Stories for December 2010


Friday, December 31

Julep Chef Dies in Car Accident

Julep Chef Martin Evans Bryant died Wednesday evening after his car hit a pole on Woodrow Wilson Avenue. According to the Jackson Police Department, Bryant was at Wendy's on Woodrow Wilson Avenue when a manager informed a police officer dining inside that Bryant was causing a disturbance at the drive-through window. By the time the officer got to the window, Bryant, 31, had driven away in his Honda Accord and shortly afterward, lost control of his car, JPD said.

Job Growth to Aid Economy in 2011?

The economy was not Mississippi's strong point this year, although the state is expecting to see job creation in the future. Several industries and businesses Gov. Haley Barbour touted as a successful this year require a healthy dose of government or public aid to open in Mississippi.

The Year In News

This year will be over in a few hours. Here's a look back on some of the big news events of 2010 in Jackson and Mississippi.

John Noblin

As the director of the fourth annual Mississippi Blues Marathon, John Noblin is busy making last-minute arrangements for the two-day event, which includes a fitness expo and outdoor concert. The Jackson native is a longtime marathon runner who got his start organizing races in 1993 with the Tour LeFleur, a professional cycling race in Jackson. Five years ago, he collaborated with local business leaders to bring the Blues Marathon to Jackson, forming a sponsorship with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi. Noblin, 45, lives in Jackson with his wife, Jill, and two daughters Keavy, 16, and Clayton, 13. He discussed this year's race with the JFP:

It's the Weekend: Happy New Year!

If you're brave enough to venture out in tonight's stormy weather, there are several metro area New Year's Eve celebrations to choose from. Check out the JFP's round up of area events here.

Thursday, December 30

DeLaughter Moved to Halfway House

Former Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Bobby DeLaughter is out of prison and in a transitional facility finishing his 18-month prison term for lying to federal authorities. Since January 2010, authorities have held DeLaughter at federal prison in McCreary, Ky.

Jerrod Partridge

For Jerrod Partridge, figure drawing is more about perspective than the actual act of putting graphite to paper.

Kidney Not Sole Condition for Sister's Release

UPDATED: This story has been updated to reflect information from the NAACP's press conference this morning.

AMR to Offer Free New Year's Eve Rides

American Medical Response and the Safe Kids Mississippi Campaign are teaming up on New Year's Eve to offer free rides to people in need of a designated driver.

Wednesday, December 29

Family Traditions

The smell of garden-fresh butterbeans and field peas simmered in a dollop of bacon grease and smooth, sweet corn picked, shucked and scraped off the cob was thickened with a little white flour. Fried cornbread dressing was served from a speckled metal roaster pan and hidden under a simple metal cover sat everyone's favorite, grandmother's chocolate cake.

Making Sense of Our Stories

Have you ever been in love? You know, "love" like in the storybooks, like the gods and goddesses, like a Shakespeare sonnet? Have you ever been so confused, so sick, so lost that you questioned your fundamental belief system like Job or Dante did? If you said yes to any of these questions, writing about those feelings will help you work through them.

Common Sense in 2011

Political junkies watched with some surprise as the lame-duck 2010 Congress passed a number of last-minute bills to bring the year to a close. Widely heralded as a week of "wins" for President Obama, the accomplishments are hopefully a bit of a harbinger of things to come.

JATRAN Cuts: A Long Time Coming?

Kin Palmer staggered out of Jackson City Hall the evening of Dec. 20 visibly angry and frustrated as he joined other JATRAN riders to load the city buses that had transported them to a public hearing regarding cuts to the city's bus system. He balled up his fist as he predicted what would happen when city residents could not get to work anymore.

Empowerment and Heritage

Fifteen-year-old Elijah Jamison stood somberly behind a table decorated with a red, black and green African flag as he lit a candle in honor of kujichagulia—Swahili for the Kwanzaa principle of self-determination.

Entergy Seeks $51 Million for Failed Reactor

Entergy Mississippi Inc. is requesting $51 million in reimbursements over a stalled nuclear-reactor project at its Grand Gulf nuclear-power plant.

Not So Happy New Year

Jackson resident Oliver Bass, a 56-year-old Vietnam veteran, has been unable to get a job since 2009. He has experience in machine operation and cooking, and he can run a forklift. He says he will take any job and has applied at restaurants and warehouses all over the city.

End Mindless ‘Tough-on-Crime' Policies

A few weeks ago, the Jackson Free Press published a lengthy cover story exposing the mindless politics behind juvenile-justice policies that treat children as adults and end up turning many children into hardened adult criminals, increasing dangerous crime rather than making society safer.

[Stiggers] The Good Foot

Mr. Announcement: "Welcome to ‘Cooking with Fat Meat,' the culinary arts television show that adds a whole lot of flavor to your life. On today's show, Chef Fat Meat presents foods that might bring good fortune into the new year."

Homage to a Shirley Temple

"Don't go far. Mommy won't be long."

[Flynn] Kids Need Sports

It's not news that childhood obesity is a major problem in America. The problem is particularly bad in Mississippi. As recently as last June, our state led the nation in obese children, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2010."

Most Intriguing Jacksonians 2010

Every year, the JFP staff revisits the big newsmakers of the year to recap the "most intriguing" Jacksonians to make the news. Some are heroes; others are, let's face it, scoundrels, but they all made us take notice in 2010.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Doctor S sez: Here's hoping 2011 will bring as many great games and performances as 2010 did.

MSU's Dream Team

Can this year's Mississippi State Bulldogs capture lightning in a bottle like the 1995-96 team?

Basketball For Dummies

During the final game of the 2009-2010 NBA championship, I accompanied my Hungarian friend and her boyfriend, Attila, to a performance of the International Ballet Competition. I said to Attila, "You are one of the few men here tonight; you did not want to stay home and watch the NBA championship?" With his thick Hungarian accent, Attila replied, "No, I do not like football."

Magnolia Fab Five

Writers have kicked around the idea of Mississippi with just one major university for nearly two decades. When they dream of this super school, they usually dream about football. But what about college basketball?

Barbour Suspends Scott Sisters' Sentences

cover story on the Scott sisters

Tease photo

JFP 2011 College Basketball Preview

There's plenty of reason for confidence as conference play begins in college basketball, especially for fans of Mississippi State, Jackson State and Southern Miss. But there are also lots of questions.

All I Want for Christmas ...

Some children play football, and some run track, but 18-year-old Zach Lovett plays a different sport: "My legs were always weak. They still are. The guitar became my sport," he says.

Get Your Freak On

If you want an upbeat and danceable peek into Josh Hailey and Tre Pepper's mind, J-TRAN's self-titled debut album is your best bet. Released in early December, the pop/electro CD is a fun and raunchy compilation of songs the duo wrote and produced during late-night creative binges in Hailey's Fondren Corner studio over the course of 30 days.

Where Comfort and Edgy Meet

Every Halloween when she was a child, Cecile Bartlett would dress up in her grandmother's enormous collection of costume jewelry and transform herself into a gypsy. Her desire to wear jewelry all the time, though, often ended up getting her in trouble. Her mother threatened to wring her neck when she came home with her pearls ruined from swimming or riding horses wearing them.

MSU Must Stop UM's Denard Robinson To Win Gator Bowl

This Gator Bowl could feature programs heading in opposite directions.

Mississippi State fans will have to make a quick recovery from New Year's Eve to be in game day form for the 2011 Gator Bowl. The 21st ranked Bulldogs will face Michigan, in the first ever meeting of these two teams.

City to Metrocenter?; JATRAN Saved, For Now

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. told the Jackson City Council last night that he wants to move some city facilities into the currently under-used Metrocenter Mall located on Highway 80.

New Year's Eve Events

Looking for something to do on New Year's Eve? Look no further. Whether it's a gala, a dance party or an intimate dinner you seek, the metro area has got you covered.

Could Filibuster Reform Happen in the Senate?

According to a story in the

Hayne Reviewing Hinds Autopsy

Steven Hayne may have built a name--and notoriety--for himself with prosecution-friendly autopsy testimony, but it was a defense request that may bring him into a Jackson murder case as an independent expert.

Alisa Ross

At first glance, Alisa Ross appears to be a shy 17-year-old senior at Callaway High School. But catch her on the basketball court, and she lights up with a fire in her eyes and a million-dollar smile after making a shot.

AG Offers Identity-Theft Prevention Tips

verbatim statement:

Attorney General Jim Hood advises Mississippians to add some extra safety resolutions to their New Year's List for 2011.

Tuesday, December 28

Changes Likely Before JATRAN Vote

Read the proposed JATRAN changes (PDF)

[Balko] Conservatives Rethink 'Tough on Crime'

Last week I received an e-mail press release directing me to a new public-policy website. On that website, a quote from Reagan administration Attorney General Ed Meese says it's time to reconsider mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders.

JFP Freelancer of the Month: Bryan Flynn

A layoff became an opportunity for Bryan Flynn to do what he loves. Two years ago, Flynn, 33, lost his job as a grocery manager for Walmart. With his wife's encouragement, Flynn started, a website for his musings and analysis of professional and college sports. Since August, Flynn has been a regular freelance contributor to the Jackson Free Press.

Bodega Opening; Unemployment Slightly Up

Residents of downtown Jackson will soon have an option for grocery shopping nearby. Bodega, a combination grocery store and deli, is set to open by Thursday of this week, co-owner Gwin Wyatt told the Jackson Free Press today.

Fourth Execution This Year Unlikely

The Mississippi Supreme Court has not yet ruled on Attorney General Jim Hood's request for a Dec. 29 execution date for Frederick Bell, making it unlikely that state will conduct its fourth execution this year. Digs Into Barbour's Plane Records

If you haven't heard yet, Governor Barbour has another semi-scandal breaking thanks to a public records request leaked to -- call it StateJetGate... unless, you know, something else has already been called that.

Monday, December 27

Council to Vote on Sales-Tax Request

At tomorrow's meeting, the Jackson City Council will decide whether to ask the state Legislature to remove a controversial state commission that must now approve how the city spends sales-tax money on safety and infrastructure repairs.

Hood Proposes Traffic Citation Increase to Fund Unit

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood wants to strengthen his agency's Vulnerable Adult Unit by raising some traffic citations by $1.

Community Events and Public Meetings

JPS Pepsi Holiday Basketball Tournament Dec 28-30, at Jackson State University, Williams Athletics and Assembly Center (1400 John R. Lynch St.). The tournament features 11 girls' teams and 13 boys' teams throughout the state. Consolation games are at Forest Hill High School (2607 Raymond Road). Visit the JPS website for brackets and game times. $8 Dec. 28-29, $10 semifinals and finals.

P.J. Lee

P.J. Lee hopes that a glowing, seven-foot catfish dropping from 80 feet in the air will bring large crowds downtown this New Years' Eve.

WashPo: Pat Robertson's Pot Comments Ignite Supporters

The Washington Post reports on a comment made by Pat Robertson on his television show in the past few weeks that has burned up some of the blogs:

Community Celebrates Kwanzaa

The community is invited to celebrate Kwanzaa this week at the Medgar Evers Community Center (3159 Edwards Ave.)

Thursday, December 23

Donations Sought to Repair Family's Home

Real Estate Solutions Managing Broker Willis Finley is seeking donations from the community to help a Jackson family in need of home repairs and heat.

The Redistricting Battle Ahead

Mississippi will likely experience a re-shuffling of state legislative districts, according 2010 U.S. Census data released this month.

It All Makes Sense Now

I've been sedentary for the most part since almost everything I do involves sitting in front of a computer, so I decided to head to the gym for the first time in years and get in a quick workout. I changed clothes, hopped onto the elliptical, realized after five minutes that I was going to die and switched to the treadmill. Even with that, I could only handle a speed of one mile an hour with no incline. After doing some resistance training, I got on the scale to check my weight since I haven't checked in several months. I knew I gained weight, but not that much weight. All the days of working at a desk, going to school online and just eating whatever is lying around instead of planning my meals have caught up with me. No wonder I feel like dirt. Well, I'm not going into some diatribe about going on a diet and working out seven days a week because I would be lying. I'm just going to get back to whatever it is I used to do that kept me at an average size. The 15 minutes I used to take during the day to go for a stroll, removing the skin before eating fried chicken, leaving out a yolk when making scrambled eggs - all those things actually worked for me, and I got away from it when I stopped working for a few years. Because of how my life is now, I must take action to pay attention to what I'm doing and stop putting my needs last. I'm not big on New Year's resolutions, but I will promise now to take better care of myself.

Mississippi Unemployment Rate Slightly Increases

Read the report.

For the month of November, the state's unemployment rate was 9.8 percent, a slight increase from 9.7 percent in October, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security reported yesterday.

Dent May

When Jackson native Dent May returns home for Martin's annual Christmas show Dec. 25, he'll trade his magnificent ukulele for synths and drum machines as he croons new and original songs.

Wednesday, December 22

Finishing for Heather

Heather Palmer McFarland seemed to have it all in the spring of 2008. She was married to a wonderful husband, Brian, had earned her doctorate in speech communication from the University of Southern Mississippi and was blessed with the birth of the couple's first child, Robin.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Doctor S sez: College bowl season is like Thanksgiving. There are lots of turkeys and lots of leftovers.

Recipe from the Heart

In October, my son's Cub Scout packmaster had a baby. Within a few days of her giving birth, I received an e-mail alerting me that a meal schedule had been set up to keep hot meals on her table as she adjusted to having a new little one in the house.

From Scratch

Instead of taking store-bought cookies or making rice out the box, consider making both from scratch.

Take Them a Meal

Prior to October, I had never heard of Take Them A Meal. The free site provides sample schedules, schedule ideas, recipes and tips. It allows you to either create a meal schedule or search for existing ones. As the meal coordinator, you set up the account and choose the date range for the meals. From there, you can add information about the family: any likes, dislikes and allergies, the family's phone numbers, address and driving directions. Once completed, you enter the e-mail addresses of potential meal providers and that's it.

Techno FLY

Model: Shannon Sullivan

You may be a fashionista who is as opposed to technological advances as those rebels (or trailblazers, they fancy themselves) who dare to wear white after Labor Day, but technology simply cannot be avoided.

Of Barbour and the ‘Uptown Klan'

It seems Haley Barbour went too far this time. In an interview with the conservative Weekly Standard, he downplayed the terror and racial caste system of his town and our state during the Civil Rights Movement.

More Room At the Inn

While plans for a convention-center hotel remain in limbo, downtown Jackson is seeing plenty of hotel development on a smaller scale. Last week, a team of developers that included several Jackson businessmen presented the Jackson Redevelopment Authority with their vision for a 100- to 130-room hotel and residential building at Court and Lamar streets.

Health Reform on the Way

The Mississippi Primary Health Care Association and Health Help for Kids hosted a community forum last week featuring federal and state leaders who outlined some of the changes Mississippians could expect as a result of the new health-care legislation.

Save Our Routes

Ineva May-Pittman took the mic and walked with a slight limp toward the front of the room to face the audience. Someone said, chuckling, "Ms. Pittman!" If her salt-and-pepper bob and conservative dress didn't give it away, what she said confirmed her senior-citizen status. May-Pittman's car-insurance rates have increased.

Preserve JATRAN

Christmas often brings out the best and worst in people. During the holidays, we are so laden with do-lists, events and shopping that we don't always take time to look at the underlying issues in our city.

[Stiggers] A Christmas Safety Net

Qweem-O-Wheat: "It looks like a lot of people will have a merry Christmas and survive the New Year. Why? Because the left-wing Democrats and right-wing Republicans of the good ship ‘Bi-Partisan' agreed to appease the rich and accommodate the broke and unemployed by extending the Bush tax cuts and unemployment insurance. "

[Kamikaze] Same Place, Different Memories

As the years pass, I find it hard to accurately remember each and every detail of my life. It's easy for stories to be skewed, embellished or just plain forgotten. My wife says I sometimes "adjust" the facts of stories to keep from getting fussed at, and I can't recall if I do or not.

Clicking For Dollars

The moment any person or group forms a new idea, the next question is, "How will we pay for it?" Whether it is a charity marathon, a city proposal for a bike trail, an idea for a comic book or the inspiration for a new work of art, few ideas come without a price tag.

[Moody] Gen Y-Not

Whether you define yourself as Generation X, Y or (like myself) on the XY cusp, you are a part of a unique and powerful generation that desires to change the world, and has the vigor and technology to do it.

Internet Technology and Privacy

The use of and dependence on the Internet and social networking has various implications for personal privacy. Many people worry "big brother" is watching their virtual footsteps or that their personal data can be auctioned to the highest bidder in the advertising world.

How To Recycle Technology

Time Magazine reported this month that the United States throws away 20 million to 50 million metric tons of "e-waste" each year. When you throw out a computer, it will likely end up in a landfill or incinerator.

To Multitask or Not to Multitask

Today, I took notes on a lecture, researched a project, text messaged a friend and chatted with another friend who lives in England. But this isn't a typical day for me; it's a typical class period. I am a multitasker.

Building Robots for the Future

Math is the language of the universe, and speaking that language effectively is the only way to put two gears together and link them with the right kind of motor to get a desired effect. Use the wrong components, and either your gears won't turn at all, or they won't stop turning.

Tech Tools for Mapping

The U.S. Geological Survey is the federal source for science about the earth. The organization provides information about the health of our ecosystems, and environmental and natural disasters. In Jackson, this technology helps monitor the Pearl River for flood control.

Digital Divide

As omnipresent as the Internet has become in most people's lives, the "digital divide" separating those with regular, fast Internet access and those without persists. By the mid-1990s, the "digital divide" had become a concern for policy makers.

There's an App for That

Here's a list of our current favorite apps for the iPhone. If you know of any other apps (especially for Android or other phones), let us know.


To operate in the 21st century, most nonprofits need a website, computers and technical support. A portion of a nonprofit's operating budget go to covering those costs.

Technology and the Government

Google set off grassroots campaigns in dozens of cities this year when it announced its Google Fiber for Communities contest. Google promised to finance enormous fiber-optic infrastructure projects in the city with the best proposal. The project would provide connection speeds of 1 gigabit per second—100 times faster than broadband available to most Americans—for up to 500,000 people, the company said.

Tease photo

GOOD Winter 2011

Technology is a powerful force that is ever changing and evolving. The way we interact with technology can determine the future for our community and society as a whole. If we become consumed with the latest gadgets and have a dependence on our cell phones, technology can take the place of one-on-one communication and time spent with our friends and families. But, if we use technology to bridge social and economic gaps, connect with others and spread awareness on important issues, then we can advance our community and provide more opportunities for a better future. In this GOOD issue (inspired by the national GOOD Magazine) we bring you ideas on innovative ways to use technology whether it's raising money for a good cause or recycling your e-waste.

Free Wi-Fi in Jackson

Everday, wi-fi is becoming more essential in our daily lives. Facebook, Twitter, eBay you name it. But not everyone has portable internet, let alone any internet, to do the things they need to do. Here is our list for the best free wi-fi in Jackson. Don't forget to be kind and buy services and goods to help support the store.

The Original Rolling Stone

Even before Mick Jagger and Keith Moon joined the British invasion of the 1960s, some Mississippi college kids in a band called the Rolling Stones awoke a generation. From 1955 to 1961, they pounded out a beat that grew louder through the night.

Memphis Boys Make Music History

Lincoln "Chips" Moman is one of the most successful record producers in history. A music visionary with a knack for matching songs with artists, he was the genius behind Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" and "Kentucky Rain," Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man," Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," ... and the list goes on and on.

It's Christmas, Pretty Baby

Christmas is here! Seeing the beautiful houses and downtown businesses in the city adorned with lights and hearing the "Merry Christmas, Jackson" compilation CD made by local bands has put me in a festive mood.

Bluntson Questions DA Over Bail Bonds

City Council President Frank Bluntson was certainly not alone in his frustration at last week's council meeting. Venting about the Dec. 11 arrest of a 16-year-old suspect in connection with an early-morning burglary and armed robbery in south Jackson, Bluntson demanded to know why the suspect was out on bond the day of the crime, having been charged in other robberies this summer.

City Rewards Businesses with Tax Exemptions

Four businesses will save $1 million in property taxes on expansions they made to properties in the city of Jackson last year. The Jackson City Council voted during its Dec. 14 meeting to approve resolutions supporting property-tax exemptions for the businesses.

Daniel Fuller

Daniel Fuller isn't your mama's English teacher. He knows getting students excited about 16th-century literature requires a little innovation.

Mississippi Business Leaders Hopeful for Future

Read the survey

While the majority of Mississippi business leaders report concerns about the current state of the economy, they have confidence in future economic growth.

Tuesday, December 21

Community Remembers the Homeless

Candles burned in Galloway United Methodist Church today to commemorate the lives of six homeless men who died in Jackson this year.

Oriental Market Opens; Broadband Gets Boost

One of Mississippi's largest Asian markets and restaurants celebrates its grand opening in Jackson today next to Cowboy Maloney's Electric City and Big Lots. Assistant Manager Shery Chen said her family chose the Interstate 55 location for its high traffic and ample parking space.

Latrisha Dumas Bailey

Massage Therapist Latrisha Dumas Bailey is on a mission to help people adopt self-care as a central practice for their lives.

[Balko] The SWAT Team Would Like to See Your Permit

In August, a team of heavily armed Orange County, Fla., sheriff's deputies raided several black and Hispanic-owned barbershops in the Orlando area. More raids followed in September and October. The Orlando Sentinel reported that police held barbers and customers at gunpoint and put some in handcuffs, while they turned the shops upside down. Police raided a total of nine shops, and arrested 37 people.

Barbour Releases Statement Addressing ‘Citizens Council' Gaffe

In a widely circulated Weekly Standard profile -- charmingly titled the The Boy From Yazoo City -- Haley Barbour unabashedly praises the Citizens Council in his hometown, calling it an "organization of town leaders," and comparing it quite favorably to the KKK.

Executions Down Nationwide

Read the report (PDF)

Monday, December 20

Attorney: Hinds Elections Hiring Improper

The Hinds County Election Commission did not follow required hiring procedures when it issued a contract to a voting machine technician, county supervisors learned today.

Senate Confirms Reeves to Federal Court

Newly confirmed Federal District Judge Carlton Reeves will keep his politics to himself, legal observers predict. Yesterday, the U.S. Senate confirmed the former Magnolia Bar president to serve as a Southern District Court judge in Mississippi, eight months after President Barack Obama appointed him.

Community Events and Public Meetings

Christmas Wish List Drive at Jackson Street Gallery (500 Highway 51, Suite E, Ridgeland). The gallery is collecting donated items for The Home Place, a senior citizens home in Madison through Dec. 20. Items needed include salon products, Kleenex and snacks. Contact the office for the full list. Donations do not have to be wrapped; they will be wrapped on-site. Donations welcome; call 601-853-1880.

Pam Greer

Pam Greer remembers what it felt like to not get any Christmas gifts. When she was a child growing up in Magnolia, Miss., her family couldn't afford them and were too proud to ask for help.

Senate Approves Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal

Gay-rights activists gained a victory Saturday when the U.S. Senate passed the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act allowing gays to serve openly in the military.

Friday, December 17

Sleep Inn Opens, New Downtown Hotel Pitched

The LEAD Group, a Jackson-based team of 12 African American investors, completed its first development project yesterday with the opening of a Sleep Inn & Suites in downtown Jackson. The 67-room hotel is located between Pearl, Pascagoula and Gallatin streets, where investors hope it will attract visitors from downtown and Jackson State University.

Chism Links Democratic Gains to Demographics

Political consultant Brad Chism predicts future Democratic gains in Mississippi, despite losses in the Nov. 2 elections, if Republicans continue to alienate minority voters over the next few decades.

Chaney Nichols

For Chaney Nichols, there is no better place to have a rock showcase than a hollowed out 1939 theater in the heart of Jackson.

Something for Everyone This Weekend

Kick off your weekend tonight with a wide choice of events. At 7 p.m., Ballet Magnificat's "A Christmas Dream" at Thalia Mara Hall is sure to get the entire family into a Christmas state of mind. Tickets run from $10 to $30. Call 601-977-1001. Also starting at 7 p.m., and at the other end of the cultural spectrum, the Esperanza Plantation Holiday Showcase at the Pix-Capri Theatre includes music by Tommy Bryan Ledford, Wooden Finger, Colour Revolt and more. Admission is $15. Where's the best place to start your search for things to do in Jackson? The JFP Best Bets page, of course.

Kemper Coal Plant Controversy Rises at Ground Breaking

As Gov. Haley Barbour, state leaders and officials from the Mississippi Development Authority celebrated the groundbreaking of a $2.4 billion coal plant in Kemper County yesterday, the Gulf Restoration Network and the Sierra Club flew an airplane banner over the event reading: "Dirty Expensive Unnecessary."

Thursday, December 16

Mitchell: "Will the Real Voice of Small Business Please Stand Up?"

Good piece by Stacy Mitchell, a leader on "Think Local" issues and author of the book "Big Box Swindle." At issue here is whether the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (as distinct from local chambers of commerce) has any real interest in small business issues. The US CoC is a national organization famous for spending millions each election cycle on largely conservative causes, including electing anti-plantiff judges in Mississippi and anti-healthcare-reform politicians in this past cycle. (According to Mitchell, the US CoC spent $75 million on this past mid-term election.)

Metrocenter Renewal to Kick Off

Developer David Watkins says that his plans to renovate parts of Metrocenter Mall are unaffected by a last-minute rescue from foreclosure and the collapse of a proposed deal with Jackson Public Schools.

Wicker Opposes Bill With His Earmarks

Mississippi's Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker said yesterday that he is not supporting a proposed $1.2 trillion spending bill because it is filled with earmark spending although he inserted more earmarks into the bill than almost any other senator.

James Anderson

James Anderson stands in front of a large Christmas tree, adjusts his scarf and gets into character while he reads Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory." This holiday tradition is one Anderson has performed for nearly a decade.

Hood Announces DIRECTV Settlement

Jackson, MS--Attorney General Jim Hood and the Attorneys General of 48 other states today are announcing that DIRECTV will pay $13.25 Million to settle consumer protection allegations.  The states alleged that the satellite TV provider engaged in deceptive and unfair sales practices.   The State of Mississippi will receive $185,000.00 of the total settlement.

Wednesday, December 15

Confident Men

I can't decide whether Jeff Sharlet's "C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy" (Little Brown, 2010, $27) is pulp nonfiction about a scholarly topic, or scholarly nonfiction about a pulp topic. It's hard to write a book that hinges so heavily on three extramarital affairs--those of Mark Sanford, Chip Pickering and John Ensign--without a hint of the tabloid, but Sharlet manages to do it by writing with a generous spirit that lets him find the humanity in these insecure and narcissistic men. That is, in fact, the book's main accomplishment: Sharlet looks at Washington fundamentalists' sacred self-image, contrasts it with their profane behavior and meets them at a halfway point of tragicomic human fallibility.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Doctor S sez: Have we really seen the last of the Old Gunslinger, Brett Favre? I'd say it's a definite maybe. We'll see how he feels next summer.

Psonya and Timothy Hackett

Newlyweds Psonya and Timothy Hackett have different accounts of their first encounter at the Jackson County Courthouse in Pascagoula in 2004.

Yuletide Blessings

We use the word "blessing" a lot during the December holidays. We count our blessings, we send greeting cards with wishes for blessings, we receive blessings after religious services, instead of "goodbye" we say, "Have a blessed day," and we ask the blessing. We use this little word in many contexts without ever considering what it really means. After all, a blessing is just words, right?

The Suite Life

The bass thumps heavily and rhythmically and meets you at the door. The treble dances like a modern dancer who's in a zone. If your name's on the list, walk right in. If not, pay the cover, and it's all access granted for you, too.

Break Down the Wall

Wiz Khalifa is probably the hottest rapper in hip-hop today. Source magazine recently named him Rookie of the Year, and MTV named him the Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010. "Black and Yellow," his current record, has spent time at No. 1 on the iTunes hip-hop chart and in the top 20 on Billboard's Hot 100 list.

Festive Nights

A mouth-watering drink recipe is the perfect excuse for a night in. With hot chocolate or spice tea to tempt your palate and keep you warm, it's easy to forgo a trip to the mall or to a fast-food joint. Not only are these drinks delicious, they can help you remain frugal this holiday season.

[Vegan Delights] Sweet Dumpling Squash Stuffed with Lemon-Herb Rice

A savory, main event dish that will put in the ho, ho, ho into your holiday.

Holiday Cheer(s!)

Some holiday get-togethers are light-hearted and festive, and booze flows freely among friends. Other gatherings are a bit more begrudging, and alcohol becomes the lubricant for surviving hours of enforced frivolity without stabbing Uncle Charlie with a meat fork when he makes the fatal mistake of bringing up politics at the dinner table.

Grokking New Beginnings

With Jackson State University naming Carolyn Meyers as its new president within the past week (see Ward Schaefer's interview), my thoughts naturally turned to Mississippi's educational system and the subject of how we learn.

Ghosts of Frank Melton

Leave it to Frank Melton to live among strangeness even after his death.

Utility Pushes Back on Power-Saving

Mississippi Power Company wants a proposed statewide energy-efficiency plan evaluated based on its cost to ratepayers rather than its long-term savings—a move critics say is a contrast to its desire to have ratepayers fund its own coal-plant expansion.

Respect for the City

Campaign adviser and lobbyist Quentin Whitwell is looking to get his own campaign moving this year. Whitwell, 38, announced to supporters last month that he plans to run for the Ward 1 Jackson City Council seat that Councilman Jeff Weill will vacate in January to take his seat as a judge in Hinds County Circuit Court.

JPS' Special-Education Problem

Jackson Public Schools has trouble with special education, but it's hardly unique. The district's failure to provide adequate services to students with emotional and behavioral disorders came to light earlier this month with the release of a Nov. 22 state-agency finding.

Grading Government

Released at the same time as Gov. Haley Barbour's budget recommendation for the upcoming 2012 fiscal year was a report card for state government. Since 1997, state agencies submit performance reports along with their annual budget requests, as required by the Mississippi Performance and Strategic Planning Act.

Stop the War on the Poor

During the winter holiday season, our thoughts frequently turn to those in need: the homeless, the poor, the sick and other needy souls.

[Stiggers] Spiteful Weather

Big Roscoe: "Live from the Clubb Chicken Wing Multi-Purpose Complex, it's the ‘Clubb Chicken Wing Christmas TV Special.' On behalf of Lil' Momma Roscoe and the Clubb Chicken Wing staff, we hope that the Ghetto Science community, financially challenged individuals and the unemployed have a happy and prosperous holiday season."

The Santa Situation

Stores have decked the halls, and Christmas music is playing on radio stations. As the holiday approaches, children anticipate the magic of the season and people ask my kids, "Is Santa coming to your house this year?"

[Dennis] For Goodness Sake

I had a physics teacher in high school named Mr. Jones. He was a brilliant older man who often solved problems in his head faster than the rest of us could key the numbers into our calculators. Inevitably, his lectures would venture away from the subject and toward some profound nugget of wisdom.

Tease photo

The JFP Interview with Carolyn Meyers

Carolyn Meyers was born a tinkerer. The worst spanking she can remember was the consequence of her taking apart a clock radio her mother had just bought.

New Challenges

Carolyn Meyers doesn't look much like her predecessor at Jackson State University, Ronald Mason, on paper or in person. The tall, arguably aloof Mason was not a researcher by training, having received his bachelor's and law degrees from Columbia University.

Pamela Nail

In between shuffling her 9-year-old son home from school and making last-minute calls to plan a charity event at the Mississippi Children's Home Services, Pamela Nail stops to reflect about her passion to inspire and motivate others.

Lumumba Defends Minority Contract Push

Instead of pushing for an investigation of Council President Frank Bluntson's use of city employees during last night's Jackson City Council meeting, Ward 2 Councilman Chowke Lumumba defended his push for minority contracts.

Scott Sisters Appear Before Parole Board

Investigations into the pardon petition for sisters Jamie and Gladys Scott have concluded, and the request for their release now awaits Gov. Haley Barbour's decision.

Japanese Percussionist Performs Tonight

Each time Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani performs, he experiments with sound. "I don't describe my music. It is a unique experience each time, not categorized or placed within any boundaries," he says.

Tuesday, December 14

City Issues Boil Water Notice

Verbatim statement:Due to two recent water main breaks, one located on Woody Drive and one located at 1539 Woodburn Street, the City of Jackson Water/Sewer Utilities Division has issued a precautionary boil water advisory until further notice for the following areas:

Judge: Entergy Overcharged Customers

Read the ruling (PDF)

A Federal Energy Regulatory Commission judge ruled last week that Entergy Corporation has been selling overpriced energy to Mississippi customers.

New Bistro; Grants

Parveen Kapoor, a native of Delhi, India, came to Jackson seven years ago after a stint managing restaurants in Japan. He worked at Spice Avenue as a manager for over a year before leaving to open his own Quizno's franchise on Old Fannin Road in Brandon.

Anton Gunn

A common question people ask U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Regional Director Anton Gunn is how to sort through the misinformation surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

I ran!

Picture it, November 2010, the day before Thanksgiving. While others were trying on their eating pants and doing jaw exercises to maximize chewing, I was making a list of life changes that would start immediately. I decided to give up meat and booze, hit the gym 4 times a week, and go back to yoga. So far things have been great. Two weeks ago I ran 2 miles in one session for the first time since I was 16. Granted I wasn't able to use the stairs or go without using a walker for a few days, but I did it. Going to yoga (with the magnificent Ronni Mott leading the class) helped with the pain. I swear I was two inches taller and breathing deeper after that class. I've kept up with my previous promises, I take a little time each day to read a few pages, splurged on delicious new hair products, danced with my house mate last night to Wham's "Last Christmas" (my fave song in the world!), and got all A's in both Psychology and Sociology including 100% on all term papers. This road to wellness has proven to be a fantastic journey, let's just hope I don't run out of gas before the next stop.

Mississippi Launches Broadband Website

A new state website provides Mississippians information about broadband technology and allows them to test the speed of their Internet service. The site also provides information about various state initiatives to improve access to broadband.

Monday, December 13

The Sked

Tuesday, Dec. 14

Alabama State at Mississippi State (7 p.m., Starkville, CSS, 105.9 FM)

That Tired, Rundown Feeling

The past few weeks have been incredibly busy, so I have been losing a lot of sleep. Combined with sinusitis and an iffy diet, I am currently a shell of my former self. I have been concocting all kinds of schemes to get more sleep, everything from renting a hotel room and taking the phone off the hook to parking my car in a remote area just to rest my eyes for a couple of hours. I have scarfed down more coffee than usual, and I even bought an energy drink, which I keep forgetting to put in my purse because sleep deprivation has negatively affected my short-term memory. I've heard that not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain, car wrecks and so on. I've nodded behind the wheel a couple of times already, so I have got to get more rest somehow. My best option would be to spend Christmas Eve unconscious, and although I dread waiting until then for sweet slumber, I guess I must do what I have to do to minimally function until that glorious day when I can rest and look forward to seeing the six bags under each eye disappear for good.

Corps Will Consider Lake Plan

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Senior Project Manager Gary Walker assured the local levee board this morning that the Corps will consider a smaller, one-lake plan in an upcoming feasibility study.

Council to Vote on Bluntson Investigation

The Jackson City Council is set to decide tomorrow whether to launch an investigation of Council President Frank Bluntson's use of city employees to campaign for his daughter-in-law, who lost a bid for Madison County Court judge Nov. 2.

Community Events and Public Meetings

Gifts and Supplies Drive, at Genesis & Light Center (350 N. Mart Plaza). Genesis & Light Center is seeking gift donations for children who participate in their educational assistance/mentoring program as well as supplies for their organization. Please contact the office for a list of requested items. The deadline for donations is Dec. 13; call 601-362-6736.

Daniel MacGregor

If you see Daniel MacGregor around Jackson carrying a painting of a red skyline, don't be surprised if he asks you to hold it while he takes your photograph.

What's All the Fuss About Top Tax Rates Going Up?

The national conversation on our fiscal health for the past few months has been about whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for households with incomes over $250,000, or to allow them to expire on December 31st. To my amazement, lost in all this controversy and discussion has been any mention of what this would really mean for high-income people in the context of historical tax rates.

Budgeting this Holiday

Focused on my financial and mental wellness this season, I have a plan for holiday shopping this Christmas. An actual plan that I will follow to completion so that I can be more relaxed during all of the activities this time of the year brings our way. See, I'm the type that usually waits until the last minute to do all of my holiday shopping and then splurges on gifts that had no real thought put into them. The first thing I have to remember this year is: I can't buy a gift for everyone! This one I have to keep repeating to myself over and over. I would love to really; I thoroughly enjoy gift giving and making people happy. But there is always something you can make them (just ask Martha Stewart) or something you can write in a card that came from the heart that they will appreciate just as much as something store bought. Step two: Make a list. I let my husband tell me approximately how much we'll be able to spend on everyone. Kids come first. Then immediate family. We make a table with the person's name we want to buy for, a budgeted amount to spend on that person, a gift idea and then a column for the amount actually spent after we find the gift. I'm also trying to budget in all of the extras like cards, wrapping paper, postage & shipping. This really allows me to focus on everyone's gift and be mindful of the budget. Step three, STAY AWAY FROM THE STORE! This one is almost impossible. I'm trying to do most of my shopping online. I've been somewhat successful at this. I think it takes more time to shop online because of all of the navigating through certain sites that are poorly organized or are too organized, and of course quite a few gifts I've tried to order were out of stock online but available in the store. So, I will have to make at least one or two trips to the toy store. I plan on doing this during the week when the stores aren't as busy and I will meditate for at least 30 minutes beforehand. If you've been shopping on a Saturday lately, you know what I'm talking about. I don't want to walk out of the store ready to scream and the traffic is horrible. There is nothing about last minute Christmas shopping that is pleasant. And finally, step four: Enjoy the holiday! After the shopping and wrapping and cooking, I will take time to sit down with my family and enjoy the time that we have to spend with each other.

Sunday, December 12

Mississippi United Concert for A Cause: Clothing and Toy Drive. WE NEED YOU!

On SUNDAY, DECEMBER 19th. Mississippi United Presents: The TeamSipp GenerationNxt CONCERT FOR A CAUSE at DreamzJxn(426 Capital). The event will bring several area organizations together for the cause of giving back to those less fortunate during the holiday season. Concertgoers are asked to bring any clothing or toy items to Dreamz on Dec. 19th which will in turn be given to our friends at Gateway Mission. Not only will you be giving to a great cause but you will be entertained by some of the state's hottest talent who have donated their performances for the cause.

Saturday, December 11

Financial Wellness

I'm really awful about letting go of ideas and things that no longer serve me. Once upon a time, I pulled down a fat little corporate paycheck. It was great while it lasted, but these days, that is not my reality.

Friday, December 10

Tax Cuts Will Cost More Than Stimulus

Take one from column A and one from column B. That seems to be the strategy for the divisive issues of unemployment benefits vs. the Bush-era tax cuts. Republicans, in line with their well-entrenched obstructionist strategy of the past two years, made it clear that no legislation would get through the lame-duck session without first extending tax cuts for the wealthy.

Former Melton Home Reopens, Owner Defends Plans

The former home of the late Mayor Frank E. Melton and the young men he invited to live with him there exhibits little evidence still of Melton's presence except for the "Bottom Line" basement game room with a red pool table, a glass-fronted cabinet filled with liquor bottles, and a small shrine to Melton sitting amid Christmas lights and holiday greenery. To the left on the shrine shelf sits an undated United Minority Media Association Inc. "Development Award" presented to "Frank E. Melton, President, TV-3 Inc., Jackson, Mississippi" for "National Youth Management." To the right is a framed printout of cartoonist Marshall Ramsey's goodbye cartoon to Melton, along with Melton's city business card and his Jackson Police Department ID signed by then-Chief Shirlene Anderson.

Johnny DuPree

Johnny DuPree wants to take Mississippi from last to first place in national rankings. DuPree, 57, the mayor of Hattiesburg, was the guest speaker today at the Jackson Chamber of Commerce's Friday Forum at Koinonia Coffee House. DuPree is touring the state before filing formal qualifying papers to be a candidate for the Mississippi governor's race in 2011.

It's the Weekend: Bundle Up

It may be cold outside, but that shouldn't stop you from having an eventful weekend.Tonight, put on your mittens and helmets and meet the Jackson Bike Advocates at Rainbow Grocery (2807 Old Canton Road) for their monthly community bike ride. The five-mile ride makes a loop though Belhaven and downtown at a slow, conversational pace. If you're in the mood for some holiday cheer, head to "Carols by Candlelight" at First Baptist Church of Jackson (431 N. State St.) to see the First Baptist Jackson Sanctuary Choir, Orchestra and Drama Department perform. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the performance begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are free, and available until 6:15 p.m. when the doors open to non-ticket holders. For more information, call 601-949-1926. Afterwards, head downtown at 9 p.m. for a screening of the film "Howl" at the Art House Cinema located inside the Davis Planetarium (201 E. Pascagoula St.). Tickets are $9; for more information, visit For more entertainment options, check out the JFP Events Calendar.

Chamber Forms Health-Care Division

The Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership is placing a priority on the metro's medical industry expansion by forming a new health-care initiatives division.

EXTRA, EXTRA: Fox ‘News' Slants Coverage

I know, nobody is shocked that Fox News slants their coverage; at least, no one who isn't already a slobbering fan-boy. (See the inevitable comments below this entry for examples.) But for those of us who might run up against such folk at a holiday gathering this season and could use a handy retort, Media Matters offers simple, concrete evidence that Fox's news operation specifically slanted its coverage during the healthcare debate in the form of a leaked memo from the news operation.

Low Temperatures Threaten Pipes

Verbatim Statement from State Farm:

With temperatures predicted to drop into the teens within a few days, everyone should take a few minutes to check the pipes in your home. The frigid temperatures expected next week can cause pipes to freeze and burst, destroying floors, furniture, appliances and treasured family heirlooms. A few simple precautionary measures can help avoid the headache and aggravation caused by water damage.

Thursday, December 9

New [FLY] Gifts Flip-Guide: Helping You Shop Local for the Holidays

As if a growing weekly paper, a busy online Daily and a wildly popular quarterly glossy weren't enough, today we introduced a new kind of publication to help Jacksonians shop local for the holidays and support local jobs and economic investment. Go right now to and you'll find our first digital [FLY] edition, this one dedicated to local gifts. We're collecting all our amazing gift guides (coordinated by ShaWanda Jacome) into one digital flip-book that you can social-network around and use to find great ideas for gifts from local businesses. For the next two weeks, we will add more gift pages (and relevant ads) to the flip-book so keep checking back and watch for updates.

MDA Extends Entrepreneur Training

The Mississippi Development Authority is extending its Dec. 3 enrollment deadline for its free inaugural entrepreneur and business-owner training seminar to Dec. 17 due a low number of applicants.

JPD's Operation Safeshop Targets Crime

Read this week's crime report (PDF)

Sanaa Hill

One year ago, on Dec. 9, Sanaa Hill was doing her homework at the Sykes Road Boys and Girls Club when a stray bullet from an AK-47 came through the wall and struck her in the head. Paramedics rushed her to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where doctors were able to remove the bullet. Hill ultimately made a full recovery and returned to McLeod Elementary School in January, where she is now a fourth-grader.

The DREAM Act and the Wealth of Nations

Against all odds, 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school each year, many with honors. They are among America's brightest, most driven and underprivileged. We have invested much in their K-12 education, and they have much to contribute to our society.

Wednesday, December 8

A Bit of Christmas Drama

When I was a little boy, my father commenced our family custom of preparing a standing rib roast with Yorkshire pudding for our Christmas meal, along with mashed potatoes and butter-boiled lady peas. The whole thing was a production rivaling the best West-end dramas.

The Art of Museums

Museums aren't just for browsing. Many of our local museums have wonderful gift shops where you are sure to find a gift or two for the holidays.

Made Local

Make two people smile this holiday season by supporting a local artist and gifting your loved one(s) with a touch of aesthetics.

The Art of Staying Warm

Just because it's time to bundle up—because the weather is threatening to be frightful—doesn't mean you have to look like a shtunk while you're schlepping about downtown, in Fondren, the Renaissance or wherever you do your schlepping throughout your day.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Doctor S sez: The Doctor suffered another case of premature publication last week. Note to self: Drink pitcher of martinis after writing the Slate.

Will the Next Josh Hailey Stand Up?

I remember the first time I saw Josh Hailey. I was covering the City of Ridgeland Chamber of Commerce banquet for the Madison County Journal in 2009. At this suburban hobnob where conformity is king, Hailey was clad in a colorful ensemble and his hair was in dread-locked pigtails.

Traversing the Merit-Pay Thicket

Over the next five years, Oak Forest Elementary School will be on the vanguard of a nationwide experiment in school reform. The south Jackson school is one of 10 in Mississippi chosen to participate in a pilot program that will change the way the teachers are paid.

U.S. Food Bill Spares Small Farmers

Mike Steede, owner of Steede farms in Lucedale, Miss., took over the farm his family has operated for the past 150 years after he retired from teaching agriculture at the Mississippi State Extension Service last year. In May, he formed a Community Supported Agriculture program, which delivers in-season fruit and vegetables weekly to 36 members from his 40-acre farm.

Alabama, Apes and Adam Perry

I recently had a chance to sit down with Adam Perry, account and distribution manager for the Jackson Free Press, to talk about his first novel, "Boxing Gorillas." The story is a well-paced and fun read that deftly blends elements of suspense, comedy and action into an engaging romp through Alabama.

[Editorials] Be Honest About Tax Cuts

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker defended his vote against two Senate measures on Dec. 4 that would have preserved soon-to-expire tax cuts for individuals reporting less than $200,000 in personal income and for families and business owners making less than $250,000 in taxable income (after expenses).

[Stiggers] Bus-Driving Deacons

"Even though the cold-heartedness of people brings a chill to my soul, I will do my best to remain warm and sympathetic to the needs of others."

[Kamikaze] It's About People

Let's be honest. This town needs an enema. There are some leadership voids that indicate it's time for our city to turn a page—or three.

[Wilkes] TSA: Terrorists Screw America

The Transportation Security Administration implemented new policies that, in essence, give strippers more rights in their places of employment than airline passengers in an airport.

Canton's City of Lights

Christmas in Canton is an annual, month-long Victorian-style extravaganza. Make time to visit the "City of Lights," to get into the holiday spirit with a ride on the carousel, an antique car or a buggy ride. The event, which lasts through Thursday, Dec. 23, features attractions for all ages.

A Mostly Nice List of Mostly Offbeat Holiday Films

"Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas" (1977)—Jim Henson had the Christmas season covered with "The Muppet Christmas Carol," but this little tale is perhaps the most overlooked gem in Henson's treasure trove. The tale of an otter mother and son and his jug band buddies as they all struggle to make some spending money for Christmas debuted in 1977. I remember watching this with my younger siblings and enjoying it immensely, especially the bands' rival at the talent show: the intimidating Alice Cooper-styled Riverbottom Nightmare Band. The special is filled with memorable songs that are uplifting and sweet without being saccharine. This was also the first time Henson filmed his creations in wide-angle and full-character shots; previously Muppets were almost exclusively shot from the waist-up. If you haven't seen it in years, or if you have children who have never seen it, this is the perfect time to settle in at the edge of Frogtown for a bittersweet modern holiday classic.

Soccer Tournament for Baby Pierce

Leah Helms left the soccer field after watching her oldest child's victory in a soccer tournament at 10 p.m. on a Sunday night. The next day she was in labor.

Tease photo

APAC's Impact: Shining Bright

As a boy in a school uniform gets off the bus on tree-lined Riverside Drive early one fall morning, faculty and staff inside the Power Academic and Performing Arts Complex School prepare for a busy day. The boy carries a large white cello case behind him on his way to the front door.

Punchlines and Paranoia

Cause for rejoice and revelry is here at last, for the faithful and neophyte alike.

Make a Joyful Noise

Christmas is the season of giving (or re-gifting, for some), and musicians all over the state are playing Santa Claus, using their talents to help others during the holiday season. Many musicians play at assorted charity events during the Christmas season to pay it forward.

Lace, Cake and Gowns

Planning a wedding can be a daunting task. I know. I've been there. My husband and I ended up scratching the big wedding, and instead, took 20 family and friends to the beach in Santa Barbara.

Scrooge Hits the Stage

The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future will visit New Stage Theatre during the annual production of the heartwarming Charles Dickens classic, "A Christmas Carol."

Hometown Heroes

Like a proud parent showing off a scrapbook of your child's accolades, "Mississippians" (Nautilus Printing, 2010, $45) is a collection of photographs and vignettes of notable individuals from the state of Mississippi.

Watkins Wants to Buy Metrocenter

Watkins Development LLC Vice President Jason Goree said the company, which already owns a closed anchor-store space in Metrocenter Mall, now wants to buy the entire structure.

The Fuzzy Math of Arenas

Talk of a proposed entertainment arena in downtown Jackson has been largely devoid of hard figures, by necessity. Arena supporters are still cobbling together the private money to pay for a feasibility study. As of Dec. 3, the downtown arena "steering committee" had raised $65,915 of the $80,000 it hopes to raise for the study before the end of the year. The study would inject some rough cost estimates into discussions of the proposal.

Steve Kistulentz

On a warm and cloudy day in November, professor Steve Kistulentz sits calmly at a table at Millsaps College. He smiles and tilts his head slightly as he remembers the events that brought him to Jackson.

Mississippi Ranked Unhealthiest State

Mississippi remains the unhealthiest state for the ninth year straight, according to America's Health Rankings released yesterday.

Tuesday, December 7

Wicker To Introduce ‘States' Rights' Bill

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker said he intends to undermine a federal health-care reform law President Barack Obama signed this year by introducing a bill this week allowing state officials to challenge federal regulations.

[Balko] The Continuing Saga of Steven Hayne

Last week the Mississippi Supreme Court granted a new trial to Cory Maye, who is serving a life sentence for shooting and killing Prentiss, Miss., police officer Ron Jones during a botched drug raid on Maye's apartment. One of the key prosecution witnesses in Maye's case was Steven Hayne, an overworked, ethically dubious medical examiner who performed the overwhelming majority of criminal autopsies in Mississippi for two decades, from the late 1980s until 2008. Although last week's ruling did not address Hayne's work, it presents an opportunity to consider recent developments in Mississippi's slow evolution toward a more competent death investigation system.

Baptist Eyes Expansion; New Boutique

Baptist Health Systems is in talks with owners of Keifer's Restaurant to purchase the Belhaven eatery's site on Poplar Boulevard. Baptist spokesman Robby Channell said that the move, while not finalized, is part of the hospital's plans to construct a five-story mixed-use office building nearby on the site of the KFC at North State and Manship streets, which it owns.

Scott Crawford

Scott Crawford believes that visualizing a dream is the first step to making it happen. That concept inspired him to design his ideal city of Jackson with LEGO blocks.

Boys and Girls Club to Close Again?

Boys & Girls Club of Central Mississippi President and CEO Billy Redd said his organization is planning to close three area facilities for the second time in two years because of a lack of long-term funding.

Monday, December 6

Supes Address Emergency-Tech Delays

Hinds County emergency responders may have to wait another six months before technology that traces the location of cell phone 911 calls is available. Gaps in communication are to blame for the county's delay in implementing the technology, Blake Wallace, executive director of the county's Economic Development District, told the county Board of Supervisors today.

BP Claims Ignoring Fishing and Casino Workers?

Despite the fact that Gov. Haley Barbour announced last week that the BP has paid $181 million in Mississippi oil spill claims as of Dec. 1, Mississippi Gulf Coast fishing industry representative Linda St. Martin claims the oil company and the federal government aren't working hard enough to repair the lives of the fishing industries and casino affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

Eric Hogan

Even though Eric Hogan earned a bachelor's degree in industrial technology, he has struggled for the past 12 years to find a job in his field because he has Asperger's syndrome. His experience inspired him to form the nonprofit organization, Autistic Advancement, to break the stigma associated with autism.

Community Events and Public Meetings

6 p.m., Jackson Arts Collective Monthly Meeting, at The Commons at Eudora Welty's Birthplace (719 N. Congress St.). The Collective Steering Committee meets to discuss business of the previous month and listen to local artist proposals for collective sponsorship of events that fall in line with its mission. Open to the public. Call 601-497-7454.

City to Hold JATRAN Hearings

The City of Jackson will hold public hearings to determine which JATRAN routes should be cut to offset an unexpected $1.5 million in mandatory wage increases for JATRAN bus drivers.

Friday, December 3

Mississippi Lawmakers Split on Tax Cuts

Mississippi Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker will likely side with their Republican colleagues Saturday in blocking a return to pre-Bush-era tax rates for wealthy Americans that the U.S. House of Representatives passed yesterday.

Children's Museum Opens to the Public

After more than two decades of planning, the Mississippi Children's Museum will open its doors to an estimated 5,000 visitors tomorrow morning.

Socrates Garrett

Jackson business owner Socrates Garrett encouraged community members to work across political and racial divides during a forum at Koininia Coffee House this morning.

Weekend Events: ‘Tis the Season

It's officially the holiday season, so grab a warm coat and scarf, and head out to the area's festive events this weekend. Tonight, the City of Jackson hosts its annual tree lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. at Jackson City Hall (219 S. President St). This year's theme is: "Have a Holly, Jolly, Healthy Holiday." Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. will address the city, and the Poindexter Elementary and Cade Chapel Choir will perform. Afterward, head to the Millsaps College's Ford Academic Complex (1701 N. State Street) for "A Christmas Carol Concert," featuring the Millsaps Singers Choir. The event is free and open to the public. If you are the mood to dance, head to Mezza Restaurant (1896 Main St., Madison) for Salsa Mississippi's Salsa Mezza; Admission is $10. Visit the JFP's Best Bets for the weekend's hottest picks.

Mississippi Supreme Court Grants New Trial for Maye

Read the Supreme Court's decision.

Thursday, December 2

State Agency Finds JPS Violating Disability Law

Jackson Public Schools has one month to improve the way it educates special-education students, according to a Mississippi Department of Education's Nov. 22 decision. The decision states that JPS fails to provide appropriate special-education services to students with behavioral and emotional disorders, a violation of the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, referred to as the IDEA.

Advocates Push for State Energy Program

Sustainable-energy proponents pushed utility-industry representatives and government staffers today to consider implementing a new statewide energy efficiency program funded by the utility industry.

Chris Roebuck

When a friend dared Chris Roebuck to audition for "Fiddler on the Roof," while he was a student at Mississippi College, he never expected that experience would lead to a career in theater.

Judge Throws Out Edmonds' Suit

Read Judge Biggers' decision (PDF).

Wednesday, December 1

Let Me Count the Ways

As the holiday season approaches, we tend to focus on the things that overwhelm us: We have gifts to purchase, meals to prepare, out-of-town guests to accommodate and spaces to spruce up and decorate. Of course, life doesn't stop there. We're faced with the overwhelming task of trying to balance all of this increased activity with already-full schedules, as well as the demands of work, family and social lives.

Something Shiny

Even little kids like jewelry that's sparkly and shiny. But we don't come to fully appreciate the beauty of the glitz until we're adults. Jewelry is something that can be worn just to jazz up an outfit or as a symbol of your love and devotion to another person. Put jewelry on your shopping list this holiday. You won't disappoint.

Not Empty Handed

As you make your holiday party rounds, don't show up empty handed. Be sure to bring a gift for your host or hostess.

The Convenient Kitchen

In our endeavors to live simply and cut back our food spending, my husband, Mason, and I have found how important it is to cook at home. A delicious homemade meal tastes so much better and is even cheaper than eating a meal at a fast food restaurant. Part of the motivation for cooking at home, however, is having good tools that make your time in the kitchen rewarding.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Doctor S sez: South Panola High is back in town. The Tigers have turned Memorial Stadium into their home away from home.

For the Gents

Whether buying for your husband, son, father, boyfriend or boss—these gift ideas are sure to bring a smile to his face this holiday season.

‘As Safe As Any Sport'

Every Monday night at 8 p.m., millions of sports fans tune in to the USA Network to watch World Wrestling Entertainment's "Monday Night Raw." But wrestling is one of the oldest sports known to man and was a legitimate sport long before promoters like Vince McMahon brought larger-than-life characters like Hulk Hogan, The Rock and Triple H to the screen for entertainment purposes.

Cost-Effective Abundance

The holidays are a time of enjoying family and celebrating abundance. But if you find yourself in a tight spot financially, the cost of the Christmas meal can make your holidays feel a bit less plentiful. With a little planning and creativity, the holiday dinner doesn't have to leave you strapped for cash. Here are some ideas for a delicious, healthy dinner that costs less, reduces waste and leaves your family healthier.

If You Like Piña Coladas . . .

I have had a can of frozen piña colada mix hanging out in my freezer for months. I'm tired of looking at it. I need to do something with it. I know, I know, the obvious choice would be to get some rum and little paper umbrellas and make drinks. But it's the holidays. I'm in the mood for hot chocolate, spiced rum cider or mulled wine, not a cold, fruity drink.

All God's Children

One image won't leave my head since I finished my part of the cover story I wrote this issue with freelance writer Valerie Wells (starts here): A deputy with his foot against a door as a desperate mother tries to get through to be with her 
13-year-old son during a police interrogation that will elicit a murder confession that may or may not have any truth to it.

PSC Examining Charitable Contributions

Mississippi Public Service Commissioners Brandon Presley and Lynn Posey say they want to limit ratepayers funding charitable donations given by utility companies.

Creating Synergy

As Wes Holsapple II walks through the soon-to-be filled offices on the second floor of the Regions Plaza building on Thanksgiving eve, his mind is far from turkey and stuffing. As the executive director of the Venture Incubator, he is focused on creating a hub to help small business owners flourish.

You Get What You Pay For

The confluence of two events brought home hard truths about the values that some Mississippians seem to hold dear: The first was Gov. Haley Barbour's budget recommendations for fiscal year 2012. The second was our cover story this week about children being tried as adults and, subsequently, incarcerated in sub-standard facilities, or thrown in with hardened criminals in adult prisons.

[Stiggers] Year-End Financial Dilemma

Rudy McBride: "Now that Thanksgiving and Black Friday have passed, how do you feel today? You've spent your hard-earned money on a few days of happiness. The leftover food is gone. Money in your checking account is low, and you need to earn more money from a temporary, second job to help pay those nagging pre-holiday bills."

[Adkins] Save Fondren's Main Street

A few weeks ago I went to Perfect Fit Alterations and enjoyed visiting while trying on pants to be hemmed. Then I walked next door to Jackson Shoe Repair where I took two pairs of shoes to get some TLC. Next, I walked to Wells Cleaners where I picked up a pile of dry cleaning and left another for next week.

Rush to Judgment: Trying Kids As Adults

Tyler Wayne Edmonds took his last seventh-grade exam at Fifth Street Junior High School in West Point on a Thursday and was confident he had done well. So far, 2003 had turned out to be a pretty good year for the 13-year-old skinny honors student with short hair and big eyes.

Meyers Named JSU President

Jackson State University is set to have its first female president. The Board of Trustees for Mississippi's universities voted this afternoon to finalize its appointment of Dr. Carolyn Meyers as JSU president.

Muddy Dreams

Most people who grew up in Mississippi probably recall making mud pies as a child. For the creative pie, you dug up wet, red Mississippi clay and squished it though your fingers, patting and patting, to make that perfect shape. There was nothing more satisfying than making something so nice out of something so messy.

Hello and Goodbye

Just about everyone in Jackson (maybe even statewide) knows Josh Hailey's name. From local rappers to news-making politicians and those Millsaps "Are you one?" billboards, Josh has captured Jackson life on film. When he's not stealing snapshots, you might catch him prancing around in that gold lame bodysuit of his. He's a permanent fixture in the capital city. Until he's not.

In Search of Place

When Jamie Weems was touring Europe last year, unexpected detours became some of the most memorable experiences from his trip. Those moments inspired him and his band, Strange Pilgrims, to produce a body of music.

Homeland Soul

Each instrument's note, with its distinct tone, stacks one on top of another and builds a sound so bountiful and lush, they swaddle the listener's ear. The horns blast, starting and stopping at the exact same moment, as if a machine is playing them, not humans. The boom-clack of the drums helps band members keep time.

A Mostly Nice List of Offbeat Holiday Films

The holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving is past, and Christmas is coming up faster than a speeding sleigh. When you need a moment away from the maddening traffic and endless lines, try popping one of these movies in your DVD player for a breather. It's a mixed bag of Yuletide mayhem, some slightly more obvious than others, but all guaranteed to take your mind off shopping and wrapping and socializing.

Scott Sisters' Clemency Momentum Growing

Support for imprisoned sisters Jamie and Gladys Scott is growing as an anticipated deadline for their clemency petition nears. The sisters, who are in the 17th year of their double life sentences for armed robbery, have a petition for clemency or pardon pending before Gov. Haley Barbour.

Payday Lenders Big Donors to Lawmakers

The Mississippi Center for Justice says short-term lenders donate heavily to legislative banking committee chairmen in hopes of extending an exemption allowing them to charge up to $21.95 for every $100 loaned.

Advocacy Groups Address JPS Disability Violations

Verbatim Statement from the Mississippi Youth Justice Project:

Last week, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) issued a major decision that declared the Jackson Public School District (JPS) in violation of major components of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), the federal law that ensures all students with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education. The MDE decision was issued in response to a complaint filed on behalf of students with disabilities by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Disability Rights Mississippi (DRMS) and the Southern Disability Law Center (SDLC). According to the decision, JPS's failure to resolve the IDEA violations could adversely affect its accreditation status.

Meyers Visits Jackson State

Dr. Carolyn W. Meyers, who will likely be the next president of Jackson State University, visits the campus today to meet with various groups. Following the meetings, the state college board will vote on Meyers' appointment.

Wanda Collier Wilson

Nestled in her austerely decorated downtown office, Jackson Convention and Visitor's Bureau CEO and President Wanda Collier Wilson is no stranger to hard work. Not one to put up a big fuss about the numerous awards and plaques hanging on her walls and sitting on shelves, she speaks with a calm and powerful voice that catches the attention of those around her.

City to Open Emergency Homeless Shelters

Verbatim Statement:

The City of Jackson is working with the Stewpot Community Opportunity Center to provide emergency shelter for individuals in need tonight. The Opportunity Center will open for emergency shelter once the Gateway Rescue Mission Center and Billy Brumsfield Shelter are full.