State reports second child flu death

The state Department of Health confirmed the state’s second death from influenza of a child under the age of 18 during the current flu season, the department said in a press release. The child was a resident of South Mississippi, the release said. The department noted that this was the 16th death since reporting of pediatric flu deaths began in the 2007-2008 flu season. Nationwide, 72 pediatric flu deaths have been confirmed for the current 2016-17 flu season as of April 8. Influenza infections can lead to serious complications and sometimes death, even for healthy children and young adults.

Former Neshoba Democrat editor dies

Arthur Stanley Dearman, the retired editor and publisher of The Neshoba Democrat, died Saturday in Florida, the newspaper reported. He was 84. Dearman edited the Democrat from 1966 to 2000. Dearman was a legend in Mississippi journalism, known particularly for his career-long crusading work that led to a conviction in the 1964 abduction and slayings of civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney in Neshoba County. Dearman’s insistence on pursing justice in the case was cited as a key factor in the 2005 conviction of Edgar Ray Killen for manslaughter.

Ex-legislator McCrory sentenced to 8.5 years

Former legislator Cecil McCrory was given an 8.5-year prison sentence Friday, The Clarion-Ledger reported. U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate noted that the sentence could be reduced after other defendants are sentenced in the corruption case against former Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps, the newspaper said. McCrory, a key figure in Epps case, pleaded guilty to money laundering after being charged in late 2014 of bribing Epps and receiving cash from sweetheart contracts and consulting fees with the Department of Corrections. McCrory’s attorney, Carlos Tanner, said his client received about $3 million in commissions and other revenue off the contracts arranged by Epps, the Clarion-Ledger said. The U.S. attorney’s office said he received about $4.6 million.

Gunn, Reeves earn Tax Foundation award

The Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation said Wednesday that Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn are recipients of its Outstanding Achievement in State Tax Reform award. “Reeves and Gunn led the effort to begin phasing out the state’s archaic franchise tax, a tax on investment and capital formation in a state that needs more of both,” the foundation said in a statement. The law, passed in 2016, will drop the tax rate in phases until complete repeal in 2028. The legislation also reduces the tax rate on low levels of income, the release stated. The foundation noted that Reeves and Gunn have also explored further tax reform options.

Two new House members sworn in

The Mississippi House of Representatives on Friday gained two new members who won runoff elections Nov. 29. Emily Wagster Pettus of the Associated Press tweeted that Republicans Donnie Scoggin of Ellisville and John Glen Corley of Lumberton took their oaths of office from House Speaker Philip Gunn at the state Capitol. Scoggin will represent District 80 in Jones County. He will serve out the remaining three years of the term of Bobby Shows of Ellisville, who retired, Pettus reported.

UM student wins $100,000 scholarship

Ole Miss sophomore Jarrius Adams scored big on Saturday, as he won the $100,000 Dr Pepper Tuition Giveway scholarship, the university noted in a press release. The Hattiesburg native successfully threw 11 15-yard passes into a target over 30 seconds to win the $100,000 Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway scholarship, the press release said. The throw-off against another finalist was televised live during halftime at the Wisconsin-Penn State Big 10 Conference championship. Adams is majoring in public policy leadership and political science at Ole Miss, the university said. “It’s a truly wonderful blessing,” the 19-year-old said Monday.

Capitol access reduced during repairs

The north entrance of the Mississippi Capitol, one of only two public entrances to the building, will be closed for an estimated one year, the Daily Journal reported. The closure will have the most impact during the upcoming three-month regular legislative session beginning Jan. 3 when visitation to the state Capitol increases significantly, noted the Journal’s Bobby Harrison. The north entrance was fenced off Monday morning, forcing visitors who are not government workers to use the first floor doors on the south side the 171,000-square foot building, the article said. The south entrance is located below a massive stair case that leads to entrances on the second floor.

New Biloxi ward lines drawn

Biloxi’s proposed new ward lines will be presented at a community workshop on Nov. 17, the Sun-Herald reported. Councilman Felix Gines is hosting the event at 5:30 p.m. at Frank Gruich Community Center, 591 Howard Ave., the newspaper said. Gines told the Sun-Herald that the redistricting is needed to provide equal representation for residents who were added to the city in the last annexation. If that entire area on the north end of Biloxi were included in Ward 7, he said, it would have hundreds more residents than the other districts, he said.