Associated Press: Judge wants new look at prison conditions before ruling

Earlier this year, Mississippi Today reported on the trial start in a lawsuit over conditions at East Mississippi Correctional Facility – a privately run prison. The lawsuit alleges that the Mississippi Department of Corrections “has deliberately ignored or failed to remediate the life-threatening conditions that persist” at the prison, which is operated by a Centerville, Utah-based company — Management & Training Corp., Mississippi Today reported. The Associated Press is now reporting that the federal judge overseeing the trial on Friday ordered that the prison be re-examined. According to the AP report, U.S. District Judge William Barbour wants experts from both sides to see whether conditions have improved. He ordered reports filed by December, with a possible hearing in January.

Organization gets $1 million grant to aid Gulfport, region

The efforts of the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District of Gulfport got a boost last week when the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded the organization a $1 million grant. The funds, announced last week in a news release, will provide a cash infusion for the organization’s Revolving Loan Fund – a program that helps supplement small businesses and entrepreneurs in the region. According to the organization’s estimate, the project is expected to help create 168 jobs, retain 59 jobs and spur $4.8 million in private investment. “The Department of Commerce and its bureaus have been working diligently to aid communities across the country which have been devastated by natural disasters,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in the news release announcing the grant. “This Revolving Loan Fund will provide critical support to businesses throughout Mississippi, empowering local entrepreneurs all over the state.”

The Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District is a regional planning organization that supports development and a variety of services in 15 southern Mississippi counties along with 38 municipalities, its website states.

AP: Meredith, Cochran chosen for Ole Miss hall of fame

TODAY IN MISSISSIPPI: News from and about our state

Associated Press: James Meredith of Jackson is one of five people being inducted into the Ole Miss alumni hall of fame during homecoming in October. The list of honorees also includes longtime U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Oxford, who retired in April. Created in 1974, the Hall of Fame honors select alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to their country, state or the university through good deeds, services or contributions that have perpetuated the good name of Ole Miss, the university said in a news release. Read the Associated Press report as it appeared in the Daily Journal here.

New York Times: What it takes to get an abortion in Mississippi

TODAY IN MISSISSIPPI: News from and about our state

New York Times report: Here’s what it takes to get an abortion in two states with distinct approaches. California is one of eight states that have no major abortion restrictions. Mississippi is among the most restrictive states in the country. And with its single clinic and many abortion laws, it is effectively the most difficult state in which to get an abortion. Highlighted entries show the impact of restrictions. Read the New York Times’ complete report here.

UM Conference Explores ‘Faulkner and Slavery’

The University of Mississippi’s 45th annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, “Faulkner and Slavery,” scheduled for July 22-26, will offer five days of lectures, panels, tours, exhibits and other presentations. The event will examine the question “What did slavery mean in the life, ancestry, environment, imagination and career of William Faulkner?” Click here to register or for more information.

Choctaw take pride in stickball – ‘the granddaddy of all American sports’

The roots of stickball run deep in Choctaw culture. The fiercely competitive game – played long before there was football, baseball and basketball – is played with sticks and a small orange ball. Mississippi Today photographer Eric J. Shelton captured the action from the World Series of Stickball, played annually at the Choctaw Indian Fair, near Philadelphia, in this slideshow.

Lawsuit alleges gerrymandered state district dilutes black vote

TODAY IN MISSISSIPPI: News from and about our state

Three African American men in the Delta filed a federal lawsuit accusing the state of gerrymandering one of its districts in direct violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Civil Rights attorneys argue in the lawsuit that the boundaries of Senate District 22, which is located primarily in the Mississippi Delta, intentionally dilute African-American voting strength in the area. And they’ve asked U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves to order state officials to redraw the district before statewide elections in 2019. “There will be a lot of focus on redistricting when election lines everywhere are redrawn after the 2020 census,” said Jackson civil rights attorney Rob McDuff, who is working with the Mississippi Center for Justice on the lawsuit.  “But because there is a problem with District 22 that needs to be cured before the census and before the 2019 election, we are bringing this case now.”

The defendants are Gov. Phil Bryant, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, and Attorney General Jim Hood. Senate District 22, which has been held by Buck Clarke, R-Hollandale, since 2004, covers six counties in the Delta and central Mississippi.

Clarion Ledger: MDOT says political pressure driving road connecting Tate Reeves’ subdivision, shopping center

TODAY IN MISSISSIPPI: News from and about our state

Clarion Ledger: While the state grapples with how to pay to fix crumbling roads and bridges, the Mississippi Department of Transportation is being politically forced to build a $2-million drive from Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ gated neighborhood to a nearby shopping hub. Read the complete Clarion Ledger article by Geoff Pender here.

Capital Gazette: Grieving journalists cover the massacre in their own newsroom

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Baltimore Sun reporters Tim Prudente and Scott Dance write: An armored truck rumbled outside the Capital Gazette newspaper office in Annapolis. Police with assault rifles walked the street. Yellow crime tape cordoned off the newsroom where the journalists were fatally shot. And across the street, their colleagues — two reporters, one photographer — were working to report the story of the day, the massacre of their friends and co-workers. Read the complete Baltimore Sun article here.