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

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Man alleges sexual abuse as anti-gay 'conversion'

HERNANDO, Miss. (AP) - A Mississippi man has filed a complaint alleging that a teacher at a church-run school sexually abused him in an attempt to change his sexual orientation from homosexuality.

Thirty-two-year-old Jeff White says he realized he had a duty to stand up against people who harmed him in the 1990s because such efforts still hurt others. The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights helped White file the complaint with the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department. The center released his statement.

Sheriff's department spokesman Dick Hackett confirms that a complaint was filed last week against Bethel Baptist Church in Walls. He says he can only say it's being investigated.

Church spokesman Josh Carlisle said Friday the church knows there's an investigation and intends to cooperate.


New Mississippi record gator, 2 days into season

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks says there's a new state alligator record.

It reported Saturday that Robert Mahaffey of Brandon and two assistants hauled in a 756-pound 'gator. That broke the record by 14 ½-pounds.

Saturday was the second day of Mississippi's alligator season, which ends at noon on Sept. 8.

Mahaffey's gator was 13 feet, 1.75 inches long, 67.25 inches around the belly and 45.6 inches around the base of the tail.

Both that alligator and the previous record-holder were caught in the Southwest Alligator Hunting Zone.

The former record holder was caught last year by Lee Turner of Madison.


Sheriff: Add justice court warrants to E-911

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - Law enforcement officials are proposing that access to warrants issue by the justice court be added to a new computer-aided dispatch system for Vicksburg Warren E-911.

Sheriff Martin Pace told members of the E-911 Commission and board of supervisors that the current system is not connected to justice court records.

The Vicksburg Post reports access to city records is included in the current 911 system but the only way to check justice court warrants and summons are to call during working hours.

Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong says he supports adding justice court records.

Marcie Southerland, the attorney for the commission and the Warren County Board of Supervisors, says she'll discuss the idea with justice court officials.

The computer-aided system is in the early stages of installation.


Woman, 26, dies in Hattiesburg apartment fire

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Forrest County Deputy Coronor Lisa Klem says a 26-year-old Hattiesburg woman died in an early morning apartment fire.

Klem says the body of Kayla Ducksworth has been sent to the Mississippi Crime Lab for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Ducksworth was found in her apartment around 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

Klem tells The Hattiesburg American ( that Ducksworth was pronounced dead at Forrest General Hospital at 3:30 a.m.

The apartment received moderate fire damage.


100s of school board leases may have rent too low

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Hattiesburg school board president Marcus Cathey says the rent may be too low and the lease too long on hundreds of 99-year leases for school board land.

Hattiesburg Public School District official Alan Oubre says the 400 leases include some for about a dollar a year per acre, and one is for less than 50 cents an acre per year. He tells The Hattiesburg American that similar leases have been overturned in other school districts.

Oubre says the state doesn't even allow 99-year leases any more. He says guidelines call for renewable 25-year leases, with 40 years allowed under certain circumstances.

Cathey says that for now, the board is just doing research, and no immediate action is planned.

Leaseholders include owners of car dealerships and local businesses.


MVSU launches degree programs in Greenville

GREENVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi Valley State University is offering degree-completion programs at the Greenville Higher Education Center.

The Delta Democrat-Times reports the university began offering courses this past week that are compatible with Mississippi Delta Community College's associates-degree programs to provide students an opportunity to stay in Greenville and receive a bachelor's or master's degree.

Mississippi Valley is offering fall 2014 and spring 2015 degree-completion programs in criminal justice, mass communications, speech communications and physical education and recreation.

Some courses will comprise so-called hybrid classes, offering students an opportunity to work online and in the classroom.


Judge: McComb gets neglected cemetery

MCCOMB, Miss. (AP) - The judge's bench was a folding table and a folding chair was the witness stand when a Pike County judge turned Greenwood Cemetery over to the City of McComb.

The Enterprise-Journal reports that Judge John Price held the eminent domain hearing Thursday on a closed-off street near the cemetery.

He says the location was to show the community that officials are concerned, to provide full transparency and to help the court understand the surroundings.

The cemetery's grass is weedy and overgrown. Many tombstones are chipped or cracked. Residents say others have been misplaced or even stolen.

Dowdy repeatedly asked witnesses, including city officials and local residents, whether they felt the city could maintain the property. All said "yes."

All parties agreed the city should take it over.


State to help stock, manage Amory pond

AMORY, Miss. (AP) - An Amory pond has been added to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks community assistance program.

WTVA-TV reports McAlpine Lake joins the list of places to provide fishing opportunities to young anglers in urban settings.

The Amory Parks and Recreation Department will get state help to develop and manage the 2.5-acre pond.

Wildlife and fisheries officials will stock the pond and provide assistance on catch limits and controlling aquatic plants.

More information about use of the pond is available by calling the Amory parks and recreation department at 662-256-3221.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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