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Morning Radio Newscast — December 13th
from Michelle Peyroux
December 13, 2016 -

ADAMS COUNTY, Miss. — Adams County Justice Court Judge Charlie Vess is resigning. Vess is leaving office after serving just one year of his current term. He's been reprimanded for misconduct more than once during his 25 years as a judge by the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance and Mississippi Supreme Court. Vess said in a Facebook message he posted last August, "I did wrong and am paying a heavy price...but in the big picture I still love my job as a judge and will try to do right for the people of Adams County."

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Retired "Late Show" host David Letterman went to New Orleans to help build a house for someone needing a boost. Volunteer Kate O'Leary sent WWL-TV a selfie of herself and the heavily bearded Letterman in front of a house being built by the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. O'Leary says Letterman "likes to help out with projects like that, and keep it on the down low."

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The head of Mississippi's prison system says the state needs to improve programs that help people get their lives on track as they leave prison. Corrections Commissioner Marshall Fisher says that even with a tight budget, it's a smart financial decision to try to prevent people from committing more crimes and returning to custody.

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) — Jackson County officials are scouring the area for properties that are condemned or need to be after Hurricane Katrina ahead of a new program that could provide federal funding for demolition of the damaged structures. The Mississippi Home Corp. is developing a program to provide money to cities and counties throughout the state to help get rid of blighted and abandoned homes.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The King of Rock 'n' Roll and four others are being named to the Mississippi Hall of Fame. The board of the state Department of Archives and History met this month and selected the inductees: Evelyn Gandy, the first woman elected lieutenant governor in the state; Dr. James Hardy, who was a transplant surgeon; former state Rep. Aaron Henry, who was a civil-rights activist; rocker Elvis Presley; and Ida B. Wells, a journalist and women's rights advocate.

(LRN) — The Transportation Task Force is recommending that the budget for roads and bridges be increased by $700 million a year. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says the need in Louisiana is great, and in order to address that need, they need an annual infusion of dollars that’s indexed for the Transportation Trust Fund. “We’re not telling the governor or the legislature how to do it. We’re saying that in order to address the need that exists, you’re going to need that $700 million,” Wilson said. Wilson says that money could come from toll roads, public-private partnerships, or an increase in the gas tax. He says the state’s 20-cent gas tax that was imposed 30 years ago is only worth half hat today. He says the state has $16 million in projects needed, including a new Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge, and those projects require funding. “We’re looking to diversify our funding stream. We’re looking to protect our funding stream, and we’re also looking to advance both the preservation and the expansion of the state system,” Wilson said. Wilson says addressing all of the state’s needs at once would be impossible, as the state still has a $13 billion backlog of road and bridge needs. But he says that with a good annual investment, Louisiana can have an infrastructure system that we can be proud of. “We can spend as much money as you give us effectively and efficiently, but we’re looking at this in terms of a long-term solution and not a onetime solution,” Wilson said.

(LRN) — New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno has launched a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for women’s issues in Louisiana. Moreno says the Ignite Advocacy Network seeks to bring women together to raise awareness, advocate for positive policies, and ignite the network into action. “We should not continuously be one of the worst states for women. We are always on the very top of the bad list and the very bottom of the good list when it comes to women’s issues, and it’s time for a change,” Moreno said. Moreno says Louisiana ranks 49th for wage equality and 49th for women’s overall health, with more women dying of breast and cervical cancer in Louisiana than in many other states. She says she wants to address those issues, as well as educational opportunities and domestic violence prevention. “We need to get organized, and we need to get mobilized so that these positive changes can happen because the women and the young girls in our state, they deserve it,” Moreno said. Moreno says Ignite is the next phase of the #ItsNoJoke campaign, which she started after a male lawmaker made degrading jokes about exotic dancers. She invites women around the state to join her effort by visiting “Once you’re part of our network, we’re going to keep you informed. You’re going to be in the loop, and we’re going to encourage you to take action when there’s a particular piece of legislation or a policy that’s in place, so that you can help us get things done,” Moreno said.

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