MDOT schedules safety demos

The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) will show Mississippians at several events an up-close look at the tragic consequences that can occur when persons choose to drive or travel while impaired, distracted, or without buckling up.
‘Rover,’ one of MDOT’s safety-demonstration vehicles, simulates what can happen to unrestrained drivers and passengers when rollover crashes occur at a speed of 35 mph. The dramatic, controlled rollovers resonate with students in ways that verbal presentations simply cannot. […]


Smithsonian Magazine names Cleveland one of ‘best small towns to visit’

Smithsonian Magazine has named Cleveland, Miss., one of America’s 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013. Ranked No. 2, Cleveland joins municipalities like Gettysburg, Pa. (No. 1), St. Augustine, Fla. (No. 3), Baraboo, Wis. (No. 4) and Astoria, Ore. (No. 5).
“More than 21.3 million annual visitors to the state can attest to the artistic spirit, rich history and cultural uniqueness of small towns like Cleveland,” said Malcolm White, director of the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division. “What an honor for Cleveland to be recognized at the national level. From blues to fine arts, Cleveland showcases some of the best of our state’s heritage and talent.”
“We are very excited about this designation and appreciate the attention it is bringing to Cleveland and the surrounding area,” said Cheryl Line, Cleveland-Bolivar County Tourism Director. “We hope this recognition will bring more visitors to learn about the mystique of the Mississippi Delta.” […]


Group says it will defend new Miss. prayer law

A nonprofit conservative group says it will provide free legal representation to Mississippi schools or districts if a new school prayer law is challenged in court.

Liberty Counsel attorney Steve Crampton told The Associated Press that the group believes the law is “perfectly within the bounds of the First Amendment.”

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the law in late March, and it takes effect July 1. It says all Mississippi school districts must adopt a policy to allow a “limited public forum” at school events such as football games or morning announcements, to let students express religious beliefs. […]


MDOC to close 4 community work centers

The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) is planning to close four of its 17 community work centers effective July 15.
Speaking to MDOC staff, MDOC Commissioner Epps said, “Tough times make you make tough decisions.”  A budget shortfall and fewer non-violent inmates eligible to be housed at community work centers are the reasons for the decision, Epps said.
Inmates at the work centers will be transferred to other MDOC facilities.  Community work centers staff will be offered positions at other MDOC facilities. 


MVSU football player killed in accident, 3 others injured

A Mississippi Valley State football player was killed late Thursday night and three of his fellow athletes injured in a single vehicle accident in Leflore County.

Nineteen-year-old Kevin Monzon of Crystal Springs was pronounced dead at the scene, said Sgt. Ben Williams of the highway patrol. Monzon was reportedly driving on U.S. Highway 82 just east of Itta Bena around 8 p.m. April 25, when he ran off the roadway and rolled over.

A second passenger, Marcus Thompson, a junior from Houston, Texas was air-lifted to University Medical Center (UMC) in Jackson. […]

Family Medicine

UMMC Pediatrician Hannah Gay named to Time Magazine’s Time 100

TIME named HIV specialist Dr. Hannah Gay, UMMC associate professor of pediatrics, to the 2013 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. 

In caring for a newborn infected with HIV in 2010, Gay followed an atypical treatment regimen and functionally cured the baby. She and her colleagues, Dr. Deborah Persaud, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center virologist, and University of Massachusetts Medical School immunologist Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga, who were also named to the TIME 100 list, presented the child’s case report in March at a scientific meeting in Atlanta. The report is the world’s first to describe an HIV functional cure in an infant.

Gay said she is honored and wants the recognition to highlight the efforts of physicians and scientists worldwide working in HIV prevention, care and research. […]


Nissan awards $500,000 to Canton public schools for needy students

A $500,000 education grant announced Thursday by Nissan will strengthen academic support programs for elementary students who are not making sufficient progress in their school curriculum.
The $500,000 grant will be used by the Canton Public School District to employ two new academic interventionists who will provide targeted instruction and support to students needing the most intensive academic assistance.
Canton Public School Superintendent Dwight Luckett Sr. said, “We are elated with Nissan’s generous donation and continued support of educational opportunities for students in our community. For the district to reach its full potential, we are committed to working even harder to continue meeting the challenges before us. We can accomplish our mission much faster when community and business leaders like Nissan partner with us to offer hope, opportunity and inspiration to our students.” […]


US man in ricin case: ‘I love my country’

Charges were dropped Tuesday against the man accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, Mississippi State Sen. Roger Wicker and a Mississippi judge Sadie Holland, while authorities searched at another man’s home in connection with the case.

The surprising move was announced in a brief document filed in federal court in Oxford hours after Paul Kevin Curtis was released from custody. The charges were dismissed without prejudice, which means they could be re-instated if prosecutors so choose.

Attorneys for Curtis have suggested he was framed, and an FBI agent testified in court this week that no evidence of ricin was found in searches of his home. At a news conference Tuesday, they declined to discuss whether they were told what new information the government had uncovered. […]


B.B. King Homecoming Festival set for July 3

The B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola said the annual homecoming festival in honor of their namesake and the legendary bluesman, B.B. King, is scheduled for July 3.

King, a Mississippi native, will be performing on Saturday, April 27, at a casino in Tunica. […]


Expected corn acreage 53-year high for Mississippi

Mississippi farmers expect to have more than 1 million acres in corn this year and about 120,000 acres in rice – the largest corn acreage in 53 years and a 36-year low for rice.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture planting survey shows Mississippi farmers also plan to plant 1.95 million acres of soybeans and 270,000 acres of cotton this year.

The soybean acreage is changed little from last year’s 1.97 million acres, but farmers are planting 230,000 acres more of corn. […]