Latest Mississippi news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. CDT

September 18, 2018 - 12:00 am

ELECTION 2018-SENATE-MISSISSIPPI-THE LATEST

The Latest: Senator questions timing of Kavanaugh allegation

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Republican U.S. senator who's seeking re-election in Mississippi says she has "serious reservations regarding the questionable timing" of a sexual misconduct allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith has been saying for weeks that she will vote to confirm Kavanaugh.

Hyde-Smith said Tuesday that Democrats knew months ago that a woman is accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were teenagers in the 1980s.

One of Hyde-Smith's challengers in a November special election, Republican Chris McDaniel, said Monday on American Family Radio that the allegation against Kavanaugh is a "made-up" scandal as the left tries to derail the nomination of a conservative.

Another Hyde-Smith challenger, Democrat Mike Espy, said Tuesday that the allegations against Kavanaugh are "serious and troubling" and must be thoroughly investigated.

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METRO AREA GDP-MISSISSIPPI

Metro economic growth in Mississippi lags the nation in 2017

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Economic growth in Mississippi's three metropolitan areas lagged the national average in 2017.

Numbers released Tuesday by the U.S. Commerce Department show the economy shrank in the Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula metro area, while it grew in the Jackson and Hattiesburg metro areas.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast economy shrank 2.3 percent after growing 5.3 percent last year. Its performance was 369th of 383 metro areas. Among sectors declining were government, construction and tourism. Results weren't released for nondurable manufacturing, including Chevron Corp.'s oil refinery, but it appears to also have shrunk.

Jackson grew 0.5 percent, led by retail stores and wholesalers.

Hattiesburg's economy grew 1.4 percent, led by professional and business services, health care, and private educational services.

Memphis, including part of northern Mississippi, grew 0.4 percent.

Metro areas nationwide grew 2.1 percent.

SENATE-MISSISSIPPI-LAWSUIT

Lawsuit over suicide after political scandal ends for some

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A judge is letting off the hook some people sued by relatives of a Mississippi man after he killed himself following a bitterly-fought U.S. Senate race.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves on Tuesday ruled Mark Mayfield's widow and sons can't sue a law firm or police chief.

However, Reeves says he'll hear more argument on whether they can sue a mayor and police officers.

The plaintiffs say they sued members of a political network who pushed Mayfield to suicide after he was charged with conspiracy to exploit a vulnerable adult.

Mayfield supported tea party upstart Chris McDaniel, who lost to Sen. Thad Cochran in 2014's Republican primary.

The felony charge was tied to unauthorized publication of a photo of Cochran's wife, Rose, who lived in a nursing home with dementia.

SCIENCE GRANT

4 Mississippi universities share $20M federal science grant

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The National Science Foundation is giving four Mississippi universities $20 million over five years to study electronic devices that create, detect and control light.

Mississippi State University will administer the grant, while the University of Southern Mississippi will lead the science work. Jackson State University and the University of Mississippi will also be part of the group.

The grant is being awarded through a federal program that's meant to help universities become more competitive in research.

The effort will focus on organic semiconductors, which could have uses in electronics and biomedicine. The center will support institutions working together on research and set up common instrumentation.

Officials say they hope progress could help existing Mississippi companies and attract new industries.

OCEAN SPRINGS DEVELOPMENT

Shops, hotel planned for mixed-use development in coast city

(Information from: WLOX-TV, http://www.wlox.com)

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) — Shops, restaurants, a boutique hotel, office space and homes could be built in a city on Mississippi's coast as officials have agreed to a contract with two developers over a vacant lot.

WLOX-TV reports Jackson County supervisors approved on Monday an $850,000 bid on the property in Ocean Springs. Developers John Oropesa and Jim Hardin of OHOS Land, LLC had offered the money a couple months ago and now they have 60 days to close the deal.

Oropesa and Hardin say they are excited to be a part of making something the community will be proud of. The local private developers' plan for a mixed-use development could change depending on what is required over the next few months.

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DEPUTY-TRUCK CRASH

Sheriff's deputy in Mississippi involved in truck crash

(Information from: WDAM-TV, http://www.wdam.com)

WAYNESBORO, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Highway Patrol says a tractor-trailer rig has struck a sheriff's deputy's car.

Troopers say a rig struck a Wayne County deputy's cruiser on U.S. Highway 84 where the officer was conducting traffic control for a driveway repaving operation at a chemical company around 7:45 a.m. Monday.

Patrol spokesman Travis Luck told WDAM-TV that no one was hurt.

The truck overturned, blocking the eastbound lanes of the road for a time

Luck says the crash is still under investigation.

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