MISSISSIPPI SHERIFF INDICTED
Sheriff Byrd to submit resignation
PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) - The defense attorney for Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd, who pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal felony charge, says the sheriff will resign Wednesday.
Joe Sam Owen says Byrd will personally deliver a resignation letter to Board of Supervisors President Mike Mangum.
The resignation had been expected. Mississippi state law does not allow a convicted felon to hold public office.
U.S. District Judge William H. Steele, chief judge for the Southern District of Alabama, accepted Byrd's plea, found him guilty and set his sentencing for March 11, 2014.
The maximum penalty for the federal charge is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but prosecutors are recommending six months of house arrest and six months of probation. Byrd and Owen signed a plea deal in November.
C SPIRE ACQUISITION
C Spire to acquire Alabama communication firm
RIDGELAND, Miss. (AP) - C Spire has announced plans to acquire Callis Communications, which provides cloud-based unified communications as a service for businesses.
Based in Mobile, Ala., Callis serves customers in key business markets across the Southeast.
Officials for Ridgeland, Miss.-based C Spire announced the acquisition in a new release Wednesday.
C Spire officials say once the acquisition gets regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission, the merger will help it expand its markets and offer comprehensive business solutions for customers.
C Spire expects final regulatory approval of the merger within the next 60 days.
Callis started in 1999 as a paging provider. It became a facilities-based competitive local exchange carrier and Internet service provider in 2005 and in 2009 became a cloud-based unified communications company.
ALUMA-FORM locating operations in Walnut
WALNUT, Miss. (AP) - Officials say ALUMA-FORM has broken ground on the company's new manufacturing facility in Walnut in Tippah County.
Gov. Phil Bryant says in a news release that the project represents a company investment of $6.7 million and will create 125 new jobs.
The Memphis, Tenn.-based company is building its facility in the Walnut Industrial Park, where it will manufacture and distribute its overhead power distribution products to domestic and international customers.
The Mississippi Development Authority provided assistance for relocation, site preparation, infrastructure improvements and workforce training.
The town of Walnut, Tippah County, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission also assisted with the project.
ARREST WARRANT-AGENT WOUNDED
Preliminary findings say agent shot by officer
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Authorities say a preliminary investigation shows that a U.S. Marshals Service task force agent was shot by another officer during the search for a murder suspect in Mississippi.
A Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agent assigned to the task force was grazed on the stomach during the Dec. 3 search of a Jackson home for murder suspect Lucious Perkins, who wasn't there.
Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain tells The Associated Press on Wednesday that preliminary findings suggest the agent was shot by another officer. The investigation continues.
Arturo Fomperosa Rodriguez, who was at the house, was indicted Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Jackson with illegally possessing a gun.
He'd been charged with assaulting an officer for allegedly pointing the gun, but wasn't indicted for that.
Court orders new sentencing in prize money scam
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A federal appeals court has ordered the resentencing of two men convicted in Mississippi in a multistate telemarketing scam in which victims were told they won cash prizes but had to pay taxes and fees to the scammers to claim the money.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled Monday that incorrect sentencing guidelines were used for Kevin Coe and Jarvis Jones.
Both men were sentenced in 2011 to more than seven years in prison.
The appeals panel said the U.S. District Court judge in Aberdeen, Miss., realized the error and tried to correct it, but didn't do so within the required 14-day period.
The appeals court ordered that the men be resentenced, permitting the district judge to correct the procedural error.
Suggs named Toyota Miss. VP of administration
BLUE SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) - Sean Suggs is the new vice president of administration for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi. He replaces Doug Formby, who announced his retirement recently.
The 48-year-old Suggs joined Toyota's Mississippi operation on Nov. 4 after working for Nissan for several years. Most recently, he was director of strategy, administration and human resources from 2011-2013 for Nissan's North American headquarters in Tennessee.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that Suggs is no stranger to Mississippi, either. Before his stint at Nissan's headquarters, he headed production quality at Nissan's Canton plant.
Miss. sandhill cranes get first taste of freedom
GAUTIER, Miss. (AP) - A flock of 22 young cranes are getting their first taste of freedom at the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge.
Their wing restraints were taken off Tuesday.
As the biggest group of youngsters to grace the refuge, the birds have been kept in four pens since their arrival last month from the Audubon Institute in New Orleans.
The restraints have kept them in the pens so they can get acclimated to the area.
Scott Hereford, supervisory biologist at the refuge, tells The Sun Herald most of the time, the birds don't know they can fly so they just continue to walk around the pens.
Tuesday morning, though, the first bird released did not dawdle and took flight within minutes of being let go.
Russell has shoulder surgery to repair torn labrum
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell will miss the Liberty Bowl after having surgery to fix a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.
A Mississippi State spokesman confirmed Russell had surgery on Tuesday. The procedure was performed by Dr. James Andrews.
The surgery ends Russell's career at Mississippi State. He had an injury-filled senior season, but was effective when he played, completing 65.1 percent of his passes for 875 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions.
As a junior, Russell set the single-season school record with 2,897 passing yards and 24 touchdowns.
Mississippi State will go into the Dec. 31 Liberty Bowl against Rice with two options at quarterback - sophomore Dak Prescott and freshman Damian Williams. Prescott has been battling a nerve injury in his non-throwing arm.
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