NATURAL GAS PIPELINE
Natural gas company proposes pipeline upgrade
NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - American Midstream Partners is proposing the reconstruction of its American Midstream Midla mainline pipeline in Louisiana and Mississippi.
The company is conducting a so-called "open season," which is a period of courting shippers to determine if the project is viable. The company says shippers have until Dec. 27 to record their interest in replacing the line.
The Natchez Democrat reports that the Midla Pipeline was built in 1926.
If the company receives sufficient interest in the reconstruction, Midla will start the necessary regulatory processes to allow reconstruction in late spring or early summer 2014.
Economic development officials in Mississippi and Louisiana are working with the company.
Vidalia, La., Mayor Hyram Copeland says the city has a meeting Thursday to discuss the open season and other natural gas-related issues.
Columbus' ships to arrive in Biloxi
BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - Replicas of two of Christopher Columbus' ships - the Nina and the Pinta - are scheduled to dock Thursday for a three-week stay at the Schooner Pier Complex of the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi.
The ships will remain in Biloxi until Jan. 2.
Robin Krohn David, the museum's executive director, says both ships tour together as a new and enhanced sailing museum to educate the public and school children about Columbus' explorations.
The general public may visit the ships for a walk-aboard, self-guided tour. Admission charges are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $6 for students ages 5 to 16. Children 4 and under are free.
The ships will be open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until their departure.
OYSTER REEF CLOSURE
MDMR says oyster reef closes Tuesday
BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources says the oyster reef area that opened Dec. 9 closed Tuesday due to water sample results.
The area includes southern portions of the Pass Christian and Henderson Point reefs, Square Handkerchief Reef and northern portions of the Pass Marianne and Telegraph reefs.
All other areas remain closed to the harvest of oysters.
Miss. high court ruling stands in harassment case
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear arguments from three former University of Southern Mississippi soccer coaches who alleged sexual harassment and sexual discrimination.
The nation's high court denied a petition to hear the case in October and the subsequent time period to re-file a similar petition recently lapsed.
That means the Mississippi Supreme Court order issue in 2012 reversing a jury award of $1.2 million to the coaches will stand.
The Mississippi court found insufficient evidence for the jury's verdicts in favor of former women's head soccer coach John Vincent and assistant coaches John Mollaghan and Ged O'Connor. They alleged sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation at the hands of USM employees.
A Forrest County jury ruled for the coaches in 2008.
Bolton man sentenced in slaying
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A 21-year-old Bolton man has been sentenced to life with parole for the 2010 fatal shooting of Robert Hill Jr.
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith says in a news release that James Jaderrick Atkinson pleaded guilty this week to murder.
Authorities say the 23-year-old Hill was shot six times. Smith says DNA linked Atkinson to the crime.
Circuit Judge Bill Gowan sentenced Atkinson to life without parole.
Smith says Atkinson's brother, Lipatrick Decortez Atkinson, is scheduled to be tried March 3 on a charge of accessory after the fact to murder.
GULF OIL SPILL-RIG SUPERVISORS
Judge tosses some charges in BP supervisors' case
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge has agreed to dismiss some of the manslaughter charges against two BP rig supervisors charged in the deaths of 11 workers in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. ruled Tuesday that charging Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine with 11 counts of "seaman's manslaughter" went beyond the intended scope of the statute.
But Duval refused to dismiss 11 other counts of involuntary manslaughter that Kaluza and Vidrine were charged with last year in a 23-count indictment. Their trial is scheduled to start in June 2014.
Prosecutors claim Kaluza and Vidrine botched a key safety test and disregarded abnormally high pressure readings that were glaring signs of trouble before the April 2010 blowout of BP's Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico.
Taxpayers to fund insurance increase
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - The city of Oxford is picking up a $20 a month increase in health insurance for its employees.
The Oxford Eagle reports that the city's health plan will be taken over by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi in 2014.
Because of a 157 percent loss ratio last year, the city was told by its insurance company, Morgan & White, that it could expect a 50 percent to 90 percent increase in its insurance rate.
City leaders began looking at competing insurance companies, but many wouldn't even give the city a quote due to its loss ratio.
Blue Cross Blue Shield offered coverage with a premium increase of 33 percent.
The city's insurance costs will rise from $1.4 million last year to almost $2 million in 2014.
Miss. starting to plan 2017 bicentennial events
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi is marking its 196th anniversary of statehood, and officials are starting to plan a bicentennial celebration for 2017.
Mississippi became the 20th state on Dec. 10, 1817.
During the bicentennial, a rare 20-star U.S. flag will be displayed around the state before going on exhibit at the Museum of Mississippi History that's scheduled to open in 2017. The flag is owned by the state Department of Archives and History and is thought to be one of the few in existence.
The Mississippi Legislature will start the bicentennial by meeting briefly in joint session in the small community of Washington, just outside Natchez. The state's first constitution was drafted there in 1817.
Officials say they're working on details for a statewide gala in December 2017, open to the public.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.