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BILL CRAWFORD: Stores closed by online competition impact community finances

J.C. Penney announced it will close five stores in Mississippi communities – Columbus, Corinth, Greenville, Meridian, and Oxford. Earlier Sears announced three closures in Columbus, Jackson, and McComb, with more to come. Even Wal-Mart has closed stores, in Belmont, Mantachie, Sardis, Walnut, Derma and Nettleton.    Two years ago Radio Shack closed 20 stores in Mississippi, in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Meridian, ...

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BREAKING: Stocks tank as health care bill woes challenge Trump agenda

U.S. stocks are falling as the struggling Republican health care bill again dominates investors’ attention. House Republicans say the proposal doesn’t have enough support to pass in a vote this afternoon. That’s casting some doubt on President Donald Trump’s business-friendly agenda and stocks are on track for their biggest weekly loss since the presidential election. KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & ...

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Hood deposits $34M, lobbies for mental health spending

As budget writers try to stretch Mississippi’s cash to cover its needs, Attorney General Jim Hood is chipping in $34.4 million. The Democratic attorney general announced Thursday that he had deposited the winnings from lawsuits into the state’s general fund. Most of the money came from a $26 million settlement with credit rating agency Moody’s Corp. announced in January. Hood ...

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Steve Holland will retire due to dementia

A long-serving Mississippi lawmaker says he has dementia and will retire after this legislative term. Rep. Steve Holland, a Plantersville Democrat, says he was only diagnosed last week. While he does well on some days, he says, there are other days where his short-term memory suffers. Holland says he knows it will get worse, but says he will try serve ...

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Mississippi governor joins others in backing GOP health plan

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has joined seven other Republican governors in a letter endorsing the GOP plan to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law. The Thursday letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan was also signed by the governors of Indiana, Alabama, Idaho, Kanas, Maine, Missouri and Utah The governors say they support the ...

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Hiring rises in 11 US states last month, gains widely spread

Hiring picked up in 11 states last month compared with January and was mostly unchanged in the other 39, as stronger U.S. job gains benefited most of the country. Still, pockets of weakness remained. Job gains in February were most robust in states outside the coastal regions that have fared the best since the Great Recession, the Labor Department report showed. The ...

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Waller ready to take reins of MEC

By JACK WEATHERLY There have been only three directors of the Mississippi Economic Council in its 68 years. Soon there will be a fourth. Nothing is official, but Scott Waller, an 11-year veteran of the MEC, the state chamber of commerce, in February was named interim president and chief executive effective May 1. The same day, the MEC announced that ...

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Wilson leaving MEC for next director to build on foundation

By JACK WEATHERLY Blake Wilson has continued to make the Mississippi Economic Council a statewide organization. As the third chief executive of the MEC, he said he has built on the foundation established by M.B. Swayze, who led the organization after it was established in 1949. “He went around the state. He had an old Valiant. Everybody told me about ...

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New Magnolia State Bank branch adds to excitement of downtown Laurel’s revival

By BECKY GILLETTE LAUREL — Magnolia State Bank (www.bankmagnolia.com) recently held a grand opening of its new branch of the bank in a triangular-shaped, landmark historic building downtown that housed the Laurel Mercantile in the late 1800s. “They are bringing new jobs and excitement to the area, but they aren’t new to downtown,” said Jim Rasberry, Rasberry Financial Services, who ...

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Hearing held on appeal of Costco zoning

By JACK WEATHERLY Madison County Circuit Court Judge John Emfinger held a hearing Monday of an appeal by homeowners in a protracted battle over the proposed building of a Costco Wholesale store in Ridgeland. The nine plaintiffs contend that an amendment by the city to a commercial zoning ordinance amounted to “spot zoning” designed to accommodate Costco, and opening the ...

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