Laurel Mayor Plans to Fix Water and Sewer Problems Within the City

HATTIESBURG, MISS. – Mayor Johnny McGee developed a plan to fix water and sewer problems in the City of Laurel. However, the downside of fixing these problems is residents could see an increase in their water bill. "This year, we're asking for another three percent increase, which will be about 91 cents a month for the average user,” McGee said. “I think people understand in order to fix these things we have to pay for it, and 91 cents is not a lot. So, that means your average water bill in the City of Laurel with water, sewer, and garbage will be about 45 to 48 dollars a month." Last year, the city spent almost three-quarters of a million dollars on emergency repairs.

United States Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association

HATTIESBURG, MISS. - The United States Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association (BFAA’s) regarding an ongoing 20-year court battle, where farmers say they were discriminated against. The organization advised members to submit their affidavits to see if they are eligible for this claim. “Over the years historically, the African American farmer has been discriminated against by government agencies,” BFAA’s Ecumenical Support Advisor, Bishop David Allen Hall, Sr. said. “One of the classic ones is the denial of farm loans. How can you run a farm, and you don't have operating money?” According to members of BFAA, this happened to be one of the many a

Hattiesburg Honors Vernon C. Floyd, First African American to Own a Radio Station in Mississippi

HATTIESBURG, MISS. - The community held The Proclamation Celebration for a local historian at New Zion Church on Feb. 25. Sunday, the Hattiesburg Community honored a pioneer through singing hymns. Vernon Floyd became the first African American to own and operate a radio station in the State of Mississippi. “We’re here today, because Mr. Floyd is an icon when it comes to civil rights and when it comes to being a person the African American community well respected,” President of the MLK Committee of the Pine Belt Thaddeus Edmonson said. On June 7, 1969, Floyd became the first African American to own and operate a radio station in the state of Mississippi and the 77th black-owned station

Cigarette Tax Update

HATTIESBURG, MISS. - The cost of cigarettes could possibly go up, as it appears the cigarette tax could be gaining support within the Republican-controlled legislature, which could ultimately raise cigarette prices $1.50 per pack. Mississippi's State Senator Joey Filligane gives an update on where the tax proposal stands. “There have been several bills proposed in the Republican-controlled legislature and the Medicaid Chairman Senator [Brice] Wiggins from down in Pascagoula has specifically filed a bill that would call for a dollar and fifty cents per pack increase in the tobacco tax,” Filligane said. “I don’t really feel like there is an overwhelming support that in the state at this time.”

HPD investigates scam involving police memorial

It's been nearly three years since two Hattiesburg policeman, Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate, were killed in the line of duty. Now, the Hattiesburg Police Department is investigating a scam. HPD says in the statement below the department is not soliciting or asking for monetary donations for a police memorial. If you believe you're being targeted in this scam, call HPD at 601-544-7900.

Hattiesburg native now training Navy's best pilots

(The following press release and photo were submitted to MyFOX23.com from the Navy Office of Community Outreach.) FALLON, Nev. – In Nevada’s high desert is the Navy’s premiere tactical air warfare training center, home to the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center and it’s Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, known to the world as TOPGUN. A 2010 homeschool graduate and Hattiesburg, Mississippi, native is part of the Navy’s finest aviation fighter training facility in the world. Petty Officer 2nd Class Jesse Shafer is an aviation ordnanceman working with the Naval Munitions Command CONUS West Division Detachment Fallon stationed aboard Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada. A

Nine People Arrested After Lamar County Cracks Down on Auto Burglaries. More Than 40 Charges

HATTIESBURG MISS. - Nine people find are behind bars tonight, facing auto burglary charges. Together, they face more than 40 charges connected to a string of auto burglaries in the Pine Belt. The arrests come after a two-day operation held by the Lamar County Sheriff's Department. The department identified two different groups burglarizing areas on the opposite sides of the county. Lamar County Sheriff, Danny Rigel says he still expects more arrests to be made. "Last couple of weeks we've had a lot of auto burglaries. Most of them were vehicles that were left unlocked. We had various items stolen. The last couple of nights we worked to develop some suspects,” Rigel said. “We worked reall

New Possible Infrastructure Program

HATTIESBURG, MISS. - The Mississippi Senate passed a budget of more than one-billion dollars for an infrastructure program. The bill is now currently awaiting approval from the House of Representatives. The new bill will look at improving bridges, roads, sewers, and a few other public services. "The highlights of it is it has no taxes whatsoever. It reprioritizes spending,” Mississippi’s State Senator, Joey Fillingane said. “Basically it's about six-hundred million dollars for highway improvements and it's over a five year period... So, we budgeted ninety-eight percent of the expected revenues and then the two percent we don't we don't budge for, at the end of the year it's usually a cash

USM to Host Annual Mississippi Academy of Sciences Meeting

HATTIESBURG, MISS. - Friday, more than 800 scientists from all parts of Mississippi came to USM’s Thad Cochran Center to attend the 82nd Annual Mississippi Academy of Sciences Meeting (MAS). “So, this is basically the largest gathering of science students and educators in the state, and this is an opportunity for a lot of students to present their research in front of faculty and also exchange information with other folks from other universities,” USM Professor and Director of Mississippi INBRE, Mohamed O. Elasri. USM graduate student, Justin Batte said this meeting offered an invaluable experience. “It's really growing me at a professional level because I am able to interact with these peop

State health department: Second pediatric flu death of '17-'18 season confirmed

(The following is a press release from the Mississippi State Department of Health.) JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports the second confirmed pediatric influenza death for the 2017-2018 flu season. The death occurred in an individual from Central Mississippi. Pediatric deaths are defined as deaths of individuals under 18 years of age. Including this reported death, there have been a total of 18 pediatric flu deaths reported in Mississippi since pediatric flu deaths became reportable in the 2008-2009 flu season. Nationwide, as of February 10, 2018, there have been 84 pediatric flu deaths reported this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control a

Improving the Future and Ending Racism

HATTIESBURG, MISS. - History is one of America’s best teachers, and a generation often forgotten about in the equal rights movement happens to be the younger generation. That's why the “Sojourn To The Past” project concentrates on educating students about the Civil Rights Movement, so they do not repeat the same mistakes. "Listening to them speak and their hard stories is nothing compared to what they actually went through,” a participant of the Sojourn To The Past project, Adrian Harris said. “So, I am learning to be grateful and I am also learning to forgive those who have been cruel to me and who have done me wrong, and also try my best to ask for forgiveness for those that I’ve done wr

Clyde Kennard Documentary Premiere

HATTIESBURG, MISS. - Members of the University of Southern Missippi’s faculty held a viewing ceremony for the new Clyde Kennard documentary, Wednesday night. Several members of the USM staff came together to make the film of Kennard, showing the obstacles he faced by being the first African American to attempt to enroll at the then Mississippi Southern College. “This documentary premiere was a combination of two years of work that I did with three other individuals in the Freedom Fifty Research Group. We started doing a research project where we were taught measuring the racial progress on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi, and all of our discussions seemed to ce

The Dahmer Family Finds Peace 52 Years Later After Vernon Dahmer Sr.'s Death

HATTIESBURG, MISS. – A local family reflects on the civil rights movement in Hattiesburg. The Dahmer family told students of the “Sojourn To The Past” project about the role Vernon Dahmer Sr. played in helping African Americans get registered to vote. Dahmer served as the President of Forrest County’s NAACP chapter and led voter registration drives in the 1960s. “He would often say… until the African Americans had the opportunity to vote and participate in selecting the leaders we would not be free,” Vernon Dahmer Jr. said (Vernon Dahmer Sr.’s son). Rules such as the Jim Crow laws and poll taxes stood as key factors to why many African Americans could not vote. “He would take them

R3SM to host restoration tour of rebuilt Hattiesburg neighborhoods

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Greater Pinebelt Foundation and R3SM will be hosting a free tour Thursday to showcase rebuilt homes and businesses damaged by an EF-3 tornado in January 2017. R3SM Chief Opertions Officer, Mavis Creagh explained the tour's purpose is to show donors their money has been put to good use. "We’re continuing the work in the community and that’s also to show them that’s their an additional need for funding to do the additional cases that are yet to be presented that do need financial support,” she said. Others who could not donate money, provided time. According to Creagh, more than 1,000 volunteers provided over $800,000 in free labor rebuilding damaged areas. She said th

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