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Archive for April, 2013

No Mississippi-made vehicles included in Toyota, Nissan airbag recall

April 11th, 2013 No comments

Toyota and Nissan were among automotive manufacturers to issue a huge recall of vehicles Thursday for potentially faulty passenger-side airbag systems.

The airbags were made by Takata Corp. in Japan. The carmakers said the systems were assembled with improperly manufactured wafers that could cause the airbags to deploy abnormally in the event of a crash. As many as 3 million vehicles in North America and Japan could fall under the recall.

The Toyota vehicles recalled include the Corolla, but only models made from 2001-2003, well before the company’s plant in Blue Springs started producing the compact sedan in November 2011.

The Nissan recalls include vehicles made from 2001-2003 in Japan, a spokesperson said in an email Thursday morning to the Mississippi Business Journal. Canton’s Nissan facility opened in May 2003.

The recall also affected Honda vehicles. The manufacturers will notify owners within 30 days if their vehicle qualifies for a front passenger airbag inflator replacement. Replacement will be free.

“Nissan is committed to a high level of customer safety, service and satisfaction and is working with its dealers to promptly address this issue,” the company said in a press release.

Toyota-related information can be found at www.toyota.com/recall and www.lexus.com/recall or by calling 1 800-331-4331 (Toyota) and 1 800-255-3987 (Lexus).

Categories: Nissan, Toyota Tags:

Port revitalization to reach milestone Wednesday

April 9th, 2013 No comments

Gov. Phil Bryant will be on hand Wednesday as the last truckload of “fill” is dumped on the west pier of the Port of Gulfport.

The 11 a.m. ceremony will mark a major milestone for the 80-acre fill project that’s part of the port’s overall restoration after Hurricane Katrina.

The project originally began as a much larger venture, with a $500 million price tag and designs on attracting megaships bound for Asia.

Those plans changed last summer, when port commissioners revealed that wouldn’t be possible once the Panama Canal is widened.

The project’s completion date, which to go with filling the west pier will include deepening the port’s channel to 45 feet, is scheduled for 2015.

The project has been a source of controversy since its inception. Former Gov. Haley Barbour was criticized by housing advocates and community activists for diverting Katrina-related recovery money from housing efforts to the port. Officials eventually diverted about $160 million originally meant for the port to housing programs. Federal guidelines attached to Katrina money allowed some funds earmarked for things like housing to be used for economic development.

As it is, the port’s job creation estimates hover around 1,300, to go with the 1,200 already employed there. Officials still hope it can attract as many large ships carrying textiles, automotive parts and fruit to Europe and Asia.

Categories: Phil Bryant, State Port of Gulfport Tags:

Blount and Gipson take different views of recently passed business incentives

April 8th, 2013 No comments

Sen. David Blount and Rep. Andy Gipson agree it’s a matter of time before they join their colleagues in a special session to hash out funding for the state’s Medicaid program.

Blount, a Jackson Democrat, and Gipson, a Simpson County Republican, recapped the just-ended legislative session Monday at the lunch meeting of the Stennis Capitol Press Corps.

Lawmakers left Jackson last week with no funding for Medicaid after the fiscal year ends on June 30. Republicans and Democrats spent a lot of the session arguing over the program’s expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Like most others in his party, Blount supports expanding the program.

“I think we need to admit that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land,” he said. “And Mississippians will be paying for the expansion whether we actually do it or not.”

Blount cited figures that the program would cost the state $555 million through 2025, but would get $12.1 billion back from the federal government. He added that Democrats would be willing to consider alternatives to outright expansion – such as legislation that would trigger expansion if uncompensated care payments were to disappear from hospitals that provide indigent care.

Gipson echoed Gov. Phil Bryant’s assertion that the state could not afford to add another few hundred thousand Mississippians to the Medicaid rolls, and questioned if the federal government would keep its promise to pay 90 percent of the expansion costs. “It’s odd that a group was willing to leave the Capitol without funding Medicaid,” Gipson said of Democrats’ twice killing the legislation to do so.

Gipson and Blount also took differing views of the handful of tax credits and incentives lawmakers passed. Gipson said incentives applied properly “are great economic development tools,” listing as an example recently passed legislation designed to spur construction of a retail shopping complex in Pearl.

Blount said many times lawmakers vote on incentives without knowing their exact financial impact.

“The Legislature is passing bills that will have a long-term impact (on the state’s budget) with no information on what they will cost,” he said.

Toyota reports best sales month since 2009 Cash for Clunkers program

April 2nd, 2013 No comments

Toyota’s sales numbers for March represented a 4.8 percent increase over March 2012 on a daily selling rate basis.

The company sold 205,342 units in March. Total sales were up 1 percent on one fewer selling day.

For the first quarter, Toyota reported sales of 529,444 units, an increase of 10.1 percent over the same period in 2012 on a DSR basis on one fewer selling day. Total sales for the quarter were up 8.7 percent.

“The auto industry continued its string of impressive monthly results, and at Toyota we had our best month since Cash for Clunkers in August of 2009,” Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations, said in a company press release. “A strong first-quarter close and increased consumer confidence continue to position the auto industry as a leader in the economic recovery.”

The Toyota Division sold 182,152 units in March, up 3.1 percent year-over-year on a DSR basis.  Volume-wise, Toyota Division sales dropped 0.5 percent over March 2012.

Sales of the Corolla, made in Blue Springs, were up 11.1 percent, with 31,423 units sold. Sales across the automotive industry were up 6 percent for the quarter. Toyota revised its overall industry sales projections for 2013 up to 15.3 million units, and 2.2 million units as a company.

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State’s electronic court system expanding

April 2nd, 2013 No comments

The Mississippi Electronic Court system is adding to its database.

On March 18, electronic filing became mandatory in Grenada County Chancery court. On March 4, chancery courts in Holmes and Yazoo counties were brought online. Rankin County chancery court joined Feb. 4.

Chancery courts in Lowndes, Webster and Clay counties will soon mandate e-filing, though an exact date has not been set, according to a Mississippi Supreme Court press release. In all, chancery courts in those counties and in Madison, Harrison, DeSoto and Warren mandate e-filing.

Right now, MEC is used only for civil cases. Madison County Circuit Court will be the first to use it for criminal cases. Training for that started March 19, though an exact date for it to start is still unknown.

Madison County was the pilot site when the MEC started in 2009. The system was modeled after PACER, the federal courts’ e-filing database.

Both are designed to make filing more efficient for attorneys, and to expand public access to court files. Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. has spearheaded the system’s development.

“You can certainly get an order entered much quicker this way. In the past, even if you had an agreed order, you would leave it with my court administrator and I would sign it,” said chancery judge Percy Lynchard, whose district includes Grenada County, in the MSSC’s press release. “It saves a whole lot of paperwork, a whole lot of time and trouble, and a whole lot of miles to the courthouse,”

Free MEC training is available for attorneys at the Gartin Justice Building, which houses the MSSC and the Court of Appeals, in Jackson. Online registration is available here. Training dates will be set in April and May.

According to court figures, almost half of the 7,050 licensed attorneys in Mississippi have registered to use MEC. More than 1,200 non-attorneys have signed up.

Categories: Mississippi Supreme Court Tags: