Stillbirth a capital crime? Mississippi Supreme Court must decide

The cause of any given miscarriage or stillbirth is difficult to determine, and many experts believe there is no conclusive evidence that exposure to drugs in utero can cause a miscarriage or stillbirth. A Lamar County woman whose blood tests showed traces of illegal drug use after she birthed a stillborn child would go to trial on a manslaughter charge if the state Supreme Court gives a green light.

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Congressmen live large on farm supports while fighting federal food safety net

In supporting billions of dollars in cuts to federal food assistance, a U.S. House Republican from Tennessee and a fellow GOP member from California insist the government has no business feeding the hungry but themselves receive tens of thousands of dollars annually in farm subsidies.

House Agriculture Committee members Reps. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) and Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) both cite the Bible to argue that while individual Christians have a responsibility to feed the poor, the federal government does not.

Last year alone, Fincher’s farm received $70,574 and LaMalfa’s got $188,570.

The House is seeking far deeper cuts in food assistance than a $100 billion Senate version of the 2013 Farm Bill. Senators Debbie Stabenow, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Thad Cochran of Mississippi, the panel’s ranking Republican, attended last week’s Delta Council annual meeting at Delta State University in Cleveland to rally support for their bill.

The House version of the farm bill would cut $2 billion a year, or a little more than 3 percent, from the food aid program, which has more than doubled in cost since 2008, and in Mississippi has increased to the point that nearly one in four families rely on food stamps to put food on their tables. The Senate measure would cut slightly less than $1 billion annually from food stamps.

If the Senate and House fail to reach a compromise and agree to a five-year renewal, the nation’s farm policies will revert to those contained in original farm bill of 1949. Congress last passed a Farm Bill in 2008. That bill expired in 2012.

Read the report on the two House ag committee members who receive a huge amount of federal help but insist on denying assistance to everyone else.


Q&A: David Landrum talks about new season for Livingston Farmers Market

Livingston Farmer’s Market kicks off its spring season tonight with a special concert by Grammy-winning country music star Travis Tritt.

Located at the corner of Highway 463 & 22 in Madison County the market is open every Thursday from 4:00 – 8:00 pm.

The concert starts at 7:00 PM at the Livingston lake and tickets will be sold at the gate.

Livingston Market

Livingston Market

MBJ recently caught up with Jackson financier and developer David Landrum who oversees the Town of Livingston and the Farmers Market:

For folks unfamiliar with Livingston, please describe the development and its mission:

Livingston is a destination that perfectly blends community, family, and history. Our farmer’s market started out small with a handful of people coming to buy fresh produce, arts and crafts. It has evolved into a place people come to hang out, relax, and be with friends and family. The sense of community is very apparent at our farmer’s market.

What’s the historical background of the community?

Livingston was the county seat of Madison County in the early 1800′s. A courthouse stood where the farmer’s market is currently held. The town was a popular destination because of the natural spring that still flows today and feeds the beautiful lakes on the property. Livingston lost its charter in the 1940′s.

Tell us about the Farmer’s Market.

The Livingston Farmer’s Market is a huge draw for our development. It would be challenging to find an atmosphere that is as warm and inviting as “the market”. We have locally grown produce, local honey, live music weekly, arts and crafts, food vendors, and a wine garden for people to fellowship and relax together every Thursday night from Spring until Fall. Our first market will be on Thursday May 16th from 4-8pm and every week after that. We are highly anticipating the 3rd year of the market. We do have a concert that will take place on May 23rd. We have Travis Tritt, Steel Magnolia, and Samantha Landrum performing. The gates open at 5:30 pm and the concert kicks off at 7 pm. The setting for the concert is in front of the spring-fed lake and, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful venues in the state of Mississippi.

Fresh from the ground strawberries. $6 a basket. $12 a bucket.

Fresh from the ground strawberries. $6 a basket. $12 a bucket.

The market has been a big draw for farmers and creative economists, yes?

Absolutely, we have cottage industries that have started at the market. Musee Bath, Inc. is a prime example. It has been an amazing thing to witness. From an economic development standpoint it has been remarkable. Farmers have had a substantial amount of success as well. Everything that is seasonal and local has a place at Livingston Farmer’s Market. Every time I walk by the hay bales and ascend into the center of the old town square surrounded by 200 year old cedar trees I am taken back to a much simpler time when things were…well…simpler. It is all about community and supporting and enjoying local farmers, innovative business owners, talented craftsmen, and gifted musicians. It is something that has to be witnessed in person. The market is our mainstay, and our inspiration as well. It has evolved into something that is beyond words and needs to be experienced by everyone. Who doesn’t love sitting at a picnic table with a glass of lemonade or wine with a bunch of newly made and old friends listening to live music, watching a cooking demonstration (and getting to taste it), and supporting their local economy? It is a win-win as far as I can tell.

Any other commercial or retail plans?

Yes. We have started construction on 25,000 square foot of space now including the Livingston Mercantile Store along with several other buildings. Meanwhile, we will preserve the history of the location. The trees will remain and the old square will be a beautiful elevated park. We will have golf cart parking on the streets for residents of the Cottages at Livingston and residents of Chestnut Hill. We look so forward to seeing all of this come together. Like I mentioned previously, the farmer’s market is the ultimate indicator of things to come. It is all about community.

How are plans coming for the cottages?

We have had a great amount of interest in the cottages. They are going rather quickly. They will have a totally different feel than most places I have seen in our great state. Residents will be able to walk to retail, restaurants, nature, etc. We anticipate an even higher demand as the town comes out of the ground. We are incredibly excited about the cottages.

What sets Livingston apart from other residential developments in Mississippi? Was inspiration drawn from other parts of the region/country or is it a completely unique concept?

First and foremost, Livingston isn’t a “development” in my eyes. It is a re-creation, and a new beginning. We are holding true to the history and heritage here. So many things set Livingston apart from other “developments” in the area. For example, we will have CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for our residents at the Cottages at Livingston and Chestnut Hill. CSA entails fresh produce, cage-free eggs, and even lavender that will be delivered to your door upon request. We will have farm to table restaurants as well as farm to your very own in-home kitchen/table. Things like this set Livingston apart from other developments. We are growing livestock, we have some of the best fishing around, and once again, above all else, we will have a tight knit community of residents and patrons. It is all about community, community, and more community. Obviously, this can’t be stressed enough.



What were some early challenges that had to be overcome? What got you through it?

Any time you take you take on a project this large there are many obstacles to overcome. Everything from zoning to the recession, we have had our fair share of hurdles. The driving force for me has been my faith and the promise of a new type of community.

Have there been any questions about the distance Livingston is from the Metro Jackson area? With rising fuel prices and a recovering economy, do you have healthy growth projections?

We are right in the middle of Canton, Flora, and Madison. In a five-mile radius we have one of the highest per capita incomes in the state. We averaged 1,500 people per market last season. We feel that number will rise dramatically this season. As I stated previously, we will be a destination. We want people to come and not want to leave. We feel that we are poised for amazing things at Livingston.

What has been your best day at Livingston?

To be honest, I have never had a bad day at Livingston. It really is a gorgeous piece of property, and more importantly it is an amazing piece of history. These things make it my favorite place to be at any point in time. It really would be impossible to narrow it down to one day. I have especially enjoyed everything from teaching my granddaughter how to fish, to beautiful sunsets with my family. Every day is a great day at the Town of Livingston.

Interviewed by Stephen McDill

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VIDEO: David Landrum talks with MBJ-TV at last year’s Spring Market.

Main Street Association, tourism professionals take Heritage Highway roadtrip

roadtripRepresentatives from Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) and Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), Division of Tourism, recently traveled along Mississippi Highway 82 as part of a regional tourism initiative to celebrate its designation as the state’s first Heritage Highway.

MMSA and MDA Tourism representatives explored the towns and cities of Columbus, Eupora, Greenville, Greenwood, Indianola, Kilmichael, Leland, Starkville, Vaiden and Winona from May 10-12 during National Tourism Week.

The travelers convened at designated times and places; otherwise, everyone ate, shopped and toured on their as cultural heritage tourists.

Each individual kept up with his or her own expenses and an estimated $4,528 was spent during the weekend. Money was spent on lodging, food and beverage, transportation (gasoline), and retail.

The group recorded and captured the road trip through social media. More than 25,000 hits were recorded on Facebook over the 3-day period.

“The diverse cultural heritage assets along Heritage Highway 82 – architecture, literary, music, culinary, history, art – all provide a rich, authentic Mississippi cultural heritage experience,” said Sarah McCullough, Cultural Heritage Program Manager, MDA Tourism. “To fully experience all of Heritage Highway 82 would take several days.”

“Given that $4,500 was spent by a small number of independent travelers in only two days, the potential economic impact on these communities and rural areas is immeasurable,” McCullough said. “Cultural heritage travelers also spend more, travel more, and stay longer than other travelers.”

Part of the Heritage Highway 82 Road Trip included a reception at the Cotesworth Center for Culture and Heritage in North Carrollton.

Members of the Williams family, who have owned the historic home and surrounding farm for generations, were present as well as state legislators, mayors and local and state leaders in tourism.

State legislators attending included: Sen. Lydia Chassaniol, Tourism Chair, Winona; Sen. Terry Brown, President Pro Tempore, Columbus; Sen. John Polk, Universities and Colleges Chair, Hattiesburg; Sen. Giles Ward, Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Chair, Louisville; Sen. Chris Massey, Nesbit; and Rep. Rita Martinson, Tourism Chair, Madison.

“I will not soon forget walking up the front walk at Coteswoth, listening to Dr. Sanders and being amazed that this jewel existed for all to enjoy,” said Bob Wilson, MMSA Executive Director. “I really wanted to share that image, feeling and experience with everyone I knew in Mississippi and throughout the country.”

“Thanks to Sen. Chassaniol, Rep. Martinson, Gloria Kellum and everyone else for their hard work over the years and for allowing us to be a part of Cotesworth in the future,” Wilson said.

See pictures and posts from the trip at the MMSA Facebook page.

Source: Mississippi Main Street Association