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MBJ FEATURE

Schools fail to spend millions from Ayers

Public record shows Mississippi’s three historically black universities in recent years have failed to spend all the funds awarded to them through the Ayers desegregation settlement. The College Board said its intent is that unused funds will carry over for future expenditures subject to legislative appropriation. Per the settlement agreement, Ayers funds are set to be reduced in fiscal year ...

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Choctaws’ first female chief faces major challenges

It took three elections to do it. But Phyliss J. Anderson, 50, made history Sept. 6 by becoming the first woman elected to be chief of the 10,000-member Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI) that owns 35,000 acres of land, three casinos, two hotels and numerous other business operations in the state. The vote totals not including absentee votes showed ...

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High court: Eminent domain vote a go but later review possible

The Mississippi Supreme Court Thursday dashed Leland Speed’s bid to keep a constitutional amendment limiting eminent domain off Mississippi’s November ballot. But in issuing the 7-2 ruling, the justices said they would be willing to reconsider Speed’s arguments if the amendment passes. The court essentially ruled that it has no jurisdiction over the matter, since no change to state law ...

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Court wants to examine new workers’ comp appeal law

For the second time in a month, the Mississippi Supreme Court has called into question the constitutionality of a new law designed to streamline the appeals process for disputes arising from administrative decisions. The court has asked for briefs related to a law the Legislature passed last session that provides for a direct appeal to the state’s high court in ...

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Contractors face growing cash-flow challenges

A decade ago, Mississippi’s construction industry was enjoying arguably its most profitable period in history — a golden age. Building was booming, and most firms had as much as they could handle. However, the last 10 years have been perhaps the worst of times for the state’s contractors. They are now scrambling — and paying much closer attention to their ...

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How much good will sex education do?

The causes and solutions for Mississippi’s teen pregnancy epidemic differ based on who is asked. Popular complaints are the lack of general sex education, limited access to and knowledge of contraceptives and programs that teach abstinence only. Other experienced voices less frequently heard emphasize the negative emotional and psychological effects early sex has for teens and the failure to address ...

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Regions sets debit card fees

In a soon-to-arrive consequence of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Regions Bank in mid-October will begin charging customers in Mississippi and elsewhere a $4 monthly fee for debit card use. The financial services sector has been predicting for the past year that Dodd Frank’s mandated cut in swipe card fees paid to a debit card’s ...

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Watkins Ludlam combining with New Orleans law firm

In one the biggest merger and acquisition announcements in the state’s legal community in recent years, Jackson-based Watkins Ludlam Winter & Stennis, P.A., one of Mississippi’s largest law firms, is combining with Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrere & Denegre, LLP, of New Orleans. The two firms, which announced the merger last week, expect the transaction to be finalized on or ...

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Stion: Bankruptcy not in the plans

As the photovoltaics industry took a hit with the bankruptcy of Evergreen Solar, Stion announced a Sept. 16 ribbon cutting for its Hattiesburg plant. While some industry experts speculate more solar companies may also fail or move production to China, Stion and other manufacturers feel secure with thin-film technology. Evergreen used solar wafer technology, which was favored by investors in ...

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