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BC-LA-MS--Louisiana-Mississippi News Digest, LA

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 9, 2014 at 3:31 p.m.



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Louisiana and Mississippi at 4:30 p.m.

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LOUISIANA

LOUISIANA TOP STORIES

AUDUBON-TAX

NEW ORLEANS — Voters in New Orleans will decide next Saturday whether to replace two property taxes that have been on the books for decades with one new, 4.2-mill tax that, at current assessment levels, would bring in nearly $12 million annually for the next 50 years. The Audubon Nature Institute has launched a major campaign for the property tax to pay for its operations and new construction projects for its zoo, aquarium, nature center, parks and other attractions. SENT: 320 WORDS.

CENTRAL SCHOOLS

CENTRAL, La. — The Central School Board wants to make it harder for parents who live outside the school district to send their children to Central schools illegally. The board's policy committee has voted to send a new "evidence of domicile" policy to the full board for consideration. The Advocate reported (http://bit.ly/1qcxNmL) the proposal is expected to be introduced at the board's meeting on Monday. SENT: 340 WORDS.

LOUISIANA TECH-MBA

RUSTON, La. — Louisiana Tech University's College of Business has developed and is accepting applications for its new online master of business administration degree which will begin this fall. "We are pleased to offer this flexible alternative for those seeking an MBA," said James Lumpkin, dean of the College of Business. "The new program offers the same fully accredited, high quality education as with our on-campus and Executive MBA programs." SENT: 400

ABBEVILLE-ADULT EDUCATION

ABBEVILLE, La. — South Louisiana Community College's campus in Abbeville has received a $7,000 grant from the Louisiana Community and Technical College System to buy Kindle electronic reader tablets to help students bridge the technology gap between smartphone and a laptop or desktop computer. Students enrolled in adult education classes are working on completing high school equivalency diplomas.SENT: 230

LOUISIANA BRIEFS

COAST GUARDSMAN-SEX CASE

NEW ORLEANS — Coast Guard officials in New Orleans say a petty officer has been convicted and sentenced on charges involving sexual assault and possession of child pornography. Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher C. Bush's court martial was held in Norfolk, Va. SENT: 125

GRETNA-PARKING

GRETNA, La. — Free parking in downtown Gretna is coming to an end. Starting Monday, parkers must pay $1 per hour or 25 cents for 15 minutes at meters on weekdays from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. SENT: 70.

TALLULAH SHOOTING

TALLULAH, La. — State police say a man wanted in connection with a fatal weekend shooting in Tallulah has been apprehended. A state police news release says 23-year-old Tremone Rasheed Lee of Tallulah was caught Sunday around 11 a.m. SENT: 70.

PLANTS AND PEOPLE

PICAYUNE, Miss. — Homeowners, gardeners and nature lovers can learn how native plants help humans thrive during the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum Lecture Series on March 15. Doug Tallamy, a University of Delaware professor, will discuss the results of his 32 years of research on the relationship between plants and the health of local ecosystems. SENT: 150.

WINTER WEATHER-PARADE

MONTEGUT, La. — A Terrebonne Parish parade originally scheduled for Mardi Gras but canceled because of a winter storm may be rescheduled after Easter. Officials of the Krewe de Bonne Terre tell The Courier (http://bit.ly/1qbE024 ) they are working to obtain new permits. SENT: 80.

FRANKLIN FATALITY

WINNSBORO, La. — A Rayville man has died in a weekend traffic accident in Franklin Parish. State police say the accident happened Friday afternoon west of Louisiana Highway 17. A 1993 GMC Yukon driven by 64-year-old Emmitt Davis of Rayville was traveling west on Union Church Road when Davis apparently lost control. The vehicle crossed two lanes of traffic and ran off the left side of the road before it struck a culvert and rolled over. SENT: 80.

HAMMOND-BUS STOPS

HAMMOND, La. — Installation of benches has begun at city bus stops in Hammond. The Daily Star reports (http://bit.ly/1qbh5E8 ) the benches are being installed by a Baton Rouge-based company, Geaux Benches. SENT: 120.

MOTORCYCLE FATALITY

BATON ROUGE, La. — State police say a passenger on a motorcycle died in a Livingston Parish accident. A news release from state police Troop A identifies the victim as 33-year-old Charlotte R. Cole of Baton Rouge. SENT: 100.

POOL DIVIDEND

COVINGTON, La. — Recreational supplies distributor Pool Corp. has declared a quarterly cash dividend of 19 cents a share. The dividend is payable March 27 to shareholders of record on March 13. SENT: 40.

LOUISIANA MEMBER EXCHANGES

MONROE-ARENA

MONROE, La. — Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo dropped two big surprises during the state of the city address Thursday: his plans to build a new arena, and that he is a distant cousin of entertainer Jennifer Hudson. Hudson's voice rang out through the Monroe Civic Center arena for the national anthem. Mayo said that's likely the only time her voice would heard in the facility, unless he can pull some family strings. By Cole Avery.

KITCHEN WITH A PURPOSE

BATON ROUGE, La. — Some people might question Chris and Sommer Wadsworth's definition of slowing down. He was working 80 hours, six days a week when he left his position as executive chef at Restaurant IPO last August. They sold the food truck Sommer Wadsworth, formerly a special education teacher, had been manning. They also have a line of seasoning and he had been catering. By Cheramie Sonnier.

LOUISIANA SPORTS

BKN--NUGGETS-PELICANS

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Pelicans and Denver Nuggets are each seeking their third straight victory when they clash in the Big Easy on Sunday evening. By Brett Martel. UPCOMING, 750 words, photos. Tip-off 5 p.m.

MISSISSIPPI NEWS

MISSISSIPPI TOP STORIES

MISSING TODDLER

CANTON, Miss. — Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker says his office is investigating numerous leads in the search for a 2-year-old girl missing for more than a week. Tucker told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Sunday afternoon that there is no sign of Myra Lewis yet but his staff, working with the FBI and other agencies, is following leads as they develop. SENT: 250 WORDS.

WATERSHED PROJECT

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — A federal project to improve the ecosystem along the Upper Black Creek Watershed is getting underway in Mississippi. The Hattiesburg American reports (http://hatne.ws/1iqkn5j ) that the private-public initiative is aimed at improving and protecting water quality and wildlife habitat, while mitigating wildfire threats. The project is spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Forest Service. SENT: 450.

HARRISON COUNTY SCHOOLS

GULFPORT, Miss. — Harrison County School District officials say 620 students will be heading to class in a brand-new school building in the fall when River Oaks Elementary opens. The $13 million project is scheduled to be completed by August. The new school will draw students from Bel-Aire and Woolmarket elementary schools, as well as Three Rivers Elementary. SENT: 340.

NATCHEZ TRACE-ECONOMIC IMPACT

TUPELO, Miss. — Visitors on the Natchez Trace Parkway spent nearly $126 million in 2012, supporting more than 1,550 jobs, a new National Park Service report shows. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported (http://bit.ly/MKMkG5) the figures indicate more than 5.6 million visitors used the 444-mile roadway that stretches through 41 communities in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. SENT: 180

SOCIAL SECURITY THEFT

GULFPORT, Miss. — A Biloxi woman was been ordered to spend more than three years in prison and repay more than $40,000 for disability benefits she received for a child who did not live with her. The Sun-Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1kEuqnE ) that a federal judge also fined the woman, 34-year-old Christin Lynn Burnett, $2,000. SENT: 180.

MISSISSIPPI BRIEFS

PLANTS AND PEOPLE

PICAYUNE, Miss. — Homeowners, gardeners and nature lovers can learn how native plants help humans thrive during the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum Lecture Series on March 15. Doug Tallamy, a University of Delaware professor, will discuss the results of his 32 years of research on the relationship between plants and the health of local ecosystems. SENT: 150.

PRESLEY-NARUC

JACKSON, Miss. — Brandon Presley, who represents north Mississippi on the state Public Service Commission, has been named chairman of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' Committee on Consumer Affairs. Presley replaces outgoing chairwoman Betsy Wergin of Minnesota. SENT: 130.

GLOSTER-AUDIT

GLOSTER, Miss. — An auditor has recommended tightening spending practices after the 2012-2013 audit turned up expenses in excess of the budget for the town of Gloster. The Enterprise-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/NxmFSi ) Tommy Lindley of the firm Haddox, Reid & Eubanks told aldermen this past week the town should monitor expenses monthly to stop the practice. SENT: 120.

MISSISSIPPI-HEART CARE

JACKSON, Miss. — Dr. Michael McMullan has been named to direct a program at the University of Mississippi Medical Center focusing on specialized care for adults with hereditary heart disease. McMullan, an alumnus of the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Medicine, rejoins the medical center after a seven-year absence. SENT: 90.

CULINARY ARTS

GULFPORT, Miss. — Students completing their associate's degree in hospitality and catering programs at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College can now continue their bachelor's studies in Mississippi University for Women's culinary arts program. The joint program in culinary arts was announced by the schools this week. SENT: 130.

WINTER WEATHER-LIBRARY

MCCOMB, Miss. — Recent winter storms damaged the Pike County Library's branch in McComb. The Enterprise-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1fC1p3N ) the county's Board of Supervisors has authorized repairs, which are expected to cost more than $7,200. SENT: 50.

MISSISSIPPI MEMBER EXCHANGES:

DANCE REALITY

JACKSON, Miss. — Life doesn't slow down for Dianna Williams, a dance coach who operates a studio in Jackson. From holding tryouts for her dance teams to working the daily grind of training and mentoring her dancers, it's a full plate for the owner of Dollhouse Dance Factory. And after her teams' work caught the eye of cable television's Lifetime network, Williams' plate is getting much bigger. By Dustin Barnes.

HISTORIC STARKVILLE CEMETERY

STARKVILLE, Miss. — State officials this month will consider nominating a cemetery in Starkville for a place on the National Register of Historic Places. Sitting less than a mile from the Oktibbeha County Courthouse, no one knows who owns it. By William Browning.

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