MDOT urges highway safety tips for holiday weekend

This is a press release from MDOT. JACKSON, MISS. - Among the parties, parades and fireworks, it is easy to get caught up in Independence Day festivities. According to AAA, 44.2 million people are expected to travel over the Fourth of July Weekend, more Americans than ever before. With more motorists on the road this year, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) reminds holiday travelers not to let celebrations distract them from safety.“Zero deaths on highways should be the goal for Mississippi,” said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath. “Deciding against drinking and driving can help us drive the state toward this goal.”Independence Day is already known for being one of the

Officers graduate from Crisis Intervention Training class

HATTIESBURG, MS. - Fifteen officers from surrounding law enforcement agencies graduated from the 3rd Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) class with the Jones County Sheriff's Department and Pine Belt Mental Health Friday at HPD's Training Academy. Major Jamie Tedford with the Jones County Sheriff's Department said, “Anyone that is in a crisis that is basically what this training does it gives them knowledge in training." He continued, "To help them stay safer, as well as help them understand what somebody with a mental crisis is going through.” Major Tedford said the class is 40 hours worth of training. Authorities said they never know what kind of situation they may encounter and receiving t

Fireworks safety tips

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - People will be celebrating this 4th of July weekend by lighting off fireworks; but, fireworks can be dangerous if you are not careful. Hattiesburg Police Officer, Lt. LaTosha Myers-Mitchell said, "It's very important if you decide to use fireworks and you go outside the city, if you go into the county, and use fireworks that you have adult supervision with children using fireworks at all times. I know it's a fun time, we have a lot of reunions, a lot of family gatherings where kids may not be supervised all the time. But if there's going to be fireworks, we encourage you to watch your children a little bit closer." It is illegal for people to use fireworks inside city li

Laurel man assaults person, steals vodka

LAUREL, Miss. - One Laurel man has been arrested for assault. Laurel Police said Phillip Breland, 41, severely beat up a person at Blue's Quick Stop Thursday, and stole a bottle of vodka. The victim was transported to South Central Regional Medical Center for treatment. Breland faces aggravated assault and robbery charges.

Hattiesburg police searching for armed robbers

HATTIESBURG, MS. - The Hattiesburg Police Department (HPD) needs your help searching for three armed robbers. HPD said three suspects were armed with pistols and forced entry into a residence on the 200 block of Park Avenue on Friday, June 2. If you have any information you can call HPD at (601) 582-7867.

Mayor Magee nominates Mark Nichols as the new fire chief

LAUREL, Miss. - Fire Chief, James Brown is retiring Friday after serving the City of Laurel for over 41 years, and the past four as the fire chief. Mayor Johnny Magee has nominated Captain Mark Nichols as the new fire chief. Nichols has 24 years of service to his resume, and Mayor Magee believes he best fits the description to become the city's new fire chief. "He says he never expected to get that call. But, I think he's well-qualified for the job. I think he'll do a great job for the city. I believe that he has been dedicated for almost 25 years, and he will continue to serve the city with distinction and honor," said Mayor Magee. City council will vote next Wednesday on the nomination of

The Chronicle shuts down

LAUREL, Miss. - The Chronicle is calling it quits after five years of serving the Jones County community with journalism. The Chronicle published its last issue Wednesday for Laurel, Ellisville, and Jones County, and thanks the community for its support. The Chronicle will officially close Friday.

Former State Rep. Toby Barker sworn in as 35th Mayor of Hattiesburg

HATTIESBURG, MS. - Former State Representative Toby Barker was sworn in as Hattiesburg's 35th mayor. Familiar and new city council members were also sworn in Thursday at Saenger Theater. Mayor Barker said, "It was a great day for our community and to celebrate those that have come before us, but also to look towards the future." He added, "And I am excited to work with our city council and the rest of our city employees." "We will need all of our residents on board as we try to move forward, there are a lot of challenges out there, but I trust in the will of our creative and talented people" said Barker. Newly elected city council members Jeffrey George (Ward 1) and Nicholas Brown (Ward 5) s

USM study reveals health care institutions' regional economic impact

Hattiesburg, MS. - The University of Southern Mississippi presented an economic impact study Thursday to showcase the $1.4 billion contribution made across 19 counties across the Pine Belt. USM's Trent Lott National Center of Economic Development completed the study to show that three entities generate $129.9 million in federal taxes, $49 million in state taxes and $8.6million in local taxes. This ultimately supported 10,670 jobs and disbursed more than $1.494 million in sponsorships, employee contributions and fundraising events. The study used 2016 data and was done within six months. Forrest General Hospital paid approximately $50,000 and provided information such as; pay and benefits, nu

Patriotic Children's Craft Day

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The African American Military History Museum is hosting its first ever Patriotic Children's Craft Day. This is an event for children ages 5-10. And they will take part in five different patriotic-themed craft stations and learn about the importance of Independence Day. General manager, Latoya Norman said, "Our kids are really big on technology. With this being a 1940's building, we want them to come and learn about some of those old school fun activities that they can do at home with their kids. It's really a time for parents to bond with their children, come in, color, paint, put together some really fun things. And they probably can take home some ideas that they can u

SPECIAL REPORT: ROUNDUP LINKED TO CANCER

Roundup, it’s located in the gardening section of many stores. It’s said to kill weeds, but it may be doing more than just that. “I think it’s a culprit for a lot of sick people with blood disorders,” said Richard Schwartz, founding attorney of Schwartz & Associates in Jackson. He and other attorneys nationwide are representing people affected by a product they say is linked to cancer. “Part of the allegation is that the company didn’t tell anyone that this could be a dangerous product, you need to be aware of it,” said Schwartz. Glyphosate is the agent in Roundup that’s linked to blood cancers. So far, it’s been banned in many countries. It’s been banned in New York and perhaps Californi

Laurel man arrested, shooting incident

LAUREL, Miss. - A shooting incident lands one Laurel man in jail. Laurel Police said Douglas Heidelberg, 27, shot at a person Monday in the 1600 Block of North 1st Avenue. No one was injured during the shooting. Heidelberg is being charged with attempted aggravated assault and shooting into an occupied dwelling.

Pine Belt community honors retiring PRCC president Lewis

Poplarville, MS. - People from across the Pine Belt including faculty, staff and alumni of Pearl River Community College came together Wendesday to honor retiring president Dr. William Lewis. The retirement reception was held at the Poplarville Brownstone Center for the Arts. Dr. Lewis will retire after 17 years of presidency. "Support from alumni, friends, employees, students it's just tremendous here, it's more like a family atmosphere. And that's what we had hope it would be...and we're very grateful for that and very grateful for all the folks who had meant so much to us over the years." outgoing PRCC president Dr. William Lewis said. Dr. Lewis will officially retire June 30 and incoming

Mississippi State, JCJC sign agreement to benefit students

ELLISVILLE, Miss. - Officials from Mississippi State University (MSU) and Jones County Junior College (JCJC) signed an agreement Wednesday to help students complete their bachelor's degree through the Partnership Pathways program. "This will enable students in this area to stay local, pay less, and earn more. We will work with Jones Junior College to ensure the barriers that students sometimes face when they transfer are removed," said Dr. Judy Bonner, MSU Provost and Executive Vice President. This partnership will give JCJC students 15 academic degree programs to choose from that are offered at the Mississippi State-Meridian campus. Advisors will also help students take the steps they need

NASA visits Hattiesburg Summer Camps

Hattiesburg, MS. - NASA Representatives paid a visit to Hattiesburg Public School summer camps to teach children how to view the solar system and eclipses at Hawkins Elementary on Wednesday. Hundreds of children listened to various NASA representatives discuss the importance of nature and how to be comfortable in nature itself. Campers engaged in environmental activities, trade books on nature and other scientific resources. On August 21st, people across North America will be able to view the total solar eclipse that will cross over the United States for several hours. “The eclipse is a phenomenal thing to look at. It’s one of the most incredible free nature shows on earth. It’s spectacular,

Bond set for Covington Co. woman charged with murder, victim identified

COVINGTON COUNTY, MS. - A Covington County woman is charged with murder after allegedly shooting and killing a male victim Tuesday evening. According to Covington County Investigator, Pam Wade-Smith, Erikka Lee, 38, has been arrested and charged with murder for the shooting of Marvin Collins, 45, of Covington County. The incident happened on 436 Mount Pleasant Church Road at around 5:00 p.m. "Both suspects lived there" said Smith. Collins Judge John Laz Sanford set Lee's bond at $250,000 Wednesday. Smith said, "A few details could only be released at this time." The investigation is still ongoing.

Multiple agencies working to combat opioid addiction in Mississippi

HATTIESBURG, MS. - Multiple agencies are hosting Town Hall meetings across the state to teach residents about the effects and impact of opioid addiction. More than a hundred people in the Hattiesburg community came together Tuesday night at the Lake Terrace Convention Center to listen about the opioid epidemic in Mississippi. According to the Department of Mental Health 1 in 10 people in Mississippi misuse prescription drugs. “The crisis that we see in Mississippi is growing" said Steve Parker Deputy Director with the MS Board of Pharmacy. Special Agent FBI Christopher Freeze said, “It is an extreme problem for the entire state of Mississippi and for the United States as a whole." Prescripti

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