Mississippi briefs

July 3, 2014 

Trapper hired to control beavers

OLIVE BRANCH -- City officials acted swiftly to do something about their beaver overpopulation, which could lead to a flooding problem if left unchecked.

The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously Tuesday to hire DFT Wildlife Control to trap beavers and remove them from city drains and drainage rights of way.

The city took a similar measure in 2008 and hired a different company to remove beavers. They also were suspect in flooding problems in the Maywood area years earlier when a flash flood was thought to have prompted a beaver dam to break.

DeSoto County officials also have acted to control beavers, spending money for each beaver trapped.

-- Commercial Appeal

Oxford OKs policy on texting while driving

OXFORD -- City employees who text while driving city-owned vehicles and are involved in an accident will be suspended for 10 days without pay for a first offense and a second offense would result in termination.

The Board of Aldermen approved the change to the employee handbook this week at the request of human resources Director Al Hope.

Mississippi does not have a law against texting and driving.

Hope had suggested a lesser penalty but Alderman Jay Hughes said the crime deserved an aggressive deterrent.

The new policy will go into effect immediately for all city employees, including firefighters and police officers.

-- Oxford Eagle

New editor named for Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ -- Jan Griffey is the new associate publisher and editor of the Natchez Democrat.

Griffey, a Natchez native, most recently was associate publisher and editor of Shelby County (Ala.) Newspapers, owned by Boone Newspapers Inc., which also owns the Natchez Democrat.

Griffey is a 1980 graduate of South Natchez-Adams High School and a 1984 graduate of the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette, La.

The announcement was made this week by Natchez Democrat Publisher Kevin Cooper.

Griffey's first newspaper job was in 1981 as an intern at The Natchez Democrat. After graduating college, she worked at the Ironton (Ohio) Tribune as a reporter and later became its managing editor.

Griffey worked for two decades in Niles, Mich., as editor and later publisher of Leader Publications, also a Boone-managed newspaper.

-- Natchez Democrat

State gives KiOR more time on loan

JACKSON -- Mississippi will give struggling biofuel company KiOR four more months to raise money and resume repaying its $69.4 million debt to the state, passing up a chance to force the company into bankruptcy and seize its Columbus refinery.

Mississippi Development Authority spokesman Jeff Rent said in an email Thursday that KiOR will pay the state $250,000, and the state won't press claims for 120 days.

Rent said the $250,000 is in addition to what KiOR already owes the state.

KiOR is based in Pasadena, Texas. It owed Mississippi a nearly $1.9 million payment June 30 on what was originally a $75 million no-interest loan. Kior said if it defaults, it could face demands from other lenders to immediately repay the entire $287 million it owes.

Khosla Ventures of Menlo Park, Calif., controls 88.5 percent of KiOR stock.

-- Associated Press

Natchez-Adams schools need more money

NATCHEZ -- The Natchez-Adams School District is asking for an additional $811,855 to operate the schools system beginning this fall.

The district receives $11.9 million in local support. The school board says it needs $12.7 million in local tax support for the next fiscal year, a 6.8 percent increase.

School Board President Tim Blalock said the increase can be attributed to a drop in state funding.

He said the board approved changes earlier this year that include establishing three smaller learning communities for students: middle school academies, an early college model and a career academy.

He said some repairs are also needed around the district.

-- Natchez Democrat

Greenwood entertainment districts approved

GREENWOOD -- The city will soon have an entertainment district downtown.

The City Council approved a proposal from Main Street Greenwood Inc. to provide for tax incentives for certain qualifying new businesses.

Main Street officials say for entities establishing theaters or museums, the state offers a five-year accelerated depreciation on income tax.

The other tax break for nightclubs and restaurants provides they must be open to the public, seat at least 40 people, operate five days a week from 6 p.m. to midnight and feature live entertainment three nights a week.

Those businesses would be given an 80 percent rebate on all sales taxes for up to 10 years or until reaching 30 percent of the approved project's cost, whichever comes first.

-- Greenwood Commonwealth

Witherspoon elected Magnolia mayor

MAGNOLIA -- Anthony Witherspoon has defeated two opponents to win a special election for mayor of Magnolia.

Complete, but official, results from Tuesday's election showed Witherspoon with 54 percent of the vote to 45 percent for Della Pierce and 1 percent for Charles E. White.

Witherspoon will take office immediately and serve the remaining three years on former Mayor Melvin Harris' term.

Harris, a former longtime alderman, became mayor in 2008 after winning a special election. He was elected to his first full term in 2009 and re-elected last year. He resigned in May.

Witherspoon said his first order of business will be to focus on jobs and commercial development while trying to repair what he sees as apparent divisiveness on the city board.

-- Enterprise-Journal

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