JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A Mississippi Department of Education executive at the center of questions about the department's contracting practices is resigning. Spokeswoman Jean Cook told The Associated Press on Friday that Chief Information Officer John Cook is leaving the department at the end of November for "personal reasons." Cook says Porter's departure has nothing to do with criticism of the department's contracting practices by state Auditor Stacey Pickering and others.
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A charitable group has promised a $1 million donation to expand Mississippi's only children's hospital. The Junior League of Jackson announced the pledge Friday to benefit the work on the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children and associated facilities at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Medical center officials say they now have $60 million in donor pledges toward a $100 million private fundraising goal.
NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - A 12th man has been arrested in connection with a series of shootings in southwest Mississippi. Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong tells The Natchez Democrat that Jermetrice Thomas was arrested Friday on charges including murder and four counts of aggravated assault. Investigators say Thomas is among those connected to an Oct. 1 shooting spree that ended in the death of Richard Frazier. It's unclear if Thomas has a lawyer to speak for him or if bail has been set.
CORINTH, Miss. (AP) - An electrical fire inside a ventilation fan is believed to have sparked a blaze that destroyed a northeast Mississippi factory. Alcorn County Deputy Fire Coordinator Jackie Farr says that Palmer-Handrail Custom Millwork employees tried to put out the vent fire, but flames spread outside and onto the roof. No one was injured, but the building was destroyed. Factory co-owner Brenda Palmer says that she and her husband are unsure what their next steps will be.
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