Former teacher sentenced after molestation plea

•SYLVESTER- A former third grade teacher at a Worth County elementary school pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated child molestation and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

As part of a plea agreement negotiated with the district attorney, Georgianne Harrell, who is in her mid-twenties, entered the guilty plea Wednesday in Worth County Superior Court, said Superior Court Judge Gary McCorvey.

The judge sentenced Harrell to 25 years in prison without possibility of parole after which she will be on probation for five years.

'Progressive tax reform' endorsed for South in study

•JACKSON, Miss. - State lawmakers across the South need to re-evaluate and update tax structures to provide better services and create more equity in paying for government, a new study says.

"Taxes get a bad rap,'' says the study's introduction. ''Like them or not, taxes are not something that should be vilified because of their very nature. Instead, people might look at them in another light - as the necessary price we pay to keep our democracy alive.''

Among other recommendations, the study says states should:

•Broaden their sales tax base by eliminating exemptions that ''don't meet contemporary economic needs.''

•Modernize policies by taxing Internet sales.

•Eliminate corporate tax loopholes.

•Increase cigarette taxes to the national average of 92 cents a pack to reduce smoking and improve public health.

- From wire reports