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Magnolia Mornings: February 15, 2024

Magnolia Mornings: February 15, 2024

By: Magnolia Tribune - February 15, 2024

President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, March 1, 2022, in Washington. (Shawn Thew/Pool via AP, File - ASSOCIATED PRESS.)

  • 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. Jackson Council backs tiny houses for homeless

WAPT reports that the Jackson City Council approved funding Tuesday for a new project to build tiny houses for homeless people.

As WAPT notes, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba wants to spend $3 million in federal funds to build tiny homes for homeless people.

“The goal is to build 60 tiny homes to serve an unhoused population now living on the streets. They will be located on a vacant lot on Capers Avenue, off Capital Street,” WAPT reports.

2. Millions in unclaimed life insurance found by Mississippians

More than 1,400 Mississippians used the Life Insurance Policy Locator to find lost life insurance policies valued at more than $41 million in 2023, according to the Mississippi Department of Insurance.

The Life Insurance Policy Locator is a free tool, maintained by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Since its inception in 2016, the program has found more than $94 million for Mississippians.

Each year, millions of dollars in life insurance benefits go unclaimed by beneficiaries who can’t find their loved ones’ policies or in some cases may not even know the policies exist. That’s where the Life Insurance Policy Locator comes in. To locate a lost policy, click here or if you need assistance in locating a lost policy, you can contact the Mississippi Insurance Department at 601-359-2453.

National News & Foreign Policy

1. IRS sending collection notices

Collection notices are resuming from the IRS. As reported by USA Today, the automated notices resumed in January and are set to go out in the regular mail on a staggered basis over the next several months.

The IRS says more than 3.7 million taxpayers in the automated collection system are expected to receive these reminder notices.

“The IRS is sending out what it calls an “LT38 Notice” to let you know that during the pandemic some collection notices were suspended,’ USA Today reported. “This isn’t a letter to inform you of an audit. Instead, the IRS is resuming the reminders and providing an update on your outstanding balance and options to resolve the debt.”

2. House Republican majority grows even slimmer after NY special election

President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, March 1, 2022, in Washington. (Shawn Thew/Pool via AP)

The Republican majority in the U.S. House got even slimmer Tuesday as Democrat Tom Suozzi won the special election in New York to replace expelled former GOP Congressman George Santos.

Suozzki defeated Republican Mazi Pilip in the special election, meaning the GOP will now have one of the slimmest majorities in the history of the House of Representatives – just 6 seats. Speaker Mike Johnson’s leadership team can now only afford to lose 2 votes on any measure.

There are also 3 vacancies in the chamber, leaving Republicans with 219 seats and Democrats 213 seats.

Sports & Entertainment

1. Berry returns to USM as Asst. AD

(Photo from Southern Miss Athletics)

Former Golden Eagle baseball coach Scott Berry has rejoined the Southern Miss Athletic department as Assistant Athletic Director for Community Relations.

Berry spent the last 23 seasons with the Golden Eagle baseball program before retiring at the conclusion of last season’s 46-20 campaign and second-straight NCAA Super Regional appearance.

“We are excited to have Scott Berry continue to be involved with our athletics department as an Assistant AD,” said Athletic Director Jeremy McClain. “No one exemplifies what it means to be a Golden Eagle more than Scott, and his presence will continue to have a positive impact on our programs.”

2. JSU’s O’Neal named SWAC co-impact player of the week

(Photo from JSU Athletics website)

Jackson State’s Jordan O’Neal was named as a Southwestern Athletic Conference Co-Impact Player of the Week.

O’Neal averaged 17.5 points per game along with 6.5 rebounds and had three blocks for the Tigers to help them get two wins on the road this past week. He was 16-of-28 from the floor. 

Markets & Business

1. Mortgage rates rise, homebuying slows

CNBC reported Wednesday that the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($766,550 or less) increased to 6.87% last week from 6.80% the week before.

In addition, CNBC reports that applications to refinance a home loan fell 2% for the week but were 12% higher than the same week one year ago while applications for a mortgage to purchase a home dropped 3% for the week and were 12% lower than the same week a year ago.

2. Lyft typo sends stocks soaring

A typo sent Lyft shares to a 52-week high Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported, following the company’s strong fourth-quarter results and despite confusion caused by a mistake in its earnings release.

“Lyft’s release Tuesday said one of its profit margins was expected to expand by 500 basis points—or 5 percentage points—in 2024. That margin was only expected to expand by 50 basis points, the company’s chief financial officer later clarified on a call with analysts,” WSJ reported.

The company’s stock soared over 60% when the release came out after the close of regular trading Tuesday, WSJ noted, but as the company’s CEO David Risher said Wednesday, “It was a bad error, and that’s on me,” saying of the missed extra zero.

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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.