Stories for August 2005


Wednesday, August 31

Jackson Power May Be Out for Weeks

The Clarion-Ledger reports today that the 75 percent of Jackson resident still without power could face weeks in the dark:

Remarks by Haley Barbour and Thad Cochran Today

Here are the transcribed remarks of Gov. Haley Barbour and Sen. Thad Cochran at today's MEMA press conference in Jackson. They only answered a few questions; Adam said an alarm went off, and they said he had to leave. No one could tell Adam what the alarm meant. The following comments are verbatim, and sent from the governor's office.

UPDATED/URGENT: Take Food to St. Andrews

All, Rev. Connolly just wrote again about food that is needed in the Jackson shelters. Please do what you can:

Thousands May Be Dead in N.O.; 50 in Hancock County

AP is reporting:

Hurricane Katrina probably killed thousands of people in New Orleans, the mayor said Wednesday - an estimate that, if accurate, would make the storm the nation's deadliest natural disaster since at least the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. "We know there is a significant number of dead bodies in the water," and other people dead in attics, Mayor Ray Nagin said. Asked how many, he said: "Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands."

Message Board for Families Seeking Information

One of the JFP blog members, based in North Mississippi, has set up a message board for families seeking information on loved ones:

USM Postpones Opener

The Southern Miss-Tulane game, which was scheduled for Sunday in Hattiesburg has been postponed due in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Tuesday, August 30

Individuals Post Katrina Photos on Flikr

Over 2000 photos have the tag "Katrina" on the Flikr service, where folks make their photos available to everyone on the Web. Obviously some photos tagged Katrina might not be hurricane-related, but a quick look through suggests a lot of them are:

Also Hit Hard: Hattiesburg

Another place that hasn't gotten a lot of play in the national news (Weather Channel, CNN, etc.) is Hattiesburg, which was right in the path of Katrina and reportedly has gotten pummeled while Katrina was still Category 2. C-L posted some stories about Hattiesburg written by Hattiesburg American earlier today:

Boil Water Notice in Effect

The City of Jackson Public Works Department has issued a "boil water" notice for residents in Jackson. If you use municipal water for consumption or cooking, it's recommend that you allow the water to come to a rolling boil for at least one minute before allowing it to cool and use. (A recent notice on the Weather channel also recommended that pregnant women and children under 6 months of age not consume boiled water.) The City is also asking residents to conserve water so that it's available for hospital and other emergency uses.

Biloxi Sun-Herald: Printing in Ga.; Blogging From Biloxi

According to a story in Editor and Publisher the Biloxi-based Sun Herald is still without power, but is being produced and printed by sister paper (Knight-Ridder owned) Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in Columbus, GA. Some reporters have found their way to the Sun Herald building, however, and have been reporting online, including video and audio.

CL: Barbour Heads to the Coast

The Clarion-Ledger is reporting that Governor Barbour plans to take a helicopter to the Gulf Coast and tour the damaged areas; according to Barbour, up to 80 people are thought to have died in Harrison County alone.

Sunday, August 28

Pray for the Big Easy and the Magnolia State

AP reports:

"We are facing a storm that most of us have long feared," Mayor Ray Nagin said in ordering the mandatory evacuation for his city of 485,000 people, surrounded by suburbs of a million more. "The storm surge will most likely topple our levee system." Conceding that as many as 100,000 inner-city residents didn't have the means to leave and an untold number of tourists were stranded by the closing of the airport, the city arranged buses to take people to 10 last-resort shelters, including the Superdome.

Thursday, August 25

Study: Race Disparity During Traffic Stops

The Bureau of Justice Statistics did not want this study published.

Mural or Graffiti? City Draws Line

How far should they go with this?

Wednesday, August 24

No Minors Allowed

I had only eaten half of my French fries at Fenian's one night when they asked me to leave. I was in the back watching Fatman Squeeze with some friends. I was drinking water.

[New Release] Sufjan Stevens "Illinois"

— Alex Slawson and Herman Snell

Sufjan Stevens — "Illinois" Sufjan Stevens, a singer/songwriter from Michigan by way of New York, devised a lofty goal to create an album for each state in the union. The first installment, 2003's "Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lakes State," was a beautiful post-rock and folk inspired take on the state for which it is named; one could almost see the glistening lakes and smell the towering pines while listening. The second installment, simply titled "Illinois," evokes images of its namesake as well. The buoyant title track "Come on feel the Illinoise" has a Tortoise-meets-Polyphonic Spree feel with its jazzy/post-rock vibe, choral vocals and Vince Guaraldi inspired piano. The most notable track, however, is the grisly ode to "John Wayne Gacy." The lyrics are heartbreaking as they describe the deaths of "27 people, even more, they were boys, with their cars and summer jobs, Oh My God." With 22 tracks covering the good and bad of Illinois, Sufjan has amassed a second success in his 50-part installment—very highly recommended!

[Greggs] Why Ask Why

A few days ago I got an e-mail asking if I could write a column about "college" due to the theme of this week's paper. I decided it probably wouldn't be kosher for me to write a column screaming about politics, and then roll it in weed and dip it in beer. In sitting around thinking about what I could write that would encapsulate my five years of college, I wasted 100 words writing this introduction. I thought that was fitting, considering most everything I wrote in school had about 100 words of crap at the beginning.

[Kamikaze] Racists Win Again

Excuse me if I'm a little cynical when it comes to the American judicial system. Any system run by human beings is going to be flawed. Being that we are supposed to be the superior species on the planet, we're often too smart for our own good. We're a civilized society (sometimes), so we have laws and rules. Sometimes, however, our predilection to interpret and follow rules overrides basic common sense.

[New Release] Esthero "Wikked Lil Grrls"

Esthero — "Wikked Lil Grrls" My first time ever seeing Esthero was on ABC's "The Jimmy Kimmel Live Show." The title track from her latest album, which she performed, was both upbeat and sexy. I was intrigued, and this alone drove me to go and buy the album. To my surprise it's not only sexy and upbeat, but calming and thought-provoking. In her intro, Esthero promotes a "musical revolution" and leads the way with music inspired by jazz, pop, R&B, and hip-hop, along with humorous, kinky and oftentimes weird interludes all throughout the album. Although Esthero is a self-professed Jewish cornbread and macaroni eating girl, her voice is a bit raspy—reminiscent of legend Etta James. Considering the album's jazzy sound, she may also be compared to our very modern Sade on more laid-back tracks such as "My Torture." With a guest appearance from Cee-lo Green, this album that Esthero wants to give every musical genre a go, and in this project it words out quite well. So, if you're looking for something a bit unconventional to add to your list, Esthero is a perfect pick.

[Stiggers] Tips From Hair-Did University

Boneqweesha Jones, the president of Hair-Did University's Schools of Cosmetology, Hair Styling and On-the-scene reporting, addresses the freshman class: "To each member of the freshman class, I'm pleased that you did the right thing in the midst of tough times by choosing H.D.U. for your post-secondary education. We poor folk must pay the 'high' price because we allowed ourselves to be 'okie-doked' (tricked) by the 'American Scream.'

[BeerTalk] Beyond Cheap Brews

Most students tend to stop at the suitcases of beer and seldom venture into the possibilities that are out there for the thrifty (but not necessarily cheap) spender who seeks a pleasurable taste and a memorable experience. Bringing a higher-quality beer to a social gathering will not only impress friends but may also take the party up a notch.

Battling The Freshman 15

For many freshmen, something happens when they're not looking, but it surely gets noticed on that first trip home, four to six weeks after classes start. Little sis says, "Hey, now that that cute skirt's too tight for you, can I have it?" Yep. The first evidence of the dreaded "Freshman 15" has settled in, maybe forever. A Cornell University study mentioned at found that the 60 college freshmen studied gained an average of four pounds during the first 12 weeks of school—that's 11 times more than is typical for 17- and 18-year-olds. Their eating habits proved to be the biggest culprit—breakfast and lunch at all-you-can eat joints resulted in 20 percent of the new pounds. Overall, they took in an average of 174 more calories per day.

Just Wait 15 Minutes

Jackson Mayor Frank Melton rode a "no new taxes" bandwagon into the office that he took over July 4. "I'm not going to burden you with more taxes. I'm just not going to do it," Melton told a crowd of supporters at a campaign rally prior to the Democratic primaries.

I Lied, But I Didn't Swear

(Update: Download Circuit Judge Robert Bailey's decision in PDF.)

Almost Legal: In Jackson, Are 18- to 20-Year-Olds Just Screwed?

Sometimes, being under 21 in Jackson is like serving a term under house arrest.In February, when the Crossroads Film Society managed to secure a copy of "The Ramones, End of the Century," it celebrated by throwing a Thursday night gala for the screening at Hal & Mal's. An avid indie-rock fan, 18-year-old Logan Holleman alerted a couple of his friends to the event, and made the 20-minute trek from his home in Flowood to meet up with them in the parking lot before the film began.

MVP: Jackson Area Students Strut Their Stuff

To celebrate the new year, we've chosen two students from Millsaps College, Mississippi College, Jackson State University, Tougaloo College and Belhaven College who really exemplify what their school has to offer. The staff and students of these schools agree: These folks are the MVPs of college life.

Taxing Your Grub

In an era of "no new taxes" pledges, you will soon find a stealthy tariff lurking on your cafeteria tray.

Questions For Newbies

My new laptop's got a sweet wireless Internet connection? Where can I surf the net for free?

Making The Grade

Cassandra Williams, principal of Davis Magnet Elementary School, had good reason to be smiling Aug. 17. Williams announced at a ceremony that day that Davis Magnet, on North Congress Street near downtown Jackson, had made the grade internationally. The school received official authorization as an International Baccalaureate World School.

Theon Johnson

Theon Johnson's name fits, with both parts ending melodiously with the word on, as in "on the job." In Johnson's case, that means finishing his studies, earning a dual degree in philosophy and religious studies with a minor in education. "I'm also getting the pre-reqs for medical school," the tall, lively-faced young man said as we sat in the Bowl at Millsaps College, the grassy center of campus, criss-crossed by sidewalks and ringed with shade trees.

Tupelo Writer Comes Out ... As AP Voter

Gregg Ellis of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal writes about what it's like to be a voter in The Associated Press college football poll. Good luck, Greg.

Tuesday, August 23

Barna: Jackson Has Nation's Highest Percentage of Born-Again Christians, Nation's Most Christian-Ori

Interesting news from the Barna Group. Money quotes:

Orenda Fink of Azure Ray Solo CD

Orenda Fink: Invisible Ones (Saddle Creek; August 23). "One of the reasons that I chose to make a solo record was that I was ready to take a different approach to songwriting than I had previously with Azure Ray. After traveling extensively in India, Cambodia and Haiti, I began to focus more on the external world instead of the internal. I was drawn to issues like spirituality, oppression, and the mystical and interminable spirit that underlies the human condition. The challenge that I faced was representing these issues with songs. This collection of songs is my attempt at that. It is an _expression of my personal experiences, revelations, and observations." - Orenda Fink

Wednesday, August 17

Formality - A Necessary Evil

You're out to dinner, and you order a bottle of wine. The waiter brings the bottle and starts going through the motions of formal wine service at the table. For many people, this process can be intimidating and confusing. For others, it's tedious and unnecessary. Not understanding or simply not paying attention during this process could put you in a bit of a stitch if later you realize that the wine is bad or that the wrong wine was brought to the table. Allow me to demystify this very necessary formality.

How I Stay Healthy

Carla Gayle Simpson, 24, is a fourth-year dental student at the University Medical Center. She takes classes six hours a week and sees patients from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. But even though she has a very busy and hectic schedule, she still manages to work out on a regular basis.

Paying The Price: As Soldiers Are Buried, America Tunes Out

Thunder rumbles over Fort Carson as Pamela Knott weeps inside the Army base's chapel. Minutes later, she tells television and newspaper reporters that the pouring rain soothed her during the memorial service for her son, Pfc. Joseph Knott, who was killed by a remote-controlled explosive device while on patrol in Iraq.

Honoring Our Soldiers: Are Mississippi Lawmakers Doing Enough?

Mississippi is paying dearly with our soldiers' lives in the Iraqi War. Since the war began in March 2003, at least 37 servicemen from Mississippi have lost their lives. In fact, Mississippi currently ranks fifth in the nation in per capita loss of servicemen.

Guilty By Default?

When Mayor Frank Melton held the post as head of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, he leaked a memo containing accusations against MBN employees that were later disproved by the state auditor's office. Melton faxed the memo to Clarion-Ledger reporter Ana Radelat the day it was handed to him, kicking off a lawsuit against him and the Gannett Corp., the newspaper's corporate owner, for defamation.

Robbed At The Pump

Gas prices at the pumps hit an all-time high last week, but even before the price whacked $2.46, some gas station workers said theft was already on the rise.

[Gospel] All In The Familly

In an industry that is home to stellar artists such as Fred Hammond, Kirk Franklin and Donnie McClurkin, another male vocalist has stepped over the threshold—Dathan Thigpen.

[Jacktown] Rumors And Releases

What's up, Jackson? I have been out grinding, hitting the pavement and making some power moves, as your favorite rapper's favorite rapper would say. I want to start this column by talking a little bit about these celebrity rapper sex tapes floating around—and I'm not talking Snoop's and Lil' Jon's legal exploits.

House Of Duchovny

Here's a surprise: Dour, dry David Duchovny's directorial debut, "House of D," is more weepy than creepy, a conventional coming-of-age story that flashes back to 1970s New York City.

[McLemore] Say It Ain't So, Raffe

On March 17, Rafael Palmeiro pointed his finger at the U.S. Congress and emphatically stated his position. Of all of the baseball greats there that day, Palmeiro came off as the cleanest. The outcry against Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Jose Canseco never took aim at the Baltimore Orioles' star. Palmeiro's testimony even led to his participation in a coalition of pro leagues against steroid use.

[Stiggers] Stuck Like Chuck On The Side Of The Road

The Ghetto Science Team's Department of Transportation presents Transportation Secretary and Head Mechanic of Rev. Cletus Car Sales, Deacon O.D. Mann, promoting his transportation program for financially challenged commuters.

[Damiani] From One Iraq Extreme To The Other

Today, after you've had your first cup of coffee and stumbled out of your home to join society, walk up to somebody and say, "What do you think of when you hear the word 'Iraq'?"

Where The Pavement Begins

On a recent Tuesday a bunch of folk gathered for a cookout outside John Lawrence's place. It was kind of like the stoop cookouts we used to have when I lived at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. John had a grill and tons of hamburgers, hotdogs, Bocas, all sorts of chips, sodas, beer. His guests—some from the Ironworks Building, others from the Dickies Building near the downtown post office, others of us who love downtown in spirit—came to the Downtown Neighborhood Association's first gathering outside the Hal & Mal's complex; John has a loft upstairs.

Ro Sanchez

Ronel "Ro" Sanchez, 32, is nothing short of a movie buff. Seated on the couch near the front door of Video Café, he takes a look around at the vintage movie posters that line the store's walls. "I always loved movies" he says. "Movies can change your mood for the entire day."

Thursday, August 11

[Ali] Bootstrap Fury

I was attempting to have a nonviolent "discussion" with my conservative father the other day when he said the phrase, "Pulling themselves up by their bootstraps." After quickly looking around for President Reagan, I realized the man responsible for my existence had said that to me in reference to the ideal social welfare system.

Wednesday, August 10

Going To Hell In Style

A Review Of Romance Of The Three Kingdoms X

I'm screwed. Really. Maybe it's because I constantly overwork my entire population of peasants into revolt, or because I flip a coin to decide if I execute the enemy officers, but I just know there's some list down there with my name on it. But at least I'm going in style. Damning yourself to eternal suffering has never been so enjoyable as it is with "Romance of the Three Kingdoms X." ROTKX is a strategy game set in ancient China, where the player takes control of a officer in the history of that time period. All the original officers are real people from history, taken from the novel by Luo Guanzhong. But if you'd like, you can create your own, chosen from a wide variety of stats and traits.

All Things English

You know how it is, some teen-aged girls have flaming crushes on celebrities—mainly musicians, actors and athletes. Way back when I was a teen-ager, most of mine had one characteristic in common—they were English—as in the Beatles and Prince Charles.

Dealing With The Bad Guys

Precinct 4 COPS meetings have proved a reliable format for city figures to meet with concerned residents and discuss problems facing the community, particularly infrastructure and crime issues. The Aug. 4 meeting was no different. Visiting the audience that day, along with Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes and Public Works Director Thelman Boyd, was Jackson Mayor Frank Melton, who leaned into the crowd with informal aplomb and pronounced his top three priorities as mayor.

Crash of The Blue Screen

The Help America Vote Act of 2002, passed in response to the troubled 2000 presidential elections, requires each state to have up-to-date voting machines installed and ready by Jan. 1, 2006. Meeting this demand, Mississippi followed through with its own modernization. Secretary of State Eric Clark showed off the results at an Aug. 3 conference at the state Capitol.

[Kamikaze] Pump It Up

I've been an athlete all my life. Since I can remember, I've participated in organized sports, whether it was soccer in elementary school; baseball, basketball and track in junior high school; or football in high school and briefly at Jackson State.

But Earth, Which Is His Due

At the Neshoba County Fair this year, I had gotten up close to the lectern so I could take a close-up picture of Gov. Haley Barbour's face during his annual political address. He said my family name at the exact moment I snapped his picture.

Crystal Carter

One trip to Emory School University of Atlanta was a lifetime experience for 16-year-old Jacksonian Crystal Carter. The Jim Hill High School junior was qualified as an attendee for the 10-day National Forum on Medicine because of her high PSAT score.

[Stiggers] Bring Back The Hustle

Brotha Hustle: "Greetings, fellow hustlers and ghetto economists. I've come to realize that we live in a society of racketeering. Gone are the days of Hustle-Utopia (a.k.a. legitimate hustling society), a time when people made equal exchanges with each other, such as a product for a service. Today, lies mixed with the truth keep the insane craziness going.

No. 46 August 11-17

<b><em>Here For Ya</b></em>

I just read the cover story (reprint of JFP's "I Want Justice, Too") in the Colorado Springs Indy and followed links to the JFP. WOW! Great journalism. My heart pours out to the Dees and Moores. Tears rolled from my eyes. I cannot imagine reliving this each day. Thomas, you are a great man. My family would like to help out with a donation for the memorial/headstones. Additionally, Thomas, I live in Colorado Springs, and I am an Army vet. I'm here for ya.

SOS Announces ‘Voter-Verified Paper Trail'

It seems the secretary of state's office is trying to respond to concerns about the new voting machines such as the JFP reported more than a month ago:

Tease photo

JFP Interview: Education Governor William Winter

<b>*The JFP Unabridged Web Edition*</b>

The Neshoba County Fair this year was like a tale of five governors on Thursday, traditionally the hottest political fire-breathing day. In a way though, it was the story of two governors—one past, one present—with two very different ideas on public education. For his part, Gov. Haley Barbour says we are wasting money, that we're funding public education more than ever (at least using GOP math), that we need to focus on inefficiences instead of using more tax money to bring the state's education up to "adequate" levels, as established in a formula by the Legislature in 1994.

Can Education Be Saved? More Cuts May Be Ahead.

Pontotoc County Superintendent John Simmons has been in his position for only two years, but already knows how strapped for money his county schools are. "Some of our history books are 9 years old," Simmons said. "We've had to raise local taxes, and to make up for the difference we cut about $500,000 last year (from our budget) and about $300,000 this year."

Tuesday, August 9

19 Ethiopians turn their cameras onto their own lives

Nineteen Ethiopians turn their cameras onto their own lives and invite you to share their very personal perspectives. From diverse backgrounds and different parts of the country, their photographs give a rare insight into life in Ethiopia now. They will continue to post new photographs regularly until the end of 2005, so please check the site regularly.

New Nickel Creek Out Now

Grammy-Winning Band's Third Album Offers Further Folk-Pop Innovations. Nickel Creek is set to release their third album, Why Should The Fire Die?, on August 9, 2005. Working with producers Eric Valentine and Tony Berg, the platinum-selling band found innovative ways to capture their singular sound, resulting in a record that makes the listener sometimes wonder if there isn't more than mandolin, guitar, violin and bass at play. Recorded on analog gear, each song is uniquely crafted – some sonically enhanced with vintage plate reverb, while others are recorded around a single stereo-microphone.

Monday, August 8

Mississippi Blues Living Legends Highlight Native Sons Concert Series

Filming of Three-Part Blues Special a Sequel to Blues Divas. They were born in Shaw and Belzoni, Mississippi and helped craft some of America's original musical sounds. At the age of 92, Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins is revered internationally as the world's best blues piano player. At the age of 90, David "Honeyboy" Edwards is one of the few remaining original practitioners of the acoustic Delta blues style. These two living legends will take the stage at Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Miss., for what is sure to be a performance of a lifetime.

Sunday, August 7

A Lunch To Grow On

Our lazy summer days are coming to an end, and school is around the corner. Cafeteria food might taste good, but those steak fingers and fries do not have much nutritional values. The rate of obesity in our country is on the rise, with bad eating habits starting in grade school. For a more nutritious lunch, here are a few healthy, tasty on-the-go lunch options.

Wednesday, August 3

Melton Wants All JPS Students Drug-Tested

WLBT is reporting:

Jackson Mayor Frank Melton wants students to be able to pass one test in particular... a drug test. Announcing his commitment to improve Jackson's public schools, Melton wants officials to consider across-the-board drug testing. "The only way that I can know to do it without profiling and selecting certain kids is just to test everybody," said Melton. "If Johnny shows up hot on marijuana we know that Johnny needs some help."

"Oscillons from The Anti-Sun," Stereolab

Since their inception in 1991, Stereolab have taken a rather simple formula for making music and have polished it to such a degree that they are almost as influential as the artists to which they initially paid homage; e.g. Can, Neu, Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, my bloody valentine, Serge Gainsbourg, Brigitte Fontaine, et al. In their 14 years as a band, they have released 12 albums, 8 EP's and 10 singles. Essentially, this is the 4-th installment of the "Switched on" series, which compiles various rarities, singles, b-sides and live tracks. Included in this 3 disc + 1 DVD set are the unreleased LP version of "Ping Pong," original single versions of "French Disco" and "Jenny Ondioline," as well as numerous rare tracks. For the long time fan and completist, it is an essential addition to the collection. For newbies, it is a great place to become familiar with their stylish and loungy trademark sound; one that incorporates retro analog instrumentation, like moog and farfisa keyboards, with digital production and is capped by maternally soothing francophile vocals, lush guitar work and precise ["persuasive"] percussion. Either way, this is a remarkable compilation and yet another worthy addition to Stereolab's prolific discography. --Alex Slawson and Herman Snell

"Dol-Goy Assist," Quinoline Yellow

Some record labels are legendary for consistently great output and SKAM [U.K.] is certainly among them, especially when it comes to Leftfield/Abstract/IDM/Ambient soundscapes. Since signing Luke Williams, better known as Quinoline Yellow, in 2001, SKAM has since begun its post-pastoral renaissance. Quinoline Yellow just released its sophomore full length, "Dol-Goy Assist," complete with clicks, bleeps and beautiful ambient transitions- a hybrid of early Autechre, Bola and Jega of sorts. Some tracks start out like something you may have heard before and meander into a truly original movement, while others start out at leftfield and come into a familiar focus; some do neither. All tracks do coalesce as a whole unit and they do so with uniqueness and style. As expected, this is highly recommended. --Alex Slawson and Herman Snell

[Buzz] We Can Even Pick the Streets

[D.I.Y.] Be A Spoken Word Poet

In the past decade, a resurgence of the poetry known as spoken word has emerged and has become an outlet for expression for many people. Poets are drawn to the energy and versatility in spoken word. It puts a dual emphasis on writing and performance, which makes it a public art.

How to Beat the House

On July 15, the Mississippi Legislature finished up a 90-minute special session in record time and with plenty of smiles. Both the Senate and the House passed similar bills providing $14 million for Baxter Healthcare in Cleveland, allowing Baxter to expand its product line and settling fears that the company's almost 800 employees might lose their jobs.

Sex Shop Shenanigans

When Mayor Frank Melton and two detectives raided an adult novelty store last Thursday, the incident raised a few questions. Disparate reports by local media WLBT-TV and The Clarion-Ledger offered no real conclusions. The two sources reported different names of the bookstore—WLBT-TV named it the Jackson Novelty Video and Movies, while The Clarion-Ledger referred to the store as Terry Road Bookstore.

Crime Plan Faces Reality Check

Last week Mayor Frank Melton announced a number of methods to combat crime in the city. "I'm making a change in leadership at the municipal court, and Gayle Lowery, a current city judge, will take over the municipal court effective immediately," Melton announced at a July 25 press conference in what his office is now calling the "oval office" (the square "ceremonial" mayor's office in City Hall).

Mayor Tries to Clean House

Jackson Mayor Frank Melton, elected July 4, was already looking to shake the system July 27, calling for the resignation of city board and commission members. In a press release, Melton's office told the media in an unprecedented announcement that he wanted immediate resignations of the almost 200 members of the 22 boards and commissions "in an effort to assure that the necessary policies and programs are initiated."

[Wine] Keeping It Cool

I'm not usually one to talk much about the weather, but lately who can help it? WOW—is it ever hot. When the temperature's up, people's dispositions tend to go sour, too. What we all need to do is slow down, have a nice glass of wine, and everything will be alright.

Take the Time to Do It Right

Last Sunday two Clarion-Ledger columnists expressed dismay at Mayor Frank Melton's string of public proclamations that turned out to be more hype than good, legal policy—telling city board members to resign, saying he would close the Maple Street apartments without regard to the rights of owners or the tenants, declaring he would demolish the King Edward in 30 days.

[Geek] Don't Ask "Y": A Vision Of The Unmanned World

I have to profess an undying affection for "what if" stories—what if the British had won the Revolutionary War, what if Napoleon had not lost at Waterloo—and the comic book genre is full of these stories. What if Spider-Man had joined the Fantastic Four? What if Superman's rocket had landed on Earth in Russia?

[Music] The Love Doctors

Once upon a time, heartthrobs made up groups such as New Edition, Jodeci, and Boyz II Men. They sang ballads that made lovers swoon by appreciating every asset, every touch and every breath. But, those days are long gone. R&B has recently taken an aggressive turn, leaving almost nothing to the imagination.

Grand Hotel: Does the King Edward Have a Glorious Future?

Jackson Mayor Frank Melton attempted to put some gas behind the renovation of the King Edward Hotel July 22 when, through the media, he gave his staff about a month to finalize plans to renovate the hotel. Or, he threatened, he would push to have it demolished. "When someone gets off the train at the refurbished Union Station, the first thing they see is the dilapidated King Edward Hotel. It's been an eyesore for years, and something needs to be done with it," Melton told The Clarion-Ledger.

[Mangum] Every Child, One Voice?

"Hey, FAGGOT!" Not exactly what you want to hear starting the school day, right? But I can't tell you the number of days of my Mississippi junior high school life that began with this greeting.

Ricardo Jacobs

Ricardo Jacobs, 24, may not be a native of Jackson, but it's obvious that he loves the city he's called home since the sixth grade. "Jackson is a nice place to live; the people that I've met, I like them," he said, looking me straight in the eye as he went on to say something that took me by surprise somewhat, coming as it did from a young, 21st century black man. "You are ultimately in control of your own life. You can make decisions for yourself. I strongly believe that, and I have no trouble telling people that."

[Stiggers] Poor Kids' Hoop Dreams

Let's hear a message from the Ghetto Science Team's school superintendent. Grandma Pookie: "Under-funded schools in poor communities anticipate the elimination of athletic programs, which could disable a poor student's ability to advance in today's society. The bulk of America's great athletes rose from poor and working-class communities. Was it not athletics that turned poor kid's hoop dreams into NBA realities? Don't fret! Your superintendent announces the GSTAA (Ghetto Science Team's Athletic Association), an alternative high school athletic program for financially challenged students.

August 4 - 10, 2005

<b>What About Sex?</b>

I found Ali Gregg's column "Why Not Just Turn Gay?" (July 28-Aug. 3, 2005) somewhat humorous. She listed her 10 reasons why she wouldn't make a good lesbian. Most of the reasons centered on her desire to be unconventional, defiant or just going against the grain of society. That's her opinion, and she's welcome to it. However, I would think that the enjoying sleeping with someone of the opposite sex better than someone of the same sex should be somewhere in that top 10. That reason would certainly make my top 10 list.

Tuesday, August 2

Protect The Vote

Just as President Bush has nominated a potential U.S. Supreme Court justice who may further roll back federal voting-rights protections, the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP is announcing a rally in Atlanta on Aug. 6 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and to call Congress to extend the Act beyond 2007.

Monday, August 1

Johnny Cash Box Set

NEW COLLECTIONS HIGHLIGHT THE LEGENDARY RECORDING CAREERS OF JOHNNY CASH and JUNE CARTER CASH. Columbia/Legacy, a division of SONY BMG Music Entertainment, is gearing up for the impending releases of 'must have' box sets by American music titans Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, both available on August 2, 2005.