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

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INFANT DEAD

Parents of infant found dead held on drug charges

SYLVESTER, Ga. (AP) - Officials say the parents of an infant who was found dead at their Mississippi home drove with their 2-year-old daughter to Georgia, where they are being held on felony drug warrants.

Police in Sylvester, about 170 miles south of Atlanta, say 2-year-old Maliah Harris was found unharmed at 12:09 a.m. Thursday in a traffic stop after an Amber Alert was issued. Police Chief Robert Jennings says 34-year-old Donald Boyd Harris and 31-year-old Allison Studdard are wanted on warrants for possession of methamphetamine in Mississippi. Jennings says drugs also were found in the car, with additional charges possible.

Maliah's 7-month-old sister, Alyssa, was found dead early Wednesday. County Coroner Greg Merchant says an autopsy didn't reveal a preliminary cause of death. A toxicology report is pending.

Sheriff Mike Arledge tells WCBI-TV methamphetamine was found at the scene.

KEMPER-HEARING DELAY

Hearing delayed on Mississippi Power Kemper costs

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Upcoming hearings on whether Mississippi Power Co. should be able to get customers to pay for its Kemper County power plant have been postponed.

The Mississippi Public Service Commission Thursday delayed prudency hearings from May 19 until at least August.

The Public Utilities Staff sought the delay. Staff Executive Director Virden Jones says he wants to discuss a settlement of whether the unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co. spent prudently and also of Mississippi Power's seven-year rate proposal to recover costs.

Monitors say some spending was imprudent, which could lead regulators to charge costs to Mississippi Power.

Jones says there wasn't enough time to prepare for hearings, and delaying should allow the Mississippi Supreme Court to rule if it's constitutional for Mississippi Power to recover costs before the plant is running.

RANKIN SHOOTING

Fatal shooting investigated in Rankin Co.

BRANDON, Miss. (AP) - Authorities in Rankin County are investigating the fatal shooting of a Hinds County deputy and his wife.

Sheriff Bryan Bailey says in a news release the victims were Chris Smith and his wife, Amber. He says an autopsy will be conducted

Bailey says the bodies were found in a bedroom about 9 p.m. Wednesday by deputies responding to a 911 call of shots fired. He says deputies were met at the door to the home by the couple's two small children.

Bailey says one child told deputies she heard the parents arguing and when they went into the bedroom they heard two shots. A pistol was found at the scene.

He says the children are with their grandmother.

Smith had been with Hinds sheriff's department since 1994.

HOSPITAL MERGER

UMMC to merge some functions with rehab hospital

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The University of Mississippi Medical Center will merge some functions with a neighboring rehabilitation hospital.

The College Board approved the agreement with Methodist Rehabilitation Center Thursday.

UMMC will close its inpatient rehabilitation unit over the next two years and move it into Methodist's building, hiring some of Methodist's physicians and nurse practitioners as faculty members. Some UMMC employees may shift to Methodist, but no layoffs are expected.

UMMC and Methodist will continue as separate organizations.

As part of the deal, UMMC pledges to create an institute to study neurological and related physical disabilities. Methodist will help pay for the startup costs of the institute and part of the salary of its director.

UMMC says it will also consider creating a department of physical medicine and rehabilitation in its medical school.

GRAMBLING ST-ATHLETIC FEES

Grambling students approve athletics fee

GRAMBLING, La. (AP) - Grambling State University's athletic programs will get a boost in the fall after students approved an athletics fee that will generate an additional $1 million annually.

After students voted against the athletics fee last year, The News-Star reports university officials launched an awareness campaign to show the need for another mandatory fee.

The fee will become effective in the fall. Each student will be assessed $100 per semester.

President Frank Pogue said the approval by the students will not only benefit the athletics programs but the entire university because years of underfunding have required the university to supplement the athletic programs.

Last season Grambling football players boycotted practices and the Oct. 19 Jackson State University game over poor facilities and equipment and ongoing financial issues within the athletic department.

CLARKE CO BODY

Body found in Clarke County

BASIC CITY, Miss. (AP) - Officials from the Mississippi Crime Lab and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation are investigating the discovery of a body in northern Clarke County.

The state agencies joined the Clarke County Sheriff's Department on County Road 376 near Basic City after a neighbor called 911.

Crystal Collins tells WTOK TV she was walking with her young children Wednesday morning when she saw the body in the woods.

Chief Deputy Barry White says the body is that of a female with tattoos.

Authorities have not said how the woman died.

TUPELO TRANSIT SYSTEM

Tupelo makes progress on transit system

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) - The city of Tupelo wants to provide its citizens with a transit system.

Chief Operations Officer Don Lewis told members of the Accountability Task Force Wednesday that bids are coming in to operate the system.

Lewis tells WTVA TV the city's request for proposals has already attracted two companies. Two more are expected.

Under the plan, the city would pay for the contract. That could amount to a minimum of $200,000 annually.

The company would be responsible for any other expenses. They are also expected to supply the vehicles.

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

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