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Magnolia Mornings: January 31, 2024

Magnolia Mornings: January 31, 2024

By: Magnolia Tribune - January 31, 2024

Magnolia morning

Important state and national stories, market and business news, sports and entertainment, delivered in quick-hit fashion to start your day informed.

In Mississippi

1. Wild hog control program applications open Thursday

The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) will begin accepting a new round of applications for its Wild Hog Control Program (WHCP) on Thursday, February 1. The application period will close on Thursday, February 15. All Mississippi counties are eligible for the application period.

In Mississippi alone, MDAC said wild hogs cause more than $60 million in damages annually. Through the WHCP, MDAC seeks to provide “smart” wild hog traps to landowners and managers for the control of wild hogs on private agricultural and forestry lands in Mississippi. MDAC provides the training necessary to use the “smart” traps and technical guidance regarding the most effective methods to trap and control wild hogs on private lands.

Applications must be completed and submitted online at Submitted applications will be evaluated based on the number of acres available for trapping, historical agricultural losses caused by wild hogs on the property and current trapping efforts on the property. A cooperative application is encouraged for small acreage (i.e., adjoining land managers of small parcels should work together to submit one application). Traps will be available for one-month intervals, dependent upon use and success. One trap per 500 acres is recommended, depending on landscape and land use.

2. Mississippi high schools’ career, tech programs received funding

AccelerateMS said on Tuesday that Mississippi has allocated approximately $1.4 million to career and technical education efforts at 25 high schools and districts across the state, aiming to empower students by aligning their education with their future careers or post-secondary education programs.

The EquipMS Grant program, established through House Bill 588 in 2023 as the Mississippi K-12 Workforce Development Grant program, aims to provide funding for Mississippi public school districts to modernize, replace, or otherwise enhance priority sector career and technical high school programs.

Funding for these programs was targeted at manufacturing, healthcare, information technology, economic development priorities, and construction and agriculture, aligning closely with the local industry’s demands.

National News & Foreign Policy

1. House Democrats, led by Congressman Thompson, oppose Mayorkas impeachment

The U.S. House Homeland Security Committee met Tuesday to advance articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for what Republican members claim as his refusing to follow immigration law and of breaching public trust related to the crisis at the southern border.

Republicans hold a majority on the committee. The articles of impeachment, which passed out of committee on Tuesday, must pass the full House before moving forward. A full chamber vote could come next week.

House Democrats, led by Mississippi’s 2nd District Congressman Bennie Thompson, are opposing the action. In a memo sent Monday ahead of the committee meeting and vote, Thompson accused Republicans of perpetuating challenges at the border to help re-elect Donald Trump.

“Every time House Republicans advance their so-called impeachment investigation, we see it further exposed for the political stunt it is. As their arguments fall apart, it is critical we inform the American people about this extreme MAGA Republican sham,” said Thompson. “The report that we released today shows that there is no Constitutional basis for this impeachment. Not only has Secretary Mayorkas upheld the law, he is carrying out the Administration’s policies in good faith and in accordance with our American values. I hope Republicans honor their oath to the Constitution and reject this impeachment.”

Mississippi Republican Congressmen Michael Guest (MS-3) and Mike Ezell (MS-4) also sit on the committee.

2. Tensions between U.S., Iran continue after drone attack that left three American soldiers dead

The New York Times is reporting that the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday that Tehran was “not looking for war,” appearing to signal that it would not escalate tensions with the United States. As noted, he also warned that Iran was prepared to respond if attacked.

According to NYT:

In a surprise move, an Iran-linked militia in Iraq that the Pentagon said was likely responsible for a lethal drone attack on a U.S. base in Jordan over the weekend announced on Tuesday that it was suspending military operations in Iraq under pressure from the Iraqi government and from Iran.

The announcement came shortly after President Biden said that he had decided how to respond to the attack in Jordan on Sunday that left three U.S. soldiers dead, though he did not say what that response would be. His comment raised fears in Iraq about a possibly retaliatory U.S. attack on its territory.

President Biden said Tuesday that he had decided on the U.S. response to the attack but did not state publicly what that action would be.

Sports & Entertainment

1. Ole Miss bests Miss. State in mid-week rivalry matchup

(Photo from OleMissMBB on X)

Before a packed house on the campus of Ole Miss on Tuesday – the largest crowd in school history – the Rebels and rival Mississippi State Bulldogs put on a show that is sure to be an instant classic. Ole Miss came out on top 86-82.

First-year head coach Chris Beard now has his men’s basketball team at 5-3 in the SEC and 18-3 overall. The Rebels are 13-0 at home this season – the longest winning streak on their new court.

The Bulldogs, who came into the game with a three-game winning streak in the series with the Rebels, are now 3-5 in SEC play and 14-7 overall. Head coach Chris Jans’ team upset the No. 9 Auburn Tigers over the weekend.

2. Southern Miss travels to Arkansas State for Wednesday contest

(Photo from SouthernMissMBB on X)

The Southern Miss (12-9, 6-3 Sun Belt) men’s basketball team continues its four-game road trip on Wednesday night at Arkansas State (8-13, 4-5 Sun Belt). 

Southern Miss is coming off a win at Coastal Carolina on Wednesday night before it fell at Marshall on Saturday afternoon.

The Golden Eagles are currently tied for third in the SunBelt standings.

Markets & Business

1. Resignations down 12% over last year

The U.S. Labor Department said Tuesday that Americans quit 6.1 million fewer jobs last year than in 2022—a decline of 12%. In December, those quitting jobs fell to the lowest monthly level in close to three years.

A report from the Wall Street Journal notes that quitting jobs less frequently in 2023 was “a sign confidence in the labor market is falling as the U.S. economy is expected to slow and Americans are taking longer to find new jobs.”

WSJ further reported that the rate at which employees were quitting late last year fell below the pace recorded just before the pandemic began.

“The quits rate in December was a seasonally adjusted 2.2%, down from 2.6% a year earlier,” WSJ stated. “Fewer resignations could mean workers are less confident in their ability to find a new job or more content in their current roles. The total number of job quits declined to 44.5 million in 2023 from 50.6 million in 2022, which was the highest on record.”

2. UPS cutting 12,000 jobs, moving employees back to the office

(Photo from UPS website)

UPS, the national parcel delivery company, announced that it is cutting approximately 12,000 jobs.

The AP reports that CEO Carol Tome said on a conference call Tuesday that by reducing the company’s headcount UPS will realize $1 billion in cost savings.

Tome also announced that UPS is returning to a policy of having its employees back in the office five days a week, according to the AP.

The company announced fourth-quarter 2023 consolidated revenues on Tuesday of $24.9 billion, a 7.8% decrease from the fourth quarter of 2022. Consolidated operating profit was $2.5 billion, down 22.5% compared to the fourth quarter of 2022, and down 27.1% on an adjusted basis. Diluted earnings per share were $1.87 for the quarter; adjusted diluted earnings per share of $2.47 were 31.8% below the same period in 2022.

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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.