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This Hour: Latest Mississippi news, sports, business and entertainment

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Cochran attorneys: Election lawsuit too late

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran's attorneys say a lawsuit seeking to overturn his Republican primary victory should be dismissed because it was filed too late.

They also argue Cochran should not have been sued because he didn't conduct the election.

Cochran defeated state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the June 24 runoff, and the state GOP certified the results July 7.

In court papers Thursday, Cochran's attorneys cite a 1959 Mississippi Supreme Court decision that a challenge to a statewide election must be filed within 20 days of when results are certified. They say that means McDaniel had a July 27 deadline. McDaniel filed suit Aug. 14.

A judge has set a Sept. 15 trial date but will hear arguments Aug. 28 on pretrial motions, including Cochran's request to dismiss the case.


State confirms 2 cases of TB at 2 Tunica casinos

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - State health regulators confirm they're investigating two cases of tuberculosis affecting two casinos in Tunica County.

The Mississippi State Department of Health, in a news release Thursday, said the two cases involve at least one employee at each casino.

Tuberculosis is an airborne infectious disease that's curable and preventable. Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state's epidemiologist, says there's no evidence to suggest that any casino patrons were exposed.

Caesars Entertainment Corp. spokesman Gary Thompson confirms a case of TB was found in one of its table game dealers at Horseshoe Casino and Hotel.

A spokeswoman for MGM Resorts International, which operates Gold Strike Casino Resort, would not confirm whether one of its employees was involved, but said the company was working with the state department to arrange testing.


Ex-TSA worker loses appeal of in slaying

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi Supreme Court will not hear the appeal a former employee of the federal Transportation Security Administration in Mississippi who was convicted in the 2011 death of a co-worker.

Ruben Orlando Benitez was convicted in Harrison County in 2013 for the fatal stabbing of Stacey Wright, who was killed in her home. He was sentenced to life in prison.

The state Court of Appeals upheld his conviction last year. The Supreme Court declined Thursday to hear the case.

Prosecutors say Benitez told authorities that he killed Wright after the two argued about her wanting to end their affair. Prosecutors say she was stabbed 11 times.

Both had worked for the TSA, providing security in airports.

The Appeals Court denied Benitez' argument that he acted in the heat of passion.


Woman sentenced to 21 months in theft of benefits

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A 49-year-old Picayune woman has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for the theft of more than $75,000 in Social Security payments sent to her dead mother.

U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis tells The Mississippi Press that Virginia Ann Edelman also was sentenced Thursday to three years post-release supervision, ordered to pay $75,325 in restitution to the Social Security Administration and perform 120 hours of community service.

Edelmen was found guilty in May of stealing over $75,000 of her deceased mother's Social Security Survivor's Insurance Benefit payments. The thefts occurred between May 2000 and October 2011.


KiOR misses contract payment with Adams County

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - Financially struggling fuel maker KiOR missed a key payment to Adams County this week that would have allowed the company to continue holding onto its undeveloped proposed industrial site in Natchez.

KiOR announced in mid-2012 plans to build an alternative fuel production facility near the Natchez-Adams County Port, but its plans have since been stalled by technical and financial quagmire at its only full-scale plant in Columbus.

Two weeks ago, the company warned it would run out of money in September and could face bankruptcy, and the company had multiple rounds of employee layoffs.

The Natchez Democrat reports the company had a $150,000, six-month contract on the county-owned property, but when the payment was due Tuesday, it was not made.


Southaven fires city parks director

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (AP) - Southaven aldermen have fired city Parks Director Michael Mullins, who was found guilty of simple assault earlier this month for allegedly groping a woman.

During a 14-minute executive session Thursday that was closed to the media, Alderwoman Shirley Beshears said the board voted to fire Mullins.

Beshears tells The Commercial Appeal the vote was unanimous and that Assistant Parks Director Wesley Brown was named interim director.

Mullins earlier this month received a 10-day suspended sentence on the charge, along with five months unsupervised probation, and was told he could not have any intentional contact with the victim. He also was ordered to pay nearly $500 in court costs.

The victim was identified in the police report on the incident as a 49-year-old woman.


Man suspected of burning Long Beach toddler

LONG BEACH, Miss. (AP) - Long Beach police have arrested a Biloxi man on a felony child-abuse charge alleging he caused second-degree burns to a 16-month-old boy.

The Sun Herald reports 23-year-old Kenneth Ashton Preston is accused of burning the child, possibly with a hot liquid, June 16.

Assistant Police Chief Alan Bond says the toddler was taken to a hospital emergency room and medical personnel called in detectives,

Bond says the child is the son of Preston's girlfriend.

Preston is free on a $50,000 bond.

It was unclear whether he has an attorney.


Beady new CEO at Miss. Food Network

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Charles H. Beady Jr., the former president of The Piney Woods School, is the new CEO of the Mississippi Food Network.

The Board of Directors of Mississippi Food Network made the announcement in a news release Thursday.

Beady served for 20 years as president of Piney Woods School, one of the country's only historically black boarding schools. Beady left the school in 2005. The school is located south of Jackson.

Beady has worked for several organizations, most recently as associate director at the Virgin Islands University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

The Mississippi Food Network operates a food bank in Jackson. It stores and distributes food and household items to member agencies in its service area including emergency food pantries, day care centers, after-school programs and others.

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