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Tornadoes, state flag controversy and teacher raises. A recap of last week on the Coast.

Missed the big stories from last week? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered.

Lawsuit claims electric co-ops are holding onto millions that belong to customers

Jackson-based law firm Cosmich, Simmons & Brown filed lawsuits on behalf of thousands of customers of Singing River and Coast Electric electric co-ops alleging the companies are keeping millions of dollars that belong to their ratepayers on the Coast.

The lawsuit alleges both companies provide modest rebates to customers when it should be returning far higher amounts, based on their reserves.

Under state law, the cooperatives can retain enough money to maintain adequate reserves as well as cover expenses and debt payments.

Mississippi flag removed from park near Statue of Liberty

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday ordered that the Mississippi state flag be removed from a state park that overlooks the Statue of Liberty, reports the Associated Press.

The flag, which was included in a display of each state’s flag, will be replaced by the American flag at Liberty State Park which overlooks Ellis Island and Lady Liberty.

“The Confederate symbol displayed on the Mississippi state flag is reprehensible and does not reflect our values of inclusivity and equality,” Murphy said in a statement.

State department of education is millions short on pay raises

The Mississippi Department of Education miscalculated and is now short some $12 to $14 million in funding for this year’s promised teacher pay raise, reports the Associated Press.

The estimated $58 million needed for $1,500 raises was calculated using the Mississippi Student Information System database. However, the database mistakenly listed some state-funded positions — like special education, gifted and career-technical teaching positions — as ineligible for funds.

Now, Gov. Phil Bryant says the agency will have to fund the raises by reallocating funds any way they can. Bryant said he won’t call a special session, and that the Legislature can reimburse the agency through a deficit appropriation in January.

Mississippi gets 40 tornadoes April 18

The National Weather Service reported last week that storms in Mississippi unofficially spawned 40 tornadoes on April 18.

The Clarion-Ledger reports that the unofficial count from the National Weather Service from that date nearly matches the average number of tornadoes that hit Mississippi yearly.

That number could rise as the National Weather Service conducts additional surveys.

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