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MBJ FEATURE

MEC hopes new ‘Blueprint’ as successful as first

Latest Blueprint Mississippi unveiled at the annual A Capital Day event last week In 2004, the Mississippi Economic Council rolled out Blueprint Mississippi and pointed toward two major initiatives: improving education and the tort climate in the State of Mississippi. There were tangible successes. Education funding increased in the years after, and tort reform, after much political haranguing, was passed. ...

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MEC polling finds growing support for education, training for workers

Business leaders more likely to be optimistic on state economy than voters, survey finds. Mississippians don’t want the state to let up on efforts to create an educated and well-prepared workforce, a Mississippi Economic Council survey of 600 business people and voters shows They’ve witnessed the state roll up successes such as automakers Nissan and Toyota and other large manufactures. Now ...

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Hancock ceding La., Texas operations to Whitney in proposed merger plan

Each bank will maintain its brand in core markets Gulfport is unlikely to see job losses with Hancock Bank’s acquisition of regional competitor Whitney National Bank, though consolidation of back office operations in Louisiana is expected to bring layoffs of some Whitney workers. Hancock president and CEO Carl Chaney said Hancock will maintain its corporate headquarters in Gulfport but New ...

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Whitney’s disposal of sour loans added to its appeal to Hancock

Hancock touts acquisition as earnings booster for shareholders. After more than 100 years of talking about merging with New Orleans neighbor Whitney National Bank, Gulfport’s Hancock Bank decided late 2010 might be the best time ever to strike a deal with the Louisiana institution. “The timing was impeccable,” Hancock president and CEO Carl Chaney said a few days after Hancock and ...

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PEER: Some MDA loan programs drastically under-used

Four of the Mississippi Development Authority’s business development loan programs are severely under-utilized, and their future availability is questionable after a report by the Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review Committee (PEER). The PEER report looked at the utilization rates for fiscal years 2006-2010 and FY 2010 year-end fund balances of seven of the MDA’s business development loan programs overall. The ...

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Ruling the roost

Poultry holds on to top spot, but issues remain It looks as if poultry will easily hold on to the top spot among the state’s agriculture commodities as the industry’s value in 2010 is expected to show another increase — 8 percent compared to 2009. This would mark the 14th consecutive year that poultry ranks first among the state’s agriculture ...

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More bank lending in 2011? Answer is in bad loan cleanups

Banking Commissioner John Allison says he’s seen signs that may signal turning of corner for Mississippi banking sector Nationally, banks have loosened lending and eased up on an obsession with cleaning up their balance sheets, says Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Insurance Deposit Corporation. Some of that change could filter down to Mississippi in the weeks ahead, Banking Commissioner ...

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Anderson completes agreement to purchase Riley

On Dec. 28, Meridian’s Anderson Regional Medical Center and Riley Hospital reached an agreement for Anderson to acquire Riley, pending regulatory approval. Anderson’s pursuit of Riley officially began Dec. 1, when the hospital filed with the Mississippi Department of Health a notice to change ownership of Riley. The purchase, according to a press release from Anderson, will be finalized Dec. ...

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Miss. stacks up poorly to other states’ teacher requirements

The good news and bad news is that the quality of education is not solely determined by the amount of money a state can budget for its public school system. Poverty is a huge barrier to education in Mississippi, as many students beginning school are not ready to learn. But the quality of student performance also depends on the quality ...

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Registered lobbyists preparing to represent clients’ issues to Legislature

When the 2011 Mississippi Legislature convenes Jan. 4, registered lobbyists will be on hand to make their clients’ issues known to representatives and senators. Hayes Dent of Yazoo City says it’s clear to all observers that the state’s budget will be the key issue in this session. “There are two separate and distinct philosophical views on this, and as long ...

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