AP-LA-MS--Mississippi News Digest, LA


Associated Press

Posted on June 9, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Good afternoon, Louisiana and Mississippi editors.

If you have any contributions for or questions about the report, please call 504-523-3931 or 800-662-7717 from Louisiana or 601-948-5897 or 800-222-0046 from Mississippi. To report technical problems: 1-800-469-1362. AP stories, along with the photos that accompany them, can also be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. Reruns are also available from the Service Desk (800-838-4616). The news editor is Brian Schwaner. The breaking news staffer is Jeff Amy in Jackson.



NEW ORLEANS — The bats stinking up Shreveport's police station are protected animals, so police and sheriff's deputies will have to live with the smell or stay out of their offices until mid-July. That's when baby bats will be big enough to flutter away. About 30 police officers and nine Caddo Parish sheriff's deputies are affected. "We've been seeing them for a couple of years. We think they may have just started nesting this year," said Lt. Carl Townley of the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office. "We just started smelling them." By Janet McConnaughey. SENT: 450 words.


NATCHITOCHES, La. — Authorities say that a transgender woman was held as a slave in rural Natchitoches (NAK' a dish) Parish for two years. The woman escaped captivity in Ajax and was picked up last week by a Robeline assistant town marshal at an Interstate 49 exit in Natchitoches. SENT: 500 words.


NEW ORLEANS — The man who operates New Orleans' jail is asking a court to make sure various drawings and blueprints of jail facilities are kept secret while discussions continue on the housing of mental health patients held at the facility. UPCOMING: 350 words by 3 p.m.


NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans' chef John Besh will collaborate with Mexican-American chef Aarón Sánchez to create Johnny Sánchez, a taquería, in the city's Central Business District. The restaurant, whose name is a combination of both men's monikers, is scheduled to open in the fall in a space that housed Ste. Marie restaurant, which closed in May. The menu will focus on tacos, tostadas and ceviches along with a few larger plates. The men say the venture won't just be a collaboration between two chefs but a collaboration between two friends. Early in his career, Sanchez worked in New Orleans under Paul Prudhomme. That was where he met Besh. The two reconnected in 2007 when they competed in the first season of the Food Network's "Next Iron Chef." SENT: 432 words.


BILOXI, Miss. — After a cold winter and heavy spring rains, Mississippi authorities say shrimp just aren't big enough to catch yet. Officials with the Department of Marine Resources tell WLOX-TV (http://bit.ly/1xoZwnU) that the cold and overabundance of fresh water has slowed the growth of shrimp. SENT: 300 words.


CHALMETTE, La. — A dispute over fees for a Mandeville storage facility will cause delays in getting vital St. Bernard Parish court records needed for real estate transactions and other parish business, St. Bernard Clerk of Court Randy Nunez said. About 3 million pre-Hurricane Katrina, mold-ridden court records currently are stored in a special Mandeville facility to prevent them from contaminating the newly renovated courthouse in Chalmette. But soon after that courthouse's opening in April 2013, FEMA stopped footing the bill for the records' storage. The parish already owes about $125,000 in back fees. UPCOMING: 350 words by 4:30 p.m.


BATON ROUGE, La. — About a third of the savings identified by a private analyst looking for ways to cut down costs in state government are tied to substantial changes to the health insurance used by about 230,000 state workers, retirees and their families. Susan West, head of the state Office of Group Benefits, said the $1 billion savings figure over the next five years should not alarm members. Savings are achievable without harming their access to health care. The savings come from changes in the policy, such as preauthorization for hospital stays and MRIs and a priority on generic drugs. The savings are also keyed to pushing lower-cost health insurance options with higher deductible and medical savings accounts. Insurance premium increases are also figured into the projections to bridge the savings gap, but the specifics are not spelled out. UPCOMING: 400 words by 4 p.m.


KINDER, La. — Residents could soon be cruising around town on golf carts if Kinder's Town Council approves a plan to allow the use of street-legal golf carts and other slow-speed vehicles on town streets. Mayor Estes LeDoux said the idea was brought mainly for the convenience of older residents so they can get around without having a vehicle. "It is not for sports or young people to just be riding around," he said. SENT: 264 words.


BATON ROUGE, La. — Entrepreneurs, policymakers and academics will discuss policies, business trends and strategies June 19-21 at the EDA University Center for Economic Development's conference on the Baton Rouge campus of Southern University. The conference theme is "Advancing Entrepreneurship and Innovation." The registration deadline is June 11. Keynote speakers and panelists include John Butler, director of the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas; Don Cravins Jr., chief of staff for Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.; Quentin Messer Jr., assistant secretary for Louisiana Economic Development; Ralph Christy, professor of marketing management and economic development at Cornell University; and Kenneth Robinson, community development specialist and associate professor at Clemson University. SENT: 310 words.



COVINGTON, La. — FBI agents have visited the office of St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Walter Reed twice in the last two weeks. The New Orleans Advocate reports ( http://bit.ly/1uz84WR ) that courthouse logs show FBI agents entered the courthouse Friday and on May 28. SENT: 130 words.


LAKE CHARLES, La. — Officials say a new hangar for private jets will help attract business to Chennault International Airport. Ground was broken Friday for the hangar, which is being partially funded with more than $2 million in state capital outlay money. SENT: 130 words.


SHREVEPORT, La. — Marshall Broadcasting Group wants to buy Shreveport's KMSS-TV. The Fox affiliate is part of a deal by Marshall to buy three stations from current owner Nexstar Broadcasting Group for $58.5 million. The two other stations included are KPEJ-TV in Odessa, Texas, and KLJB-TV in Davenport, Iowa. Nexstar seeks to buy those stations' current owners, and needs to spin off some stations to avoid overconcentration. The deal is contingent on Nexstar completing its purchases. SENT: 130 words.


LOCKPORT, La. — Chris Remont has joined Bollinger Shipyards Inc. as director of program management. He will focus on the Lockport shipyard's current Coast Guard cutter building contracts. Before joining Bollinger, Remont was director of engineering, central planning and production control of Avondale Engineering and Construction, a subsidiary of Huntington Ingalls Industries. SENT: 73 words.


HAMMOND, La. — Sam Domiano has been appointed vice president for administration and finance at Southeastern Louisiana University. Domiano has been on the university staff since 1995, and has been filling the position on an interim capacity since April 2012. His appointment is subject to approval of the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors. SENT: 93 words.


NEW ORLEANS — Larry Daniels has been promoted to regional vice president of operations for HRI Lodging with direct oversight of the company's hotel operations. Most recently, Daniels served as vice president and general manager of HRIL with responsibility for the company's Carey Watermark Inc. group. He will oversee HRI Lodging hotels in Louisiana, Alabama, Virginia, Texas and Arizona. SENT: 71 words.



NEW ORLEANS — Haley Bitterman is working against the clock. The director of operations for the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group hopes to have a management team in place at the former Brennan's restaurant on Royal Street within the next couple of months so it can open by late summer. "I wake up at three in the morning and worry about how we are going to find enough skilled staff to work in that restaurant," Bitterman said. By Greg Larose, New Orleans CityBusiness. SENT: 850 words.


SHREVEPORT, La. — After 73 years in business, 93-year-old Roberta Minor still sees at least one or two customers a day, going into R and E House of Beauty at 4:30 a.m. most Saturdays for clients who want to start their weekends with a fresh style. But she's rightfully getting tired, and her doctor recently told her to cut back her hours. By Courtney Spradlin, The Times. SENT: 550 words.



LAFAYETTE, La. — Ole Miss meets Louisiana-Lafayette in the opener of their best-of-three NCAA Super Regional in Lafayette on Saturday. By Nick Fontenot. UPCOMING, 450 words, photos. Game starts 7 p.m. ET.




JACKSON, Miss. — Establishment Republicans backing Sen. Thad Cochran launched a campaign to brand GOP challenger Chris McDaniel a candidate who would deeply cut federal education dollars on which Mississippi schools rely. The six-term senator, they said, would protect money for students and teachers. Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on Friday offered a preview for what his pro-Cochran super PAC and its allies had planned for the weeks before McDaniel and Cochran face off in a June 24 runoff for the GOP nomination for the Senate. That contest reflects the philosophical split between the establishment-minded Republicans and the new-to-politics tea party outsiders who relish upending longtime political figures. By Philip Elliott and Emily Wagster Pettus. SENT: 900 words. AP Photos MSRS108-0604141623, MSGC201-0603142325.


JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi's prison system has turned to a contractor to expand services for people released from prisons, after the town of Walnut Grove blocked the state's attempt to open its own transition center. New Way Mississippi, which provides 45 beds in transition centers in Jackson and McComb, is the only respondent to a request to provide 100 more beds to the state Corrections Department. The state now pays New Way $20 per inmate per day. By Jeff Amy. SENT: 550 words.


BILOXI, Miss. — After a cold winter and heavy spring rains, Mississippi authorities say shrimp just aren't big enough to catch yet. Officials with the Department of Marine Resources tell WLOX-TV (http://bit.ly/1xoZwnU) that the cold and overabundance of fresh water has slowed the growth of shrimp. SENT: 250 words.


PASCAGOULA, Miss. — Chevron's Pascagoula Refinery expects to have a new $1.4 billion base oil facility at full production capability by midsummer. The oils are used to make lubricants, motor oils, hand cleaners, agricultural sprays and greases. The plan is to produce 25,000 barrels a day, doubling Chevron's worldwide production. Its refineries in South Korea and Richmond, Calif., together produce 25,000 barrels. It's a third slate of products for a refinery that produces 330,000 barrels a day of fuels for jets and cars, and chemicals for plastics and textiles. UPCOMING: 300 words by 4 p.m.


PASCAGOULA, Miss — Mississippi Phosphates Corp. reported a second minor sulfuric acid release on Thursday amid residents' intensifying worries about the health and environmental impacts of the diammonium phosphate fertilizer manufacturer. Mississippi Phosphates, which employs about 220, makes sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid to produce fertilizer. The company notified the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the National Response Center of the spill Thursday, MDEQ spokesman Robbie Wilbur said. UPCOMING: 300 words by 4 p.m.



JACKSON, Miss. — An Ocean Springs man is going to prison after pleading guilty to exploitation of a vulnerable person. Attorney General Jim Hood, in a news release Friday, said Jackson County Circuit Judge Dale Harkey sentenced 25-year-old James Matson to 10 years each on two counts of exploitation. Hood says six years must be spent in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, followed by five years of supervised probation and the rest on unsupervised probation. SENT: 130 words


JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi motorists will increasingly see flashing yellow arrows when they want to make a left turn. The state Department of Transportation says it's installing traffic signals that will flash a yellow arrow, replacing circular green signals for left turns at some intersections. Officials say a national study showed drivers had fewer crashes with flashing yellow arrows because some drivers think they can turn left on any green signal without yielding to oncoming traffic. SENT: 130 words.


BILOXI, Miss. — Chartered Sun Country Airlines planes will begin carrying gamblers from Florida to the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino next week. The scheduled flights on Sun Country Airlines will be five days a week, the Beau Rivage announced Friday in a press release, operating from St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport to Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. UPCOMING: 130 words by 4 p.m.


TUPELO, Miss. — City officials have received two bids for a project to build a pathway from downtown Tupelo to the birthplace of Elvis Presley. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1pec90l) the bids will next be reviewed by the Major Thoroughfare Committee, the City Council and the Mississippi Department of Transportation. SENT: 170 words.


JACKSON, Miss. — Hinds County supervisors have honored a Jackson police officer for his role in rescuing children from the balcony of a burning building. WLBT-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1nKLsmE) Officer James Edwards received the county's Above and Beyond Award during the Board of Supervisors meeting earlier this week. SENT: 90 words.


PURVIS, Miss. — The Lamar County Board of Supervisors has approved a $422,000 AT&T contract to upgrade communication systems for the county's new 911 dispatch center. County Administrator Chuck Bennett tells WDAM (http://bit.ly/1osdLlI) that construction of the center is expected to be completed in about a year. SENT: 60 words.


MERIDIAN, Miss. — Two airlines are vying to provide service to Meridian Regional Airport. The two are seeking to replace Silver Airways, which is ending service to and from Meridian. SENT: 130 words.



MICHIGAN CITY, Miss. — Lions and tigers and bears. Oh my! And alligators, elephants and giraffes. Say what? And alligators, elephants and giraffes. Say what? Throw in rabbits, bulldogs, gnomes, tiki heads, gargoyles, owls and armadillos not to mention fountains, birdbaths and urns and you've got Mid-South Ornamental Concrete. By Ginna Parsons. SENT: 950 words


JACKSON, Miss. — In its first year of operation, Southern Airways Express learned as it flew. Now, CEO Stan Little believes the company has a solid business model and that the new Madison-Destin service will be a winner. Olive Branch-based Southern Airways Express has added the third Mississippi airport to its list of destinations, and company officials have plans for more expansion in the near future. By Wally Northway. SENT: 1000 words.



LAFAYETTE, La. — Ole Miss meets Louisiana-Lafayette in the opener of their best-of-three NCAA Super Regional in Lafayette on Saturday. By Nick Fontenot. UPCOMING, 450 words, photos. Game starts 7 p.m. ET.


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Ben Crane is in the clubhouse with a six-stroke lead as the St. Jude Classic resumes the rain-delayed second round Saturday morning. Only 32 players finished the second round with officials trying to make the cut and squeeze in as much of the third round as possible with more storms in the forecast. By Teresa M. Walker. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 7:30 p.m. ET.


— The AP, Jackson