Stories for April 2009


Thursday, April 30

Investigation Reveals Irby was Legally Drunk

Hinds County prosecutors have presented evidence in the case of a crash that killed two young doctors in February to a Grand Jury, reports WAPT.

Hood Settlement Under Suspicion

Attorney General Jim Hood offered no guess as to what media outlets are looking for in a sealed February 2008 settlement between his office and State Farm and Fire and Casualty Company. Jackson New Media, Inc., publisher of the Y'all Politics blog, filed motions to intervene and unseal the settlement this month, joined by three TV stations: Jackson's WLBT, Hattiesburg's WDAM and WLOX in Biloxi.

Is this guy still a Northside Sun columnist?


I just just got this e-mail from someone who clearly is out to tar Mexicans with the swine flu; he also sent it to media around the country, sending a great message out about Mississippi, I might add. Here it is in its entirety:

Medicaid Still Up for Debate

With a proposal on the table for an increased cigarette tax, the Mississippi Legislature is turning its attention to funding the $90 million Medicaid shortfall. Yesterday, a conference committee containing members from both chambers could not reach an agreement, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Thursday's Starting Five: Let The Hype Begin

Rebels rising … Will Brett unretire again? … Texas prep sports are sick … M-Braves headed home … Will the Dogs' Eraser return?

Wednesday, April 29

Put Jackson First

When the Jackson Free Press editorial board met with mayoral candidates last week, we asked each candidate roughly the same questions based on a list we had compiled beforehand. But when one candidate brought up John McGowan's Two Lakes project and pledged his whole-hearted support, we added the question to our arsenal and called those we were still considering for a comment.

Campaign Finance Report: John Horhn

According to a campaign finance report (PDF) obtained by the Jackson Free Press, state Sen. John Horhn has $5,620 cash in hand leading up to Tuesday's Democratic primary. Among Horhn's largest campaign contributors are attorney John and Melody Maxey, of Jackson, and Jackson surgeon Dinesh Goel, both of whom donated $10,000. Horhn also received $1,000 each from businessman Leland Speed and fellow state Sen. Cecil Brown, as well as $2,000 from the Home Builders Association of Jackson and $2,500 from the Mississippi Association of Builders and Contractors.

Young, Gifted and Influential

The JFP staff is putting together a list of talented people under age 40 for our Young Influentials issue coming out later this month. And we need you help! Post the names of young people you think are impressive, progressive, influential, pro-Jack or just plain cool, and we'll check out your suggestions.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Southern League baseball, Montgomery at Mississippi (7:05 p.m., Pearl, 103.9 FM): The M-Braves open a homestand against the Biscuits on a Thirsty Thursday. (Burp!) … College baseball, Belhaven vs. Mobile in GCAC Tournament (3:30 p.m., Hattiesburg): The Blazers are among the contenders heading into this tournament.

Frank Melton is No Barack Obama

It's déjà vu all over again. Four years ago this week, I was writing a column calling for—no, begging—Jacksonians not to vote for Frank Melton as mayor in the Democratic primary.

[Stiggers] Resourceful Recession

Nurse Tootie McBride: "This is your Good Morning Ghetto Diet and Health segment. With me in the Hook-A-Meal-Up Kitchen is Chef Fat Meat, the Emeril Lagasse of the 'hood."

[Hutchinson] The 100-Day Fixation

Then-Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama did a prescient thing last October. He told an interviewer from a Colorado radio station that he thought the first 1,000 days, not the first 100 days, would make the crucial difference for his presidency.

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Patrick Edmond

In a bustling Jim Hill High School hallway, students are yelping and shouting to one another joyfully, but one student remains unfazed by the exuberance.

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The Mayor Bunch

Managing a city like Jackson is no easy task. It's the biggest city in the state—with a population of about 175,000, which appears to have lost a good bit of its affluent residents to the expanding suburbs.

A Sweet Addiction

I have an addiction. I can't deny it, hide it or even try get rid of it. Whenever it gets hot outside, I have a strong urge to feed this addiction. That's right. I'm talking about sorbet. Most people might use the words "sherbet" and "sorbet" interchangeably, but they are different. Sherbet is usually fruit-based, but also has milk or cream, while sorbet only contains fruit.

Mysterious Relics

Hanna Heath arrives in war-torn Sarajevo in 1996 to undertake the "once-in-a-lifetime career maker" project: to analyze and conserve the 14th-century illuminated edition of the Haggadah, the book used to outline the Jewish Passover Seder.

Resurrecting Rock

You can barely see Ben Shea's his face when he sings, because it's occluded by a never-ending fount of dark brown curls, and he tends to look away from the crowd.

[Herman's Picks] Vol. 7, No. 33

The first of May signifies the official induction ceremony for short shorts and outdoor music festivals. Can I have an amen? There are good times and tired feet on the horizon, my friends.

[Pass The Mic] Beats Per Mile

In my never-ceasing quest to lose weight and get into shape, I have tried nearly every form of exercise that exists, save for a select few that I deemed "too hard" for a dough girl like me. I felt this way about spin classes for a long time until the day came when I couldn't ignore the thumping music any longer, and I had to hop on a bike and try it for myself.

Bringing Back "the Hoff"

Industrial rock band Filter strolls into Jackson this weekend for the Miller Lite Crawfish Boil. Filter first gained international fame for its 1999 hit single "Take a Picture," a mellow, reflective song and a departure from their aggressively brash sound.

Barbour Co-founds Anti-Democratic Group

Looking for a political comeback, leaders in the Republican Party yesterday launched a group to strategically oppose the Democratic agenda, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Ward 6: How to Win Votes And Influence People

In a pair of forums last week, contenders for the Ward 6 City Council seat struggled to distinguish themselves from the pack with 1-minute answers. Ward 6 has a whopping 12 Democratic candidates competing to replace Marshand Crisler, who is running for mayor. Most strived to be memorable, with varying degrees of success.

Wednesday's Starting Five Plus: Coming Up Short

The Eagles edge Rebels … JSU to appeal fine … The M-Braves collapse in eighth … Picking up pieces at Talladega … What, no no-no?

Tuesday, April 28

Feds OK $321 Million for Education

Although he has been loathe to accept some of the federal stimulus funds allotted for Mississippi, Gov. Haley Barbour announced today that the federal government has approved the state's plan for more than $321 million for education from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Mississippi ACLU Worker Found Not Guilty

[verbatim] On Thursday, April 23, a Jackson Municipal Court Judge found ACLU Public Education Coordinator Brent Cox not guilty on charges of interfering with police officer duties and disorderly conduct. The case was tried by ACLU Staff Attorney, Kristy Bennett, on Monday, April 16th, 2009, in Jackson Municipal Court. Cox was arrested on September 14, 2007 after watching a Precinct Four officer question an individual in front of Rainbow Whole Foods in Jackson, Mississippi.

Lawmakers Agree on 68 Cent Cigarette Tax

Mississippi legislators have come to a tentative agreement on a new cigarette tax: 68 cents a pack.

Anti-smoking advocates Communities for a Clean Bill of Health called the compromise "a win for Mississippi" in a statement.

Arlen Specter to join the Wu-Tang Clan

This afternoon Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) announced he is joining the Wu-Tang Clan, a prominent, loosely organized group of hardcore rappers that first formed in the early '90s.

Ward 1 Challenger Drops Out

Physician Jonathan S. Jones announced today that he is withdrawing his candidacy for the Ward 1 City Council seat currently held by Jeff Weill. In a statement, Jones, who was running as a Republican, said that he is dropping out because of the "difficult constraints placed on municipal primary elections."

Government and Unions to Control GM

Yesterday, General Motors, tenuously surviving on the federal government's $15.4 billion bailout, announced its restructuring plan. The plan, which includes cutting 21,000 production jobs in the U.S. and ending the storied Pontiac brand, offers to give the U.S. government a 50 percent equity stake in exchange for cancelling $10 billion of its debt, according to

Judge Faces Key Decisions In Melton Trial

A federal judge will hear arguments today on whether to hold separate trials for Mayor Frank Melton and his former police bodyguard Michael Recio. Melton and Recio are under federal indictment for civil-rights violations in conjunction with the 2006 destruction of a Ridgeway Street duplex. They beat different state charges for the incident in 2007, and their first federal trial ended in a hung jury Feb. 24. Their re-trial will begin May 11.

Monday, April 27

Mental Health Legislation Passed

House Bill 897, signed into law by Gov. Haley Barbour, creates a panel to study issues surrounding delivery of the state's mental health services and make recommendations for improvement.

Flu Concerns Rising

On Friday, the Mississippi State Department of Health released a statement responding to reports of swine flu in Texas and California.

Monday's Starting Five: Two Rebels Hit NFL Jackpot

Nobody tries to dodge this draft … Great weekend for Rebs … Majors must wait … JSU holds Tiger Fest … M-Braves get even.

Sunday, April 26

Harvey Johnson Leads in New Mayoral Phone Survey

Verbatim from Brad Chism:

Friends, Below is a topline from the survey yesterday. Further below is a repeat of the explanations and qualifiers-these are important. From the blog traffic it appears that some don't read below the first paragraph. I had several calls and emails this morning looking for this ZataPulse wave, one from a healthy critic of this exercise. And yesterday, I ran into one of the candidates, who will remain nameless. He blew off some campaign steam with a few choice words about our survey work. And then he wanted to make sure we were surveying again last night and insisted that I add him to the email list!! Go figure.

Friday, April 24

Weekend Events: Outdoors, Music & More

Planning your weekend? It should be great weather for the day-time events listed on our Best Bets page including the Jackson Zoo's Party for the Planet on Saturday, and Rainbow Co-op's annual meeting and picnic at the Cedars on Sunday.

Sunday: Neighborhood Association Solutions Meeting

[verbatim] The Jackson Police Department, Hinds County Sheriff's Department, and Leadership Greater Jackson (2009), will host "Neighborhood Association Solutions Meeting" on Sunday, April 26, 2009 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Clarion Ledger Community Room, 201 South Congress Street, Jackson, Mississippi. The event is free, and all Metro area residents are encouraged to attend.

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

Fearless Jackson Presents: Super Bowl XLIV

For the record: The new convention center in downtown Jackson is off. the. chain. On the second floor, I spotted maybe 10-15 HD TVs. I think next year I'll embezzle some money from the JFP piggy bank and host a Super Bowl party.

Media Join to Unseal Katrina Settlement

Y'all Politics put it this way:

Several media outlets are putting their combined muscle together in a federal civil action regarding the 2007 settlement in the case of State Farm Insurance vs. Attorney General Jim Hood. Jackson New Media, Inc., publisher of the Y'all Politics blog, filed to unseal the settlement yesterday, and three TV stations filed joinder motions to intervene: WLBT in Jackson, WLOX in Biloxi and WDAM in Hattiesburg.

MCO 25th Anniversary Concert

The Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra came together 25 years ago as part of a music graduate student's community project.

Millsaps searching for new President

Dr. Frances Lucas, President of Millsaps College over the last 9 years, will be retiring effective June 30, 2010.

Weekend Starting Five: Will You Get Caught In The Draft?

It's all NFL draft, all the time … Oher's remarkable journey … A Majors upset … JSU's rite of spring … Darth Vader takes over Pearl.

Thursday, April 23

What Did You Think of the Mayoral Debate?

All, add your comments below about what you thought of Thursday night's debate, brought to you by the Jackson Progressive, Jackson 2000, Leadership Jackson Alumni, WAPT and the Jackson Free Press. What were the best lines? Worst? Who scored the best points? Did you decide who to vote for?

Millsaps President Announces Resignation

Millsaps College President Frances Lucas has announced her resignation.

"Today I am announcing that I have decided to transition out of the presidency of Millsaps College," Lucas said in a statement. "My final day as president will be June 30, 2010, which will mark the conclusion of my tenth year. This decision, which I have been considering for approximately a year, is mine alone.

Democratic Primary Debate Tonight

Tonight, 380-plus Jacksonians will fill the Jackson Convention Center, anxious to watch the most talked-about political event of the year for the city: the 2009 Democratic Primary Mayoral Debate.

State Jobless Rate Up Slightly

Little changed in Mississippi's unemployment landscape in March, according to a report released Wednesday by the state Department of Employment Security. The unemployment rate rose by a scant one-tenth of 1 percent, from 9.3 percent to 9.4 percent. Still, that rate is up by 3.3 percent from a year ago, representing more than 43,000 people.

Jackson Crime Stats for April 13-19

Data for this week will be available Wednesday, April 29.

Major crime in Jackson decreased 8 percent in Jackson last week, according to data released yesterday by the Jackson Police Department. The JPD Comstat report (PDF) for April 13-19 shows slight decreases from the previous week in both property and violent crimes. Precinct commanders reported 170 property crimes, down from 185 the previous week, and 25 violent crimes, down from 27. Precinct 2, in West Jackson, reported 53 major crimes last week--the most of any precinct but also a 14 percent decrease from its total for the previous week. This week's numbers are slightly lower than figures from the same period last year, with property crime 10% lower than last year and violent crime down 7.4 percent.

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Thursday's Starting Five: You Can Play A Sport, But Can Define (Or Spell) It?

A Majors tournament … You can play football even if you can't spell it … Rebels thump Eagles … You can watch the M-Braves play the game, but can you define it?

Wednesday, April 22

Gettin' Hitched

Food, wine, dancing and love. That sums up the things I need in life. It also explains why I adore weddings.

‘Think Local' Elections

As the city primaries approach on May 6, 2009, I turn again and again to the thought of how local business will fare in these elections.

2009 JFP Interview with Frank Melton, Part VI: Of Alcohol and Guns

In his office in February, Mayor Frank Melton talked about many issues with the Jackson Free Press. Here is an excerpt about his past abuse of alcohol and, if true, some surprising revelations about the guns he used to strap on himself to conduct nighttime "raids" in Jackson before the authorities told him to stop carrying weapons.

Open Ward 2 Race Brings Competing Solutions

In the wake of Ward 2 Councilman Leslie McLemore's decision not to seek re-election, eight candidates are vying to replace him. They offer similar views of the ward's needs but disparate visions of how to address them.

Feds to Scrutinize State Stimulus Spending

Federal officials will train a close eye on how Mississippi spends its share of the federal stimulus package.

The 2009 JFP Interview with Dorothy Benford

Jackson resident Dorothy "Dot" Benford seems to run for office almost every time an election year comes around. She has a small list of unwavering supporters and an ant's determination to topple a rubber-tree plant.

Know Your Limitations

The elections are well underway, and the plate is piling high with campaign promises, in both the council and mayoral races. There are good, noble, smart campaign priorities out there.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

College baseball, Millsaps vs. Centre in SCAC Tournament (7 p.m., Smith-Wills Stadium, Jackson): The Majors could challenge for the national title. The tournament runs through Sunday.

[Stiggers] DuBois' Talented Tenth

This is your resident satirist returning with another Reader's Guide to Ken Stiggers. Today, I want to share my thoughts behind "Ghetto Science Team," a term I frequently use in my column.

‘Passing the Trash'

Good job of reporting on that "Herding the Homeless" piece (volume 7, issue 29). I used to be a journalist, and I appreciate a clean, straight-forward story. But for years now, I've worked with the homeless. Thought you might like to know that people on the street refer to this herding concept as "passing the trash."

Cap & Trade: The Fight Ahead

Today, the Obama administration's plan to reduce greenhouse emissions and lower America's dependence on fossil fuels will come under intense Congressional scrutiny. With more than 50 witnesses scheduled to provide their expert opinions on the legislation, partisan pundits are already screeching their opinions in whatever format will hear them.

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Edward Hightower

Raised in Drew, MS, the Rev. Edward Hightower is one of 10 children. He speaks often of the Delta and her people, especially the troubles his community faced in the 1960s.

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Strong Mayor, Weak Council

42 candidates are looking to claim a seat on the Jackson City Council in this year's elections. All have high aspirations, but many don't know what they're getting into.

‘If I Could Choose Yesterday'

William Winter, Billy Mounger, Bill Waller, Mike Mills—those are names we recognize. They have made political history over the course of their careers and most recently have published remembrances of those times.

Intellectual Delinquency

"The Beats: A Graphic History" (Hill and Wang, 2009, $22) is a graphic biography of the close-knit group of avant garde macho writers of the 1950s and '60s like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs who were referred to as "the Beatniks" or "Beats."

Derek Blanks: Incorporating Richness

Derek Blanks is a Jackson-born photographer and illustrator based in Atlanta.

The Ponder Heart

New Stage Theatre continues the centennial celebration of writer Eudora Welty with the theatrical adaption of one of her more beloved novellas, "The Ponder Heart."

Grocery Gratification

When I go to the grocery store, I try to conserve the resources of both the planet and my wallet. Now that several grocery sale ads are delivered to Jackson mailboxes each week, my grocery planning is even easier.

Where in the World Does Redondo Beat?

Redondo Beat can be difficult to pinpoint on your musical atlas. The group's name might remind you of a popular beach town in California.

Replacing Mr. Peanut

In the past few years, Americans have seen a surprising number of food contamination incidents. Most recently, 46 states reported the appearance of salmonella in peanut products, which was followed by a massive recall of baked goods, dressings, ice cream and pet food products, to name a few.

[Rob In Stereo] Black Joe Lewis

In the last 10 years, several musical genres have looked to the past to find direction for their futures. There was the neo-soul movement that was supposed to whisk the genre back to the sound of Al Green and Marvin Gaye.

[On Screen] Bama Girl

The Southern Circuit Film Series closes its 2008-2009 run with this powerful documentary from director Rachel Goslins.

Winter Recap

Before you get settled into the warmth of spring, check out these cool artists.

Choosing a Furry Family Member

After losing my Basset Hound, Charlie, to cancer a couple years ago, I decided to wait a while before getting a new pet. I just missed my floppy-eared friend too much. Eventually, I decided that I would not turn away an animal in need.

‘Nature's Ritalin'

On a recent Friday afternoon at the Poindexter Park After-School Club, a third grader named Andrea fell in love with caterpillars.

[Johnson] The Death of Birth

Biologist E.O. Wilson calls the stunning destruction of wildlife on our planet "the death of birth." We all must die in time, and there is a natural justice to the succession of generations.

Illegal Raids Costing City

The city is forking out big money for illegal business closings, but not nearly as much as it could be. Deputy City Attorney Pieter Teuwissen told City Council Monday afternoon that the city had managed to talk down damages regarding the 2006 illegal closing of a nude entertainment club to about $125,000.

Wednesday's Starting Five: He's A Student-athlete?

Nutt doesn't enjoy Powe's comedy … Get the hell out, Jackal … Eagles and Rebels to meet tonight … Statesmen, M-Braves keep rolling.

Tuesday, April 21

WJTV Mentions Nick's Future Move To Fondren

I saw this today, and I'm thankful that the evening news didn't begin with a report about a robbery or shooting. :)

Committee to Study Car Tag Costs

Mississippi's Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant yesterday announced the creation of a special legislative committee to study the cost of car tags in the state. The proposed committee will contain three members from each chamber, and "be responsible for providing reliable data with a reasonable solution to the high price of car tags," and make recommendations for legislative action, according to a release.

Gambling Remains a State Growth Industry

Despite tough times in Mississippi, casino gambling revenue saw another increase last month. Players lost $232.9 million in March, according to an Associated Press report published on, up from $216.5 million in February.

Dry Rankin May Vote To Get Wet

Dry sections of Pearl and Flowood may see liquor sales soon, as Gov. Haley Barbour signed a bill that precedes putting the issue to county voters.

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Tuesday's Starting Five: Why Wasn't Perry Mason in Cincy?

Ole Miss coach pleads guilty … UM and MSU coaches are duffers … M-Braves return home and win … Should this game get off its ass?

Monday, April 20

Come Take The Trolley Tour

We've got seats available for this week's tour. Don't read or hear about it. Come see for yourself the great things going on in your city. From the King Edward, to the Standard Life, the Pinnacle to Farish Street. Our city is on the a good way. We want to take the news straight to the people with no middleman. call 601 842 0257 for more info and to reserve a slot on the Fondren trolley. Only 25 seats available each week.

Minor's Appeal Continues

Minor, who is serving 11 years for judicial corruption, is appealing his conviction on the argument that the federal Justice Department under former-President George Bush and former-U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales steered prosecutions against Democrat politicians and fundraisers like Minor in an attempt to swing elections toward Republicans.

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Ole Miss Coach Pleads Guilty, Will Keep Job

Ole Miss basketball coach Andy Kennedy pleaded guilty Monday in Cincinnati to a charge of disorderly conduct. UM athletic director Pete Boone said that Kennedy will keep his job. The charge stemmed from a confrontation between Kennedy and a taxi driver last December.

Survey Puts Crisler, Harvey Johnson in the Lead

Washington, D.C. based Democratic political consultants Zata|3 have completed a fourth survey on the Democratic slate of mayoral candidates in Jackson. Brad Chism, president of the company, said in an e-mail that 515 voters responded to a survey conducted last Friday, April 17, providing a 5 percent margin of error.

Mayoral Candidates Speak with Voters

This Thursday, April 23, the Jackson Free Press is co-sponsoring a mayoral debate at the Jackson Convention Complex beginning at 7 p.m.. Submit your questions and get more information in this story. For tickets, contact [e-mail missing] or the Jackson Progressives at [e-mail missing].

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Monday's Starting Five Plus: Watch Your Mouth!!

Kennedy goes to court ... Spring football turns obscene ... Millsaps finishes historic regular season ... Rebs good, Dogs not.

Sunday, April 19


As we approach May 5th, and the biggest election in this city's history, we've got yet another mayoral candidate as our guest at Wednesday Lunch at Peaches. Harvey Johnson will be our guest. This is your opportunity to ask him questions in an intimate, informal setting. AND....get some of the best soul food in the world @ PEACHES. Be there at 11:30. We expect a full house so get there early!

Saturday, April 18

Sesquipedalian Delight

In "Alphabet Juice" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008, $25), Roy Blount Jr. combs through the English language from its roots to its modern tips, and sweeps it into an up 'do of humorous and insightful sounds, usages, commands and complaints.

Friday, April 17

MDOT Adopts Twitter

Twitter is taking Mississippi by storm. Literally.

Carrie Adams, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation says her agency will be tweeting evacuees during the upcoming hurricane season, beginning June 1, to alert them with route information.

Weekend Planning Headquarters

If you're planning for the weekend, make sure to check out these events:

* The Eudora Welty Tribute Concert tonight, with Claire Holley, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kate Campbell and Caroline Herring.

Mississippi Foreclosures Buck National Trend

New foreclosures in the Magnolia State remain relatively low despite other states reporting rates as high as one in every 55 homes. Mississippi foreclosures fell last month, in fact, by 25 percent, while nationally, foreclosures increased by 24 percent in the first three months of 2009. That statistic represents another 804,000 families losing their homes, bringing the national total to nearly 2 million.

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Weekend Starting Five: Football, Muppets And Rhinos

Spring games galore ... Favre and Madden go out together ... UK calls on Cohen ... The Association playoffs begin ... Do you seek immortality?

Eclipsing Slave History

America's economy was built largely on the backs of slaves, and the South's "peculiar institution" affected America's cultural development for decades. So, the story of the generation of black Americans that emerged just after slavery ended should make for one of the country's most enriching narratives.

Thursday, April 16

Demand the Facts, Ma'am

The only time Jackson drives me crazy is during local campaign cycles. To be fair, of course, it's not every Jacksonian who goes insane and starts pushing lies and conspiracy theories—it's pretty much the same people every time.

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From Taxes to Integration: Tea Partiers Decry Federal Meddling

The local version of nationally coordinated Republican tea parties Wednesday offered plenty of red meat—from cries against "socialism" to a speech using racial integration as an example of how federal meddling didn't work.

Party People! Debate!

This is why I enjoy the circus. This is why I enjoy large crowds mingling with one another.

Yesterday, droves of party-people strolled along the Capitol lawn holding poster boards with messages- presumably drawn by their preschool-aged children- voicing their opinions about the horrors of taxation. Sweet tea was served.

Gannett Profits Down 60 Percent

Gannett released its first quarter profits this morning, showing earns fell by 60 percent over the same quarter last year, "slightly surpassing diminished expectations" on Wall Street, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Barbour Signs Bill to Fund Cybercrime Unit

Yesterday, Gov. Haley Barbour signed Senate Bill 2978 into law. Mississippi's Attorney General Jim Hood advocated for the bill, which adds $1 to the fines for some misdemeanors and felonies. That dollar will go to fund Hood's cybercrime unit.

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Thursday's Starting Five: Dogs Hit The Catwalk

Does Kennedy have future at UM? ... Eagles star done ... Putting on the Dog ... JFP cover boy leads JSU.

Submit Questions, Get Tickets for April 23 Mayoral Debate Now!

The Jackson Free Press is a sponsor of the April 23 debate featuring Democratic candidates for mayor of Jackson at the Jackson Convention Complex. You can watch a feed of the debate here at, as well as on the Web site of television sponsor, 16 WAPT, which will also broadcast the debate on Channel 16-2. It will begin at 7 p.m. Moderator Scott Simmons will use questions submitted by Jackson residents; please submit your questions below, or e-mail them to [e-mail missing]. We suggest open-ended rather than yes-or-no questions. Candidates and other sponsors will not see the questions chosen in advance of the debate.

Wednesday, April 15

[Kamikaze] The Dark Side of Elections

Election years are always bittersweet for me, especially in Jackson. This city is abuzz with frenetic energy—some good, some bad.

Trim Your Own Mustache

Before undertaking the growth and ultimate design of your mustache, be sure to consider the opinions and feelings of spouses, significant others, friends and family who also have to live with your new facial hair.

Contractor Sues Toyota, Barbour

A Jackson-based contractor is suing Gov. Haley Barbour, the Mississippi Development Authority and Toyota for denying it the opportunity to bid on a lucrative contract for the $1.2 billion Toyota Prius plant in Blue Springs.

The 2009 JFP Interview with John Jones: 21st Century Man

John Jones is probably one of the most scientifically versed candidates to ever run for mayor of Jackson. Jones' resume is longer than some small-town Mississippi phone books, with experience in electronics training to field engineering, and from air-traffic control to RADAR engineering.

Know Your Options

Almost every day, Jackson voters can hear and question the candidates who will be making decisions on their behalf in the upcoming months and years.

[Stiggers] Finance Pimpin'

Mr. Announcement: "In the ghetto criminal justice system, the people are represented by two members of the McBride family: police officer and part-time security guard at the Funky Ghetto Mall, Dudley ‘Do-Right' McBride, and attorney Cootie McBride of the law firm McBride, Myself and I. This is their story."

[Carter] Standing in Solidarity

The morning of Feb. 12, 2008, was sobering for the students of E. O. Green School, in Oxnard, Calif. At 8:15 a.m., 8th-grade student Brandon McInerney walked into a computer class where he shot his classmate Lawrence "Larry" King twice in the head.

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Robert Day

After shuffling the deck of Bicycle playing cards multiple times, magician Robert Day was prepared to choose my card. Judging by the complexity of this "illusion," I was sure he would fail.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Major league baseball, Florida at Atlanta (6 p.m., SportSouth/620 AM): The Braves aim to squish the Fish in an NL East showdown.

Squeezed by Taxes? You're Not Alone

Chewing some gristle on tax day? Here's a bit of news for you. Mississippi's two Republican senators in Washington, D.C., Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, voted for another tax break for the über-wealthy this month, voting to raise the full exemption on inheritances from $7 million to $10 million per couple and to drop the top rate on fortunes over $10 million from 45 percent to 35 percent.

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The 2009 JFP Interview With Faye Peterson

Faye Peterson dropped out of the Jackson mayoral race last week, though some joke she more likely dived out the window just to get away from the crowd.

Bacon Forever

Over the past few years, I have become obsessed with the idea of pairing sweet and savory flavors in odd ways, pushing my taste buds to new limits. Often, I discover that my cooking experiments are not the best ideas, but sometimes, something great comes through.

Eclipsing Slave History

America's economy was built largely on the backs of slaves, and the South's "peculiar institution" affected America's cultural development for decades. So, the story of the generation of black Americans that emerged just after slavery ended should make for one of the country's most enriching narratives.

Sesquipedalian Delight

In "Alphabet Juice" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008, $25), Roy Blount Jr. combs through the English language from its roots to its modern tips, and sweeps it into an up 'do of humorous and insightful sounds, usages, commands and complaints.

‘Something to Sing About'

The warmth of Robyn Helzner's voice over the phone echoes that of her singing over mandolin and guitar. Performing alone and with her trio, she travels the world sharing world Jewish music and its culture, and has recorded several albums.

Irreverence and the Ukulele

Dent May's "The Good Feeling Music of Dent May and his Magnificent Ukulele" is an odd aesthetic choice for a Mississippi musician. May is from Jackson and currently resides in Taylor, near Oxford.

Refashioning Retro

Usually, musicians have a form of music or genre that inspires them to create new, and wonderful music. Here are a couple of bands with albums of very interesting and yet great music.

[Herman's Picks] Vol. 7, No. 31

If you snap up the Jackson Free Press when it hits stands Wednesday, there's fun to be had that night.

ALERT: There will be TWO mayoral debates and the 2nd will be TELEVISED…here's why

Today, the sponsoring organizations for the April 23rd mayoral debate received a Press Release from the Harvey Johnson camp. The release stated his campaign's concerns with accessibility for the first debate. The April 23rd debate will be seen on and on their digital channel WAPT-2 or (CH 208 on Comcast). Folks there will be TWO(2) debates and this is only part one. Now, we do understand that everyone doesnt have access to either the internet or cable. However, due to the large number of candidates in the primary and considering the fact that WAPT would have to have permission to override ABC programming, it was in the station's best interests to wait and televise the run-off(or general) debate on May 10th.

Feds to Pay Recio's Legal Fees

The federal government will take up the burden of Michael Recio's mounting legal expenses. Cynthia Stewart, Recio's attorney, requested that the court appoint her as a public defender, and yesterday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda Anderson granted her request. Recio is the former bodyguard of Mayor Frank Melton, and is Melton's co-defendant in a federal case based on their roles in the 2006 destruction of a Ridgeway Street duplex.

Jackson Crime Stats for April 6-12

Data for next week will be available Wednesday, April 22.

Major crimes in Jackson decreased again last week, according to Jackson Police Department data released Wednesday. The ComStat report (PDF) for April 6-12 shows a 7.7 percent decrease in major crimes from the previous week, with 13 fewer violent crimes and 3 fewer property crimes. Precincts 1 and 3, in South and Northwest Jackson, respectively, reported decreases in property and violent crime. Precinct 4, in Northeast Jackson, reported a decreased in auto burglaries, especially along the I-55 corridor, where 10 occurred the previous week and only 2 took place last week. the precinct experienced an increase in auto thefts and armed robberies, however. Precinct 2, in West Jackson, reported 13 more property crimes than the previous week and 6 violent crimes, down from 7 in the first week of April.

Last Chance for Free Tax Help

[verbatim] Time is running out for you to file your taxes. The Jackson Medical Mall Foundation (JMMF) and United Way are making it so simple for you to meet the deadline this year. Join us for the final day of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). IRS-certified preparers will be at Center Stage of the Jackson Medical Mall Thad Cochran Center on Wednesday, April 15th from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. You qualify for this FREE program if you or your family's total household income is less than $42,000 a year.

City Election Overview: Wards 3 and 4

Ward 3 stretches across West Jackson, from north of Chastain Middle School to the Poindexter Park neighborhood in the south. With a longtime incumbent, the Ward 3 race is small; only two candidates are challenging Councilman Kenneth Stokes.

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NFL: Saints 2009 Schedule

The New Orleans Saints' 2009 schedule has been released.

Wednesday's Starting Five: The Boys of PING!

Rebs clout Dogs … Eagles claw Tigers … Blazers burn top-ranked Majors … A Wise move? … Tough job for top Dog.

Tuesday, April 14

Mississippi Passes Tough Price Gouging Law

In the wake of last year's skyrocketing prices at the pumps, Gov. Haley Barbour has signed a bill stiffening penalties for gasoline price gouging. The bill, SB 2032, increases jail time and fines, and bans those found guilty of gouging from selling or distributing gasoline in Mississippi.

Paul Minor's Wife Dies Without Him

Also see: Dem At Your Own Risk

Texting Ban Affects Only Teens

A new bill signed into law by Gov. Haley Barbour last week mandates that teens under 18 with an intermediate license or learner's permit cannot text friends and family while they are behind the wheel.

Monday, April 13

City Council Forums Begin Tonight

Jackson ABC affiliate station, WAPT, is co-sponsoring several forums/debates for Jackson City Council candidates beginning tonight and running through April 30. The schedule, according to the WAPT Web site is:

Over-Hyping Entergy Win

Republican critics of Attorney General Jim Hood are celebrating a Louisiana Supreme Court decision reducing the fine that Entergy New Orleans has to pay for overcharging ratepayers. Entergy New Orleans is a subsidiary of Entergy Inc., which the state of Mississippi is currently suing for overcharging ratepayers.

Three Lead in Third Mayoral Survey

Zata|3 completed a third Democratic mayoral survey last Friday, April 10. In an e-mail, Brad Chism, president of the company, said "not much changed in a week" since the second survey on April 3 that put Jackson City Councilman Marshand Crisler in the lead.

Wed. Lunch @ Peaches: This week, Mayoral Candidate Brenda Scott & Ward 4 Candidate Jackie Norris

Soul food Forums continues this week as we rev up towards election day 2009. This week we've got two candidates for th price of one. Mayoral candidate Brenda Scott and Ward 4 candidate Jackie Norris will be on hand to talk about their platforms and take your questions. Great soul food, and you get a chance to grill the candidates.

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Monday's Starting Five: The Jackal Returns

Masters warmup better than main event ... M-Braves 2-2, in spite of Glavine ... Rebels and Dogs salvage something ... Why is Jackie in StarkVegas? ... Monta's forgettable season over.

Sunday, April 12

Easter Baskets and More GOOD Stuff

What better time to think about doing good than Easter weekend. This week, the Jackson Free Press focused on everything from Building a Better Easter Basket to spring cleaning in Getting Rid of Stuff the Green Way.

Pickin' & Paddlin'

If you enjoy good music and the great outdoors, Pickin' & Paddlin' is the way to spend your Saturday.

[In The Street] Barefoot Beats

Benefitting Habitat for Humanity, this is the festival's first year, and it promises to be a good time.

[Rob In Stereo] Evaluating a Five-Star Album

My family subscribed to Rolling Stone magazine through my grade school years. Though the stories often went over my head, I was always avidly interested in the album reviews—especially the star rating.

Saturday, April 11

Help with Chick Ball Cause: Shop for Clearance Easter "Chicks"!

A simple and cheap way to help the Chick Ball cause this year is to head to the closest discount store (Target, etc.), drugstore, craft sore or decoration outlet this weekend to shop the Easter clearance sales for anything with a "chick" on it. Then donate the booty to the Chick Ball committee. Remember, keep your receipt so you can deduct your donation!

Nostalgic Bump

The downstairs lounge at Elixir is packed with people dressed to impress, and the upper restaurant has its fair share of mingling. The bar is surrounded by bodies swaying to Java Chatman's beats and dancing around each other.

Singing the Centennial: A Welty Tribute Concert

Four talented singer-songwriters pay tribute to Miss Eudora in a concert at the Belhaven Center for the Arts, April 17.

Friday, April 10

5th Circuit Rejects Minor's Request for Bond

Judging from a decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday, the cancer-inflicted wife of convicted Mississippi attorney Paul Minor will likely die without her husband.

Coolest of the Cool

Overheard while loitering at BeBop Records last night:

"Could you please direct me to the website which will allow me to download all of these CDs for free?"

DeSoto Parents Sue Schools, Police for Racial Discrimination

Parents of six DeSoto County students are suing the city of Southaven, school district employees and police officers for alleged racial discrimination during an incident on a school bus last year.

Former DA: Harvey Johnson Can ‘Stop Stampede'

Former Hinds County District Attorney Faye Peterson confirmed this morning at a press conference that she will drop out of the mayoral race due to family concerns. She endorsed former Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr., one of the front runners in the race to unseat Mayor Frank Melton. "The city's finances are stampeding out of control, and I believe that other than myself, he's the only other candidate who has the experience to stop the stampede," she told the Jackson Free Press afterward. "I firmly believe he can take office and immediately make decisions based on his experience and judgment. He has the skills, and it needs to happen fast. There are huge problems because of mismanagement and bad fiscal decisions by the current administration. We don't have the time for guessing."

Learning to Change

JoEva Flettrich turned off the fluorescent lights in her office after 23 years on the job. The lights are an external manifestation of the change she wants to see in her personal life—like a haircut or sitting in a different seat at the dinner table.

Spring Fest 2009

Next week, The Commons at Eudora Welty's Birthplace kicks off Spring Fest 2009, with various nightly events leading up to a big festival Saturday.

Thursday, April 9

News Bits: The Jackson Mayor's Race

Harper Withdraws, Leaving 11 Democrats for the Primary

Joyce Harper, one of 12 Democratic candidates who filed for the mayor's job in Jackson, has withdrawn from the race, lending her endorsement to incumbent Mayor Frank Melton, according to a release from the Melton campaign.

Jackson Crime Stats for March 30 - April 5

Major crimes in Jackson decreased for the third week in a row at the beginning of April, according to figures released by the Jackson Police Department yesterday. The ComStat report (PDF) for March 30 through April 5 shows a nearly 20 percent decrease in property crimes and a 14 percent increase in violent crime from the previous week. The spike in violent crime was largely the result of an increase in armed robberies and South Jackson's Precinct 1.

Beta of JFP "Community Blog" Debuts

And that means, in a nutshell, it's tougher for a user-generated forum entry to "be seen."

Long time JFP visitors will know that we went through a major upgrade to the site's plumbing a year ago, and that while there are many strengths to the new system, one of the weaknesses is the way it treats comments in the Forums -- they don't feed through the Recent Comments feeds used elsewhere on the site, including on the main page.

Barbour Signs Children First Act

Yesterday, Gov. Haley Barbour put his signature on Senate Bill 2628, also known as the Children First Act of 2009.

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Holiday Weekend Starting Six: A Tradition Like No Other

Dogs down Eagles ... M-Braves begin fifth season tonight ... USM scrimmages on Coast ... Larry tweets ... MSU gets new unis ... Who will be the Master?

Wednesday, April 8

Good Tips

Tip # 1: If you have old tires

Drop them by Polyvulc Tire Recycling. The company grinds old tires and then ships them to various locations around the Southeast where the tire strips are reused in mud flaps, asphalt, commercial construction projects and more. Call 601-352-7165 for more information.

What Difference Does It Make If I'm Green?

With the world population approaching 7 billion, you may wonder what impact your personal actions could possibly have on the environment. In reality, your actions add up.

Getting Rid of Stuff the Green Way

So you want to get rid of your stuff. What options do you have to give your discards a second life?

Amish Paradise

On a dreary morning 10 miles south of Pontotoc, my silver 2002 Acura, a gas-guzzling machine filled with empty McDonald's bags and assorted clutter, is sharing the road with a one-horse-driven wagon. The driver kindly waves and nods his full-bearded head.

What's In Your Cleaning Agents?

Your kitchen counters need to be scrubbed, the floor needs to be mopped, the windows are looking smudgy, the air smells funny, and the bathroom is a mess. Just reach for the bottle of cleaner and freshener with aerosol propellant, right?

Building A Better Easter Basket

This year, skip the chocolate bunnies with the disturbing neon eyes and go for a more practical and eco-friendly Easter basket.

Green, Happy Home

It's hard to go far without hearing or seeing something about going "green." Despite jargon about carbon footprints, compact fluorescents and energy, going environmentally friendly doesn't have to be difficult.

No-Hassle Recycling In Jackson

A common attitude toward recycling is: "I know that I should recycle, but it seems like a hassle." Fortunately, this is not so in Jackson. Read on to find out just how easy it is to recycle at home by following three steps.

Good Friday ... Saturday ... Monday ...

Walking on the beach last week in my undisclosed vacation spot butting up to the Gulf of Mexico, I noticed two teen girls, say around age 17, walking toward Todd and me in string bikinis. Suddenly, one of them bent down and gently picked up a big piece of plastic lying on the beach and kept walking.

Candidate Knocks Election Poll

Jackson Democratic Mayoral candidate Robert Johnson attacked two recent polls from Washington, D.C.-based polling company Zata|3.

Election Overview: Wards 1 and 5

Ward 5 Ward 5, which covers sections of West and South Jackson, has a single-term incumbent and a history of frequent turnover in its City Council representation. At a March 23 forum sponsored by the United Communities for Jackson, four candidates for the seat argued their case.

The 2009 JFP Interview with Jabari Toins

Native son Jabari Toins says previous mayors have turned Jackson upside down, pushing him to run for the job.

Work For Our Votes

Reader reactions to a pair of unpaid, uncommissioned polls by political consulting firm Zata|3 have revealed an unsavory aspect of our political system: Attack the messenger, ignore the message.

[Stiggers] Hair Stimulus

Boneqweesha Jones: "Recently, Hair Did University's Post-Secondary Education Foundation received needed funding from the Ghetto Stimulus Package. I appreciate this financial gesture from the government who responded like a good friend.

[Hutchinson] Leave Madonna Alone

In 2006, Save the Children UK butted in and denounced Madonna for adopting Malawi orphan David Banda. Now another bunch has jumped into the adoption fray and branded her a "bully" for her plans to adopt another Malawi orphan.

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Amy Steadman

When I asked Amy Steadman who dead or alive she would invite to a dinner party, it was apparent that she had thought of this before.

Bomb Squad Responds to Women's Clinic

Jackson police blocked streets surrounding the Jackson Women's Health Organization in Fondren and "detonated" a package of clothes and personal items.

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Discovering The Greenest Of Jackson

When I moved to Jackson from the San Francisco Bay Area, I wondered if I could continue to lead a relatively green lifestyle.

Veering Out of the Fast Lane

It's a crazy dream that many people have: Sell everything you own and move out to a farm in the middle of nowhere. Most of us are content to just daydream about baking bread and finding freedom from 9-to-5 jobs and cable television bills.

Learning to Change

JoEva Flettrich turned off the fluorescent lights in her office after 23 years on the job. The lights are an external manifestation of the change she wants to see in her personal life—like a haircut or sitting in a different seat at the dinner table.

JPS Drops AP Test Aid

A budget shortfall is forcing Jackson Public Schools to scale back its assistance to students taking Advanced Placement tests in May. While the district has previously covered AP exam fees for all students regardless of financial need, this year it will only provide aid to those who meet federal requirements for free or reduced-price lunch.

Jackson Zoo Debuts Baby Chimp, MoJo

Beginning today at 1 p.m., visitors to the Jackson Zoo will be able to see its newest addition, a male chimpanzee named MoJo, born March 8. Mojo has been indoors with his mother, Missy, since his birth.

Jubilee!JAM Call for Exhibitors

[verbatim] Preparations are underway for Downtown Jackson to play host to the twenty-second annual Jackson Arts & Music Festival, better known as Jubilee!JAM. Organizers for the 2009 celebration have set the dates for Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20.

Wednesday's Starting Five: Brett's Big Move

Eagles and Bulldogs collide tonight … NFL eyes Tiger … USM hits the road … Favre makes a big, uh, play.

Tuesday, April 7

Could Minor Case Weakness Help Delaughter?

A change in federal court opinion could soon affect some media-saturated state trials, including the corruption trial of Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter and the ongoing appeal of Mississippi attorney Paul Minor. Court opinion could upend prosecutors' liberal use of so-called "honest-services" fraud and the RICO statute to indict and convict fundraisers and political figures during the years of the Bush administration.

Inner-City Community Garden Planned

[verbatim] The Jackson Inner-city Gardeners (JIG) invites volunteers and youth to join in the fun of planting Jackson's first community garden, where seasonal, organic, vegetables will be grown and sold at affordable prices, and youth will be taught valuable life skills.

Get Free Help with Your Taxes

[verbatim] The Jackson Medical Mall Foundation (JMMF) is making it easy for you to file your taxes this year. If you or your family's total household income is less than $42,000 a year, you qualify for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). VITA is a FREE, IRS certified tax preparation service sponsored by the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation and United Way. The next VITA session is TODAY, Tuesday, April 7, 2009 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. VITA will be at the Medical Mall again on April 10th. The program runs through April 14th at the Jackson Medical Mall Thad Cochran Center. For more information or to volunteer, contact United Way by dialing 211 or the Jackson Medical Mal Foundation at (601) 982-8467.

Tuesday's Starting Five: To Dee Or Not To Dee?

Tar Heels romp … Who's coming to Trustmark Park? … MSU coach promises change … Dee Snider or Peter Finch?

Monday, April 6

Murrah Student Wins Economics Award

[Verbatim] Zachary Yoder from Murrah High School in Jackson was named the 2009 Economics Student of the Year, an honor given to the student with the highest individual scores on the Mississippi Council on Economics' statewide Economic and Financial Literacy Challenge. Students compete on the topics of microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics and current events.

Crisler Leads after McMillin Endorsement

Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin's endorsement last Friday made a big difference for Councilman Marshand Crisler in the crowded field of Democratic mayoral candidates in Jackson, according to political consulting firm Zata|3.

Tax-Free Weekend Bill Signed

Last week, Gov. Haley Barbour signed a bill into law that will save Mississippians shopping for school clothing and shoes the 7 percent sales tax during the last weekend in July.

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Monday's Starting Five: You're Not The Only One With Mixed Emotions

MSU coach: My players suck … It's finally time for Final Four finale … Rebs and Eagles sweep … Former M-Brave off to great start.

Friday, April 3

File under 'WTF'

Federally run "big gorilla" mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will pay out $210 million in retention bonuses over the next 18 months, reports Times Online. Between them, the two companies reported $108 billion in losses last year, and Congress is allocating $200 billion of taxpayer money to bail them out of the hole they dug for themselves.

Consultant Reveals Mayoral Poll Results

Political consulting firm Zata3 polled 500 Jackson voters via phone on Wednesday concerning the upcoming mayoral race.

Environmental Issues on the Pearl

If floating, fishing or boating on the Pearl River is part of your upcoming plans, you might want to reconsider, at least for a while

McMillin Endorses Crisler for Mayor

Hinds County Sheriff, and former Jackson Police Chief Malcolm McMillin endorsed Democratic mayoral candidate Marshand Crisler this morning at the State Capitol.

JPS Teacher is Mississippi's Best

Last February, Jackson Public Schools named Murrah High School English teacher Stacey Donaldson as Jackson's teacher of the year. Yesterday, state Superintendent of Education Dr. Hank Bounds named her the best teacher in Mississippi for 2009.

Shantih: A Life and Death in Seven Movements

"Shantih: A Life and Death in Seven Movements"

For the last two years, Millsaps student Lloyd Bourne has been arranging and composing music for his album "Shantih." The result is a cohesive string of heights and depths, pain and joy, crescendos and lulls. The album is best when you listen to all the pieces in succession, and Bourne, performing under the name Huunter with a group of instrumental musicians, will offer that chance at a live concert at Millsaps' Ford Academic Complex. Admission is $5 at the door, and the proceeds go to Wider Net Missions, an organization that works with inner-city kids, homeowners, Habitat for Humanity and more. E-mail [e-mail missing].

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The Weekend Starting Five: Show Me The Money!

Men's college basketball: Hattiesburg native Tim Floyd listens to Arizona, but decides he will remain the coach at Southern California. That doesn't seem like such a tough decision. Oh yeah, the Final Four starts on Saturday.

Thursday, April 2

Genocide Prevention Month

This is from an email I received from The Genocide Education Project:

Today is the first day of Genocide Prevention Month. Remarkably, six genocides have major anniversaries in the month of April - a tragic testament to the international community's inexcusable failure to stop inhuman and barbarous acts. The six include the genocide of the Armenians, the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

Judge Recuses Herself from Minor Appeal

A controversial judge has removed herself from the appeal of convicted attorney Paul Minor yesterday. Priscilla R. Owen, who was serving on a United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel overhearing Minor's corruption appeal, removed herself from the case hours before the panel's scheduled meeting.

Barbour Schedules Stimulus Meeting

[verbatim] Governor Haley Barbour is bringing together state agency heads, legislators and local government officials as well as inviting the public to participate in a Mississippi Stimulus Summit on April 16.

Expect More Severe Weather Today

The National Weather Service advises that Jackson can expect more severe weather today, with strong thunderstorms moving into the area from the West. The Capital City is under a Tornado watch until 5 p.m. tonight.

Crossroads Film Festival Starts Tonight

See this week's cover story for reviews, and make sure to check the JFP Events Calendar for more info. See you at the movies!

Jackson Crime Stats for Mar. 23-29

Data for this week will be available Wednesday, Apr. 8.

Major crimes in Jackson declined at the end of March for the second week in a row, according to data released by the Jackson Police Department yesterday. JPD's weekly crime report (PDF) shows a 4.7 percent decrease in major crimes, as the number of total property crimes dropped slightly and violent crimes stayed roughly even with the week of Mar. 16-22. Precinct 1 in South Jackson and Precinct 3 in Northwest Jackson reported increases in property crimes of 57 percent and 39 percent, respectively. Northeast Jackson's Precinct 4, the poorest performing precinct in the previous week, showed a dramatic decrease in property crime, mostly due to a sharp drop in auto burglaries, from 38 to 17.

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Thursday's Starting Five: Good News, Bad News (Insert Zeppelin Riff Here)

More bad news for Deuce … JSU begins spring drills … Monta Ellis shows out … Sports Girl riles JFP readers.

Wednesday, April 1

BREAKING: Mississippi Minority Contractors Sue Toyota

[Verbatim statement tonight:] Jackson, MS (March 31, 2009). Jackie Williams and Renna Fisher, African American principals of Fish & Fisher, a ten-year old construction company, have filed a civil racial discrimination and conspiracy action against Toyota of North America, the State of Mississippi Development Authority, and the Governor of the State of Mississippi, Haley Barbour, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Western Division.

UPDATED: Feds Want Melton Gun Charge Dropped

Federal prosecutors plan to drop one of the three charges against Mayor Frank Melton and his former bodyguard Michael Recio, according to reports by WAPT and WLBT. Prosecutor Mark Blumberg reportedly told Jordan at a teleconference yesterday that the government intends to request the dismissal of a gun charge against Melton and Recio. Prosecutors must file a motion to dismiss the charge to make its removal official.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Men's college basketball, NIT championship game (6 p.m., ESPN): Two teams that weren't good enough to make the NCAA Tournament will battle for the right to say: "We're No. 66!"

McMillin Says Resignation Was Political

Despite contradicting claims from Mayor Frank Melton, former Jackson Police Chief Malcolm McMillin said he resigned his position today for purely political reasons rather than tension between Melton and himself. "I couldn't stay as chief in this administration while I was not supporting the mayor's bid for re-election," McMillin said. "I thought it would say a lot about me and my integrity and honesty in taking that salary without supporting the mayor."

Protect Private Property

During trips to my mother's hometown of Oxford, it was customary for her to point out the areas of land, now heavily developed, that blacks owned when she was growing up.

Herding The Homeless

Efforts by Jackson police officers to force homeless people out of downtown could land the city in legal trouble, homeless advocates say.

Week 13: Zombies, Exonerees

The Zombie Tax A bill increasing the cigarette tax rose from the dead Monday, as legislators in both the Mississippi House and Senate voted to suspend the deadline for a bill that would satisfy both Senate and House negotiators.

Wiggin' Out

The Bachelorettes will perform April 2 at One Blu Wall during Arts, Eats and Beats. For more info, visit

The JFP Interview with Eddie Fair: Numbers Man

Tax collector Eddie Fair says he runs a tight ship at the Hinds County Tax Collector's office. He boasts he's increased production and efficiency and can bring the same kind of high standard to the Jackson mayor's office.

Regular Legislative Session Ends with Unresolved Issues

The Mississippi Legislature's 2009 session ended temporarily today. With the 2010 budget yet to be resolved, lawmakers are planning a second session beginning in May or June.

Do Your Jobs, Legislators

Mississippi lawmakers didn't even pretend to try to get their jobs done within the parameters set by the state Constitution this year. Instead, a week or so before their 90-day session ends, they passed legislation to extend it. How handy.

[Stiggers] Riches To Rags

Miss Doodle Mae: "In these turbulent, traumatic and tense economic times, the staff of Jojo's Discount Dollar Store has seen many sad and empty faces of broken people holding in their tears of shame and frustration.

[Kamikaze] Seizing Jackson's Moment

My daily affirmation is, as taken from the movie "Talladega Nights": "Here's the deal. I'm the best! I wake up in the morning, and I piss excellence. Nobody can hang with my stuff!" Humor notwithstanding, those words speak to a truth that we all can learn from.

[Gregrory] Plight Of A Sports Widow

I hate sports so much that I purposely avoid the sports category any time I play Trivial Pursuit because there is a 90 percent chance that—unless the answer to the question is "David Beckham in his underwear"—I have no idea about the correct response.

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Jessica Catchings

Jessica Catchings blazes a trail across Jackson accomplishing multiple tasks at once and creating more in the process. The 22-year-old history student plans to graduate from Jackson State University in August, and then dive headfirst into law school.

Controversial Melton Photos are Real

WAPT is reporting that the controversial photos of Jackson Mayor Frank Melton with a bevy of bikini-clad girls are on the up and up.

Jewish Soul Food

My grandma, may she rest in peace, made the greatest chicken soup I've ever had. Most of the Jewish people I know believe their grandmother's soup is the best, and I believe them.

Green Girl to Green Mama

You might think you have made your home and lifestyle as green as possible, but a new addition to your family is sure to test your eco-fortitude. If you start making green choices for your child before the day he or she is born, it will probably be easier to stick to your green guns.

Melton: Tyrone Lewis to be New Chief

Keeping in mind that today is April Fool's, and anything could happen, Jackson Mayor Frank Melton told the Jackson Free Press earlier today that he is planning to announce at 2 p.m. today that he's replacing Malcolm McMillin—who has submitted his resignation—with Tyrone Lewis as the city's new police chief. "It's McMillin's choice," Melton said when reached by phone. "He's tired. He's done a great job."

‘Well-to-Do' Discrimination

"The Help" (Putnam, 2009, $24.95) is Kathryn Stockett's fictional exposé of racial discrimination in Jackson's white upper-middle class in the 1960s. Stockett, a white Jackson native, zeroes in on the nice, well-to-do white ladies who fueled segregation with a straight face.

‘Fell Off the Turnip Truck'

After a few moments of talking to Georgia Thomas, one can see the cute, quirky southern girl hiding behind her strong, sultry voice. She giggles in an endearing way, which—when she's really tickled—ends in a quiet asthmatic fade-out, and she loves her family and God. "I've always wanted it all," she says of her music and family life. "And I got it."

[Herman's Picks] Vol. 7, No. 29

The 10th Annual Crossroads Film Festival, which begins this Thursday, April 2, will mark my fourth year as festival director. The festival will offer a lineup of stellar films from around the country, and those flicks just aren't complete without a killer soundtrack.

[Pass The Mic] Smooth Operators

Like most Jacksonians, I have been following the ever-evolving Frank Melton case. And like many, I was frustrated beyond belief when the recent case ended in a mistrial. I thought Melton and his cohorts would easily be found guilty.

Will Work for Horse Shoes

Necessity, goes the cliché, is the mother of invention.

So where do unemployed cowgirls go to find a job? Texas is one obvious answer. And how do cowgirls get to Texas? They ride their horses, of course.

Council Doubts Mayor's Rosy Budget Talk

Several Jackson City Council members disagree with Mayor Frank Melton's recent assessment that the city budget is in wonderful financial shape. Melton said at a February press conference, and repeated in recent Jackson Free Press interviews, that the budget is in "the best fi nancial shape" it's ever been in, which prompted raised eyebrows after the city announced days later that it was calling for a 3-percent cutback in all departments. The mayor then blamed sliding sales revenue and demanded that all unfilled positions be frozen. He also asked department heads to cut back on overtime pay, travel and office supplies.

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Film Night In Mississippi

Spring has arrived in Mississippi, and brought with it one of Jackson's jewels: the Crossroads Film Festival. Showing more than 70 films, the festival brings viewers stories from as far away as China and as close as the Mississippi Delta.

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Wednesday's Starting Five: Shine On, You Crazy Diamonds

Rebels edge Tigers … Majors claim trophy … Calipari won't be singing blues.

Rebels edge Tigers … Majors claim trophy … Calipari won't be singing blues.