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Magnolia Mornings: March 22, 2024

Magnolia Mornings: March 22, 2024

By: Magnolia Tribune - March 22, 2024

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In Mississippi

1. Mississippi federal delegation requests FEMA consider updated flood maps

The entire Mississippi federal delegation – both U.S. Senators and all four Congressmen – has signed onto a letter led by Congressman Mike Ezell (R-MS 4) calling on FEMA to consider updated flood maps for coastal Mississippi communities.

The letter, addressed to FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, comes after her appearance before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure last week. During that hearing, Congressman Ezell secured Administrator Criswell’s commitment to include new maps designed through the Mississippi Coastal Map Revision Project (MCMRP) in FEMA’s risk rating calculations.

“We support [MCMRP’s] aim to create more accurate and reliable flood risk management data for our constituents, and we appreciate your commitment… to ensure these updates are included appropriately. This project is critical to the economic stability and development of Gulf Coast communities and the entire State of Mississippi,” the Mississippi delegation wrote.

2. Gautier awarded $1.3M from HUD for Shepard State Park community center

The City of Gautier has been awarded $1.3 million in federal funding assistance through the Economic Development Initiative under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The funding is dedicated to the demolition of the dilapidated Shepard State Park Ranger House and its rebuilding into a critically needed multipurpose community center.

According to a release from the city, the funding will provide a public facility that serves as an open meeting place for local civic organizations or supports various health and wellness activities, something Gautier does not currently have. The restored Shepard State Park Ranger House will be repurposed as the City of Gautier’s sole multipurpose community center allowing for various groups to conduct meetings and activities.

The city says it plans to feature permanent, visual educational amenities to inform guests about the natural beauty of Southern Mississippi, including showcasing the flora and fauna of the surrounding environment.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.

National News & Foreign Policy

1. Biden continues to outpace Trump in campaign fundraising

Left to Right: Donald Trump (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell – March 5, 2024) and Joe Biden (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik – March 7, 2024)

The New York Times reports that according to their latest FEC filings, President Biden’s re-election campaign had $71 million on hand at the end of February, more than double the $33.5 million in former President Donald J. Trump’s campaign account.

Yet, as NYT notes, the campaign finance picture of the two candidates is incomplete.

“Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden are raising money through joint fund-raising committees, which will not file reports until mid-April. These committees transfer funds to the campaigns, which are better able to pay salaries and to buy advertising time at the lower rates guaranteed to candidates,” NYT reported.

2. Gannett, McClatchy no longer using AP

As reported by the Washington Post on Thursday, two major American newspaper chains have said they will no longer use the AP for news.

“Gannett, the publisher of USA Today and more than 200 local newspapers, and McClatchy, which publishes the Miami Herald and Kansas City Star among more than two dozen other newspapers, said this week that they were ending their content relationship with the AP,” the Post reported.

The Post went on to note that memos to staff and public statements revealed that executives with both companies described the decision as “a cost-saving move — in the ‘millions’ of dollars, according to McClatchy brass — and said they will have no trouble filling the news gap.”

Sports & Entertainment

1. Miss. State falls in opening game of NCAA Tournament

(Photo from Mississippi State Athletics)

March Madness for Mississippi State opened and closed during Thursday’s Round of 64 game against Michigan State, with the Bulldogs losing by a score of 69-51.

Mississippi State was the No. 8 seed in the West Regional while Michigan State was the No. 9 seed.

Mississippi State, who made an NCAA appearance for the second consecutive season, ended their season with a 21-14 overall and 8-10 in the SEC.

2. JSU women ready to dance in NCAA Tournament

(Photo from JSU Athletics)

The Jackson State women’s basketball team is set to compete in the NCAA Tournament as they face UConn in the first round on Saturday, March 23.

The Tigers were tabbed the No. 14 seed in the Portland 3 Region of the 2024 NCAA DI Women’s Basketball Championship.

The Tigers punched their ticket to the tournament after defeating Alcorn State 68-44 to claim the 2024 SWAC Championship title.

The other Mississippi women’s team in the NCAA – the Ole Miss Rebels – are the No. 7 seed. Ole Miss will square off in the Round of 64 against No. 10 Marquette on Saturday.

Markets & Business

1. U.S. sues Apple over antitrust violations

Reuters reports that the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday sued Apple, the first major antitrust effort against the iPhone maker by the Biden administration, alleging it monopolized smartphone markets.

“Apple joins a list of major tech companies sued by U.S. regulators, including Alphabet’s Google, Meta Platforms and across the administrations of both former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden,” Reuters reported.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement that consumers should not have to pay higher prices because companies violate the antitrust laws.

As noted by Reuters, the Justice Department alleges that Apple uses its market power to get more money from consumers, developers, content creators, artists, publishers, small businesses and merchants.

2. Skydweller to open at Stennis in Hancock County, MS

On Monday, March 25, Skydweller Aero is scheduled to open its flight test and aircraft modification facility at Stennis International Airport in Hancock County, Mississippi.

This grand opening not only marks a major milestone for Stennis International Airport, but it also unveils Skydweller, the nation’s only large unmanned solar-powered aircraft capable of perpetual flight.

Skydwellers are autonomous solar-powered aircraft, each with a wingspan greater than a 747, that can stay aloft for months at time with zero carbon footprint. Skydweller Aero is building a fleet of the world’s largest solar-powered unmanned aircraft capable of perpetual flight. The company will unveil the first-of-its-kind aircraft that will fly autonomous missions of up to 90 days or longer carrying payloads of up to 800 pounds.

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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.