As we start a new month, there's no change in Mississippi's weather pattern. Not yet. Forecasters expect more record-breaking heat in the upper 90s across the state today. Yesterday, both Meridian and Tupelo had record highs and Vicksburg and Greenville tied their records. But the National Weather Service says confidence is growing that a taste of fall is on the way for early next week with highs only in the 80s and some badly-needed rain as a cold front comes through.
A former elementary school teacher who was rescued along with her young daughter from a partially submerged car in a Columbus lake last month has now been accused of deliberately driving into the water. Cari Cullum is charged with the attempted murder of the child. Police say she drove the SUV off a boat ramp with the toddler in the backseat. Cullum has resigned as a teacher at Hamilton Elementary. Her bond has been set at 400-thousand dollars.
Two men, one of them a former cop, have pleaded not guilty in a couple of murder cases that have shocked Oxford. Matthew Kinne and Brandon Theesfeld were both in court Monday for arraignments. Kinne, the former police officer, is accused of shooting his girlfriend, Dominque Clayton, in her bedroom in May. And Theesfeld is charged with the murder of Ole Miss student Ally Kostial in July.
Torre Clark admits he was there when two men were murdered at a Gulfport apartment two years ago. But, the Meridian man had said he didn't kill Terry Singleton or Fredrick Robinson. With no evidence to the contrary, a jury has now found him not guilty.
A Laurel company is facing 53-thousand dollars in penalties after an employee was killed in an accident in March. OSHA says Howard Industries failed to make sure that the proper safety equipment was being used. Larry Moffett was crushed to death when a transformer he was testing fell on him.
Police are investigating a break-in that left a black-owned restaurant in downtown Hattiesburg heavily damaged. Threatening messages and racist graffiti were painted on the walls of Vicki Layne's Bar and Grill yesterday. It has been in that location for less than a year. The owner says she has no plans to move. Police are checking surveillance video to try to identify a suspect.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson came to a backyard in a Jackson neighborhood to announce that the federal government is spending more than 314-million dollars to help protect children and their families from lead-based paint and other home health hazards. The city of Jackson is getting one of the federal grants for one-point-eight-million-dollars to remediate dozens of homes that were built before 1978 when lead-based paint was common. Greenwood and Yazoo City have received similar grants through the State Health Department.
The Mississippi Forestry Commission has issued a total of 21 burn bans for counties across the state due to extreme drought. The Commission says no outdoor burning of any kind is permitted in the affected areas. Individuals caught violating the burn ban can face a fine of up to 500-dollars.
The extreme heat and drought conditions apparently have not had a devastating effect on Mississippi's corn crop. According to the Mississippi State University Extension Service, this year's corn crop is in fair to good condition. The University says farmers planted 35-percent more acres of corn this year than in 2018. The Extension service also says because the planting was delayed by about two or three weeks due to heavy spring rains, then harvesting was delayed until September.
MDOT is reminding us that we'll be seeing even more deer out there over the next few weeks when the fall weather finally moves in. It says the state averages more than 36-hundred wrecks involving deer each year. Last year, the number was even higher. One piece of advice from MDOT reads don't veer for a deer. If one runs out in front of you and you can't stop in time, it's better to hit the deer than to swerve and possibly crash into a car or a tree.
Archery deer season begins today in most parts of Mississippi. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks says hunters will be able to take more deer home this season. The Department says the bag limit has been increased to five antlerless deer as well as three bucks. Deer hunting season for the Southeastern and South Delta zones have been postponed until October 15.
For more discussion on the days tops stories, here's video of this Oct 1 edition of "Gulf Coast Mornings with Kelly Bennett and Uncle Henry":