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MBJ FEATURE

Making a Pilgrimage

Thousands flocking to Natchez to tour historic Southern homes The 2011 Natchez Spring Pilgrimage is in full tilt, and organizers are expecting this year to be the event’s best in a half-decade or so. With the exception some of the war years, the Natchez Spring Pilgrimage, which features tours of the city’s many historic homes, has been held annually since 1932. ...

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Carbon capture sequestration bill receives Barbour’s signature

The Mississippi Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide Act passed the Senate and last week received Gov. Haley Barbour’s signature. The bill, which was widely supported by the energy industry, says it is “in the public interest that… carbon dioxide be injected into and stored in oil and gas reservoirs and other geologic formations in a manner protective of waters of ...

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Something real, or is it a bubble?

Higher crop prices and steady increases in land rents and values have Mississippi farm owners believing their fortunes have turned. But recollections of the cropland boom and bust of the 1980s keep their enthusiasm in check. For one Washington County farmer who works several thousand acres, the new prosperity is a mere offset to the bad years. “The farmer needs ...

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Betting the farm

While the escalation in farmland values in the Midwest has gained national attention, Mississippi agricultural land has had a less-noticed run-up of its own. From 2009 through 2010, Mississippi’s cropland rose 5 percent in value, keeping pace with Missouri and Kansas and outpacing Illinois (3.2 percent) and Iowa (1.2 percent), the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported. Mississippi per-acre prices still ...

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Foreclosure settlement could aid underwater Mississippians

A proposed $20-billion settlement to an investigation of fraudulent mortgage foreclosure practices across the nation could help underwater borrowers in Mississippi hang on to their homes through write downs on principal balances. But the wider price could involve a block to the state bringing further legal action on related foreclosure wrongdoings. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has been part of ...

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Bankers group encouraged by bid to quash debit fees cap

The American Bankers Association says legislation introduced in the Senate last Tuesday gives it hope that banks can avoid a pending cut in the fees they receive from merchants on debit card transactions. The so-called Durbin amendment, named after sponsor Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, mandates the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors put a cap on the fees that can ...

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Retailer sees cap delay as another bailout of banks

As Indianola convenience store chain owner Walton Gresham sees it, the debate over whether to limit swipe-card fees comes down to whether Congress wants to provide an economic stimulus to businesses like his or give more charity to the banks that issue the cards. Last Wednesday, he had a name for the bill a bi-partisan group of U.S. senators introduced ...

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Agent issues

A bill that seeks to curtail the activities of rogue athlete agents and expand Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s power to investigate them is headed to conference committee. House Bill 1190 was one piece of Hosemann’s business reform legislative package. At the center of the disagreement between the House and Senate is each chamber’s definition of an agent and the ...

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Surprising soybeans

First-of-its-kind study complete; three-year project yields surprises Delta soybean farmer Bill Ryan Tabb repeatedly uses two words to describe his feelings going into the 2011 planting season — “optimistic” and “scared.” And, he is not alone. So, the recent release of the findings of an exhaustive, multi-year, first-of-its-kind study of insecticide-treated soybean seeds is more than welcome by Tabb and ...

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Stars fall on Mississippi banks: Bauer designates 45 ‘superior’

Nearly half of the Mississippi’s 92 banks and savings and loan institutions received BauerFinancial’s highest rating, a “superior” designation of five stars, for the fourth quarter. In setting its rating, the Coral Gables, Fla-based BauerFinancial evaluates – among other factors — profitability/loss trend, delinquent loans levels, charge-offs and repossessed assets, the market versus book value of the investment portfolio, regulatory ...

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