump.


8/24/16

Posted August 24, 2016 - 7:13 am

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Plaintiffs seek quick ruling in charter school lawsuit

"We're asking Judge (J. Dewayne) Thomas to make a ruling as soon as possible," Jody Owens, Mississippi director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said Tuesday. "We think more than likely the State Supreme Court will have the final say-so in this case. It's important to know there are no undisputed facts in this lawsuit — the Constitution says what it says, the charter school law says what it says."


MS Today
8/24/16

Posted August 24, 2016 - 6:23 am

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Congressional Staffer Charged With Failing To File Tax Returns For Five Years

According to the criminal information and affidavit, Avant has been employed as a staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives since approximately 2002. For tax years 2009 through 2013, Avant earned annual wages of over $170,000, but did not timely file a personal income tax return for any of those years. In May 2005, Avant filed a form with his employer that falsely claimed he was exempt from federal income taxes. Avant did not have any federal tax withheld from his paycheck until the Internal Revenue Service mandated that his employer begin withholding in January 2013.

Alexandria News
8/23/16

Posted August 23, 2016 - 3:01 pm

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From Facebook pages:


Rep. Scott DeLano: "The coast delegation knew there were significant problems with this program in 2010. Since it was a federal program, the legislature had no direct authorizing authority on this program. Just to make sure, I inserted a clause in MEMA's appropriations bill for several years that stated no state funds shall be used for the purpose of the Coastal Retrofit Program. I hope the authorities investigating this seek criminal charges against those responsible. Ignorance should not be a defense. There is plenty of evidence available."

Rep. Charles Busby: "Coast legislators have been pointing out issues with this program for years and our complaints fell on deaf ears. Coast programs should be ran by the coast, including the BP $... MEMA will attempt to justify the expenditures and convince FEMA to pay for it. At the end of the day though we retrofitted less than half of the targeted number of homes. That means over 1,000 coastal homeowners didn't get their homes hardened thus lowering their insurance rates because of this waste."

Rep. Hank Zuber: "I share disgust with Scott DeLano/Charles Busby. This can not happen with bp money: we need complete transparency/openness/oversight and we can not let special interests, attorneys, engineers, consultants, grant writers etc and whoever else is lining up suck up an unreasonable percentage and have this money spent on non necessary projects based on influence. Gonna upset alot of my friends but it is a matter of what is right for the sake of the coast and my fellow citizens! As I was told once, being right will cause you more hardship and pain compared to just going with the flow!!"

.



Posted August 23, 2016 - 8:27 am

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Control of Jackson Int'l Airport in Limbo as Board Announces More Flights



Control of the Jackson-Medgar Evers Wiley International Airport remains in limbo, as the current board works to attract more carriers and expand its list of destinations.

Mississippi-based Southern Airways Express is adding Memphis, Nashville and Destin, to its list of flights out of Jackson's International Airport beginning September 26. CEO Stan Little.

"Jackson really now has become one of the primary focus cities of the airline at least in our Gulf region," said Little.

The news comes as the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority and the City of Jackson are in a legal battle against the state over a law that would dissolve the airport authority. Instead, a nine member board would take its place with representatives included from Madison and Rankin Counties, as well as Jackson.



MPB Online
8/23/16

Posted August 23, 2016 - 7:22 am

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Legislative working groups delve into education issues



As many as 70 percent of the students in math and science fields, excluding health care, are leaving the state within five years of graduating from a Mississippi university.

Mississippi Higher Education Commissioner Glenn Boyce gave legislators that statistic Monday during a meeting of the working groups formed by House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who presides over the Senate, to look at the state’s spending and taxing policies.

Boyce was asked if the universities are taking steps to keep the students in Mississippi.

Boyce said the universities are working to keep the best and brightest in the state.



Daily Journal
8/23/16

Posted August 23, 2016 - 7:19 am

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WTVA
8/22/16

Posted August 23, 2016 - 7:17 am

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Former Biloxi Mayor Jerry O’Keefe has died



Born July 12, 1923 in Ocean Springs, Jerry O'Keefe began a life that helped shape the Mississippi Coast in the 20th century. His family has owned O'Keefe Funeral home since the early 1900s. In 1957 he bought his major competitor's business, creating Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes. That happened after he enlisted in the U.S. Navy following the attack on Pearl Harbor....



...He launched a political career in 1960, serving one term as a member of the house in the Mississippi Legislature. After serving the state, he returned home to resume his business and civic activities. He was elected the mayor of Biloxi in 1973. As a two term mayor, O'Keefe made his mark steering Biloxi through eight eventful years.



WLOX
8/23/16

Posted August 23, 2016 - 7:14 am

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Change of government petition drive underway in OS



Ocean Springs business leader George Conwill is heading up the signature drive. He believes a city manager form of government is more efficient and would free up Mayor Connie Moran for other duties.

"Gives her time to be out in front, promoting the city, being at all the openings, being the figurehead and the face of Ocean Springs and allows someone who is a professional to manage the city," Conwill explained.

But the mayor thinks something else is in play by some of the aldermen.

"Maybe changing the form of government and reducing my salary is their last ditch effort to make sure I don't have control," Moran said.



WLOX
8/22/16

Posted August 23, 2016 - 7:11 am

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Lawmakers hesitant to gamble on lottery



“I’m not ready to die in the ditch, necessarily, but I’d have to be guaranteed the benefit of a lottery would outweigh the costs of it,” said Rep. Greg Snowden, R-Meridian, the speaker pro tempore, underscoring why some legislators are hesitant to go the lottery route. “And I’d definitely need to be assured where the money would go and how we’d spend it.”...



...“The economic question that must be answered: Would a state lottery add to the economic pie or would it simply shift Mississippians’ disposable income from one outlet to another?” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said.



Meridian Star
8/22/16

Posted August 23, 2016 - 7:04 am

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Lawmakers look at buildings, bureaucracy



Lawmakers looking on Monday to save state tax dollars began delving into the more than 6,400 buildings the state owns and roughly 200 small agencies, boards and commissions that regulate everything from acupuncture to veterans affairs.

"I understand the state owns $15 billion worth of property," said House Speaker Philip Gunn. "How much are we using, how much are we not using and do we need that much? Can we divest ourselves of some of it?"

Officials with the Department of Finance and Administration provided some details to lawmakers on state-owned property and promised to provide more after members of a special panel asked questions.



Clarion Ledger
8/22/16

Posted August 23, 2016 - 7:00 am

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Special election for Mississippi House seat today



Polls are open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday in District 72 in parts of Hinds and Madison counties.

The candidates are A. Shae Buchanon-Williams, a Marine Corps veteran; Debra Gibbs, an attorney and former member of the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission; Synarus Green, director of policy and intergovernmental affairs for the city of Jackson; and Theresa G. Kennedy, a businesswoman and credit analyst.



Clarion Ledger
8/23/16

Posted August 23, 2016 - 6:58 am

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8/22/16

Posted August 23, 2016 - 6:57 am

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Posted August 22, 2016 - 1:36 pm

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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi


WLOX
8/20/16

Posted August 22, 2016 - 7:39 am

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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi


WLOX
8/20/16

Posted August 22, 2016 - 7:37 am

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Local event recognizes initiative 58



The State flag of 1894 amendment or initiative 58 may be on the ballot come November 6, 2018. The measure is designed to amend the Mississippi constitution to recognize the current state flag which was adopted by the legislature of 1894 as the official flag of Mississippi.

“We’ve got our booth setup for initiative 58 to keep our state flag and to put our state flag that’s been here since 1894 or to put an amendment to the constitution that says this is officially our flag,” said Britt Gully, local musician.

Other Mississippi residents are simultaneously working to add two similar measures to the 2018 ballet. Initiative 54 and 56. However, there is another side which is collecting signatures for initiative 55 which was designed to remove the confederate symbol from the flag.



WTOK
8/20/16

Posted August 22, 2016 - 7:33 am

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Corder_Report_Episode_3_Education from WGUD on Vimeo.




WGUD / The Corder Report
8/19/16

Posted August 22, 2016 - 7:29 am

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Reeves touts economic achievements in Mississippi



Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves kicked off a two-day, 10-stop tour in Northeast Mississippi on Thursday to spread the message that the state is doing its part to grow the economy.

“We’ve got to focus on growing the size of our economy and not the size of our government ,” Reeves told the Tupelo Civitans. “Many of the decisions we’ve made in the capital the past five years have been focused on that. To grow the economy, we have to be fiscally responsible; we must have a tax code that’s fair, one that is balanced and one that encourages economic growth, not discourages it.”

Reeves also said improving educational attainment is critical as well.



Daily Journal
8/19/16

Posted August 22, 2016 - 7:27 am

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BILL CRAWFORD: Schools must become environments instilling value



Still and all, it will not be enough for the occasional classroom to create virtuous environments. Research shows children, particularly those for whom virtue is not modeled at home, must be consistently exposed to and expected to exhibit virtuous behavior. Virtuous environments must become whole school endeavors.



Daily Journal
8/21/16

Posted August 22, 2016 - 7:22 am

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Geoff Pender: Education politics: Lawsuits, no collaboration



Mississippi is trying to do something new — at least new to this state — with public education, so it makes perfect sense there’s already a lawsuit filed to put a stop to it.

I’m referring, of course, to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s lawsuit claiming the state’s funding of charter schools is unconstitutional....



...Will they work as proponents claim? Will they provide a release valve for children trapped in failing regular public schools and force those schools to get their act together to compete? Or will they fail and just suck already scant resources from the public school system?

We don’t yet know. If they’re shuttered by the litigation, we might never know.

But given Mississippi’s perennial spot at or near the bottom rung nationally in education, aren’t they worth a try? Really, isn’t anything worth a try to improve Mississippi’s public education?




Clarion Ledger
8/20/16

Posted August 22, 2016 - 7:18 am

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Has state set bar too high on student proficiency?



For a long time, critics said Mississippi had set its bar for proficiency too low. They pointed to the gap between the relatively large shares of students who got good ratings on the old version of Mississippi’s standardized tests, versus the smaller share who scored well on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. That’s not supposed to be the case any more on the new Mississippi Assessment Program.

“Was the Mississippi Assessment Program rigorous? The answer is yes. They were designed that way,” J.P. Beaudoin, the Mississippi Department of Education’s chief of research and development, told the State Board of Education Thursday.

But Mississippi educators reading a recent study by testing and software company Renaissance Learning asked whether current standards are too hard. The company makes the Star testing software that most Mississippi districts use to track reading performance in young students and predict test outcomes. The company did a study that found that a third-grade student had to read on a level equivalent to grade 4.7 to be considered proficient on the test Mississippi students took in 2015. An advanced student would need to read at a grade equivalent of 8.1.




Clarion Ledger
8/21/16

Posted August 22, 2016 - 7:12 am

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Donald Trump Bets Big on Online Advertising



Donald Trump placed a big bet that online advertising will help him defeat Hillary Clinton in the presidential race, directing $8.4 million in July to a digital marketing company in Texas, according to his latest campaign filing.

The spending is more than five times what Trump paid the firm, Giles-Parscale of San Antonio, in June, and appears to be outpacing any similar effort by the Democrat.

"That's beyond a tremendous amount of money to spend on digital," Austin Barbour, a Republican fundraiser and political strategist in Mississippi, said in a tweet on Sunday. "Almost hard to figure out how to compute this number."



Bloomberg
8/21/16

Posted August 22, 2016 - 7:08 am

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Clinton swamps Trump in battlegrounds



Trump, a real-estate magnate who has shunned building a traditional campaign operation, more than doubled his campaign spending to $18.5 million in July, but spent no money on television advertising last month or to build a ground operation, as Clinton and her allies blistered him on the airwaves.

Instead, $8.4 million — or nearly half — his outlay went to a San Antonio web design firm that has long done work for Trump-related enterprises. Trump campaign officials said Sunday that more than 90% of the money paid to the firm, Giles-Parscale, went to third-party vendors for services, such as digital ads to pull in campaign cash.

The campaign also plowed $1.8 million into hats, T-shirts, mugs and other campaign marketing products, the filings show.

"They have run the most untraditional campaign of all the major campaigns in modern history," Austin Barbour, a Republican strategist based in Mississippi, said of Trump's operation. "It served them well in the primary, but it hasn't served them well in the general election."




WBIR
8/21/16

Posted August 22, 2016 - 7:05 am

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Trump taps ag commissioner Hyde-Smith




Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has named Brookhavenite and Mississippi’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith co-chairman of the Agriculture Advisory Committee for the Donald Trump presidential campaign.

Donald Trump’s list of agricultural advisors brims with Republican heavy-hitters with strong ties to the agriculture industry. The committee will be charged with advising the presidential candidate on issues important to the American farmer, agribusinesses and rural America.

Trump stated, “The members of my agricultural advisory committee represent the best that America can offer to help serve agricultural communities.”



Daily Leader
8/21/16

Posted August 22, 2016 - 7:00 am

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RELEASE:


Mississippi District 28 Senator Sollie B. Norwood News Release



A public meeting is planned for Thursday August 25, 2016, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Pearl Street AME Church, 2519 Robinson Road, Jackson, to find community solutions for fixing the problems with Jackson Public Schools.

We seek community engagement to address the multiple issues that threaten this school system since it is our children that matter the most.

Every voice is important and asked to attend as we learn what is broken, how it can be fixed and how we can turn around our school district.

We ask educators, both active and retired and members of the general public to gather with us now to address these concerns.

Officials with the Mississippi Department of Education and Jackson Public Schools will be invited, but we need you, the community to attend and assist us with this task.


8/19/16

Posted August 19, 2016 - 11:15 am

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RELEASE:


COCHRAN, WICKER ANNOUNCE TUPELO AIRPORT GRANT

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today announced nearly $950,000 in federal grant funding for Tupelo Regional Airport improvements.

The Tupelo Airport Authority is receiving $948,223, of which $829,179 is from FY2016 appropriated funding provided by Congress for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for airport safety and infrastructure.

“I’m pleased to see the Federal Aviation Administration make this investment in the Tupelo Regional Airport. Continuing improvements at the airport can help increase economic development and connectivity throughout Northeast Mississippi,” Cochran said.

“These funds represent a commitment by the federal government to improve Tupelo Regional Airport’s existing infrastructure,” Wicker said. “The FAA grants help to ensure that passengers in North Mississippi continue to have access to affordable, safe air travel.”

The FAA Airport Improvement Program funding for Tupelo will go toward rehabilitation of a taxiway and runway, which could lead to improvements in passenger safety and airport efficiency. The goal of the work is to maintain the structural integrity of the existing taxiway.

Last year, Cochran and Wicker, along with U.S. Representative Trent Kelly (R-Miss.), announced a similar $716,779 grant for runway safety improvements, fencing installation and runway rehabilitation at the Tupelo airport.

Many Mississippi airports benefit from this program to help facilities meet FAA operations and safety standards.


8/19/16

Posted August 19, 2016 - 11:14 am

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MSU president: More education = more income

"More education equals -- they used the equals sign -- more income," Keenan said. "I like that. Education has a direct impact on income and lifestyle and livelihoods."

Speaking at the MSU Stennis Institute of Government's Capitol Press Corps luncheon, Keenum provide numerous statistics to back up this equation. He joked that his speech was "a data dump."

Keenum said recent unemployment rates have averaged 2.8 percent for those with a bachelor's degree, 2.4 percent for those with a master's and 1.7 percent for those with a doctoral degree. Conversely, unemployment rates are 5 percent for those with some college, 5.4 percent for those with just a high school diploma and more than 8 percent for those with no diploma.

Median salaries, Keenum said, range from $1,100 a week for those with a bachelor's degree to $493 a week for those with no high school diploma.

Clarion Ledger
8/19/16

Posted August 19, 2016 - 8:47 am

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