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Mississippi’s unemployment rate was 6.1% in June, an increase of 0.5% from the prior month, according to the Mississippi Employment Security Commission (MESC) (now operating as the Mississippi Department of Employment Security). However, the rate was 1.5% lower than June 2003.
The number of unemployed Mississippians increased by 6,500 while the number of employed persons rose by 500. Sectors of the state’s economy posting job gains were manufacturing, construction and leisure and hospitality. Job losses were seen in government, education and health services.
Most counties reported an increase in their joblessness rate, and 19 counties recorded double-digit rates. The highest unemployment rate was in Jefferson County at 20.8%. Sharkey and Holmes counties both reported a rate of 15.7%, while Quitman County came in at 15.6%.
A total of 29 counties reported rates at or below the state average. Rankin County had the lowest joblessness at 2.7%. It was followed by Lamar County (3%) and DeSoto County (3.4%).
The MESC said historically, July’s unemployment is lower than June’s rate.

BancorpSouth growing

Tupelo — BancorpSouth Inc. is expanding its presence in Texas with the opening of a loan production office in Longview. The $10.7-billion financial institution has filed application to open in a temporary location and will apply for full-service banking status for a permanent location in the future.
BancorpSouth chairman Aubrey B. Patterson said, “We have been looking for opportunities to expand our presence in the vibrant Texas market and are pleased to announce the opening of our loan production office in Longview. We are equally pleased to have veteran Longview bankers Lester Lucy and Jennifer Clower joining our bank. We expect our style of banking to be quite compatible with their banking clients in Longview.”
Gordon Lewis, BancorpSouth regional president for Texas and Louisiana, said, “We already have successful banking operations in East Texas including Nacogdoches, Marshall and Texarkana as well as Alto, Garrison, Harleton, Hooks, Maud, New Boston and Redwater. With more than $550 million in deposits in our existing Texas markets, it is appropriate and exciting to expand into the growing Longview market.”
Initially BancorpSouth in Longview will specialize in commercial and real estate lending, including real estate development and construction lending as well as private banking services.

BCG opens satellite office

Madison — Tennessee-based Bynoe Consulting Group Inc. (BCG) will become the first Nissan North America information technology provider to open a corporate satellite office in Madison County, home of Nissan-Canton. Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler, BCG CEO and president Anthony Bynoe Sr. and members of the chambers of commerce of the cities of Madison and Ridgeland recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at BCG’s new office on Old Canton Road in the City of Madison.
BCG is a technology consulting firm specializing in system integration, manufacturing execution systems and training for the automotive and appliance industries. The firm has developed customized technology for several diverse companies, including Nissan’s plants at Canton and Smyrna, Tenn.
Bynoe said, “The opening of the satellite office shows we are committed to serving Mississippi’s growing industries.”

U-Save enters market

Jackson — U-Save Auto Rental of America Inc. has made its debut into the used car sales franchise market. U-Save Car Sales, a new division of the company, is now offering used cars to independent dealers.
U-Save has developed its U-Save Car Sales model to help independent dealers sell more cars by creating a marketable image and reputation for their dealerships. U-Save Car Sales has created national marketing and advertising programs that facilitate traffic growth into the stores and links the dealerships with a Web site and technology that offers inventory postings and lead references.
This move solidifies U-Save’s commitment to a multifaceted growth strategy that began several months ago with their entry into the airport rental market. The first U-Save Car Sales franchise will debut in Waycross, Ga.
According to the company, the venture comes in response to inquiries from existing auto rental franchisees that also are used car dealers. U-Save president Robby Gathings said, “We’ve listened intently to understand the specific needs and objectives of our franchisees. We then identified the products and services needed to offer a responsive program to meet the needs of the used car dealer. Our system will be strong, yet flexible, and will include the quality financing, insurance and warranty products that dealers desire. We will offer this franchise as a stand alone opportunity or as a complement to existing auto rental franchises.”
U-Save has named Linda Moll the director of franchise sales for U-Save Car Sales. Moll has more than 15 years of business development and national sales experience. Most recently, she served as vice president of sales for Advantage Plus, where she was responsible for the market launch of CRM software in the automotive industry.

Ply Gem buying MW

Tupelo — Ply Gem Industries Inc. of Kearney, Mo., has signed a definitive agreement to acquire MW Manufacturers Inc. from Investcorp for approximately $320 million in cash. Investment vehicles associated with Caxton-Iseman Capital Inc., a New York-based private equity firm that acquired Ply Gem in February 2004, has agreed to make an additional cash investment in Ply Gem to support the transaction. Ply Gem is a manufacturer and distributor of products for use in the residential new construction, do-it-yourself and professional renovation markets.
Founded in 1939, MW is a manufacturer of vinyl, clad-wood, vinyl-wood, wood and composite window and patio door products. It will operate as a stand-alone subsidiary of Ply Gem and continue to market its products under the MW Windows, Patriot Vinyl Windows and Twinseal Vinyl Windows brand names. MW’s entire management team will continue to lead the business and will become shareholders of Ply Gem.
MW is headquartered in Rocky Mount, Via., and operates manufacturing facilities in Rocky Mount and Hammonton, N.J.; a woodcutting facility in Fayetteville, N.C.; a regional distribution/fabrication center in Tupelo; and a vinyl profile extrusion facility in Rocky Mount. MW’s net sales for the 12 months ended June 30, 2004, were approximately $250 million.
Completion of the transaction, which is expected to occur by the end of August 2004, is subject to customary closing conditions. Financing for the transaction will be arranged by UBS Securities, LLC, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.

BAE’s howitzer passes test

Hattiesburg — BAE Systems’ lightweight howitzer (M777E1) has completed a series of airlift tests with the U.S. Marine Corps’ MV-22 tiltrotor aircraft. The tests were conducted at the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C.
During the first test, the M777E1’s position location capability was evaluated by operating the digital fire control system while the MV-22 maintained horizontal speeds of up to 130 knots. The demonstration illustrated that the howitzer is ready to fire as soon as it arrives in a landing zone. The M777E1 was also assessed to be an extremely stable external cargo load during testing.
The second test assessed the howitzer’s ability to withstand airlift of at least 50 nautical miles; achieving a total flight distance of 69 nautical miles. The howitzer’s lightweight characteristic — only 9800 lbs. — enables the M777E1 to be externally carried by the MV-22. The current M198 howitzer, now in service, weighs almost 17,000 lbs. and restricts its airlift to larger helicopters.
The M777E1 is replacing all M198 howitzers in the Marine Corps inventory. The first Marine artillery unit equipped with the M777 will achieve operational capability during the spring of 2005.
The M777E1 is currently in low-rate initial production from BAE Systems facility in Hattiesburg. Full rate production is scheduled to begin in early 2005.

MAEC names architect

Meridian — The Washington, D.C.-based firm of Martinez & Johnson Architecture has been named the lead agent in developing the Meridian-based Mississippi Arts & Entertainment Center (MAEC). Martinez & Johnson partnered with Pryor & Morrow Architects of Columbus to win the job from among 19 applicants nationwide.
Martinez & Johnson has a nationally recognized expertise in the design of the performing arts facilities including the Boston Opera House and the Boyd Theatre in Philadelphia, Pa. Pryor & Morrow’s previous projects include Merchants and Marine Bank in Pascagoula and the Franklin Center for Furniture Manufacture and Management at Mississippi State University in Starkville.
The MAEC is not the first project in which the two firms have partnered. The Riley Education and Performing Arts Center in Meridian, currently under development, represents another venue in which the firms have successfully collaborated.
“We’re honored to be a part of the design team,” said Roger Pryor of Pryor & Morrow, “We want to bring dignity and authenticity to the design of this facility which distinguishes the fine Mississippi artists represented.”
Gary Martinez of Martinez & Johnson added, “This group will work day and night to capture the tremendous spirit of Mississippi art and culture.”
In a surprise announcement, MAEC executive director Charlotte Tabereaux made public that country music recording artist Faith Hill will be serving as the new honorary chair and spokesperson for the MAEC, following in actress Sela Ward’s footsteps.
Ward said, “Faith’s agreeing to be spokesperson is a huge coup.”

KFCU rated as exceptional

Biloxi — Keesler Federal Credit Union (KFCU) received a superior rating for the 55th consecutive quarter from the financial institution research firm, Bauer Financial Inc. Keesler Federal Credit Union has received consecutive five-star ratings since 1990. In addition to the superior rating, KFCU received the exceptional rating reserved for those institutions that have maintained a five-star rating for at least a decade.
The rating criteria are based upon data reported to the National Credit Union Administration, the governing body for credit unions. Factors considered for the ratings include, but are not limited to, capital, historical trends, loan delinquencies, profitability, regulatory compliance and asset quality. Credit unions that receive the five-star superior rating are defined as safe and financially sound, operating well above required regulations.
Keesler Federal Credit Union was formed in 1947 and is the largest credit union in Mississippi.

Strong quarter

Pascagoula — Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has released its results from the second quarter of 2004. The Los Angeles-based company reported income from continuing operations rose 40% to $289 million, or $0.79 per diluted share, compared with $207 million, or $0.55 per diluted share, for the same period in 2003.
Northrop Grumman’s Ship Systems sector, which is headquartered in Pascagoula, saw total sales of approximately $1.56 billion, an increase of 14% over the second quarter of 2003. The increase was driven by higher sales in surface combatants, amphibious and auxiliary crafts and submarines, though they were partially offset by a decline in revenue from aircraft carriers. Surface combatant sales rose 38%, primarily due to higher DD(X) program revenue. Amphibious and auxiliary revenue rose 31% on stronger revenue in the LPD-17 and LHD-8 programs.
Ship Systems’ operating margin increased more than fourfold — from $23 million to $100 million — over the comparable quarter. The large increase is attributable to a $68-million pre-tax charge for the commercial Polar Tanker program recorded during the quarter.

Dealers, reps tour Peavey

Meridian and Decatur — Peavey Electronics Corporation’s top German and Swiss dealers and sales representatives recently took a tour of Peavey International Headquarters, and, according to Peavey, left with a strengthened commitment to the company.
The group toured both the company’s Meridian and Decatur facilities, accompanied by Clive Roberts, managing director of Peavey Europe, and Markus Schmittinger, director of business for Peavey Central Europe.
“I wanted these dealers and sales reps to understand that Peavey is a serious partner that is highly committed and won’t go away tomorrow,” Schmittinger said. He added that before the group arrived in Meridian, their impressions of the company across the Atlantic were less than clear. “No one in this group knew how professional or determined the Peavey staff is, or what an impressive man Hartley Peavey is,” Schmittinger added. “Now they’re talking to each other about how they can intensify their partnership and their business with Peavey.”
According to Schmittinger, the company’s European dealers are widening the range of Peavey products they offer and applying more marketing power to their Peavey inventory.
Since establishing its European division nearly 30 years ago, Peavey has become a top competitor in the European musical instrument and sound reinforcement market. From Peavey Europe in Corby, England, the company maintains a manufacturing facility; the European distribution of Peavey and its Architectural Acoustics=AE and MediaMatrix=AE brands; and U.K. distribution of Crest Audio=AE.

GTRA lands MDOT grant

Columbus — Golden Triangle Regional Airport (GTRA) has been awarded a $252,000 grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) to build an aircraft support facility for Columbus Air Force Base operations at the airport. The grant is part of the MDOT multi-modal transportation program designed to improve facilities and operations for public transit, railways, ports and airports.
GTRA executive director Nick Ardillo said the grant will be used to build an 8,000-square-foot facility to house Air Force aircraft and personnel during deployments at the field.
“Air Force operations at the GTR airport have increased dramatically since we opened our air traffic control tower in April,” Ardillo said. “This grant gives us the opportunity to provide the Air Force a place to maintain and store their aircraft and equipment while improving the infrastructure at GTRA.”

Triton’s EPP certified

Long Beach — ATM manufacturer Triton has received certification for its encrypting PIN pad (EPP) T1.0 under the Interac Association Device Certification Program. Devices certified to the Interac Association Technical Specifications for ATMs with EPPs significantly enhance the security of ATMs, according to Triton.
The EPP improves security by storing encryption keys and performing all data encryption within the secure boundaries of the EPP module itself. In addition to Interac requirements, Triton’s T1.0 EPPs also received certification meeting VISA International standards recently mandated, thereby ensuring that Triton ATMs are certified to process both Interac and VISA transactions. All Triton EPP modules also support triple DES encryption, further enhancing the security of transmitted data.

Ameristar sees record

Vicksburg — Ameristar Casinos Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: ASCA) reported record results from the second quarter of 2004.
Consolidated net revenues were a record $210 million, representing an increase of $15.2 million, or 7.8%, over the second quarter of 2003. Consolidated EBITDA stood at a record $56.9 million, representing an increase of $1.8 million, or 3.2%, over the comparable period last year. And net income was a record $15 million, up $600,000.
Craig H. Neilsen, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas-based Ameristar, said, “Our continued market share leadership in all of the jurisdictions in which we operate further evidences the strength of the Ameristar brand. Our solid financial performance has allowed us to continue to return a portion of our earnings to our shareholders with the declaration of our second-quarter cash dividend, while at the same time we have further reduced our financial leverage. Indeed, we believe we are well-positioned to further grow the company.”

FGH offering TRICARE

Hattiesburg — Effective August 1, 2004, Forrest General Hospital began supporting military personnel by becoming a TRICARE provider. TRICARE is the U.S. Department of Defense’s managed healthcare program for active duty military dependents and retirees.
“TRICARE is offered to all active military personnel and their families undergoing training at Camp Shelby,” said Pat Riley, Forrest General’s insurance operations director. “Forrest General is proud to offer care to anyone covered by TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Extra, TRICARE Standard and TRICARE For Life.”
TRICARE evolved from Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS) and makes quality healthcare more accessible and easier to use at a reasonable cost. There are more than six million military personnel receiving benefits across the United States. Healthcare is provided from military treatment facilities and civilian sources.
For more information on TRICARE benefits, contact Riley at (601) 288-8120.

Sypris retains AeroGear

Sypris Data Systems of San Dimas, Calif., has retained AeroGear Telemetry to represent Sypris in the Southeastern region of the United States. The territory includes Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
AeroGear Telemetry represents manufacturers of aerospace and telemetry products and systems such as antennas, transmitters, receivers and now data storage and acquisition products.
“We pride ourselves on providing highly technical, consulting support to our customers by representing select manufacturers with a focused set of product and system capabilities for our market,” said Joel Weber, president of AeroGear Telemetry. “With Sypris Data Systems’ long heritage in high-performance data storage systems, the company is a nice fit within the mix we offer customers.”
Sypris designs, manufactures and provides support of high-performance data acquisition and storage systems for governments and industry worldwide. A subsidiary of Sypris Solutions Inc., it offers an extensive line of digital, analog and network-centric products using solid state, disk and tape technologies.

Tuesday Morning opens store

Brandon — Tuesday Morning Corporation of Dallas, a discount retailer of home furnishings and gifts, opened its newest store August 3, 2004, at Crossgates Village.
Tuesday Morning established its first store in Dallas in 1974, and currently operates 621 stores in 43 states during periodic sale events. The retailer purchases recognized, brand name merchandise at close-out and sells it at prices 50%-80% below those generally charged by department stores and specialty and catalog retailers.
Kathleen Mason, president and CEO of Tuesday Morning, said, “We constantly strive to provide our customers with first-quality brand names at low, closeout prices because we want every trip to Tuesday Morning to be treasure hunt. That’s why our merchandise mix is constantly changing with new products arriving weekly.”

Employment costs rising

Washington — Total compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.9% from March to June 2004, seasonally adjusted, moderating from the 1.1% gain from December 2003 to March 2004, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wage and salary costs increased 0.6% and benefit costs rose 1.8%, continuing to rise sharply.
The Employment Cost Index, a component of the National Compensation Survey, measures quarterly changes in compensation costs, which include wages, salaries and employer costs for employee benefits for non-farm private and state and local government workers.
Rises in benefit costs accounted for a little more than half of the increase in compensation costs for civilian workers during the March-to- June period. Among private industry workers, benefit costs were 50% of compensation gains during the quarter, with health insurance and defined benefit retirement costs combined accounting for 25% of the rise in compensation costs. Among state and local government workers, benefit costs contributed nearly three-fourths of compensation gains during the March-to-June 2004 period, with defined benefit retirement costs accounting for almost 50% and health insurance contributions accounting for 25% of the gain in compensation costs.
Compensation costs for the private sector rose 1% from March to June 2004, after advancing 1.1% in the prior quarter. For state and local government workers, compensation costs increased 1.1% from March to June, compared with a gain of 1% for the quarter ended in March. Wages and salaries for civilian and private workers advanced 0.6% during the June quarter, identical to the increases in March 2004. Wages and salaries in state and local governments advanced 0.7% during the March-to-June period, after gaining 0.6% in the previous quarter.
Private sector benefit costs rose 1.7% for the June quarter, moderating from the 2.6% gain in the previous quarter. Benefit costs for state and local governments increased 1.9% in the June quarter, following an increase of 1.7% in March 2004.

Web site offering data sets

Hancock County — NASA has augmented its Web site, adding a group of data sets (collections of electronic graphic information in which each pixel can be manipulated) available through a public Web site of NASA’s Earth Science Applications (ESA) Directorate at Stennis Space Center.
ESA offers images of nearly any spot on the globe taken by the Landsat satellite — free to the public. Until recently, users could only view and download data sets taken by the satellite in 1990. Now they can see higher resolution images from 2000, which means more detail.
“Instead of seeing just your neighborhood, which was the most detail you could get with the 1990 images, now you can see streets and structures,” said Tom Stanley, ESA’s technical manager for the project. “It could inspire all kinds of applications like new flight simulators and video games.”

Riley adds HBO chamber

Meridian — The Wound Healing Center at Riley Hospital has added a second hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) chamber. The unit is used to treat patients suffering with diabetes and other chronic wounds.
“Diabetics and the elderly are most at-risk for wounds that fail to heal, and at their worst lead to amputation,” said Steve Nichols, CEO of Riley. “With the expansion of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, we are committed to offering the best treatment available anywhere right here in our community.”
Introduced in the mid-1960s, HBO chambers have evolved to treat patients with diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections, compromised skin grafts and flaps and wounds that have not healed within 30 days.
The chambers work by surrounding the patient with 100% oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure in sessions, or dives, that last 90 minutes to two hours. This increases the amount of oxygen in the patient’s blood, thus allowing red blood cells to pass more easily through the plasma into the wounds to heal them from the inside out.
Weighing more than a ton, the HBO chamber resembles a bed encased in a clear acrylic shell nearly a yard in diameter. Patients can listen to music or watch movies on a television mounted above the chamber while remaining in contact with those outside the chamber via an intercom and private handset.
According to Riley, the only physical sensation is a slight pressure on the eardrum as the air chamber is compressed.
“HBO dives are non-invasive treatments that allow patients to schedule care on an outpatient basis and go on with their lives,” said Dr. Robert Berg, medical director of the Wound Healing Center. “It’s kind of ironic that with all our modern technology and science, we have proved what is common knowledge — fresh air is good for what ails you.”

Saltwater fishing records set

According to the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources , six anglers recently set new Mississippi saltwater sportfishing records for conventional saltwater tackle. The Commission on Marine Resources has certified all six records.
The new records are:
• Spinner shark — 159 pounds, 4.8 ounces by Carlton Neal of Pascagoula (old record was 90 pounds, 11 ounces set in 2003)
• Horse-eye jack — 22 pounds, 15.52 ounces caught by Justin Russell of Pascagoula (old record was 14 pounds, 12.5 ounces set in 2002)
• Ocean triggerfish — one pound, 6.56 ounces caught by Stacy Scott of D’Lo (old record not given)
• Gulf kingfish — one pound, 13.76 ounces caught by Jonathan David Floyd of Pascagoula (old record was one pound, 12 ounces set in 1999
• Cubbyu — 9.44 ounces caught by Dick E. Wilson of Biloxi (old record not given)
• Long-spinned porgy — 9.92 ounces caught by Stephen E. Wilson of D’Iberville (old record not given)

Waterways used as benchmarks

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made public a five-year effort to study the collective environmental benefits of government conservation programs on agricultural land.
Through the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), the USDA will study the environmental benefits of conservation practices implemented through 2002 Farm Bill programs: the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, Conservation Reserve Program, Conservation Security Program and Conservation Technical Assistance.
CEAP is composed of two basic parts: a nationwide assessment of conservation benefits and more in-depth studies of these benefits in 20 selected watersheds. The national assessment will be reported annually starting in 2005. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) National Resources Inventory will be used as the sampling basis for estimating the environmental benefits of conservation practices, as well as farmer surveys and existing USDA computer models. In-depth studies within eight special-emphasis and 12 benchmark watersheds, which include Goodwin Creek and Yalobusha River in Mississippi, will occur simultaneously with the national assessment and other on-going watershed research efforts.
NRCS selected the special-emphasis watersheds to address specific concerns such as manure management on animal feeding operations, water use on irrigated cropland, drainage management, wildlife habitat and riparian restoration.
These watershed studies also should help develop performance measures for estimating soil quality, water quality and wildlife habitat benefits for specific conservation practices.
Additional information about CEAP, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/nri/ceap.

‘Countdown’ set

Jackson — A large team of volunteers is steadily working to make this year’s Special Olympics Mississippi “Countdown” the most successful fundraiser the organization has ever had. The event is scheduled for August 14, 2004, at the Country Club of Jackson.
This year, there are three special co-hosts helping with the event: Tricia Lott, wife of Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), Leisha Pickering, wife of Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.), and Marsha Barbour, wife of Gov. Haley Barbour. They are working with State Rep. Rita Martinson (Madison County), who is the longstanding host for this annual event.
All the money raised will go to Special Olympics Mississippi to help pay for programs that enhance and build self-esteem for Mississippi’s 13,000 mentally-challenged youth and adult participants. Guy Hovis will be the emcee for the evening and will orchestrate the Countdown. The top prize for the lucky ticket holder whose number is the last one called will be a trip for two for the Presidential Inaugural Festivities in Washington in 2005, including airfare, hotel and accommodations. Only 200 tickets will be sold.
Tickets are now on sale at the Special Olympics Mississippi office and can be purchased for $150 per couple. The ticket includes entry for two and one ticket for the Countdown. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call (601) 856-7748, or toll free 1-800-655-6742.

Birding trail map available

Vicksburg — Audubon Mississippi and its partners have just published the state’s first birding trail map, and it is now available to the public. The full-color, 4”x 9” foldable map highlights more than 50 birding hot spots throughout Mississippi’s six southernmost counties, and includes sites on the mainland as well as sites accessible only by boat.
The map is available free of charge at the state’s 12 Welcome Centers, and upon request from the offices of Mississippi Division of Tourism, Audubon Mississippi and the Mississippi Coast Audubon Society. A minor shipping fee may be applied for maps supplied upon request.
The Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail map was made possible through the Power of Flight Grant Program, a partnership of Southern Company and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The program provides funding for on-the-ground habitat conservation and education programs that protect birds within the service territories of Southern Company’s operating company affiliates, including Gulfport-based Mississippi Power, which served as the local administrator of the grant.
For more information, visit http://www.msaudubon.com/, or contact Audubon Mississippi at (601) 661-6189.

EWI hosting tournament

Flowood — The Jackson Chapter of Executive Women International (EWI) will hold its fifth-annual Scholastic Scholarship Golf Tournament September 9, 2004, at The Refuge. Funds raised will benefit the EWI Scholarship Program, the Adult Student in Scholastic Transition Program, philanthropy projects, leadership development and the general fund.
Registration will begin at 11 a.m., followed by a hamburger buffet lunch at 11:30 a.m. Tee time will be 12:30 p.m. The format is a four-person scramble.
A reception and silent auction will follow play at 5 p.m. with awards given for first, second and third place, longest drive and closest to the hole. And Holman Volkswagen will award a Volkswagen beetle convertible for the first verified hole-in-one.
Lester Cook, director of instruction at Reunion Golf & Country Club, will hold a golf clinic prior to the tournament beginning at 10 a.m. Also, Max Thomas, PT, and Wayne Jimenez, PT, both of Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation Centers will be on hand to provide flexibility and exercise tips.
Sponsorship and registration forms are currently being accepted. For more information, call Louise Anderson at (601) 948-1701 or Rita Parker at (601) 898-8787.

Veterans finding work

Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces were less likely to be unemployed than non-veterans in August 2003, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Veterans had an unemployment rate of 4.5%, compared with 5.9% for non-veterans.
Veterans who had been recently discharged from the Armed Forces had a jobless rate of 6.9%. Nine percent of all veterans had a service-connected disability. (Beginning with this release, the focus has been expanded to cover all veterans, not just those who served during the Vietnam era.)
Nearly 450,000 veterans were discharged from active duty between January 2001 and August 2003. Women made up 13% of these recently discharged veterans, blacks made up 12% and Hispanics made up 9%. All of these percentages were greater than these groups’ share of total veterans. The labor force participation rate for recently discharged veterans was 89%, and their unemployment rate was 6.9%.

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