A new walkway from The Beau to MGM Park...

Some of the top news we discussed on "Gulf Coast Mornings with Kelly Bennett and Uncle Henry" this Mar 29th:

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A search is underway in Mississippi this morning for a missing baby. The eight-month-old girl was last seen in Morton and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has issued a Missing/Endangered Child Alert. It says Mariana Johnson may be with George Johnson Junior, who's 29, and they may be traveling in a 2005 black Chevy Suburban that was last seen on Highway 80.

A local teenager that had been missing for 3 days is safe, and in police custody.Jeremy Speake hadn’t been seen since March 25th, and hadn’t gone to school all week.

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Two measures proposing tax hikes along the coast have suffered different fates in the state legislature. A measure that sought a referendum in Gulfport on hiking the tax on restaurant sales by three percent to support the building of a new sports complex died in a Senate committee yesterday after the chairman refused to bring it up for a vote. However, a bill is headed to the governor's desk for his signature that would allow Bay St. Louis voters to decide the fate of proposed two-percent tax hike on sales at bars and restaurants that would help offset the costs of tourism promotion and pay for parks and recreation improvements.

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There's now a safer way for pedestrians to cross U.S. 90 between Beau Rivage and MGM Park. The ribbon was cut yesterday by Biloxi leaders and state transportation officials opening an elevated walkway that spans the highway. The federal government funded most of the three-million-dollar project, the city forking over the 400-thousand-dollar balance. The walkway is handicap accessible and includes elevators.

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A bill is headed to Governor Bryant's desk that, if he signs it, will bump up the pay of teachers by 15-hundred-dollars a year. The increase is set to take effect July 1st. In the end, the legislature's Democratic minority waged an unsuccessful battle for a four-thousand-dollar pay hike. Conferees agreed on the lower amount Wednesday night, with the Senate overwhelmingly approving the measure yesterday 46-2 and the House voting 88-27.  

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As expected, a legal effort is underway to block enforcement of recently passed legislation that bans abortions in Mississippi upon the detection of a fetal heartbeat. The bill was signed by the governor late last week. While it is set to take effect July 1st, the Center for Reproductive Rights is amending a lawsuit it filed in 2018. In addition to a federal judge declaring the state's 15-week ban on abortions unconstitutional, the group wants the fetal heartbeat law blocked for the same reason.

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Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is asking Congress for more authority to deport and detain migrants. In a letter to Capitol Hill leaders yesterday, Nielsen asked to be granted the authority to return unaccompanied Central American children to their native countries if they "have no legal right to stay." 

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The City of Chicago is calling for Empire actor Jussie Smollett to cover the costs of the investigation into the attack he reported in January. The city sent a letter to Smollett's attorneys, demanding that he pay the more than 130-thousand-dollars spent on police overtime hours in the probe. Smollett's lawyers responded by saying their client has paid enough and that Mayor Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson owe him an apology.

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NASA will pay people 19-thousand dollars to stay in bed for two months. NASA and the German and European space agencies say they're looking for 24 volunteers to "spend 60 days lying down." It's a study on bed rest to research how the body changes in weightlessness. Researchers say bed rest is like weightlessness. The study will be conducted from September to December this year in the German city of Cologne [[ cuh-LONE ]]. Volunteers will eat, exercise, get dressed, even shower while lying flat in bed. Researchers are looking for 12 women and 12 men to volunteer. Applications are available on the German Aerospace Agency website.

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