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Lawmakers likely to borrow less for universities

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The price of predictability for Mississippi's public universities is likely to be less money to spend on capital projects in the state's 2016 budget year.

The College Board Thursday approved $710 million in bonding requests, as agencies make requests of the Legislature in advance of next year's sessions.

Lawmakers are likely to borrow much less.

Next year will be the final year of a three-year plan meant to reduce uncertainty over bond amounts. Universities would get about $68 million next year under the agreement, down from more than $95 million this year and last year.

Lawmakers borrowed $61.5 million over the last two years for a new medical school building at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Lawmakers may not borrow any money for the medical center in 2016.


Indicted ex-BP exec will be allowed to visit UK

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A former BP executive will be allowed to travel to the United Kingdom later this month while he awaits trial on charges relating to an investigation of the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

A federal judge on Wednesday granted a request allowing David Rainey to travel to the UK from Aug. 28 through Sept. 7.

Rainey is now an executive with BHP Billiton Petroleum. He is being allowed to travel for business and family reasons.

Rainey is slated for trial the week of March 9. He has pleaded not guilty to charges that he obstructed a congressional investigation and made false statements.


2 plead guilty to money laundering in 3 states

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say two people have pleaded guilty to money-laundering and using counterfeit $100 bills to purchase items at Lowe's stores in three states and return the items for cash.

Prosecutors say 26-year-old Brittany Ann Jackson of Biloxi and 24-year-old Dontrelle Deshaun Sanford of Hattiesburg entered the pleas Tuesday in federal court in Gulfport.

Prosecutors say in a news release that Jackson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to pass counterfeit U.S. currency and Sanford pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 20.

Jackson faces a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Sanford faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a $500,000 fine.

Stores involved were in Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.


Tishomingo man indicted in deaths of motorcyclists

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - A 49-year-old Tishomingo man has been indicted on four counts in connection with a fatal wreck on the Natchez Trace.

Officials said Wednesday that Donnie Sartain was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of driving under the influence resulting in death, and two counts of negligent homicide/manslaughter.

Sartain's charges stem from a wreck on Aug. 6, when officials say he crossed the center line on the Natchez Trace in Prentiss County and struck a motorcycle, killing Gerard Nasult and Pauline Demeres, both 56, of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports a trial date for Sartain has not been set.

It was not immediately clear whether Sartain has an attorney.


Jackson mayor asks to cut budget by $110 million

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber has recommended to the city council an upcoming budget that would be down almost $110 million from last year's figures.

The Clarion-Ledger reports Wednesday's announcement would bring the upcoming 2015 budget at roughly 22 percent less than the current fiscal year which ends Sept. 30.

Yarber said the reduced figures would not mean tax increases, but rather would come from savings that reflect the expenditures of bond proceeds on projects. The biggest savings would come from the water meter upgrades which would lower the water and sewer budget nearly $83 million from the previous year.

Yarber pledged no police officer or firefighter would lose a job.

The city council will hold a public hearing on the budget on Sept. 4.


Pill ring trial in Mississippi pushed to December

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A federal judge has postponed the trial of a doctor accused of running a prescription pill ring with casino workers in Biloxi.

At a pre-trial hearing Wednesday, The Sun Herald reports U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden agreed to delay the trial of Dr. Sanjay Sinha, scheduled on a court calendar that starts Sept. 8. Ozerden set the trial to start Dec. 8. Court records show it is expected to last a week.

Sinha's attorney had asked the trial be moved to February.

The judge set a hearing for Sept. 4 on a motion to suppress statements Sinha made to federal drug agents after his arrest.

The 49-year-old Sinha lives in Woodstock, Georgia. He faces a conspiracy charge and six drug-distribution charges.


City eyes improvements to airport approaches

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - The city of Vicksburg will talk with the owners of land north of the Vicksburg Municipal Airport for the removing of trees to improve approaches to and takeoffs from the airport.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen this week authorized Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to negotiate with the property owners to compensate them for the loss of timber.

The Vicksburg Post reports the total value of timber to be cut has been estimated at $8,238.

The first phase of the obstruction removal project is estimated at $99,800 with a Federal Aviation Administration grant paying $89,820 of the cost. The city's share is $9,980.

Airport Director Sam Washington says the city plans to install approach lights on the north end once the area is cleared.


Gautier seeks more money for school restoration

GAUTIER, Miss. (AP) - The Gautier City Council has given approval for its grant coordinator to apply for state funds to continue restoration of the historic West Pascagoula Colored School.

The Mississippi Press reports the $240,000 Community Heritage Preservation grant is handled by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. A local match of $60,000 is required.

The former schoolhouse was built in 1921 by patrons of the school as one-room school for Gautier's African-American children and was used as a school until 1946. Later it was used as a community center and voting place.

It was designated as a Mississippi Landmark by MDAH in 2012 noting its historical and architectural significance. The city received a CHP grant of $80,000 last year with a required $20,000 match to stabilize the building.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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