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Lawsuit says Mississippi prisons are 'plagued by violence'

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — More than two dozen Mississippi inmates are suing the state. The lawsuit filed Tuesday says the state's understaffed prisons are “plagued by violence.” In a separate development, federal authorities on Tuesday asked the public for information about prison conditions. The special agent in charge of the FBI's Jackson division and Mississippi's two U.S. attorneys say people should report possible civil rights violations or criminal activity. They did not say how extensive a federal investigation might be. Five inmates were killed and an undisclosed number of others were injured in an outburst of violence between Dec. 29 and Jan. 3.


Officials: Dam at Mississippi lake could soon fail

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Emergency management officials say heavy rains could cause the failure of a dam in rural northeastern Mississippi. Officials are urging residents near Oktibbeha County Lake to evacuate. While the evacuation is not mandatory, officials say residents near the dam should relocate to a safer distance. The number of people affected wasn't immediately clear. Officials say there are about 130 property addresses in the area. A two-year Associated Press investigation found that Mississippi has one of the nation's highest numbers of dams that pose dangers and are in poor or unsatisfactory condition.


New Gov. Tate Reeves pledges to work 'for all Mississippi'

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Republican Tate Reeves has been inaugurated as the 65th governor of Mississippi. He took the oath of office Tuesday at the state Capitol. Reeves said in his inaugural speech that he will work “for all Mississippi.” Reeves succeeds Republican Phil Bryant, who served two terms. Reeves was lieutenant governor for the past eight years and previously served eight years as state treasurer. The 45-year-old governor says he wants to clean up the prison system that has been shaken by deadly violence. He also says he wants to increase teacher salaries that are among the lowest in the United States.


Trio accused of fake check scheme involving homeless people

FLOWOOD, Miss. (AP) — A group of men are facing federal charges involving counterfeit checks after police say they were found with a typewriter, an embossing machine, and checks totaling $127,000 in Flowood. One of the men told authorities the scheme involved recruiting homeless people to walk inside banks and cash the fake checks. One of the men told a federal agent that he finds homeless people to cash the fake checks, using the typewriter to write their names on the checks, an affidavit states.


Suit accuses Mississippi firefighter of causing deadly crash

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — A lawsuit accuses a firefighter of recklessly driving a fire truck through a red light and causing a deadly crash on a Mississippi highway. In a newly filed federal lawsuit, family members of Kenneth Fitzgerald say he was riding in a pickup truck when a Jones County Volunteer Fire Department truck collided with it on Jan. 14, 2019 near Laurel, Mississippi. Fitzgerald was hospitalized and later died. A lawyer for Fitzgerald’s brother, Billy Fitzgerald, says in the lawsuit that the driver of the fire truck lacked adequate training to operate emergency vehicles. Representatives of the fire department didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.


Vicksburg implements energy saving measures to cut costs

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi city is implementing energy efficiency measures that are estimated to save it more than $60,000 a year on utility bills. The Vicksburg Post reports the city's Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a $2.4 million contract with Path Co. LLC this month to look into ways the city could improve efficiency. The program will focus in part on the Vicksburg Convention Center, where 13 air conditioning units will be replaced. Lighting in all city buildings will also be replaced with LED bulbs. Path estimates the lights could save about $70,000 a year in utility costs and the new air conditioning units could save up to $18,000 in operation and maintenance costs.