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If Legislature fails to pass education budget, rivals Hood, Reeves agreed in past schools would still be funded

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Based on an opinion by former Attorney General Jim Hood and the embrace of that opinion by Gov. Tate Reeves, there could still be an option for the state to fund local school districts should the Legislature end the 2024 session without passing a budget for K-12 education.

Comments by Speaker Jason White, R-West, have caused some to fear that the House will leave K-12 education unfunded if the Senate does not agree to rewrite the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, which provides the bulk of state funding for local school districts.

In several interviews, White has said that the House has funded MAEP “for the last time.”

In emailed questions, Mississippi Today followed up asking White if he meant the House would not agree to an education budget if MAEP is not repealed.

Taylor Spillman, a spokesperson for White said, “As the speaker has made clear .., the House has funded MAEP for the last time and remains committed to passing a funding formula that is equitable and student-centered for Mississippi’s K-12 public schools.”

White supports a House-passed plan to replace MAEP. Senate Education Chair Dennis DeBar has passed a record amount of funding for education through the Senate this session, including an annual $1,000 teacher pay raise, and has agreed to study the education funding formula after the session with the possibility of replacing or making changes to MAEP next year.

White is insistent those changes be made this year, leaving some to worry that the session could end with no budget to provide state funds to local school districts.

There has been speculation about what would happen if there is no education budget.

In 2020, Reeves, in his first year as governor, vetoed the bulk of the education budget. Reeves said in that veto message, “The Department of Education will continue to function. The bulk of the agency will run in the short term by a letter from me, backed up by an AG opinion, stating that they constitutionally have to perform their duties until the legislature can fix this.”

The Attorney General’s opinion Reeves was referencing came during the administration of former AG Jim Hood, who had lost the gubernatorial election to Reeves less than a year earlier.

The 2009 opinion written by Hood’s office was in the middle of a monumental standoff between then-Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, and a Democratic Party-controlled House. Barbour wanted a tax imposed on the state’s hospitals. The House opposed the Barbour plan.

The disagreement on the hospital tax resulted in the inability to reach an overall budget accord on issues ranging from health care to law enforcement to education.

During that standoff, Hood, as Mississippi’s chief legal officer, maintained that while the sole responsibility to appropriate state funds rests with the Legislature, there are certain services spelled out in the state Constitution that must be provided regardless of whether there is a legislative appropriation.

The Constitution mandates that there be public schools.

In 2020, Reeves reasoned, again based on the opinion of his former rival, that in the absence of a new budget approved by lawmakers, it should be funded at the level it received in the last legislative appropriation.

But the AG’s opinion could be challenged in court.

In 2009, the opinion was a legal theory but never was put into practice because of a late night budget agreement only hours before the clock struck midnight on July 1 to start a new fiscal year.

In 2020, not long after the Reeves’ veto, the Legislature reconvened and overrode his veto, thus reinstating the education budget.

Time will tell whether the Hood opinion could be a factor later this summer if the Legislature cannot agree on an education budget.

Another issue, according to Debar, is that local school districts need to know soon their amount of funding so they can begin process of renewing teacher contracts for the upcoming school year,

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Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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Business leaders urge legislators mulling Medicaid expansion to improve access to health care

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Powerful business groups are urging legislative leaders “to work together” to improve health care access as they negotiate whether to expand Medicaid coverage for Mississippians and by how much.

“Access to healthcare is not just about individual health, but about the well being of our entire community,” the Mississippi Economic Council, Mississippi Manufacturers Association and the Business and Industry Political Education Committee said in a letter to House Speaker Jason White. “It means a healthier population, a healthier work force and an improved quality of life, all of which contribute to stronger Mississippi communities.”

White released the letter on social media and said, “We appreciate the business community’s support to provide healthcare access to low-income Mississippians. A healthy economy is dependent on a healthy workforce.”

The House, where White presides, has passed legislation to expand Medicaid as is allowed under federal law to cover people earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level or about $20,000 per year for an individual. The Senate’s proposal would expand Medicaid to those working and earning less than 100% of the federal poverty level or about $15,000 annually.

House and Senate leaders are in the process of trying to hammer out their differences on the issue.

While the business groups did not explicitly endorse either plan, they did say they routinely expected state leaders to “responsibly” use federal dollars for education, infrastructure and for other services.

“Let’s give our hospitals and healthcare experts the same opportunity so hard-working Mississippians will benefit,” the letter leaders said.

Under the House plan, the federal government would pay 90% of the health care costs for those covered by Medicaid expansion. Under the Senate plan, the federal government will pay about 77% of the costs, which, according to studies, means fewer Mississippians would be covered at a significantly higher cost to the state under the Senate plan.

In addition, under the House plan, the state would receive an additional nearly $700 million over a two-year period, which the federal government is offering to the 10 states that have not expanded Medicaid.

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Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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About Steve Sloan, the worst you could say is he was too nice a guy

0
Steve Sloan, who died April 14, spent five seasons as Ole Miss football coach, winning an average of four games a season.

Steve Sloan, who died April 14 at the age of 79, spent five autumns (1978-82), mostly unsuccessful, as the head football coach at Ole Miss. I covered those last two seasons as the Ole Miss beat reporter for the Clarion Ledger. Covering losing football teams is often a thankless chore. Sloan made those two seasons bearable.

My lasting memory of Sloan: He was, without question, the nicest football coach I ever encountered and one of the nicest, most decent human beings, period. Many knowledgeable football folks would tell you Steve was too nice to be a successful football coach in the dog-eat-dog Southeastern Conference, and I honestly can’t write that I disagree.

Rick Cleveland
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?fit=336%2C336&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?fit=400%2C400&ssl=1″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?resize=400%2C400&ssl=1″ alt class=”wp-image-1022343″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?w=400&ssl=1 400w, https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?resize=336%2C336&ssl=1 336w, https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?resize=140%2C140&ssl=1 140w, https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?resize=200%2C200&ssl=1 200w, https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?resize=300%2C300&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?resize=100%2C100&ssl=1 100w, https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?w=370&ssl=1 370w” sizes=”(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>
Rick Cleveland

His record over five seasons in Oxford: 20 victories, 34 defeats, one tie. His 1980 team led the SEC in total offense, yet won only three games. His last two Rebel teams won a total of one SEC game, the 1981 Egg Bowl.

And there’s a story there. I approached Steve the Monday before the game with an idea for a story that would need his cooperation. Honestly, I didn’t think he would do it. I’m not sure I’ve ever covered another college football coach who would have. My proposal was that he would tell me his Egg Bowl game plan, which I would not divulge in print or otherwise until after the game. My plan was to write about the game plan – and whether it worked or not – in our Egg Bowl special section afterward.

Much to my surprise, Steve said he didn’t see any harm in it. Perhaps, he just didn’t see where he had anything to lose. And, on Tuesday of Egg Bowl week, he gave me a detailed game plan. He did so while chewing Vitamin C tablets the way some folks chew bubble gum, trying to fight a bad cold that had bothered him for weeks. I remember telling him he looked like death warmed over, and I remember him chuckling and telling me, “Well, buddy, you don’t look so good yourself.”

Defensively, he said Ole Miss would play an eight-man front throughout the game. “We’ll look like we’re in a goal line defense when we’re at midfield,” he said. “Our only chance is to stop the run.”

“Offensively, we know we can’t run the ball on them, but we have to run it some just to keep them honest, or we’ll never have time to throw,” he said. “Up front, we will double team Glen Collins (State’s splendid defensive tackle). We’ll use a guard and a center and if that’s not enough we’ll use a back in pass protection. He’s that good.”

I asked him about trick plays. “We’ve got one pass play we got off TV the other night,” he said, describing a pass play using two running backs out of the backfield in a crossing pattern, hoping to take advantage of linebackers in pass coverage.

Everything worked. State passed only 12 times, despite the eight-man front. Ole Miss ran the ball 35 times for a meager 74 yards, but that helped quarterback John Fourcade have the time to complete 22 of 29 passes. The great Collins, double- and triple-teamed, was not in on a sack. The trick play worked to perfection for a touchdown on the Rebels’ first possession.

Steve Sloan, right, with Jerry Clower, the country comedian who played football at Mississippi State.

Ole Miss, a 15-point underdog, won, 21-17. Rebel players awarded Sloan the game ball, and this was one time he earned it.

That didn’t happen nearly often enough for Sloan at Ole Miss. A year later, he left for Duke, and not many Ole Miss folks were all that sad to see him go. 

Mississippi football fans of that era will well remember the enthusiasm that accompanied Sloan’s arrival at Ole Miss. At the time, he was considered the best bet to be Bear Bryant’s successor at Alabama, where he had been Bryant’s quarterback and team captain.

He was, without question, the hottest young head coach in the business. He had won at Vanderbilt, for goodness sakes. That’s right. He took the Vandy head coaching job at age 28 and in his second year he guided the Commodores to a 7-3-1 record and a Peach Bowl berth. Then it was on to Texas Tech, where he took the Red Raiders to two bowl games in three seasons, including a 10-1 record and a share of the Southwest Conference championship in only his second season at Lubbock.

Then came Ole Miss, where he was then-athletic director Johnny Vaught’s hand-picked choice to revive the Rebels slumping football program. The word was Bear Bryant had advised Sloan not to take the Ole Miss job, to remain in Texas until he decided to step down at Alabama. If that was indeed the case, Sloan bucked his former coach and headed to Oxford, where he was greeted as a football savior. The early returns were good. His first recruiting classes were rated among the nation’s best. That recruiting success never translated into victories.

What happened? Nearly half a century later, this might be an oversimplification, but here goes: Both at Vandy and at Texas Tech, Sloan’s defenses were headed by a future coaching legend, a guy named Bill Parcells. Yes, that Bill Parcells, a two-time Super Bowl champion coach. And Parcells was slated to come with Sloan to become the Rebels’ defensive coordinator. Never happened. The head coaching job at Air Force came open, and Parcells took it.

So Sloan came to Ole Miss without Parcells, who was not only a defensive whiz but also the “bad cop” to Sloan’s “good cop” at both Vandy and Texas Tech. In retrospect, Sloan’s Ole Miss teams lacked the defensive grit, discipline and overall toughness of his Vanderbilt and Texas Tech teams. Even Sloan’s worse Ole Miss teams could move the ball and score; they just could not stop anybody.

Had Parcells come to Ole Miss, things surely would have been different. We’ll never know, but I believe had Sloan, after losing Parcells, retained Jim Carmody from Ken Cooper’s Ole Miss staff, he would have won more games.

That’s all conjecture at this point, but this is not: If the worst thing anybody can say about you is that you were too nice, that not all bad. In fact, that’s not bad at all.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Read original article by clicking here.

About Steve Sloan, the worst you could say is he was too nice a guy

0
Steve Sloan, who died April 14, spent five seasons as Ole Miss football coach, winning an average of four games a season.

Steve Sloan, who died April 14 at the age of 79, spent five autumns (1978-82), mostly unsuccessful, as the head football coach at Ole Miss. I covered those last two seasons as the Ole Miss beat reporter for the Clarion Ledger. Covering losing football teams is often a thankless chore. Sloan made those two seasons bearable.

My lasting memory of Sloan: He was, without question, the nicest football coach I ever encountered and one of the nicest, most decent human beings, period. Many knowledgeable football folks would tell you Steve was too nice to be a successful football coach in the dog-eat-dog Southeastern Conference, and I honestly can’t write that I disagree.

Rick Cleveland
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?fit=336%2C336&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?fit=400%2C400&ssl=1″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?resize=400%2C400&ssl=1″ alt class=”wp-image-1022343″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?w=400&ssl=1 400w, https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?resize=336%2C336&ssl=1 336w, https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?resize=140%2C140&ssl=1 140w, https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?resize=200%2C200&ssl=1 200w, https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?resize=300%2C300&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?resize=100%2C100&ssl=1 100w, https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rick-Cleveland2-crop.jpg?w=370&ssl=1 370w” sizes=”(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>
Rick Cleveland

His record over five seasons in Oxford: 20 victories, 34 defeats, one tie. His 1980 team led the SEC in total offense, yet won only three games. His last two Rebel teams won a total of one SEC game, the 1981 Egg Bowl.

And there’s a story there. I approached Steve the Monday before the game with an idea for a story that would need his cooperation. Honestly, I didn’t think he would do it. I’m not sure I’ve ever covered another college football coach who would have. My proposal was that he would tell me his Egg Bowl game plan, which I would not divulge in print or otherwise until after the game. My plan was to write about the game plan – and whether it worked or not – in our Egg Bowl special section afterward.

Much to my surprise, Steve said he didn’t see any harm in it. Perhaps, he just didn’t see where he had anything to lose. And, on Tuesday of Egg Bowl week, he gave me a detailed game plan. He did so while chewing Vitamin C tablets the way some folks chew bubble gum, trying to fight a bad cold that had bothered him for weeks. I remember telling him he looked like death warmed over, and I remember him chuckling and telling me, “Well, buddy, you don’t look so good yourself.”

Defensively, he said Ole Miss would play an eight-man front throughout the game. “We’ll look like we’re in a goal line defense when we’re at midfield,” he said. “Our only chance is to stop the run.”

“Offensively, we know we can’t run the ball on them, but we have to run it some just to keep them honest, or we’ll never have time to throw,” he said. “Up front, we will double team Glen Collins (State’s splendid defensive tackle). We’ll use a guard and a center and if that’s not enough we’ll use a back in pass protection. He’s that good.”

I asked him about trick plays. “We’ve got one pass play we got off TV the other night,” he said, describing a pass play using two running backs out of the backfield in a crossing pattern, hoping to take advantage of linebackers in pass coverage.

Everything worked. State passed only 12 times, despite the eight-man front. Ole Miss ran the ball 35 times for a meager 74 yards, but that helped quarterback John Fourcade have the time to complete 22 of 29 passes. The great Collins, double- and triple-teamed, was not in on a sack. The trick play worked to perfection for a touchdown on the Rebels’ first possession.

Steve Sloan, right, with Jerry Clower, the country comedian who played football at Mississippi State.

Ole Miss, a 15-point underdog, won, 21-17. Rebel players awarded Sloan the game ball, and this was one time he earned it.

That didn’t happen nearly often enough for Sloan at Ole Miss. A year later, he left for Duke, and not many Ole Miss folks were all that sad to see him go. 

Mississippi football fans of that era will well remember the enthusiasm that accompanied Sloan’s arrival at Ole Miss. At the time, he was considered the best bet to be Bear Bryant’s successor at Alabama, where he had been Bryant’s quarterback and team captain.

He was, without question, the hottest young head coach in the business. He had won at Vanderbilt, for goodness sakes. That’s right. He took the Vandy head coaching job at age 28 and in his second year he guided the Commodores to a 7-3-1 record and a Peach Bowl berth. Then it was on to Texas Tech, where he took the Red Raiders to two bowl games in three seasons, including a 10-1 record and a share of the Southwest Conference championship in only his second season at Lubbock.

Then came Ole Miss, where he was then-athletic director Johnny Vaught’s hand-picked choice to revive the Rebels slumping football program. The word was Bear Bryant had advised Sloan not to take the Ole Miss job, to remain in Texas until he decided to step down at Alabama. If that was indeed the case, Sloan bucked his former coach and headed to Oxford, where he was greeted as a football savior. The early returns were good. His first recruiting classes were rated among the nation’s best. That recruiting success never translated into victories.

What happened? Nearly half a century later, this might be an oversimplification, but here goes: Both at Vandy and at Texas Tech, Sloan’s defenses were headed by a future coaching legend, a guy named Bill Parcells. Yes, that Bill Parcells, a two-time Super Bowl champion coach. And Parcells was slated to come with Sloan to become the Rebels’ defensive coordinator. Never happened. The head coaching job at Air Force came open, and Parcells took it.

So Sloan came to Ole Miss without Parcells, who was not only a defensive whiz but also the “bad cop” to Sloan’s “good cop” at both Vandy and Texas Tech. In retrospect, Sloan’s Ole Miss teams lacked the defensive grit, discipline and overall toughness of his Vanderbilt and Texas Tech teams. Even Sloan’s worse Ole Miss teams could move the ball and score; they just could not stop anybody.

Had Parcells come to Ole Miss, things surely would have been different. We’ll never know, but I believe had Sloan, after losing Parcells, retained Jim Carmody from Ken Cooper’s Ole Miss staff, he would have won more games.

That’s all conjecture at this point, but this is not: If the worst thing anybody can say about you is that you were too nice, that not all bad. In fact, that’s not bad at all.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Read original article by clicking here.

House Republicans send Mayorkas impeachment articles to the Senate, forcing a trial

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House sent two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate on Tuesday, forcing a trial on allegations that he has “willfully and systematically” refused to enforce immigration laws.

While the Senate is obligated to hold a trial under the rules of impeachment once the charges are walked across the Capitol, the proceedings may not last long. Democrats are expected to try to dismiss or table the charges later this week before the full arguments get underway.

After walking the articles to the Senate, the Republican prosecutors appointed by House Speaker Mike Johnson stood in the well of the Senate. The Senate sergeant-at-arms, the chamber’s top security official, called the session to order with a “hear ye! hear ye!” and a notice that “all persons are commanded to keep silence, on pain of imprisonment.”

The House Homeland Security Committee chairman, Mark Green, a Tennessee Republican who is one of the impeachment managers, read the articles aloud as most senators sat in their seats, following along with their own paper copies.

Republicans have argued there should be a full trial. As Johnson signed the articles Monday in preparation for sending them across the Capitol, he said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer should convene a trial to “hold those who engineered this crisis to full account.”

Schumer “is the only impediment to delivering accountability for the American people,” Johnson said. “Pursuant to the Constitution, the House demands a trial.”

After Tuesday’s ceremonial procession and presentation of the articles, the proceedings will not begin until Wednesday. Senators will be sworn in as jurors, turning the chamber into the court of impeachment. The Senate will then issue a summons to Mayorkas to inform him of the charges and ask for a written answer. He will not have to appear.

The entire process could be done within hours on Wednesday. Majority Democrats have said the GOP case against Mayorkas doesn’t rise to the “high crimes and misdemeanors” laid out as a bar for impeachment in the Constitution, and Schumer probably has enough votes to end the trial

Read original article by clicking here.

Sweet Unknown South to Build Film Studio at Former MetroCenter Mall in Jackson

Two years after the last retail store at the MetroCenter Mall in Jackson, Miss., closed its doors, visual artist and film producer Curtis Nichouls has a new vision for the location: a studio to produce films and TV shows.

“It’s a good investment, I believe,” Nichouls told the Mississippi Free Press on April 11. He bid $360,000 for the property, which comprises the area that was formerly a Dillard’s department store. The Jackson City Council approved the sale of the building to Nichouls in a unanimous vote during its April 9 meeting.

“There’s going to be a police department, houses, kitchens, jails,” Nichouls said. “With this building, we’re positioned to have at least two films going at the same time.”

After overcoming the hurdle of acquiring the location, Nichouls said he is now focused on two new challenges: securing the building from copper thieves and navigating opinions Jacksonians have about the latest promise to re-imagine what was once the largest mall in the state.

“I’ve enjoyed reading a lot of the comments on social media about me acquiring the building,” he said. “It’s typical to have some negative comments, but overwhelmingly we’re getting tons of well wishes and people wanting to see this happen. I know any negative comment isn’t about me.”

Curtis Nichouls started his production company Sweet Unknown South in 2020 and has worked on productions like the Bruce Willis film ‘A Day To Die,’ filmed in Jackson in 2022. The Louisiana native first moved to the Magnolia State in 1999 to teach as the artist in residence at Mississippi State University.

He said on April 9 that he wants to expand the ecosystem of Mississippi’s film community, instead of outsourcing construction crews and on-screen talent for his productions. He described the economic benefits as endless, particularly for Jackson’s youth.

“These kids have all this talent and no outlet,” Nichouls said. “When we did the movie ‘A Day To Die,’ we hired students from Jackson State, Tougaloo. We hired high-school students (as well).”

Despite the negative chatter he has seen, Nichols said he hopes to have the studio

Read original article by clicking here.

Sweet Unknown South to Build Film Studio at Former MetroCenter Mall in Jackson

Two years after the last retail store at the MetroCenter Mall in Jackson, Miss., closed its doors, visual artist and film producer Curtis Nichouls has a new vision for the location: a studio to produce films and TV shows.

“It’s a good investment, I believe,” Nichouls told the Mississippi Free Press on April 11. He bid $360,000 for the property, which comprises the area that was formerly a Dillard’s department store. The Jackson City Council approved the sale of the building to Nichouls in a unanimous vote during its April 9 meeting.

“There’s going to be a police department, houses, kitchens, jails,” Nichouls said. “With this building, we’re positioned to have at least two films going at the same time.”

After overcoming the hurdle of acquiring the location, Nichouls said he is now focused on two new challenges: securing the building from copper thieves and navigating opinions Jacksonians have about the latest promise to re-imagine what was once the largest mall in the state.

“I’ve enjoyed reading a lot of the comments on social media about me acquiring the building,” he said. “It’s typical to have some negative comments, but overwhelmingly we’re getting tons of well wishes and people wanting to see this happen. I know any negative comment isn’t about me.”

Curtis Nichouls started his production company Sweet Unknown South in 2020 and has worked on productions like the Bruce Willis film ‘A Day To Die,’ filmed in Jackson in 2022. The Louisiana native first moved to the Magnolia State in 1999 to teach as the artist in residence at Mississippi State University.

He said on April 9 that he wants to expand the ecosystem of Mississippi’s film community, instead of outsourcing construction crews and on-screen talent for his productions. He described the economic benefits as endless, particularly for Jackson’s youth.

“These kids have all this talent and no outlet,” Nichouls said. “When we did the movie ‘A Day To Die,’ we hired students from Jackson State, Tougaloo. We hired high-school students (as well).”

Despite the negative chatter he has seen, Nichols said he hopes to have the studio

Read original article by clicking here.

Brett Favre Questioned Legality of Welfare Funds He Received, Texts Show

Retired NFL star Brett Favre questioned the legality of $1.1 million in payments he received from a state-affiliated nonprofit after Mississippi investigators revealed the money came from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families welfare funds, newly unveiled text messages show.

Mississippi State Auditor Shad White made screenshots of the texts available in an April 2 court filing in the Hinds County Circuit Court, where Favre is suing him and alleging that the auditor defamed him in comments he made about the famous quarterback’s role in the welfare scandal. Prosecutors have not accused Favre of a crime, though he is a target in a state civil lawsuit.

Read State Auditor Shad White’s April 2, 2024, court filing.

“Is the money I was paid 100% legal for the radio commercials?” Favre wrote in a text message to Mississippi Community Education Center nonprofit operator Nancy New on May 13, 2020.

Prosecutors had indicted New and five others on felony charges earlier that year, including her son Zachary New former Mississippi Department of Human Services Director John Davis, accusing them of directing millions in welfare funds to illegal purposes.

That included millions in TANF funds her nonprofit directed to Prevacus, a pharmaceutical company that Favre was invested in alongside its founder, Jake VanLandingham (a civil defendant who investigators have accused of a crime). New and Davis separately directed millions to a volleyball stadium project Favre wanted at his alma mater where his daughter played volleyball, the University of Southern Mississippi, along with multiple other projects unrelated to Favre.

New’s nonprofit also used TANF funds to pay Favre $1.1 million to give speeches and record promotional materials, with the first $500,000 payment arriving in December 2017.

“Nancy Santa came today and dropped some money off☺️☺️ thank you my goodness thank you,” Favre wrote to New on Dec. 27, 2017, in texts that appeared in court filings in the civil lawsuit in 2022. “We need to setup the promo for you soon. Your way to kind.”

In a text on May 13, 2020, Brett Favre asked indicted nonprofit leader Nancy New whether $1.1 million he received in

Read original article by clicking here.

Brett Favre Questioned Legality of Welfare Funds He Received, Texts Show

Retired NFL star Brett Favre questioned the legality of $1.1 million in payments he received from a state-affiliated nonprofit after Mississippi investigators revealed the money came from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families welfare funds, newly unveiled text messages show.

Mississippi State Auditor Shad White made screenshots of the texts available in an April 2 court filing in the Hinds County Circuit Court, where Favre is suing him and alleging that the auditor defamed him in comments he made about the famous quarterback’s role in the welfare scandal. Prosecutors have not accused Favre of a crime, though he is a target in a state civil lawsuit.

Read State Auditor Shad White’s April 2, 2024, court filing.

“Is the money I was paid 100% legal for the radio commercials?” Favre wrote in a text message to Mississippi Community Education Center nonprofit operator Nancy New on May 13, 2020.

Prosecutors had indicted New and five others on felony charges earlier that year, including her son Zachary New former Mississippi Department of Human Services Director John Davis, accusing them of directing millions in welfare funds to illegal purposes.

That included millions in TANF funds her nonprofit directed to Prevacus, a pharmaceutical company that Favre was invested in alongside its founder, Jake VanLandingham (a civil defendant who investigators have accused of a crime). New and Davis separately directed millions to a volleyball stadium project Favre wanted at his alma mater where his daughter played volleyball, the University of Southern Mississippi, along with multiple other projects unrelated to Favre.

New’s nonprofit also used TANF funds to pay Favre $1.1 million to give speeches and record promotional materials, with the first $500,000 payment arriving in December 2017.

“Nancy Santa came today and dropped some money off☺️☺️ thank you my goodness thank you,” Favre wrote to New on Dec. 27, 2017, in texts that appeared in court filings in the civil lawsuit in 2022. “We need to setup the promo for you soon. Your way to kind.”

In a text on May 13, 2020, Brett Favre asked indicted nonprofit leader Nancy New whether $1.1 million he received in

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Aid available for Mississippi landowners impacted by drought, beetle infestation

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Help is on the way for Mississippi forest landowners impacted by last year’s drought and the subsequent infestation of beetles that destroyed trees across the state.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday approved Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) signup in all 82 counties in Mississippi. A 120-day period for landowners to apply for aid will run until August 15.

The move by the federal government follows a letter issued to Vilsack by each member of the state’s congressional delegation urging the USDA to allow Mississippians to access emergency forest restoration funds to overcome widespread damages caused by the drought and beetle infestation.

Preliminary reports indicate that Mississippi has already lost more than 12.5 million trees, including nearly 80,000 acres of pine mortality and at least $96 million in timber losses. This came as a result of the notorious southern pine beetle making an unwelcome appearance as well as the Ips beetle population showing up in unprecedented droves.

“The drought got the trees very stressed from lack of water. A pine tree has to have water to produce sap. Sap is the defense mechanism against the beetles,” Mississippi Loggers Association executive director David Livingston said on MidDays with Gerard Gibert. “It was a chain reaction and we’ve had an incredibly high population of Ips beetles, which is unprecedented.”

In late March, all 82 Mississippi counties were labeled disaster designations due to the excessively dry conditions and the ramifications that followed. Now, funding has been made available for local farmers and landowners to seek assistance.

Requirements for those seeking financial aid:

Restoration must be completed to meet the National Resources Conservation Service and/or State Forestry Agency technical standards. Participants must document and keep records of all costs incurred, including costs associated with personal labor, to complete the restoration activities. The minimum qualifying cost of restoration is $1,000. The program’s payment limitation is $500,000.

EFRP financial assistance is not provided upfront but is reimbursed after restoration is complete at 75 percent of the lesser of the actual costs incurred or allowable cost. If an EFRP application is approved, the participant

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