Legislature ends session with unfinished business, Representative Johnson speaks

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The legislative session ended this week with some budgets left unfinished. The legislature will have to meet before June 30 said Republican Representative Chris Johnson District 87. The House and Senate still have to pass budgets for the Attorney General's office and the Department of Transportation. According to Rep. Johnson, Governor Phil Bryant would prefer both the House and Senate to have proposals ready prior to the special session. Rep. Johnson said, "There is a big budget and it takes a lot of work to get everybody on board with the budget numbers." He added, "This year, we were working some of the cases backwards based on a shorter budget amount, and that is not

Mississippi Autism Board, Analysts Celebrate Autism Awareness Month

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - This is a press release written by Leah Rupp Smith. Mississippians living with a developmental disorder, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, have access to new resources, thanks to the recent work of the Mississippi Autism Board. In its short two-year existence, the Autism Board has licensed 33 Behavior Analysts and one Assistant Behavior Analysts in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. Autism Board members and licensed analysts gathered on the University of Southern Mississippi campus today to kick off April Autism Awareness Month and prepare for World Autism Awareness Day, which is Sunday, April 2, 2017. “Studies show children with autism and other developmental di

Southern Miss Art and Design Hosts Open House for Prospective Students

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The following is a press release written by Ashlea Maddox of USM. The Department of Art and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi rolled out the red carpet for over 50 recruits, along with their families and teachers Friday. The event was open to prospective first year and transfer students who plan to enroll for the Fall 2017, Spring 2018 and Fall 2018 semesters at Southern Miss. Students who wish to pursue an education in visual arts at Southern Miss will enjoy tours of the 3D Art Studio, Gallery of Art and Design, and George Hurst Building, home of many of the classroom spaces of the department. Professor Jennifer Torres, Interim Chair of the Department of

The Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival starts next week

|This is a press release from the University of Southern Miss HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The 2017 Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival will be a milestone when it marks 50 years of celebrating children’s literature April 5-7 through the annual event held at The University of Southern Mississippi. Hundreds of librarians, teachers and devotees of the literary genre from across the country attend annually. Each year a prominent children’s literature author or illustrator is honored by the festival with the Southern Miss Medallion. This year’s recipient is Kate DiCamillo, author of The Tale of Despereaux and Because of Winn-Dixie, for which she earned the Newberry Medal and Newberry Honor, respecti

LPD swears in 4 officers

LAUREL, Miss. - Four men were sworn in Friday morning and officially began their new career as a Laurel Police Officer. Laurel Police Officer, Brock Avera said, "It means a lot. It's a big milestone in my life and a big step in my career. I hope to see where it takes me." "I've been wanting to join Laurel for awhile. The only reason I haven't is because I had to get my education first and get my degree. I worked for other departments before. But, I didn't want to join Laurel and have the issue of going to school being that Laurel is a busier department. I wouldn't have had time to study," said Laurel Police Officer, Dennis Borges. Justin Landrum and Josh Welch were also sworn in. Avera and B

MDOT turns 101 years old

|This is a press release from the Mississippi Department of Transportation JACKSON, Miss. - In 2016, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) officially began its second century of service to the people of the state on March 29, 100 years after the Mississippi Legislature created the Mississippi State Highway Commission in 1916. Today, the centennial year ends as MDOT turns 101 years old, the same year the State of Mississippi celebrates its 200th birthday. Last year, the Magnolia State celebrated its evolving transportation history over the past century. Since the first road was paved in Lee County in 1915, Mississippi’s transportation network has evolved considerably. MDOT’s fir

EXCLUSIVE: 'American Sniper' wife discusses 'American Wife' book

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Taya Kyle the wife of fallen veteran, Chris Kyle, whose life is told in the 2014 Academy-Award Winning Motion Picture and New York Times Best Seller, American Sniper, is The Spirit of Women's guest speaker. The event was hosted by Forrest General Hospital at the Lake Terrance Convention Center Thursday. Taya discusses her book American Wife which tells her family's story. American Sniper is the story of a talented U.S. Navy Seal, Chris Kyle, who served four tours in Iraq. In 2013 Chris was unexpectedly killed by a veteran he was trying to help with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Taya wrote American Wife after numerous inquiries about her intimate life from the po

Junior Auxiliary week

LAUREL, Miss. - Laurel's Junior Auxiliary received a proclamation Thursday from city leaders declaring April 2-8, Junior Auxiliary week. Junior Auxiliary public relations, Bryn Nasajpour said, "Our main goal is to enrich the lives of children in Jones County and Laurel. We do it many different ways. Programs at schools. Secret meals. We do puppet shows for children about child abuse. There's endless things that we do." "The Junior Auxiliary does a great job here in Laurel and Jones County, and the children are the recipients of the goodness that they do. And, we're just always glad to do something that can help them out to promote what they do," said Mayor of Laurel, Johnny Magee. The Natio

Sewer rates increase for Laurel citizens

LAUREL, Miss. - Water and sewer rates have gone up for the citizens of Laurel. But, this is not the first time these rates have increased. Each year, rates have gone up 3% in order to have proper maintenance care for water pipes around the city. Mayor of Laurel, Johnny Magee said, "We have water and sewer lines that are over 100-years-old in certain areas of the city. That doesn't last long. When they were putting these lines down at the time, they were made out of iron and different things. They rusted and corroded. We now use an updated PVC pipes that lasts for years and years. And if we do it now, we won't have to come back and do it. People will have better water pressure. They'll have b

Two independent storm systems rolling through Pine Belt, no immediate threat officials say

PINE BELT, Miss. - Two independent storm systems will slightly touch the Pine Belt Thursday night and Friday according to Jones Co. officials. Jones County Emergency Management Deputy Director Rodney Parker said the Pine Belt is at a 'marginal risk' of severe storms in the western Pine Belt counties. “According to the weather service our area is kind of on the far South Eastern edge of what looks like a marginal risk" said Parker. He added, "We are definitely going to pay attention, but we do not have a lot to be concerned with as far as we can tell.” The first storm is expected to hit late Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Officials said the second storm is anticipated to arrive Thurs

FEMA encourages storm survivors to stay in touch

|This is a press release from FEMA HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The deadline to register with FEMA was March 27, but you can still call to check on the status of your application, appeal a decision by FEMA, update your contact information, provide updated documentation or ask questions about the process. Call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585. If you registered with FEMA before the deadline and later discover that your insurance has not covered all losses, you have up to a year to submit additional documentation to FEMA. It is important to provide FEMA with your final insurance settlement information as assistance may be available for some expenses not covered by insurance. If yo

USM's Pride Field gets new turf

|This is a press release from the University of Southern Mis HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Recreational Sports is excited to announce the renovation of Pride Field, which features an artificial turf ground covering. The 110-yard-by-110-yard field is the only artificial turf student recreation and band practice complex in Mississippi. The decision to renovate Pride Field came after listening to student feedback and finding a solution to revitalize a nearly unusable field space. For decades, Pride Field has been used throughout the years by intramural programs and the “Pride of Mississippi” marching band. With the new renovation, the field now boasts

VA helps Pine Belt veterans

PETAL, Miss. - Members from the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center and the Jackson VA Regional Office were at the Petal Civic Center Wednesday to help veterans with any information or services they may need. Darryl Brady, director of Jackson VA Regional Office said, "Our focus is to educate our veterans about benefits and healthcare, as well as maybe look at their claims and answer any questions that they might have." Vietnam veterans were honored and awarded pins for their courageous sacrifice and service in that war during the beginning of the event. "They have gone through a whole lot in life. More than any other troopers here. I'm friends with some of them. Some of them are here.

See Spot Run downtown Dog Park opens Saturday

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - After two years of planning, fundraising, and building the new unnamed dog park at Hattiesburg's historic downtown area it will finally open Saturday morning. See Spot Run Board Member, James Moore said the city, volunteers, and donators raised $150,000 to build the park. The dog park features a small and large dog area, benches, as well as a custom made pet-friendly water fountain for owners and their dogs. Moore said the foundation thanks the community for their assistance and donations. Officials said residents from surrounding areas can benefit from using the park. "Unfortunately with the recent tornado that we had, the Petal dog park was destroyed, and a lot of the

Extra Table hosting Wine & Food Festival, proceeds provide healthy meals

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Extra Table will host their 14th Annual Wine and Food tasting Friday at Purple Parrot Cafe. All the proceeds will provide healthy meals for people who are food insecure in the state. Extra Table is a local non-profit organization that works to fight hunger in Mississippi. The organization said in Forrest Co. alone there are 17,000 people are who food insecure and officials said a lot of those people are children. Extra Table's Michael Dixon said, "We’re now sending food to 27 locations across the state in Mississippi." He added, "It takes a little bit of funding to do that. We have to pay for gas and staff. It is a cost, but it’s a low cost, but events like this help us

Hub City Award 2015 recipient receives Kindness in Action recognition

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - This week's Kindness in Action highlights Charles Brown a former Hub City Award 2015 recipient. Brown strives to make Hattiesburg a better place each and every day. Charles' life of dedication to his employer, his country, and his faith have brought a number of organizations to take advantage of his expertise, wisdom, and professional competency. He served in the United States Army for 11 years and was honorably discharged in 1969 with two Purple Hearts and Bronze Stars and numerous other citations. In 1994 the mayor and city recognized Brown as the first Veteran of the Year in Hattiesburg. “To award it to a black man, that was history, and that’s what gets me so humbled

Police still searching for missing teenager

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Hattiesburg Police Department needs the public's help searching for Marquez Bolton, 15. Bolton is an initial run-a-way and was reported missing by his family on March 11. He was last seen on Ruby Avenue near his grandmother's house. Lieutenant (Lt.) Jon Traxler with the Hattiesburg Police Department said Bolton was last seen wearing grey pants, a black shirt, and a backpack on him. Investigators said he was spotted in the local area, but no solid leads. “All of our officers have copies and pictures of Bolton, we actually reached out to all the community service, departments around the city, all of our buildings and we made sure that pictures have been posted there" s

National Interscholastic Athletics Safety & Security Summit strives for better practices

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Law enforcement and school officials around the country were at USM's Trent Lott Center Tuesday discussing ways that can help enhance safety and security issues at sporting events. Facilitator, Amy Skeens-Benton said, "Our number one job is to keep our kids safe. If you ask anyone would they care more about their kids test scores or their kids safety, they would say safety. So, just because school ends at 3 o'clock doesn't mean that the school day really ends. We still have activities and things going on sometimes 'til 9 or 10 o'clock at night. And, to make sure those kids are safe and what they're doing is just as important." President of the National Association of Sch

JCJC's Bruce Stevens will play for Ole Miss

ELLISVILLE, Miss. - JCJC men's basketball forward, Bruce Stevens made it official Monday that he will sign with Ole Miss. The Rebels will be getting a two-way player. Stevens averaged 16.2 points, 1.9 blocks, and 11.6 rebounds per game. He also helped take the Bobcats to the second round of the NJCAA D-1 Tournament.

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