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Around our area this morning

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MONROE, La., (KNOE 8 News) - Here are some of the stories we're seeing this morning around the Arklamiss.

In Louisiana, a national organization of university professors is criticizing the way Southern University faculty members were treated immediately after the school declared a financial emergency nearly two years ago. The report from the American Association of University Professors accuses Southern of freezing faculty out of the decision-making process as administrators looked for ways to cut costs.

LAKE CHARLES, - Airplanes at Lake Charles Regional Airport are limiting the number of passengers allowed on board to decrease the weight of planes using the smaller, secondary runway while the primary runway is closed for maintenance. The primary runway is getting a $2.4 million makeover.

LAFAYETTE, - The father of a 6-year-old boy who was dragged to death while trying to climb aboard the school bus has been awarded $300,000 in damages. The ruling from a state district judge came after two days of testimony in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Marcus Miller of Lafayette.

LAFAYETTE, - A 19-year-old Lafayette man charged in a shooting death has been released after prosecutors determined he was not the shooter. Kentrell Morrison was being held on one count of first-degree murder in the July 1 shooting death of Frederick Joseph in a Taco Bell restaurant parking lot.

In Arkansas, meanwhile, Officials say at least 16 oily birds, seven turtles, nine reptiles, a beaver and a muskrat have been recovered for treatment since an ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured last week. Authorities are urging people not to touch any injured or oiled animals as crews clean up the spill in Mayflower. ExxonMobil says a contractor has started a wildlife rehabilitation operation on-site.

MOUNTAIN HOME, - Baxter County authorities say a man found dead in the trunk of a car was shot to death. Sheriff John Montgomery says the state medical examiner determined yesterday that 24-year-old Raul Segura Turrieta died of gunshot wounds to the head and chest. The man's body was found yesterday after a resident called 911 to report that a woman arrived in the car and said she may have killed someone.

LITTLE ROCK, - The Arkansas House is set to vote on a proposal to provide a company with $125 million in state financing to help build a new steel mill in northeastern Arkansas. The bill's sponsor, Representative Monte Hodges, says he'll present the bill before the full House today. The proposal would authorize Arkansas to issue bonds to provide a loan and pay some of the construction costs of a $1.1 billion steel mill in Osceola.

LITTLE ROCK, - Arkansas lawmakers have advanced legislation aimed at cutting off public funding to Planned Parenthood. The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee endorsed the proposal yesterday. Planned Parenthood says the legislation could also cut off money to doctors, rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters.

And in Mississippi, this morning, Lowndes County authorities are considering a law that would require nightclubs to close at 1 a.m. Sheriff Mike Arledge is pushing for the ordinance. He blames various problems on clubs that remain open late, like noise complaints and violence.

JACKSON, - A 22-year-old Jackson woman has pleaded guilty to theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. Ciara Gooden admitted yesterday to using the personal identifying information of numerous unsuspecting people to file false federal income tax returns.

COLUMBUS, - The Columbus City Council has approved a motion to stop the city's practice of disqualifying job applicants with felonies. The proposal also includes forming a committee to establish screening policies that will allow for past incarceration to be considered when reviewing city job applicants, but would not be the sole determining factor as to whether someone is hired.

HATTIESBURG, - The Hattiesburg Public School District wants to make its buildings more a part of the community by offering them to the public after operating hours to use for events such as meetings, dance recitals or yoga classes. A district spokesman says the schools always have been open to the community, but the district has not always publicized the fact.

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