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VICKSBURG MILITARY PARK DAMAGE

Officials respond to damage at Vicksburg battlefield park

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — The mayor of Vicksburg says federal officials are responding to his call for attention to road and erosion damage that have closed nearly a third of Vicksburg National Military Park after a winter of heavy rains. The Vicksburg Post reports that a National Park Service incident management team is expected to be at the park this week to stabilize areas and plan for more permanent repairs. The park is the site of one of the Civil War's most significant battles and a linchpin of tourism. Flaggs wrote a letter to President Donald Trump warning about damage to the park and Vicksburg National Cemetery.

HISTORIC BUILDING DEMOLITION

Historic building to be torn down after loose bricks found

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — A 140-year-old building in north Mississippi will be torn down after city inspectors concluded its brick walls can no longer hold it up. The Oxford Eagle reports that well-known chef John Currence was renovating the building just south of the Oxford square when a city inspector discovered a load-bearing wall has loose bricks. On Friday, a city preservation commission issued a demolition certificate to building owner Tim Smith. Currence tells commissioners he still intends to still build a New Orleans-themed restaurant and rum bar at the site. A sidewalk and a lane of South Lamar Boulevard have been closed since problems were discovered Wednesday.

RACIST GRAFFITI-FRAUD ARREST

Man arrested on fraud charge after reporting racist graffiti

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (AP) — A north Mississippi man has been charged with insurance fraud and evidence tampering after he reported racist graffiti had been spray-painted on two vehicles. Trumaine Foster was arrested Friday by Southaven police. DeSoto County jail records show the 35-year-old remains jailed Sunday without bail. Local news outlets report Foster on Feb. 4 told police he awoke to find a pickup truck and car vandalized. WREG-TV reports Southaven police stopped short of explicitly saying Foster is responsible for the graffiti. A woman at Foster's home ignored questions Friday before leaving in the car that had been spray-painted. The graffiti had been removed.

HOSPITAL WHISTLEBLOWER LAWSUIT

Verdict in hospital whistleblower lawsuit delayed

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — A federal judge delayed the end of six-week trial over Medicare fraud in Mississippi after saying he felt faint. U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate on Thursday put off closing arguments in the trial in Gulfport until Monday. The Sun Herald reports it was later determined that Wingate was dehydrated, The judge blames too much exercise and not enough water. Ted and Julie Cain and two business associates are charged in a civil lawsuit with defrauding Medicare of $13 million for work at Stone County Hospital. If jurors find for the government, the Cains could be forced to pay $39 million.

PRISON UNREST-MISSISSIPPI

1 of 2 inmates who died recently at Mississippi prison ID'd

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Authorities have identified one of two inmates who died recently at a Mississippi prison that's under U.S. Justice Department investigation. One of the deaths occurred Thursday and the other Friday at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. The state Department of Corrections said 61-year-old Timothy R. Sharpe, who was serving 20 years for sexual battery and child molestation, died Friday at Parchman's prison hospital. A coroner said Friday that there was “no evidence of foul play” in either death. Officials didn't identify the other inmate pending notification of relatives.  At least 21 inmates have died in Mississippi prisons since late December, some during outbursts of violence.

EDUCATOR AWARD

Petal teacher only Mississippi Milken Educator winner

PETAL, Miss. (AP) — Just one Mississippi teacher this year was awarded the coveted Milken Educator Award and the $25,000 that goes along with it. During a surprise assembly Tuesday, Kathryn Daniels, a 10th grade history teacher at Petal High School, received the recognition known as the “Oscar of teaching.” The Hattiesburg American reports Daniels didn't know she was getting the award. She told the newspaper it took a couple of seconds to register they had said her name. Daniels has been a teacher for nine years. She says she and her husband likely will invest the money and use some of it to get her Ph.D.