BC-MS--Mississippi News Digest,2nd Ld-Writethru,ADVISORY, MS

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News,Science and Technology

Good evening, Mississippi editors.

The news editor is Brian Schwaner (1-504-523-3931). The AP photographer is Rogelio Solis. If you have contributions for or questions about the Mississippi report, call 1-800-222-0046 or 1-601-948-5897. To report technical problems: 1-800-469-1362. AP stories, along with the photos that accompany them, can also be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. Reruns are also available from the Service Desk (877-836-9477).

NEW AT THIS HOUR

APPOINTED SUPERINTENDENTS

JACKSON, Miss. — House members want Mississippians to keep their elected school superintendents. But they don't think would-be teachers should need to score 21 on the ACT. The House shot down Senate Bill 2199 by a 65-52 vote Monday. Proponents said it would have led to more appointed superintendents around the state. Members then voted 60-59 to amend another bill to cut a requirement that students score at least 21 on the ACT college test to enter teacher preparation programs. The House left intact a requirement that a student earn a 3.0 GPA in high school. Taken together, the bills could signal a limit on House members' willingness to agree to all the education proposals being pushed by Republican leaders this year. By Jeff Amy. AP Photos.

TOP STORIES

EDUCATION-AMERICAN HISTORY

JACKSON, Miss. — State education officials are dispelling the misconception that they're considering dropping American history from the required list of high school courses. A member of the Daughters of the American Revolution sent an email recently warning that just such a thing might happen. No public discussion of such a move has taken place though. Apparently the concern sprang out of a discussion over how high schools might be graded in the future. A task force designing the new grading system has talked about omitting the standardized history test that students must pass to graduate from the overall system for rating high schools and districts. Students would still have to take the course and pass the test, though. By Jeff Amy.

HEATH OVERHAUL-MISSISSIPPI

JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi Hospital Association says it is working with Gov. Phil Bryant to address funding issues related to Medicaid. Bryant remains opposed to an expansion of Medicaid, which has been advocated as a possible solution to funding reductions under the Affordable Care Act, but says he wants to work with hospital leaders to come up with alternative solutions. By Laura Tillman. AP Photos.

GRINDLE APPEAL

JACKSON, Miss. — The state Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments April 3 in an appeal from Brandon Grindle, who was convicted of murder in 2011 in Marion County. Grindle's appeal is among dozens the Appeals Court will consider during its March-April term. Decisions are expected later this year.

BUSINESS

HANDY HARDWARE

JACKSON, Miss. — A Texas company that Mississippi officials say owes the state $3.5 million has filed for bankruptcy, complicating collection efforts. Handy Hardware, a hardware wholesale cooperative, announced in November it was closing its two-year-old Meridian, Miss., warehouse. By Jeff Amy. AP Photos.

INSURANCE LAWSUIT

OXFORD, Miss. — Nine north Mississippi residents have alleged in a lawsuit that an Illinois-based insurance company coerced them into turning old policies into new ones, which resulted in lowering their policies' death benefits and cash value.

MCCOMB-RENTAL PROPERTY

MCCOMB, Miss. — McComb officials are considering a proposal to require rental property owners to obtain a privilege license and have their properties inspected annually. Urban planner Laurence Leyens told the board of selectmen that people make a living from rental properties and it should be treated like any other business.

MISSISSIPPI NEWS IN BRIEF

POPLARVILE INTERSECTION

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Poplarville Mayor Billy Spiers hopes to persuade Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King to upgrade the traffic controls at the intersection of Mississippi Highway 26 and U.S. Highway 11.

Right now it's a four-way stop, but officials want a traffic signal.

CHILD SUPPORT CASE

LUCEDALE, Miss. — A George County man wanted for failing to pay nearly $100,000 in child support has turned himself in to sheriff's deputies. Jerry Devon Miniard, 35, was taken Monday to the George County Regional Jail Monday where he was awaiting an initial court appearance.

MOTORCYCLE FATALITY

COLUMBUS, Miss. — Authorities say an Alabama man has been killed in a weekend motorcycle accident. The body of 43-year-old Danny Larry Rea Jr. of Ethelsville, Ala., was found Saturday near the top of a ravine just off a county road.

COLD CASE-ARREST

PERU, Ind. — A former Indiana man arrested in Mississippi last year for the 1992 slaying of a Kokomo woman is facing a September trial in her killing. A Miami County judge last week set a Sept. 9 trial date for 53-year-old Timothy J. Jimerson. He was arrested by Indiana State Police in October after a DNA match led detectives to his D'Iberville, Miss., home.

OLIVE BRANCH SURVEILLANCE

OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. — The next crime-fighting tool in Olive Branch will be a surveillance trailer with cameras mounted 15 to 20 feet high. City officials are ordering the trailer to give police a birds-eye view of shopping lots and gathering spots.

TOYOTA-EDUCATION

TUPELO, Miss. — Three Northeast Mississippi counties will soon receive money from Toyota to spend for educational purposes. Officials in Pontotoc, Union and Lee counties will determine exactly how they will use the $300,000 each will get.

HATTIESBURG TORNADO

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Hattiesburg Public School District officials still are finding damage from the Feb.10 tornado that struck Forrest and Lamar counties. An assessment of the destruction at the transportation center has revealed 90 percent of the district's vehicles were damaged.

CHURCH LAWSUIT

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — The city of Hattiesburg has answered a lawsuit filed by a local church contesting enforcement of land use code, arguing that none of the church's rights were violated.

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY

PASCAGOULA, Miss. — South Mississippi cities are working to improve pedestrian safety. Pascagoula and Gautier recently applied for $250,000 grants for the Mississippi Department of Transportation's Safe Routes to School Program, which would fund new signs, school-zone flashers, crosswalk re-striping and sidewalk construction.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY AWARDS

JACKSON, Miss. — Kenneth G. McCarty Jr., a former history professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, has been presented the Mississippi Historical Society's Dunbar Rowland Award. The award honors McCarty for his lifelong contributions to the preservation, study and interpretation of Mississippi history.

SPORTS

BKC-HOWELL AND GILLOM TROPHIES

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi's Marshall Henderson won the C Spire Howell Trophy on Monday afternoon at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. The award is given to the state's top men's college basketball player. Mississippi State's Martha Alwal won the Gillom Trophy, which is given to the state's top women's basketball player. By Sports Writer David Brandt.

AP photos.

BKC-PICK 6-SEC TOURNAMENT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Sure, Florida won the Southeastern Conference title this season. The way the Gators wrapped up their regular season finale missing their final 11 shots losing at Kentucky makes them just another SEC team streaking going into the postseason, most in the wrong direction. By Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker.

MISSISSIPPI OUTDOORS

JACKSON, Miss. — With deer season behind us, many outdoorsmen are looking ahead and focused on getting their boats ready for warmer days on the water catching bass and crappie. But some say now is a great time to get some things done in preparation for next deer season. "We are getting into the prime burning time of the year," said Bob Griffin, a certified wildlife biologist. "If they have pine stands, they may want to do some prescribed burning." By Brian Albert Broom, The Clarion-Ledger.

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The AP-Jackson, Miss.

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