Luxury hotel, conference center planned in Flowood

Construction of a $50 million conference center and hotel adjacent to the Flowood city golf course will begin in early 2018. The project will include a 200-room luxury hotel and 54,000 square foot conference center. The city of Flowood will own the conference center and MCC Real Estate of New Orleans will operate the conference center and the hotel. Plans include a resort-style pool, 15-acre lake, a spa and a culinary school. Flowood Mayor Gary Rhoads says the project will provide tourism and recreational opportunities for Flowood residents. The Mississippi Development Authority approved the project for the Mississippi Tourism Sales Tax Program to offer incentives to development of the area near the Jackson airport. 

Agents happy to intercept illegal drugs moving through Hancock County

Marijuana weighing 181 pounds and worth more than $1.2 million was seized after a traffic stop on Interstate 10 in Hancock County over the weekend, The Sun Herald reports. The marijuana likely was bound for Biloxi, said Lt. Bill Covington, assistant commander of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department’s Narcotics Division. Narcotics agents with the sheriff’s department arrested Danny Guzman, 26, of Laredo, Texas, after a deputy pulled him over. “We are always happy to intercept large shipments of illegal drugs moving through Hancock County,” Sheriff Ricky Adam said in a written statement.

Seven officials elected as Democrats join Republican Party mid-term

Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson and six other county officials elected as Democrats in 2015 have switched to the Republican Party, the Itawamba Times reports. Joining Dickinson are supervisors Charles Horn, Steve Johnson and Steve Moore, constables Terry Johnson and Doug Lesley, and coroner Shelia Summerford. During a brief ceremony on the county courthouse steps in Fulton on Thursday, Gov. Phil Bryant, Mississippi House of Representatives Speaker Phillip Gunn, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef commended the local officials. “Itawamba County is truly the America we all love and believe in,” Bryant told the assembled onlookers.

Obama appointees ousted in U.S. Attorneys offices

Both Gregory Davis, U.S. attorney for southern Mississippi, and Felicia Adams, U.S. attorney for northern Mississippi, have resigned. Their decisions followed Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ request that all U.S. attorneys appointed by President Barack Obama step down. Taking over their positions are Harold Brittain, now acting as the top federal prosecutor in southern Mississippi, and Robert Norman, filling that post in northern Mississippi, according to an Associated Press report. President Donald J. Trump must now nominate new U.S. attorneys for Senate confirmation. Brittain and Norman automatically took over as the top assistant U.S. attorney in each district.

DSU golfers lose course to budget cuts

Delta State University is closing the school’s golf course at a savings of $250,000 in an effort to offset continuing state budget reductions. The state has cut nearly $2 million from the school’s budget in the past 13 months, DSU representatives say. “We are working hard to identify areas for budget savings on campus to offset these cuts that avoid impacting personnel and academic programs,” said DSU President William LaForge.  “We realize that the golf course is a longstanding and traditional feature of the university, and we regret having to make this tough decision. However, this action is absolutely necessary.”

Six honored with Governor’s Arts Awards

The Mississippi Arts Commission will honor six individuals and organizations Thursday with Governor’s Arts Awards. The 2017 recipients are:

• Sammy Britt – Excellence in Visual Arts

• William R. Ferris – Lifetime Achievement

• Vasti Jackson – Arts Ambassador

• Lucy Richardson Janoush – Arts Patron

• Jaimoe Johnie Johnson – Excellence in Music

• Mississippi Opera – Artistic Excellence

Established in 1988, the Governor’s Arts Awards celebrate excellence in a variety of art forms including visual, literary and performing arts, and community development through the arts in Mississippi. Britt, a native of Ruleville and longtime resident of Cleveland, is one of Mississippi’s leading art educators and painters. He taught painting and drawing at Delta State University for more than 35 years. Now retired, Britt continues to teach painting workshops.