Stories for October 2009


Friday, October 30

Jackson Recognized, Again, for Business Climate

Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. send out a statement this afternoon, announcing that Jackson has again been recognized for the city's strong business climate, as it has several times in recent months. Johnson stated, verbatim:

Aerospace Alliance Draws Fire From Unions

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour's support for an aerospace jobs initiative among Gulf Coast states puts him at odds, with a familiar opponent: labor unions. On Oct. 26, Barbour joined his fellow Republican governors from Louisiana and Alabama in announcing the Aerospace Alliance, a non-profit collaboration between the three states aimed at bringing aerospace manufacturing and supplier jobs to the Gulf Coast.

Robby Channell

Robby Channell, media manager at Baptist Health Systems, received the Senior Practitioner award from the Southern Public Relations Federation (SPRF), Oct. 8 at the Gold Strike Casino Resort In Tunica.

What's Happening this Weekend

If you're stumped for a family-friendly Halloween event, check out Halloween Happenings, which lists no less than nine area events for family fun. Sweet and Safe provides guidelines for keeping the little ones safe, too.

First Black Judge Sworn In Under Barbour

The state of Mississippi swore in its first African American judge under Republican Gov. Haley Barbour this morning.

Thursday, October 29

Response to an Irrelevant Blogger

This week, John Yargo writes in the JFP about The Ole Miss Rebels and their Irregular Season. You can follow him at The Irregular Season Blog. As you can see, this "prolific writer" has all of two (2) followers.

Jones Drafts Legislation to Protect Abuse Victims

A Mississippi Gulf Coast lawmaker is drafting a bill that will protect domestic-violence victims from being victimized again. Rep. Brandon Jones, D-Pascagoula, vice-chairman of the House Insurance Committee, says his legislation will prevent health-insurance companies from denying victims coverage.

Knife Fight at Holocaust Denier Book-Signing

A knife fight broke out at a Monday book-signing for Holocaust revisionist David Irving in Florida. Two audience members battled it out near a crowd of guests at the author's lecture at the Ritz-Carlton, Manalpan, near Palm Beach. Police there identified one of the men as a white supremacist from West Palm Beach.

Crime Reports Mixed: Jackson Crime Stats for Oct. 19-25

Major crimes in Jackson last week stayed level with numbers from the previous week, according to a report released today at a Jackson Police Department command staff meeting. Officers reported 216 total property crimes and 26 total violent crimes last week.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Viking Classic, Madison Central v. Northwest Rankin and the Rebels see if they can prove something (anything, really) against Auburn on Halloween day. Ah-oooh!

Flu Vaccine Info ‘Nearly Pure Bunk'

People have been receiving all kinds of bad information about the new vaccinations for swine flu via e-mail and flyers. "We've seen e-mails stating that the vaccine is tainted with antifreeze or Agent Orange, causes Gulf War syndrome, or has killed U.S. Navy sailors. One says the vaccine is an 'evil depopulation scheme.' The claims are nearly pure bunk, with only trace amounts of fact," states

Wednesday, October 28

David Irving: 'Nothing Short of Monstrous'

David Irving is guaranteed to cause a rumble wherever he goes—as he did in Jackson earlier this month after white supremacist Richard Barrett promoted his Oct. 21 presentation at City Hall.

The Irregular Season

Unfortunately, this year's Egg Bowl is shaping up to be one of the worst rivalry matchups in the football season. (The Apple Cup, between the University of Washington and Washington State, held that honor since the end of the last decade, but has now surpassed the Mississippi State-Ole Miss game in national relevance.)

Decoupage Your Pumpkin

Mateo, my son, loves Halloween. He claims it is one of his favorite days of the year, but he says that about his birthday and Christmas, too. I like Halloween, not so much for the candy, but because it's a fun time of year to decorate.

Sweet and Safe

These days, not a lot of people go door-to-door for trick-or-treating. Many families attend local harvest festivals or parties at their kids' schools or churches. Nevertheless, if you are taking your kids out this Halloween, remember to practice these few candy safety rules.

Halloween Happenings

Looking for a night of great family entertainment? Check out these places this Halloween and let the fun begin.

Whip It Good

Every year for Halloween, I struggle when it come to finding the perfect costume. Instead of dressing up as an oversexed nurse or pop star, I've always found it a challenge to dress up as a woman I actually agree with.

JPS Needs To Level With Public

The Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees made a mistake last week in not renewing the district's music education contract with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra.

[Stiggers] Momma's Mad

Mr. Announcer: "In the ghetto criminal justice system, the people are represented mostly by two members of the McBride family: Dudley 'Do-Right' McBride, and attorney Cootie McBride of the law firm McBride, Myself and I. This is their story."

JPS Students Need Strings

Sometimes I wonder if the people in charge of making decisions about education realize we are the future. We kids are affected by the school board's decision to cut out important extracurricular activities such as strings.

Tease photo

Saved By Grace

The fighter lies on the floor in a locker room at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. He lets it all go as country music streams from his headphones to help him relax. Nearby is the plastic cross his daughter made him, with glued white letters spelling out the word "faith."

The Sela Ward Story

When Sela Ward stars in a motion picture or a television show and has the freedom to use the full range of her talent, you certainly know that you've seen something exquisite. Men think she's sexy and seductive. Women think she's accessible and direct.

Halloween Flicks

I've never been one to trick-or-treat or dress up for parties, but Halloween is the perfect time to switch off the lights, turn up the volume and sink uneasily into your favorite chair for a few terrifying hours of cinematic fright.

Golden Boy

If you ever meet Jackson rapper Rob Gold, you're sure to find him wearing some sort of Mississippi paraphernalia, usually his signature diamond-encrusted necklace, which is the shape of the state with his name in gold lettering across the center.

[Herman's Picks] Vol. 8, No. 7

With all the rainy weather lately, you may be compelled to curl up on the couch, zone into the annual "Ghost Hunters" marathon and make your way to the bottom of the candy bowl. Fret not; there are drinks and tricks to be had for the willing participant.

Spring Break Out

Combine rock, R&B, hip-hop and electronic music, and you have an eclectic band called Storage 24. Yet, despite their mix of varying genres, the band has a passion that ties all them together: Mississippi.

Back to Life

Though Steven "T-Bear" Johnson never met his grandfather, the famous blues musician Robert Johnson, stories have been passed on from family members since T-Bear can remember.

The Empowerment of Sil Lai Abrams

Empowerment specialist and domestic-violence awareness activist Sil Lai Abrams, author of the book "No More Drama: Nine Simple Steps of Transforming a Breakdown Into a Breakthrough," expresses a desire to help women live healthy and fulfilling lives, generated from her own troubled past.

Candy Apple Memories

Candy Apple Memories

Both my parents were raised in the suburbs south of Chicago. Growing up, I heard stories from my dad about going to the annual county fair as a child, where he would indulge in one of his favorite treats—-a red, juicy apple on a stick covered in a sticky-sweet candy coating.

Grownup Punch

Halloween is my favorite time of year, and I take great umbrage with those who insist dressing up is only for children. I'm loath to turn down an opportunity to wear a costume and carouse with good friends, but the novelty of Frankenconcoctions made with absurd amounts of green sherbet and grain alcohol is lost on me.

Otis "Obeyjah" White

Sitting in a lounge chair in his living room, dressed in jeans, a T-shirt and wearing a red, green and yellow Rastafarian crown, Otis "ObeyJah" White beats conga drums in a melodic fashion.

Mayor to Hold Up Sales Tax Hike?

Last session, the Mississippi Legislature enacted a referendum vote for a sales tax increase to fix city streets and improve public safety, but Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. says that vote may be on hold indefinitely.

[Mott] The Cost of Executions

Quitman County, Miss., population 10,500, raised taxes for three years and borrowed $150,000 to provide legal counsel to Robert Simon and Anthony Carr, sentenced to death for the 1990 murders of four family members. A death-penalty case "is almost like lightning striking," county administrator Butch Scipper told The Wall Street Journal in 2002. "It is catastrophic to a small rural county."

Barbour's Medicaid Letter a Half-Truth?

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour pinched a nerve in September that's still causing pain for some health-insurance reform advocates. Barbour sent a Sept. 8 letter to Mississippi Republican Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker warning both that the reform envisioned in Congress that month would raise the state's Medicaid costs.

Obama to Sign Hate Crime Legislation

In a ceremony today at the White House, President Barack Obama will sign a bill into law that has been in the works for more than a decade. The bill updates the 1968 federal hate crime statutes that currently protects individuals from attack because of their race, religion or ethnicity, adding sexual orientation and disabilities to the list.

Tuesday, October 27

JSU Breaking Ground on University Place

A long-awaited development project near Jackson State University has begun its first phase at the corner of Dalton and Lynch Streets. The JSU Development Foundation, which supports the university through investments, will celebrate the groundbreaking on the four-story, mixed-use building at 10 a.m. tomorrow, marking the official start of construction on its $125 million University Place development.

Servia Fortenberry

If anyone is more American than apple pie, it would have to be Servia Fortenberry. Fortenberry, 39, is a native of Magnolia, Miss., and mother to two sons, Malcolm Williams, 18, and Edward Howard, 10. She became a Jackson transplant in 1997 when a truck lost control on a rainy day and hit her eldest son, putting him into a coma and a body cast for more than six weeks at a Jackson-area hospital. The accident forced her to move to the city where she became a temporary office worker at the mayor's office, and eventually worked her way into a permanent position. She decided to stay in Jackson permanently.

Gorgeously Green at JSU

In an effort to make a positive change on campus and around the community, Go Green JSU week at Jackson State University runs through Thursday, Oct. 29. "Going Green: It's Up to JS'U'" is a service learning project of the Department of Mass Communications at the university.

[Balko] We're All Felons, Now

Perpetual public fear of crime has turned us all into criminals.

Barbour Appoints Malcolm Harrison to DeLaughter's Old Judge Spot

Verbatim from Gov. Barbour's office this morning:

Jackson, Mississippi – Governor Haley Barbour today announced the appointment of S. Malcolm O. Harrison, of Jackson, as Circuit Court Judge for the Seventh Judicial District, Sub-district 4, serving Hinds County. Harrison will serve the unexpired term of former Judge Bobby DeLaughter, who resigned July 30; the term ends January 3, 2011. "I am very pleased that Malcolm Harrison has accepted this important judicial position," Governor Barbour said. "He brings extensive criminal and civil experience to the Circuit Court bench from his distinguished service as a prosecutor and as a lawyer in private practice. I appreciate his continued dedication to public service as he takes on this new role.

Barbour Joins Aerospace Alliance

Yesterday, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour joined fellow Republicans Gov. Bob Riley from Alabama and Gov. Bobby Jindal from Louisiana, in forming the Aerospace Alliance. Executives from two defense contractors, Northrop Gruman and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS) joined the governors hoping to create a new multi-state aerospace corridor and secure a bid to build the $35 million KC-45 aerial tanker.

Monday, October 26

Mayor Appoints New Department Heads

Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. announced during the Jackson City Council meeting this afternoon that he was appointing Pieter Teeuwissen as city attorney and Corrine Fox as director of the Department of Planning and Development.

Parents, Educators Call on JPS to Renew Music Program

UPDATED October 26, 2009

Complaints inundated Jackson Public Schools Board members after a tie vote on Oct. 20 failed to renew a music education program that serves elementary students across the district. The roughly $300,000 program, a collaboration with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, brings professional musicians into schools to teach string performance to over 400 students. The program also brings all JPS elementary students to Thalia Mara Hall for full orchestra performances and offers smaller ensemble performances at individuals schools.

Chavez Brings the Light

The Ward 2 People's Task Force and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement joined forces Saturday to hand out about 4,000 free compact fluorescent light bulbs to Mississippi residents. People could pick up the squiggly shaped, low-energy bulbs at New Hope Church on the campus of Tougaloo College, True Gospel Church in Forest, and at Greater Northside Baptist Church and United Christian Church in Jackson.

Lukisha Cork

Lukisha Cork, 35, knows an opportunity worth grabbing when she sees it. The Greenville mother of four boys, aged 12 to 17, will be receiving her certified nursing assistant certificate on Friday, along with four of her family members. The family can credit Lukisha for their newly acquired skills.

Community Events and Public Meetings

Go Green JSU Week Oct 26-29, at Jackson State University, College of Liberal Arts (1400 John R. Lynch St.). This week of events includes a fashion show, an art exhibit and an Arbor Day celebration. Free; visit

2009 New Orleans Saints = Real Deal?

Seven weeks into the season and the New Orleans Saints remain undefeated at 6-0, having pulled themselves out of the cellar on Sunday in a challenging contest against Miami. The Dolphins spent the first half of the game throwing all sorts of defensive schemes at Saints quarterback Drew Brees and the Saint's O-line, racking up sacks, fumbles and interceptions from Brees. Facing a three touchdown deficit going into the half, Brees talked head coach Sean Peyton into calling a fourth-and-goal quarterback sneak -- with Brees leaping to break the plane of the goal line, in what Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune called an imitation of the Dolphin's logo. According to Duncan, this game cements the fact that the Saints are in a "special" season.

Barbour to Speak at Health Care Symposium

Tuesday, Oct. 27, Mississippi College will host "The Business of Healthcare" symposium at the Jackson Convention Complex. Gov. Haley Barbour will present the keynote address, and other speakers include political columnists Andy Taggart and Jere Nash, and Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant.

Friday, October 23

Gene Taylor to Nancy Pelosi: Repeal Insurance Company Anti-Trust Exemption

It seems that every since the AHIP (American Health Insurance Providers) went rogue with their "report" on the costs of healthcare reform and their push to get GOP lawmakers to oppose any form of health insurance, the notion of revoking their anti-trust exemption (passed in the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945) has been gaining steam. H.R. 3596, the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act of 2009 has passed the Judiciary Committee of the House, acting narrowly to remove anti-trust exemptions.

Burkhalter Stepping in as Interim U.S. Attorney

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder picked federal prosecutor Don Burkhalter to serve as interim United States Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi today. Burkhalter, who served as No. 2 under former U.S. Attorney Brad Pigott during the Clinton administration, will replace Stan Harris, who had been serving as acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi since the departure of Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton.

JSU Gets $500K Entergy Grant

Jackson State University is dedicating a laboratory and a new power-systems degree track in its engineering program, thanks to a grant from Entergy. The power company has awarded JSU with $400,000 to purchase equipment for a new laboratory and an additional $100,000 for student scholarships.

Laura Dees

Soon after Laura Dees gave birth to a baby girl named Ella Cate on May 1, 2008, Dees' daughter was diagnosed with a heart condition that thickened the valves of her heart and decreased blood flow. After several tests, cardiologists determined Ella Cate's heart function was decreasing and that she needed a heart catheterization. On the morning of July 10, 2008, while doctors were preparing Ella Cate for surgery, she passed away.

Weekend Happenings

Ever feel the need to cut up and act like a damn Yankee? You'll get your chance tonight at Sophia's, located in the Fairview Inn in Belhaven, starting at 6:30 p.m. For a mere $39, you can enjoy a traditional New England-style clambake with the Dillionaires playing in the background. Tonight is also opening night for the newest Fondren Theatre Workshop production of "The Monster Monologues" at The Cedars beginning at 8 p.m. If you'd rather get up than hunker down, head over to Touch Nightclub where DJ Icey will be spinning starting at 10 p.m. For details and more stuff to do, go to Best Bets

Update: School Board Meeting Cancelled

UPDATED October 23, 2009

The Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees has canceled a special meeting today, because "additional information is needed for a recommendation to approve Qualified School Construction Bond Projects," according to a release. The agenda was to include time for public participation "for general comments and/or proposed policy issues."

Thursday, October 22

Hearing on Renaming Library Racially Divided

Two sides are fighting for a name for the library on Northside Drive, and both were divided along racial lines at today's special hearing. Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes, who heads the council planning committee, is advocating for the library to be named after African American Jackson Advocate publisher Charles Tisdale who died at the age of 80 in 2007. But members of the literary advocate group Jackson Friends of the Library want the library named after author Ellen Douglas, who is white.

Fearless Jackson Goes to the Fair

Jackson Breland filed this video report from the last weekend of the Mississippi State Fair. Enjoy:

The Public Option…It's Baaaack

Things are starting to get interesting in the healthcare legislation. From ABC's the Note, Jonathan Karl is reporting that word is now that Harry Reid may well include the "public option" in the bill that he presents to the floor of the Senate, suggesting that the whip count might allow him to get 60 votes to end a GOP filibuster of the bill even if he only ends up with 51 votes, ultimately, to pass the bill. Procedurally, this would cover everyone's butts in the process:

Bus Strikers Want Deal Soon

Union bus drivers for Hinds County schools say the part-time pay for drivers isn't enough to keep food on the table.

Jackson Home Prices Bucking National Trend

While most of the country continues to see a drop in home prices in the wake of the housing and foreclosure crises, Jackson home prices will be going in the opposite direction. The average home across the nation will lose 11.3 percent of its value between now and June 30, 2010, predicts Fiserv, a Wisconsin-based financial information and analysis company. The company expects values in Jackson, however, to rise by 0.1 percent.

Kathryn Stockett

The Mississippi Library Association's Authors Award Committee will honor author Kathryn Stockett tonight at a banquet held in the University of Southern Mississippi's Thad Cochran Center.

Holocaust Denier Goes Underground to Ridgeland Hotel

UPDATED October 22, 2009

Holocaust Denier David Irving informed the Jackson Free Press that his public engagement, originally planned for City Hall at 6 p.m. Wednesday, was going underground at an undisclosed location, so to speak. "I've spoken with my partner, and we've decided that it would be best not to allow journalists," Irving said, remarking on the continued publicity surrounding his appearance. The Jackson Free Press broke the story Monday, Oct. 12, that white supremacist Richard Barrett was bringing Irving to speak in the Jackson City Hall. The publicity caused a national Jewish organization to ask Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. to deny the visit, and Irving to disavow association with Barrett.

State Unemployment Rate Drops Again

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Mississippi dropped to 9.2 percent in September, representing 112,500 people collecting unemployment benefits, down from 9.7 percent in August, which represented a 1 percent drop from July. The September rate is slightly lower than the national rate of 9.5 percent. The unadjusted rate in the state was 8.8 percent, a drop of 0.9 percent. The adjusted rate removes the influences of regular events such as weather and holidays.

Mike Huckabee Criticizes Government Emergency Assistance

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee used his address at Salvation Army's annual dinner in Jackson last night to criticize the role of government in assisting in emergencies such as Hurricane Katrina. "Frankly, I'd rather see the kind of help that people need come through a relief agency than necessarily just come in a check in the mailbox from the government," Huckabee told reporters before the dinner.

Wednesday, October 21

Doc's Mid-Term Grades

Dr. S is handing out his mid-term grades to Mississippi football teams ... and it ain't pretty.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Junior college football, Copiah-Lincoln at Hinds (6:30 p.m., Raymond): The Eagles' sad season finally ends.

Cori Anderson and Mark Sullivan

Cori Anderson, then 16, was at a friend's house back in summer 2002 when she overheard Mark Sullivan, 18, telling someone he wanted to get rid of his car in order to minimize his carbon footprint.


Green is en vogue, and I don't mean the color. Sporting purses and jewelry made from recycled materials, celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Christina Applegate, Sienna Miller and Katherine Heigl are donning not just designer labels but eco-friendly and socially conscious accessories. Sometimes I've questioned movie-star trends, but influencing us with forward-thinking green fashion is a good thing.

Why ‘Local' is a ‘Good' Thing

"Chamber of Commerce Announces Free Enterprise Climate Policy" read the headline of the e-mail in my in-box on Monday morning.

Argument for Yearbook Refusal Unfounded, Says ACLU

The ACLU of Mississippi says the Copiah County School District was wrong not to allow a lesbian student to place a yearbook photo.

Walk the Local Talk

Here at the Jackson Free Press, we know well how hard it can be for a small, locally owned business to stand up to a corporation that wants to stamp out as much competition as possible in order to please shareholders far from Jackson.

[Stiggers] Facing the Facts

Judy McBride: "Welcome to my 'Coping with the Trials and Struggles of Life' class. My objective is to show you how to deal with negativity."

[Kamikaze] The ‘Balloon Boy' Story

Sometimes I think we live in a bizarro world—a place where logic and reason don't always win out. Up is down. Left is right. Its like we're in an alternate dimension sometimes.

[Israel] No Check Required

This weekend, law-abiding citizens will attend the Mississippi Gun Show and undergo a background check to purchase a firearm from a federally licensed firearm dealer.

Parents Should Make Plans for Getting Kids to School

With school bus drivers employed by First Student threatening a strike beginning Thursday morning, the Hinds County School District is urging parents to make alternate plans for getting their kids to school tomorrow.

Every Bit Counts

Want to make a difference but don't have a lot of time? Want to donate but don't know where or how much? Many local non-profits are addressing these issues by making it easier for donors and volunteers.

Giving Every Little Bit Counts

Every donation counts. No matter how much you have to give, the donations of everyday people like you and me make a difference in the lives of others.

Operation Adopt

When you hear adoption, you probably think of kids or kittens. But adoption is now expanding to ideas, and thanks to technological advancements, "adopting" a cause can happen with a click.

A Food Revolution

In an effort to build local-based food economies and support local farmers, the local food movement has recently sprouted in cities throughout the country.


Along with doing good, why not shop good as well?

Tease photo

Living Better Locally

Too often, the latest "in" thing is something stupid, or even deadly: 5-inch platform shoes, reality TV shows, texting while driving.

Hot Author, Cold Biscuits

We know a few things to be constant in the South: Coworkers are extended family members, porch swings are adult-sized cradles, the weather changes its mind at the drop of a hat, and food is a bandage that will heal any wounded soul.

Greeting the Troops

A man in army fatigues walks off a plane along with a number of identically dressed soldiers. His two sons greet him on the ramp, and then he picks up his daughter, who looks no older than 3 years old.

You Cannot Escape

An unwrapped mummy towers over your seat and keeps inching forward. His voice echoes off The Cedars' walls. His awkward arms stretch out before him. His eyes bug out.

Sweet Emotions

These United States - "Everything Touches Everything" 3 of 5 stars

Saving the Guts

Survey a random crowd of people for their favorite Halloween-related activities, and you'll hear costumes, candy, parties and, probably, carving a pumpkin. But before you get to the fun of carving a memorable face, you have to remove something: pumpkin innards.

Pumpkin Party

I eat pumpkin seeds year-round, but it's never as gratifying as roasting the seeds out of your own jack-o'-lantern. Most ready-to-eat varieties are more salt than seed, and while it's possible to find unseasoned hulled seeds, I prefer them whole, hot from the oven and wildly spiced.

[Rob In Stereo] Voodoo and Insanity

In 1999, the Voodoo Music Festival began in New Orleans and promptly became the fall counterpart to spring's Jazzfest. The lineup is always diverse enough to deliver a few can't-miss high points that are worth the drive to the city for any fan.

Weill Lone Vote Against New Chiefs

The Jackson City Council confirmed Police Chief Rebecca Coleman and Fire Chief Raymond McNulty after a brief hearing yesterday. Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes was not available for the hearing, and could not be reached to explain his absence. The remaining members confirmed both leaders with a 5-to-1 vote.

JPS Board Drops Music Program

The Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees failed to renew funding for a music education program yesterday, effectively discontinuing a 42-year-old collaboration with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. Board members voted 2-2 on renewing the program. Members Jonathan Larkin and Ann Jones voted for renewal, and Delmer Stamps and Ivory Phillips voted in opposition. Board President Sollie Norwood was absent due to illness.

Julieta Mendez

The poster on Julieta Mendez's office wall at Catholic Charities reads "Communication: Build bridges, not walls." By working and communicating with immigrants, Mendez is building bridges for people in the community.

Costs Mounting for Levees, Lake Plans

Legislators say the chances of the Mississippi Legislature approving funding to build levees in Jackson and surrounding counties are slim, especially since it has taken so long to reach consensus on how to mitigate flooding along the Pearl River.

Tuesday, October 20

Council Confirms Coleman as New Police Chief

In a 5-to-1 vote today, the Jackson City Council confirmed Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr.'s candidate for Jackson police chief, Rebecca Coleman. Ward 1 Councilman Jeff Weill was the lone dissenting vote; Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes was absent.

[Balko] Failing His Way to Higher Office

Bumbling Prince George's County, Maryland Sheriff Michael Jackson wants a promotion.

Rains Hurt State Fair, Helped Local Restaurants

The weather was unkind to the Mississippi State Fair last week, but the near-constant rain was a boon for one segment of Jackson: downtown restaurant owners. Fair director Billy Orr estimates that roughly 500,000 people attended this year, down from nearly 610,000 last year—even after the addition of an extra day Monday.

Weill Challenges Mayor Over Bond Money

The Jackson City Council and Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. got off on the wrong foot at the Monday work session after Ward 1 Councilman Jeff Weill inquired whether the city administration was spending a portion of a recent $26 million street-paving bond on budget items the council had not approved.

Karen Parker

Before Byron Knight opened Sneaky Beans coffee shop on North State Street in Fondren, just about a year ago, the little house was home to Karen Parker's store, New Vibrations, for more than four years. The aroma of coffee has now replaced the scent of incense, but for the former denizens of Parker's store, the space will always have a slightly purple tint to it.

Swine Flu Vaccine Injections Available

The Mississippi Department of Health has received an injectable version of the Swine Flu vaccine, reports WXVT. Spokeswoman Liz Sharlot said the state took delivery of 60,000 doses of the new vaccine in addition to the 69,000 doses of the nasal spray version already being distributed.

Radio Show of Shows

Transcript from this morning's show:

FJ: Good morning and good grief, this is Fearless Jackson and you are listening to your favorite morning show in the entire neighborhood. News this morning. None. Nothing happened. You thought wrong. You read the paper this morning and thought what you were reading was news. That is the Coffee News. Close, but not news. I already found the mug, by the way.

Monday, October 19

Mississippi Farmers Could See 100 Percent Crop Losses

The Mississippi State Fair isn't the only thing suffering because of the state's run of bad weather. The state is considering declaring entire Mississippi counties disaster areas because of enormous farming losses due to weather, said Mississippi Department of Agriculture spokesman Andy Prosser.

Hinds Supes Go to Executive Session on Detention Center

Hinds County Supervisors considered adopting a memorandum of understanding with a youth justice advocacy organization at a board meeting this morning. The proposed memorandum, which the board discussed in a closed executive session, would establish acceptable staff-to-youth ratios at the Henley-Young Youth Detention Center, mandate exercise time for youth detainees, and limit the center staff's use of restraints and physical force.

Dr. James Bowley

"I love my job!" proclaims Dr. James E. Bowley on his Web site. Bowley, an associate professor in the Millsaps College department of religious studies, teaches courses on the Bible and related religious traditions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. "What's not to like about spending the day with great colleagues and students thinking and conversing and researching about religious traditions, reading beautiful or even shocking texts, and investigating intriguing religious practices?" he writes.

Community Events and Public Meetings This Week

Raise the Roof, Oct. 19-23, at Jackson Medical Mall (350 W. Woodrow Wilson Ave.). The Jackson Medical Mall Foundation prepares the homes of four senior citizens in the community for the cold weather. To volunteer, call 601-982-8467 ext 21.

Fair Extended Through Today

With attendance nearly rained out during the regular run of the Mississippi State Fair, organizers extended the run on Friday, hoping to make up some of their expected revenue. Attendance today, Oct. 19, is discounted, with parking, rides and foods priced at $2.

Sunday, October 18

Saint's Go 5-0, Beat Eli's Giants

The New Orleans Saints (5-0) scored on their first drive and never looked back in an offensive effort that gained over 500 yards, with seven different Saints making it into the end zone.

Mississippi's Own Storage 24 Wins Band of the Year Honors at National Battle of the Bands


Congrats are in order for Mississippi's own Storage 24. The hometown Rock Band came in 1st Place (out of ten bands from around the country) and was named Band of The Year at Club Le Vela's National Battle of The Bands competition over the weekend. The event took place in Panama City, FL at what is billed as THE largest club in the United States. It is also one of the sights of MTV's Spring Break broadcasts. As winners, Storage 24 won cash and prizes the biggest of which will be a slot during MTV's Spring Break Concerts in March 2010. Please continue to support your state's talent. You can hear some of the bands music at or on facebook.

Friday, October 16

School Proponents Urge Budget Cut Restraint

UPDATED: October 16, 2009

Education advocates are urging Gov. Haley Barbour to resist making further cuts to the state's education budget in response to revenue shortfalls yesterday. Barbour warned this week that more budget cuts will be likely in fiscal year 2010 and again in 2011, and asked department heads to prepare for smaller budgets next year.

Supreme Court: Fairview Illegally Zoned

The Mississippi Supreme Court refused to revisit its August decision regarding a four-star bed and breakfast in Jackson. The court had earlier decided that the city of Jackson had illegally spot-zoned the property for the Fairview Inn, on Fairview Street in Belhaven, allowing the placement of a business in a residentially zoned area in the affluent north section. The court decided not to reconsider that decision with a 6-to-3 vote.

Linda Francomb

When Linda Francomb's daughter, Heather Spencer, was brutally murdered by her boyfriend Sept. 11, 2007, Francomb could have chosen to spend her days wallowing in grief; no one could have blamed her. Instead, the tragedy galvanized her to get busy, doing what she could to save other women from her daughter's fate.

What To Do This Weekend

Looks like we may have seen the last of the summer heat, and the rain may finally be clearing out. Saturday will be a great day to grab a sweater and finally get to the Mississippi State Fair if you haven't gone, yet. But tonight, kick off the weekend by taking in a movie with the Crossroads Film Society's Global Lens Series at the Mississippi Museum of Art. If you'd rather spend the evening where you can do the most good, head to the Jackson Convention Complex for the Mississippi Center for Justice annual "Champions of Justice" dinner at 6 p.m., or to Clinton for the annual Pink Ribbon Gala to benefit the American Cancer Society at 7 p.m. Find the details on the JFP Best Bets page.

Funds Available for Home Heating

For Mississippians who need assistance heating their homes this winter, federal funds are available to help those eligible pay their gas and electric bills through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, administered through the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

Thursday, October 15

Johnson: Test Scores Reflect Education Funding

Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson blames legislators for the state's low rank in a national summary of elementary school math grades. "The Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2009," released yesterday, outlines achievements of fourth- and eighth-graders on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics test, administered by the U.S. Department of Education. The report compares national results in 2009 with prior assessments, and concluded that the state of Mississippi hit rock bottom, second to last behind the District of Columbia, with few improvements among the children tested.

Jackson Police Putting Focus on Property Crime

Assistant Police Chief Lee Vance called on Jackson police to concentrate on property crimes in the city, noting at a meeting today that the Jackson Police Department has a "realistic chance" of finishing the year with an overall crime reduction from last year.

Quentin Whitwell

Quentin Whitwell, 37, is a local political advisor and the go-to guy for many campaigns in the state. He co-founded the largely Republican government-relations firm The Talon Group in 2004, along with political strategist and former Jackson City Councilman Chip Reno. Jackson law firm Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes acquired The Talon Group last year, and Whitwell is now a senior government-relations advisor at the law firm.

Bus Drivers Fighting for Contract Improvements

School bus drivers in Hinds, Madison, Clay and Yazoo counties are negotiating for better wages to bring them up from the lowest levels in the area. The drivers, employees of First Student are members of the Teamsters Union. Currently, their wages start at about $9.25 an hour, which is $3 an hour less than drivers receive in neighboring areas, reports Reuters.

Wednesday, October 14

Tease photo

The JFP Ode To ‘80s Fashion

Whether you remember the 80's or not, it was a decade of rebellion, glitter and high fashion.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

College football, Delta State at North Alabama (7 p.m., Florence, Ala., CSS, 930 AM): The stumbling Statesmen face their nemesis, the unbeaten Lions. It could be a long night for DSU.

Into the Groove

Back in the 1980s, I wasn't too worried about much of anything. I was living in Washington, D.C., working by day as a legal assistant for a huge broadcast corporation and, by night, in a club as a deejay.

Dirty Laundry

The Mississippi Democratic Party called on Gov. Haley Barbour last week to speak openly about allegations that former U.S Rep. Chip Pickering laundered a $5,000 donation from his political action committee through Barbour's political action committee.

An Enduring Insurance Exchange

News regarding health-care reform hovers incessantly around either defending or attacking of the so-called public insurance option, a section of H.R. 3200 that provides a government-funded insurance option for customers who choose not to buy insurance from the private sector.

Jackson's Comeback

You can feel it in the air. Jacksonians are starting to believe in the power of Mississippi's capital city to be great, to rise from the ashes that fiery politics and racism of old turned us into.

[Stiggers] Health Care a la Mode

Boneqweesha Jones: "It's 'Qweesha 2009 TV, the show with news and views you should use in your critical thinking process. My guest is Chef Low Fat Meat, the Galloping Gourmet of the Ghetto Science Team. He's on a mission for the common people and health-care reform in America."

[Mott] Bearing Witness

I inherited my love of history from my dad, who had a passion for it. A genuine scholar, the true stories he told around the dinner table were more engaging than anything in school textbooks.

Miss Eudora's State Fair

Eudora Welty not only offers insight into southern culture through literature, but she also reveals the history of the Mississippi State Fair through photographs.

From Blues to Hip-Hop

When I heard about Ali Neff's book on the Clarksdale hip-hop scene, I was relieved that someone had finally decided to talk about something other than the blues. Someone was willing to engage the Delta on contemporary, relevant terms; someone was ready to listen to the young people.

Tired Shoes

Jill McCorkle's short story collection, "Going Away Shoes,"reads like a short soap opera. Narrated by a parade of middle-aged women sharing their fantasies and failures in love, the 11 stories host a typical cast of characters: damsels in despair, handsome devils and bored housewives.

Bad Moon Rises ... Again

Stu Cook and Doug Clifford were born just hours apart in Oakland, Calif., on April 25, 1945. By 1959, Cook and Clifford, along with brothers John and Tom Fogerty, then known as the "Blue Velvets," were playing sock hops and county fairs.

Chicks That Mosh

One of the bigger waves of last year in indie rock was the return (for the umpteenth time) of a lo-fi, reverb-heavy sound indebted to British bands like Joy Division and the Jesus and Mary Chain.

[Herman's Picks] Vol. 8, No. 5

This week starts off with a singer-songwriter night at Hal & Mal's restaurant on Wednesday, Oct. 14. Among the performers starting at 8 p.m. will be Jeff Maddox, Anthony Little, Clinton Kirby, Cameron Compton and Cody Cox. It's free to get in.

Making Fair Food at Home

You might go for the extra-long corn dog, or choose an old favorite and navigate a Penn's chicken-on-a-stick. My favorite part of that stick of food is the fried pickles, but I digress. Or you might stick to consuming the sweets: funnel cakes and elephant ears made with lots of sugar, shortening and cinnamon. Any path you choose to take will likely lead you to a bit of a stomach-ache, but knowing that you got yourself into it on purpose might make you feel a bit better.

Jewish Organization Asks City to Block Holocaust Denier

UPDATED October 14, 2009

The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants sent an e-mail to the Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. last night asking him to bar Holocaust refuter David Irving from speaking at City Hall on Oct. 21.

Navy Going Green

U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus says the Navy will go "green" in the next few years. Mabus appeared at the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Symposium Lecture Series Friday at the Jackson State University Student Center, where he surprised Myrlie Evers-Williams, the wife of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, with the announcement that he was naming a 700-foot naval supply ship in her husband's honor.


"The Bridge," an art exhibit at Jackson State University, features numerous local artists. They are "vibrant, imaginative and diverse," said McCain, a local painter, during the exhibit's opening last week.

Arthur Jones

Twice a month, Arthur Jones, 34, dons his overalls and gets down to business. With a pocket designated for his thermometer, and using tools he forged himself, he lights the grill.

STEPS: Barbour's Good Idea?

A new Mississippi program that will use federal welfare funds to help hire new employees has many policy analysts excited. The Subsidized Transitional Employment Program and Services, or STEPS Program, which Gov. Haley Barbour announced Sept. 15, uses the state's $43 million share of the welfare funds in the stimulus package to subsidize the cost of hiring 3,500 new full-time employees for private businesses across the state. The state will cover the full cost of hiring a new employee for the first two months of employment and then gradually decrease its contribution over six months.

Baptist Hospital Gets Top National Ratings

HealthGrades, a leading independent health care rating organization, has awarded Jackson's Baptist Medical Center more five-star ratings than any hospital in Mississippi, and ranks the center among the top 10 percent in the nation for vascular surgery, and gastrointestinal surgery and care.

Tuesday, October 13

BREAKING: Jackson 11th Best City For Small Business

The Jackson Free Press has just learned that Fortune Small Business has named Jackson a "best place to launch" a small business. Jackson ranks 11th on the magazine's list of mid-size American cities, which it released online today. JFP reporter Ward Schaefer contributed the profile of Jackson and local entrepreneur Devereaux Galloway, CEO and founder of Solar Power of Mississippi.

Medical Mall Aids Seniors With ‘Raise the Roof'

The Jackson Medical Mall will provide new roofs and other much-needed home repairs to four Jackson senior citizens through its fall "Raise the Roof" campaign. With seniors making up 65 percent of the city's residents, the initiative provides repairs too expensive for those on fixed incomes, allowing seniors to keep the homes they have worked all of their lives to own.

You Tell Us!

In honor of this week's special ode to the onerous '80s, today's Person of the Day is a JFP staffer pictured here when he was a strapping young Jacksonian, complete with gold chain and muscle shirt. Can you tell who this is? Hint: He's winning a big award Wednesday night in Jackson.

[Balko] Scenes From a Crackdown

Police overkill, such as that displayed at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, is becoming more common every day.

State Tops in Providing Healthy Foods

The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta have named Mississippi one of the top states in the country for providing healthy, nutritious foods in secondary schools. The CDC report, "Profiles 2008," looked at characteristics of health programs in secondary schools, including health education, physical education, health services, health and safe school environments, and family and community involvement.

Monday, October 12

Holocaust Denier Appearing in City Hall?

Holocaust refuter David Irving will appear in Jackson City Hall Oct. 21, according to attorney Richard Barrett, of Learned, Miss. Barrett, a self-avowed white separatist, sent out an e-mail this morning promising that Irving would appear in City Hall at 6 p.m. that day, in addition to the radio shows of Kim Wade, Charles Evers and Paul Gallo. City spokesman Chris Mims said today, though, the city has received a request to book Irving on that date, but has not yet confirmed a scheduling.

GO Zone Deadlines Coming and Going

Local governments in southern and central Mississippi must begin using federal funds for disaster recovery by the end of the year, according to Gov. Haley Barbour. Barbour recently sent a letter to the 39 cities and counties that received a combined $41 million in GO Zone Community Revitalization grants, setting a Jan. 1 deadline for projects to start.

Kristen Thigpen

Before accepting her new job with the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Kristen Thigpen didn't personally know anyone who had been a victim of intimate partner abuse. Since she took the job Oct. 1, she's been researching the issue, which has opened her eyes. "I always had a heart for abused women," she says about taking her new job. "I didn't actually know how common the problem really is. I was really shocked. ... It's really breathtaking."

Public Meetings and Community Events

Monday, Oct. 12

69th Annual Beauty Professional Association Meeting Oct 10-13, at the Clarion Hotel (5075 Interstate 55 S.). Manufacturers and vendors will be on hand in the Exhibitor Hall. The President of the National Beauty Culturists League, Dr. Katie Catalon, is the keynote speaker for awards banquet. Call 877-588-6422.

Unclaimed Property Booth Set Up at Fair

One of the more unusual booths at this year's Mississippi State Fair is the one manned by the state treasurer's office. Staffers at the Unclaimed Property Booth, located inside the Trademart building, will attempt to match residents with more than $45 million in unclaimed funds.

Friday, October 9

Katrina Victims Claim Victory in State Supreme Court

The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled on a two-year-old court case related to Hurricane Katrina yesterday, opining that insurance companies could not refuse coverage for wind damage on the Long Beach home of Margaret and Magruder Corban, even if the same section was later destroyed by water damage not covered in the insurance policy.

Navy Names Ship After Medgar Evers

The U.S. Navy is naming a ship in honor of Medgar Evers, the civil rights leader who was assassinated outside his Jackson home in 1963. Navy Secretary and former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus is expected to announce the honor when he speaks at a Jackson State University luncheon today.

Thank God It's Friday

'Nuff said about that, right? Kick off the weekend right by joining the JFP gang at Hal & Mal's tonight for another (in)famous version of Southern Fried Karaoke. It's a triple-threat birthday version tonight starting at 9 p.m., celebrating Donna Ladd's, Todd Stauffer's and Lacey McLaughlin's birthdays. We know the iTodd can carry a tune. Come find out if anyone else can.

Connie McCaa

Dr. Connie McCaa has set her professional bar high. This week she was again ranked by Best Doctors, an international, independent medical resource, as one of the leading doctors in Mississippi. This is McCaa's 12th consecutive time on the list.

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons."

Thursday, October 8

Wicker and Cochran Vote to Protect Contractors, Not Women

Both U.S. senators from Mississippi—Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker—voted against an amendment by Minnesota Sen. Al Franken halting government funding for defense contractors who deny assault victims their day in court. The amendment, successfully introduced to the fiscal year 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill last week, restricts funding to defense contractors who force employees to sign binding arbitration in the case of sexual assault.

Farish Street Nightclub to Increase Security

Attorneys for the Birdland Restaurant and Lounge reached an agreement with Jackson city attorneys yesterday to close the Farish Street nightclub for 30 days while addressing security concerns stemming from a recent fatal shooting.

Dress for Success Honors Women of Strength

First impressions may never be more important than when a job applicant walks into an interview. For many women, learning how to make a good first impression and then maintaining a professional demeanor on the job can mean moving from poverty to economic self-sufficiency. That's the goal of Dress for Success, a nationwide non-profit organization that works with disadvantaged women, providing professional attire, support and career development tools.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Junior college football, Itawamba at Hinds (7 p.m., Raymond): The Indians and Eagles collide in a matchup of two-win teams. … UFL football, California at Las Vegas (8 p.m., Versus): The Redwoods face the Locomotives as the United Football League kicks off its first season. The UFL has potential, but the nicknames are silly.

Erica Haskell

From her experiences in countries as far away as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Erica Haskell has gained a deep understanding of music and how it relates to politics and culture. This fall she joined the Tougaloo College music department as a visiting faculty member where she will be teaching an introduction to music course.

Commission Seeks Comments on Proposed Plant

The Mississippi Public Service Commission has announced its intention to take public comments tomorrow on the proposed $2.4 billion Mississippi Power generating plant in Kemper County. The PSC is in the process of establishing whether there is a need for the plant with hearings throughout the week.

Wednesday, October 7

Tease photo

KBR to Engineer Kemper Plant?

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth was electrocuted in his shower stall in Iraq in January 2008. Army documents showed that KBR Engineering and Construction had inspected the building and found serious electrical problems 11 months before Maseth's death.

Turn up the Heat

Two quarterbacks could decide their teams' games on Saturday. But only one of them will be playing.

I Can See Clearly Now

"Don't put those on, they'll give you a headache," my mother would tell me when I was little. She was referring to her coke-bottle glasses that she only wore at night after taking off her contacts.

Time For Strength

I was talking to a police officer recently about a domestic-abuse situation I'm worried about. It was the case of a local woman whose partner has beaten her for years. She finally got up the courage to leave, and he hunted her down where she was hiding and nearly killed her.

No Flood Plan = Higher Rates

Jackson insurance agent Hank Aiken warns that some home-owner insurance policies could triple in price if the Federal Emergency Management Agency changes local flood maps without the benefit of a final flood-control plan for the Pearl River.

Teens Expect JSU Hazing

A Former Forest Hill High School band director and a local Jackson attorney say that high-school students know what they're getting into when they try out for the Jackson State University marching band, the Sonic Boom of the South—and that can mean beatings with mallets, 2-by-4 boards, baseball bats and bottles.

PSC: Keep Rates Low

The Mississippi Public Service Commission has a hard decision before it.

[Stiggers] Aunt Tee Tee, Certified Geek

TaaQweema Jenkins: "Welcome to the final segment of the Ghetto Science Team Public Television special program reviewing of the inspirational documentary titled 'L.O.M.O.: The Life Time Achievement of Aunt Tee Tee Hustle, IT Guru,' produced by Hustle Family Productions."

[You Turn] Oxford's Mean Girls

At the Lyric Theater in Oxford I recently encountered a very strange example of Southern femininity—the vicious sorority girl inflamed by pledge week. The Lyric has quickly become a world-class music venue, perhaps the best in Mississippi, due in large part to the booking of excellent bands such as Wilco, Umphrey's McGee and Modest Mouse.

Lessons of Spencer's Death

Awareness has a huge role in making Mississippi—and the U.S.—a safer place for women. Created in 2006, the Attorney General's Office Domestic Violence Division, works with the entire judicial system to raise awareness of the issues surrounding domestic abuse.

Tease photo

Honoring Heather

It is truly a small world that we live in. I attended high school with Mary Heather Spencer, and even though we ran in different circles, I remember hearing of her as a truly nice person with similar adolescent aspirations on taking over the world.

Tease photo

Did She Have To Die?

By 10 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2007, the temperatures were well on their way to 93 degrees when JPD Sgt. Eric Wall pulled his cruiser into the turn lane on Northside Drive east of I-55, ready to make a left onto Ridgewood Road and head north.

Author Harry MacLean on Mississippi

When author and lawyer Harry MacLean arrived in Jackson from Denver to chronicle the federal kidnapping trial of ex-Klansman James Ford Seale, he was prepared to confront a dark history of Klan violence and enduring racial tension.

Real Mississippi

With the title "The Past is Never Dead", Harry MacLean invokes the famous Faulknerian quotation: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." This theme is the foundation of the book's main narrative about the trial of James Ford Seale for the kidnapping and murders of two young black men, Henry Dee and Charles Moore, in 1964.

All in the Family

The drummer bobs her head as she keeps steady, brassy time, giving the cymbals a lot of love in just the right places. The bass player strums his six-string bass with an air of relaxed comfort, as if he could play the bass in his sleep.

'On That Train and Gone,' The Scramblers

Traditional folk music was once played on back porches, at barn dances and in parlors throughout small-town Mississippi but was nearly lost in recent years. The Scramblers are bringing some of these tunes back to life.

Hello, Melissa Ferrick

Melissa Ferrick, 39, has been busy recording a cover of Radiohead's "High and Dry" for her forthcoming album, but has stopped long enough to call me. She is slightly flustered, but calms quickly as we talk about Massachusetts (where she grew up and later attended Berklee College of Music) and our common experiences with the Portland Ore., queer community. She reveals that her "late summer project" will include other songs from her "glorious 20s" like Aimee Mann's "Deathly" and David Gray's "This Year's Love."

Breakfast with Mateo

Oatmeal was a staple in my son's breakfast menu for most of his preschool years. As a working mom, I chose it because it was easy to make and filling for his little tummy. Then last year, I took a year off from full-time work and decided to shake up his morning routine.

Tease photo

Eggless Breakfast

Breakfast always seems to center around the incredible, edible egg. Perhaps it's time, though, that we update our breakfast tables with another centerpiece, something else just as tasty and versatile֖tofu.

Catherine Lutz

Since being named the first female brigadier general in the history of Mississippi in March, Catherine Lutz has become a role model for women, as well as the entire state.

[Moore] Stop the Insanity!

I hate the fact that for so many years I believed the propaganda. It is printed, reported, over-reported and regurgitated across all media about the city of Jackson: "Don't go downtown." "Don't walk the streets at night." "Be gone before the sun sets. Crime is up."

How the Masons Got In City Hall

When Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. mentioned in passing at a Sept. 15 City Council meeting that the city shares City Hall with a local Masonic lodge, it was the first many had heard of the longtime Jackson urban legend. This legend, however, happens to be true, and nothing like a Dan Brown novel.

Public Option: A Necessity?

Blane McClellan, co-owner of Security Services Inc. of Jackson, says he wants a public option in the national health-care plan to compete with insurance companies that routinely refuse to cover his daughter due to her history of medical ailments.

Jackson Major Crimes Down Again

Major crimes decreased again last week in Jackson, according to statistics released today at a Jackson Police Department meeting. The city's overall major crime rate was down 13 percent from the previous week, and 0.9 percent year over year.

State Fair Kicks Off Tonight

The 150th annual Mississippi State Fair opens its gates tonight at 5 p.m. and runs for 12 consecutive days, through Sunday, Oct. 18. Organizers hope to attract approximately 600,000 attendees to the mile-long midway, carnival rides, livestock exhibits and competitions, and nightly entertainment.

Tuesday, October 6

Accused Can't See Evidence Against Them

On July 4, 2009, Basil DeJuan Sullivan was arrested for disorderly conduct at Freelon's Bar and Groove. Sullivan alleges that a group of Hinds County deputies threw him out of the Mill Street club, beat him and arrested him without reading his rights, but he does not have access to much of the evidence that could help him prove his case, like the police report from his arrest.

[Balko] Should Suing Bad Prosecutors Be Legal?

Should prosecutors who manufacture evidence be susceptible to lawsuits?

Doctors' Families File $60 Million Lawsuit

The families of two young doctors killed in a head-on collision on Old Canton Road in February are suing Karen and Stuart Irby for $60 million in damages. Police charged Karen Irby with depraved heart murder and aggravated assault in the crash that killed Lisa Dedousis and Daniel Pogue, and severely injured her husband, Stuart. She pleaded not guilty to the charges in May and is scheduled to stand trial March 29, 2010.

Dr. James Martin

The Preeclampsia Foundation in Minneapolis recently awarded University of Mississippi Medical Center Maternal-Fetal Medicine Director Dr. James Martin Jr. with the foundation's Hope Award for his "lifetime achievement in preeclampsia research."

Princeton Review Puts Millsaps on Top Business Schools List

The Princeton Review's 2010 edition of "The Best 301 Business Schools" has named Millsaps College Else School of Management as one of the nation's top schools. The book compiles surveys from 19,000 students attending the schools ranked.

Monday, October 5

Saints Defense Playing ‘Sharper'

Great story in the Times-Picayune about the role that Darren Sharper is playing in not only picking off quarterbacks but also leading the Saints' relatively young secondary.

Unions Oppose Kemper County Plant

Unions have sided with the Mississippi Sierra Club and the Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities against Mississippi Power's push to build a $2.4 billion lignite-burning plant in Kemper County.

JFP Persons of the Day: Kiara Taylor & Shanna Whitt

A fatal automobile accident claimed the lives of two Tougaloo College freshmen Friday. Kiara Taylor and Shanna Whitt, both of Greenville, were killed when the car Taylor was driving collided head-on with an SUV on North State Street near College Drive. The SUV's driver, Keith Harelson, 35, was conscious when an ambulance transported him to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, WJTV reported. Jackson police have said that alchohol was not involved in the collision.

Jackson Unveils Blues Marker Honoring Ace Records

Jackson will unveil its seventh Mississippi Blues Trail marker this afternoon, honoring Ace Records and its founder, Johnny Vincent Imbragulio (1925-2000). Known simply as "Johnny Vincent," he founded Ace Records in 1955, a block from the Trumpet Recording Studio on Farish Street. Ace Records used Trumpet's studio and Cosimo Matassa's studio in New Orleans to record.

Public Meetings and Community Events This Week

3:30 p.m., Ace Records Blues Marker Unveiling at the corner of Capitol and Roach streets. Live music from a blues quartet.

Swine Flu Vaccine Arrives This Week

Mississippi is scheduled to receive swine flu vaccine beginning tomorrow in the form of a nasal spray, reports WXVT. About 500 distribution points for the spray include hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.

College Football: Bad News For USM

Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis will miss the rest of the season after suffering a foot injury.

Saturday, October 3

Video: Fearless Jackson's Big Scoop

The latest from Jackson...enjoy:

Friday, October 2

Fun Over Flash

Unless one's been in a coma or the slammer, it's not news that the "Dancing With The Stars" competition began this week on ABC. It might be news, however, that the "Stars" competition bears little, if any, resemblance to social ballroom dancing. Dr. Nola Gibson of Millsaps College admits that "Dancing with the Stars" is beautiful and fun to watch, but it's a bit of a fantasy for most of us.

Johnson's Chief Appointees Get Mixed Reviews

One day after Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. announced his nominees for Jackson Police Chief and Fire Chief, many city officials and employees are waiting to form their opinions. Johnson's appointees require approval from the Jackson City Council before taking office.

Jackson Nightclubs Central in Lawsuits

Controversies surrounding two Jackson nightclubs have put the clubs in the center of separate lawsuits, one as a defendant, the other as the plaintiff.

Melody Golding

The Smithsonian Institute in Washingon, D.C., has selected Vicksburg photographer Melody Golding's photo collection "Katrina: Mississippi Women Remember," to add to the Smithsonian Archives Center this month. Golding's work is the institute's only acquisition documenting the effects of Hurricane Katrina on Mississippi.

This Weekend in Jackson

Take advantage of the cool weather and head to the Jackson Zoological Park this evening for "Feast with the Beasts" at 5:30 p.m. Enjoy food and beverages while zookeepers talk about the animals. You may even get to see some exotic animals up close, and it's all free for zoo members. Afterward head over to the 930 Blues Cafe to see some of the Mississippi's most talented jazz and blues musicians at the first annual Autumn 'n' Blues Festival. Tonight's line up includes Jackie Bell, Bobby Rush, and Michael Burks, and admission is $25. If you can't make it tonight, the festival continues tomorrow. Find more happenings on the JFP Events page.

Tax Revenues Down Again; More Cuts Likely

With the release of Mississippi's September tax collection information, Gov. Haley Barbour is once again looking to slash the state's budget. Actual collections last month fell short of the state's estimates by $44.9 million, or slightly more than 10 percent. For the first quarter of the 2010 fiscal year, collections were $83.2 million shy of the estimates.

Thursday, October 1

Johnson Names New Chiefs

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. appointed Jackson State University security chief Rebecca Coleman as Jackson's new police chief, and former Jackson Fire Chief Raymond McNulty as head of the Jackson Fire Department at a noon press conference today.

JSU Hazing Victims Facing Fines and Probations

Jackson State University freshmen, including victims of beatings at an alleged Sept 18 off-campus hazing ceremony, are facing judgment at a Student Life Disciplinary Committee hearing today. The committee is continuing a days-long investigation of reports that bandleaders ordered underclassmen to endure beatings with mallets, 2-by-4 boards, baseball bats and bottles. One attorney representing a student involved in the hazing says the beatings occurred at an undisclosed location along High Street, and involved some JSU graduates.

Governor's Office Announces Employment Programs

Gov. Haley Barbour is attempting to combat dreary economic news with a month-long publicity push called "Let's Get Working Mississippi." The campaign is meant to draw attention to job training opportunities through the state's WIN Job Centers, which connect employers and potential employees.

Dr. Cora Norman

Cora Norman took on the role of executive director for the Mississippi Humanities Council at the organization's 1972 inception, staying with the group for 24 years. Her new book, "Mississippi In Transition: The Role of the Humanities Council," documents her experiences with the council, including the tension of the Civil Rights Era in the state and the council's positive influence in helping to ease the adjustments of moving toward an integrated society.

Asking a Friend About Time Machines and Tweeking Instead of Tweeting

Yesterday, in a moment of rage, I slammed a borrowed laptop shut and rolled my eyes at the world while I finished a McDade's plate lunch. A man sitting next to me froze as he bit into a drumstick and absorbed my fury. I was in the middle of writing about my experiences with premonitions and epiphanies, both apocalyptical and apolitical, featuring Dadaism and Dada shoes. Unfortunately, I goofed and exited the screen before saving my work. "Upset was I," said Yoda.

JSU Hazers Suspended for Two Years

Jackson State University suspended 27 students for two years yesterday as a result of an alleged Sept. 18 hazing incident that resulted in one student with a broken collarbone. WAPT reports that some of the students have already filed appeals.