Stories for March 2009


Tuesday, March 31

The 2009 JFP Interview with Frank Melton, Part V: To the DEA?

In this long excerpt of JFP editor Donna Ladd's interview with Frank Melton in February, he talks about why he's running for re-election, dying with dignity, the City Council, his two chiefs–and being hired by the Obama administration, or the U.S. Marshals, if he loses the race. (Note: much of this transcript does not appear in the print edition.)

Bodyguard's Attorney Wants DOJ Meeting

Also see: Full JFP Melton Blog/Archive/Trial

An attorney for former mayoral bodyguard Michael Recio has asked the Department of Justice to reconsider its prosecution of the Jackson police officer. In May, federal prosecutors will try for the second time to convict Recio and Mayor Frank Melton on civil rights charges related to the 2006 destruction of a private house on Ridgeway Street. Recio and Melton were acquitted on state charges for the incident in 2007. Their first federal trial for the demolition ended in a hung jury last month.

Democrats Need Not Apply?

Political leaders in Terry are booting Democratic candidate Cedric Abston from the Terry mayoral ballot for the second time. Terry election commissioners Lessie Hayes, Shauna White and Kelsie Bloomberg opted to restrict the number of candidates in the race for Terry Mayor to incumbent Rod Nichols, claiming the Democratic Party did not follow state statute in registering Abston.

Register to Vote This Week

If you have not registered to vote yet, and you intend to vote in the May 5 primaries, get yourself to the Jackson City Clerk's office (219 S. President Street) this week.

New Eyes

Last fall, members of The Journey, a Jackson church community that meets in Hal & Mal's, gave disposable cameras to 12 children who live near Cherokee Heights in Fondren. They photographed pets, family members, friends—things that were special to them. At the end of the week, the kids returned the cameras, and The Journey got started developing and framing their work, which will hang in Sneaky Beans through April. The kids' images are whimsical, sometimes random and beautifully simple. Some of the young artists will attend the reception. Call 769-232-5881.

Gannett Rewards Moon with $3.7 Million

Amid tanking stock prices, pay freezes and unpaid employee furloughs, USA TODAY publisher Craig Moon will walk away with at least a $3.7 million retirement package, according to the Gannett Blog.

No Agreement on Funding Medicaid

Lawmakers were unable to agree yesterday on a bill proposing a tax on hospital beds to help fund Medicaid, reports WXVT15, missing their Monday night deadline.

Ward 6 Candidate Joe Lewis @ Wednesday Lunch at Peaches

Wednesday Lunch at Peaches: Soul Food Forums. This week our guest speaker will be Ward 6 City Council Candidate Joe Lewis. Remember these are perhaps the most important elections in our city's history. Whether you live in a speaker's ward or not, its paramount that you come out and vet your candidates. They are here to serve all of you. Be there 11:30am. Great Soul Food and Good Political Discussions. Sponsored by Jackson Progressives

New Word Of The Day:"PROJACK" are you one?

YOUR NEW WORD FOR TODAY IS: PROJACK! pro-jak n. 1.To be pro jackson. Champion of all the good things your city has to offer. 2. To hold your city down, be knowledgable of all new development & a registered voter in tune with city politics. Are you a PROJACK?

Bill Funds Cybercrime Unit

Yesterday, legislators sent Senate Bill 2978 to Gov. Haley Barbour for his signature, which will increase by $1 fines for certain misdemeanors and felonies by $1 to help fund the attorney general's cybercrime unit, reports

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Tuesday's Starting Five: Going For The Gold

MSU sweeps awards … Saints kick Millsaps to curb … JSU faces Rebels … Calipari ready to cash in? … Gisele tells naked truth.

Monday, March 30

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Saints Say Goodbye To Millsaps

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis' statement on

The New Orleans Saints announced Monday that the team won't return to Millsaps College in Jackson, where the team held its preseason camp for the last three years. Instead, the Saints will train at the team facility in Metairie, La. First the Saints cut Deuce McAllister and now this.

Mississippi Schools Get New Rating System

Earlier this month, the Mississippi State School Board approved a new accountability rating system that gives top schools a "Star School" rating among its seven levels, instead of the previous numbered ratings of "Level 1" for the lowest scoring schools, to "Level 5" for the highest scoring.

Legislators Will Reconvene After Break

Mississippi's state constitution calls for an annual legislative session of 90 days. For 2009, 90 days after the Jan. 6 session start is Sunday, April 5. If by some miracle, both houses submit and then agree on a budget for the 2010 fiscal year by this Saturday, legislators will go home until next year. That seems a remote possibility, though, and the likelihood is that all 174 Mississippi legislators—122 representatives and 52 senators—will reconvene in May. Or perhaps, June.

You Can Help Revive the Cigarette Tax

Communities for a Clean Bill of Health says that Mississippians can be instrumental in reviving the cigarette tax increase for this session.

Tornados Result in One Death

Eugene Dixon Jr., 36, of D'Iberville drowned around 2:30 a.m. when flood waters swamped his vehicle. Police discovered his body hundreds of yards from the vehicle, reports the Sun Herald.

Mayoral Candidates at Jackson State

You still have time to get to Jackson State University for a mayoral discussion forum this morning. Here are the details, per JSU:

Monday's Starting Five, Er, Six: Are You Ready For Tiger Fest?

JSU plans Tiger Fest … USM gets wet in Madison … Detroit Final Four set.

Sunday, March 29

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Fondren Event Features Local High School Artists

If you've never been to a Fondren After 5 event (what used to be called ArtMix), or even if you have, here's a great reason to come next Thursday: to support the arts in Jackson Public Schools.

Saturday, March 28

I Love Hip-Hop

"I Love Hip-Hop"• Hal & Mal's• $10

Friday, March 27

Storms Tonight ‘May Be the Worst'

[Verbatim from MEMA] The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency warns residents to get ready for the threat of a significant severe weather outbreak tonight that may enter the western counties of the state by late afternoon and pass through east Mississippi by sunrise.

Felder Rushing Featured in New York Times

On Wednesday, The New York Times featured Felder Rushing, local horticulturist extraordinaire and host of Mississippi Public Broadcasting's "The Gestalt Gardener," in a piece titled "Slow, Easy, Cheap and Green."

Gov. Mabus Tapped for Navy Secretary

President Barack Obama nominated former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus to serve as secretary of the Navy, reports The Associated Press.

The Colored Museum

"The Colored Museum"• Jim Hill High School• Admission $5

This is My Impression of a Triple Backflip

I used my last earplug to stop the flood.

Lost in the pages of antique barstool guilds are fairground measurements. I went there. They taste divine.

Domestic Violence Bills Signed

Gov. Haley Barbour signed two bills addressing issues of domestic violence into law this session, both of which drafted by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood.

Governor Signs Tanning Bill

Yesterday, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour signed a bill into law that restricts the use of tanning beds by those under the age of 18.

Friday's Starting Five: USM Plays In Jackson (Area)!!!!

USM coming to Madison ... Lady Rebels lose ... Sweet 16 continues ... Can JSU overcome JFP cover jinx? ... Monta is back.

Thursday, March 26

Legislators Scramble to Fill $25 Million Budget Hole

In the wake of the cigarette tax hike death, Mississippi lawmakers face a bankrupt fund designed to give drivers a car tag discount. Legislators were counting on revenue from part of the increased cigarette tax—$25 million—to shore up that fund, reports

Holmes County Unemployment Hits 20 Percent

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security released the state's February unemployment figures (PDF, 8 Mb) yesterday, showing Holmes County with the highest unemployment rate in the state at 20 percent, an increase of 0.6 percent since last month, representing an additional 40 people who filed for unemployment.

Mayor Goes Back on the Ballot


Circuit Court Judge Billy Joe Landrum put Jackson Mayor Frank Melton back on the Democratic ballot today.

Attorney Objects to Proposed Jury Questions

Federal prosecutors are trying to make inappropriate points about race and class in a jury questionnaire, Mayor Frank Melton's attorney John Reeves argued Tuesday. Responding to the government's list of proposed questions for potential jurors, Reeves said that prosecutors were trying to elicit sympathy for Evans Welch and Jennifer Sutton. Melton is scheduled to be re-tried May 11 on charges that he violated Welch and Sutton's civil rights in a Sept. 2006 raid on a Ridgeway Street duplex.

Vacation Trip

According to a Reuters report today, North Korea contends that if they are punished by the U.N. Security Council for next month's planned missile launch, they will restart a nuclear plant which manufactures weapons-grade plutonium.

Barbour Declares State of Emergency

[verbatim from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency]

Governor Haley Barbour declared a State of Emergency today for the severe weather system that affected parts of the state late Wednesday afternoon and today, and for the threat of additional storms and damage due to forecasted storms over the next several days.

Cigarette Tax Goes Up in Smoke

The deadline has passed for the Mississippi House and Senate to come to an agreement on a cigarette tax hike for this session. Legislators had until 8 p.m. yesterday to reach a compromise, and they failed to do so.

College Basketball: Kentucky Blue

By the time you read this, Kentucky may have fired basketball coach Billy Gillispie.

Thursday's Starting Five: Hoop It Up!

DSU women fall ... Ole Miss women play today ... MSU ends losing streak ... Sweet 16 starts today.

DSU women fall ... Ole Miss women play today ... MSU ends losing streak ... Sweet 16 starts today.

Wednesday, March 25

The 2009 JFP Interview With Robert Johnson

Democratic mayoral candidate Robert Johnson is not a camera person.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Men's college basketball, NCAA regional semifinals (6 p.m., Ch. 12/930 AM): The semifinals are tonight and Friday; the finals are on Saturday and Sunday.

Melton: ‘How Dumb Can You Be?'

Jones County Circuit Court Judge Billy Joe Landrum gave Jackson Mayor Frank Melton the keys to the courtroom at a hearing today, allowing him to belligerently insult the attorney for the Democratic committee that expelled him from the primary ballot last week and avoid answering questions he did not wish to address. Landrum has been put in charge of a suit to decide whether or not Melton can legally run for re-election as a Democrat.

Young Candidates Seize the ‘Urgency of Now'

The same day that he filed his qualifying papers to run for Jackson City Council, Jonathan Jones received a number of calls from strangers.

‘The Thrill' of the Game

Will Clark is a New Orleans native who played for Mississippi State University's baseball team from 1984-1985.

Week 12: Cigarettes and Overrides

Legislators continued to negotiate a compromise on a proposed cigarette-tax increase Monday, as a Mar. 25 deadline loomed.

Entering Year Seven

The economy has eclipsed almost everything these days, including the fact that last Friday marked the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war, a war this paper opposed since the week it started.

[Stiggers] Reader's Guide to Stiggers

Bright moments, Jackson Free Press readership! This is your resident satirist Ken Stiggers following up on an idea a reader suggested to me Sept. 22, 2005, after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.

Vol. 7, No. 28

<b><u>Stop Shaming the Party</u></b>

Stop Shaming the Party In recent days there has been a lot of talk about whether Frank Melton should be re-elected as mayor of the city of Jackson Mississippi.

[Agho] Cover The Uninsured

I recently read a comment by a reader in a local paper that set me back on my heels. The post was in response to an article on the effects of the proposed hospital tax on insured and uninsured patients.

Jackson Habitat Looking for Applicants

[verbatim] Habitat for Humanity/Metro Jackson is a non-profit Christian organization whose purpose is to build and sell basic, decent homes at 0% interest to hardworking families in need of better, affordable housing. HFH/MJ partners with families who have a reliable source of income* and that meet the following income guidelines:

In With the New

The Mississippi Braves have two reasons to celebrate this season: They are the defending Southern League champions and they are beginning their fifth season in Pearl.

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Hill Denson

On a foggy morning in early March, Coach Hill Denson gazes across the outfield of Smith-Wills Stadium and notes the new additions to the field.

Behind the Seams: 2009 College Baseball Preview

The boys of PING! (as in the sound a metal bat makes when it hits a baseball) have been on the diamond for several weeks now.

[Rob In Stereo] Where's the Outrage?

A lazy, bumbling, painfully apathetic character almost always appears in future-dystopia comedies. He or she represents what humanity will become if we decide to stop holding society and culture accountable for their effort to lull the public into a state of submission.

Oh, My Aching Back! How to Sooth The Pain Without Surgery or Meds

We've all experienced back pain. It wakes you up in the middle of the night, twinges when you walk and makes sitting a pain in the rear.

Tricked Out

The clang and clatter of skateboard wheels against wooden slabs echo through a long corridor and emerge outside dock 36 of the Jackson Enterprise Center in South Jackson. Inside, colorful graffiti makes the warehouse walls pop, and small American flags break up the spaces between the lines of skateboarding brand banners.

Best Sports Movies of All Time

Sports Girl has a lot on her plate these days between watching every single March Madness game possible, keeping up with pre-season baseball, and what's this about Terrell Owens going to the Bills?

Ole Miss-USM Baseball Game Postponed

Tonight's Ole Miss-Southern Miss baseball game has been postponed.

House Passes Resolution to Extend Session

Lawmakers in the Mississippi House passed a resolution yesterday to extend the current session for 30 days.

Heard in the Jackson Free Press offices on March 25th, 2009

"I got you new post-its"

Other than that, I'm previewing movies which will be shown at the upcoming Crossroads Film Festival. Fun times.

Casey Elementary Holds Arts Festival

Show your support for arts in the schools by planning a visit to Casey Elementary School (2101 Lake Circle) for their annual Arts Festival, tomorrow, March 26.

Committee Says Melton ‘Boldly Lied'

Jackson Attorney Dorsey Carson, who represents the Jackson Democratic Executive Committee, is arguing in a March 24, position statement in Hinds County Circuit Court that the committee had the right to reject Jackson Mayor Frank Melton from the Democratic ballot, and that the burden of proof is on the mayor to prove his primary residence is in Jackson. Melton sued the committee in Hinds County Circuit Court March 18 after the Committee unanimously refused to recognize him as a Democratic candidate running in a local election. The committee argues that they do not believe he qualifies as a Jackson resident.

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Wednesday's Starting Five: Good News For USM Fans

Larry Eustachy does right thing ... Eagles coming to a field near you. ... Belhaven wins 10th straight ... DSU reaches national semifinals. ... Deuce wins spot in SI's financial follies.

Tuesday, March 24

Melton's Tax Woes

Hinds County is just now charging Jackson Mayor Frank Melton taxes due on a nearly 10-year-old, 60-foot-by-40-foot, two-story addition to his home.

The 2009 JFP Interview with Frank Melton, Part IV: The Kids

In his long Feb. 26 interview with Jackson Free Press editor Donna Ladd in his City Hall office, Mayor Frank Melton turned the topic to the young men in his life.

MPB Wins Community Impact Award

Mississippi Public Broadcasting's Between the Lions Preschool Literacy Initiative received a My Source Community Impact Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting today.

Fortune and CNN Money Stories on Farish and ‘Indie Jackson'

Enjoy. And pass the word.

Word went around last week that JFP friend Amy Haimerl had done a piece about Jackson, and Farish Street, for Fortune Small Business. The story is now published here on CNN Money where Amy is an editor. Also see her "Indie Jackson" piece about the St. Paddy's parade and the Sweet Potato Queens. (And noticed she used JFP/Lounge List photographer Kip Caven's photo on it!)

DeLaughter Trial Rescheduled

Federal District Court Judge Glen H. Davidson has granted a motion for continuance to suspended Hinds County Judge Bobby DeLaughter. The trial, originally scheduled to begin April 6, is now set for Aug. 17, 2009.

Recio Still Getting City Paycheck

Although suspended from duty, Michael Recio, Jackson Mayor Frank Melton's former bodyguard, is still pulling down a paycheck from the city, according to WAPT.

Tuesday's Starting Five: David Huertas?!?!??!!

The MSU women are out. … The Howell and Gillom finalists are announced. … DSU plays in the Elite Eight. … NFL boss: Super Bowl in Big Easy good; Deuce bad.

Monday, March 23

More Furloughs at Ledger, While Millions in Bonuses to Execs

Just days after its home corporation disclosed $2 million in bonuses to its CEO and five other executives, The Clarion-Ledger announced a second round of furloughs Monday, according to a source who asked not to be named. Citing the poor state of the economy, Publisher Larry Whitaker told employees in a letter that he had personally visited with several business owners who told him that Clarion-Ledger advertising "continued to bring their businesses results," but that faced with the failing economy, they still experienced a decrease in profits.

Jackson Police Arrested City Employee at Parade

During Saturday's Mal's St Paddy's Parade in downtown Jackson, one of the seven people arrested was a city employee with close ties to Jackson Mayor Frank Melton, reports WAPT:


I am Hip Hop! From my many battles with the JFP faithful over the negative aspects of rap music, you know Ive lived and breathed the music for over 15 years. What Ive found is that there are many of you who grew up with hip hop. Still love the music, still love to see good live hip hop music, and would STILL buy it if you felt it spoke to the older hip hop head. Many of you wouldnt mind going to see a good hip hop show if you knew you werent going to be yelled at, threatened, called a "b" or "h", and made it through the night without witnessing a fight or shooting. Such has been the case in Jackson and I know its prevented a lot of you from supporting the local scene.

Bill Banning Red-Light Cameras Signed into Law

Among the bills signed into law by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on Friday is House Bill 1568, which bans the use of cameras to catch motorists running red lights.

Barbour Will Veto Eminent Domain Bill

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will exercise his veto power today regarding eminent domain, reports WAPT.

Virginia Recalls Mississippi Gulf Oysters

Oysters harvested off a section of Mississippi's Gulf Coast are being blamed for a norovirus found in patrons of a Tennessee restaurant, reports The Washington Post.

Monday's Starting Five

MSU women play today … UM women advance. … Mixed weekend for Big Three. … Barackatology improving. ... Kinder bullfighting?

Sunday, March 22

South by Southwest - The Morning After

After my last post yesterday, I skipped the coffee and headed straight downtown. Asobi Seksu was playing in a narrow, but thankfully shaded courtyard, and after waiting patiently at the bar door next to the stage, I found a spot only a couple of feet from the band.

Saturday, March 21

2009 Mal's St Paddy's Day Parade Photos

JFP's Kip Caven was on the scene this morning getting photos of the parade in downtown Jackson.

Click here to visit the JFP Photo Galleries and see the parade in all its glory!

South by Southwest - Day Four

The delirium is setting in. Even after fortifying with fried avocado tacos, coffee, and vitamin water, I'm not sure if I'm ready to go back. Yesterday was a frenetic combination of marathon walking, free beer, multiple bands and multiple venues.

Friday, March 20

Cigarette Tax Hike Still in Limbo

Mississippi legislators reconvene next week to continue haggling over whether to send a bill to increase taxes on cigarettes to the governor, and how high the tax should be, reports

City Council Candidate Forums Scheduled

The Mississippi Link, The Jackson Advocate and WRBJ 97.7 have planned a series of City Council forums to be held from March 26 through April 6.

Health Challenge Issued to CEOs

[verbatim] Sister Mary Dorothea Sondgeroth, O.P., President, St. Dominic Health Services, Inc. and chair for the 2009 Metro Jackson Start! Heart Walk is challenging local companies to participate in the American Heart Association's National Start! Walking Day by allowing their employees to incorporate a 30 minute walking break into their day and raise money for heart disease research and prevention. National Start! Walking Day is April 8.

Bill Delays Paroled Killer's Release

Douglas Hodgkin, convicted murderer of pregnant Ole Miss student Jean Elizabeth Gillies, will remain behind bars—at least temporarily—as a result of a bill signed into law by Gov. Haley Barbour today.

South by Southwest - Day Three

My day began early yesterday at the back lot of Urban Outfitters near the University of Texas campus. As I waited for Calgary, Alberta, Canada based Women—who played in Jackson with Crystal Stilts earlier in the week--to begin I thumbed throw racks of thrift store clothing and purses for sale at the back of the tent.

CARA Needs Dog Food

Community Animal Rescue & Adoption, or CARA, is in deseprate need for dog food (or the funds to buy food) for the hundreds of pups in their shelter. CARA is the only no-kill shelter in the Jackson area, and one of only two in all of Mississippi.

Senate Committee to Kill Override Attempt

A resolution passed by the House last month in an attempt to override Gov. Haley Barbour's rejection of $56 million in federal stimulus dollars will likely never get out of the committee for a vote, according to the Sun Herald.

Legislature Sends Back-to-School Tax Break to Barbour

House Bill 348 headed to Gov. Haley Barbour's office yesterday for his signature.

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Friday's Starting Five

MSU loses to Huskies in NCAA dogfight. … Barackatology is working. … Big weekend for Big Three.

Thursday, March 19

Sunshine Week, Part II: How to Demand More Open Gov't

1. Government workers who ask "why do you want to see THAT?" (It's none of their business.)

This is the week when media love to talk about "sunshine" and openness in government. (See my earlier blog post about how The Clarion-Ledger mangled their sunshine story earlier this week, a point we've been trying to make to The Ledger for a while now.) But all that talk does little good if citizens don't have the information you need to help us fight these battles on your behalf. I urge you all to spend some time with the Society of Professional Journalists' Freedom of Information section of this site. This is one of the resources we journalists use to stay on top on both rights, and potential pitfalls, in open government. I've fought these battles for years, and when the public isn't paying attention, we see the same problems in state after state:

Wait a Minute!?! We tweeted a federal trial in February!?!

Follow the JFP's tweets here.

The Society of Professional Journalists is making a big deal out of a Wichita reporter for "pioneering" the use Twitter to cover a federal trial in March. Not so fast. We-the-JFP brought Twittering to the federal trial Mayor Frank Melton here in Jackson in February, attracting followers from around the country and causing a scramble among other courtroom media to get a-tweetin'. Just sayin'. ;-)

Date Set For Melton's Suit Against Dems

Mayor Frank Melton will argue that he should be allowed to run for reelection as a Democrat before a Jones County judge next week. As required under state law, the Mississippi Supreme Court appointed an out-of-district judge, Billy Joe Landrum, to hear Melton's suit against the Executive Committee of Jackson's Democratic Party. Landrum will hear Melton's petition for judicial review (PDF) on Wednesday, Mar. 25, at 1:30 p.m. in the Hinds County Courthouse.

Jill Conner Browne Talks + SPQ Sked

I finally caught up with Boss Sweet Potato Queen and author Jill Conner Browne as I was dragging groceries into my house. I had procrastinated doing the interview to find some quiet time, but as Browne says, "Life is hard on a good day.

Jackson Crime Stats for Mar. 9-15

Data for this week will be available Wednesday, Mar. 25.

Major crimes in Jackson increased slightly for the second week in a row from Mar. 9 through Mar. 15, although the city saw a decrease in violent crime from the previous week. According to the Jackson Police Department's weekly crime statistics report (PDF), property crimes increased 27 percent, largely on the strength of an increase in auto burglaries, especially in Precinct 4, which covers Northeast Jackson. Violent crime decreased in every precinct except Precinct 1, which serves South Jackson.

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Annual 'Taste of Mississippi' Benefits Stewpot

This year's "Taste of Mississippi: Homegrown Hunger Relief" is scheduled for Monday, March 30, beginning at 7 p.m. at Highland Village in Jackson. More than 40 area restaurants and beverage vendors have confirmed that they'll be dishing up tasty treats and pouring libations this year, all to benefit Stewpot Community Services.

Filmmaker Grant Deadline Extended

The Mississippi Film and Video Alliance (MFVA) has extended the deadline for the Emerging Mississippi Filmmakers Grant program until March 27, 2009. The purpose of the grant is to help develop emerging Mississippi film/video artists as the next generation of Mississippi's legacy of storytelling.

Men's College Basketball: Mississippi State-Washington Live Blog

DeadSpin is live blogging the Mississippi State-Washington game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Enjoy.

Health Fair on March 28

The North Street Family Medical Clinic (953 North Street) is inviting Jacksonians to the clinic's first health fair on March 28th from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Various physicians, clinics and medical supply companies will be on hand as well as companies designed to better your lifestyle. The clinic will be screening for sleep apnea and hypertension, plus the MS DJ Services will be providing the music. Come out and join them for a healthy 2009. Call 601-944-0345 for more information.

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Take Advantage of St. Paddy's Specials

The celebration has already started, so don't miss out on the biggest city-wide party this year.

See party sites below along with a whole slew of food, drink and merchandise specials offered by local Jackson vendors, below. See the map for locations (click on it to see a larger version) and check with individual vendors for more details.

Local Family Needs Our Help

The JFP has received the following e-mail about a Jackson family in need:

"The Ishakarahs, a local family of grassroots/ community artists, recently sustained major fire damage to their home on Capitol Street. In short, they are living without electricity. They need our help with electrical service restoration and permit costs.

Where to Watch the 2009 NCAA Basketball Tournament

The Big Dance is here, baby! Get your dancin' shoes on because some Cinderella team from Timbuktu is about to moonwalk all over your favorite powerhouse and ruin your office bracket pool. It happens to you every year.

Bulldogs at the Brew Pub

Why leave downtown and drive 45 minutes to go watch the game? Come over to Hal & Mal's and watch the 2009 SEC champion Mississippi State Bulldogs take on Washington in the NCAA first-round action. Tip off is at 4 p.m. this afternoon, and the crowd will be in front of the big screen in the Brew Pub.

St. Paddy's Weekend in Jacktown Starts Right Here and Now

It's here! It's the week we all party like the Irish. The JFP has gathered all the details in one place for you; pick up the huge print edition this week for schedules and a discount map (p. 18). Click here for a list of St. Paddy's events (and add your own). Check out for the city's most complete events calendar (and add your own). Post your pictures and your plans at (and, I hear, win prizes). Head over to the Fly Blog for all sorts of fun Irish tips, trivia and DIY ideas. And, of course, to the parade Saturday! Catch lots of beads! Stimulate your locally owned Jackson businesses! Be safe! Have fun! Post pictures!

The Ladies of Saint Brigid

Sitting around the kitchen table, the five women of St. Brigid's casually chat with each other as they pick at their instruments. The table is covered in song sheets, glasses of wine and whiskey, and chocolate.

Free Legal Clinic Today

[verbatim] Foreclosure prevention is one of several issues being addressed during the Mississippi Center for Justice FREE legal clinic on tap at the Jackson Medical Mall Thad Cochran Center on Thursday, March 19th from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

South by Southwest - Day Two

Yesterday was sort of my SXSW warmup. A lot of people were just flying in on Wednesday, so everything was still a little quiet. I arrived at Red River (downtown's music district) around 5 and decided the hundred-person line to get into the Terrorbird party wasn't worth my effort.

Childers Launches Recovery Tracker Web Site

[verbatim] Congressman Travis Childers (D-MS) (yesterday) introduced the North Mississippi "Recovery Tracker" to promote transparency and accountability during the allocation and implementation of funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Recovery Tracker, which is located on the Congressman's Web site, will allow constituents to trace Recovery Act funds in Mississippi's First District and throughout the state, as well as direct them to helpful resources specific to Mississippi.

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Thursday's Starting Five ... Plus The Gargantubracket

MSU faces UW in NCAA. … UM forced to scrape bottom for its 12th game. … Tougaloo wins! … Barack-etology.

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How-to Do the St. Paddy's Parade

The St. Paddy's parade is not to be taken lightly. There is a large amount of trekking and carrying of ice chests to be done.

Wednesday, March 18

13's a Charm for Fenian's Irish Pub

For 13 years, Fenian's has been Jackson's only Irish pub. General manager, Damon Hogan gives the lowdown on the history of Fenian's and their upcoming St. Paddy's festivities March 21.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Men's college basketball, Mississippi State vs. Washington in NCAA West Regional (about 4 p.m., Portland, Ore., Ch. 12/105.9 FM): The Bulldogs, fresh off a stunning run through the SEC Tournament, face a dogfight with the Huskies. If they win, they will play on Saturday. You can spend big chunks of the day watching NCAA action through Sunday.

Stimulus Starts At Home

This week we're proud—and perhaps a little surprised—to be publishing one of our largest issues of the Jackson Free Press so far in Volume 7; and one of the most ad-packed issues ever.

Stanford Needed Regulation, Hood Says

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood blamed the lax attitude of the Bush administration for the longevity of famous Ponzi schemes—from the Madoff scandal to the Stanford Financial Group, which has its deep ties in Mississippi.

Melton Sues Democratic Committee

Earlier: Melton to Democratic Party: 'Go to Hell'

The 2009 JFP Interview with Brenda Scott: ‘Magnet For Tourism'

Mississippi Alliance for State Employees President Brenda Scott has been a union organizer for almost two decades. During that time, she's become good at advocating for employees, often with a very loud voice.

Week 10: Land And Text Wars

The Mississippi House continued the Senate's attack on text-messaging while driving last week, approving Senate Bill 2280.

Law Enforcement Needs to Release Info

Five weeks. That's how long it's been since Dr. Mark Pogue and his fiancée, Dr. Lisa Dedousis, died in flames after the Mercedes driven by Karen Irby crossed into their lane on Old Canton Road Feb. 11, hitting their pickup truck head on.

[Stiggers] Warm Front Of Change

Sista Encouragement: "Live from the Ghetto Science Team radio studio is "Positively News!" I'm your upbeat news anchor providing you with good news you can use!

[Kamikaze] Message To Michael Steele

You blew it. You caved, crumbled, buckled, tucked tail and ate crow.

[Johnson] Project Dribble

On the morning of October 22, 1964, the United States government detonated a nuclear bomb under Mississippi, 28 miles southwest of Hattiesburg.

St. Paddy's Quiz

1. What river is dyed green every St. Patrick's Day?A. Snake RiverB. Mystic RiverC. Chicago River

St. Paddy's Event Schedule

• 2-6 p.m., SPQ Margarita-Wine-and-Cheese Party at The Everyday Gourmet, free margaritas and wine

Coal Plant Tax Cut: Is it $160 Million or $1.32 Billion?

The House Ways and Means Committee may be making a $1.16 billion miscalculation regarding an ad valorem tax exemption bill for a Kemper County coal plant. The committee appears to be considering a massive $1.32 billion tax exemption for the plant, though lobbyists for the development could be playing down the numbers, telling legislators that the exemption is only $4 million.

Sweet Potato Capital Of The World?

Sweet potatoes are a popular dish all across Mississippi. Many Jackson restaurants serve sweet potato fries as a side dish or appetizer.

Ridgeland Bans Pit Bulls

Yesterday, aldermen in the Jackson, Miss., suburb of Ridgeland joined nearby Clinton and Richland in passing an ordinance banning pit bulls. The Ridgeland ordinance also bans Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and wolf/dog hybrids. Rottweilers were included on a previous draft of the ordinance, but don't appear on the final ordinance.

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[Fly] Saint Paddy's

"Mal's St. Paddy's Parade is arguably one of the biggest events in Jackson every year. And the events that surround it make it a days-long celebration.

Wee Facts About Leprechauns

• Leprechauns love to play Wii.

To the Irish

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day is not only a national tradition, but it's also an excellent excuse to party in the middle of March. And a St. Paddy's celebration just isn't complete without raising your glass and making a toast to good health and good friends.

Spring Tour of Jackson

Spring is here, and it is time to get out of the house. Rediscover the green grass under your toes and our city's green destinations.

Stretching a Delicious Dollar

In the current economic crisis, many of our friends, family—or maybe you or I—have lost jobs or are facing layoffs. Despite this unfortunate downturn, people still have to eat.

Proposing a New Model

The Internet provides a plethora of information, making it easier to find sources of unprejudiced information about any number of subjects, and sometimes making it more difficult for those who would use distortions of information to manipulate the public.

Relish In The Hellish

The tagline of Bill Maher's documentary on the faults of religion, "Religulous," touts the film as the "#1 Sacrilegious Comedy in America." Maybe I was under a rock while Lionsgate was promoting the film, but this tagline introduces a concept about the movie that I wasn't expecting: it's funny. Quite funny, actually.

[Herman's Picks] Vol. 7, No. 27

The week of the St. Paddy's Parade is, without question, the biggest party of the year in downtown Jackson. Every venue close to downtown joins in the spring celebration with all manner of music.

[Pass The Mic] Non-Negotiables

I once knew a girl who would never date a guy who didn't wear good shoes. Where many women first look at a guy's smile, eyes or physique, my friend had to check out his feet.

Advocates to Legislature: Stop Delaying Cigarette Tax Increase

[Verbatim from Communities for a Clean Bill of Health]

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Charly Abraham

Anxiously sitting at a corner table in the Hal & Mal's Restaurant downtown, 58-year-old Charly Abraham talks about his passion for music.

Mississippi Tourism to Benefit from Tax Incentive Bill

On Tuesday, one of the bills Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour signed into law expands tourism sales tax incentives to casinos for developing resorts and tourism projects unrelated to casino activities. The projects can include theme and water parks, museums and sports facilities, among others.

South by Southwest - Day One

Today marks the official start to South by Southwest, the four day Austin music festival and conference that is one of the most exciting and stressful weeks of a music fan's or industry employee's year. According to, over 1800 bands will be officially playing the festival this year, and they represent genres from Norwegian electro to garage to avant pop to hardcore.

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Wednesday's Starting Five

Golden Eagles hold off Bulldogs. … Tougaloo is on the big stage tonight. … MSU's Justin Varnado is a center of attention. … Majors climbing.

Tuesday, March 17

The 2009 JFP Interview with Frank Melton, Part III: Money & Taxes

In Part III of his Feb. 26 interview with JFP editor Donna Ladd, Frank talks about his finances, including his property-tax troubles.

Melton to Democratic Party: ‘Go to Hell' (Updated)

Mayor Frank Melton told the Jackson Free Press Tuesday that the Jackson Municipal Executive Democratic Committee can "go to hell" for disqualifying him to re-run as a Democrat in the May primaries. "As far as I'm concerned, that Democratic Committee can go to hell, and you can quote me on that," he said in a phone interview soon after the committee voted unanimously to reject him from the ballot.

City Money Out of Jackson's Hands?

Senate Bill 3268, which Gov. Haley Barbour signed into law March 11, authorizes the city of Jackson to hold a referendum vote on whether or not to approve an additional 1 percent sales tax increase. It is expected to annually generate at least $21 million, 70 percent of which is designated for road repair and 30 percent to hire and maintain police and firefighters.

Recio Attorney Challenges Retrial

Also see: Full JFP Melton Blog/Archive/Trial Documents

Cynthia Stewart, the attorney representing Michael Recio, filed a motion (PDF) today accusing federal prosecutors of violating government policies by retrying Recio and Jackson Mayor Frank Melton. Recio is Melton's former bodyguard and his co-defendant in a case concerning the destruction of a Ridgeway Street duplex in August 2006.

Mississippi Received $180 Million in AIG Bailout Bucks

Despite Gov. Haley Barbour's objections over taking federal bailout funds, Mississippi was one of six Southern states to receive $100 million or more from the American International Group—AIG—bailout money, according to the Institute for Southern Studies Facing South online magazine.

Spring Break Lunch with the Mayor

[verbatim] The City of Jackson's Safe Neighborhood and Youth Development Division will host "Lunch With the Mayor in the Park" at Lake Hico Park on Thursday, March 19, 2009, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Area youth on spring break are invited to eat a picnic lunch with Mayor Frank E. Melton and experience educational programs presented by the Jackson Fire Department and the Solid Waste Division's "Go Green" initiative.

Senate Sends Anti-Obesity Bill to Governor

In an effort to address Mississippi's obesity epidemic, the Legislature has passed HB 1530 and sent it to Gov. Haley Barbour for his signature.

$20 Million Loan Approved for Old Capitol Green


Gov. Haley Barbour approved a $20 million loan for the Old Capitol Green infrastructure improvements Monday, in a move that the development's supporters consider a critical early step.

Governor Signs DNA Bill

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour signed SB 2709 into law yesterday. The bill mandates that the state preserve DNA evidence and conduct DNA testing on biological evidence.

Eudora Welty Play Series

It's only fitting that this writing contest is named after Eudora Welty. Not only was she on the New Stage board of directors, but her work is also is a glorious, beaming example of what it means to be good writer.

Feds: Melton Jury's Racial Makeup is Not a Factor

Also see: Full JFP Melton Blog/Archive/Trial Documents

Federal prosecutors argued Monday that concerns about racial demographics of the jury pool for Jackson Mayor Frank Melton's upcoming federal re-trial should not factor into the jury selection process.

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Tuesday's Starting Five

MSU and USM collide at Trustmark. … It's a great day for DSU and MSU women's hoops. … NCAA probes Hogs.

Monday, March 16

Use Less Ink

I'm forever trying to conserve the ink in my printer so that I don't spend a small fortune on cartridges. So, when I found Ecofont, I did a little private dance of joy. The font looks like a standard san serif (serifs are the little feet and hooks on individual letters in fonts like Times that don't appear on fonts like Arial and Helvetica) with holes poked in it.

District Taking Second Look at Stimulus Allocations

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson told the Jackson Free Press today that the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District was rethinking a plan to allot $12.2 million in stimulus money for road and bridge repair in Hinds, Madison and Rankin Counties. Thompson complained that the current plan gave economically distressed Hinds County $3.5 million, while giving financially affluent Madison County $4.2 million and Rankin County $4.5 million. The city of Jackson, a metropolitan area carrying the most paved roads in the state—and the most in need of repair—only qualified for $1.2 million under the plan.

Mississippi Soldiers Head Back to Iraq

This May, nearly 3,200 Mississippi Army National Guard soldiers will begin final training before shipping out to Iraq, reports WAPT.

[On The Runway] "Fashion Faux Paws: A Stylish Benefit For CARA

Benefiting the Community Animal Rescue and Adoption, "Fashion Faux Paws" offers not only a tasty lunch, but also a runway show with the spring's new fashions and lovable animals that desperately need homes.

MEMA Sends Warning to Louisiana

Emergency cottages sold to Louisiana-based Henderson Auctions are not fit for human habitation, says the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, which transferred title on 232 units to the auction house.

Legislators Make Child-Selling Illegal

A 2008 case where a Yalobusha County woman attempted to sell her granddaughter for $2,000 and a car prompted legislators to enact a law making selling children in Mississippi a crime, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

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Monday's March Madness Starting Five

Mississippi State wins its way into the NCAA Tournament. ... JSU and UM will be spending the postseason at home. ... Millsaps' streak snapped. ... Like we said before, JPS rules in hoops.

Sunday, March 15

Gross: Why Obama Should Ignore the Dow

Newsweek business columnist Daniel Gross explains why investor ire at Obama about the stock market's ups and downs is misplaced. And he advises Obama to ignore the naysayers and stay focused:

MSU Wins SEC Tournament

Mississippi State is headed for the NCAA basketball tournament after defeating Tennessee, 64-61, on Sunday in the SEC Tournament championship game.


This is in the brand new issue of Fortune folks so its not up in the Search engines yet, In case you've looked. Spread the word. This sticks it right in the face of those Jackson naysayers. Please Pass it On! Here's the press release below.

Is The Clarion-Ledger Intentionally Misleading on Open-Records Law?

Or, is it woeful ignorance of the law? Either way, the corporate newspaper isn't making government transparency any better as Sunshine Week opens to publish articles such as this one today by Chris Joyner that misreads, intentionally or not, both the letter and intent of Freedom of Information laws. Joyner states:

Saturday, March 14

Update: MSU To Play For SEC Title; JSU Falls In SWAC Final

Mississippi State will play in the SEC Tournament championship game (Sunday, noon, Ch. 12) after upsetting LSU, 67-57, in Saturday's semifinals. The Bulldogs, who last won the SEC Tournament in 2002, will play Tennessee in the final.

Friday, March 13

2009 Miller Lite Crawfish Boil Headliners Announced

[verbatim release] The Ultimate Outdoor Music Festival Returns to Jackson!

The Miller Lite Crawfish Boil has announced headliners ranging from LL Cool J to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Snoop to Hinger. The Jackson Free Press is a proud sponsor.

Hinds County Names Parent of the Year

The Hinds County School District has named Pamela Clevenger 2009 Parent of the Year.

Clevenger, a Hinds Community College Chemistry and Physics Instructor and Raymond Elementary School parent, is a former high school science teacher who has taught at Hinds Community College for thirteen years, according to a release.

DeLaughter Requests New Trial Dates

Suspended Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Bobby DeLaughter, arraigned in federal court last month on a five-count indictment, has asked the court to reschedule some upcoming court dates so that his attorney will have adequate time to prepare, according to the Daily Journal.

Mark Your Calendar for Jackson Mayoral Candidate Events

If you're concerned about the issues facing Jackson, your best defense is an informed vote, so don't miss these upcoming mayoral events. The links below will connect you with JFP Events Calendar entries for additional information.

Lawmakers Vow to Block Stem Cell Research

Mississippi Rep. Tommy Reynolds, D-Charleston, spoke for the University of Mississippi Medical Center yesterday, saying the teaching hospital has never and never plans to do stem cell research, according to WAPT.

"Scholastic Art Awards of 2009

I have to admit: Even I was a bit shocked when I saw some of the submissions for this year's Scholastic Art Awards. They were absolutely brilliant and refreshing. With more than 2,000 submissions from students in grades 7-12 from around Mississippi, the Alliance for Young Artists judges the entries and assigns awards to the top artists.

Mississippi Projects Funded by Federal Bill

Millions are headed to Mississippi from the federal omnibus bill signed by President Barack Obama yesterday, reports MSN Money.

Jackson Crime Increases Slightly in Early March

Data for this week will be available on Wednesday, Mar. 18.

Major crimes in Jackson increased slightly in the first week of March, according to a Jackson Police Department report released Wednesday. Major crimes increased 12.4 percent from the last week of February, with property crimes increasing 6.5 percent and violent crimes increasing 50 percent. The report (PDF) shows that house burglaries and aggravated assaults increased the most sharply, largely due to a spike in those crimes in Precincts 2 and 3. Precinct 2 covers West Jackson and part of the city's center, and Precinct 3 covers Northwest Jackson. Police reported 37 percent fewer auto burglaries, also largely due to decreases in Precincts 2 and 3.

Senate Removes Pre-K Funding from MAEP Bill

Nancy Loomis from the Parents' Campaign in Jackson reports that the Senate Appropriations Committee passed HB 1677 yesterday, funding Mississippi Adequate Education Program for the coming school year.

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Friday's Starting Five ... And More

MSU advances, UM and USM fall. … SEC baseball begins. … JSU headed for rematch. … Papelbon shoots from the lip.

Jackson Crime Down In Late February

Jackson enjoyed a slight decrease in major crimes at the end of February, according to Jackson Police Department data released last week. The JPD report (PDF) on major crimes for the week of Feb. 23 through Mar. 1 shows a 23 percent decrease in major crimes from the previous week and a 16 percent drop from the same period last year. Violent crimes increased 50 percent from the previous week, from 14 to 21 incidents, due to a spike in armed robberies in Precincts 2 and 3, but the overall rate was still a decrease from this time last year.

Thursday, March 12

Bill Restricts State's Use of Eminent Domain

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour could face his first veto override if he refuses to sign a House bill limiting the state's right to take property. House Bill 803 restricts any governmental usage of eminent domain "for the purpose of converting privately owned real property for retail, office, commercial, industrial or residential development; or for enhancement of tax revenue or for transfer to a person."

Old Capitol Green Bill on Barbour's Desk

The Mississippi Senate has sent a bill authorizing the Mississippi Development Authority to make a $20 million loan to Hinds County to Gov. Haley Barbour for his signature.

Sex Offender Bill is One of Three Recommended by Hood

[verbatim] Three bills proposed to the legislature this season by the Mississippi Attorney General's Office are now on their way to the Governor, announced Attorney General Jim Hood.

Women Will Regain Access to Discounted Birth Control

President Obama is quickly overturning some of the previous administration's health-care regulations that primarily affected women. On the president's desk now is a provision reversing a 2005 law that financially dissuaded pharmaceutical companies from discounting birth control pills and other contraceptives to family planning clinics and campus health clinics, reports U.S. News and World Report.

Governor Signs Jackson Sales Tax Bill

Wednesday evening, Gov. Haley Barbour signed SB 3268 into law. The bill authorizes the City of Jackson to impose a special 1 percent sales tax to raise much-needed revenue for police and fire protection, and road and sewer repairs.

Which song was #1 on your birthday?

I found out about this Web site called where you can find out which song was at the top of the charts at any time in history - as far back as the 1890's. I decided to look up the number one hit on my birthday, and the song was...

Barbour Signs $25 Million Incentive Bill

Gov. Haley Barbour signed HB 1628 yesterday, which provides Alliant Techsystems Inc. with a $25 million incentive to expand its aerospace manufacturing plant in Iuka, Miss., according to the KTTC Web site.

New "Dirty Dozen" Foods List Published

The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization that specializes in providing useful information and resources to consumers, has published their fifth edition of the now-classic "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides."

Thursday's Starting Five

Ole Miss gets desperate in football. … MSU and Ole Miss to open SEC play. … JSU and USM win conference openers.

Wednesday, March 11

Note From A Concerned Citizen

When I arrived at the office one recent morning, an e-mail from a "concerned citizen" was awaiting my eyes in my inbox. In that e-mail, a Jackson resident expressed her outrage at an incident she and her husband had witnessed on their way to church the previous day.

Melton Faces Cop's Suit

Fresh off an announcement of his re-election campaign, Mayor Frank Melton received two signs last week that his legal woes are not over. Jackson police officer Robert Watts filed a civil suit March 3 in Hinds County Circuit Court alleging that Melton had him transferred after he cooperated with the FBI in Melton's federal case.

Boys & Girls Club to Close?

More than 1,000 Jackson schoolchildren could be left unsupervised after school if a local community organization does not receive donations soon. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi plans to close three of its six Jackson-area facilities at the end of the school year if it does not raise $500,000 by April 1.

Week 9: Parole, Pontificating and Parenthood

Unpopular parole and pardon decisions drew the ire of senators March 5, as they nearly approved requirements for greater accountability for the state Parole Board and the governor.

Simplify, Simplify

To see things more clearly, we must sometimes learn our lessons the hard way. These days, the "hard way," of course, is the current economic crisis resulting from poor financial-management choices over the last several years.

Melton Objects To Gulf Coast Jury

Following a federal judge's decision yesterday to hold Mayor Frank Melton's retrial in Jackson, with a jury from the Gulf Coast, Melton has filed a motion to reconsider the ruling. The Gulf Coast is disproportionately white, the mayor argued in a motion (PDF) filed today.

Protect Justice in Mississippi

Gov. Haley Barbour and Mississippi's legislators have several opportunities this session to provide measures of justice to its citizens.

[Stiggers] Too Blessed To Be Stressed

Rev. Cletus: "Blessings to all who endure tough times in an economic recession! This is your car-sales pastor broadcasting on Ghetto Science Satellite Radio. I have a shameless plug in the form of a riddle for my devoted listeners: What has a 5.0 V8 Cleveland engine, a rebuilt transmission and a 1997 Volvo body?

[Lynch] Two-Ton Kill Machines

Traffic light cameras caught a lot of hell this legislative session. The cameras sit not-too-stealthily at about eight intersections throughout Jackson, including spots in West Jackson, the corner of Lakeland Drive and Old Canton Road and the corner of Pearl and State streets.

Emmerich's Clarksdale Paper Now Twice a Week

Clarksdate Press-Register publisher Ed Nichols announced this week that the newspaper, owned by Wyatt Emmerich of Jackson, will only publish two days a week going forward. Subscribers will get a mailed newspaper on Wednesday and Friday, and a shopper on Wednesdays. Obituaries and breaking news will be on the paper's Web site. Emmerich also owns the Northside Sun, which serves Northeast Jackson and parts of the adjoining suburbs, and Sun Magazine, a free monthly tabloid magazine largely featuring party pictures and wedding announcements.

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Eclecius Franklin

As I descended into the lower level of Fondren Corner last week, I could hear massage therapist/trainer Eclecius Franklin shout out to his wife: "Time, baby!"

COPS Money Available to City

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is funneling money to the ailing federal Community Oriented Policing Services program and the Hiring Recovery Program, and will soon be available to the city of Jackson.

Cellular South Expands Mississippi Services

Ridgeland, Miss.-based Cellular South, the largest privately-held wireless carrier in the U.S., has announced expanded third-generation coverage in 78 cities across 26 Mississippi counties this year. The ambitious plan allows the company to "maintain its leadership position as the provider with the most 3G high-speed data coverage in its primary footprint and nationwide," according to a release.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Men's college basketball, the SEC Tournament begins with a Mississippi doubleheader in Tampa, Fla.: Ole Miss meets struggling Kentucky (noon, Ch. 12/97.3 FM), then Mississippi State faces a dogfight with Georgia (2:15 p.m., Ch. 12/105.9 FM).

[Rob In Stereo] Six Hours of St. Patrick's Day Music

Many bands have vied for the title of unofficial bar band of St. Patrick's Day. Nearly every major city with a significant Irish population claims allegiance to a local band, each insisting that its band's version of "Rocky Road to Dublin" is far superior to any other version.

Suburbs Reaping More Stimulus Road Funds

Two aspects of the federal economic stimulus will not be making much of a touchdown in Jackson. The Mississippi Department of Transportation revealed a nearly $200 million list of 44 projects around the state that will benefit from President Barack Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but Hinds County is only slated for a tiny fraction of that, with only $400,000 going to the installation of a traffic signal on Highway 80. Jackson's neighbor, the more economically affluent Rankin County—the seat of major expansion as Jackson residents flee to suburbs—will be getting $14 million of that for a new overlay.

Fais Do-Do!

With the weather warming, I've experienced a renewed desire to kick off my shoes and be footloose and fancy-free. For Jacksonians like myself looking for the appropriate venue to do just that, One To One Studio has answered the demand in the form of a Cajun dance party.

MDOC Refusal to Provide Info under Fire

Prison Legal News filed suit in Hinds County Chancery Court yesterday to force the Mississippi Department of Corrections to release a copy of the state's prison telephone contracts, according to a release.

Legislators Pass Bills Aimed at Teens

Two bills aimed at keeping Mississippi teenagers safe are on the legislative docket.

The first, SB 2280, is about driving for 15 and 16-year-old teens. The bill proposes prohibiting texting and driving by kids with learner's permits or intermediate driver's licenses, and adds six months to their learning curve. The Mississippi House passed the bill yesterday and it is now Senate bound.

Jury in Melton Retrial to Come From Coast

Also see: Full JFP Melton Blog/Archive/Trial

The second federal civil rights trial of Mayor Frank Melton and bodyguard Michael Recio will take place in Jackson, with a jury called from the Gulf Coast, a federal judge ruled yesterday. Melton and Recio's first trial for the 2006 demolition of a Ridgeway Street duplex ended in a hung jury on Feb. 24.

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Wednesday's Starting Five

Highlights: JSU and USM begin tournament play today. … State and Ole Miss players earn All-SEC awards. ... More honors for the Mannings.

Tuesday, March 10

The 2009 JFP Interview with Frank Melton, Part II: Being Mayor

2009 JFP Interview, Part I

Acupuncture Bill Goes to the Governor

The Mississippi Oriental Medicine Association reports that HB 458 unanimously passed in the Mississippi Senate today and is on its way to Gov. Haley Barbour for his signature.

Mississippi Employment Expo on March 17

If you're looking for a job, save the date: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 is the Mississippi Employment Expo at the Trademart in Jackson, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. WAPT reports that 96 employers are signed up so far, with more expected. The event is free, but get there early: organizers expect to double last year's attendance of 3,000 people.

Doris Shavers Killer Pleads Guilty

Henry Lee Phillips pleaded guilty today to murdering his former girlfriend, Doris Shavers, 40, on Sept. 17, 2007, as Shavers combed her 12-year-old daughter's hair before leaving for work. The day of the murder was Jessica's birthday.

Women and Girls HIV Community Event at JSU Tomorrow

The event will raise awareness about the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among women.

[verbatim] Jackson State University's Southern Institute for Mental Health Advocacy, Research and Training (SMHART) and the Jackson-based HIV/AIDS organization Building Bridges, Inc., will sponsor the "National Women and Girls HIV Community Event" from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 11 at the Jackson Medical Mall, 350 W. Woodrow Wilson Drive in Jackson, Miss.

The End of Evangelicalism

The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting piece on the end of evangelicalism which is worthy to note since the battle between religious progressives and religious conservatives has been so deep.

Millsaps Hosts Mayoral Candidates

2009 JFP City Election Blog/Archive

Feds Want Melton Retrial Moved To Gulfport

Federal prosecutors want to move the retrial of Mayor Frank Melton and his bodyguard Michael Recio to the Gulf Coast to avoid intense media scrutiny. In a motion (PDF) filed yesterday, the government argued that moving the trial to Gulfport would minimize the impact of the "all-encompassing" media coverage from the mayor's first federal trial, which ended in a hung jury on Feb. 24.

Legislators Consider Fire-Safe Cigarettes

A bill requiring that cigarettes extinguish themselves when unattended has the support of Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney and the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, a group working to prevent cigarette-ignited fires, according to

SkyTel Back in the News

The former mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, is demanding $100 million from SkyTel, a company formerly headquartered in Jackson.

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Tuesday's Crime-ridden Starting Five

It's crime time at Ole Miss and USM. ... The legend of Ed "Nature Boy" Orgeron grows. ... Belhaven announces its football schedule.

Monday, March 9

Tuesday: Hormone Replacement Seminar

Do you feel like your get-up-and-go has got up and gone? The problem could be related to declining hormones.

We, the Unhealthy

Last year, Mississippi ranked No. 1 overall for the unhealthiest citizens in the U.S. and No. 49 in the number of physicians per capita. A quarter of our 2-year-olds haven't received their shots, and the rate of babies dying in Mississippi is higher than anywhere else in the country. We're No. 2 for number of adults with diabetes; a third of adults are obese; a third has high blood pressure; and a third gets no exercise whatsoever.

Will Senate Allow Stimulus Discussion?

Last week, the Mississippi House passed a resolution to override Gov. Haley Barbour's decision to reject some of the stimulus funds for the state. Barbour has stated that he will not accept more than $50 million to extend unemployment benefits.

Resuscitating Voter ID

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant wants the voters to decide whether the state should require Voter ID

DNA Preservation Bill Passed

The Mississippi Legislature passed a bill mandating that the state better preserve crime scene DNA evidence and conduct DNA testing on biological evidence.

Hood Warns of Stimulus Scams

[verbatim from the Mississippi Attorney General's office]

Attorney General Jim Hood, along with the Federal Trade Commission, is warning consumers about bogus web sites and emails promising to help them qualify for a payment from President Obama's economic stimulus package. The scammers tell consumers they can help with only a little information or for a small payment from the consumer.

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Monday's Starting Five ... Plus

The Bulldogs claw past the Rebels. … JPS schools claim two crowns. … It was a mixed weekend on the diamond for state's college nines.

Saturday, March 7

LoungeList Photos: Fondren After Five - March 2009

With the weather much more spring-like, folks were out and about in Fondren, shopping, visiting and appreciating the new art and new options such as the Duling School. The JFP's Kip Caven was there to take photos:

Friday, March 6

Calls Needed This Weekend

[verbatim from Mississippi Health Advocacy Program]

On Thursday, the State Senate debated and passed the Medicaid Technical Amendments bill, H.B. 105. Thanks to your support and calls, the bill was amended to include language that would eliminate face to face recertification for children under the age of 16.

Harvey Johnson Holds Open House

2009 JFP City Election Blog/Archive

BREAKING: Faye Peterson: 'I Offer Leadership'

2009 JFP City Election Blog/Archive

Bill for Pardon and Parole Accountability on Hold

Yesterday, the Mississippi Senate passed a bill that would make the governor's right to pardon convicted felons more accountable to their victims and to the communities where they committed their crimes. But rather than sending HB 2 to Gov. Haley Barbour for his signature, the bill is on hold pending a motion to reconsider.

The Arkansas Secret Holocaust

I heard about this on the radio this morning, and I felt the need to talk about it here because this travesty of justice needs to be publicized more. 21 black teenage boys lost their lives in 1959, and here is part of the horrific story:

Melton Behind on Taxes, Again

Full JFP Melton Archive/Blog Here

2009 JFP Interview with Melton, Part I

Friday's Starting Five

MSU and Ole Miss men meet Saturday. … Provine goes for a threepeat. … JSU continues its hot streak.

Thursday, March 5

Partnership for Prescription Assistance in Jackson

[verbatim] The 'Help is Here Express' bus tour will be stopping in Mississippi the week of March 9-13 at various cities throughout the state in order to help uninsured and financially-struggling Mississippians access information on programs that provide prescription medicines for free or nearly free.

Back From the Dead III

"When you said this fruit punch was spiked, you meant with vodka, right?"

The notion of joining a cult precariously balances on the tip of my inflated ego. My irreverent responses to dubious proclamations expounded upon by our cult leader would not be appreciated by the other members.

Melton Retrial Scheduled For May 11

2009 JFP Interview with Melton, Part I

Supreme Court Upholds Drug Lawsuit

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of consumers and against drug makers, upholding a $6.7 million award to a musician who had her arm amputated following an injection.

Arts Preview Correction: Mal's St. Paddy's Parade

Begorra! In this week's Spring Arts Preview, Mal's St. Paddy's Parade was erroneously listed as taking place Friday, March 20, 2009. The correct date is Saturday, March 21, 2009.

State Jobless Rate Tops 9 Percent

The Mississippi unemployment roles swelled in January to 9.2 percent, a rate higher than the national average of 8.5 percent. In December, the state reported a 7.6 percent rate.

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Thursday's Starting Five

JPS teams reach MHSAA finals. ... The Bulldogs and Rebels pull of big victories. ... Loss ends the Lady Blazers' season.

Wednesday, March 4

[Kamikaze] Shut Up and Listen

I went to "The Vagina Monologues" last weekend, and it turns out that it wasn't that bad after all. After I was "told" I would be going, I prepared myself for all of the "controversy" and "profanity" that I was supposed to hear.

Lenten Alternatives

The time of year between Ash Wednesday and Easter is traditionally known as Lent. Christians use it as a time to reflect and prepare for the resurrection of Jesus. Non-religious folk use these 40 days to feel a little more holy and make up for the New Year's resolutions they've already forgotten.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

High school basketball, MHSAA Boys and Girls State Tournament (Mississippi Coliseum, Jackson): It's title time at the Big House starting with the 1A championship games (girls, 7 p.m.; boys, 8 p.m.). MPB (Ch. 29) will broadcast all of the finals. … Men's college basketball, Alabama State at Jackson State (7:30 p.m., Jackson, 1300 AM): The Tigers are hoping to gain revenge and win the SWAC regular-season title.

For Noella

When Kimberly Griffin told me that the Fondren Theatre Workshop had agreed to direct "The Vagina Monologues" in Jackson, I was happily stunned. Nearly seven years ago when we started the Jackson Free Press, I couldn't have imagined that in the not-far-off future, we would present Eve Ensler's empowering, funny, tragic and eye-opening ode to womanhood.

Week 8: Fire, Coal and Taxes

The House passed HB 1712 last week, an act authorizing the issuance of $300 million in general obligation bonds for highway and bridge rehabilitation. Legislators say more than 200 bridges are deficient, with almost half of those posing a safety hazard.

'Criminalizing' Kids

Donte Thompson says he hardly learned anything in alternative school. Forbidden to talk from the moment he stepped on the school bus, Donte did what little work he received using water-damaged, outdated textbooks.

Democratic Candidates Weigh In

Jackson mayoral candidates agreed during a Saturday forum that the current administration was failing to make Jackson all it could be. The forum, hosted by The Young Democrats of Mississippi, featured several Democratic Jackson mayoral candidates.

Cap the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Two recent reports, one from the ACLU and one from the Pew Center on the States, highlight and then double-underscore the problem of what experts have dubbed the "school-to-prison" or "cradle-to-prison" pipeline.

[Stiggers] Our Time Has Come

Congressman Smokey "Robinson" McBride: "Greetings, Ghetto Science community! I am proud to announce that our stimulus package has come!

[Johnson] Let Them Eat Pills

If you think bankers are corrupt, be sure you give doctors their due. On Feb. 9, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced it would disclose the payments it makes to doctors to promote its drugs.

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Katie McClendon

If you're a member of the Jackson Progressives, a student at the UMC, or you've seen The Vagina Monologues at Rainbow, you're probably familiar with Katie McClendon.

DOA: Voter ID, Early Voting and Sex Ed

Senate Republicans chose to kill a political effort yesterday that they've been championing for years because they were unwilling to offer early voting to Mississippi residents.

Destination Collaboration

"Just like you can sit on a porch and have a relaxed conversation, we want to engage audiences in the same way through our choreography," says Krista Bower, executive director of Front Porch Dance and a dance professor at Belhaven College.

2009 JFP Interview with Frank Melton, Part I: Health

The day after Mayor Frank Melton got a reprieve from prison due to a hung jury, he held a brief press conference in City Hall to talk about his plans for the city. Soon afterward, Jackson Free Press editor Donna Ladd approached Melton for a new set of JFP interviews and then sat down with him for nearly three hours in his mayoral office on Thursday. Following is part 1 of that interview.

Song Of Hope

When human-rights activist Ray Barnett saw a BBC special documenting the 150,000 children fleeing persecution in war-torn Uganda, he knew he wanted to help. Barnett, who had done extensive humanitarian work in Uganda and other African countries, realized how he could help while on a trip to Uganda.

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Spring Arts Preview 2009

As the winter is nearly over, you'll need to make plans for when you leave hibernation.

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Raoul Dufy: The Controversial Aesthete

Amid the throngs of women attired like birds of paradise, the men in their usual palette of blues and grays, the clink of cocktail glasses and the rhythmic swell of conversation, the delicate watercolors and the ebullient swatches of fabric on the gallery walls blended into the scene at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

‘Cinematic Discovery'

If you are tired of watching "I Love New York" reruns, bust out of the house and head to Sal & Mookie's Pi(e) Lounge to partake in an evening of cinematic discovery. Starting at 6 p.m. every first and third Wednesday of the month, Film Club debuts short and feature films created by local filmmakers.

Starting the New Year Right

J. Tillman is perhaps best known as the drummer/vocalist for Seattle darlings Fleet Foxes, but he had been recording as a solo artist for many years before he joined the Sub-Pop label quintet last May. And while his recent album, "Vacilando Territory Blues," shares a structural and stylistic foundation with the Fleet Foxes, its mood and production quality are more stark and melancholic.

[Herman's Picks] Vol. 7, No. 25

Let out the funk at Martin's this Friday night when Atlanta-based Entropy returns to Jackson with their wacky funk bomb.

Nissan to Expand Canton Plant

Despite declining auto sales worldwide, Nissan announced plans today to expand its Canton, Miss. plant to produce a new commercial vehicle, according to a release:

Wicker Seeks to Deny Funding for U.N. Agency

Yesterday, Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker announced in a release that he has introduced an amendment to bar U.S. funds from the United Nations Population Fund. The Obama administration's $410 billion omnibus budget apportions $50 million to UNFPA, which promotes "the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity," according to its mission statement.

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Wednesday's Starting Five

Millsaps continues its rampage. ... Forest Hill back in final. ... So you want to play for Brilla. ... Coach O goes shirtless.

Deuce McAllister Nissan Files For Bankruptcy

Deuce McAllister Nissan filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 3

Gannett Stock Plunges 24% Today; Down to $2.22 Share

The Gannett Corp., owner of The Clarion-Ledger, a newspaper in Mississippi, took a dramatic hit in the stock market today as its stock price plummeted 24 percent in one day, closing at $2.22 a share, the Gannett Blog reports:

Melton Came Within Two Votes of Conviction

Within days of coming within two votes of going to federal prison, Mayor Frank Melton revealed to the Jackson Free Press last Thursday for the first time publicly that he plans to run for re-election. "Yes," he replied when asked in his City Hall office if he is running for a second term. "I really want to stay close to the people," he added. Melton said that it took him three years to figure out what the job of mayor is about and that he's learned from his mistakes.

Power Companies to Tie Charges to Prime Rate

The Mississippi Public Service Commission issued a final order today to the utility companies to use the prime rate of interest when calculating carrying charges.

Lewis Leaves City Job, Seeks Council Seat

Jackson City Council President Dr. Leslie McLemore has confirmed that former Community Improvement Division Code Enforcement head Joe Lewis left his city job as of last Friday to pursue the Ward 6 Council seat currently held by Marshand Crisler. Crisler is running for the mayor's office.

Minor Appeal Set

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the appeal of Jackson attorney Paul Minor on April 1, in Austin, Texas.

The Ledger's Overblown Blustering on Earmarks

Politicians and mainstream media, especially Republicans and other opponents of the new administration, are all aflutter concerning the earmarks in President Obama's first budget. This morning, The Clarion-Ledger declared: "Candidate Barack Obama didn't like earmarks, but President Obama's first budget is full of them."

One in 69 Mississippians Behind Bars

A new study from the Pew Center on the States reveals that one in 38 adult Mississippians is in prison or jail, or on probation or parole. The state's ranking is No. 3 for those in prison or jail, with 11,617 adults behind bars, or one in every 69 citizens.

Monday, March 2

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AP: Obama DOJ Releases Secret Bush Terror Memo

The Associated Press is reporting:

Reeves Blasts Stimulus, Predicts Rotten State Revenue

State Treasurer Tate Reeves slammed President Barack Obama's stimulus plan on Monday, saying Obama had chosen to "outsource" the leadership on the package to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Study Reveals Conservatives Prefer Porn Online

A new study published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives indicates that eight of the top 10 "red" states—states that identify themselves as more conservative and religious than others, and who also gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year's run for the White House—also buy more online pornography than other states.

House Passes Jackson Sales Tax Increase

The Mississippi Legislature has passed a bill designed to give the city of Jackson additional funds for road repair and additional police and fire fighters.

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Monday's Starting Five ... Plus

Nicholls State can't stand the snow. ... It was a lost weekend in college basketball. ... Raymond takes center stage at the Colisuem.

Sunday, March 1

Red State Update: Little Ol' Bobby Jindal

A tongue-in-cheek take on Bobby Jindal's pro-volcanic response to Obama.