Mississippi briefs

July 1, 2014 




Nunnelee will undergo chemotherapy

JACKSON -- North Mississippi U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelees has been moved from a Texas hospital to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where he will continue recovery from brain surgery.

Nunnelees's office in Washington said in a statement Monday the congressman's "speech and left side mobility continue to improve."

Nunnelee, 55, had surgery last month at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to remove a small mass on his brain. The surgery, his office reported, caused speech and mobility problems and will require weeks of rehab and recovery.

In a statement Monday, his office reported Nunnelee will begin chemotherapy and radiation treatment this week.

Nunnelee, of Tupelo, is a former state senator who was elected to Congress in 2010 and is seeking re-election this year.

-- Associated Press

AG: Creative court clerk arranges conjugal visits

JACKSON -- Kimberly Keonna Gibson, 32, of Terry, wanted intimate visits with a state inmate, according to the Attorney General's Office.

Problem was, she and the inmate were not married. But she happened to be working as a deputy circuit court clerk in Hinds County. The AG's office said she altered marriage records to make it appear she and the inmate were legally wed in order to qualify for conjugal visits with her man.

Now, a Hinds County grand jury has indicted her for altering public records, the AG's office said today.

U.S. Marshals and the Hinds County Sheriff's Department arrested her at home. She will be prosecuted by the attorney general's Public Integrity Division.

-- Associated Press

State tax revenues grow strongly for third year

JACKSON -- Mississippi tax collections continued to grow strongly in the just-concluded budget year, posting another year of 5 percent growth.

State Department of Revenue figures show general fund tax receipts grew to a record $5.25 billion in the 2014 budget year, which ended Monday.

Lawmakers had raised expectations in March, but revenue kept growing even after that, ending up at least $32 million above the revised number according to preliminary numbers.

That extra money means that the state will likely be able to hand out $32 million in aid for local roads and bridges that House members fought for on the 2014 Legislature's closing night. The additional aid depended on revenues exceeding lawmakers' March estimate.

The strong budget year also filled Mississippi's rainy day fund to its $409 million legal limit.

-- Associated Press

State considers more cheating probes

JACKSON -- A state investigation into potential cheating at a Clarksdale elementary school could be the first of many such probes by the Mississippi Department of Education as it confronts testing irregularities statewide.

State Superintendent of Education Carey Wright said she's considering other investigations into schools whose statewide assessment scores raised red flags. Although she didn't mention specific sites, she said it's a decision will be make jointly with Caveon Test Security.

The state hired Caveon in May after a Clarion-Ledger investigation revealed claims of widespread cheating at Heidelberg Elementary School in Clarksdale based on highly irregular test scores and teacher and students interviews.

-- Clarion-Ledger

Hospice approved for Hattiesburg

HATTIESBURG -- Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg has been given state approval to build a freestanding facility for hospice care.

The Mississippi State Department of Health issued a certificate of need for the project in June. Mississippi requires a CON in a process designed to avoid duplication of health care services and control costs.

The 20,000-square-foot building will be operated by Asbury Hospice House.

-- Associated Press

Natchez hospital deal moves forward

NATCHEZ -- The Mississippi Development Authority has given its blessing to local governments to consider the sale of Natchez Regional Medical Center an economic development project. The move clears the way for the bankruptcy court to review the proposed sale structure.

The MDA reviewed the application for the hospital sale to be considered a Regional Economic Development Alliance project, and granted its approval in a Certificate of Public Convenience published Monday.

Adams County Board of Supervisors Attorney Scott Slover said the certificate of public convenience means the hospital can now take its sale structure to the federal bankruptcy court for approval.

He says the court could review the structure at a conference Thursday.

The hospital filed bankruptcy citing a $3 million deficit between financial assets and liabilities.

-- Natchez Democrat

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