uPASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) — The air is a little sweeter now that a Mississippi Gulf Coast community is spraying a vanilla scent to mask the odor of its wastewater treatment plant.
More than two dozen machines recently started blowing scented mist into the air 19 hours a day at the Pascagoula-Moss Point wastewater plant.
The owner of a wig and jewelry boutique near the plant, Gerrie Hicks, tells WLOX-TV that she previously noticed a “foul odor” lingering in the air. She says that now it’s possible to sit outside or walk around downtown Pascagoula without being bothered by the smell.
The Jackson County Utility Authority director, Tommy Fairfield Jr., says the vanilla scent was selected by a smell team.
uSAME-SEX COUPLE FEATURED ON ‘MY LITTLE PONY’ FOR FIRST TIME: NEW YORK (AP) — Coinciding with Pride Month, the Discovery Family cartoon series “My Little Pony” has introduced a same-sex couple on the show for the first time.
Writer-producer Michael Vogel told People on Thursday the timing of the episode, “The Last Crusade,” is a happy coincidence. The episode introduces a lesbian couple, Aunt Holiday and Auntie Lofty. They care for Scootaloo.
The episode has already aired in Europe and will be broadcast in the United States on Saturday. In May, the animated children’s series “Arthur” on PBS showed the gay wedding of Arthur’s teacher, Mr. Ratburn.
Co-showrunner Nicole Dubuc told Buzzfeed News the core of “My Little Pony” is to embrace what truly defines a family — love.
uOFFICIALS: 5-YEAR-OLD SHOOTS TODDLER IN HEAD, UNCLE CHARGED: GRAY, Ga. (AP) — Authorities say a 5-year-old shot a 2-year-old sibling at a Georgia home while playing with a gun and now the children’s uncle has been charged.
News outlets report the children found the gun in the home Wednesday and were playing with it when it discharged. The Jones County Sheriff’s Office says the 2-year-old was shot in the head and is in critical condition.
Authorities charged 18-year-old Darius Johnson with reckless conduct and theft.
Jones County Sheriff’s Captain Jimmy Black says the gun was stolen during a burglary about two weeks ago.
Johnson lived at the same home as the children when the shooting occurred. Sheriff Butch Reece says the gun was left where the children could get it.
uUTAH OFFICER WHO PULLED GUN ON BLACK CHILD SPARKS PROTESTS: WOODS CROSS, Utah (AP) — Activists are planning to protest at a police agency in northern Utah after learning an officer who pulled his gun on a 10-year-old child will continue to work.
Black Lives Matter in Utah founder Lex Scott said Thursday they will hold a protest Friday night to demand the officer be fired.
Woods Cross Police Chief Chad Soffe said Monday he is not looking to terminate the unidentified officer.
Jerri Hrubes, who is black, said a white Woods Cross police officer pulled his gun on her son while he was playing outside on June 6.
Soffe said the officer mistook the boy for a potential suspect during a pursuit of armed suspects.
Hrubes said the officer apologized but she still wants the agency held accountable.
uTEXAS CITY BANS ABORTION, SAYS IT’S A ‘SANCTUARY’ FOR UNBORN: WASKOM, Texas (AP) — A small Texas city has passed a local abortion ban and declared itself a “sanctuary city for the unborn.”
Right to Life of East Texas says the vote Tuesday by the all-male Waskom City Council means the city along the Louisiana border is “standing for life.”
The ordinance refers to groups that provide abortion services as “criminal organizations.”
City leaders expressed concern that Louisiana’s new, tighter abortion restrictions could lead women to travel to Texas for the procedure.
The ordinance is largely symbolic, as no one was performing abortions in Waskom or had expressed a desire to do so.
uSCHOOL: VIDEOS OF UNWANTED SEXUAL CONTACT AREN’T HARASSMENT: NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Lawyers for metro-Nashville’s public schools say it’s not sexual harassment when students share secretly recorded videos of unwanted sexual encounters and then bully the victims.
The Tennessean is reporting on lawsuits by parents of four girls who say they were pressured into sexual contact and then taunted when students shared the videos.
U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger denied the district’s dismissal request last month, finding “ample evidence” that officials knew of harassment, including the circulation of videos, and failed to protect students. In just four years, the district documented 45 sexual assaults, 218 inappropriate sexual contacts, 950 instances of sexual harassment and 1,200 instances of inappropriate sexual behavior.
uJURY SENTENCES FATHER TO DEATH FOR KILLING HIS 5 CHILDREN: COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina father was sentenced to death Thursday for killing his five children with his own hands. After they were dead, he drove around with their bodies for nine days before dumping them in garbage bags on the side of an Alabama dirt road.
Timothy Jones Jr. showed no emotion as the jury delivered the verdict after less than two hours of deliberation. They also could have sentenced him to life without parole.
The same Lexington County jury convicted Jones of five counts of murder last week in the deaths of his children, ages 1 to 8, in their Lexington home in August 2014.
Prosecutors pushed for a death sentence. Solicitor Rick Hubbard said in his closing argument earlier Thursday that if any jurors had doubts whether Jones deserved the death penalty, they should just consider the five garbage bags where he dumped their bodies in rural Alabama.
But a lawyer for Jones told jurors they alone could show mercy — if not for a father who killed five kids with his own hands, then for a family that has seen so much death and still wants to love Jones, even through prison bars.
Jones’ father hung his head in his hands as the verdict was read and other family members appeared to cry. Afterward, Jones’ family left without speaking to reporters. The defense indicated they would appeal.