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Clinton orders review of visa program

Posted 12/6/2011 in State

JACKSON -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has ordered an "extensive and thorough review" of a foreign exchange program that has been used by U.S. businesses as a source of cheap labor and exploited by criminals to import women to work in the sex industry. In the latest debacle for the J-1 Summer Work Travel visa, a federal indictment unsealed last week accuses the mafia of using the cultural exchange program to bring Eastern European women to work in New York strip clubs.



Elbow Room murder trial: Defense denied change of venue

Posted 12/5/2011 in Columbus & Lowndes County

The trial of a man accused of killing two men at a downtown Columbus bar began today in Lowndes County, despite a motion for change of venue.



Christmas Parade canceled due to rain

Posted 12/5/2011 in Columbus & Lowndes County

This year's Christmas parade in downtown Columbus has been canceled due to rain. It will not be rescheduled. Amber Brislin, director of Main Street Columbus Inc., made the announcement shortly before 3 p.m. today, saying the decision was made in an effort to "keep everyone safe and healthy this Christmas season."



Okolona pledges to get to the bottom of topless club

Posted 12/5/2011 in Columbus & Lowndes County

OKOLONA -- The city of Okolona has placed a 60-day moratorium on nightclubs while it mulls a permit request from a Nettleton businessman to open a topless bar.



Tougher rules hit fishermen, industry hard

Posted 12/5/2011 in State

MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. -- Travis Palladeno, a veteran charter fishing captain on Florida's Gulf Coast, flips through his appointment book and bemoans the blank pages. Restrictions on some of the most popular -- and tasty -- sport fish are so strict right now, fewer people want to go out.



New Mississippi gun law quietly eases limits

Posted 12/5/2011 in State

JACKSON -- People who want to carry a gun to the courthouse, on a college campus or in a bar in Mississippi may now be able to do that by taking an eight-hour course and getting a concealed carry permit.



Lucimarian Roberts receives Evers award

Posted 12/5/2011 in State

GULFPORT -- A longtime community leader in south Mississippi has received the Gulfport Branch of the NAACP's highest award -- the Medgar W. Evers Lifetime Achievement Award.



Lowndes tourism funding gets more competitive

Posted 12/3/2011 in Columbus & Lowndes County

Changes to the grant guidelines for community events will make the process more competitive, a member of the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors said Thursday at a special meeting to approve the changes.



Aldermen could discuss public-private proposal Tuesday

Posted 12/3/2011 in Starkville & Oktibbeha County

STARKVILLE -- Mayor Parker Wiseman hopes to officially begin the search for a tax-neutral financing for the the ongoing municipal facilities plan Tuesday. Wiseman said Friday that the Board of Aldermen could discuss a request for project proposal to test the market for companies interested in striking a public-private partnership. Wiseman believes a renovated and remodeled City Hall could be an attractive space for urban development, with the possibility of leasing newly created office space to help offset the project's price tag.



Columbus Christmas parade set for Monday night

Posted 12/3/2011 in Columbus & Lowndes County

Linda Nail, her husband Jerry, and a handful of others have attended the Columbus Christmas parade each year for around 30 years. And they don't plan to stop this year.


The Borsig era begins

Posted 12/3/2011 in Columbus & Lowndes County

New MUW president's job is to direct, not dictate.


Copple trial could begin this week

Posted 12/3/2011 in Columbus & Lowndes County

Depending on the outcome of a couple pending motions, the Elbow Room murder case will go to trial this week, the final week of the current Lowndes County Circuit Court session.



Local teacher inducted into hall of fame

Posted 12/3/2011 in Columbus & Lowndes County

A Columbus teacher was among five inducted into the Mississippi Hall of Master Teachers at Mississippi University for Women Friday.



Trial by Fire: Duane Hughes relishes new role as training officer

Posted 12/3/2011 in Columbus & Lowndes County

Duane Hughes is still trying to get his feet wet in his new position. Hughes took over as Columbus Fire and Rescue chief of training in June, but still comes in on Fridays, typically a day off for salaried city employees, to get a better grasp of his position.



Peter Imes: Joining the conversation now much easier

Posted 12/2/2011 in Business

The Dispatch's website,, has long encouraged online readers to leave comments at the bottom of each article. Though the paper still receives some letters to the editor by mail, most people now either email letters to us or simply post a comment at the end of a story.


Concerned citizens form neighborhood watch

Posted 12/2/2011 in Columbus & Lowndes County

North Columbus residents are taking action and formed a neighborhood watch group. The group held a meeting Thursday at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library and 60 residents discussed a number of topics such as "peddlers" hanging around streets, people knocking on doors and recent burglaries that affected some group members.


Lowndes Country Circuit Court 12-2-11

Posted 12/2/2011 in Columbus & Lowndes County

A Caledonia man accused of child abuse was sentenced to eight years in prison. Gerald Melvin Fink III, of 2036 Anderson Grove Road Lot 1 in Caledonia, was sentenced Nov. 16 by Circuit Court Judge James Kitchens to the Mississippi Department of Corrections.



Infrastructure a top priority for Columbus mayor

Posted 12/2/2011 in Columbus & Lowndes County

Mayor Robert Smith said if he were king for a day, he would improve the city's infrastructure. The difficulty of being mayor, not king, is the mayor has to have the votes and the money to get it done, Smith said. However, he pledged his No. 1 goal as mayor is improvements in street paving and storm drainage, water and sewer lines.



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