Mississippi health department offers good news for WIC participants

(The following is a press release from the Mississippi State Department of Health.) The Mississippi State Department of Health’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) will remain open through the month of January even without congressional action on the current government shutdown. Working with federal partners at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - the agency funding the WIC program - the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) has been granted enough funds in the federal fiscal year 2019 to continue operations. Without these funds, the WIC program would have to terminate services to more than 95,000 clients each month due to the

City of Hattiesburg's Bond Rating is Restored

This is a press release from the City of Hattiesburg. HATTIESBURG, Miss. - On Thursday, Dec. 20, Moody’s Investors Services restored the City of Hattiesburg’s bond rating at an initial Aa3. According to the credit opinion published by Moody’s, “Mississippi cities have an institutional framework score of ‘Aa’ or ‘strong.’” This rating comes after the City’s administration and council worked diligently to produce three financial audits (FY 2015, FY 2016 and FY 2017) in 17 months. “At the beginning of 2018, we identified several goals that we used to guide our work through the year. Getting us to a place where we can be a more credible, modern, responsive and citizen-center organization was hea

City of Hattiesburg notifies residents of water reporting violation

Hattiesburg, Mississippi - During a press conference today, Mayor Toby Barker announced that residents will soon receive notice about two water system reporting violations on the back of their water bills. “Recently, we were made aware that our water system violated a reporting requirement for drinking water from the Mississippi Department of Health,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “We believe transparency holds our office, directors and employees accountable, and our residents deserve to know that we made a record-keeping error. They also deserve to know that we are taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]The City of Hattiesburg’s water plant pulls

Hattiesburg Public School District Addresses Chronic Absenteeism

HATTIESBURG, MISS. – Hattiesburg Public School District's Superintendent, Robert William made it very clear Thursday morning during a press conference, that the district will crack down on chronic absenteeism. “Currently, we have over 700 students with five or more unexcused absences, and we have approximately 200 students with over 200 absences,” Williams stated. “What chronic absenteeism means is those students miss 18 or more days within an academic school year.” During the 2016-17 school year, the district saw this number grow to 17 percent. Accompanied by Hattiesburg’s Mayor Toby Barker and the Hattiesburg Police Department, officials spoke about how student absences affect the en

City of Petal awaits ruling in annexation trial

PETAL, MISS. – The City of Petal looks to expand another seven square miles, pending on the ruling of a Forrest County Judge. Recently, the city made its last agreement in court about why six of the surrounding areas should be annexed and added to the Petal city limits. “Both sides had a chance to pu on their agreements as to why the city should be able to annex the territory we are requesting,” Petal’s mayor, Hal Marx said. “We are not annexing because we want the tax money. We are annexing because we need the room to build new subdivisions, and have more commercial growth.” However, those opposed to the annexation believe they are not dependent on services offered by the city and would lik

Forrest General and William Carey join forces to offer Music Therapy Services

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Forrest General and William Carey University have a partnership which provides weekly music therapy sessions to oncology and pediatric patients. “We had been investigating the possibility of bringing a Music Therapy Program to Forrest General Hospital for over a year. We were extremely excited to learn that William Carey University offered this program and so we began building a relationship with Mr. Jim Pierce, assistant professor of music therapy and his students. We’ve been piloting a program for the past several months on our Pediatric and Oncology Units and the feedback we’ve received from patients and families has been wonderful,” said Vicky Buxton, director of v

FCAHS girls' basketball team makes it merrier Christmas for local children

The girls' basketball team at Forrest County Agricultural High School recently sponsored two needy children as part of the Salvation Army's annual Angel Tree program. The team bought Christmas presents for the children at a local WalMart. Pictured sitting from left to right: Alyssa Murry, Erin McLaurin, Brooke Blanks, Amagine Campbell. Pictured standing from left to right: Keona Crowell, Patsy Tutor, Bethany Johnson, Kaylee Owens, Coach Mack Gardner. Not pictured: Madelyn Mapp, Abby Hennis, Amber Fortenberry, Jaidyn Pittman.

Mississippi lawmakers considering pay raises for teachers

HATTIESBURG, MISS. – Four more weeks left until lawmakers meet in Jackson for the 2019 legislative session and one topic expected to be discussed will be teacher pay raises, after Gov. Phil Bryant recommended a $50 million teacher pay raise. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Mississippi finishes as the 5th worst state when it comes to education. “Historically, Mississippi has very low educational outcomes compared to the rest of the country,” Mississippi State Senator Dist. 41, Joey Fillingane said. “Hopefully, we can do something along the lines of a teacher pay raise moving into this upcoming school year.” Fillingane gives credit to Mississippi’s growing economy as a possible

State Superintendent visits Petal School District

PETAL, Miss. - State Superintendent of Education, Carey Wright, visits Petal School District Monday. Her trip is apart of the Celebration of Excellence Tour – a trip celebrating the 9 of 144 schools districts that have an 'A' status. “They’re focusing on instruction all of the time. They’re not practicing for the test they’re not trying to get kids to do that test prep. They’re teaching to the standards each and every day and that’s showing in the results they are getting each and every day,” Dr. Wright explained about Petal School District. Petal School District Superintendent, Dr. Matt Dillon, says the proof is in the pudding. He states there's no secret to their high district-wide stat

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