Smollett turns himself in, Gov. Phil Bryant's choice to lead, and more...

Here are a few of the stories we discussed on "Gulf Coast Mornings with Kelly Bennett and Uncle Henry" this Feb 21st:

A $5-thousand reward is being offered for information that helps lead to the arrest of a Moss Point man police believe faked his own death in Orange Beach, Alabama at the end of July…just days before he was set to plead guilty to sex crime charges in Jackson County.Jacob Scott is an accused child rapist.

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Officials are launching a campaign with the goal of significantly rolling back the number of fire-related deaths in Mississippi.

Members of the State Fire Marshal's Office, the Firefighters Association and the Fire Chiefs Association gathered at the State Capitol yesterday. They were accompanied by a display of 80 pairs of shoes representing the number of people who lost their lives to fire last year in the state, more than in the previous decade. The fire-death reduction initiative includes the distribution of 22-thousand smoke alarms statewide and educating the public on fire prevention and how to get out of a burning structure.

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A State Line woman is being awarded a lot of money as a result of the injuries she suffered when an 18-wheeler rear-ended her vehicle on I-10 near Gautier. The crash happened in November 2015 leaving Ylonda Woullard, a mother of three, with neck and back injuries. WLOX-TV reports a federal jury in Gulfport decided she should receive just over four-million-dollars, but a state cap lowered the actual award to a figure in the ballpark of three-million. Jurors determined at the end of the four-day trial that the trucker and the company he worked for were negligently responsible for the crash.

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Congressman Bradley Byrne is throwing his hat into the ring for the 2020 U.S. Senate race. The Fairhope Representative became the first Republican to announce his intent to run yesterday. He says this will be one of the most expensive races in Alabama's history and that Senator Doug Jones is already getting liberal money from around the nation. Byrne said that while Jones will almost certainly raise more money than he could hope to, he's ready to take Jones on.

Months before the primary elections, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant is out with his choice of the person he wants to succeed him. He tells Ya'll Politics that he supports fellow Republican Tate Reeves in his bid for the post. Bryant says he and the current lieutenant governor have worked together for the past two terms and believes he'll make an excellent governor. Bryant is term-limited from running again.

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New York City is agreeing to pay over five-million-dollars to the feds for fraudulently obtaining FEMA funds following Superstorm Sandy. The Manhattan U.S. Attorney is announcing a settlement with the City following a lawsuit against the Department of Transportation for seeking reimbursement from FEMA for vehicles that were not damaged by Sandy. Prosecutors claim the more than 100 city vehicles on the list were not working long before the 2012 storm and the city made no effort to inspect its cars.

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A Coast Guard officer accused of being a domestic terrorist heads to federal court today for a detention hearing. FBI agents arrested Lieutenant Christoper Paul Hasson and seized a stockpile of weapons and ammunition from his home near Washington on Friday. Prosecutors say he planned to attack politicians and journalists as part of a plot that was "on a scale rarely seen in this country."

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A stuffed teddy bear is back home after an adventure in a South Carolina state park. A seven-year-old boy named Thompson recently visited Myrtle Beach State Park, but he left his teddy bear behind and didn't realize it until he got home. Park rangers said yesterday on Facebook they found the bear and took it around the park, taking pictures at different landmarks. The bear and the pictures were then mailed to Thompson, who responded with a picture of his own, thanking the rangers. 

 

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