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

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Teacher pay plan calls for 3rd-year merit raises

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Pay raises for Mississippi public school teachers are close to becoming law.

Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to sign House Bill 504 Tuesday at the state Capitol.

It calls for teachers to get two across-the-board pay raises worth $2,500 and then be eligible for merit payments in 2016-2017.

The bill includes a $1,500 raise on July 1, and a $1,000 raise that would follow in the budget year beginning July 1, 2015.

The third year would give $100 per student to schools rating "A'' on the state's A-to-F grading system, or to schools moving up a grade. Schools rated "B'' would get $75 per student. Money would go to merit payments split among all teachers and employees of a school, but administrators such as principals would be excluded.


Galloway seeks federal review of death sentence

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi death row inmate Leslie "Bo" Galloway III, convicted of raping and killing a Harrison Central High senior in 2008, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his appeal.

Prosecutors say Galloway, now 30, killed the teenager and dumped her body in a rural wooded area off Mississippi Highway 15. Hunters found her body.

In 2013, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld Galloway's 2010 conviction and death sentence in the slaying of Shakeylia Anderson of Gulfport.

Prosecutors say Galloway, now 30, killed the 17-year-old Anderson and dumped her body in a rural wooded area off Mississippi Highway 15.

Prosecutors say Anderson was last seen getting into Galloway's car on Dec. 5, 2008. Hunters found her body the next day.


SpaceX to test methane rocket engine in Miss.

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (AP) - Private space exploration firm SpaceX and the Stennis Space Center have cut the ribbon on an improved rocket engine test stand.

The ceremony was held Monday at the space center.

SpaceX, based in Hawthorne, Calif., is supposed to conduct initial testing this year of its new Raptor engines, which will be powered by methane and liquid oxygen.

SpaceX President/COO Gywnne Shotwell says 15-20 people will work on the Raptor testing at Stennis, but hopes to grow that number as testing expands. She says the rocket engines being tested could eventually help Americans reach Mars. The company's aggressive timetable for the first such flight, she says, is 15-20 years

Stennis Director Rick Gilbrech says the company will start with a very fundamental test program - a single Raptor injector element.


Port awaits word on whether Chiquita will stay

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - State port executives and union members are waiting to find out whether one of four anchor tenants, Chiquita Brands International Inc., plans to stay after its lease expires July 15.

Darius Johnson, president of the International Longshoremen Association, Local No. 1303, tells The Sun Herald Chiquita provides about 1/3 of the union's annual man hours at the port.

The port's executive director, Jonathan Daniels, said Chiquita must decide by May 15 whether the company plans to extend its lease for two years. Chiquita recently announced a merger, to be completed later this year, with Irish fruit company Fyffes.

Daniels says Chiquita is analyzing all aspects of its logistics from shipment points in Central America through distribution.


DeSoto Co. supervisors approve $8M jail expansion

HERNANDO, Miss. (AP) - Construction is expected to roll by as early as mid-May on a 268-bed expansion of the new DeSoto County Jail south of Hernando.

On Monday, the Board of Supervisors' approval of the lowest bid - $8.3 million - from Southaven-based builder Murphy and Sons in a rebid on the long-awaited project.

Sheriff Bill Rasco tells The Commercial Appeal he plans to house all adult inmates in the jail when the expected 14 months of construction ends in the summer of 2015.

The initial process, with bid opening on Jan. 16, had to be voided and all steps repeated due to a publication error.

Rasco says the expansion will bring in all remaining adults from the old jail in downtown Hernando.


William Carey nursing dean appointed to board

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Gov. Phil Bryant has appointed Janet Williams, dean of the William Carey University School of Nursing, to serve on the State Board of Nursing.

The Hattiesburg American reports Williams has served the nursing school for over 20 years as a teacher and administrator and dean.

She received a BS in nursing from The University of Southern Mississippi, a MSN in adult health nursing from University of Alabama in Birmingham, an MBA from University of South Alabama, and a PhD in educational leadership from USM.


Hancock Co. sends case of dismembered woman to La.

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi authorities say the unsolved death of a dismembered New Orleans Bourbon Street dancer is being turned over to police in Kenner, La., and the Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office.

Glenn Grannan of the Hancock County Sheriff's Office tells The Sun Herald evidence gathered during the investigation indicates 22-year-old Jaren Lockhart was killed in Kenner before her body parts began to wash ashore in Hancock County in June 2012.

No one has been arrested.

Lockhart was last seen leaving work with a couple identified as persons of interest.

Terry Speaks and Margaret Sanchez were arrested on unrelated charges and were questioned about Lockhart's disappearance.

Grannan says Sanchez has moved away from Louisiana and Speaks is serving time in a federal prison for failing to register as a sex offender.


Jackson Co. approves $5M loan for Pascagoula port

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) - The Jackson County Board of Supervisors came out of executive session with the Port of Pascagoula and approved a loan, not to exceed $5 million, to improve a wharf on Bayou Casotte.

Port Director Mark McAndrews tells The Sun Herald the money will be used to upgrade an under-utilized wharf so that it will be able to handle liquid bulk cargo for a new shipper.

County supervisors said Monday the project is tied to the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery, which will actually pay off the loan. The wharf will be used to transport xylene, a solvent found in airplane fuel and gasoline and is used in the rubber and leather industries.


Resurfacing work begins on Mississippi 57

VANCLEAVE, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi Department of Transportation started a project this week to resurface a section of Mississippi 57 in Jackson County.

MDOT Southern Transportation Commissioner Tom King tells The Sun Herald the project involves three miles of roadway along Mississippi 57 from U.S. 90 to Interstate 10.

Work has started to remove vegetation from the shoulders in preparation for paving.

The $1.69 million project was awarded to Mallette Brothers Construction, Inc.

Construction is scheduled for completion by June.


Deadlines, meetings set ahead of Jan. BP trial

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal court magistrate has issued a seven-page schedule of hearings, conferences and deadlines leading up to January's trial aimed at determining how much money BP will owe in Clean Water Act fines as a result of its 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The Jan. 20 date for the trial was set earlier this year by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier (BAHR'-bee-aye). It will be the third phase of litigation to determine penalties arising from the disaster

On Monday, a U.S. magistrate judge issued a lengthy schedule of pre-trial activities, including telephone conferences and deadlines for providing witness and exhibit lists.

Earlier phases dealt with causes of the 2010 rig explosion and estimates of the amount of oil that spewed into Gulf waters as a result of it.

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

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