Stories for July 2017

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Monday, July 31

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Joe Arpaio Convicted After Refusing to End Immigrant Patrols

Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio was convicted of a criminal charge Monday for refusing to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants, marking a final rebuke for a politician who once drew strong popularity from such crackdowns but was ultimately booted from office as voters became frustrated over his headline-grabbing tactics and deepening legal troubles.

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Scaramucci Out of White House Job as John Kelly Takes Charge

Anthony Scaramucci is out as White House communications director after just 11 days on the job—and just hours after President Donald Trump's new chief of staff, John Kelly, was sworn into office.

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As Mississippi Vote Nears, Labor Board Says Nissan Broke Law

With a union election scheduled this week, the National Labor Relations Board is again charging that Nissan Motor Co. violated workers' rights at its Mississippi plant.

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As DA's Trial Begins, Key Player Sentenced 30 Years for Pot Found in MBN Raid

As the second trial against Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith begins today, Christopher Butler, 40, is headed to prison for 30 years without parole after a Hinds County Circuit Court jury convicted him of possession of a large amount of marijuana on July 27.

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Debra Gibbs

A Mississippi lawmaker will take part in a leadership development program for state officials.

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Most of Mississippi's Juvenile Lifers Await Resentencing

In light of U.S. Supreme Court decisions, Mississippi has been starting to set new sentences for people imprisoned to life without parole for crimes committed when they were juveniles. But some say the pace has been slow, with more than half of the 87 affected offenders still waiting to be resentenced.

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Putin Says US Will Have to Shed 755 from Diplomatic Staff

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday the United States would have to cut its embassy and consulate staff in Russia by 755, heightening tensions between Washington and Moscow three days after the U.S. Congress approved sanctions against Russia.

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White House to Senate: Pass Health Bill Now or Else

The White House stepped up demands Sunday for revived congressional efforts on health care and suggested senators cancel their entire summer break, if needed, to pass legislation after failed votes last week.

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Judge Blocks Arkansas from Enforcing 4 Abortion Restrictions

A federal judge has blocked Arkansas from enforcing four new abortion restrictions, including a ban on a common second trimester procedure and a fetal remains law that opponents say would effectively require a partner's consent before a woman could get an abortion.

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10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.

Saturday, July 29

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Ole Miss Releases Names of Boosters in NCAA Allegations

Mississippi released Friday the names of 12 boosters that the NCAA claims provided impermissible benefits and recruiting inducements to football players.

Friday, July 28

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Trump Pushes out Priebus, Names DHS' Kelly WH Chief of Staff

President Donald Trump announced Friday he was appointing Homeland Security head John Kelly to be White House chief of staff, ending the tumultuous six-month tenure of Reince Priebus.

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Trump Appears to Advocate Rough Police Treatment of Suspects

Talking tough on illegal immigration and violent crime, President Donald Trump appeared Friday to advocate rougher treatment of people in police custody, speaking dismissively of arresting officers who protect the heads of handcuffed suspects while putting them in patrol cars.

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North Korea Second ICBM Test Puts Much of US in Range

North Korea on Friday test-fired its second intercontinental ballistic missile, which flew longer and higher than the first according to its wary neighbors, leading analysts to conclude that a wide swath of the U.S., including Los Angeles and Chicago, is now within range of Pyongyang's weapons.

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Corabel Shofner

In many ways, "Almost Paradise" carries the hallmarks of a classic southern adventure tale, even though its author, Corabel Shofner, spent a large part of her life outside of the South.

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Gov. Bryant Decries Nissan Union, Promotes Training for Daycare Workers

Gov. Phil Bryant praised incentives that Mississippi has used to bring large corporations like Nissan, Toyota and most recently Continental Tire to the state in his 21st Neshoba County Fair speech Thursday.

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GOP Blame-Game Begins After Senate Sinks Health Care Drive

Republican finger-pointing commenced after the Senate's dark-of-night defeat of the GOP's flagship effort to repeal much of the Obama health care law in a startling vote that dealt a blistering blow to President Donald Trump.

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Russia Sanctions Bill Heads to Trump, Moscow Retaliates

The Senate is sending a package of stiff financial sanctions against Russia to President Donald Trump to sign after the bill received overwhelming support in Congress. Moscow has already responded, ordering a reduction in the number of U.S. diplomats in Russia and closing the U.S. embassy's recreation retreat.

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White House Aide's Tirade Tests Editors and Producers

A presidential aide's explosion of profanity while talking to a reporter about his new White House colleagues tested newsroom leaders Thursday, forcing decisions about whether to use the graphic language or leave much of what he said to the imagination of readers and viewers.

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Pentagon, Border Wall Covered in $788B House Spending Bill

The House has passed a $788 billion spending bill that combines a $1.6 billion down payment for President Donald Trump's controversial border wall with Mexico with a whopping budget increase for the Pentagon.

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Mississippi Governor: Nissan Workers Should Reject Union

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said Thursday that employees at the Nissan Motor Co. plant in Mississippi should reject unionization because he believes labor unions have hurt the automotive industry in Detroit and other places.

Thursday, July 27

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Politicking Over Mental-Health Care at Neshoba County Fair

The words "mental health" may never been used more in a handful of minutes than they were Wednesday at the Neshoba County Fair.

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Scaramucci Lobs Grenades in Already Chaotic White House

New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci went after chief of staff Reince Priebus on Thursday as a suspected "leaker" within the West Wing in a pull-no-punches interview that laid bare the personality clashes and internal turmoil of Donald Trump's presidency.

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Senators Prepare Bill to Block Firing of Special Counsel

Warning of "holy hell" to pay if the president fires Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a top Senate Republican is working to prevent the potential end result, the dismissal of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

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Gabe Myles

Mississippi State University wide receiver Gabe Myles is one athlete on the watch list for the Wuerffel Trophy.

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GOP Eyes Narrow Bill to Advance Goal on "Obamacare" Repeal

Battered by repeated failures to repeal or replace "Obamacare," Senate GOP leaders retreated to a narrow approach Thursday that would undo just a few of the most unpopular elements of Barack Obama's law.

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Trump's Transgender Troops Ban Divides Veterans in Congress

President Donald Trump's decision to ban transgender service in the armed forces drove a wedge through military veterans in Congress, with one camp standing squarely behind the commander in chief and the other decrying his order as an ugly attack on dedicated troops.

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Protesters Gather Against Trump Ban on Transgender Troops

Demonstrators flocked to a military recruiting station in New York City and gathered at a plaza named for a San Francisco gay-rights icon on Wednesday to protest President Donald Trump's abrupt ban on transgender troops in the military.

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Governor, House Speaker Stumping at Neshoba County Fair

Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to talk about Mississippi's economy during his annual speech at the Neshoba County Fair.

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Hood, Reeves Spar Over Budget in Neshoba Fair Speeches

Mississippi Republicans are harming the public by cutting health spending, Democrat Jim Hood said Wednesday, but Republican Tate Reeves said it's the Democrats who are hurting people by fighting GOP efforts to cut taxes in Mississippi.

Wednesday, July 26

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Going to the Market

On each Saturday through August, an attraction called the Green Market and Crafts Fair sits at Dogwood Festival Market in Flowood.

The Slate

Things escalated rather quickly at the University of Mississippi. Head football coach Hugh Freeze went from nearly untouchable to fired seemingly overnight.

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On the Road Again

Road trips can be fun, but they can also be a hassle. After traveling a bunch over the last few months, I've picked up on some tips that make road trips go a lot smoother. Here are 9 of them.

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Running Jackson: New CAO Robert Blaine Shares His Vision

After a vibrant career as a traveling trombonist and conductor, Robert Blaine put down roots in Jackson, where he hopes to direct a comeback story.

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Dear Pam: Stay in Your Lane

If a so-called activist organization doesn't have the analysis to look at how their suggestions play out for people across income, race, disability and regional lines, then I suggest they should not challenge any city leaders to anything until they do.

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Ice Cream Truckers

Chunky Dunks Sweets Truck is an ice-cream food truck, and the only one of its kind in the state of Mississippi.

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Marcel P. Black: Building Bridges

Bryan Marcel Williams, known to fans as hip-hop artist Marcel P. Black, says that he always had music on his mind growing up in the small town of Ardmore, Okla.

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Learning from Henley-Young’s Progress

Years after litigation and cutting way down on the number of kids behind bars, Jackson faces an interesting crossroads: Our juvenile-justice center might be the leader for rehabilitative treatment for youth in the city.

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Being Brave

We are scared of something, and one day we realize that if we want it enough, we will be brave and endure the pain for it. And then something even more magical happens: Every situation after that requires us to be "brave" gets easier and easier.

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YMCA May Leave Jackson, Hinds After Millions in Loans

The Metropolitan YMCAs of Mississippi—the state's branch of what the national Y calls the "nation's leading nonprofit"—has put both the downtown Jackson and Clinton locations up for sale. The rationale is shrinking profits and increasing debt after taking out millions in loans, including $7 million to build the Flowood location.

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What’s Ahead for the Capitol Complex?

Jackson stands to gain additional tax revenue for infrastructure projects located inside the Capitol Complex Improvement District but likely not until next year, even as it will bring immediate changes on the law-enforcement front.

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The Henley-Young ‘Emergency Room’ Shows Progress, Houses Fewer Youth

The Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center has come a long way since a federal judge issued a consent decree and settlement agreement back in 2012, which required the county to cut back on the number of incarcerated kids and increase mental, health and rehabilitative services for youth.

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Trump Bars Transgender Individuals from US Armed Forces

President Donald Trump is barring transgender people from serving in the military "in any capacity," citing "tremendous medical costs and disruption."

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Senate Judiciary Committee Withdraws Subpoena for Manafort

President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman will not be testifying Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, as originally scheduled, after the committee rescinded its subpoena.

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Trump Assails GOP Senator Who Opposed Health Care Bill

President Donald Trump accused Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a fellow Republican, of disappointing the country by opposing the GOP effort to demolish the Obama health care law, after initial votes demonstrated the party will be hard pressed to make any sweeping changes in the statute.

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Hood and Reeves Speaking at 'Mississippi's Giant Houseparty'

Two of the top statewide elected officials are speaking at the Neshoba County Fair, a get-together known as Mississippi's Giant Houseparty.

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Grow Roots, Wings Where You’re Planted

Once upon a time, I was one of the young people who wanted to get out of this place. In early high school, I imagined that after college, I would travel everywhere, living somewhere for two years at a time. I would go to England and France and Japan and see more of the U.S. than I had before.

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Patti Reiss

During the Christmas holidays in 2012, then-teacher Patti Reiss met the Mississippi Children's Museum Chief Executive Officer and President Susan Garrard at Mistletoe Marketplace.

Tuesday, July 25

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By a Hair, Senate Votes to Debate GOP Health Care Bill

With Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie, the Senate voted by a hair Tuesday to start debating Republican legislation to tear down much of the Obama health care law.

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Civil Rights Marker Rededicated on Birthdate of Lynch Victim

A Mississippi historical marker about a notorious lynching that galvanized the civil rights movement was rededicated Tuesday, weeks after it was vandalized and repaired.

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Forest Hill Students Get APAC Program

Forest Hill High School students have an opportunity to be a part of the Academic and Performing Arts Complex, known as APAC, this year.

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Alyssa Pennington

Jackson native Alyssa Pennington recently became the first woman to referee for a semi-professional soccer game in Mississippi.

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Char Private Dining, Downtown Fitness and CapWay

Char Restaurant will formally open its new private-dining and event space, which the restaurant created in the former Mozingo Clothiers building adjacent to the restaurant, on Aug. 1.

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Former Contract Workers Key in Mississippi Nissan Union Vote

A bid by workers at Mississippi's Nissan Motor Co. plant for United Auto Workers representation could turn on a key voting bloc—1,500 workers who are Nissan employees today, but were initially hired through contract labor agencies.

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Trump Asks About Firing Sessions, Calls His Position 'Weak'

President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and launched a fresh Twitter tirade Tuesday against the man who was the first U.S. senator to endorse his candidacy.

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Kushner Returns to Capitol Hill for Second Day of Interviews

President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner will return to Capitol Hill Tuesday for a second day of private meetings with congressional investigators, this time for a closed-door conversation with lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee.

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McCain Making Dramatic Senate Return for Crucial Health Vote

John McCain will make a dramatic return to the Senate for a make-or-break vote on Republican health care legislation Tuesday just days after getting diagnosed with brain cancer, giving an emotional and arithmetical boost to his party's reeling effort to repeal Obamacare.

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Two Marines Killed in Plane Crash Make Last Trips Home

Two Marines killed in a military plane crash in Mississippi were making their last trips home Monday.

Monday, July 24

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UPDATED: Most Black Lawmakers to Boycott Legislative Conference Over Mississippi Flag

The majority of African American lawmakers in the Mississippi Legislature plan to boycott the annual meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference in Biloxi this weekend.

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Trump's New Message Guru Wants 'A More Positive Mojo'

President Donald Trump's new communications adviser says it's time to hit the "reset button."

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Trump Son-in-Law Kushner at Capitol, Denies Russia Collusion

Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner denied Monday that he colluded with Russians in the course of President Donald Trump's White House bid, declaring in a statement ahead of interviews with congressional committees that he has "nothing to hide."

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Trump Asserts All Agree He Has 'Complete Power' to Pardon

President Donald Trump said Saturday that he has "complete power" to issue pardons, an assertion that comes amid investigations into Russian interference in last year's presidential election. It was one of many topics that appeared to occupy the president's mind as the day broke.

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Lawmakers Herald Agreement on Sweeping Russia Sanctions Bill

Congressional Republicans and Democrats announced Saturday they had reached an agreement on a sweeping Russia sanctions package to punish Moscow for meddling in the presidential election and its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria.

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10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.

Saturday, July 22

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Mississippi Civil Rights Marker Returning After Damage Fixed

A civil rights marker in Mississippi has been repaired and will be put back in place, weeks after being vandalized.

Friday, July 21

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Jimmy Herring: Cracking the Whip

Audiences all over the world have gotten to know guitarist Jimmy Herring pretty well after his nearly three decades on the scene.

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UPDATED: JPS Board Forced to Halt Work After Fourth Member Leaves Board

The Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees needs new members, and quickly. Richard Lind, the newly elected president of the school board, resigned yesterday, meaning only three members remain.

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Spicer Resigns as White House Press Secretary

White House press secretary Sean Spicer, President Donald Trump's embattled spokesman during the first six months of his presidency, is resigning his position, according to two people with knowledge of the decision.

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Even With Trump Warning, Mueller Likely to Probe Finances

President Donald Trump's growing anxiety about the federal Russia probe has spilled into public view with his warning that special counsel Robert Mueller would be out of bounds if he dug into the Trump family's finances. But that's a line that Mueller seems sure to cross.

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Trump Legal Team Looking to Investigate Mueller Aides

President Donald Trump's legal team is evaluating potential conflicts of interest among members of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

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APNewsBreak: Lawsuit Says 'Bathroom Bill' Effects Still Felt

Transgender people in North Carolina are still effectively prevented from using restrooms matching their gender identity under a law that replaced the state's notorious "bathroom bill" earlier this year, according to a lawsuit filed Friday.

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AP Sources: US to Ban Americans from Traveling to North Korea

The Trump administration will ban American citizens from traveling to North Korea, U.S. officials said Friday, following the death of university student Otto Warmbier who died in June after falling into a coma in a North Korean prison.

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Business Group Leader: Pro-Union Vote Could Hurt Mississippi

The head of the Mississippi chamber of commerce says the state could have a harder time attracting jobs if Nissan workers vote to join a union.

Thursday, July 20

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Ole Miss Confirms: Hugh Freeze Has Resigned

Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze has resigned after five seasons, bringing a stunning end to a once-promising tenure.

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Poll: Most Say Feds Should Ensure Health Coverage

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans aren't enthralled with "Obamacare" and they definitely don't like the Republican plans offered in Congress, so what does the public want the government to do about health care? A new poll suggests the country may be shifting toward the political left on the issue, with 62 percent saying it's the federal government's responsibility to make sure that all Americans have health care coverage, while 37 percent say it is not.

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Jackson Mayor Vows to Go Vegan in Light of City Health Issues

"Many places in Jackson and many places in our State are considered food deserts, so it’s not only a matter of people’s willingness, but it’s about what’s available to them.”

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JSU Students Will Keep Scholarships for Current School Year

“To honor our promise to returning and continuing students, scholarships and out-of-state fee waivers shall remain in effect for the 2017-2018 academic year if you have met the previous renewal requirements."

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Hinds County DA Smith's Appeal Fails, Supreme Court Orders Retrial

The Mississippi Supreme Court denied Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith's appeal to avoid a second trial yesterday.

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Mississippi House Shake-Up Ahead

With four open seats and four special elections ahead, the Mississippi House of Representatives can expect a shake-up in the coming months, ahead of the 2018 legislative session.

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Keontre Anderson

The JSU Tigers' defense could end up leading the team in returning to the top of the SWAC, and the pressure to wreak havoc on opposing offenses will fall on defensive end Keontre Anderson, who was named Preseason Defensive Player of the Year during the conference's media day.

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Trump Administration Pulls Health Law Help in 18 Cities

President Donald Trump's administration has ended Affordable Care Act contracts that brought assistance into libraries, businesses and urban neighborhoods in 18 cities, meaning shoppers on the insurance exchanges will have fewer places to turn for help signing up for coverage.

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McCain's Cancer Diagnosis Jolts Senate

Sen. John McCain's diagnosis of brain cancer jolted the Senate where Republicans and Democrats offered prayers and words of encouragement for a six-term lawmaker with a war hero past.

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By Embracing Russia, Trump Bumps Up Against Top Advisers

President Donald Trump's persistent overtures toward Russia are placing him increasingly at odds with his national security and foreign policy advisers, who have long urged a more cautious approach to dealing with the foreign adversary.

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Trump Rages at Sessions in New York Times Interview

President Donald Trump told The New York Times in an interview Wednesday that he never would have appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney general had he known Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation.

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Justices Won't Block New Trial of Hinds District Attorney

The Mississippi Supreme Court has cleared the way for Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith to go on trial again.

Wednesday, July 19

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Trump Says He Wants Voter Fraud Commission to Have Open Mind

President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged members of his new voter fraud commission to approach their task with "a very open mind," despite having spent months making unfounded claims, without evidence, that millions of fraudulent ballots had been cast against him.

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November Elections Set to Fill 2 Mississippi House Seats

Gov. Phil Bryant has set Nov. 7 special elections to fill two seats in the Mississippi House.

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2017 Chicks We Love

This year's Chicks We Love help our communities in many ways, from giving a smile to every patient at a local women's clinic, to making people laugh with comedy, to playing music and advocating for the metro area's LGBT community, to helping women who are victims of domestic violence.

The Slate

No one really knows how entertaining the University of Mississippi will be on the football field this fall. But one thing is for sure: The program is becoming a must-watch off the field.

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AP-NORC Poll: Negotiate on 'Obamacare,' Don't Just Kill It

Americans overwhelmingly want lawmakers of both parties to work out health care changes, with only 13 percent supporting Republican moves to repeal "Obamacare" absent a replacement, according to a new poll.

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Justices Uphold Refugee Ban but Say Grandparents Still OK

The Supreme Court says the Trump administration can strictly enforce its ban on refugees, but is leaving in place a weakened travel ban that includes grandparents among relatives who can help visitors from six mostly Muslim countries get into the U.S.

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Tilling Dreams into Reality

The value of creating something worthwhile from start to finish seems to have lost its steam. People want to go from idea to being rich, skipping the work in the middle.

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Patching Potholes: A Metaphor for Jackson

Running a city for a four-year (or sometimes shorter) term is an admittedly daunting task, with the transfer of political strategies, staff and power.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Will Vote'

The odds of the Senate voting on health-care legislation are slim at this point.

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‘Great for Grove Park’

A couple of weeks ago, I watched in amazement during an acrimonious Jackson City Council debate regarding a proposed partnership with the Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity & Urban League that would allow a community landmark to remain open.

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Trump Tweets Health Bill 'Will Get Even Better' at Lunch

President Donald Trump on Wednesday stepped up the pressure on reluctant Republicans to erase much of Barack Obama's health care law, tweeting, "They MUST keep their promise to America" and vowing the measure would improve at his White House lunch with senators.

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Trump to Nominate Jon Huntsman as US Ambassador to Russia

President Donald Trump announced his intention Tuesday to nominate former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman to be U.S. ambassador to Russia.

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Navigating Mississippi’s Opioid Epidemic

Marsha Stone made it out of college, but not without a drug and alcohol addiction she could not shake. She found herself at the age of 24 with three children and a husband who succumbed to his addiction and died.

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Ward 7 Gets a Pothole Demo

Jack Wilson Sr. kneeled on the pothole-dotted asphalt road with a hammer in his hand the afternoon of July 14. The determined 81-year-old man wore a light blue polo shirt that was drenched like that of a football coach after a big game win.

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The Future of the JFP Chick Ball

First, I'll share the sad news in case you haven't heard. We have reluctantly decided to postpone the JFP Chick Ball again this year, as we did in 2016, and it's for essentially the same reason: If we can't do it well, we're not going to do it.

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Dorcus Thigpen

Mississippi Mass Choir Director Dorcus Thigpen says the only meeting of the musical group she has ever missed in the nearly 30 years since its founding was the first one—and she was on maternity leave.

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The Right to Pre-Trial Justice for All?

Scott County law enforcement officers arrested Joshua Bassett on Jan. 3, 2014, under a warrant for grand larceny and possession of meth. Bassett could not know then that he would sit in jail without legal representation for almost a year before standing trial due to a muddled and slow judicial process.

Tuesday, July 18

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APNewsBreak: US Restoring Asset Seizures, With Safeguards

The Trump administration will soon restore the ability of police to seize suspects' money and property with federal help, but The Associated Press has learned the policy will come with a series of new provisions aimed at preventing the types of abuse that led the Obama Justice Department to severely curtail the practice.

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Trump Lets Iran Deal Live, but Signals He May Not for Long

Having accused Iran of flouting the nuclear deal, President Donald Trump was inclined to tell Congress that Tehran was violating it. His national security aides talked him out of it, but only after agreeing to last-minute changes to try to distance Trump further from the pact his predecessor struck, administration officials said Tuesday.

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'Let Obamacare Fail,' Trump Says After GOP Plan Collapses

President Donald Trump declared Tuesday it's time to "let Obamacare fail" after the latest GOP health care plan crashed and burned in the Senate, a stunning failure for the president, Republican leader Mitch McConnell and a party that has vowed for years to abolish the law.

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Mississippi Prison Consultant Will Plead Guilty to Kickbacks

The wife of a former Mississippi lawmaker says she wants to plead guilty to paying kickbacks to the state's former corrections commissioner.

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Three Charter Schools Advance to Final Evaluation Step

Three charter schools advanced to the final stage of the application process this month, and now an independent four-person evaluation team will review the full proposals from three groups looking to open charter schools in Canton, Drew and Clarksdale.

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The Nail Lounge, Cantina Laredo, Creative Impact Luncheon and Leadership Greater Jackson

The Nail Lounge, which is a nail-treatment and personal-grooming boutique, opened in Highland Village on June 17.

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Duer Sharp

The SWAC has a six-year contract to play in the Celebration Bowl and SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp is hoping to extend it to 10.

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House Budget Blueprint Boosts Military, Cuts Food Stamps

House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled a budget that makes deep cuts in food stamps and other social safety net programs while boosting military spending by billions, a blueprint that pleases neither conservatives nor moderates.

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US Sanctions More Iranians, but Nuclear Deal Stands for Now

The Trump administration slapped 18 Iranian individuals and groups with sanctions Tuesday for aiding the country's non-nuclear weapons programs, in a bid to show that President Donald Trump is staying tough on Iran despite his moves to let the nuclear deal stay in place for now.

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Trump Blasts Congress Over Failure of GOP Health Care Bill

President Donald Trump blasted congressional Democrats and "a few Republicans" Tuesday over the failure of the GOP effort to rewrite the Obama health care law, and warned, "we will return."

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Aug. 3 and 4 Set for Vote to Decide Union at Nissan Plant

Workers at Nissan Motor Co.'s Mississippi plant will decide on Aug. 3 and 4 whether the United Auto Workers will represent them.

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Pickering Says Greentech Never Met Jobs, Investment Totals

Electric vehicle firm GreenTech Automotive claims it raised $140 million for its Mississippi factory, but state Auditor Stacey Pickering said Monday that the company can't prove it invested even the $60 million required in its state incentive contract.

Monday, July 17

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Two Groups Sue Feds for Extending Anglers' Red Snapper Season

Two environmental groups are suing the Trump administration for stretching the red snapper season for recreational anglers in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Secretary of State, Revitalize Mississippi Partner to Eliminate Jackson Blight

The Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and Jim Johnston, founder of the nonprofit organization Revitalize Mississippi, announced their partnership to eliminate blight in the City of Jackson this morning.

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Xavier Amos

The Mississippi Association of College Registrars and Admission Officers named Xavier Amos as its new president elect at the beginning of July.

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Analysis: Civil Rights, Outsiders, France Influence UAW Vote

Only days old, the union election campaign at Nissan Motor Co.'s Canton plant is already heating up.

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Feds Appeal Judge's Travel Ban Ruling to Supreme Court

The Trump administration is seeking to close a legal window opened for tens of thousands of refugees to enter the United States, appealing a federal judge's order directly to the Supreme Court.

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Trump Lawyer Says Nothing Illegal in Son's Russia Meeting

President Donald Trump's attorney insisted Sunday there was nothing illegal in the meeting Trump's eldest son had with a Russian lawyer during last year's presidential campaign.

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More Hurdles as Senate Again Delays Vote on GOP Health Bill

The Senate delayed a highly anticipated vote this coming week to repeal and replace the nation's health care law after Sen. John McCain's announced absence due to surgery, an enormous setback as time dwindles for Republicans to pass the signature legislation after years of promises.

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10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.

Saturday, July 15

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Man Convicted of Killing Ole Miss Officer Set for Release

A prosecutor said he will try to block the state's planned release of an inmate convicted in the 2006 killing of a University of Mississippi police officer.

Friday, July 14

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Former Councilman Frank Bluntson Awarded, JPD Acknowledges Department Units

JPD held an award program yesterday afternoon, July 13, before the weekly COMSTAT meeting to acknowledge the Traffic Unit and Direct Action Response Team Unit, formerly known as D.A.R.T., for their performance in the field.

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Jackson State Faces 'Belt-Tightening' Year

Jackson State University's 11th president, Dr. William Bynum Jr., took the reins this month and told reporters this morning that the university is facing a few years of belt-tightening in its budget, but he maintained that the fourth-largest historically black college or university, or HBCU, in the nation will be just fine.

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Alex Thiel

It was a Saturday afternoon in March 2016, and Alex Thiel was bored. During that time, the Jackson-native musician's longtime progressive-metal trio, Carlos Danger, was going through a slow breakup, and he wanted to work on a project that would send his music in a new direction. To do that, he decided to turn to something old.

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Judge in Hawaii Hands Trump Latest Defeat on Travel Ban

In another setback for President Donald Trump, a federal judge in Hawaii has further weakened his already diluted travel ban by vastly expanding the list of family relationships with U.S. citizens that visa applicants can use to get into the U.S.

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Russian-American Lobbyist Says He Was in Trump Son's Meeting

A Russian-American lobbyist says he attended a June 2016 meeting with President Donald Trump's son, marking another shift in the account of a discussion that was billed as part of a Russian government effort to help the Republican's White House campaign.

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NCAA Questions Abound for Freeze, Even After Filibuster

Hugh Freeze delivered a 16-minute opening statement about his Mississippi team while pointing out he couldn't talk specifics about a long-running NCAA investigation.

Thursday, July 13

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New Senate GOP Health Care Bill Teeters on the Brink

Republican leaders unveiled a new health care bill Thursday in their increasingly desperate effort to deliver on seven years of promises to repeal and replace "Obamacare." They immediately lost two key votes, leaving none to spare as the party's own divisions put its top campaign pledge in serious jeopardy.

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Education Official Apologizes Anew, This Time to Victims

The Education Department's civil rights chief apologized anew Thursday, this time to victims of campus sexual assault, for her "flippant" remarks attributing 90 percent of such claims to both parties being drunk, one participant in the meeting said.

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Alcorn County Prison on Lockdown after Largest Contraband Bust This Year

Mississippi Department of Corrections officials found more than 100 cellphones at the Alcorn County Regional Correctional Facility on Wednesday, July 12, along with bags of tobacco and shanks. MDOC put the facility on lockdown immediately.

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5th Circuit Must Rule on Petitions, Issue Mandate Before HB 1523 Becomes Law

The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will have to decide whether to hear plaintiffs' petition to re-hear their case against House Bill 1523; the law does not go into affect until the 5th Circuit issues a mandate.

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Fred McNair

Alcorn State University quickly announced former great Fred McNair as interim head coach after Head Coach Jay Hopson's departure.

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US Charging 412 in Health Fraud Schemes Worth $1.3 Billion

U.S. prosecutors announced Thursday that they have charged more than 400 people with taking part in health care fraud and opioid scams that totaled $1.3 billion in false billing.

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Government to Report on Solvency of Social Security, Medicare

Republicans in Washington have been clamoring for years to address the long-term financial problems of Social Security and Medicare.

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Macron: Talks with Trump are 'Obvious and Indispensable'

French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday it is "obvious and indispensable" to have exchanges with U.S. President Donald Trump as the two leaders were set to meet to try to push past major differences and find common ground on security, defense and other issues.

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Ex-Coach Houston Nutt Sues Ole Miss, Alleging Smear Campaign

Former Mississippi coach Houston Nutt has filed a civil lawsuit against the university and its athletics foundation, alleging a breach of his severance agreement because of false statements he says school officials made during an ongoing NCAA investigation.

Wednesday, July 12

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General: Plane at Cruising Altitude Before Problems, Crash

The military transport plane that slammed into soybean fields Monday in the Mississippi Delta, killing 15 Marines and a Navy sailor, appears to have developed problems while high in the air, a Marine general said Wednesday.

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Lawmakers Plan to Bring Trump Campaign Chairman Before Panel

The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to question the former chairman of the Trump campaign and will subpoena him if necessary, the panel's Republican chairman said Wednesday.

The Slate

Now that the MLB All-Star break is over, it is time for NFL training camps to get underway. Rookies for the Dallas Cowboys will be the first to report, heading to camp on Monday, July 17.

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Making of a Gem

Krystal Jackson, a 21-year-old senior music major at Millsaps College, says she learned to sing before she could talk.

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Minding the Equity Gap: How Majority-Black Clinton District Earns Its ‘A’ Rating

The October 2016 release of Mississippi's accountability ratings for each public-school district reveals wide racial disparities.

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Address Racial Inequity in Education Now

Education was supposed to be the great "equalizer" back when police officers had to escort a few brave black children past screaming white children and adults to integrate white public schools operating on a "separate but equal" theory.

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A Plea to My Fellow Evangelicals: Call Out Trump

After several days of prayerful consideration, I realized that the potential positives of the Trump administration do not justify the many other actions that go against the teachings I hold dear and that God admonishes me to promote.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'I Love It'

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out his email chain with Rob Goldstone on July 11, which appears to confirm that Russian officials offered to pass on incriminating information about Hillary Clinton to the Trump campaign, and Trump Jr. agreed to a meeting about it.

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Got Melanin? CultureSnap Evolving Black Hashtags

Almost three years ago, Jackson native Frederick Burns decided that the black community needed its own social-media app using the words and phrases popular in the world of Black Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

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New Council Leaders Laud ‘Brand-New Era’ for Jackson

With a new mayor riding into Jackson with a strong mandate, returning city council members are predicting that much can change for the capital city—in a good way.

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Returning ‘Dignity’ to Public Schools

Positive rather than punitive school climates are the best way to keep young people in schools, a group of community leaders and students are arguing in their Dignity in Schools campaign.

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As Russia Scandal Touches His Son, Trump Privately Rages

The snowballing revelations about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer during last year's presidential campaign have broadsided the White House, distracting from its agenda as aides grapple with a crisis involving the president's family.

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Next Stop, Downtown

Local restaurateur and chef Derek Emerson, who owns Walker's Drive-in, CAET Wine Bar and Local 463 Urban Kitchen, recently bought Parlor Market in downtown Jackson. He says his latest project is a labor of love.

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Tyler Tadlock

A series of effervescent synthesizer notes pipe through what sound like disembodied reeds. The resulting track, "Processing," is not so much a song but a mood, baked in the guts of Tyler Tadlock's computer.

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Pride Month Is Over, But the Fight Isn’t

It is interesting that the three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which lifted the injunction blocking HB 1523, did so in June during the last week of Pride month.

Tuesday, July 11

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GOP Senate Leader Says He'll Unveil New Health Bill Thursday

Senate Republicans will unveil their revised health care bill Thursday and begin voting on it next week, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.

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Neha Arora

Neha Arora, an 18-year-old Madison resident and graduate of St. Andrew's Episcopal School, received a $1,000 scholarship from Distinguished Young Women in the self-expression portion of its 60th annual National Finals competition.

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To Avoid Funerals, Mississippi Drug Summit Targets Opioid, Heroin Addiction

Attorney General Jim Hood believes he has been to several funerals of people this year who have died from opioid overdoses, but said today that no one talked about the cause.

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FEAST Specialty Foods, 2017 Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards and Stuff the Bus at the Outlets

Food and drink culture magazine Wine Spectator recognized several local restaurants in its 2017 Restaurant Awards. This year, 3,592 restaurants around the world received honors.

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Emails: Trump Jr. Embraced Help Said to be from Kremlin

Donald Trump Jr. eagerly accepted help from what was described to him as a Russian government effort to aid his father's campaign with damaging information about Hillary Clinton, according to emails he released publicly on Tuesday.

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Senate GOP Leaders Hope for Health Care Vote Next Week

Republican leaders are hoping to stage a climactic vote on their health care bill next week, though internal rifts over divisive issues like coverage requirements and Medicaid cuts leave the timing and even the measure's fate in question.

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Officer Who Killed Castile to be Paid $48,500 in Buyout

The Minnesota police officer who was acquitted in last year's fatal shooting of black motorist Philando Castile will receive $48,500 as he leaves the suburban department that employed him at the time of the killing, according to a separation agreement announced Monday.

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Union Files for Vote by Workers at Mississippi Nissan Plant

The United Auto Workers filed petitions Monday to force a unionization election at a Nissan plant in Mississippi after a yearslong campaign to build support in a region typically unwelcoming to organized labor.

Monday, July 10

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Iraqi Prime Minister Declares 'Total Victory' in Mosul

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory Monday evening over the Islamic State in Mosul after nearly nine months of grueling combat to drive the militants out of Iraq's second-largest city.

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Residents to Vote on Additional Funds for Hinds County School District

Hinds County voters will vote this August for additional funds to improve schools in the Hinds County School District.

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Alex Monsour

Republican Alex Monsour is resigning from the Mississippi House of Representatives after winning a city office in Vicksburg.

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Kremlin Disavows Knowledge of Lawyer-Trump Staff Meeting

President Donald Trump's eldest son changed his account over the weekend of a meeting he had with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, saying Sunday that the woman told him she had information about Democrat Hillary Clinton.

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Survey: US Uninsured Up by 2M This Year as Gains Erode

The number of U.S. adults without health insurance has grown by some 2 million this year, according to a major new survey that finds recent coverage gains beginning to erode.

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Syria Ceasefire Begins, Trump Eyes Cooperation with Russia

U.S. President Donald Trump called for expanded cooperation with Russia on Sunday, as a cease-fire brokered by the two powers and Jordan for southern Syria came into effect.

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State Election Officials Worry About 2018 Election Security

State election officials voiced doubt Saturday that adequate security measures can be adopted before 2018 elections to safeguard against the possibility of a foreign government interfering in U.S. elections.

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G-20 Shut Trump Out on Climate, Strike Deal on Trade

World powers lined up against U.S. President Donald Trump on climate change, reaffirming their support for international efforts to fight global warming.

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10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.

Saturday, July 8

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Mississippi Already Shares Some Voter Info with Other States

Mississippi's top elections official says he is consistent by sharing some voter information with other states while also telling a national group to "jump in the Gulf of Mexico" as it requests similar data.

Friday, July 7

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Plaintiffs Fighting House Bill 1523 Ask Full 5th Circuit to Re-Hear Case

Twelve Mississippians have asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to re-hear their case against House Bill 1523, now law, in front of all the judges.

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Sophia Leonard

The Eudora Welty Foundation recently named Sophia Leonard, a doctoral student at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., as its 2017 Eudora Welty Fellow.

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GOP Leader Says He'll Rework Health Bill, but Offers Plan B

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he plans to produce a fresh bill in about a week scuttling and replacing much of President Barack Obama's health care law. But he's also acknowledging a Plan B if that effort continues to flounder.

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German Host Tells G-20 Leaders They Must Reach Compromises

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told leaders of the Group of 20 economic powers Friday that millions of people are hoping they can help solve the world's problems, and warned them that they must be prepared to make compromises.

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Ole Miss to Recognize Slave Labor on Pre-Civil War Buildings

The University of Mississippi will post a sign acknowledging that slaves built some structures on the main campus founded before the Civil War.

Thursday, July 6

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Staff: Mississippi Power Offering Ideas to Settle Kemper

The man in charge of negotiating a settlement to wind down Mississippi Power Co.'s coal-fueled power plant project says the company has already made proposals.

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Pre-Emptive U.S. Strike on North Korea Could Be 'Catastrophic'

A pre-emptive military strike may be among the "pretty severe things" President Donald Trump says he is considering for North Korea, but it's a step so fraught with risk that it ranks as among the unlikeliest options.

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Maine Governor Suggests He Makes Up Stories to Mislead Media

Maine Gov. Paul LePage lashed out at the media for reporting he planned to leave the state during a budget impasse, and he suggested he sometimes concocts stories to mislead reporters.

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Tillman, Priester Voted to Lead City Council, Lumumba Announces Appointees

Jacksonians crowded into City Hall today, leaving no standing room, at the first city council meeting with the newly elected mayor and council body.

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Data: Mississippi Kids Rely on Medicaid; Many in Rural Areas Supporting Trump

A majority of Mississippi kids rely on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program for health care in the state.

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Joey Chestnut

While you may have eaten too much this Fourth of July, you probably didn't put down 72 hot dogs, which is how many Joey "Jaws" Chestnut finished in 10 minutes to win the 2017 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

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Children's Advocate to Revisit Poverty in Mississippi Delta

The founder of a children's advocacy group returns to Mississippi next week to examine how poverty affects people's lives, much like Sen. Robert F. Kennedy did 50 years ago.

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Hobby Lobby Fined $3 Million Over Smuggled Iraqi Artifacts

Hobby Lobby Stores has agreed to pay a $3 million federal fine and forfeit thousands of ancient Iraqi artifacts smuggled from the Middle East that the government alleges were intentionally mislabeled, federal prosecutors said.

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To Punish North Korea, US Weighs Sanctions on Chinese Companies

Having lost patience with China, the Trump administration is studying new steps to starve North Korea of cash for its nuclear program, including an option that would infuriate Beijing: sanctions on Chinese companies that help keep the North's economy afloat.

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Trump Chides Russia, but Doesn't Condemn Election Meddling

On the eve of his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump vowed Thursday to confront "new forms of aggression" targeting the West and called for Moscow to stop fomenting unrest around the world. Yet he pointedly stopped short of condemning Russia for meddling in the U.S. election.

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Mississippi Demands $6.4M Back from Electric Car Maker's CEO

Mississippi's state auditor on Wednesday demanded that a troubled electric car maker or its leader repay $4.9 million in state and local aid the company received, plus $1.5 million of interest.

Wednesday, July 5

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Southern Miss Eliminates Some Jobs Amid State Budget Cuts

The University of Southern Mississippi has laid off three employees and eliminated 33 vacant jobs because of state budget cuts.

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Months Later, No Decision on Mississippi Online Tax Plan

Months after Mississippi's top tax official proposed requiring large online sellers to collect taxes on internet sales, he still hasn't enacted the rule.

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Hazel Brannon Smith, Crusading Journalist and 'Scalawag'

Durant native and author Jeff Howell recalls his 13-year-old self discovering African American basketball player Walt Frazier in his library's red, white and blue 1976 edition of the "World Book."

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In Josephine’s Kitchen

"Extreme potatoes" is not a term people use often, but at Josephine's Kitchen, it's part of the menu.

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Carly Pearce: Star-Crossed Country

For some people, singer-songwriter Carly Pearce will seem like an artist who is just jumping into the country scene—even if it's far from the truth.

The Slate

Now that July is fully underway, we have plenty of football activity to look forward to. NFL training camps will open later this month, preseason games are about a month away, and college football is only two months away.

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This Little Light of Ours: Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Shines a Light on History

The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum opened its doors temporarily on Tuesday, June 27, for a preview of the impactful, honest and focused features, like the Freedom Riders exhibit.

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Finding Great U.S. Journalism

Trump is waging a constant battle with what he considers the purveyors of "fake news," while those same news outlets struggle to keep up with the stream of misinformation and falsehoods coming out of the White House.

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Mississippi Congressmen Must Fight for Medicaid

It's no secret that Republicans in Washington, D.C., want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and the proposed changes will hurt Mississippians on Medicaid.

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State Settles Kids’ Mental Health Litigation

After seven years of litigation, one Mississippi teenager will finally get to move from the East Mississippi State Hospital to a regional center that provides services for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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Expungements: A ‘Fresh Start’

Laura Brown wanted to work at a local daycare and was shocked when her background check brought up two charges from over a decade ago.

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Sparks Fly Over Grove Park Golf Course

A long evening of acknowledgements over retirements of Jackson Ward 6 Councilman President Tyrone Hendrix and Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon ended in intense disagreement about the future of the historic Grove Park Municipal Golf Course near Lake Hico in northwest Jackson.

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Shop, Give, Live Local

Shopping local isn't something I necessarily thought about until I came to work at the Jackson Free Press, which puts great emphasis on helping locally owned businesses.

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Chuckway Washington

Chuckway Washington, 35, photographs the people and scenery in the place he calls home—Jackson.

Tuesday, July 4

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Mayors Begin New 4-Year Terms in Several Mississippi Cities

Chokwe Antar Lumumba, a 35-year-old attorney, was inaugurated as mayor of Jackson on Monday. He is one of several municipal leaders in Mississippi who are beginning four-year terms of office.

Monday, July 3

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Jackson's Youngest Mayor, Council Members and Citizens Take Oath to Serve

Standing ovations, joyful music, and resounding applause filled the Jackson Convention Complex this morning as the city council and youngest mayor of Jackson ever recited the oath of office.

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New Search Set for Leader to Improve Mississippi Schools

Mississippi education leaders are restarting a search for a leader to take charge of faltering local schools and districts.

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Tokyo Tasty, Farm to Fork, Kopis Mobile, Elite Physical Therapy and JSU Camps

Asian fusion buffet Tokyo Tasty recently opened inside the former location of the Cherokee Inn in Jackson, which closed in early 2015.

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Tyrone Ellis

One of the longest-serving members of the Mississippi House is stepping down.

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Mississippi State University to Get Large Lincoln Collection

A former Rhode Island Supreme Court chief justice and his wife have decided to give their massive collection of Abraham Lincoln and Civil War items to Mississippi State University.

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White House: Trump Backs Repeal-Only Health Bill as 'Option'

President Donald Trump is pressuring wavering senators to back a Republican bill to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's health care law but is holding open a repeal-only option if Republicans can't reach agreement over the July 4 recess, Trump's top legislative aide says.

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Trump Tweets Mock Video of Him Beating CNN, Sparks Criticism

President Donald Trump crowned his weekend rage against the news media with a mock video that shows him pummeling a man in a business suit—his face obscured by the CNN logo—outside a wrestling ring.

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Analysis: Stakes High for Medicaid Changes in Mississippi

More than 700,000 Mississippians receive care from Medicaid, down from a peak of nearly 750,000 in 2015.

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10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.