Good afternoon, Mississippi editors.
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JACKSON, Miss. — National Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived Wednesday to inspect the wreckage at a house where a small plane crashed, killing the three people aboard the plane and igniting a huge fire. NTSB investigator Paul Cox says the investigation was just beginning and it was too early to speculate on the cause. He said a preliminary report would be issued in 10 days. By Holbrook Mohr.
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney has submitted the state's plan for an insurance exchange to the federal government. Department spokesman Joseph Ammerman said Chaney sent the plan Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. By Jeff Amy.
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant on Wednesday releases his budget recommendations for the fiscal year that begins next July 1. Republican Bryant has already said his plan will include extra money for work force training and a proposal to fund merit pay for teachers in school districts that agree to a pilot program. Legislative leaders release their own budget proposal Dec. 11. The full House and Senate will discuss — or ignore — both plans before adopting a budget. They face an April 1 deadline. By Emily Wagster Pettus.
JACKSON, Miss. — College Board committee to consider $50-a-semester building fee on full-time students at University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University. Action was put off last month after members said they wanted a committee to look at it. The state's two largest universities say they need the money to pay for building projects. By Jeff Amey.
JACKSON, Miss. — A federal appeals panel has rejected a death row inmate's challenge to Mississippi's method of execution by lethal injection. Roger Thorson had appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a Mississippi federal judge dismissed his lawsuit against Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps. By Jack Elliott Jr.
WASHINGTON — A different way of calculating America's poor by taking into account medical costs and work-related expenses finds a higher total than the government's official count. This measure is aimed at providing a fuller picture of poverty. It found there are 49.7 million poor people in the country — or 16.1 percent of the population. That compares with the 46.2 million, or 15 percent, as reported in September in the Census Bureau's official count. By Hope Yen.
MISSISSIPPI NEWS IN BRIEF
HATTIESBURG, Miss. — A Forrest County grand jury has indicted James Harold Smith on a charge of capital murder in the 2011 slaying of 25-year-old Rodrick Balam. Prosecutors say Smith's charges were upgraded from murder during the grand jury meeting in October. Prosecutors say Smith was served with the new indictment this past week.
CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. — A woman and three children were killed in a wreck in Crystal Springs on Wednesday morning. Copiah County Coroner Ellis Stuart says 67-year-old Anita Teasley of Crystal Springs, and her great-grandchildren — 6-year-old Gavin Tompkins, 3-year-old Gunner Tompkins and 15-month-old Makenna Teasley — were all pronounced dead at the scene.
SURPLUS PROPERTY SCHEME
BASSFIELD, Miss. — Bassfield city clerk Brenda Saulters and fire chief Billy Matthews have each been charged with converting surplus property bought by the city to their own use.
CORINTH, Miss. — The city of Corinth and the Kroger Company have asked a federal judge to dismiss them as defendants in a lawsuit over 2010 flooding at the Kmart in Corinth. Kmart is seeking compensation for flood damage at the Fulton Crossing location, the store's closure for about 10 months, and flood prevention efforts in April 2011, when the store was also threatened by flood waters.
ABERDEEN, Miss. — Federal court records show the former manager of the North Lee County Water Association will plead guilty to unspecified charges on Dec. 12 in Aberdeen. Durham, who resigned in October of 2011, will waive an indictment and plead guilty to one count of an "information."
CLARKSDALE, Miss. — Noted Mississippi portrait artist Marshall Bouldin III, whose paintings have been displayed in the White House and in more than 400 public and private collections throughout the country, has died. He was 89. Officials with Meredith-Nowell Funeral Home in Clarksdale say Bouldin died Monday at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
GREENVILLE, Miss. — Former Greenville Mayor Chuck Jordan has died at his home after battling pancreatic cancer. Jordan was 66. His death came Tuesday, according to city officials, just weeks after the illness forced him to leave office.
MEDICAL KICKBACK SCHEME
OXFORD, Miss. — A Batesville doctor has been sentenced to home confinement for his role in a medical kickback scheme. Dr. Robert Corkern was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers to two years' house confinement and three years' post-release supervision. Corkern was also ordered to pay $400,000 restitution.
JACKSON, Miss. — The state Court of Appeals will not rehear the case of a Blue Mountain man serving time for sexual battery and touching a child for lustful purposes.
MOSS POINT, Miss. — Production has begun at a Northrop Grumman plant in Moss Point on fuselages for a new line of surveillance drones. Officials marked the development with a Tuesday ceremony at Northrop's Unmanned Systems Center.
BLUES TRAIL MARKER
COLDWATER, Miss. — The Mississippi Blues Trail will recognize Tate County and the town of Coldwater for the many blues musicians from the area. The marker unveiling was scheduled for Wednesday at the Town Square on Central Avenue in Coldwater.
BILOXI, Miss. — Harrison County officials are looking for ways to keep sand along the Mississippi Gulf Coast on the beach where it belongs — instead of blowing onto U.S. Highway 90. Sand on the highway is a driving hazard, and cleaning it up is costly. WLOX television reports (http://bit.ly/SV14jf) that the county has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop the sand from blowing onto the highway, or at least reduce the amount.
TUPELO, Miss. — Mississippi University for Women wants to help the state's adults earn college degrees. MUW President Jim Brosig says about 25 percent of the school's 3,500 students are nontraditional students.
FORMER CLERK SENTENCED
BATESVILLE, Miss. — The former city clerk in Sardis has been sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison for embezzlement. Odessa Johnson also was placed on five years' post-release supervision by a Panola County judge this past week. She was ordered to make restitution of $30,720 in principal and interest.
D'IBERVILLE, Miss. — The city of D'Iberville is exploring tourism opportunities such as a small park along the winding Tchoutacabouffa River. Initial plans also call for linking sections of the river for paddle sports.
GREENVILLE, Miss. — Pastor Gene Fowler is on a mission. His goal is to preserve and renovate the three-building campus of the former Greenville Industrial College. One of the buildings, the Chamber and Parish building, was damaged earlier this year in a fire that caused $30,000 in damage. By Nicole Sheriff, Delta Democrat Times.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — There's no such thing as a transitional year for No. 9 Texas A&M or Missouri, who are making their presences felt in different ways as SEC rookies. The Aggies have already put their stamp on the conference and perhaps the BCS title picture with last week's 29-24 victory over No. 1 Alabama. Missouri hasn't had the same success, but conference wins over Kentucky and Tennessee could create two coaching openings. By Sports Writer Gary Graves.
FBH-WEST POINT-CLASS 5A
WEST POINT, Miss. — A 38-0 victory over Canton was not only the eighth straight win for the West Point Green Wave (10-2), it also places Coach Chris Chambless' team one step closer to becoming the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A state champions, a place they haven't been since 2010. By Jeff Clark, The Commercial Dispatch.
BROOKLYN, Miss. — Forrest County AHS head coach Larry Dolan has always been able to have Thanksgiving dinner uninterrupted. The 13th-year coach is hoping to change that this year. By Jason Munz, Hattiesburg American.
The AP-Jackson, Miss.