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Morning Radio Newscast — December 1st
from Michelle Peyroux
December 1, 2016 -

JACKSON — An Adams County man has been convicted of aggravated assault in connection with his involvement in a February 2014 killing. 23-year-old Jhakeel Hawkins of Natchez was sentenced to 15 years in prison with 10 years suspended, leaving five years to serve. Hawkins was also sentenced to 10 years of post-release supervision and ordered to pay all court costs. Hawkins and two co-defendants were accused of the attempted robbery and shooting death of Terrance Thornburg of Natchez.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The National Weather Service confirms that at least 13 twisters damaged homes, splintered barns and toppled trees in parts of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, killing five people in two states. At least a dozen more people were injured early Wednesday, adding to a seemingly onslaught of drought, flood and fire plaguing the South.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Six Louisiana parishes have been designated as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by recent drought. The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the designation to Caldwell, Catahoula, Franklin, Madison, Richland and Tensas parishes on Nov. 23, making all qualified farm operators in those areas eligible for low interest emergency loans. Farmers and ranchers in nine more Louisiana parishes and four Mississippi counties also qualify because their locations are contiguous.

GREENVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Greenville school board members aren't ready to announce whether they will fire Superintendent Leeson Taylor. The board met Tuesday to hear from Taylor, the Delta Democrat-Times reports, but board President Loretta Shannon said members will announce their decision later. Taylor has been on paid leave since Oct. 13, after a video emerged of a teacher dragging a special education student across the gym floor by the hair.

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi flag with the Confederate battle emblem won't fly outside the new Tupelo Police Department building, at least for a year. The city council voted to fly a state bicentennial banner rather than the state flag once the police headquarters opens.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former high-ranking official with the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office has been sentenced to six months in prison and another six months of house arrest for fraud conspiracy related to an overbilling scheme involving off-duty deputy details. Roy Austin apologized before U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt announced the sentence Wednesday. Austin is accused of falsely inflating invoices of 10 clients, charging them for work by employees, who never showed up to provide any services.

(LRN) — The Transportation Task Force meets today to further discuss recommendations on how to improve the states’ roads and bridge. Recommendations are expected to be released later this month for the legislature to consider. House Transportation Chairman and State Rep. Kenny Havard anticipates there will be a proposal to increase the state’s gasoline tax, which is currently at 20-cents a gallon. “I don’t know exactly where the number is going to fall right now whether it’s 20 cents, 10 cents, 5 cents but it looks like that’s where we’re heading.” But Havard says he is concerned lawmakers will not support raising the gasoline tax. He says residents will also likely be skeptical that revenues from a higher tax will go towards better highways. “Over the years, the money hasn’t been spent where we said it was going to be spent. State Troopers have gotten $50 million a year out of the trust fund and it should’ve been going to concrete and asphalt.” Havard says another funding option that he would like to see move forward is a one-cent per gallon refinery tax, which will lessen the burden on Louisiana residents. “So if we were to say put one penny on every gallon that was produced here locally, the refineries could pass it on to us but they’d also be passing it on to anybody else who had to buy Louisiana gas.”

WASHINGTON (AP) — Louisiana Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond has been elected chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. The three-term lawmaker will take over for the current chairman, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., in January when a new Congress is sworn in.

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