Stories for April 2013


Tuesday, April 30

Noose Hung at Meridian Mayoral Candidate's Office

Someone hung a noose with a stuffed animal outside the office a Meridian mayoral candidate.

Lawyer: Former Ricin Suspect's Home is Unlivable

Attorneys for a Mississippi man who was briefly charged with sending ricin-laced letters to the president and others are encouraged after speaking with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office about repairing or replacing the man's house after an intensive search left it uninhabitable.

S&P 500 Reaches New High, Led by Tech

Technology companies led the Standard & Poor's 500 index to an all-time closing high Monday.

For Boston Bomb Suspect, a Seasoned Defense Team

Miriam Conrad is preparing for what's expected to be a long and complicated legal process.

Willem-Alexander Becomes New Dutch King

Willem-Alexander became the first Dutch king in more than a century Tuesday and pledged to use his ceremonial position as head of state to help steer his country through uncertain economic times.

Outraged Lawmakers Look to Change Military Justice

Outrage over an Air Force officer's decision to overturn a jury's guilty verdict in a sexual assault case has Republicans and Democrats joining forces on ambitious legislation to change the military justice system.

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Mississippi Preps for Year's First Execution

Willie Jerome Manning, who is scheduled to be the first person Mississippi executes in 2013, is asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider several issues that could have affected his sentence.

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Musician's Emporium, Pig and Pint, Tax Credits and Employer Support

Musician's Emporium Bar & Grill, located at 642 Tombigbee St., in Jackson, celebrated its grand opening April 19.

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Felder Rushing

Felder Rushing is a man whose gardening roots run deep.

'I'm gay': NBA Player Jason Collins Breaks Barrier

For more than a decade as a professional athlete, Collins remained silent about his sexuality, worried about what teammates, opponents, fans — the world, really — might think.

Remains of Miss. Soldier Returning 60 Years Later

After the disappearance of Sgt. Willard Williams in Korea in 1950, his family created a comforting myth.

Monday, April 29

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Development Rough on Existing Business

Scott Stringer is a co-owner at Lott Furniture Company on Capitol Street. He has a business to run and a budget to balance. Lately, the latter is proving a lot harder to do in the downtown area.

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More States Blow the Whistle on High School Football Heat Illness

Spring football practice started this month for high schools across the country, and teams are drawing up game plans for the heat as well as this fall's opponents.

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Candice Stocker

Candice Stocker is one of the organizers of Community Animal Rescue & Adoption Inc.'s upcoming Jail-n-Bail fundraiser event May 2. She also sits on CARA's board of directors.

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Community Events and Public Meetings

A Freedom Riders Pilgrimage Stop is Tuesday, April 30, at 9 a.m. in front of the statue at Medgar Evers Library.

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VIDEO: Regina Quinn on Jackson Development

Regina Quinn visited the JFP to discuss her ideas for Jackson.

Graduation Latest Stop on Walker's Redemption Road

One-time high school and Mississippi State football star Dontae Walker says he's overcome his past.

A New Front for Gun Background Checks: The Ballot

After struggling to sway both state and federal lawmakers, proponents of expanding background checks for gun sales are now exploring whether they will have more success by taking the issue directly to voters.

In a First, Black Voter Turnout Rate Passes Whites

America's blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

Per-Student Pre-K Spending Lowest in Decade

State funding for pre-kindergarten programs had its largest drop ever last year and states are now spending less per child than they did a decade ago, according to a report released Monday.

Hurdles to Talks High After North Korea Threats

After weeks of fiery rhetoric, military posturing and threats that it's willing to strike back hard if provoked, North Korea appears to be taking a bit of a breather.

Hospitals See Surge of Superbug-Fighting Products

In U.S. hospitals, an estimated 1 in 20 patients pick up infections they didn't have when they arrived, some caused by dangerous 'superbugs' that are hard to treat.

5 Car Bombs Kill 36 in Shiite Areas Across Iraq

Five car bombs struck in predominantly Shiite cities and districts in central and southern Iraq on Monday, killing 36 people and wounding dozens in the latest wave of violence roiling the country, Iraqi officials said.

Dutschke in Court Today on Ricin Charges

A Mississippi man who describes himself as a patriot with no grudges against anyone was expected to appear in court Monday on charges of making and possessing ricin.

Sunday, April 28

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10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.

Saturday, April 27

Miss. Lawmakers Pass Incentives for Tire Maker

A Japanese company will get incentives that could be worth more than $330 million to build a tire manufacturing plant in Clay County.

Friday, April 26

Country Legend George Jones Dead at 81

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — When it comes to country music, George Jones was The Voice. Other great singers have come and gone, but this fact remained inviolate until Jones passed away Friday at 81 in a Nashville hospital after a year of ill health.

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Tire Plant Sparks Regional Disputes

A proposed tire plant in West Point, which was the focus of a special session of the Mississippi Legislature today, drew light criticism from lawmakers around the state.

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Lack Of Competition Might Hamper Health Exchanges

The White House sums up the central idea behind the health care exchanges in the new federal health law with a simple motto: "more choices, greater competition."

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Jobie L. Martin Classroom Building

A locally designed building on the campus of Hinds Community College has received a national award for excellence from the American Institute of Architecture.

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It's the Weekend!

On Sunday, Ballet Mississippi's "The Sleeping Beauty, Act III" is at 2 p.m. at Thalia Mara Hall.

May 7 Execution Set for Man in 1992 Miss. Slayings

The Mississippi Supreme Court has set a May 7 execution date for Willie Jerome Manning, who was convicted of killing two Mississippi State University students two decades ago.

Nissan Gives $500K to Canton Schools

Canton school officials say a gift from Nissan North America will be used to help at-risk students.

U.S. Applications for Unemployment Aid Drop to 339K

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, the second-fewest in more than five years.

Fathers and Firefighters: Lives Lost in West, Texas

With help from relatives, friends, obituaries of the deceased released by local funeral homes and information provided at a memorial service, The Associated Press compiled vignettes of the 14 victims who died in the West, Texas blast.

Man Named in Poison Letters Case Goes into Hiding

A Mississippi man whose home was searched in the investigation of poisoned letters sent to the president and others has apparently gone into hiding, but his attorney said he is cooperating and the FBI knows how to get in touch with him.

U.S. Economy Accelerates at 2.5 Percent Rate in Q1

U.S. economic growth accelerated to an annual rate of 2.5 percent from January through March, buoyed by the strongest consumer spending in more than two years.

Bill to End Airport Delays Headed for House Vote

Legislation to end furloughs of air traffic controllers and delays for millions of travelers is headed to a House vote after a dark-of-night vote in the Senate that took place after most lawmakers had left the Capitol for a weeklong vacation.

Toll in Bangladesh Building Collapse Passes 300

More than two days after their factory collapsed on them, at least some garment workers were still alive in the corpse-littered debris Friday, pinned beneath tons of mangled metal and concrete.

Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Out of Hospital

The surviving Boston Marathon bombings suspect has been released from a civilian hospital and transferred to a federal medical detention center in central Massachusetts.

Big Brands Rejected Bangladesh Factory Safety Plan

As Bangladesh reels from the deaths of hundreds of garment workers, the refusal of global retailers to pay for inspections brings renewed scrutiny.

Environmental Groups Sue TVA Over Coal Plant

A coalition of environmental groups is suing the Tennessee Valley Authority over its decision to continue operating a coal-burning power plant in Gallatin.

Thursday, April 25

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Boston Bombing Suspects Echo Home-Grown Terrorists in Madrid, London Attacks

The story of the Boston bombers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, is still unfolding at high speed. Many aspects of the case, including the brothers' motivations, are not yet clear.

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Joseph LeBeau & Rico Richardson

Over the next three days (starting tonight, April 25, with the first round) the NFL will hold its annual amateur draft. Two Jackson State Tigers are hoping to hear their names called before the draft ends.

Oil Spill Judge: What is Gross Negligence?

The judge who will allocate responsibility for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill has told lawyers to give him their views about whether a series of negligent acts can add up to gross negligence.

Ricin-Laced Letters Leading to a Miss. Mystery

Of three ricin-laced letters mailed this month to public officials, only one made it into the hands of an intended target, 80-year-old Mississippi judge Sadie Holland.

RI on Way to be 10th State to Allow Gay Marriage

Rhode Island is on a path to becoming the 10th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry after a landmark vote in the state's Senate on Wednesday.

Mississippi Men's Feud Looms Over Ricin Probe

The investigation into poisoned letters mailed to President Barack Obama and others has shifted from an Elvis impersonator to his longtime foe, and authorities must now figure out if an online feud between the two men might have escalated into something more sinister.

Fuel Barges Explode, Catch Fire in Ala.; 3 Hurt

Multiple explosions aboard two fuel barges near Mobile, Ala., led to a major fire Wednesday night that left three people hospitalized with burns and created a situation so unstable that fire and rescue officials decided to let the fire burn into the night.

Dems, GOP Talk Up Deficit Reduction, but Don't Act

Liberals' loud objections to White House proposals for slowing the growth of huge social programs make it clear that neither political party puts a high priority on reducing the deficit, despite much talk to the contrary.

Fathers, Firefighters: Lives Lost in West, Texas

With help from relatives, friends and obituaries of the deceased released by local funeral homes, The Associated Press compiled vignettes of some of the 14 victims who died in the West, Texas blast.

Officials: Bomb Suspect Silent After Read Rights

Sixteen hours after investigators began interrogating him, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings went silent: He'd just been read his constitutional rights.

Living Presidents Salute One of Their Own

All the living American presidents past and present are gathering in Dallas, a rare reunion to salute one of their own at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

Miss. Special Session Friday for Auto Parts Maker

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is calling lawmakers back to the Capitol this Friday for what many hope will be a quick a special session to lure an auto parts maker to the state.

Wednesday, April 24

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Coast Reflections

The Mississippi Gulf Coast has always had a special place in my heart. In recent years while living in Jackson, I have become an adamant advocate for staying close to my Biloxi roots. On a visit to the coast a couple weekends ago, I employed my friends’ help to gather materials for a project I had in mind. We stopped by one of the local shrimp yards to collect the sun-bleached oyster shells—that once form the coastal gravel of the Back Bay shores—to help me make this weekend’s project. 

The Slate

The NFL Draft starts Thursday and ends Saturday and 254 college football players' dreams will come true when they hear their name announced. The waiting will be the hardest part for some players.

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Scouting the Picks

Nearly every NFL team will probably feel good about themselves after the final pick of the 2013 NFL Draft is announced.

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Fixing Defense in the Draft

The New Orleans Saints should focus on two things during the 2013 NFL Draft: their defense and their offensive line.

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Spring into Fun

Hip hip hooray! It is almost summer time! It seems that everyone has caught spring fever and is ready to get out and about for some good times here in the City with Soul.

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Burnett Retrospective at the Strand

Mississippi native Charles Burnett’s 1978 film “Killer of Sheep” is one of several films he directed featured at this weekend’s retrospective in Vicksburg.

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Taking it Slow

The Slow Movement is running rampant, though it likes to run at the speed of a tortoise.

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Pizza the Hutt

Pizza is a big deal. Sometimes folks' love of it borders on a religious fixation. They debate endlessly about what makes the perfect slice. This weekend, chef Jesse Houston will add several new contenders to that conversation, in his return to Sal & Mookie's for the second Pop-up Pizza in Jackson, fittingly titled "The Empire State Strikes Back."

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Priority Woman

The need to take care of everybody else or to be perfect--or at least, to be what everyone expects you to be all the time--seems to be characteristically, though not exclusively, a female trait.

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City in the Sky

The long-awaited sequel to the critically acclaimed "Bioshock" series is finally here, and despite its flaws, it was worth the wait.

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The Joy of Failure

The function of Dwarf Fortress is to simulate in unnerving complexity a chaotic, living world, from its geology to its psychology.

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Grafting Tomatoes ‘The Next Big Thing?’

Southern organic gardeners are discovering what could be The Next Big Thing in tomatoes: grafting.

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A ‘Sound, Sensible’ Organics Program

The National Organic Program must be sensing increasing numbers of small farmers turning away from the USDA's certified organic program.

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Amazing Teens

If kids are our future, we have a lot to look forward to as the 16 young people chosen as this year’s Amazing Teens grow into adulthood.

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Jonathan Lee on the Defensive Over Business Judgments (Plus Audio)

Jonathan Lee, candidate for mayor of Jackson, Miss., is on the defensive over default judgments against his family's business.

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We Are Family

A few weeks ago the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Proposition 8, the California law banning same-sex marriage, and the Defense of Marriage Act, the law Congress passed in 1996 that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Kemper Shareholders Should Share Pain

MPC's 582-megatwatt Kemper IGCC coal-fired power plant is now more than 80 percent complete. Since January, Southern's stock price has risen steadily from just above $42 in January to around $48.50 this week.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Choices'

"Public" means just that—one's past and present will become an open book should you decide to run for office.

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Calming the Worried

"In times like these, I reflect on the many unfortunate events we have experienced over the last 50 years. The baby-boom generation should already know them."

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Wilson: Engaging our Youth

Albert Wilson has spent his adult life trying to reach out to the next generation. Now he wants to reach them from the Jackson City Council.

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Wright: A Familiar Face

Charity Wright has dedicated her last 14 years to working in City Hall in the Jackson City Clerk's office. Now she is asking for a promotion—to city councilwoman.

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Health Cuts Still Loom Despite Obama Plan

President Barack Obama's recent recommendation to delay some Medicaid cuts has not deterred the hospitals that rely on the payments or health-care advocates from pushing to expand Medicaid in the state.

Your Turn

From A comment on “The JFP Urban Development Manifesto,” by Todd Stauffer

Question o' the Week: What was the most important lesson you learned as a teenager?

What was the most important lesson you learned as a teenager?

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You & JFP

Favorite quote: "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got."

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Jackson Development: Who’s On First?

When it comes to the big development projects in Jackson, political candidates like to express their disapproval with how the mayor's office and city council handles business.

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As Rates Soar, Kemper’s Investors Cash In

After several credit downgrades and gloomy financial forecasts, the balance sheets of utility companies constructing a 580-megawatt coal power plant in eastern Mississippi are improving as their ratepayers are saddled with steep price increases.

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Tracee Thompson

Tracee Thompson is the Jackson Public School district's 2013 Teacher of the Year.

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Great Expectations

All of us need to be believed in, regardless of the luck of our early circumstances.

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A Shoestring Fling

Operation Shoestring is a community organization based around kids and families that has been making a difference for nearly 50 years.

Millsaps Group Helping Boost Businesses

Millsaps College has formed ELSEWorks, a group of students and faculty that engages the area's business and community leaders to promote growth and opportunity.

Help for 'Uninsurables' Mired in Political Battle

Republicans are offering to bail out a financially strapped program in the federal health overhaul, one that's a lifeline for uninsured people with medical problems.

3 Murder Charges Against Pa. Abortion Doc Tossed

A judge tossed three of eight murder charges Tuesday in the high-profile trial of an abortion doctor accused of killing babies prosecutors say were born alive at a clinic they dubbed "a house of horrors."

30 Years Later, Nation Remains at Educational Risk

U.S. students are falling behind their international rivals. Young people aren't adept at new technology. America's economy will suffer if schools don't step up their game.

Governments May Push Workers to Health Exchange

Washington state lawmakers have found a creative way to pass a large chunk of their health care expenses along to Washington, D.C.

87 Dead in Bangladesh Garment Factory Collapse

An eight-story building housing several garment factories collapsed near Bangladesh's capital on Wednesday, killing at least 87 people and trapping many more under a jumbled mess of concrete.

UK in Dark Mood as New Recession May be Confirmed

Recession may just be a word. But in Britain it may become a habit—and a dangerous one at that.

Tupelo Man Investigated in Ricin Case

Law enforcement officials searched the home of a second Mississippi man in connection to ricin-laced letters sent to the president and a U.S. senator.

Coast Guard: No Danger from Sunken Barge

Authorities say the barge that sank after hitting a bridge on the Mississippi River at Vicksburg poses no dangers to shipping or the environment.

Tuesday, April 23

UPDATE: Charges Dropped on Ricin Suspect

A court filing says charges have been dropped against a Mississippi man accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and others.

Attorney: Ricin Suspect was Released on Bond

FBI agents returned to another man's house where they'd previously searched in connection with the case.

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Ward 5 Candidates Face Off

The race for Jackson's Ward 5 city council seat heated up Monday night on the second floor of the Margaret Walker Alexander building on Jackson State University's campus.

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Thalia Mara, Grants, Bowling, Film, Social Media, CEO Pay

Jackson's Thalia Mara Hall will begin a $5.5 million renovation in January, thanks in part to the state Legislature's $1 million appropriation.

No Explanation for Ricin Suspect's Release

Paul Kevin Curtis has been released from custody hours after officials canceled a detention and preliminary hearing without explanation.

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Dr. Billy Kim

Belhaven University welcomes the addition of a campus international center named for the first Asian elected as president of the 40-million-member Baptist World Alliance: Dr. Billy Kim, a global spiritual leader, advocate for the poor, and humanitarian.

Halliburton Seeking Settlement Over Gulf Oil Spill

BP's cement contractor on the drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 announced Monday that it is trying to negotiate a settlement over its role in the disaster, a focus of trial testimony that ended last week.

Bryant: Session Coming for Auto Corridor Project

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said Monday that he will call lawmakers into special session to deal with an economic development project in what he calls the state's auto corridor.

Hearing to Focus on Ricin Suspect's Mental State

The third day of a hearing for the Mississippi man accused of mailing poisoned letters to President Barack Obama, a U.S. senator and a local judge was expected to include testimony on his mental state after authorities acknowledged they have found little physical evidence so far.

Drop in Gas Prices Benefits U.S. Drivers, Economy

A sharp decline in the price of oil this month is making gasoline cheaper at a time of year when it typically gets more expensive.

Flight Delays Pile Up Amid FAA Budget Cuts

Flight delays piled up across the country Monday as thousands of air traffic controllers began taking unpaid days off because of federal budget cuts.

AP Impact: Congress Slows Military Efforts to Save

Parked around the airstrip at Lackland Air Force Base are more than a dozen massive C-5A Galaxy transport planes.

Tax-Free Internet Shopping Jeopardized by Bill

Tax-free shopping on the Internet could be in jeopardy under a bill making its way through the Senate.

Bernanke to Miss Conference, Hinting at Departure

Ben Bernanke is intensifying speculation that this year will be his last as Federal Reserve chairman by deciding to skip the Fed's annual August conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Boston Bomb Suspect Interrogated and Charged

The 19-year-old charged with the Boston Marathon bombing, his throat injured by a gunshot wound, wrote down answers to the questions of investigators about his motives and connections to any terror networks.

FBI: No Ricin Found in Home of Mississippi Suspect

Investigators haven't found any ricin in the house of a Mississippi man accused of mailing poisoned letters to President Barack Obama, a U.S. senator and a local judge, according to testimony Monday from an FBI agent.

Monday, April 22

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Jackson Man Dies in Prison Disturbance

Demond Flowers, of Jackson, died in a disturbance over the weekend at a Mississippi state prison.

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Beach Bacteria: DNA Tests Offer Quicker Results

Just in time for swimsuit season, federal researchers are touting a faster, more accurate water-quality test to keep beaches open and people healthy.

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Maura Phillips

Maura Phillips is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, and she works in the mortgage industry for a company called Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp.

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Community Events and Public Meetings

The American Cancer Society is seeking volunteers ages 30-65 without a history of cancer to participate in a long-term cancer study.

Hearing to Continue Monday in Ricin Letter Case

The man charged with mailing ricin-laced letters to the president and a senator was expected back in court Monday, and the hearing could reveal what evidence authorities have collected from searches of his home and vehicle.

Welty Memorabilia Donated to University

A Jackson lawyer has donated memorabilia on author Eudora Welty to Mississippi University for Women.

Hood Supports Indian Adoption Law

The U.S. Supreme Court could determine the impact of a federal law that gives jurisdiction over adoptions of American Indian children to tribal courts instead of state courts.

Miss. River Still Closed After Barges Hit Bridge

The Mississippi River remains closed Monday as authorities worked to determine whether a sunken barge was a navigation hazard.

Prayer and Waiting in Texas Town Rocked by Blast

The First Baptist Church in the tiny Texas town where a fertilizer plant exploded is still off-limits, so the Rev. John Crowder put folding chairs in a hay pasture and improvised a pulpit on a truck flatbed.

FAA Furloughs Kick in, Some Flight Delays Appear

Commercial airline flights moved smoothly throughout most of the country on Sunday, the first day air traffic controllers were subject to furloughs resulting from government spending cuts.

China Rushes Relief After Sichuan Quake Kills 188

After dynamiting through landslide-blocked roads, Chinese relief crews hurried food, water and other supplies into the rural hills of China's Sichuan province Monday, two days after an earthquake killed at least 188 people and injured more than 11,000.

Recall Bid Against Ariz. Sheriff Faces Tough Odds

Volunteers set up a table outside a music festival one day last month to gather signatures for a drive to oust the notoriously polarizing sheriff of metropolitan Phoenix.

Pakistan Government Says It Won't Charge Musharraf

Pakistan's caretaker government told the Supreme Court on Monday it will not file treason charges against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf but will leave the decision on that to the winner of the upcoming election.

Feds Want to Interview Suspected Bomber's Wife

Federal authorities have asked to speak with the wife of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and her lawyer said he is discussing with them how to proceed.

Boston Bombing Suspect Unable to Speak

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev remains hospitalized and unable to speak Monday with a gunshot wound to the throat.

Sunday, April 21

Mass. Governor: Video Shows 19-Year-Old Placing Bomb At Boston Marathon

WASHINGTON (AP) — Surveillance video from the Boston Marathon attack shows one suspect dropping his backpack and calmly walking away from it before the bomb inside exploded, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Sunday.

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10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.

Saturday, April 20

Miss. Becomes 3rd State to Sue BP for Oil Spill

Mississippi has become the third state to sue BP PLC over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Friday, April 19

UPDATE: Second Bombing Suspect is in Custody

Boston Police say a 19-year-old college student wanted in the Boston Marathon bombings is in custody after a manhunt that left the city virtually paralyzed and his older brother and accomplice dead.

Boy Scouts May Allow Gay Youth

Searching for compromise on a divisive issue, the Boy Scouts of America is proposing to partially lift its long-standing exclusion of gays — allowing them as youth members but continuing to bar them as adult leaders.

Its Streets Deserted, an Uneasy Boston Perseveres

The killing of one suspected Boston Marathon bomber and the manhunt for another brought life in large swaths of the notoriously gridlocked Beantown to a screeching halt, leaving residents and tourists alike frustrated and angry.

Manhunt in Boston After Bombing Suspect is Killed

With the city virtually paralyzed, thousands of officers with rifles and armored vehicles swarmed the streets in and around Boston on Friday, hunting for a 19-year-old college student wanted in the Boston Marathon bombing after his older brother and alleged accomplice was killed in a furious getaway attempt overnight.

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Mississippi Part of Emotional News Week

Mississippians are watching closely as a roller-coaster week of tragic events continues to unfold this morning.

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Double Dose: In Second Case of Flawed Drug Research, FDA Response Was Slow and Secretive

The FDA found that data produced from 2000 through 2004 at two MDS facilities in Quebec, Canada, were questionable.

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Josh Lindsey

Josh Lindsey didn't know how long he would be a teacher after he moved to Hancock County in 2006.

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It's the Weekend!

Tonight, enjoy craft beer samples and music during Zoo Brew from 6-9 p.m. at the Jackson Zoo.

3 Years Later: Oil Spill Cleanup, Study Carries On

At first glance, the marshy, muddy coastline of Bay Jimmy in southeast Louisiana appears healthy three years after the nation's worst offshore oil spill.

U.S. Unemployment Aid Applications Rise to 352K

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits increased just 4,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 352,000.

Man Charged in Letters Case Described as Troubled

A Mississippi man charged with sending ricin-laced letters to the president and other officials was described Thursday as a good father, a quiet neighbor and an entertainer who impersonated Elvis at parties.

Newman, Adler Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame

Randy Newman is now a hall of famer.

Police Arrest Former Pakistani Ruler Musharraf

Police arrested former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf overnight at his home in the capital, where he had holed up following a dramatic escape from court to avoid being detained, officials said Friday.

Judiciary Committee Takes Up Immigration Bill

A far-reaching new immigration bill is getting its first test at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, where opponents of the legislation will be able to face off with its authors.

Residents Honor Lost, but Texas Blast Toll Unknown

The neighborhood surrounding a Texas fertilizer plant that erupted in a thunderous explosion is gone, and the residents here know they've lost more than the buildings that went up in flames.

Toll in Texas Blast Rises; 12 Dead, 200+ Injured

The bodies of 12 people have been recovered after an enormous Texas fertilizer plant explosion that demolished surrounding neighborhoods.

Militants in Chechnya and North Caucasus Have Recent History of Bombings, Terror

MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP) — Militants from Chechnya and other restive regions in Russia's volatile North Caucasus have targeted Moscow and other areas with bombings and hostage-takings, but if it turns out that the suspects in the Boston bombings are linked to those insurgencies it would mark the first time the Russian conflict had spawned a terror attack in the West.

Boston Bomber Suspect's Father: He's a 'True Angel'

MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP) — The father of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing claims that his son who is still on the loose is a smart and accomplished young man.

1 of 2 Boston Bombing Suspects Dead

Two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices.

College Board Approves Plan to Divide State Aid

Mississippi University for Women, the University of Mississippi and Alcorn State University will get financial boosts under a new formula to distribute state money among Mississippi's eight public universities.

Police Officer Shot and Killed on MIT Campus; Manhunt Ensues

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — A police officer for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been shot and killed at the campus outside of Boston, authorities said early Friday. No arrests had been made and a manhunt was on for the shooter.

Thursday, April 18

Officers Enter Ricin Suspect's Home

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — A team of law enforcement officers has entered the home of a Mississippi man accused of sending letters with poisonous ricin to the president and others.

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UMMC's Gay Named to Time Mag's 100 Most Influential List

TIME named HIV specialist Dr. Hannah Gay, UMMC associate professor of pediatrics, to the 2013 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

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Bank Robbery in Fondren

Jackson Police responded to a bank robbery at 3:14 PM at the Regions Bank on North State Street.

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Water, Water Everywhere

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. wants to improve the city's water capacity with a 1.5 million gallon water tower at the corner of Fortification Street and Mill Street to be completed in July 2014.

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Consumer Groups Fear Patients Could Be Hit With Large Out-Of-Pocket Costs

Some consumers may continue to face out-of-pocket health costs of $12,500 or more next year—double the amount allowed by the health law—because the Obama administration won't enforce that provision for some plans for another year.

Scruggs Granted Return to Prison Pending Appeal

Disbarred Mississippi attorney Richard "Dickie" Scruggs has gotten his wish to return to federal prison pending an appeal of a judicial corruption conviction.

College Funding Formula Set for Full Board Vote

A College Board committee voted Wednesday to send a plan shifting how state money is distributed among Mississippi's eight universities to the full board.

EMEPA Says Some Rates Increase Because of Kemper

East Mississippi Electric Association is raising rates for some customers because of higher wholesale power rates charged by Mississippi Power Co. to cover the costs of its Kemper County power plant.

Pa. Abortion Trial: Assistant Gave Anesthesia

A woman trained only as a medical assistant told jurors Wednesday that she gave anesthesia, set dosing amounts and performed ultrasounds when she worked at a now-shuttered abortion clinic whose owner is charged with killing a patient and seven babies.

Promises, Promises: Comprehensive Immigration Bill

There's nearly unanimous, bipartisan agreement that the nation's immigration laws need fixing more than a quarter-century after the last overhaul.

For Wash. Government Bean-Counter, a Pot Education

Mike Steenhout knows spreadsheets, statistics and bean-counting. He has worked as a budget assistant to the governor, managed local operations for the U.S. Census Bureau and analyzed juvenile crime databases.

Image Leads to Hunt for Boston Bombing Suspect

The painstaking work to identify a bombing suspect from reams of Boston Marathon footage yielded a possible breakthrough as investigators focused on a man seen dropping off a bag, and then walking away from the site of the second of two deadly explosions.

Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors at Texas Site

Rescue workers searched rubble early Thursday for survivors of a fertilizer plant explosion in a small Texas town that killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160 others.

Police Arrest Corinth Man for Poisoned Letters

Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, was arrested Wednesday at his home in Corinth, near the Tennessee state line.

Bryant Signs Charter School, Other Education Bills

Gov. Phil Bryant continues to tout the "transformative" potential of new education measures.

Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Injures Dozens

WEST, Texas (AP) — A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant near Waco on Wednesday night injured dozens of people and sent flames shooting into the night sky, leaving the factory a smoldering ruin following a blast that damaged buildings for blocks in every direction.

Wednesday, April 17

Obama Incensed at Background Check Vote, NRA Accused of Lies

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans backed by a small band of rural-state Democrats scuttled the most far-reaching gun control legislation in two decades Wednesday, rejecting tighter background checks for buyers and a ban on assault weapons as they spurned pleas from families of victims of last winter's school massacre in Newtown, Conn.

Updated: Mississippi Man Arrested Over Poisoned Mail is Conspiracy Theorist, Elvis Impersonator

CORINTH, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi man accused of mailing letters to national leaders with suspected poisonous ricin believed he had uncovered a conspiracy to sell human body parts on the black market and sometimes performed as an Elvis Presley impersonator.

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Gig: Brain Boss

I've always wanted a job helping people. I knew someone on the Brain Injury Association of Mississippi board. That led me to know some brain survivors and I was fascinated by their stories.

The Slate

The NBA Playoffs start Saturday, but the schedule is not out, yet, so we don't have any NBA games on the Slate this week. Expect some hockey, soccer, baseball and more this week, folks.

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Sports Grab Bag

No one single topic monopolized my attention this week, so, once again, here are my thoughts from all around the sports world.

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Higher Scores

With the arrival of so many (finally legal) music streaming services over the past couple years--the Pandoras, Spotifys, Groovesharks, etc--we're easily sitting on the most musically-accessible era in history.

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‘42’: Swinging a Heavy Bat

"42" hit a home run at the box office this past weekend, doing better in its opening debut than "Moneyball."

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The Streets are Alive

To promote healthy living and exercise, downtown Jackson is closing Congress Street and offering activities, music and more.

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No Half Measures

Pastry is memory. Walk into Campbell's Bakery, and you can experience exactly what I'm talking about.

Southwest Drops Jackson-to-Houston Flight

Southwest Airlines is dropping one flight between Jackson and Houston, Texas, on June 1.

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‘It’s Not About Me’: The JFP Interview with Mayoral Hopeful Frank Bluntson

Jackson City Councilman Frank Bluntson, 77, is not exactly a newcomer to local politics: He has served almost eight years on the Jackson City Council, and several as council president.

Ricin Letter Sent to Obama

Letter sent to President Barack Obama tested positive for poisonous ricin in preliminary checks Wednesday.

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Headed West: Det. Eric T. Smith

Det. Eric T. Smith had an "old soul," as folks used to call it. He was quiet; reserved, yet outgoing; and tactful, yet honest. People looked to him as a leader.

The Future of Newspapers

The program at Millsaps College April 15 was "The Future of Newspapers: The Clarion-Ledger's Pulitzer Prize 30 Years Later." The question: Can newspapers still convey big ideas?

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Bass'

In southern culture, telling someone to take the bass out of their voice is a way to admonish an individual for being unjustifiably aggressive, insubordinate or otherwise disrespectful.

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Paying Attention

While I love living in a country where any citizen can run for public office, I also hate living in a country where so many think they should.

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Stacey Webb: Ready To Lead

Stacey Webb yearns to lead. That's why he's been trying to do it for six years.

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Bridges: Ready For Some New Faces

May "Fran" Bridges like to describe herself as a servant leader, and that's a pretty accurate title.

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Clinic Wins Battle in Abortion War

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III halted a process that likely would result in JWHO's closure and make Mississippi the first state without an abortion clinic.

Your Turn: Submission from

Men and women like Councilman Lumumba, Fannie Lou Hammer, Medgar Evers, Stok Carmichael, Malcolm X, and many, many named and unnamed, had the courage to stand up and proclaim, without apology, the humanness of Black people in this state and to insist on justice.

Question o' the Week: What Song Describes This Year’s Mayoral Race?

What song describes this year’s mayoral race?

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You & JFP

Favorite Quote: "When praises go up, blessings come down"

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Mayor Hopefuls Looking for EPA Decree Solutions

It’s been four months since the Jackson City Council agreed to the consent decree from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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New University Place Plans Raise Eyebrows

One of Gov. Phil Bryant's first actions in office was to sell one of two state-owned jets to trim a few million dollars from the state's bottom line.

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Antonio V. Wright

Antonio V. Wright is the founder of Metro Area Community Empowerment Inc. and, in 2011, he authored and self-published his autobiography, "From a Label to a Brand" (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform).

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The JFP Urban Development Manifesto

Both the day-to-day occurrences and the dramatic events not only shape our individual lives, but remind us that we're all together in the tempest that is our all-too-brief time here on the planet.

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Watson vs. Sherlock: The ‘Last Case’ at Black Rose

Tucked away in the midst of warehouses and mixed-purpose structures on Black Street in downtown Brandon, the unassuming, one-story building numbered 103 has a curious history.

Britain's Iron Lady Laid to Rest with Full Pomp

Margaret Thatcher, Britain's Iron Lady, was laid to rest Wednesday with a level of pomp and protest reflecting her status as a commanding, polarizing political figure.

Contemplating Chaos in a Nation of 'Soft Targets'

When her cousin and 11 others were gunned down at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater last July, Anita Busch lost all interest in her favorite television crime dramas.

Stories of the Dead and Injured in Boston Bombing

The twin bombs at the Boston Marathon killed three people and wounded more than 170 on Monday. Here are the stories of those killed and some of the injured.

Iraq Executes 21 Men Convicted of Terrorism

Iraq has executed 21 prisoners convicted on terrorism charges and links to al-Qaida, the Justice Ministry said Wednesday, setting off fresh criticism from an international human rights expert over Baghdad's insistence on carrying out capital punishment.

AP Source: Authorities Recover Pressure Cooker Lid

Authorities investigating the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon have recovered a piece of circuit board that they believe was part of one of the explosive devices, and also found the lid of a pressure cooker that apparently was catapulted onto the roof of a nearby building, an official said Wednesday.

Police Identify Suspect in Wicker Ricin Threat

Police have a suspect in mind as they investigate a letter mailed to Sen. Roger Wicker that tested positive for poisonous ricin, a Senate colleague said.

Bipartisan Background Check Bill in Trouble

As the showdown draws near, an Associated Press-GfK poll shows ebbing public support for tightening gun control laws.

College Board Eyes Changes to Shares of State Cash

A College Board committee will consider Wednesday a new funding formula meant to equalize state money among the state's eight universities.

Tuesday, April 16

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Ruling Brings New Tension to Abortion Clinic

Although officials from Jackson Women's Health Organization are applauding yesterday's federal court ruling to keep the facility open, the mood remains tense at the Fondren clinic.

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Small Biz People of the Year, New Store, Massage and Nissan

The U.S. Small Business Administration recently named Jeff Good and Dan Blumenthal the 2013 Mississippi State Small Business Persons of the Year.

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Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson wanted to run the Warrior Dash last year, the first year the event was held in Jackson, but waited too long to sign up. This year, on April 20, he and two of his co-workers will run the Warrior Dash together.

Gov. Bryant Signs Child Abuse Bill

Gov. Phil Bryant has signed into a law a bill that prosecutors say bridges the gap between legal and medical definitions of child abuse and takes a stair-step approach to penalizing violators.

Obama: Boston Culprits to Feel 'Weight of Justice'

A stony-faced President Barack Obama declared that those responsible for the explosions at the Boston Marathon "will feel the full weight of justice," but he urged a nervous nation not to jump to conclusions.

Bipartisan Bill Would Remake Immigration System

The U.S. immigration system would undergo dramatic changes under a bipartisan Senate bill that puts a new focus on prospective immigrants' merit and employment potential.

Role Reversal: GOP Blasts Obama Plan to Sell TVA

In a political role reversal, Republicans are blasting President Barack Obama's plan to consider selling the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Pivotal N. Korea Question: What is Kim Thinking?

Don't worry, one popular argument goes, we've seen this before. Just ignore Pyongyang's unlikely threats of nuclear holocaust as you would, say, a child throwing a tantrum.

Catholic Religious Order Abuse Files May Go Public

Less than three months after the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles released the files of priests accused of sex abuse, attorneys for victims are back in court seeking similar records kept by more than a dozen religious orders.

World Cities on Alert After Boston Blasts

Officials around the world are boosting security efforts in the wake of the fatal bomb blasts that shook Boston's race.

Bryant Vetoes Liquor Transport Bill

Gov. Phil Bryant has vetoed a bill that would have allowed Mississippians to transport a limited amount of unopened alcohol through dry counties.

Monday, April 15

Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Mississippi From Shutting Down Only Abortion Clinic

A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked Mississippi from revoking the license of the state's only abortion clinic.

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UPDATED: Boston Marathon Bombs: Three Dead, More Than 140 Injured

Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Explosions Rock Boston Marathon

Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers in the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts.

JPD: Cop, Suspect Fought 3-4 Minutes

The struggle between Jackson Police Det. Eric Smith and a murder suspect lasted three to four minutes, JPD officials said this morning.

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Anderson Dead at 74

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors dedicated Monday morning's meeting to the memory of District 2 Supervisor Doug Anderson, who passed away April 13.

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Voter Information Wars: Will the GOP Team Up With Wal-Mart's Data Specialist?

The Republicans have admitted it: They need to get serious about collecting and analyzing voter data.

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Jennifer A. Riley-Collins

The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, a non-profit organization that defends the constitutional rights and liberties of Americans, recently named Clinton native Jennifer A. Riley-Collins its new executive director.

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Community Events and Public Meetings

The Mississippi Archery State Championship is April 16-17 at the Kirk Fordice Equine Center.

Works Had Once Adorned Governor's Mansion

The whirr of a band saw and the whiff of sawdust signal action at Fletcher Cox's studio, where the master wood craftsman is at work, for once, reviving rather than creating.

Gun Debate Revives Questions About Self-Defense

In the weeks since the Connecticut school massacre, some of the most intense debate has swirled around how to keep guns from criminals without infringing on the ability of lawful gun owners.

Promises, Promises: Obama's Mixed Economic Record

The U.S. economy is recovering from the Great Recession but at a modest, uneven pace.

Court: Can Human Genes be Patented?

DNA may be the building block of life, but can something taken from it also be the building block of a multimillion-dollar medical monopoly?

N. Koreans Mark Key Holiday, Oblivious to Tensions

Oblivious to international tensions over a possible North Korean missile launch, Pyongyang residents spilled into the streets Monday to celebrate a major national holiday, the birthday of their first leader, Kim Il Sung.

UN: Afghan Opium Production Increases

Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has been increasing for a third year in a row and is heading for a record high, the U.N. said in a report released Monday.

Chavez's Heir Wins in Divided Venezuela

Nicolas Maduro has officially won Venezuela's presidential election by a stunningly narrow margin.

Sunday, April 14

Analysis: Fetal Homicide Laws Not Consistent in U.S.

The National Conference of State Legislatures lists Mississippi as one of 38 states with a fetal homicide law.

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10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.

Saturday, April 13

MDOT Project on U.S. Hwy 49 Nears Completion

State transportation officials say a project to add a landscaped median, pedestrian signals and crossings, and new turn lanes along U.S. 49 in Hattiesburg should be completed in three weeks.

Friday, April 12

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JSU's Brent Talks Hoops at Koinonia

Jackson State basketball is at its best when its recruiting local kids, and if last week's news is any indication of things to come, there are some good times ahead for the Tiger faithful.

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Fight for Freedom

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland survived the Civil Rights Movement after participating (starting at age 19) in sit-ins, demonstrations and the Freedom Rides of 1961.

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Nija Morenike' Matory

Albert Einstein supposedly said, "Insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting different results." In the case of 24-year-old Jackson native Nija Morenike' Matory's new book, "A Taste of Insanity," insanity may be just what the doctor ordered.

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It's the Weekend!

Today, the Crossroads Film Festival continues with screenings starting at 6:45 p.m. at Malco Grandview Theatre and runs through April 14.

U.S. Unemployment Aid Applications Plummet to 346K

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to a seasonally adjusted 346,000, signaling that the job market might be stronger than March's weak month of hiring suggested.

AP Source: Immigration Bill Could Exclude Many

A bipartisan immigration bill soon to be introduced in the Senate could exclude hundreds of thousands of immigrants here illegally from ever becoming U.S. citizens, according to a Senate aide with knowledge of the proposals.

BBC Faces Dilemma as Anti-Thatcher Song Tops Chart

The BBC is in a bind after opponents of Margaret Thatcher pushed the song "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" to the top of the British charts in a posthumous protest over her divisive policies.

French Senate Passes Gay Marriage Bill

The French Senate voted Friday to legalize same-sex marriage in France, putting a landmark bill on track to become law by summer.

Medgar Evers to be Remembered 50 Years Later

To mark the 50th anniversary of his slaying, a series of June events will pay tribute to Evers' work.

Police: Hostage-Taker Gave No Signs of Compromise

Police tried to buy time and create a rapport by meeting the gunman's initial demands.

Three Dead in Storm Packing Ice, Snow, Tornadoes

A strong spring storm that socked the Midwest with ice and heavy, wet snow made its way east, raking the South with tornadoes Thursday, with three deaths blamed on the rough weather and thousands of people without power.

Thursday, April 11

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Federal Immigration Reform: Good for Mississippi?

Mississippi activists are confident that congressional talks on immigration reform could mean better living standards for immigrants in the Magnolia State.

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The 'Iron Lady's' Strong Stance on Climate Change

Margaret Thatcher, the "Iron Lady" of British politics who died Monday at the age of 87, is being lionized as the woman who tilted British domestic and economic policy to the right.

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Bulldogs and Rebels

It has been nearly 10 years since two of the biggest rivals in this state played each other on Thanksgiving night. Mississippi State versus Ole Miss was a staple on Thanksgiving evening from 1998 to 2003.

UMC Road Workers Find 66 Unidentified Graves

Workers building a road at the University of Mississippi Medical Center have found 66 unidentified graves.

Device to Scare Birds Causes Guard Base Lockdown

After a report of gunfire, Air National Guard officials locked down a Mississippi base on Wednesday, but the noise thought to be shots turned out to be a device used to scare birds away from an airport runway, authorities said.

Sheriff: Knife Attack at Texas College was Random

A man accused of stabbing more than a dozen people at a suburban Houston community college chose his victims at random, authorities said Wednesday, going from one floor to another as he used a razor utility knife to slice people in the neck and face.

Promises, Promises: Obama Keeps Part of Tax Pledge

Taxes are at the center of every major budget fight gripping Washington.

Ga. Firefighters 'Relieved' Hostage Ordeal is Over

It's a call that firefighters routinely respond to—a report of a medical emergency.

North Korea Delivers New Round of War Rhetoric

North Korea delivered a fresh round of rhetoric Thursday with claims it had "powerful striking means" on standby for a missile launch.

Critics Revive Past Promises to Knock Obama Budget

Advocates for seniors say President Barack Obama is breaking his promise to protect Social Security, while conservatives say he is breaking his promise not to raise taxes on the middle class.

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The JFP Interview with Dexter Robinson

Dexter Robinson isn't looking for attention. As the 11th of 12 siblings, he learned to stop doing that years ago. What he is looking for is a platform, as city councilman for Ward 4, to fix the current problems he sees in his neck of the woods.

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The JFP Interview with Kourtney Paige

Kourtney Paige has spent his career working in radio. Now, he wants to lend his voice to the people of Jackson as city councilman for Ward 4.

Senate Ready to Launch Gun-Control Debate

Legislation would expand background checks, toughen penalties against illicit firearms sales and offer slightly more money for school security.

Bryant: Obama Budget Undercuts Medicaid Expansion

Top Mississippi Republicans say their opposition to Medicaid expansion is getting a boost from an unlikely source—President Barack Obama.

Wednesday, April 10

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2013 Crossroads Film Festival

The 14th Annual Crossroads Film Festival runs from Thursday, April 11, through Sunday, April 14. The festival features more than 140 films, of which many are made in Mississippi, produced or directed by Mississippians, feature Mississippi actors or have some other Mississippi connection.

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Gig: Movie Maker

Kent Moorhead is a Mississippi native currently living in Sweden.

The Slate

The sports world is starting to hit its annual summer slowdown. College basketball is over, the NBA and NHL are playoff-bound and the NFL will go dark after the draft.

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Getting Paid or Really Hurt

The National Football League might have found its way to win the concussion lawsuit that more than 4,000 former players have brought against the league.

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Horses for Handicapped, now celebrating its 32nd year, is usually in April at the fairgrounds.

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The Dear Hunter’s ‘Migrant’ Moves, Shifts

If lead singer, multi-instrumentalist and one-man renaissance Casey Crescenzo's post-hardcore history kept your attention directed away from The Dear Hunter's previous releases, his newest album "Migrant" promises to turn your head, at the risk of breaking your neck.

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The Death of a Critic

Legendary film critic Roger Ebert transcended his long battle with cancer last Thursday. He died at age 70, leaving behind a world richer from his words, deeds and actions.

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Guitar Lightnin’ Lee’s Crescent City Blues

Blues is not the first type of music that comes to mind when thinking of New Orleans, but the music has strong roots in the city.

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Apes & Ales

Springtime means good eats and drinks in Jackson. If you’ve been hiding out from freak hailstorms by eating soup at home, now is the time to put down the ladle and get out into the city—all for a good cause. Three food and drink events are blasting into Jackson in a seven-day span, benefitting three community-minded organizations: the Alzheimer’s Association, the Jackson Zoo and Fondren Renaissance Foundation’s children’s art program.

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Taste the Neighborhood

Springtime means good eats and drinks in Jackson. If you’ve been hiding out from freak hailstorms by eating soup at home, now is the time to put down the ladle and get out into the city—all for a good cause. Three food and drink events are blasting into Jackson in a seven-day span, benefitting three community-minded organizations: the Alzheimer’s Association, the Jackson Zoo and Fondren Renaissance Foundation’s children’s art program.

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Wine Down

Springtime means good eats and drinks in Jackson. If you’ve been hiding out from freak hailstorms by eating soup at home, now is the time to put down the ladle and get out into the city—all for a good cause. Three food and drink events are blasting into Jackson in a seven-day span, benefitting three community-minded organizations: the Alzheimer’s Association, the Jackson Zoo and Fondren Renaissance Foundation’s children’s art program.

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Old and New

"Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold." So goes the song we learn as children. In my adult life, I've found that it's not just true with people, but with places.

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Island of Enchantment

Puerto Rico, an American territory since the Spanish-American war at the turn of the 20th century, is one in a long arc of Caribbean islands that stretch from Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula to Trinidad and Tobago just off the coast of Venezuela.

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Risky Business at the Nursery

Would-be and weekend gardeners are flocking to stores this time of year with hopes of finding already-started plants to put in their gardens.

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Deep Topics

Lisa Biagiotti drove 13,000 miles, went on more than a dozen road trips and talked to upwards of 400 people across the rural South to film a documentary about the rural South and how the HIV/AIDS epidemic affects the people there.

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By the Handful

Fannie Lou Hamer, a folk philosopher of the Civil Rights Movement, knew what she was up against in a state and region where an entrenched hard-right oligarchy ruled at the expense of the majority.

Begin a New Day

It's been a rough couple of weeks for Jackson, with two highly regarded local men meeting untimely deaths.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Poo-poo'

Mississippi legislators have been slinging mud at each other over which party is to blame for not reauthorizing the state's Medicaid program during the regular session, which ended last week.

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Greed is Good

Boneqweesha Jones: "Welcome to the Ghetto Science Public Television premiere of 'Stuff That Matters.' Yes, I'm back on the scene like a record machine and ready to share and talk about important things. Please be advised: This is not a celebrity-gossip, hot-topic show with giddy hosts continuously chatting about entertainment, fashion and food.

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Paige: A Voice for the People

Kourtney Paige has spent his career working in radio. Now, he wants to lend his voice to the people of Jackson as city councilman for Ward 4.

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Robinson: Education is Key

Dexter J. Robinson isn't looking for attention. As the 11th of 12 siblings, he learned to stop doing that years ago. What he is looking for is a platform, as city councilman for Ward 4, to fix the current problems he sees in his neck of the woods.

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Gung Ho on Guns

By some measures, guns did not have a good year in the Mississippi Legislature.

Post Office Backpedals on Eliminating Saturday Delivery

The financially beleaguered Postal Service conceded Wednesday that its gamble to compel congressional approval had failed.

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Remembering Eric Smith

Eric T. Smith was always busy. He was a husband, a father and a man who cared about his neighbors.

Question o' the Week: What is the most powerful film you’ve ever seen?

What is the most powerful film you’ve ever seen?

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You & JFP

Favorite quote: "It's not what you do that kills you, it's what you don't do that kills you."

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Curbing Murder in the Capital City

During "Operation Bunny Hop," Jackson police teamed up with the Hinds County Sheriff's Department, the U.S. Marshals Taskforce and a narcotics unit and made 226 arrests in a three-day span from March 28 to March 30. Over the Easter weekend, the operation netted 14 felonies and 178 misdemeanors.

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Creative, Historic Space

Take a couple of enthusiastic young Jackson entrepreneurs and put them together with an established urban-development company and what do you get? Well, you might get some fabulous low-cost housing for artists and gallery space in the capital city's downtown.

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Valerie Blakey

What initially started out as a year-long high-school project for Valerie Blakey turned into a promising career in the film industry.

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Hunting and Gathering

Last week, I had a young documentary crew called subSIPPI in my office asking me questions about whether Mississippi has changed.

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Impermanent Art

The High Note Jam Series is the musical lovechild of two anchor arts organizations in downtown Jackson, namely the Greater Jackson Arts Council and the Mississippi Museum of Art.

Epps Says Do Best He Can to Operate MDOC

The Mississippi Department of Corrections may delay some renovation projects and counties may not get paid for housing some parole and probation violators until MDOC can transport them back to prison as the agency deals with continuing funding problems.

Miss. Set to Add Terrorism to Death Penalty Law

Mississippi is set to add terrorism to the list of crimes that could lead to the death penalty, if a victim is killed.

Coroner: Man Shot Self Twice After Killing Officer

The murder suspect who killed a detective at police headquarters in Mississippi's capital city last week shot himself twice in the head after shooting the officer four times, the coroner said Tuesday.

Tentative Farm Workers Deal in Immigration Talks

A tentative deal has been reached between agriculture workers and growers, a key senator said Tuesday, smoothing the way for a landmark immigration bill to be released within a week.

Obama Sends Congress $3.8 Trillion Spending Plan

President Barack Obama is sending Congress a $3.8 trillion spending blueprint that seeks to achieve an elusive "grand bargain" to tame runaway deficits by raising taxes further on the wealthy and trimming popular benefit programs such as Social Security.

Reporter's Sources Subject of Colo. Court Hearing

A Colorado judge has ordered New York-based Fox News reporter Jana Winter to attend a hearing Wednesday as part of theater shooting suspect James Holmes' attempt to identify her confidential sources.

Alert to Congress: Nuclear Evacuation May Bog Down

A new government report challenges a pillar of planning for disasters at American nuclear power plants.

Employers Eager for New Foreign Worker Program

As desperate as unemployed Americans are to find work, there are still some jobs that many would never consider applying for because they are seen as too dirty, too demanding or just plain unappealing.

Dem, GOP Senators Reach Background Check Deal

Two senators have struck a bipartisan deal on expanding background checks to more firearms purchases.

Analysis: Education Focus Shifts to Implementation

If 2013 was the education session for Mississippi's Legislature, it will be followed by the implementation season.

Tuesday, April 9

Student Arrested in Texas College Stabbing Attack

A student went on a building-to-building stabbing attack at a Texas community college Tuesday, wounding at least 14 people before being subdued and arrested, authorities said.

More Than a Dozen Hurt in Texas College Stabbing

More than a dozen people were wounded when a suspect went building-to-building in an apparent stabbing attack at a Texas college campus Tuesday, authorities said.

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Clinic Owner: Abortion Foes Want SCOTUS 'Test Case'

The owner of Mississippi's sole abortion facility said the state's latest legislative abortion-restriction effort would not directly affect her clinic.

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Innovate Mississippi, Virginia College, State Farm, Boys & Girls Club, More

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi announced that it has been selected to receive a $3,000 grant as part of the Restaurant Community Grants program from the Darden Foundation, the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants Inc.

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Rachel Jarman Myers

Rachel Jarman Myers brings southern Jewish history into Mississippi classrooms with a special interactive program: a traveling trunk.

Miss. Governor Says He'll Sign DUI Ignition Bill

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant intends to sign a bill aimed at strengthening laws against drunken driving, his spokesman said Monday.

Jury Finds State Farm Committed Fraud

A federal jury has found that State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. avoided covering a policyholder's wind losses by blaming the damage on storm surge, which is covered by federal flood insurance.

Promises, Promises: Obama's IOUs Start Coming Due

Presidential campaigns are long in the making, quick to be forgotten. But one part of them lives on for years: the victor's promises.

Reagan, Thatcher Forged a Close, Lasting Bond

Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, two self-assured and firm-speaking conservatives, joined forces in the early 1980s and drastically changed the economic and political landscapes in both of their countries.

Investigation After 2 Children Die in NC Collapse

It was common knowledge around a rural North Carolina neighborhood that Jordan Arwood was digging a two-story-deep pit on his property. Some said it was for a bunker and warned their children to stay out of it.

JC Penney Looks to Old CEO to Secure its Future

J.C. Penney is hoping its former CEO can revive the retailer after a risky turnaround strategy backfired and led to massive losses and steep sales declines.

N. Korea Urges Foreigners to Vacate S. Korea

North Korea says the two countries are on the verge of a nuclear war.

Stalled Talks With Iran Over Nukes Boost Sanctions

The failure of negotiations between six world powers and Iran over its disputed nuclear program has jumpstarted the congressional push for even tougher sanctions aimed at crippling the economy in Tehran.

Governor Signs Bill for Leflore Private Prison

Gov. Phil Bryant has signed bill to allow the state to contract with the federal government to house federal inmates in Leflore County in a now closed private prison.

Monday, April 8

Lawmakers Disagree Over Miss. Medicaid Expansion

Two lawmakers who spoke at a press luncheon Monday disagreed about whether Mississippi should expand Medicaid, reflecting the partisan split that left the health program in limbo when the House and Senate ended their three-month session last week.

Kerry Makes New, Ambitious Mideast Peace Push

Secretary of State John Kerry worked Monday to corral Israeli and Palestinian leaders into a new and ambitious peace process that includes reviving parts of a long-dormant plan embraced by the Arab world a decade ago, officials said.

Even in Pro-Gun States, Bid to Arm Teachers Stalls

The quest to put guns in schools has stalled in many traditionally gun-friendly states after encountering opposition from educators, reluctance from some governors and ambivalence from legislative leaders more focused on economic initiatives.

Obama Says He's 'Determined As Ever' for Gun Bill

With time running out on the chance to pass gun control legislation, President Barack Obama on Monday warned Congress not to use delay tactics against tighter regulations and told families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims that he's "determined as ever" to honor their children with tougher laws.

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Legislative Ups and Downs for Jackson

The 2013 regular Mississippi legislative session is over, and barring a call for a special session by Gov. Phil Bryant, Jackson has gotten every dime of state money it will get this year.

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New Med School Aims To Train Primary Care Docs

Under the Affordable Care Act, millions more people with insurance may be headed to the doctor's office. That means the medical system will need more doctors, nurses, physician assistants and other healthcare workers to meet the demand.

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Judge James E. Graves

Fifth Circuit Judge and Clinton native James E. Graves Jr. will receive an award in May honoring a lifetime of work in the Mississippi legal system.

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Community Events and Public Meetings

The Crossroads Film Festival is April 11-14 at Malco Grandview Theatre.

Analysis: 2013 Session Mixes Substance, Silliness

Mississippi lawmakers approved substantial public policy changes during their 2013 session, with an emphasis on trying new approaches to public education.

In Slap at South, N. Korea Suspends Work at Factory

North Korea said Monday it will suspend operations at a factory complex it has jointly run with South Korea, pulling out more than 53,000 North Korean workers and moving closer to severing its last economic link with its rival as tensions escalate.

Senators Work on Deal Expanding Background Checks

Talks between two influential senators have emerged as the most promising route for a bipartisan breakthrough on expanding federal background checks for gun buyers.

Pentagon Struggles with High Cost of Health Care

The loud, insistent calls in Washington to rein in the rising costs of Social Security and Medicare ignore a major and expensive entitlement program—the military's health care system.

Airline Passenger Complaints Surged in 2012

Airline passengers are getting grumpier, and it's little wonder.

Amid School Changes, Giving Voice to Busing's Past

Last fall, Ginnette Powell traveled from her home in Boston's Dorchester section to her old middle school in South Boston—a journey of just two miles, but one that covered a huge emotional distance. Finally, she was able to leave the painful past behind.

Cold Case Arrest Prompts Cross-Country Probe

When Los Angeles cold case detectives caught up with Samuel Little this past fall, he was living in a Christian shelter in Kentucky, his latest arrest a few months earlier for alleged possession of a crack pipe.

Margaret Thatcher, Iron Lady, Dead at 87

Love her or loathe her, one thing's beyond dispute: Margaret Thatcher transformed Britain.

Lincoln Leaders Unsure of Prayer Law's Effects

Fresh from the governor's desk, a bill aimed at expanding legal opportunities for public school prayer has been signed into law even as the Lincoln County School District remains in talks with the American Civil Liberties Union over charges of unconstitutional prayers in the district.

Sunday, April 7

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10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.

One-On-One Technology Eyed by Lamar Schools

When Oak Grove High School principal Helen Price recently took a trip to Daphne High School in Daphne, Ala., she was astounded by what she saw there.

Saturday, April 6

Judge Refuses to Block BP Settlement Payouts

A federal judge on Friday rejected BP's request to block what could be billions of dollars in settlement payouts to businesses that claim the company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico cost them money.

Friday, April 5

MBI: Suspect Shot Officer, Then Himself

Jeremy Powell shot Detective Eric Smith before killing himself.

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Det. Eric Smith Remembered

Eric T. Smith was a husband, a father and a man who cared about his neighbors. Like many Mississippians, he was an avid New Orleans Saints fan as evidenced by his Facebook photo collection.

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Who Polices Prosecutors Who Abuse Their Authority? Usually Nobody

After serving 13 years in prison for murder, Tony Bennett was released when a state appeals court found that the prosecutor who had handled his case had violated a basic rule of law by withholding critical evidence from Bennett's attorney.

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James Meredith

Harvard University's Graduate School of Education is awarding James Meredith its Medal for Education Impact, the highest honor the school awards.

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It's the Weekend!

On Saturday, NatureFEST is at 10 a.m. at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.

Mayor Calls for Moment of Silence

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. is asking Jacksonians to remember Det. Eric Smith at noon today.

Suspect Jeremy Powell Committed Suicide After Shooting Officer

The second deceased individual identified as Jeremy Powell.

Mississippi Lawmakers Finish Their 2013 Session

Mississippi lawmakers ended their three-month session Thursday, but they'll return to the Capitol in the next several weeks to handle a big piece of unfinished business: Keeping the Medicaid program alive beyond July 1.

Judge to Hear BP's Bid to Block Settlement Payouts

A federal judge is set to hear arguments on BP's request for an order blocking what could be billions of dollars in settlement payouts to businesses who claim the company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico cost them money.

Ala. Legislature Votes to Pardon Scottsboro Boys

Opening a final chapter to one of the most important civil rights episodes in American history, Alabama lawmakers voted Thursday to allow posthumous pardons for the "Scottsboro Boys": nine black teens who were wrongly convicted of raping two white women more than 80 years ago.

Laws, Rumors Have Ammo Flying Off Store Shelves

Gun enthusiasts fearful of new weapon controls and alarmed by rumors of government hoarding are buying bullets practically by the bushel, making it hard for stores nationwide to keep shelves stocked and even putting a pinch on some local law enforcement departments.

House Group Finalizing Immigration Bill

A group of Republicans and Democrats in the House is finalizing a sweeping immigration bill that offers work permits and the eventual prospect of citizenship to millions of people living illegally in the United States, aides say.

Iran Nuke Talks Open, EU Asks Tehran to Compromise

Talks seeking to find common ground between Iran and a group of six nations over concerns that Tehran might misuse its nuclear program to make weapons appeared to run into trouble shortly after they began Friday.

FAA Funded Airport Towers Using 30-Year-Old Data

The government has been using 30-year-old data on aircraft collisions to justify the cost of operating control towers at small airports even though accident rates have improved significantly over that time.

Official: Obama Proposes Cuts to Social Security

President Barack Obama's proposed budget will call for reductions in the growth of Social Security and other benefit programs while still insisting on more taxes from the wealthy in a renewed attempt to strike a broad deficit-cutting deal with Republicans, a senior administration official says.

US Adds 88K Jobs, Unemployment Rate at 7.6 pct.

March's job gains were less than half the average of the previous six months.

Thursday, April 4

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Det. Eric Smith Killed at JPD Headquarters

Today, around 8:15 p.m., Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. announced that Det. Eric Smith died today in the Jackson Police Department headquarters in downtown Jackson.

Senate Panel Blocks Bomgar from Education Board

The Senate Education Committee blocked Joel Bomgar's nomination to join the state Board of Education Thursday on an 8-7 vote.

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Developing ... Officer and Suspect Dead Inside JPD Headquarters, MBI Taking Over Investigation

Watch this space for confirmed details of reported shooting at Jackson Police Department headquarters in downtown Jackson ...

Famed Movie Critic Roger Ebert Dies

Roger Ebert, the most famous and most popular film reviewer of his time who became the first journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for movie criticism and, on his long-running TV program, wielded the nation's most influential thumb, died Thursday. He was 70.

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Angry Vets Bring VA Problems in Focus

More problems at the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson came to light at a town hall-style meeting Wednesday.

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Flying the Flame-Free Skies: High Levels of Flame Retardants Found on Airliners

Spending about 100 hours each month in the air, flight attendants are bombarded with pesticides, radiation, ozone and any illnesses passengers carry on board.

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Wayne Brent

Jackson State wasted no time selecting a new coach when Tevester Anderson retired after 10 years of leading the Tigers basketball program. JSU announced last week that the school selected Jacksonian Wayne Brent to replace Anderson.

Judge Dismisses Greenwood Capital Murder Charge

A judge has dismissed a charge of capital murder against Greenwood Dr. Arnold Smith, who is charged in arranging an attack on a local attorney.

Southern Won't Seek U.S. Loan Aid for Miss. Plant

The Southern Co. has withdrawn plans to seek a federal loan guarantee for the power plant its subsidiary, Mississippi Power Co., is building in Kemper County.

Audit Says Katrina Aid May Have Been Misspent

Federal investigators said Wednesday that as much as $700 million in federal aid intended to help some 24,000 Louisiana families elevate their homes after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 may have been misspent.

U.S. Service Firms Grow More Slowly, Hiring Weakens

Two reports Wednesday showed that U.S. service companies grew more slowly in March and private employers pulled back on hiring.

Want a Business That Lasts? Start One With Family

If you want to go into business during tough economic times, you might want to do it with family.

U.S. Home Prices Rose in February by Most in 7 Years

U.S. home prices jumped in February by the largest amount in seven years, evidence that the housing recovery strengthened ahead of the all-important spring-buying season.

Obama to Return 5 Percent of Salary to Treasury

Sharing a bit of budget pain, President Barack Obama will return 5 percent of his salary to the Treasury in a show of solidarity with federal workers smarting from government-wide spending cuts.

Conn. Governor Set to Sign Gun Control Law

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was expected to sign a wide-ranging bill that includes sweeping new restrictions on weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines, a response to last year's deadly school shooting in Newtown.

North Korea Still Far from Backing up Nuke Threats

Despite the bluster, it could be years before North Korea completes the laborious process of creating more weaponized fuel.

Miss. Lawmakers OK Restrictions on Abortion Drugs

A bill headed to Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says a physician would have to be present when a woman takes abortion-inducing drugs.

Wednesday, April 3

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Gig: Music Manager

"Well, I was an operations manager for a corporate music store for six years. That really prepared me to own my own business."

The Slate

This is one of my favorite weekends in sports and entertainment. WrestleMania is sandwiched between the Final Four and national championship games.

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Last Cinderella at the Ball

Florida Gulf Coast's flameout against Florida leaves Wichita State as the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament's only Cinderella team. The Shockers lived up to their nickname when they shocked Ohio State in the West Regional Final.

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Mind Over Muscles

Jarrett Becks began studying martial arts when he was 5 years old. He started with Tae-Kwon-do and moved on to other styles throughout the years.

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Locked in a Darkroom

I hate to admit my insurmountable shame this early into my career in music journalism, or even this early into my column, but it can't be helped.

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Back with a Vengeance

While he may be a relative newcomer to Jackson and to our music scene, Eric Blackwell is no newbie to music.

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Big Men With Big Guns

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is Roadblock in “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.”

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Natural Talent

As you turn a corner in the Mississippi Museum of Art, you come face-to-face with a larger-than-life Renoir-esque work. Local artist Ginger Williams-Cook painted the Pierre Auguste Renoir-inspired mural to serve as an interactive element of the latest exhibit, Old Masters to Monet."

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Miracle Juice

Smoothies blend every part of the fruit or vegetable (or other item) together into a thick concoction. Juicing, on the other hand, extracts only the watery but nutrient-filled juice from the raw materials you put in, leaving behind a husk of sorts--all the dry parts, including the pulp and the peels.

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Paper, Please

In an age when most written communication has gone digital, the wedding invitation stands stalwart as a physical, mailable item. In fact, if anything, the world of wedding paper is only growing, as now brides plan entire stationary packages, from Save the Dates to menus to thank-you cards.

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Fondren’s Newest Flavor

I walk into the brightly lit Cafe Ole off State Street where I introduce myself to the owner Alex Sivira, an older man from Venezuela who is currently looking for his glasses.

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A ‘New Justice Frontier’

In September 1955, a young Edwin Taliaferro saw an image that would shape his thinking over the next five decades.

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A Chokwe Lumumba Primer: His 2013 JFP Interview, Audio, Campaign Reports

Chokwe Lumumba first came to Jackson in the early 1970s as a civil-rights activist. He returned to Michigan shortly after to attend law school, returning to Mississippi in 1988.

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Remembering Hal

Long before he became a restaurateur, raconteur and half of the namesake for Jackson's famous Hal and Mal's, Hal White was a quarterback.

JPS’ Cedrick Gray Deserves Fairness

A few months ago, The Clarion-Ledger ran a splashy Sunday A1 story about alleged financial mismanagement at the school district Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Cedrick Gray formerly managed.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Sad'

Terri Herring, whom Gov. Phil Bryant nominated for a spot on the state's powerful Board of Health, has spent more than a quarter century fighting to end a woman's legal right to abortion.

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Justifying Foolishness

At times, this country is a model for intolerance. Our compassion is thrown to the wind, and our grand ignorance is on display for all to see.

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Dine-in Cinema Survey

Groups of college students with the Else School of Management at Millsaps College are conducting surveys to determine the market viability of bringing a dine-in cinema concept theater---similar to the Alamo Drafthouse--to the Pix Capri Theatre building in Fondren.

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Can’t Get Enough

By this time next week--barring Gov. Phil Bryant calling for a special session--the 2013 legislative will be over.

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Banks: Bringing Experience

When Barron Banks turned 18, he registered to vote. When he tried to exercise that right in 1964, it took federal marshals accompanying him to the polls.

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Austin: Ready to Lend an Ear

As a barber, it's Gerald Austin Sr.'s job to spark conversation with his customers, and he hears their problems loud and clear.

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In Memoriam

On Thursday, March 28, Jackson lost Hal White, co-founder of Hal and Mal’s. People all over the city and on social media remembered his legacy this week. Here is a sampling.

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Hal and Mal’s: A Jackson Landmark

Brothers Harold and Malcolm White, commonly known as Hal and Mal, had a vision. They wanted to create a gathering place for all of Jackson--a bar, but also a family restaurant that serviced a wide array of customers from every walk of life.

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Building a Creative Incubator

The old warehouse at 126 Keener Ave. in midtown doesn't look like much from the outside, but it's what's going on inside that is important.

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Sarah Brown

This May, Sarah Brown will be the first in her family to obtain a bachelor's degree.

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Move Your Feet

Democracy is people, and the people are us.

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Impressions of Old Masters

The Mississippi Museum of Art's new exhibition, "Old Masters to Monet: Three Centuries of French Painting from the Wadsworth Atheneum," covers all the major players and artistic movements between the Renaissance and Post-Impressionism in an almost overwhelming collection on loan from the first public-art institution in the United States.

An Interview with Malcolm White

"Well, Hal and I first started working together, long before Hal and Mal's, in 1976 when we were in New Orleans at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel."

Court Hears Case of Woman Accused in Stillbirth

Prosecutors urged the Mississippi Supreme Court to allow them to pursue a manslaughter charge against a Lamar County woman whose child was stillborn and had taken drugs during her pregnancy.

Miss. Lawmakers OK Partially State-Funded Pre-K

Mississippi government would directly fund a limited preschool program for the first time under a bill on its way to Gov. Phil Bryant.

Ala. Legislature OKs Stricter Abortion Standards

Alabama lawmakers late Tuesday gave final passage to a measure placing stricter regulations on clinics that provide abortions.

Immigration Bill Envisions New Farm Worker Program

Sweeping immigration legislation taking shape in the Senate will aim to overhaul the nation's agriculture worker program to create a steady supply of labor for farmers and growers, who rely more than any other industry on workers who have come to the country illegally.

Decades After King's Death, Memphis Jobs at Risk

They rode the streets of Memphis in creaky, dangerous garbage trucks, picking up trash from home after home, toiling for a sanitation department that treated them with indifference bordering on disdain.

U.S. Moves on N. Korea Aimed at Deterring New Leader

The parading of U.S. air and naval power within view of the Korean peninsula—first a few long-range bombers, then stealth fighters, then ships—is as much about psychological war as real war.

High-Profile Rapes Threaten India Tourism Business

A fatal gang rape in New Delhi didn't deter Germans Carolina De Paolo and Canan Wahner from traveling to India for a six-week tour.

Obama to Press for Gun Measures in Colorado

Obama is visiting Denver Wednesday, stepping up his call for universal background checks for gun buyers.

Mississippi House Passes Charter Schools Bill

House members voted 62-56 Tuesday with no debate to approve a House-Senate agreement on House Bill 369.

Tuesday, April 2

North Korea Vows to Restart Nuclear Facilities

North Korea said Tuesday it will restart its long-shuttered plutonium reactor and increase production of nuclear weapons material, in what outsiders see as its latest attempt to extract U.S. concessions by raising fears of war.

NRA Study Suggests Trained, Armed School Staffers

The Senate gun control debate on the near horizon, a National Rifle Association-sponsored report on Tuesday proposed a program for schools to train selected staffers as armed security officers.

Customers Pack Conn. Gun Stores After Deal on Laws

Customers packed gun stores around Connecticut on Tuesday ahead of a vote expected to bring sweeping changes to the state's gun control laws, including a ban on the sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown shooting and a new classification for more than 100 types of guns as banned assault weapons.

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Charter Schools on Track to be Law

After once debating the issue well past midnight earlier in the session, yesterday the Mississippi House approved a charter-school bill without a peep from opponents.

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Drafthouse Survey, Homebuyer's Forum, College and Tourism

Groups of college students with the Else School of Management at Millsaps College are conducting surveys to determine the market viability of bringing a dine-in cinema concept theater to the Pix Capri Theatre building in Fondren.

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Cassandra "Cassi" Davis

Ask Cassandra "Cassi" Davis who is responsible for her success as an actress, and she answers, "God Did It."

U.S. Construction Up 1.2 Percent in February

Spending on U.S. construction projects rebounded in February, helped by a surge in home construction, which rose to the highest level in more than four years.

Conn. Lawmakers Unveil Bipartisan Gun Control Plan

With an announcement of sweeping proposals to curb gun violence, Connecticut lawmakers said they are hoping to send a message to Congress and other state legislators across the country: A bipartisan agreement on gun control is possible.

High-Skilled Visa Requests Likely to Exceed Supply

The Homeland Security Department expects applications for high-skilled immigration visas to outpace the available supply in a matter of days, one of the fastest runs on the much-sought-after work permits in years and a sign of continued economic recovery amid new hiring by U.S. technology companies.

Texas DA's Killing Puts Other Prosecutors on Alert

After one of his assistant prosecutors was gunned down in January, Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland carried a gun everywhere, even when walking the dog.

Sifting of Sept. 11 Debris Begins Anew

Anxieties are renewed more than a decade after the attacks.

Miss. House and Senate Approve Borrowing $196M

A bill to borrow $196 million would send tens of millions to universities and community colleges for construction projects.

Monday, April 1

Bryant Withdraws Pro-Life Nomination

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says he's withdrawing his nomination of anti-abortion activist Terri Herring to the state Board of Health.

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No JSU Stadium Money in Bond Bill

Some lawmakers are decrying the absence of funding for a new Jackson State University football stadium in the $196.4 million bond package that Mississippi House and Senate budget negotiators worked out.

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Large Companies Are Increasingly Offering Workers Only High Deductible Health Plans

Nearly a quarter of workers at companies with fewer than 200 workers were covered by high-deductible health plans last year, compared with 17 percent of workers at larger firms.

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Edward Croom Jr.

If you don't have a clue what an ethnobotanist does, don't feel alone. But if you're curious, you probably won't find a more enthusiastic advocate for the field than Edward Croom Jr.

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Community Events and Public Meetings

NatureFEST is April 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.

Five to be Presented Hamer Humanitarian Awards

The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute will honor five people with its annual humanitarian awards on April 19 at Jackson State University.

Burton Named to Institute Post

Otha Burton Jr., chairman of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Jackson State University, has been named executive director of JSU's new Institute of Government.

Court to Hear Case of Woman Accused in Stillbirth

A dozen public health organizations and human rights advocates are supporting a Mississippi woman's fight to avoid prosecution for the stillborn death of her child.

High Court Poised to Upend Civil Rights Policies

Has the nation lived down its history of racism and should the law become colorblind? Addressing two pivotal legal issues, one on affirmative action and a second on voting rights, a divided Supreme Court is poised to answer those questions.

Rivals Prepare for Legal Battle Over Abortion Bans

Rival legal teams, well-financed and highly motivated, are girding for court battles over the coming months on laws enacted in Arkansas and North Dakota that would impose the nation's toughest bans on abortion.

Pope Makes Easter Pleas for World Peace

Pope Francis marked Christianity's most joyous day with a passionate plea for world peace, celebrating his first Easter Sunday as pontiff in the enthusiastic company of more than 250,000 people who overflowed from St. Peter's Square.

South Africa: Mandela in Hospital on Easter

Former South African President Nelson Mandela had a restful day in a hospital Sunday and is improving following treatment for a recurrence of pneumonia, the government said.

Immigration Deal at Hand, Focus Turns to Details

Big business and big labor have settled on a political framework for an immigration overhaul.

Drug Maker Novartis Loses India Patent Battle

India's Supreme Court on Monday rejected drug maker Novartis AG's attempt to patent an updated version of a cancer drug in a landmark decision that health activists say ensures poor patients around the world will get continued access to cheap versions of lifesaving medicines.

Mexican Cartels Dispatch Operatives in U.S.

Mexican drug cartels tighten their grip on the world's most lucrative narcotics market.