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BILL CRAWFORD — Is out-of-state student growth good for Mississippi taxpayers?

USM, seeking students, reduces out-of-state tuition,” read the recent newspaper headline.   “The idea is to reverse a 2,000-student enrollment dip by pricing a USM education below some public universities in nearby states, and attract enough high-schoolers from Houston, Dallas and San Antonio to raise overall revenue,” explained the Clarion-Ledger story. USM cut annual tuition for out-of-state students by 40 percent, from ...

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5 Hattiesburg firefighters demoted for theft of UPS packages

Five members of the Hattiesburg Fire Department have been demoted after an investigation into theft of packages from a UPS truck. Fire Chief Paul Presley tells The Hattiesburg American three officers were demoted: two from captain to lieutenant and one from lieutenant to engineer. The officers also received a yearlong probation. He says two other firefighters who were demoted also ...

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Appeals court rules for Hattiesburg ward redistricting

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Hattiesburg’s five-district ward plan does not dilute the voting power of African American residents. According to a judgment filed Monday before Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart and circuit judges Catharina Haynes and Edith Brown Clement, the court found no error in the city’s system, which under a Revised Proposed Redistricting ...

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Chamberlin, Wilson win Mississippi judicial runoff elections

Runoffs on Tuesday decided one seat on the Mississippi Supreme Court, one on the state Court of Appeals and two in the state House of Representatives. Judicial candidates run without party labels. Because the legislative races are special elections, those candidates also run without party affiliation. ____ SUPREME COURT Circuit Judge Bobby Chamberlin of Hernando won a seat on the ...

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Hattiesburg council delays vote on land development code

Hattiesburg City Council has voted to postpone adopting an ordinance establishing a new land development code. The new code, more than three years in the making, still had some language that needed to be clarified. City Attorney James Gladden recommended Monday the council make the changes, re-advertise the changes and vote on the code in January. The Hattiesburg American reports ...

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Mississippi, county officials to talk bad roads, bridges

County supervisors and engineers will meet with state officials next month to try to draw legislative attention to the problem of Mississippi’s aging roads and bridges. The Hattiesburg American reports the Mississippi Association of Supervisors and the Mississippi Association of County Engineers are sponsoring a 2016 County Road Show with five events throughout the state. They are coming to Pearl River Community ...

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Analysis: Mississippi tightens bond rules for long-term debt

Don’t take on long-term debt to cover day-to-day expenses. Don’t use credit to buy stuff that will wear out before it’s paid off. It’s advice many parents give their soon-to-be adult children. And, in a nutshell, it’s what the Mississippi Bond Commission says in rules it recently adopted. The rules were written partly in response to a $308 million bond ...

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Jones County voters say they want to keep 2 courthouses

Jones County voters, in a non-binding referendum, say they want the county to keep operating separate courthouses in Laurel and Ellisville. WDAM-TV reports voters Tuesday rejected a consolidation proposal by a margin of nearly 2-to-1, with 16,768 votes against consolidation, and only 8,693 votes for it. County supervisors had proposed closing one of the courthouses, which are 8 miles apart, to save ...

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Bellevue officials: 250 signatures needed for petition

The push to incorporate the Bellevue community may soon reach a milestone. John Adcock, proposed mayor of Bellevue, tells The Hattiesburg American they are within 250 signatures of the total needed to file for incorporation. In accordance with Mississippi incorporation procedures, Adcock says officials will step up their efforts to garner the signatures of two-thirds of the registered voters in ...

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Hattiesburg 2015-16 levy will include tax increase

The Hattiesburg City Council has voted to raise residents’ tax rates for the first time since at least 2001. Council approved 4-0 Tuesday a 114.1-mill tax levy for fiscal year 2015-16, an increase of 2.1 mills. The Hattiesburg American reports the council is expected to vote Sept. 22 on a proposed $138.3 million budget that would kick in on Oct. ...

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