Waveland municipal primary results – WXXV News 25

38 views – WXXV Staff – 2022-10-05 07:48:34

Jay Trapani won the Republican nomination for mayor in the Waveland municipal primary elections held Tuesday.

Trapani won the nomination with 52 percent of the vote. Charlie Piazza was the next closest candidate with 26 percent.

Trapani will face three challengers in the December 6 general election. Nikki Tingstrom, Democrat; Micah Tinkler, Independent and Brice Phillips, Libertarian.

Incumbent mayor Mike Smith announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election, citing health concerns.

The only other contested primary was for the Republican nomination for Ward 1…

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Cruisin’ the Coast welcomes first-ever Cruisers from the UK

26 views – Lorraine Weiskopf – 2022-10-03 21:23:45

The first time ever, Cruisin’ the Coast welcomes Cruisers from across the pond.

While waiting for the parade to roll, 25 met the Coast’s first-ever Cruisers from England.

Wayne Langridge and his wife traveled from Cannock, England to participate in this year’s Cruisin’ the Coast with his 1979 Ford Thunderbird. He bought the car last spring for events like this.

Cruisin’ wasn’t on the couple’s original schedule for the year, but when they attended the Power Tour over the summer, everyone recommended they come to Cruisin. So, they changed…

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Butterflies in the Pass Monarch Festival spreads awareness

32 views – WXXV Staff – 2022-10-03 15:26:49

Some people brought out their butterfly clothes and head bands as they celebrated the annual Butterflies in the Pass Monarch .

Twenty exhibitors, along with guest speakers, helped educate everyone about pollination, gardening, and butterfly migration.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, Monarch butterflies declined from as many as ten million to just about 1,900 over the past 40 years. That puts them at risk of extinction.

Wendy Allard with the Library tells 25 this is a great way to raise awareness on…

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Meet Ivy Noelle, the newest member of the WLOX Family

22 views – – 2022-10-03 08:46:00

, Miss. (WLOX) – Good Morning Mississippi Anchor Chet Landry will tell you it’s the most important news he’s ever shared: The birth of his daughter, Ivy Noelle!

Baby Landry came into this world Friday, September 30, 2022 at 7:07 p.m. The healthy baby girl weighed in at 6lbs 8oz and was 19.25 inches long.

Good Morning Mississippi News Anchor Chet Landry and his wife, Ashley, welcome are announcing...
Good Morning Anchor Chet Landry and his wife, Ashley,…

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New texts show USM had concerns about Favre’s grant-funded volleyball facility


New texts show USM had concerns about Favre’s grant-funded volleyball facility

Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre met resistance when he tried selling University of Southern Mississippi on a deal to accept federal grant money to build a volleyball stadium, texts show.

“Nancy I spoke with Jon Gilbert this evening and between you and I he is very Leary of accepting such a large grant. Got me very uneasy,” Favre texted Nancy New, owner of the nonprofit Mississippi Community Education Center, which had been granted millions in federal welfare funds from the Mississippi Department of Human Services. 

Two days before this, Favre, New, USM Athletic Director Jon Gilbert, MDHS Director John Davis and others had met at the university to discuss the project. Davis, a subordinate of former Gov. Phil Bryant, verbally committed to providing $4 million in welfare funds to build the volleyball stadium. 

“He did mention trying to find a way for John (Davis) to allocate money to an entity that could then give to us that would pay for brick and mortar. I passed same info to John and of course he sent back we will find a way to make it work,” Favre wrote.

Federal regulation strictly prohibits states from using funds from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – the fund MDHS Director John Davis had virtually outsourced to MCEC – on exactly the term Favre used, “brick and mortar,” or construction projects. University officials were apparently apprehensive about the maneuvering.

“My fear is he (Gilbert) doesn’t except all that you and John can allocate even if it is legally signed off on,” Favre texted New.

“They are scared to it seems,” he also texted, referring to USM, according to the court filing.

Eventually, after conversations between the nonprofit officials, attorneys at MDHS and general counsel for the university, Favre got the greenlight. But only after the deal evolved to include an additional half-million for improvements to the basketball stadium Reed Green Coliseum.

New’s attorney Gerry Bufkin argues in a court document filed Friday that the evidence suggests Bryant may have had a hand in pushing the project into the end zone.

At this time in July of 2017, Nancy New had already entered a subgrant with the USM athletic foundation for around $200,000, which would be used to renovate another building on campus called M-Club. As the smaller of Mississippi’s big three universities, USM has historically had a harder time generating funds for these kinds of projects.

“It’s obvious that you and John are tremendous assets for USM and in order for us to get ahead in the game we have to utilize you guys in every way,” Favre texted New.

These new texts, revealed Friday and printed here exactly as they appear without correction, provide a further glimpse into how officials ended up funneling $5 million in welfare funds, money that’s supposed to serve the state’s neediest residents, into the construction of a volleyball stadium at USM. Nancy New’s son Zach New pleaded guilty to defrauding the government related to the expenditure in April. 

But in the midst of Favre’s persistence, the project was also reviewed by many – MDHS attorneys, USM attorneys, the ’s Office, the Institutions of Higher Learning board – who all failed to intervene and stop it.

The new texts came to light within a court battle over whether Bryant should have to comply with a subpoena issued by the attorney for the and their nonprofit. Another defendant, Austin Smith, also joined the subpoena. 

The attorneys are bringing the subpoena against Bryant in an ongoing civil suit over welfare misspending, even though Bryant is not a defendant in the litigation, because they say Bryant’s involvement in welfare spending, and particularly the volleyball project, is crucial to their clients’ defense. Bryant argues in his objection to the subpoena that he did nothing wrong, and shouldn’t have to release privileged communication as a result of the defense attorney’s fishing expedition. 

“Governor Bryant makes one thing abundantly clear: he is desperate to avoid public scrutiny of his text messages concerning welfare funds used to build the Volleyball Facility at USM,” New’s attorney Gerry Bufkin wrote Friday. “Of course, Bryant insists he did nothing to facilitate the flow of millions from MDHS to the athletic construction project, but he refuses to produce his text messages and other documents that presumably would support his contentions, if true. In lieu of transparency, Bryant opts for obfuscation.”

Favre began discussions with USM about building a new volleyball stadium sometime before late 2016. Favre contacted Bryant for help with the project in April 2017. These conversations were about raising private donations for the project.

When officials in the athletics department began talking to New about the volleyball stadium in July, they were already working with her nonprofit on a separate project, in which it would provide money through a lease for renovations and improvements to the student athlete facility called the M-Club. AD Gilbert sent New a copy of the volleyball building design in mid-July 2017.

The next several days were busy. Favre and New met about the volleyball project. Bryant met with Davis about MDHS projects. Then Bryant discussed the volleyball project with Favre, who sent him construction documents. 

Bryant did not produce any of his communication immediately after his initial texts with Favre about the volleyball facility, but two days later, Davis and New met with Favre and USM athletics officials and Davis agreed to fund the project. 

“Wow, just got off the phone with Phil Bryant! He is on board with us! We will get this done!” New texted Favre several days later.

“Bryant’s denials notwithstanding, the evidence and timing of the meetings described herein, suggest that Davis discussed Favre’s Volleyball Facility with Bryant the week of the meeting at USM and received approval from Bryant, express or implied, to fund the project through MDHS. After the meeting at USM, Davis explaining the large funding commitment saying, ‘the Governor likes this project and wants to get it done.’”

Bufkin also noted that the events leading to welfare officials funding the volleyball project mirror another scenario in which Favre contacted the governor for support for a pharmaceutical company called Prevacus and within days, welfare officials were committing funds to the project.

“Importantly, Davis was Executive Director of MDHS for approximately four years.” Bufkin wrote. “In the entirety of his tenure, he committed $4 million or more only twice upon first hearing a proposal. The first time was the Volleyball Facility. The second was Prevacus. The evidence suggests that Bryant was involved in both projects.”

In July, the News attorney Gerry Bufkin filed a subpoena on Bryant for his communication related to the volleyball stadium. Waide joined the subpoena. Bryant’s attorney Billy Quin objected to the subpoena, claiming the communication is privileged and should at the very least be placed under a protective order. In a lengthy court filing, Bryant released several pages of texts he says prove he didn’t know Favre was getting welfare money for the volleyball project.

Now, Bufkin and Waide are pushing back, saying the timeline Bryant provided through his texts is incomplete and that Bryant should have to produce all the relevant communication publicly.

“Bryant never denies that such expenditure was fraudulent,” wrote Jim Waide, attorney for Smith, Davis’ nephew who received hundreds of thousands under contracts with the nonprofits. “Instead, Bryant blames Defendant John Davis, Defendant Nancy New, and Defendant Brett Favre. Bryant provides documents to demonstrate that he was not personally involved in the fraudulent scheme. Bryant’s documents paint an incomplete picture, however, because he neglects to attach correspondence between Bryant and Defendant John Davis. Communications demonstrating Bryant’s participation would likely be between Bryant and his immediate subordinate, Defendant John Davis.”

Waide notes that the bulk of communication Bryant has put forth came after the former governor was aware that the welfare department was under an investigation by the auditor’s office for suspected fraud. Bryant had relayed a small tip regarding Davis in late June 2019.

“Naturally, Bryant would have been careful not to generate incriminating documents after he knew about the investigation. Only after Bryant knew that he was ‘to [sic] old for Federal Prison’ did Bryant generate exculpatory documents,” Waide writes.

Waide argues that Bryant’s communication is not privileged because privileges do not protect fraudulent conduct. Considering Nancy New’s allegation that Bryant directed her to make payments to Favre, “as a matter of law, there is ‘good ground to support’ a belief that Bryant participated in the fraudulent conduct,” Waide writes.

“Bryant’s selective production of text messages, most of which were created after Bryant realized MDHS was under investigation by the State Auditor, should not be summarily accepted as exonerating Bryant without the parties’ having access to all relevant evidence,” Waide writes.

Bryant’s attorney also accuses New’s attorney from attempting to try the case in the media, but Bufkin argues that Bryant invited the media attention himself, namely in a lengthy interview with Mississippi Today.

“In response to questions concerning his involvement in funding the Volleyball Facility and Prevacus, Bryant chose to sit for a three-hour interview with Mississippi Today in an apparent attempt to shift the public narrative, and the media coverage, in his favor. By doing so, Bryant voluntarily thrust himself further into the media spotlight,” Bufkin wrote.

Mississippi Today compiled the following timeline based on documents and communication gathered in the court process or retrieved through records requests. Read the timeline here.

Editor’s note: Mississippi Today Editor-in-Chief Adam Ganucheau’s mother signed off on the language of a lease agreement to construct a University of Southern Mississippi volleyball stadium. Read more about that here.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

WXXV News given Media Organization of the Year Award

110 views – Lorraine Weiskopf – 2022-09-29 21:21:01

Tonight, the Kiwanis Club of Gautier and held their annual community awards event.

We are thrilled to be selected for the Media Organization of the Year award. WXXV Director Joe Sullivan accepted the award.

The Kiwanis Club uses these awards to recognize the hardworking businesses devoted to serving and making their community better, like the club itself.

For us at News 25, we appreciate the acknowledgement. We’ve been on the air for nine years, covering countless stories in Ocean Springs and Gautier and assisting the Animal Shelter…

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Broadcast News Producer – WXXV News 25

Biloxi - Local News Feed Images 012 – WXXV Staff – 2022-09-27 13:42:46

WXXV-TV (NBC and FOX) / on the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast is hiring a full time Newscast Producer Monday-Friday. This position comes with paid vacation and benefits available.

WXXV-TV has state of the art equipment including a new broadcast studio.

We broadcast seven hours of local each day.

Brief Description of Duties:

  • Create news rundowns with quality stories.
  • Strong news writing and editing skills.
  • Proficient in Adobe Premiere and Edius non-linear editing software.

Position Requirements:

  • BA/BS in Journalism, Communications or related…

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USM Head Coach Will Hall returns to Tulane in week four clash

54 views – Jeff Haeger – 2022-09-22 22:39:03

Back in June, 25 caught up with Tulane Head Football Coach Willie Fritz at the Great Southern Club in . It should come as no surprise that the main talking point was Southern Miss Head Coach Will Hall.

Coach Hall served as the Green Wave offensive coordinator for two seasons prior to taking the USM position in December 2020 and both parties still maintain a close friendship to this day.

Coach Fritz told News 25 his old friend has already done a great job in Hattiesburg, but at the same time, Tulane is trying to make sure it’s not a happy homecoming for…

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John Davis set to plead guilty to state, federal charges


Former welfare director John Davis set to plead guilty to state and federal charges

Former welfare agency director John Davis is set to plead guilty on Thursday to two federal charges and 18 state counts of fraud or conspiracy related to his role in the Mississippi welfare scandal, according to separate federal and state court filings.

The new federal charges pertain to welfare funds Davis allegedly helped funnel to the companies of retired professional wrestler Ted “Teddy” DiBiase Jr., son of famed WWE wrestler Ted “The Million Dollar Man” DiBiase. Davis and Teddy DiBiase Jr. had developed a close relationship during Davis’ term as welfare director from 2016 to 2019, as Mississippi Today has reported in its investigative series “The Backchannel.”

Davis instructed two nonprofits receiving tens of millions in welfare funds from his department to pay Teddy DiBiase Jr. under what the federal court filing called “sham contracts” to deliver personal development courses to state employees and a program for inner-city youth, “regardless of whether any work had been performed and knowing that no work would ever be performed.”

Davis, who had not previously faced federal charges for his role in the welfare scandal, is the latest defendant to plead guilty and agree to aid prosecutors. In April, Nancy and Zach New pleaded guilty to state charges in the welfare case as well as to separate federal fraud charges they faced related to public school funding. The are cooperating with federal investigators, who continue to probe the welfare scheme and who else may have been involved.

The federal bill of information unsealed Wednesday, to which Davis is set to plead guilty, also describes four unnamed co-conspirators in the scheme. Based on the incorporation dates provided in the filing for the co-conspirators’ affiliated organizations or companies, Mississippi Today identified three of the alleged co-conspirators as Nancy New, director of Mississippi Community Education Center; Christi Webb, director of Family Resource Center of North Mississippi; and Teddy DiBiase Jr., owner of Priceless Ventures, LLC and Familiae Orientem, LLC.

A fourth unnamed co-conspirator, a resident of , is unidentifiable in the filing.

Davis and the three alleged co-conspirators are each facing civil charges in an ongoing Mississippi Department of Human Services is bringing in an attempt to recoup welfare money from people who received it improperly.

“As a result of the actions of DAVIS, the Co-Conspirators, and others, millions of dollars in federal safety-net funds were diverted from needy families and low-income individuals in Mississippi,” the federal filing reads.

The bill of information signals that Davis chose to waive a formal indictment and plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of , which come with maximum prison sentences of five and 10 years, respectively. The court filing does not indicate what kind of deal he received for pleading guilty.

The federal charges specifically outline four payments or contracts Family Resource Center made to Teddy DiBiase’s companies in June and August of 2018 totaling nearly $2.2 million.

Casey Lott, the attorney for Webb, who is facing civil charges but has not been charged criminally, said his client stopped making payments to Teddy DiBiase Jr. when it became clear his companies were not conducting the services.

“The DiBiase’s and their organizations contracted to provide services to needy families,” Lott said in a written statement Wednesday evening. “The problem is they didn’t hold up to their end of the bargain. And once they refused to do everything Christi asked them to do, she refused to award any additional subgrants to those organizations. This enraged John Davis. He yelled and cursed Christi and other FRC employees for not sending them money anyway. He threatened to cut their funding if Christi didn’t do what he told her to do. And when she stood her ground and did the right thing, he followed through with his threat. Christi is the only one who ever told John Davis ‘no,’ and she was punished for it. She was forced to lay hundreds of people off. Those innocent people who were providing much needed services to the North Mississippi community lost their job because Christi stood up to John Davis and did the right thing. So, to say she’s a ‘co-conspirator’ is absurd.”

Attorneys for New, Davis and Teddy DiBiase either declined to comment or could not be reached Wednesday.

Officers from the auditor’s office initially arrested Davis in February of 2020 on state charges of conspiracy, embezzlement and fraud after a roughly nine month investigation. Hinds County prosecutors accused Davis of using federal money administered by the agency he oversaw to send Ted DiBiase Sr.’s other son, Brett DiBiase, to a luxury rehab facility in Malibu. The criminal charges pertained to just a small portion of a scandal that forensic auditors eventually determined totaled misspending of at least $77 million in funds from a federal program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Brett DiBiase pleaded guilty to his role in the scandal — raking in $48,000 from the agency for work he didn’t complete while he was in treatment — in December of 2020.

In April, Davis was indicted again on 20 state charges, including nine counts of bribery, which came with a possible sentence of 150 years.

An order of dismissal filed Wednesday in the state case signals Davis plans to plead guilty to five counts of conspiracy and thirteen counts of fraud in state court Thursday after pleading guilty to federal charges. The filing indicates that Davis will spend his entire sentence in the case in federal court and avoid notoriously harsh conditions of Mississippi’s state prisons, an arrangement similar to the plea deal New received in April. New, her son Zach New, Brett DiBiase, and Mississippi Community Education Center accountant Ann McGrew have pleaded guilty but have not been sentenced.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Boil-Water Notice Lifted in Jackson, Mississippi But Concerns Remain Over Lead


Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves and officials of the state’s capital, Jackson, lifted boil-water orders on Thursday, September 16 after a water crisis that lasted nearly 7 weeks. And it’s not over. There are still concerns over lead and copper in the water, and residents are urged to not use the water if they are mixing baby formula.

Along with concerns over still-contaminated water after the boil-water notice was lifted, emergency repairs are still ongoing at the source of the problem, a faulty water treatment plant. In August, heavy rains in central Mississippi changed the quality of water entering water treatment plans, NPR reported.

Water treatment plants took longer to treat the water coming in, water levels in the treatment facilities decreased, and the pressure tanked, which may cause untreated groundwater to come into broken pipes. A boil-water notice was issued even before this happened, after Jackson health officials found cloudy water, and continued with the risk of the untreated water coming through cracked pipes. There were also concerns about the facilities, which had failing water pumps. The notice lasted…

By: Paige Bennett
Title: Boil-Water Notice Lifted in Jackson, Mississippi But Concerns Remain Over Lead
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Published Date: 44820

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