Archive for August, 2009

District at Eastover

August 18th, 2009 No comments

Ted Duckworth of Duckworth Realty in Jackson will update the Jackson Chamber of Commerce on the status of the District at Eastover, a proposed retail and residential development on the site of the old Mississippi School for the Deaf and Blind off I-55 in Jackson, during the Chamber’s Executive Committee meeting on Sept. 1.

A bill passed during the 2007 regular legislative session allows the Mississippi Development Authority, acting on behalf of the state Department of Education, to lease the property for redevelopment. Duckworth won the right to negotiate with the MDA lease terms that have to be agreed upon before work can begin.

Very few details about the parameters of the lease or the project itself are currently available. Hopefully Duckworth’s presentation will fill in some gaps. The best I could come up with after a Google search is this and this.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. in the Electric 308 building in Downtown Jackson.

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Brett Favre

August 18th, 2009 No comments

If you’ve read my bio you know that here at Magnolia Marketplace, we’re huge sports fans, specifically ones that involve helmets and shoulder pads. Aside from probably Michael Vick, the biggest NFL story the past few months has been the will-he-or-won’t-he regarding Brett Favre coming out of retirement for what seems like the 20th time and playing this season.

Reports emerging this morning have Favre on a plane to Minnesota to sign with the Vikings. Click here for the details. Brett Favre is one of two football heroes I’ve ever had — Jerry Rice is the other — but this has story has been old since this time last year. Now it’s just aggravating.

This reminds me of the Motley Crue song, “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away).”

To paraphrase the lyrics, “Brett, don’t go away mad. Brett, just go away.”

I bet there are a few folks in Green Bay thinking that this morning. Since the Vikings are the Packers’ blood rival, they’re probably thinking a lot worse, too.

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Harvey Johnson

August 17th, 2009 No comments

A full story is up on the site about Harvey Johnson’s speech to the Downtown Jackson Rotary Club today. What struck me the most was the reception Johnson got from the 400 or so in attendance at the Jackson Convention Complex. (About the JCC: If you haven’t been there, make time to check it out. It’s easy to get to and the air conditioners are phenomenal.)

Johnson got two standing ovations, one when he was introduced and another when he was finished. That’s news by itself, because when Johnson lost to Frank Melton in 2005, he left office a pretty unpopular figure, with some who were in attendance today working hard to help Melton defeat him. A lot of folks there today also supported Marshand Crisler, Johnson’s opponent in the runoff this past spring.

In a stroke of absolutely perfect timing, Johnson took office about a month before a major repaving operation started on the city’s streets. The $26.2 million bond to pay for it was actually issued before Melton left office.

My commute to Downtown from Northeast Jackson takes me over Old Canton Road and Adkins Boulevard, two roads that badly needed improving. The worst parts of Adkins have gotten new asphalt, and preliminary work has started on Old Canton. As for me and my car, that’s worth a standing O.

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Good news and not-so-good news

August 13th, 2009 No comments

Lately, a lot of folks have been jumping on the recession-is-over bandwagon. The crowd grew when the U.S. Department of Labor announced a few days ago that the economy shed only about a quarter of a million jobs in July, which is the lowest number of any month since last summer. Compare that with January and February, both of which saw more than half a million jobs lost. The good news? July’s numbers were better than most economists anticipated. The bad news? A quarter of a million jobs were still lost.

The same principle applies to today’s news from RealtyTrac, the California-based outfit that tracks foreclosure activity across the country. Mississippi had 813 homeowners on the business end of foreclosure activity in June — meaning they either got a notice of default, notice of auction or their bank repossessed their home. That figure dropped 41 percent in July, to 478. That’s encouraging, and could be hard evidence of at least a small degree of recovery. Now for the bad news: The 478 homeowners who encountered some sort of foreclosure activity in July marks a 152 percent increase from July 2008, and RealtyTrac’s outlook says that number will likely rise over the next six months.

It’s a little more than 24 hours until the weekend, however, and exactly three weeks until football season, so for now, I’ll choose to focus on the positive.

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Fun morning

August 12th, 2009 No comments

Most of my work is done either over the phone or in a meeting room. So it was nice that most of this morning was spent at Lake Caroline Golf Club for a story in next week’s MBJ about Randy Watkins’ team refurbishing the place. Watkins bought the Madison County course, which had been closed for two  years after the old developer went bankrupt, in June. What has happened between then and now is pretty interesting. Watkins, who has always been a good interview, didn’t disappoint today.

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Oil vulnerability

August 12th, 2009 No comments

From the not-a-big-surprise department: The Natural Resources Defense Council has issued a report that says Mississippi is the most vulnerable state to high oil prices. Not much news there. The results are tallied based on the percentage of annual income a state’s population spends on gasoline. In Mississippi, we spend 9.14 percent, or $2702 yearly, of our money at the pump, tops in the nation. Coming in second was Montana, whose residents spend 8.07 percent, or $2762, of their annual income filling up. Folks in Connecticut spend only 3.24 percent of their cash on gas.

Mississippi, Montana and the other states at the top of the list have a couple of things in common: They’re all mostly rural states whose per capita incomes are among the lowest in the U.S. Add to that the dearth of urban areas with public transportation and it makes sense that Mississippi tops this list for the third year in a row. The complete list can be found here.

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Healthcare rhetoric

August 12th, 2009 No comments

The Town Hall meetings to discuss the pending healthcare bill in Congress have featured very little discussion and a whole lot of shouting from supporters and opponents. The two sides can’t even agree on the source and validity of the protests. Democrats have accused Republicans of trucking in folks whose sole purpose is to throw the Town Halls into chaos. Republicans have countered that the protesters are ordinary folks who are legitimately concerned about the bill.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and fellow Republican Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, both of whom vigorously oppose the bill, said on a national news program recently that people are angry because their questions aren’t being answered.

State Rep. George Flaggs, D-Vicksburg, entered the fray yesterday, releasing a statement calling Barbour “disingenuous” for his criticism of healthcare reform, which has become President Obama’s signature domestic policy issue, shoving almost everything else to the back burner.

Flaggs said it was ironic that Barbour had criticized Obama for rushing the bill. “That’s exactly what the governor did on Medicaid,” Flaggs said in the statement, citing the negotiations to craft a Medicaid deal to wrap up the state’s FY10 budget that was completed hours before the deadline. Flaggs caught a lot of flak from colleagues because he invoked his right to have the entire Medicaid bill read aloud before the House voted on it. It delayed the bill’s progression several hours and irritated lawmakers from both parties.

The Town Halls are scheduled to continue throughout August. Healthcare and heat figure to make it a long month.

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