Stories for July 2009


Friday, July 31

Tougaloo Prez Says Museum Funding Up to Barbour

Bobby DeLaughter

Former Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Bobby DeLaughter, 55, resigned his job and pled guilty to misleading authorities yesterday. The former judge had five counts against him, all representing various forms of corruption, but he pled guilty to the one count arguably carrying the lightest sentence, that of obstruction of justice. His plea means he'll be spending a little over a year--18 months--in a federal prison, and he will lose his law license.

Auditorium Now Home to Films, and a Cooking Show

The Auditorium's Executive Chef Nathan Glenn is a busy man, and is only becoming busier and busier. On Aug. 25, Glenn will film a pilot for a cooking show that he hopes will get picked up by a network. Glenn will be preparing "cool southern food," such as the Redfish Jimmy, shrimp and Grits and Creole seafood pasta served at the restaurant and music venue, which opened earlier this year in the old Duling School in Fondren.

Thursday, July 30

U.S. Supreme Court Asked To Hear Seale Case

A federal appeals court has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case of James Ford Seale, who was convicted in 2007 for kidnapping and conspiracy for his role in a 1964 civil-rights murder. In a request issued today, a majority of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals asked the high court to decide whether the statute of limitations had expired when prosecutors tried Seale on charges of kidnapping two African-American teenagers, Henry Dee and Charles Moore.

Haley Barbour Recalls Reagan in Neshoba County Fair Speech

Neshoba County Fair/July 30, 2009/Verbatim

Thank you. It's great to be back at the Fair; there's no place like it. A little mud on your boots never should bother anybody over here. This is my sixth speech at the Fair as Governor, and I'm glad to have back with me on stage Marsha, my bride of nearly 38 years. And, speaking to the two dozen of you who have reminded me this morning how far I married over my head, Guys, I don't need any reminding! Y'all just pray our grandchildren look like her.

Chick Ball Brings In Nearly $16,000 to Fight Abuse

The money is (almost) counted for the 5th Annual Jackson Free Press Chick Ball weekend, and so far the effort has piled up close to $16,000 for the Center for Violence Prevention in Pearl. The money will help seed the Duluth Model, Jackson's first batterer-intervention program, to help stop domestic abuse before it leads to more violent incidents or even deaths. The event is designed to allow anyone to contribute, with the cover charge for the Chick Ball set at only $5 and the top sponsor, Care+ Medical Clinics, donating $2,500.

Technology Upgrades Slated For JPD

The council voted Monday to approve a federal COPS grant request that could award $750,000 to the city of Jackson for hardware sand software upgrades, including 50 precision computer mounts and modems, which will be used to install mobile computers in city patrol cars. The computers are a more rugged version of an office laptop fit for the rigors of police duty—and well capable of alerting the officer of your unpaid municipal traffic citations.

Christopher Miner

Fondren resident Christopher Miner is one of 10 artists appearing in the Mississippi Invitational, an exhibition opening at the Mississippi Museum of Art today. A panel including New York-based art critic Peter Plagens picked Miner—along with fellow Jacksonians Brent Fogt, David Lambert, Matthew Puckett and Amanda Sparks, and five others—from a field of more than 100 artists to showcase local developments in contemporary art.

College Football: Here's Your Grid Sked

Here's this year's Mississippi college football schedule for you to print out and post next to your bookie's phone number, er, next to your TV remote.

Wednesday, July 29

Photos Up From 2009 Chick Ball

Photographer Pat Butler was on hand for the 2009 Chick Ball and got some great photos which we've gotten up in an online gallery. Enjoy:

Feed Your Brain

Dawn R. Dugle

There may come a day when I don't recognize you. We could be best friends, have had great adventures and long conversations about everything under the sun. But I won't know that.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Major League Baseball, Atlanta at Florida (6 p.m., SportSouth, 620 AM): The Braves still have a chance in the NL East, but they need a big trade and a long winning streak.

Think Local First

I'm currently reading the book "Big Box Swindle" by Stacy Mitchell, who wrote our cover story this week. The book argues that much of what we believe about big-box development—that it creates jobs, wealth, tax dollars—are myths.

JPS Tutoring Flaws Not Unique

The troubles of a federally funded tutoring program in Jackson Public Schools have a precedent in other states. The program, known as Supplemental Educational Services, promises to boost students at failing schools by paying private companies for after-school help.

"I'm Sorry, But ..." Isn't Exactly What I'd Like to Hear

Youth Media Project

The hardest fact about life, I guess, isn't finding a purpose. Rather, it's trying to find this purpose while experiencing every type of rejection possible.

Creating Kid Art

Bryson Williams, a stocky 7-year-old, is devoted to glitter. He grabs handfuls of the stuff from a paper plate and drops it onto a plastic one, his eyebrows pushed together in concentration. Slowly but surely, he drowns the plate in an inch-thick layer of sparkle. Finally, the finishing touches: an orange feather, a magenta feather and two black plastic spiders.

One Veggie at a Time

On July 1, the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Johnson Foundation ranked Mississippi the No. 1 most obese state in the nation. The year before, CQ Press named the state the No. 1 unhealthiest state in America.

Public Money, Public Accountability

Last week, reporter Ward Schaefer revealed what could be serious problems with the allocations and tracking of federal tutoring funds provided to public schools under the No Child Left Behind Act. The Jackson Free Press obtained a variety of documents indicating that at least one provider could have been overpaid.

[Stiggers] Public Option Pledge

Smokey "Robinson" McBride: "Welcome to the Ghetto Science Team's Public Option Healthcare Rally, Picnic and Disco. It looks like change has opened Pandora's box of hypocrisy, seasoned with bigotry and intolerance."

[Kamikaze] Let Vick Play

After a maturation that included a confession, sentencing and then jail time, it seems that Michael Vick will once again be allowed to ply his trade on the gridiron.

Wink, Wink: The ShopLocal™ Scam

When the Jackson Free Press launched our Web site and published our first print edition in September 2002, we immediately started urging our readers to "Think Global, Shop Local." The phrase—which to us means to be concerned about the whole world but take care of your home city by supporting locally owned businesses—was even the headline on the cover of one of our earliest issues.

How To Invest in the Community

For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $45 stays in the local economy. That is the finding of a study by Civic Economics, which found that shopping at a chain store only renders $13 back into the local economy.

Sales Tax Holiday This Weekend

If you're in the market for back-to-school clothes and shoes, this coming weekend is the time to make your purchases.

Heather Ivery

On their way to a local shelter for lunch, a steady flow of homeless people stop to greet Heather Ivery, who is sitting on a wooden bench in Smith Park.

Love Conquers Hate

I'm no Tony Bourdain, but I consider myself an adventurous eater. I'll try most anything once, and if my first impression doesn't include the words "epi-pen" or "health code violation," I'm likely to take another bite.

Metallic Melodies

Light spills through the large windows of the open, predominantly bare room in the Commons Gallery. Brown paper covers the walls, lending a crafty, unfinished look to the space. The gallery is nowhere near completion, but it has potential for growth—for untold stories, and creative expression through canvas, clay and music.

[Rob In Stereo] Not Loud Enough

You need three main ingredients to make a great rock documentary: great music, lively stories and musical emotiveness from those playing.

Tease photo

The ‘Local' Lie

The International Council of Shopping Centers is pouring millions of dollars into television ads urging people to "Shop Local"—at their nearest mall.

JPS May Log Pristine Wetlands

The Jackson Public Schools board may be picking a logger in the next few weeks to clear-cut some wetlands at the end of Westbrook Road in north Jackson. The area, according to Jackson resident Jack Westbrook and local biologists, contains some rare and endangered species, as well as abnormally old trees that survived the last century virtually unscathed.

Jimmie Travis

During the violent, bloody days of the civil rights movement in Mississippi, Freedom Rider Jimmie Travis nearly lost his life. In February 1963, Travis, then 20, was driving a car outside Greenwood with Bob Moses, leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and Randolph Blackwell, voter registration director of the Voter Education Project.

Jackson Crime Stats for July 20-26

Jackson police reported 252 major crimes last week, an increase of 5 percent over the previous week, according to statistics (PDF) released at a Jackson Police Department meeting this morning. Property crime totals increased from 204 to 227, an 11 percent jump, while violent crime decreased from 36 to 25, a 30 percent drop.

DeLaughter to Plead Guilty to Misleading Feds

Suspended Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Bobby DeLaughter is expected to plead guilty tomorrow in U.S. District Court in Aberdeen. The plea will likely spell an end to a five-count indictment against the judge, as DeLaughter accepts a guilty plea to lying to federal authorities over corruption charges.

Fondren's Cosmo Tots Expanding

Swanky children's apparel store Cosmo Tots will soon expand to include clothing and accessories for women. The boutique, which carries designer clothing and accessories for babies and children, opened in Fondren Corner in 2005, and current owners Missy Massey and Liz Spratlin took over the shop in April 2009 with the hope of one day selling women's clothing as well.

Last Day

I can not believe that my last day at the JFP is tomorrow. It seems like yesterday that I came in on June 1, and got right to work doing what was needed. This experience has taught me more then most of my classes. In class, we usually create stories or situations to report on, and here the situation is real. I think I just describes exactly what an internship is. This is not my credited, make a presentation in front of other students that had internships, internship. That will be next year, and I honestly have no clue where that will be.


Round 2, Obi Wan Kenobis. Here is another list of music crashing the party waves. Still waiting for some gala to reach Studio 54 proportions and blast every other late-nite shindig out of the water. Before I begin, a short review of the past few weeks:

NFL: Things That Make You Go Hmmm, Brett Favre Edition

Brett Favre's announcement Tuesday that he won't return to the NFL is being greeted with skepticism.

Johnson Forms School Board Transition Committee

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. announced yesterday that he is forming a diverse transition committee to "examine the organization and policies of the Jackson Public School District," according to a release from the city.

Tuesday, July 28

NFL: Favre Staying Retired

Brett Favre won't come out of retirement to join the Minnesota Vikings. Allegedly.

[Balko] What No One Bothered to Ask Sotomayor

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor included much of what we expected. Almost entirely left out of the discussion was a subject you might think has some relevance to the Supreme Court: the criminal justice system.

Civil Rights Museum in Trouble?

Rumors are circulating that Tougaloo College may have to abandon site development of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum near the college's campus because of funding issues.

Nunnelee Files Campaign Paperwork

Last year, conservative Democrat Travis Childers blew the socks off Republicans by winning one of the most conservative districts in the nation. Republicans saw Childers' victory over Republican Greg Davis—twice—as the end of the era where Republicans dominated national discourse, and as a foreshadowing of the upcoming presidential race, where Democratic nominee Barack Obama trounced his Republican opponent.

Plans for Tunica Hybrid Plant Move Forward

A start-up company that is seeking to build hybrid cars in Tunica County is moving forward after settling a lawsuit with a former business partner. According to court documents, Southaven-based Hybrid Automotive Corporation has made plans with the Mississippi Development Agency to invest $6.5 billion in a plant that would employ up to 25,000 people. The company plans to make hybrid automobiles, prototypes of which should arrive in Mississippi "in the near future," according to filings.

Dr. Samuel Okoye

Jackson physician Dr. Samuel Okoye received national recognition when the Congressional Medal of Honor Society awarded him the Above & Beyond Citizen Honor on March 25. The award is remarkable in part because it comes from a society of all living recipients of the Medal of Honor, the highest military honor in the United States.

Jackson has Lowest Average Gas Price

In a survey of gasoline prices released by the company Lundberg Survey earlier this week, Jacksonians currently pay the lowest prices at the pumps, nationwide. With the average price across the country at $2.49 a gallon, capital city drivers are paying around $2.22.

Monday, July 27

City Using ‘Old' Money for Paving Efforts

The city is moving forward with a massive repaving effort as crews grind out and cover sections of some of the city's most beleaguered roadways. The road work, touching down in spots all over the city, is the result of a $26.2 million bond the Jackson city council approved prior to the municipal elections this year. The council incorporated the bond into Jackson's 2009 road plan, though the bond is not financing all of the paving happening this year.

This Week's Jackson Public Meetings

Monday, July 27

* Jackson City Council work session at 4 p.m. in City Hall council chambers, 219 S. President Street.

South Jackson May See Overcrowded Classrooms

An influx of new students in South Jackson could prompt a disorienting shuffle of students between area elementary schools. Officials for Jackson Public Schools are projecting an enrollment of 30,933 students this year. That represents an increase of 346, with much of the rise coming from a new housing development in South Jackson. The development, located near Raymond and McDowell Roads, is zoned for Woodville Heights Elementary School.

Minimum Wage Increase Affects Thousands in Mississippi

Last Friday, the federal minimum wage increased by 70 cents an hour, going from $6.55 to $7.25. The increase will affect thousands of workers in Mississippi, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reports that approximately 6 percent of 2008 hourly employees in the Magnolia state worked for minimum wage or less.

Fred Harris

Last night, Jim Hill High School students in Jackson gathered to honor and remember Fred Harris, the school's assistant principal and boy's basketball coach. Harris, 47, died unexpectedly Sunday of a heart attack at the University Medical Center around 5:30 p.m. .

Back-to-School Tax Holiday This Weekend

If buying back-to-school clothes and shoes are on your agenda, this coming weekend is the time to make it happen. On Friday, July 31, and Saturday, August 1, clothing and shoes under $100 will be exempt from Mississippi's 7 percent sales tax.

Friday, July 24

Johnson Sends ‘First 48' Packing

"First 48," an A&E network program that follows police for the first 48 hours of a murder investigation, won't be shooting in Jackson if Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. has anything to say about it. At a press conference this afternoon, Johnson announced he was vetoing the Jackson City Council's early June decision to allow the program to be filmed, saying he wants Jackson to be seen as a "destination city" and the show wouldn't advance that objective, reports WAPT.

Video: ‘Mississippi Edition' Interview with Middleton and Wagner of Center for Violence Prevention

Here are the multimedia feeds from this morning's interview by Karen Brown of Mississippi Edition on MPB.

Cultural Expressions Opens

The building that housed Seven*Studioz is reopening, under new ownership and a new name: Cultural Expressions. Dora Lowe confirmed that she has owned the building, formerly rented by Seven*Studioz manager Ezra Brown, since June. Brown has been living in New York for the past several months.

Domestic Violence Victim

She could be anyone you know. She is white, African American, Latina, Asian or Native American. She might live in the Virden Addition, but then again, she could have a Belhaven or Madison address. Chances are high that she's a wife and mother. Perhaps she's your sister, your friend or the woman who works in the next office or cubicle.

Convicted Judge Whitfield Appeals to 5th Circuit

Attorneys for Harrison County Circuit Judge John Whitfield, convicted of bribery alongside Mississippi attorney Paul Minor, filed a motion for review with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday, citing flaws in U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate's refusal to grant Whitfield's motions for release pending his appeal.

The Fifth Annual Chick Ball Weekend—Friday and Saturday, July 24 and July 25

Friday night "Scutley Papers" play + singer/songwriters, $15 at Hal & Mal's door

Call 601.362.6121 ext. 16 to sponsor or arrange for donation pickup.

Unemployment Hits 20 Percent in Mississippi County

The rate of unemployment in the Magnolia State either dropped slightly or rose slightly, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, depending on how you count the numbers. Adjusting for the season, May's rate was 9.7 percent, and the June rate dropped just a bit, to 9 percent. In real numbers, however, 1,500 more people were jobless in June than May, meaning the unadjusted rate climbed to 9.8 statewide.

Thursday, July 23

Youth Media Project 1st Webisode

The Youth Media Project's Introductory Webisode

Mississippi Museum of Art - ArtRemix Photos Posted

Y'all, we got some great photos from the ArtRemix event at the Mississippi Museum of Art thanks to photographer Pat Butler. Click here to check out his online gallery.

Ledger Spreads Bad Info About Columbus Daily

The Commercial Dispatch in Columbus was surprised to learn yesterday that it was changing format from a daily newspaper to a weekly "advertiser" format. Except that it wasn't true. Turns out The Clarion-Ledger was mailing subscribers in the town, spreading false information to try to increase its own subscriptions in the area.

Advocates Unveil Program to Curb Domestic Violence

In a noon press conference today in the Mississippi Capitol, Sandy Middleton, executive director of the Center for Violence Prevention in Pearl, former Appeals Court Judge Mary Libby Payne, Madison County Justice Court Judge Carole Davis, Sheriff Malcolm McMillin, Assistant Attorney Heather Wagner and Hinds Justice Court Judge Frank Sutton announced a new resource to prevent domestic violence in the Jackson area: a batterer's intervention program based on the Duluth Model.

Scurlock's Donuts To Open Downtown

Local breakfast hero Mark Scurlock is opening a second location for his donut shop, Scurlock's Donuts, in the heart of downtown Jackson. Beginning the last week of August, the un-sugared masses downtown will be able to get their fix on the ground floor of the Capitol Towers, at the corner of Congress and Pearl Streets.

Mississippi Casinos Feeling the Pinch

Casinos, which economists once thought were "recession proof," are feeling the slump along with the majority of other businesses across the country. The state Tax Commission reports that Mississippi casino earnings numbers for June across the state totaled $189.7 million, down from $237.3 million in June 2008. That's a drop of just over 20 percent.

Wednesday, July 22

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

International League baseball, Norfolk at Gwinnett (6 p.m., CSS): Do you ever wonder how some of your favorite former M-Braves are doing up at AAA Gwinnett? Here's your chance to find out.

Bethany Boteler and Josh Sabins

In January 2005, when Bethany Boteler was 17 and a senior in high school, she went with a friend to meet a boy at McAlister's Deli in Richland.

We Can Do It!

I sure do love it when a plan comes together.

No Rate Increases for Coal Plants

Mississippi Power Company is denying the Mississippi Sierra Club's Miller's interpretation of the PSC decision against hiking electricity bills to pay for pre-construction costs of a planned $1.8 billion experimental lignite coal plant in Kemper County. The power company called Miller's characterization of the decision "misleading."

Change Meets Fear at JSU

Members of committees affiliated with Jackson State University are worried that the university will cut programs in a curriculum reorganization.

MySpace v. Domestic Abuse

Pussy for Peace is a married 25-year-old woman from Tehran. The MySpace page she manages is a sprawling hive of women's news and thoughts with a Middle East flavor. When a woman is attacked, shot or beaten anywhere in the world, the news often appears here, along with a host of pro-female thoughts.

2009 Chick Ball Auction Guide

With the 5th Annual Chick Ball just days away, we are excited to celebrate the triumphs of domestic violence survivors, as well as the creative talents of women artists and musicians. The evening will also include a silent auction of art and gifts.

2009 Chick Ball Schedule

Along with the incredible art showing at the Chick Ball, tune your ears to these fabulous women of entertainment. These ladies will move and groove your soul, and rock your heart out.

Take a Stand on Violence

This week, the Center for Violence Prevention will announce a new paradigm for curbing domestic violence in the Jackson area, bringing the Duluth Model to the metropolitan area. Batterer's intervention programs, or BIPs, are a big part of what's coming.

[Stiggers] Complexion Vexation

Mr. Announcement: "In the ghetto criminal justice system, the people are represented by three members of the McBride family: Dudley 'Do-Right' McBride, Nurse Tootie McBride, and attorney Cootie McBride of the law firm McBride, Myself and I.

A Man's World

I'm disappointed in women, particularly myself. Check out the opinion section of any local or national newspaper. Where are the women?

Emily Sanford

"I know I want to help people, and I can do the science," she thought, "but for me, my heart isn't into this."

Tease photo

Chicks We Love

Chicks like these are rare. They are intelligent, strong, influential women who are making the face of Jackson look a little brighter. And we love them.

Red Hot Tamales

On July 19, 2008, the JFP Chick Ball was in full force when a group of lovely ladies took the stage—upright bass, fiddle, guitar and ukulele in tow. For 20 minutes, they took us all to a simpler time with their down-home folk and gospel tunes.

[Herman's Pick] Vol. 7, No. 45

The weekend starts early this week with lots of fun options for Thursday night. T-Bird and the Breaks bring the blue-eyed-soul-meets-'60s-funk to Ole Tavern, and jazz/funk trio LBC play at Martin's. LBC is reminiscent of Medeski, Martin and Wood instrumentation, while T-Bird is an old-school Dap-Kings/James Brown-inspired 10-piece party, complete with horns.

Area's First Batterer's Intervention Program Coming to Jackson

Domestic violence. It's such a bland, vanilla euphemism for some of the most brutal and damaging pain that people inflict on one another. Brutal, of course, because people—mostly women and children—get their faces punched, their bones broken and sometimes die. Damaging, because the same people who profess love are those doing the punching and breaking, permanently scarring their victims, physically and psychologically. And for women, dying at the hands of an abuser is a real threat: In 2002, two-thirds of all women murdered by firearms were shot by their intimate partners.

Jackson Gets a Taste of the Caribbean

The hungry downtown crowd has spicy new option for lunch, thanks to husband and wife duo Richard and Chandra Higgins. The two opened up Taste of the Island Caribbean Take-Out June 22, and the restaurant has already developed a thriving customer base. Chandra, a native Jacksonian, spoke to the Jackson Free Press in between lunch rushes about opening a business downtown.

Jackson Crime Stats for July 13-19

Major crimes in Jackson dropped last week, according to a weekly report (PDF) released by the Jackson Police Department this morning. Precinct commanders reported 22 fewer property crimes than the previous week, for a 10.4 percent decrease, and 9 fewer violent crimes, representing a 20.9 percent decrease.

Howard McMillan

Howard McMillan, dean of Millsaps College's Else School of Management, will serve as acting president of the Jackson school beginning next month. He takes the place of Dr. Francis Lucas, who announced earlier this year that she would be leaving the college, effective June 2010. Dr. Lucas is using her accrued sabbatical leave to finish her term.

[Gregory] Lori Ponders Mamahood

I've never felt more prepared to write a "chick" column than now as I'm currently checking yet another "womanly" role off my list. Daughter? Check. Wife? Check. Mother? Check.

JPS Cited For Handling of No Child Left Behind Funds

The Jackson Free Press has obtained Mississippi Department of Education documents that raise concerns about how Jackson Public Schools spent nearly $1.3 million in federal No Child Left Behind funds. In early June of this year, the state education office presented JPS with a report saying JPS "misappropriated federal funds" in its transaction with a tutoring company, Gray & Associates, run by the police chief of Terry.

Pardon Me? Chickfest Honors Rep. Brandon Jones

When Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour suspended the sentence of convicted domestic murderer Michael Graham last summer, citizens of Pascagoula were outraged. As shocked and furious as his community, freshman Rep. Brandon Jones, D-Pascagoula, knew something had to be done.

Jackson City Government Broken, says Mayor

Information from Mayor Harvey Johnson's transition team meetings is slowly trickling in, and Johnson said preliminary reviews are showing the city suffers from a broken chain of command.

Stop the ‘Boys Will Be Boys' Attitude; It Kills Women

As we approach Chick Ball weekend—starting with a poignant one-woman show about a victim of domestic abuse and ending with a celebration of women and their art—I urge everyone to think back to September 2007 when Doris Shavers and Heather Spencer were brutally murdered by men who had supposedly loved them. The JFP did a detailed investigative narrative within days of those murders that showed that domestic abuse happens in all neighborhoods to all income levels, it a pattern that needs to be stopped, and is often not taken seriously by law enforcement (shown poignantly by documents in the story we obtained that showed how authorities mishandled the case after George Bell nearly killed Heather Spencer just weeks before he finished the job).

Tuesday, July 21

Remembering Uncle Walter

You might not remember Walter Cronkite, who retired from the CBS Evening News in 1981 after 19 years on the air. I grew up with him, though. Cronkite was news for me. America voted him "the most trusted man in America," and he had a well-deserved reputation for integrity and straightforward reporting.

CNN's Black In America 2 Watch Party July 22-23 @ Hal and Mals

Wednesday and Thursday July 22-23, CNN continues its investigation of the most challenging issues facing African-Americans with "Black in America 2." Soledad O'Brien reports on people who are using ground-breaking solutions to transform the black experience. Yardboy International has organized a "Watch Party" which begins both nights at 7pm in the Big Room at Hal and Mals. We want everyone to feel welcom to come and join us. Come with and open mind prepared to listen and speak your mind.

Mayor Reveals ‘Dire' State of Jackson's Budget

Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. confirmed Monday what many City Council members already knew: that the city's financial situation is "dire."

Kenneth Stokes

The Jackson City Council voted earlier this month to appoint individuals that historically sided with former Mayor Frank Melton to lead them under the new administration. Ward 4 Councilman Frank Bluntson and Ward 5 Councilman Charles Tillman received unanimous votes for council president and vice president, respectively. Bluntson immediately set about making Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes, the third councilman in the Melton "faction," head of the council's planning committee, so that Stokes could immediately go about bringing up all the agenda items that the more level-headed council leaders of the past kept bottled up in committee.

Tease photo

‘Holding Up the Mirror'

"The Scutley Papers," winner of the 2009 Eudora Welty New Play contest at New Stage Theatre, premieres Friday night as part of the JFP Chick Ball Weekend.

[Balko] SWAT Gone Wild

In pushing back against the abuse he suffered at the hands of the Prince George's County police department, Berwyn Heights, Md. Mayor Cheye Calvo is helping expose a more widespread pattern of law enforcement carelessness and callousness throughout the state of Maryland.

Look at All the 2009 Chick Ball Art and Prize Donors!

With the 5th Annual Chick Ball just days away, we are excited to celebrate the triumphs of domestic violence survivors, as well as the creative talents of women artists and musicians. The evening will also include a silent auction of art and gifts. All proceeds of the Chick Ball, including winning bids in the silent auction, go directly to the Center For Violence Prevention. Here's a list of some of our generous donors. View a full color shopping guide in the current Jackson Free Press.

Update: Mayor Tables Farish Zoning Request

Yesterday, the Jackson Free Press reported that the Jackson City Council, particularly Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon, was worried that a zoning request for the Farish Street Entertainment District could open the area to unwanted commercial establishments, including used car lots. In yesterday's council planning and zoning meeting, Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. pulled discussion of the request from the agenda.

Hinds Director to Retire after 48 Years

Hinds County's Director of Emergency Management Larry Fisher announced yesterday that he will retire at the end of October. Fisher said he would work until Oct. 31 to see the county through hurricane season and finish other projects.

Monday, July 20

Final Transition Forum Tonight

Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr.'s transition team will hold the last of five public forums tonight at City Hall. The topic of tonight's meeting, which starts at 6 p.m., is human and cultural services, a broad category that includes services for special populations, including seniors, and the arts in Jackson.

Council Anxious Over Farish Street Zoning

Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon is nervous about potential rezoning efforts connected to the Farish Street Entertainment District. Renovation of the Farish Street project has been ongoing for about a decade, stalled by strict guidelines for construction in a historically designated area, city/developer disagreements and a host of money issues. The massive endeavor changed hands last year from Memphis' Performa Chairman and CEO John Elkington to the Jackson developer of the King Edward and Standard Life projects, David Watkins, after Performa took a hit from the national economic downturn and was unable to secure reliable funding.

Jackson Public Meetings This Week

Monday, July 20

Johnson Transition Forum: Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr.'s transition team invites the public to a forum concerning human and cultural services. 6 P.M. City Hall, 219 S. President Street

Viking to Open Ridgeland Cooking School

Viking Culinary Group, a division of Viking Range Corporation, is opening a cooking school in Ridgeland next month, kicking off with a class titled "Classic Steakhouse" on Friday, August 21. The group has named Chan Patterson as the school's manager, and the school has a full schedule of classes in the following days and weeks.

Anna Tadlock

On Saturday, Anna Tadlock of Brandon, 23, was crowned Miss Mississippi at the culmination of three days of pageant events in Vicksburg. According to her profile, the Mississippi State University graduate says her future plans include receiving her master's degree in education and teaching English at the high school or college level. She also sees herself getting married and starting a family within the next 10 years.

Mississippi Foreclosures Increase, Maybe

A California-based company that tracks foreclosures, RealtyTrac, reported last week that Mississippi has seen a huge jump in foreclosures last month. The company currently lists 1,893 foreclosed properties in the state, however Forbes reports 755 new actions in June, representing an increase of 74 percent over the previous month.

Saturday, July 18

Miss Ya-Ya and a Brand New Car

Yesterday was one of my fullest, weirdest, most interesting days as an intern. I usually work Monday through Thursday, and I wonder if all Fridays at the JFP are like this.

Have you ever had a day like this?

If I had a nickel for every time I went through something like this, I'd be a wealthy woman.

Friday, July 17

Have Fun, Network and DON'T Procrastinate!

Youth Media Project

Now that I am in college I realize how great high school is and how things you do now (small or big) will affect you in the future. I know is sounds like a cliche, but it is true. So, here are some tips for high schoolers, and future high schoolers to follow...

Never Meeting a Stranger

Do you remember when you were in kindergarden, when you teacher asked you to introduce yourself for the first time to everyone? Well, interning at the Jackson Free Press has been that experience times a hundred and I couldn't have been more happier.

Mississippi School Board Picks New Interim Superintendent

The State Board of Education replaced interim state superintendent Judy Rhodes yesterday, following a legal opinion from the Attorney General's office that found her technically unqualified for the position. Because she has not earned a Master's degree, Rhodes is ineligible for the interim position, according to minimum qualifications established by the state Legislature, Assistant Attorney General Reese Partridge found.

Tease photo

Dan Blumenthal

Fast cars have been a passion for Dan Blumenthal since he was a little kid. He inherited the bug from his father, and was reading Road &Track magazine at age 7.

Hood: Governor's Vetoes Improper

Two of Gov. Haley Barbour's recent budget vetoes violate the Mississippi constitution, according to Attorney General Jim Hood. The non-binding opinion points out that the constitution does not allow vetoes on the conditions of how funds can be spent, reports the Sun Herald.

Thursday, July 16

Minors, Music, Identity

Youth Media Project

I had nothing against the teacher personally, but music meant so much more to me than English class at that time. When I felt bad, my English teacher wasn't there to make me feel better, but my music was.

This Doesn't Look Like Home

Youth Media Project

So I have finally entered the blogosphere. For so long I have questioned its relevance and did not want to get involved. That was until I met Twitter.

What Is There for the Youth to Do in Jackson?

We need to spread the word to young people about things to do during the summer! These activities range from skate-boarding to theatrical plays.

The Real World Kinda Sucks

Youth Media Project

Don't you dare try to put Sarah Rutland in a corner, she'll come claws-out and aim for the jugular. I may not have the money to do everything I want in life, but dammit I've got the brains and the talent, so watch out Real World ...

Wife Says Pickering's Affair Ended Career, Two Marriages

Leisha Jane Pickering, estranged wife of former Republican U.S. Rep. Charles "Chip" Pickering, filed a complaint in Hinds County Circuit Court this morning against Elizabeth Creekmore-Byrd for alienation of affection. Leisha Pickering alleges in the suit that her husband and Creekmore-Byrd had a long-standing relationship that began and ended once before the Pickering marriage, and resumed during Chip Pickering's congressional career in Washington, D.C.

City Council Tables Additional Funds for Attorneys

This morning, Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes pulled a resolution he submitted along with Jackson City Council President Frank Bluntson encouraging the city to approve up to $240,000 in extra payments to city and contract attorneys—including former City Attorney Sarah O'Reilly-Evans—for legal fees related to bond work. The fees are connected with work regarding a swap for water and sewer system revenue and revenue refunding bonds, which fell through.

'Glories of Summer' Opens Downtown Tonight

An exhibition of artwork celebrating the season of heat and leisure opens tonight at the Gallery 119, formerly known as Highlands Fine Art Brokers.

Additional Shot Required for Mississippi Students

Students enrolled in Magnolia State schools will need to have had two chicken pox vaccines when they begin classes this fall. Known as the varicella vaccine, the requirement was waived in 2008 because of low availability, reports WAPT.

Wednesday, July 15

Perkins Named Johnson's Chief of Staff

BREAKING NEWS: Mayor Harvey Johnson's office has confirmed that Sean Perkins, 35, formerly a branch manager for Regions Bank and director of 100 Black Men, has been named as the new administration's chief of staff. He is a 1992 graduate of St. Andrews Episcopal School and a 1997 graduate of Jackson State University. He replaces Marcus Ward, former Mayor Frank Melton's chief of staff.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Golf, British Open (6 a.m., TNT): Will wee Padraig Herrington win a third-straight British Open? Or is Tiger Woods ready to pounce? The battle for the claret jug continues through Sunday (Friday, 6 a.m., TNT; Saturday, 6 a.m., TNT/8 a.m., Ch. 16; Sunday, 5 a.m., TNT/7 a.m., Ch. 16).

The Dawn of a New ‘Daily'

This past week we flipped the switch on a new "product" that's been brewing in the JFP labs for the better part of six months: JFP Daily.

Vying For The Ball

The air is thick with humidity, and beyond the buzz of cicadas and crickets, the July night is quiet except for the intermittent sound of Pearl River players idly conversing and fairground jubilation in the far distance.

Enforce the Smoking Ban

On Feb. 1, 2009, a smoking ban went into effect for the city's restaurants. After an initial flurry of objections, the air in most of city's restaurants and clubs became noticeably cleaner and clearer.

[Stiggers] A New Work Force

BoneQweesha Jones: "I know that pink slip was a hard pill to swallow. Six months later, the anxiety and stress of landing a decent job in this economy has forced you to question yourself."

An Open Letter to Brad White

Sen. Lydia Chassaniol's enthusiastic participation in the recent annual conference of the Council of Conservative Citizens calls attention to a problem that is much bigger, and much more dangerous, than one state senator.

Officer Colendula Green

As I approach Smith Park, I spot a woman standing in a black long-sleeved JPD uniform, gun on belt, badge on shirt and dark shades over eyes.

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A Dark Touch

Mathew Puckett's workspace on the second floor of One to One Studio is full of oil paintings of variations on his image.

The Neelys in My Kitchen

"Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook" is more than just a book filled with recipes. Pat and Gina Neely share family photos and personal stories throughout the book, including how they met and the history of their family barbeque restaurant, Neely's Bar-B-Que.

The Key Ingredient

Cooking with love. That's the philosophy of Pat and Gina Neely, married co-hosts of Food Network show "Down Home with the Neelys," which they tape in their Memphis home.

'A Richer Sense of Being Alive

There isn't a simple way to characterize someone as complex as Frank Owen; consciousness-explorer, Celtic spirituality facilitator, travel guide and Jungian all come to mind. But to stop there would be to leave out an arm or a leg—each of the myriad facets comprising Owen's background being vital to the whole.

What's On My Nightstand

Some heavy reads before the journey to dreamland.

Big, Gay and Christian

James Hannaham's novel "God Says No" chronicles the coming-of-age of Gary Gray, a man who loves Jesus and Disney World in almost equal measures. But he loves his college roommate, Russ, almost as much as he loves Christ, and not at all in the same way.

Funk Evolution

While some bands these days slap on a guitar or two and find someone to play drums, Austin-based T-Bird and the Breaks realized it needed more to complete its sound.

[Rob In Stereo] The Man In The Mirror

I recently had an hour to kill in the airport, so I indulged myself and picked up a few tabloid magazines inundated with Michael Jackson stories. In the weeks following Jackson's death, I was dismayed to see the media shift its focus from the genius of Jackson's musical contributions to speculation over how he died.

An Apple or a Yogurt a Day?

It all started with a cold, then a cough. By the time I saw my physician, I realized that this gunk had taken hold of my physical being.

Rad Balloon

On a blistering July 2 evening, I strolled around the Fondren business district, searching for complementary beverages during "Fondren After 5," and attempted to look as if I were a patron of the arts. Perhaps it was my paranoia, but each time I stepped foot into an art gallery or a boutique, I felt as if a silent alarm sounded, notifying everyone in the room that I was merely there to stake out the free wine.

Consultants Threaten JSU Programs, Alumni Fear

Members of committees affiliated with Jackson State University are worried that the university will be cutting programs in a curriculum reorganization. Associates of the Hinds Chapter of the Jackson State University National Alumni Association Political Action Committee and the Mississippi Coalition of Black Higher Education voiced their concerns at a 10 a.m. press conference at the office of Jackson attorney and city Councilman Chokwe Lumumba.

JPD Teaming Up On Home Invasions

Jackson police are reaching out to postal carriers, among others, in response to a spate of home invasions in Northeast Jackson. Precinct 4 reported two home invasions last week on Meadowbrook Road and Poplar Boulevard. Police believe the two incidents are connected to two earlier robberies in April and May, on Meadowbrook and Roberts Drive, also in Precinct 4.

Chris Mims

Director of communications is one of the first administrative positions that Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. filled when he took office earlier this month. His choice for the job was Jacksonian Chris Mims.

Jail: My Experience

Last week I was arrested for a charge I am legally not old enough to commit. I was transfered to the downtown jail in a car that the officer was driving 70 mph in a 35 with no lights on. I was processed and held in handcuffs and shackles for about three hours. We were then transfered holding at the Raymond Detention Center. I was made to put on a orange jump suit and sit in a concrete room with about ten other guys. I did not sleep or eat the entire time I was in there, and at about seven in the morning we were taken out and ready to go to court. I did not have my rights read, hardly got a phone call, have another court date. When I was waiting on the bench for my name to be called, the judge, DA and just about everyone else near the bench were looking through books to see what my charge would be if I pleaded guilty. As they were looking, I called the DA over to explain to him my situation. After I told him, he asked my age and I told him I was twenty, and he suggested I plead not guilty. After I said my plea, he told the judge my age and requested that I bring my ID to the court and that my charges be dismissed. The judge looked at the information and followed by setting another court date. After the trials were complete we were shipped back to Raymond. I waited in a cell knowing that my bond was already at the office waiting for my signing. After waiting a couple of hours I finally had the chance to sign the sheet. After I signed my bond sheet I was sent back into holding though my ride was waiting for me. My dad was the one who had to tell the officer at the front desk to call down for my release. If he didn't do so, I am sure I would have been sitting there much longer. When I got out, my dad told me they had all of the information ready around 4 p.m. and they were ready to release me, but since it seems they have no managing at the center, my paper work sat on their desk until they wanted to do it. I was finally released by 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.

Jackson Lake Plans and Eminent Domain

Jackson Realtor Bob Ridgway is president of a 100-year-old exclusive hunting and fishing spot about a half mile from where County Line Road dead ends at Old Canton Road. Mule Jail Club has an eight-person membership that goes back to the 1880s, and a number of small cabins sit on pylons either within the water or on ground that is partially or totally submerged during a portion of the year. Biologists describe the territory as some of the most pristine wetland between Hinds and Rankin counties. Nevertheless, Mule Jail could lose a considerable portion of itself to lake water, just as it sacrificed a portion of itself to the making of the Ross Barnett Reservoir.

Tuesday, July 14

Hood v. Salter: Battle Going Extra Rounds?

Enmity between Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and Clarion-Ledger Perspective Editor Sid Salter is obvious this week, as the two hammer each other over disagreements regarding the facts around a June decision by the Mississippi Public Service Commission, and the implications of that decision.

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Sports Hall of Fame to Induct Six in 2009

The Mississippi Sport Hall of Fame is inducting six new members at a banquet to be held at the end of the month.

Governors Association To Meet In Biloxi

Governors from all 50 states will convene in Biloxi this weekend for the National Governors Association's Annual Meeting. The meeting, which brings together governors to share policy ideas, begins on July 17 with sessions devoted to infrastructure issues. Outgoing NGA Chair and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell will discuss a yearlong initiative aimed at repairing and improving state's infrastructure. The meeting will close on Monday, July 20, with a discussion of energy and the economy, and the induction of the incoming NGA Chair, Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas.

[Balko] The El Paso Miracle

By conventional wisdom, El Paso, Texas, should be one of the scariest cities in America. Surprisingly, it's actually one of the safest.

Judy Lewis

Mississippi Public Broadcasting's board of directors unanimously appointed Judy Lewis, 59, as its new executive director last week. Lewis, a native Mississippian from Morton, holds a doctorate in higher education from the University of Mississippi and a bachelor's and master's degree in education and speech communication from Mississippi College. She succeeds Marie Antoon, who announced her retirement in May, and will begin her new job Aug. 1.

Shenanigans Magic Show

Describing himself as "America's corporate conjuror," Atlanta-based magician Joe M. Turner customizes illusions and other sleights of hand for business and community audiences around the country. And he is good!

Mississippi Swine Flu Cases Over 200

The Mississippi State Department of Health reports that H1N1 flu, known as swine flu, continues to spread rapidly in Mississippi. Since the first confirmed case May 15, the count has now reached 212. Additionally, residents have seen 73 cases of seasonal flu since the end of April.

Come All Ye Faithful

This week marks the unofficial start of the college football season. The Big Three will host their annual preseason parties in Jackson. Coaches, cheerleaders and others will be on hand to inspire the alumni and fans. In some ways, it's the best part of the season because everybody is still undefeated.


ArtRemix is a new social, musical event that fills the void for swanky, fun outdoor entertainment this summer.

Monday, July 13

Some Soldiers Ineligible for GI Benefits Under New Bill

For many people, having access to GI benefits after serving their country is a primary factor behind joining the service. But some guard members are finding out that they're not eligible because of a glitch in the new GI bill.

How Often Should You Give?

My driving routine involves the same streets just about everyday. One day I was approaching the traffic light on Adkins Boulevard preparing to cross over to Beasley Road when I noticed a small man who appeared to be homeless sitting in the grass alongside the street. The light turned red as the man stood and waited for the cars to stop.

New Club, King Edward to Open Downtown

Even in the midst of an economic downturn, enterprising entrepreneurs take advantage of opportunities. A new downtown club and the reopening of a venerable Jackson landmark—after decades of abandonment and decay—testify to the entrepreneurial spirit of the capitol city.

Amani Floyd

For students at Jackson's Bailey Magnet School, Amani Floyd's dedication as a teacher has paid off well. Floyd, a student in the Mississippi Teacher Corps program at the University of Mississippi, helped the kids raise their American history test scores by 10 percent, with 95 percent of students passing the state exam. That's the highest rate of inner-city students passing the exam in four years.

No Downside to Pullout, Hinds County Supervisor Says

Hinds County is following through with a January decision to pull out of the Pearl River Basin Development District, removing itself from the auspices of the District regarding upkeep along the Pearl River.

This Week's Public Meetings in Jackson

Monday, July 13

Jackson Public Schools board, special meeting, 5:30 p.m., school board meeting room, 621 S. State St.

New Orleans Frequently Downgrades Rape Charges

In the wake of the much-touted FBI Uniform Crime Rankings for violent crime, the way New Orleans police report rapes highlights the reasons why the FBI warns the media against using their numbers as benchmarks. A story appearing in Saturday's Times-Picayune says that New Orleans police classify more than half of all sexual assaults against women as noncriminal complaints.

Peace, Love and Murder

The Mississippi Murder Mysteries actors always deliver a quirky, fun and intriguing show, and "Peace, Love and Murder" promises to offer more of the same.

Friday, July 10

Lawmakers Approve Compromised PSC Funding

State lawmakers passed appropriations bills for the state Public Service Commission and Public Utilities Staff this morning, completing the Legislature's work for this session. The House and Senate agreed on a compromise bill that would not grant the PSC any additional staff members but would allow it to reallocate three staff positions. The original House version of the bill would have given the PSC three additional staffers, which would improve the PSC's scrutiny of utility rate adjustments, proponents of the bill argued.

Leaks Caused JPD to Dump Sergeant Exams

Civil Service Commission members said questions from the Jackson Police Department's recent sergeant's exam might have found their way to the officers prior to testing, causing the city to trash all of the recently completed tests. The commission discovered after administering the test to 180 officers that it was identical to an earlier, leaked version, despite instructions to the testing company to rewrite the exam.

Utilities Battle Raging Today in Special Session

The opening salvo in Mississippi's legislative special session goes to the Democratic-majority House of Representatives, with the House Appropriations Committee approving funding for the Public Service Commission this morning. The bill, which the full House voted to approve, would grant the Public Service Commission an additional three staff members and allow the PSC to reallocate money to fill three more vacant positions. All told, the bill would give the PSC three staff lawyers for $292,000 and three rate analysts. That appropriation is a more modest offer than the 11 additional staff members that the PSC originally requested during the regular legislative session.

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Minister Blasts Mississippi Senator's Connections

Also see JFP cover story: Guess Who's Coming to Jackson, June 24, 2009

Clarion-Ledger Publisher Explains 20 Layoffs

Following a directive from its corporate owner, Gannett, The Clarion-Ledger laid off 20 people Thursday—7 percent off its already-depleted staff—in addition to freezing the positions open from recent resignations. Three of those positions were in the newsroom, a source inside the paper tells the Jackson Free Press.

Opening Saturday: F. Jones Corner on Farish Street

When Adam Hayes and Daniel Dillon bought 303 Farish St., the building was in terrible shape: The ceiling was falling, it had neither a kitchen nor plumbing, and to top it off, a homeless person was living there. The two immediately started cleaning up the place, with free help from carpenters, plumbers and construction workers due to the eagerness they shared for getting the job done. Dillon and Hayes got down and dirty when constructing the space, and in the end it all paid off. Nestled in the otherwise quiet historical Farish Street District, the renovated vibrant blue building will open as F. Jones Corner on July 11, the first of several new entertainment venues to open on the street this year.

Jerzy Leszczynski

Jackson State University professor Dr. Jerzy Lesczcynski is one of 22 educators in the nation to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. President Barack Obama named the honorees yesterday, recognizing educators for their work in "furthering the educational advancement of our nation's young people and encouraging and inspiring our next generation of leaders," according to a White House press statement.

An Open Letter

Over the past months our city has gone through some drastic changes, from the death of our beloved and sometimes hated mayor Frank Melton to the inauguration of our new but old mayor Harvey Johnson. With Harvey Johnson being sworn into office, many citizens feel as if Jackson will get right back on track to greatness. But can Harvey Johnson bring greatness back to the city of Jackson?

Special Session Agenda: Utility Watchdog Agencies

The Mississippi Legislature is back in Jackson this morning for another special session, this time to decide the fate of the state's utility watchdog agencies. Lawmakers were unable to get a budget bill to fund the Public Service Commission and the Public Utilities Staff on the governor's desk during the regular session or during the first special session called after the regular session ended.

Thursday, July 9

When Goliath Stumbles

A couple of days ago I wrote a blog concerning just a few of the problems facing major daily newspapers these days, and why independent and alternative publications have considerably more room to grow than their much larger competitors. Ironically (tragically for some), the Clarion-Ledger ran an article (Clarion-Ledger cuts 20 positions) today concerning the elimination of 20 jobs and that it would be freezing "several open positions as part of Gannett Co. Inc.'s previously announced companywide reduction in force." Perhaps writers at the Clarion-Ledger should reconsider heavy coverage of dead celebrities and start contemplating the dying behemoths behind so-called "modern" print journalism.

Reeves Lends Weight to Mosque Opposition

A former Jackson attorney says he sees parallels between his representation of Madison citizens against a proposed mosque and the plight of his own former home in south Jackson.

Beth Kander

In response to the news that state Sen. Lydia Chassaniol was the "surprise speaker" at the recent Council of Conservative Citizens meeting in Jackson in June, Jackson playwright Beth Kander announced on Facebook that she will be hand delivering a letter —and flowers—to the senator.

Jackson Crime Stats For June 29 – July 5

Major crimes in Jackson dropped by almost 9 percent last week, according to a weekly report (PDF) released at yesterday's command staff meeting for the Jackson Police Department. The city saw a decrease in property crime from 212 the previous week to 185, while violent crimes increased from 27 to 33.

Public Safety Forum Tonight

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. and his transition team will hold a public forum tonight at 6 p.m. on the subject of public safety. The forum will take place in the City Council Chambers in City Hall at 219 S. President Street.

Mississippi Port Expansion Project Begins

Today at 2 p.m., the Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport will hold a ground-"making" ceremony, kicking off a $570 million expansion project. Gov. Haley Barbour, who diverted the funds for the project from money originally targeted to rebuild housing on the state's Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina ripped across the area, will be on hand for the ceremony.

Journey Stories

A Smithsonian Institute traveling exhibit, "Journey Stories" examines physical, mental and emotional journeys that have crafted American history.

Wednesday, July 8

First Lady Fashion

"Behind every great man is a great woman." That quote, which became popular during the feminist movement, certainly seems to be true of Betty Mallett and Kathy Johnson, the city of Jackson's most recent first ladies.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Women's golf, U.S. Women's Open (1 p.m., ESPN): Will an American win? Unlikely. It continues through Sunday.

A New Era in Jackson

"Responsibility." That was Mayor Harvey Johnson's word for what we should all vow to take as the city moves into its next era.

McLemore: Always a Player

"I'll have a glass of your finest Merlot," Leslie McLemore told the bartender at the University Club last week. "I don't know what it is, but I'll take it," he added with a laugh.

Lemurs and Tigers and Cats

In celebration of its 90th anniversary, the Jackson Zoo has spent millions of dollars on renovations. New benches, trash receptacles, improved fencing and new landscaping are some of the improvements the zoo has made for the zoo-goers.

Support State Watchdog Agencies

Last week, the Mississippi Senate shut down talks with House conferees over the funding of the Mississippi Public Service Commission.

[Stiggers] Gone But Not Forgotten

Miss Doodle Mae: "It's been a very rough couple of weeks for the staff of Jojo's Discount Dollar Store. The people we have known, respected and honored are gone.

[Kamikaze] Black America's Real Heroes

Throughout history, the African American community has had its share of stellar athletes—men who have transcended sport and race.

Micajah Sturdivant

Micajah Sturdivant stands on a sun-dried deck behind the MMI Management building gazing across a small lake and laughing about the number of geese bathing in the water.

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Johnson's Back!

"I, Harvey Johnson, Jr, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully ... discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter, so help me God."

The Long and Short(cake) of It

Let's get a few things straight: The perennially "fresh" dessert shells stored next to the berries in the produce section aren't shortcake. Those flavorless pucks of kitchen sponge are the Twinkies of the shortcake world, and have all the nuance and nutritional value of their close relative.

Parting The Curtain

Mississippi Values: It sounds innocuous, even noble; yet under the pens of Alex A. Alston Jr. and James L. Dickerson, the phrase takes on an ominous ring. Magnolia State residents "have a long history of being against whatever the rest of the nation is for," the authors write in "Devil's Sanctuary: an Eyewitness History of Mississippi Hate Crimes".

Imperfect Heroes

"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.—Martin Luther King, Jr. It wouldn't be fair to describe John Dittmer's "The Good Doctors" as a story about failure, but it does reveal some harsh, Calvinist truths about what it means to stand up for social justice.

Delta Rockabilly Pioneer Keeps Rolling

Rockabilly Mac Allen Smith's musical education began in the 1940s when he was a small boy visiting his grandfather's home outside Carrollton.

[Herman's Picks] Vol. 7, No. 43

Sonorous indie-folk comes cheap this Thursday night when Washington, D.C.-based Frau Eva puts on its delayed ambience at the Eudora Welty Commons, 7 p.m., free.

Budget Battle Shows Barbour's Mettle

The state budget negotiations were like a summer blockbuster: expensive, full of strong language, boring and too long. Gov. Haley Barbour played a starring role, and like any diva, he got what he wanted much of the time.

Mississippi Special Session Starts Friday

It's official: Gov. Haley Barbour has called state lawmakers back to Jackson for another special session to deal with the 2010 state budget. The session begins on Friday, July 10, at 10 a.m.

[Opinion] Jackson Loves Jackson

When I made the decision to leave Ole Miss and venture down to Jackson, I was admittedly scared. While taking breaks from epic "Halo 2" battles and scourging fraternity pledges, I had caught breaking news flashes of Jackson's zany mayor busting into residential buildings and wearing Kevlar vests.

Jackson City Council Gets New Leadership

Ward 4 Councilman Frank Bluntson and Ward 5 Councilman Charles Tillman will now serve as president and vice president, respectively, of the Jackson City Council. The two nominated one another for their respective positions and received no opposing votes from the six-member council.

Report Predicts Slow Recovery for Mississippi

The June 2009 issue of the "Mississippi Economic Review and Outlook," a twice-yearly report authored by Marianne Hill, senior economist for the Institutions of Higher Learning, says the state's recovery from the current recession will be slow. Hill predicts that it will be 2014 before employment rates are back down to where they were in 2000.

Landfall Hurricanes Likely on Mississippi Coast

Since 1900, 16 hurricanes have hit the Mississippi coast, nine of them category 3, 4 or 5, making them "major" storms. That means that of the 40 total Gulf hurricanes during that time span, 40 percent have hit the Magnolia State, according to

Tuesday, July 7

Letting It All Out

Have you ever been completely consumed with something that you begin to obsess over it? Then the obsessing causes you to act out toward others ... and in turn you start doing all this pointless fussing? Well that's been me for the past couple of weeks.

Bluntson is Jackson City Council President

With a unanimous vote from the new Jackson City Council, Ward 4 Councilman Frank Bluntson was installed as council president this afternoon, with Ward 5 Councilman Charles Tillman as his vice president.

New Jackson Council Meets Today

The new Jackson City Council will be meeting for the first time today at 4 p.m. Leaving the council this year is former Council President and Ward 2 Councilman Leslie Burl McLemore, who announced his retirement prior to the Democratic primaries. McLemore is also retiring from his job at Jackson State University.

Barbour to Testify Against Clean Energy

Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee begins major hearings exploring how to reduce global warming and build a clean energy economy. The Waxman-Markey bills and related legislation is on the agenda. At the top of the Republican witness list is Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, according to the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Music Awards Honor Local Artists

The 35th annual Jackson Music Awards, hosted by WLBT sports anchor Rob Jay, recognized a talented selection of Jackson's finest musicians and entertainers last night at the Jackson Marriott downtown. Congratulations to all of the honorees and nominees, especially to the following 28 top award winners.

Wright Sentencing in September

Marcus Wright, former bodyguard for the late Mayor Frank Melton, is set to face sentencing Sept. 4 for his role in the 2006 demolition of a private home. Wright pled guilty in Oct. 2008 to misdemeanor conspiracy, ending a lengthy reckoning process.

Jackson Eateries Win Awards; Night Spot to Close

Broad Street Baking Company & Café and Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza and Ice Cream Joint have received awards in this year's "Best of Mississippi" issue of Mississippi magazine. Broad Street was named Mississippi's Best Bakery, and Sal & Mookie's was named Mississippi's Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant.

Economy Blamed for Postponing Mayor's Meeting

Organizers for the Gulf Coast Black Mayor's Conference, originally scheduled for July 12–15 in Baton Rouge, are pointing to the recession for postponing the meeting, according to the Sun Herald. Planners are hoping to reschedule the meeting for next month.

Mississippi Opens New Burn Center

Crossgates River Oaks Hospital in Brandon opened the doors of the first burn center in the state since 2005, when a Greenville facility closed its doors, reports WLBT. With the Greenville closure, burn patients in Mississippi had to travel out of state for care.

Deleted Scenes and Death

Hello JFP readers, Katie Eubanks here. Editorial intern with a few "deleted scenes" to share from my internship experience. I know, I know: Deleted scenes aren't always the best part of a DVD. (If you've watched the ones from "Titanic," then you understand. Fortunately for the moviegoing masses, Kate and Leo's acting skills have seriously improved.)

Monday, July 6

Jackson Music Awards Tonight

Join the fun at the 35th Annual Jackson Music Awards tonight at Marriott Hotel starting at 6 p.m. Tonight's program, "Music, Its Magic," honors the best of Southern soul and hip hop, with awards in 32 categories.

Panther Mentality with a White Fist

I find myself agreeing with about 100% of what the original Black Panther Party stood for, after the black nationalist platform was abandon. Do not confuse this with the "New Black Panther Party" who advocates racism, anti-semitism and homophobia. I don't think that anyone would confuse the two since the NBPP is anti-white, and I am, well, white. They also have no direct association with the original party. I admire the BPP because they were not an organization who just complained about the problems they faced, they actually took action. I respect groups who walk the walk for a better society. I have always admired "radical" groups because of the passion and will to fight for everything they stand for knowing that there will be backlash. I love watching documentaries and reading about older radical groups. I get a sense of excitement and always want to watch or read more. Not just the BPP, but groups like the Revolutionary Youth Movement and Weather Underground. *Halt!* "Did he just say the Weather Underground?" Before you say to yourself, "there's a dirty commie," let me set the record straight and say I am not of such. I should actually do another post about the ignorance and fear of words that much of society has without knowing the meaning. Back to the topic. I do not completely disagree with these organizations politics. I actually agree with most, but I am more of a left-libertarian or libertarian-socialist. Do not be afraid! I am not a propaganda spitting device that is going to drown you with useless information. No, I am just informing you that I am not throwing these groups that I admire under the bus, but I know the readers of this will have the intelligence and acceptance to a new, or not so new, ideology :) . Basically, I should sum this whole post up to say... I should have lived in the 60s/70s *sigh*.

Requiem for the Dailies

At the outset of this summer, I had two interning possibilities before me. I could either take an Associated Press internship with a daily newspaper or I could take one here at the Jackson Free Press. Obviously I chose the latter, but it wasn't without heavy contemplation that I did. There were positive and negative aspects of both publications, and I listened to the counsel of family, professors and friends in the industry before making a decision. My family (and most of my friends) strongly advised me to take the AP internship, if not for the hefty stipend then for the practical, day-to-day experience of working in a bustling newsroom. But mostly for the cash. Despite the appeal of quick funds and a big name to pen on a resume, my journalism senses told me something was awry. This past semester I have been learning a lot about the death of the newspaper industry, and pondered just how practical it was to take an internship with a daily newspaper in today's economy. It seems like every other week there is another big name publication dying, yet the newspapers left alive aren't doing enough to change up how they provide information to their readers. Why was this?

Hood Says Power Companies Forced PSC Shutdown

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and power industry watchdogs suspect power companies shut down a state regulating agency expressly to remove a new means of regulation from the table.

Fondren Business Happenings

Despite the looming recession threatening to disrupt and weaken local economies all across the nation, the Fondren business district is flexing its muscles.

McNair: The Darker Side of the Dream

Former National Football League Most Valuable Player Steve McNair lived what many would see as a dream life. Born in the Mississippi town of Mt. Olive, McNair began his football career on the smallest of small-town teams. Graduating in 1991, he was named SuperPrep All-American quarterback and defensive back at Mt. Olive high school, and went on to be a record-setting QB for Alcorn State, winning the Walter Payton Award at a top player in Division 1-AA in 1994. He was the only player in NCAA history with more than 16,000 yards in career total offense, reports the Houston Chronicle.

McNamara Dead at 93

Robert McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defense under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, died this morning at his home in Washington, D.C. He was 93.

Second Special Session Starts Friday

Gov. Haley Barbour plans to call a second special session of the Mississippi Legislature for Friday, reports NEMS360. The session, which will begin at 10 a.m., will deal with funding for the Public Service Commission and the Public Utilities staff.

Sunday, July 5

Football: Memories of McNair

Former NFL MVP and Alcorn State legend Steve McNair was found shot to death along with a young woman on Saturday in downtown Nashville. On Sunday, Nashville police ruled McNair's death a homicide, but stopped short of saying it was a murder-suicide. He is being remembered for his achievements on the field and off.

Saturday, July 4

Football Star Steve McNair Shot to Death

I am in complete shock. From WAPT:

QB, Mississippi Native Steve McNair Found Dead

The Associated Press is reporting that former NFL quarterback Steve McNair, formerly of Mount Olive, Miss., is dead:

Out-of-School Boredom

Youth Media Project

I believe it is said best on the theme song of the popular cartoon, "Phineas and Ferb": "There's 104 days in summer vaction, and school comes along just to end it. So the annual problem for our generation, is finding a good way to spend it!"

Summer Job Dilemma, Teen Advocate Edition

Youth Media Project

I could never picture myself flipping burgers and delivering food for the entire summer. Serving the community burgers and fries is different from holding a rally for LGBTQ issues.

Friday, July 3

‘I Just Have to Type My Thoughts Out'

Youth Media Project

What makes me most happy is that once I was just getting my thoughts out about things that are important to me, but now I am actually DOING something about them.

Sarah Palin to Step Down as First-term Governor

Gov. Sarah Palin announced suddenly today that she will step down as governor of Alaska on July 26, only 30 months into her first term. The Washington Post:

Year 2: ‘Being the Media'!

Youth Media Project

The Jackson Free Press is thrilled to host the second summer of a joint youth media effort by public and private school teens in Jackson. last year, they critiqued the media. This year they are stepping up and being the media themselves!

It's a Capital 4th

You won't have to look far for activities this Independence Day weekend. Today, start your holiday by celebrating the inauguration of Mayor Harvey Johnson Junior. The activities began early with a prayer service, but the whole town is invited to the inauguration, a reception following and the party tonight, all held at the Jackson Convention Complex, downtown.

Utility Watchdog Employees Furloughed

Among the budget bills that failed to get to the governor's desk earlier this week were appropriations to fund the Public Service Commission and the Public Utilities agency. Without funding, the two state organizations are sending most of their employees home. The PSC is keeping on a skeleton crew of about 12 people, while Public Utilities shut its doors.

Thursday, July 2

Should the state of Rhode Island change its official name?

The official name is Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, which gives the smallest state in the U.S. the longest name in the U.S. However, the state legislature may remove the Providence Plantations part because it could be a reminder of slavery. One of the legislators claims that the name had nothing to do with slavery, so changing the name isn't necessary:

Karl Malden, 1912-2009

"American Express Traveler's Checks. Don't leave home without them." The character actor known for this catchphrase as well as his role in movies such as "Pollyanna" and "A Streetcar Name Desire" passed away at the age of 97:

Governor Vetoes Appropriations

Gov. Haley Barbour has vetoed a number of appropriation bills and parts of bills, leaving some doubt as to what the next steps will be—or even whether there are next steps—for completing the state's $6 billion budget for the 2010 fiscal year, which began yesterday.

Johnson Welcomes Public to Inaugural Events

Tomorrow, July 3, marks the official inauguration for acting Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr., with public events starting as early as 8 a.m. and continuing throughout the day until midnight. All of the events are free and open to the public; however, the inauguration celebration is limited to those 18 and over.

Mississippi No. 1 in Obesity, Again

At 44.4 percent of children and 32.5 percent of adults, Mississippi leads the nation in obesity. According to the 2009 edition of "F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America," "The obesity epidemic is harming the health of millions of Americans, contributing significantly to skyrocketing health care costs and threatening the country's productivity."

Wednesday, July 1

Anger: Confusing the Story With Reality

A few years ago, I nearly got into a war with one of my housemates.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

College football, Ole Miss at Florida replay (6 p.m., CSS): Rebel fans can relive one of the great moments in UM football history during this replay of the 2008 game.

Where Should I Volunteer?

Whether you have to volunteer for school or you just want to do it just for fun, Jackson has numerous places to donate your time, money and knowledge.

Fair Trade

In these tough financial times, cash doesn't necessarily flow like it used to.

The Long, Eaten Path

Knowing where food and clothing comes from is important to many consumers.

Grow This

Community gardens have sprung up across the city in recent months, offering Jacksonians the opportunity to learn about what they put into their bodies and how to grow it.

Operation Give

Freedom isn't free. Throughout the course of our nation's history, men and women have given the ultimate sacrifice to represent the United States in times of war.

Death of Affirmative Action?

In an unexpected move, the U.S. Supreme Court this week strayed from precedence to rule against a race-based hiring practice. Overturning an affirmative-action decision by an appellate panel, the Court ruled in favor of a group of white firefighters who were passed over for a promotion because of their race.

Ruth Oguhebe

As she walks into the empty school library, 17-year-old Ruth Oguhebe smiles and reaches out for a hug before sitting down at a table and taking off her shoes.

Medicaid Deal Just In Time

State legislators were poised to pass a Medicaid agreement Tuesday evening, ending a months-long impasse over funding and removing the last major obstacle to a state budget, one day before a new fiscal year began.

Mayor Wants 'Responsibility'

At a June 25 meeting at Koinonia Coffee House, Mayor-elect Harvey Johnson Jr. told Ward 5 residents that the theme for the city during his third term as mayor will be "responsibility."

DOJ Weighs in on JATRAN

The U.S. Department of Justice has intervened in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Jackson, buttressing accusations of the inaccessibility of Jackson's public bus system.

Precinct 4 to Relocate

The Jackson City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to move Jackson Police Department's Precinct 4 office from its current location on North State Street to the plaza across from Mikhail's about a mile away on the same street.

Energy Overkill?

The former mayor of Tupelo is heading a new energy advocacy group that critics say is pushing for a prohibitively expensive lignite coal plant and expansions of the Grand Gulf nuclear facility.

Fend Off the Alligators

When hungry alligators surround you, so the joke goes, you might forget that your objective is to drain the swamp.

[Stiggers] Get on the Bus

Congressman Smokey "Robinson" McBride: "Despite reports of a world economic downturn, political unrest in Iran, pop celebrities ridiculing and beating up each other, and the divorce of John and Kate plus Eight, the citizens of the Ghetto Science community continue to progress in these unusual times."

[Manogin] Being a Better Person

"There's no such thing as global warming!"

Tease photo

Donate Yourself

Although the idea of donating your body tends to have an edgy ring to it, it's easy to change your mind once you think of the good it can bring into the lives of others.

Sweet Meets Savory

I have had this idea for a while about opening a pie shop in town similar to one I visited once upon a time in Seattle. This shop would serve various types of pies, but not the ones you think.

The Myth of Yazoo Blues

John Pritchard is a Mississippi native whose newly released novel, "The Yazoo Blues," chronicles the adventures of a Delta man named Junior Ray Loveblood.

Jihad, Defined

Casual readers may view "How to Win a Cosmic War" (Random House, 2009, $26), the second book by acclaimed religious scholar Reza Aslan, as a defense of Islam. In part, this is an accurate assessment.

The Kids of Freedom Summer

In 1964, Tracy Sugarman began participating in and covering the Freedom Summer with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. His reporting and illustrations are captured in "We Had Sneakers, They Had Guns" (Syracuse University Press, 2009, $34.95). The book focuses on SNCC's campaign to educate and help the black community register to vote. More than 1,000 SNCC freedom riders traveled from Ohio to the Mississippi Delta to participate in the project. During his journey, Sugarman interviewed civil-rights leaders, SNCC members and locals about the events unfolding in their region.

Tennis: Britton Turning Pro

Ole Miss tennis player Devin Britton, who won the NCAA singles title in May, is turning pro after one season in Oxford.

Music Reviews

Olympic Records act, the Da Vincis, make exactly the music teenage boys should make. Their loose, jazzy pop songs possess a purity free from the baggage that comes with age and experience and strategic commercialism. Their debut album, "See you Tonight," is breezy, diverse and catchy.

[Rob In Stereo] Spirit of '94

New-age punk rock, for better or for worse, can be tied to 1994. It was during this year that the genre re-emerged from music's doldrums and experienced a renaissance.

Fat Poppies and Malbec

On a Tuesday night, I picked up a bottle of malbec at Kats Wine Cellar and drove to the clubhouse on the reservoir where artist Karen Blake teaches art classes to people of varying age and skill. Dressed in a flowered wrap skirt and big earrings, she welcomed me with a smile. Colorful canvases were on display around the clubhouse, and Blake had set up painting stations, three per table, with 16-inch-by-20-inch blank canvases set on easels.

Dee, Moore Lawsuit Goes Forward

Read the JFP's Dee-Moore archive here for background and complete stories.

Diaz Calls on D.C.

Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz outlined allegations of political persecution last week at a Washington, D.C., forum. The Sarah McClendon Group, a government and media watchdog association, held a forum on alleged selective prosecutions by the U.S. Department of Justice during the Bush administration. Speakers said that the U.S. Department of Justice, under former President George Bush, targeted Democratic politicians and Democratic fundraisers with indictments and media-saturated investigations —with the help of conservative-appointed judges—in hopes of swinging elections toward Republicans.

Home away from home

I have been coming to Jackson for about two years now, and I mean on a regular bases. In the last year I have only had one weekend away from here. Since my girlfriend and many of my friends live here, I make the hour and a half drive every friday from Monroe, Louisiana. I know Jackson almost as well as Monroe, and I never feel like I am away from home when I am here. I have grown to love my king size bed in the hotel I am staying at for the two months here. While my girlfriend did an internship at JFP, I became very interested in doing the same. I know many colleges require a person to do one for credit before you can graduate. Well, I have to do a practicum, have this many hours, blah blah blah. I decided to do this internship for the experience, and not for credit.

Welcome to FY 2010: Where's the Budget?

At around 8 p.m. last night, the Mississippi House approved a $60 million hospital tax promoted by Gov. Haley Barbour to fund the state's Medicaid program, after a nearly two-and-a-half hour reading—out loud—of the 81-page bill, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The tax will increase by another $30 million over the next three years to reach the original $90 million figure the governor wanted.

Closing the Clean-Up Deal

The city may have brought to a close the troubled business relationship between local debris-removal contractor Garrett Construction Company and Pearl River, Miss.-based Nungesser Industries.