Mississippi Latest News


phil-bryantBryant tells grads there is a ‘bit of Superman in us all’

POPLARVILLE, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is encouraging community college graduates to find their inner superhero.

The Sun Herald reports that Bryant spoke Thursday during commencement at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville.

He told the crowd that he believes “there’s a little bit of Superman in us all.”

He says he became a Superman fan when he was a dyslexic child struggling to read.

Kryptonite is the one thing that could destroy Superman, and Bryant compared the fictional substance to alcohol, drug abuse and pornography.

He says: “Kryptonite exists in all our lives. You just have to determine what it is and stay away from it.”

At the end of his speech, Bryant opened his academic robe to reveal he was wearing a Superman T-shirt.


Nonprofit buys 170 acres from developer for endangered frogs

A Mississippi environmental nonprofit has bought more than 170 acres of land from a residential development to reforest and protect it as critical habitat for the critically endangered Mississippi gopher frog.

A news release Thursday from several environmental nonprofits says the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain will own the land and replant it in longleaf pine as habitat for the burrowing frogs and other rare animals.

The 3½-inch-long frogs once lived in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Now an estimated 125 to 150 adults live in a few spots in Mississippi, with about 700 in zoos around the country.

The purchase in Harrison County was made with money from last year’s settlement to end litigation over construction of a coal-fired power plant in Kemper County.


3 indicted in meth case after drugs found in tennis balls

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) – Three people have been indicted on federal charges in alleged conspiracy to ship meth to Jackson County to distribute, court records show.

Federal prosecutors say Marques Deanthony Payton of Fresno, California, is accused of shipping the meth to Michael Hanzik Jr. of Pascagoula. Hanzik and Scott Joseph Houska of Gautier are accused of distributing the meth.

Investigators say the drugs were concealed in tennis balls in Hanzik’s car.

The Sun Herald reports each man was indicted on a drug conspiracy charge. Hanzik and Houska also were indicted on a charge of possession with intent to distribute meth. All three remained jailed Thursday without bond.

Proceeds from the drug sales, court papers say, were wired from bank accounts in Jackson County to accounts in California.


Bill will open more of Gulf to energy exploration

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker are supporting legislation to expand energy exploration in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Republican lawmakers have joined as sponsors of a bill that will also provide additional revenue for Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas.

The legislation, introduced by U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., would amend a 2006 law to open parts of the Outer Continental Shelf for oil and gas exploration.

It would redefine President Barack Obama’s Eastern Gulf of Mexico drilling moratoria to open access to energy resources in areas 50 miles from the Florida coastline.

Cochran and Wicker say the legislation also raises the revenue sharing cap to $700 million annually from the current $500 million, allowing the four coastal states greater say in the use of their offshore drilling revenues.


Attorneys hope DNA tests will clear Miss. death row inmate

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Attorneys for Mississippi death row inmate Willie Jerome Manning say they hope DNA tests will exonerate him and get him out of prison.

Manning, now 46, came within hours of execution in 2013.

He was convicted in two sets of slayings in Oktibbeha County.

One conviction, in 1994, was for the killing of two college students in 1992. The other, in 1996, was for the killing two women during a robbery of their apartment in 1993.

Prosecutors recently said they would not put Manning on trial again in the slayings at the apartment, after a witness recanted testimony.

In the case of the slain college students, Manning’s attorneys last year sent evidence to a lab for DNA testing. They hope to learn soon whether tests found DNA traceable to Manning.


Entergy says grid manager savings exceed projections

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Entergy Corp. estimates its electrical customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas saved more than $250 million during the first year of Entergy’s membership in a regional grid manager.

Customer savings are building more quickly than Entergy estimated before joining the Indiana-based Midcontinent Independent Transmission System Operator in late 2013. Entergy had estimated $1.4 billion in customer savings over a decade.

MISO directs electricity flows across parts of 15 states and the Canadian province of Manitoba. It seeks to make sure power is generated at the cheapest possible plant, even if it’s generated faraway instead of at a nearby plant owned by Entergy. It also manages investment in new transmission lines, to ensure smooth power flows.

New Orleans-based Entergy has 2.8 million customers in its four states.