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Morning Radio Newscast — December 14th
from Michelle Peyroux
December 14, 2016 -

NATCHEZ, Miss. – City aldermen voted Tuesday against giving up their power to appoint Natchez’ next tourism director and turn it over to the city’s Convention Promotion Commission. Mayor Darryl Grennell had proposed letting the commission decide who to hire as he tries to reform the city’s tourism structure. Aldermen are scheduled to interview two applicants for the tourism director’s job on Saturday. In advocating the Convention Promotion Commission pick the new director, Grennell cited a state law that specifies its Natchez tourism oversight duties. However, the board voted 4-1 to have aldermen decide who’ll fill the director’s job.
In other action Tuesday, the Board of Aldermen voted to rezone land on Canal Street to allow Regions to build its new bank. In a downsizing move, Regions is getting out of its much larger local main office on Pearl and Franklin streets.
The board also voted to seek a buyer for the old General Hospital on Oak Street. Once Natchez’ main hospital prior to 1960, the city-owned structure is dilapidated. Hopes are that a buyer will restore it for apartments or other uses.
The public was closed out of a lengthy segment of Tuesday’s meeting as the mayor and aldermen discussed litigation and personnel issues in the Natchez Fire Department.

(LRN) — President-elect Donald Trump has chosen former-Texas Governor Rick Perry as the Secretary for the Department of Energy. So what does that mean for Louisiana’s oil and gas industry? Acting president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, Gifford Briggs, says this nomination adds to the narrative of hope. “There’s hope that this next administration is going to look at what are some of the roadblocks that are keeping companies from investing and drilling and producing here in the US and start removing some of those barriers,” Briggs said. Briggs says Trump’s other cabinet selections, including Scott Pruitt to run the EPA and Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as future Secretary of State, give them hope for what the industry could be. He says at this point they are cautiously optimistic. “It’s certainly a measurable amount of excitement, but it’s also reserved in that a lot of these things are one, going to take time and two, they are unpredictable,” Briggs said. Briggs says what they would like to see is a reduction in the number of regulations on the industry. He says every regulation comes a cost, which makes it harder for oil and gas companies to do business. “If you start removing regulations that are tacking on millions of dollars to projects, especially in a low price environment, it could tip some projects over the breakeven point,” Briggs said.

(LRN) — Small business optimism has skyrocketed since the election of Donald Trump, according the National Federation of Independent Business’ monthly Index of Small Business Optimism. NFIB state director Dawn Starns says business owners said they are now excited about the future. “I think what you saw on November 8th was the election of a pro-business type feeling in America and at the federal government level across both the executive and legislative branches.” The survey finds small businesses job creation plans have increased from 9% to 23% since October. Starns says business owners felt bogged down recently by government regulations. “Our members tell us federal taxes, regulations, Obamacare, they’re the biggest impediments for small business growing.” Starns says many business owners now have a renewed since of hope that they can grow their companies. She says optimism is soaring in many categories. “It’s across the board, from everything from hiring, to borrowing, to expanding inventory. All those things are up, which is great for the economy.”

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards is in the hospital, and his wife says that her 89-year-old husband has pneumonia. Trina Edwards says that her husband went to an emergency room last week, and on Monday, they called an ambulance to take him to the hospital again.

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) — A man wanted in a Jackson Capital Murder case has been arrested in Georgia and is awaiting extradition back to Mississippi. Authorities say that Martin Woodard shot and critically injured 29-year-old Timothy Thomas while trying to rob him. Thomas later died from his injuries.

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) — There’s a new tool to bust underage drinkers in Mississippi, and it's right on law officers' phones. It’s called the Age ID App. "The scanning is almost instantaneous," explained Chief of Enforcement Rusty Hammon. "Within ten seconds normally, the officer would know whether that ID is valid or not."

NATALBANY, La. (AP) — Louisiana state troopers are investigating the death of two people in a passenger car that was hit by a passenger train in Tangipahoa Parish. Witnesses told investigators Tuesday's crash happened after the car passed one stopped vehicle as the train approached and then went around a safety crossing arm blocking the track.

HINDS COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) — New life saving equipment is now in the hands of first responders. About $280,000 from a Mississippi Department of Health grant went to purchasing Lucas. "The Lucas device is a solution to making sure we deliver effective and consistent CPR across the board," said a man named Eric who serves as the Lucas Compression System's Field Clinical Specialist. First responders say CPR is a lot of work, and it has to be done in a very specific way to get the best results. "It takes at least two people to do CPR," explained Mississippi's Emergency Management Director, Ricky Moore. "This new device, once the person gets the chest compression device hooked up, then he can concentrate on doing the respiratory part of it. It takes all the manpower out of CPR." Hinds County purchased twenty of the cardiac assist systems to be distributed amongst emergency medical response teams.

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — The U.S. Post Office in Oxford will be named in honor of a local soldier killed in combat. A bill would designate the structure as the Army 1st Lt. Donald C. Carwile Post Office Building. Carwile was killed Aug. 15, 2008, during a combat mission in Afghanistan. He was a Lafayette High School graduate who enlisted in the Army in 2006 and qualified for officer candidate school. He earned numerous service awards and decorations, including the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.

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