Top Stories

Bank sets $500 million loan fund for Miss. firms

BancorpSouth is setting aside a $500 million loan fund aimed at Mississippi businesses, saying it will work with state officials to find qualified borrowers.

Gov. Phil Bryant appeared with BancorpSouth executives to laud the move on March 28. The officials spoke at the headquarters of C Spire Wireless, citing the eight-story office building as an example of a project made possible by cooperation between BancorpSouth and a state program.

“Ensuring that businesses have access to capital is a critical element in positioning Mississippi as the top spot for economic development,” Bryant said. “I applaud BancorpSouth for taking a leadership role in this new effort.” […]

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5th Annual Safety Fair set for Saturday

The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) and other Mississippians are planning for a fun and educational day at the 5thAnnual Safety Fair on Saturday, April 6. The event will be held at the Mississippi Trade Mart from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the fairgrounds in Jackson.

The Safety Fair is a free event that’s open to everyone.  
Attendees will get a chance to participate in many activities that promote MDOT’s goal of improving the safety of motorists and pedestrians by educating children and parents about child passenger safety, the dangers of distracted driving, and occupant protection. Some of the attractions include the “Rover” safety rollover demonstration, impaired driving simulations (SIDNE) as well as the low-speed simulation of a head on collision, the “Convincer.” MDOT’s virtual texting and driving simulator will also return to the event. […]

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Missing woman's body found in pond

Meridian police said the body of a woman found in a pond has been identified as 34-year-old Jamie Wilkes, who was reported missing by family members on March 2.

Police Capt. Dean Harper said the property owner had been draining the pond and a passerby noticed something suspicious about 8 a.m. Wednesday. Harper said.

Wilkes’ remains were found at the bottom of the pond. He said the woman was identified by a family member. […]

National Sports

Jackson State hires Brent to lead program

Jackson State has hired Wayne Brent to be its men’s basketball coach.

The 45-year-old Brent is an accomplished high school coach, winning four state championships in six seasons with Callaway High School in Jackson. He was also an assistant coach at Mississippi for four seasons in the late 1990s and early 2000s, helping the Rebels advance to the NCAA tournament three times.

Brent was introduced on March 25, and will have a strong nucleus to work with next season, including guards Dundrecous Nelson (Ole Miss) and Julysses Nobles (Arkansas), who will both be eligible after transferring from the Southeastern Conference. He’ll also have several returning players from last year’s team that finished with an 11-18 record. […]

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Corinth Marine among those killed in murder-suicide at Quantico

Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. today for a Mississippi native and Marine corporal gunned down during a murder-suicide at the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia.

On Thursday, March 21, Cpl. Jacob Lee Wooley, 23, of Corinth, was pronounced dead at the scene after a shooting incident at Taylor Hall during Officer Candidates School (OCS) in Triangle, Virginia.

Wooley and 19-year-old Lance Cpl. Sara Castromata, of Oakley, Calif., were shot to death by fellow Marine and tactics instructor, 25-year-old Sgt. Eusebio Lopez. Lopez then shot himself. Officials at Quantico said all three Marines had been assigned to OCS and all three were pronounced at the scene. […]

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Pastor indicted for sexual battery of child

A 71-year-old Mississippi pastor has been indicted by a Tate County grand jury on 18 felony counts related to the sexual battery of a child.

Sheriff Brad Lance says in a news release that Larry Gene Singleton was on two counts of fondling, six counts of sexual battery and 10 counts of child pornography.

Singleton, the former pastor of Bay Springs Baptist Church in Abbeville, Miss., was arrested in December after sheriff’s investigators received a complaint from the victim, who accused Singleton of forcing him to have sex. […]

National Sports

Ole Miss hires Kentucky women's assistant Insell

Matt Insell, who has spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach with the nationally-ranked University of Kentucky women’s basketball program, has been named head coach of the Ole Miss women’s basketball team, athletics director Ross Bjork announced.

Insell has helped guide Kentucky to four 20-win seasons and four trips to the NCAA Tournament in his time in Lexington. The Wildcats have ended the last three seasons ranked in the top-25 and are currently ranked No. 7 heading into the team’s Sweet Sixteen game Saturday.

Insell, who was responsible for the guards while also having recruiting and player development duties, served as the top assistant coach and helped UK ink three top-10 recruiting classes and seven McDonald’s All-Americans. […]