Stories for December 2013


Tuesday, December 31

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Most Intriguing Jacksonians 2013

For better or worse, you talked about them. A lot. Some deserved it. Others? You decide.

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Don’t Assume I’m Angry

I am so sick of hearing about the "mad black woman," whether it's directed at the first lady or someone right here in Jackson.

Jackson Groups Offer Free NYE Rides

A few local organizations are making sure that New Year's Eve revelers have a way to get home safely if they've been drinking.

Council Must Seek Public Input on Fee Hikes

As City Reporter Tyler Cleveland reports this week, the Jackson City Council quietly, on Nov. 19, added a $5 ticket surcharge for events at Thalia Mara Hall when the municipal auditorium reopens after a months-long renovation.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Top Priority'

Bryant has actively obstructed other potential job-creating mechanisms that he believes conflict with the conservative mantle. Yes, we're talking Medicaid expansion and the likely windfall that will result from a health-care industry boon.

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Overcoming Ableism

When my twins were diagnosed with autism at age 2, I did what most parents do: I learned how to advocate for my kids.

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Wacky Fitness Tips

We've all heard the usual health tips—drink water, exercise, eat healthy and less. But here are a few lesser-known fitness tips.

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$5 Million Makeover Comes At a Cost

The Jackson City Council voted Monday to pump an additional $1.89 million into the city's Department of Human and Cultural Services to provide "funds needed for an expanded scope of services determined essential for the Thalia Mara project."

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State Prisons End Conjugal Visits

Although its precise origins are unclear, Parchman was the first penal institution in the U.S. to permit conjugal visits.

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Wellness and Wholeness

You can't have true wellness without balancing the whole. A person who works 24/7 might be great at his or her job. They might be successful or rich. But they aren't truly well.

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Jeremy Jungling

When Jeremy Jungling makes a goal for himself, he commits to achieving it. As a trainer at StinkyFeet Athletics in Flowood, part of his job is to inspire other runners to do the same thing.

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JATRAN Facility Has New Life, But At What Cost?

The Jackson City Council voted Monday to spend nearly half a million dollars to restart the stalled Hwy. 80 JATRAN facility project, a vote one council member called "the worst I've ever cast."

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New Donuts and Flight Options for Jackson

Monroe Jackson, long-time owner of Monroe's Donuts and Bakery, has purchased the former Scurlock's Donuts and Bakery and is making preparations to open a new location there.

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Robin Roberts

If you Google Robin Roberts' name right now, at least a dozen links pop up about her recent Facebook message on her Good Morning America anchor page.

Japan Promises Equality, but Women Find Few Jobs

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants women like Tomo Tamai to go back to work.

At 20 Years, NAFTA Didn't Close Mexico Wage Gap

it's hard to remember Mexico before the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has dramatically expanded consumer choice and trade since it took effect 20 years ago on Jan. 1.

Police, Troops Heavy in Bomb-Hit Russian City

Although there has been no claim of responsibility for the bombing of Volgograd's main railway station and a trolleybus, suspicion falls strongly on Islamist insurgents.

Miss. Charter School Board Gets $125K in Grants

The Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board has accepted $125,500 in grants.

Monday, December 30

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State Shortchanges Domestic Abuse Shelters

Mississippi domestic-violence shelters have been shortchanged more than previously believed—$1.6 million over the course of four years.

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Study Finds Shift to 'Dark Money' in Climate Denial Effort

The largest, most-consistent money fueling the climate denial movement are a number of well-funded conservative foundations built with so-called "dark money," or concealed donations, according to an analysis released Friday afternoon.

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Song of the Day: 'Who Do You Love?'

Bo Diddley was born Ellas Otha Bates in McComb, Miss., on Dec. 30, 1928, and later took on the last name of his mother's cousin, Gussie McDaniel, who raised him.

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Community Meetings and Events

The Blastin' the Blues New Year's Eve Party is Tuesday, Dec. 31 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Duling Hall.

Federal Health Care Sign-Ups Pass 1 Million Mark

The government's rehabilitated health insurance website has seen a December surge in customer sign-ups, pushing enrollment past the 1 million mark, the Obama administration says.

Israel Prepares to Free Palestinian Prisoners

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced a public uproar Monday over the impending release of more than two dozen Palestinian prisoners convicted in deadly attacks as part of a U.S.-brokered package to restart Mideast peace talks.

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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, December 28

Wounded Second Officer Remains Hospitalized

Police don't have a suspect yet in the death of one Tupelo police officer and the wounding of another, but authorities are chasing down leads and talking to people of interest, says Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Ray Hall.

Friday, December 27

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Thalia Mara to Get $5 Million Makeover

Thalia Mara Hall is about to get a lot cooler.

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How to Improve Temp Worker Safety

The federal government could easily track injuries suffered by temporary workers by adding a checkbox to a government form that already exists. Such a move would give regulators the data needed to justify stronger protections.

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Ape of the Day: Jari

Barely one month old, a new addition to the Jackson Zoo is already capturing hearts.

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It's the Weekend!

On Sunday, the Community Kwanzaa Celebration is from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at Medgar Evers Community Center.

Iran Says It Is Developing New Centrifuges

Iran's nuclear chief said the country is building a new generation of centrifuges for uranium enrichment but that they need further tests before they can be mass produced, apparently trying to counter hard-liner criticism of its nuclear deal with word powers.

Police File on Newtown Shooting to be Released

The planned release Friday of thousands of pages of police documents from the investigation into last year's school massacre in Newtown could shed additional light on the world of the 20-year-old gunman.

Thai Army Chief Urges Calm, Doesn't Rule Out Coup

Thailand's army chief on Friday urged both sides in the country's bitter political dispute to show restraint, but did not explicitly rule out the possibility of a coup.

Court Date Set in Kidnapping, Assault Case

A man who allegedly lured two brothers, ages 5 and 8, from their yard in south Mississippi and took them to his camper, where he sexually abused them and slashed the older boy's throat will be in court Jan. 12.

Mississippi College Hires Bland as New Coach

Mississippi College has hired John Bland as its next football coach.

Thursday, December 26

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Leap of Faith

Carolyn Upkins is President of Educational Services for HOPE, a local education consulting company.

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The Family Business

Going south from Memphis, turn left at Tunica, you'll discover the rolling hills of north Mississippi and the birthplace of "Hill Country Blues."

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Needles and Qi

Acupuncture is an ancient wellness technique involving the insertion of multiple thin needles (or fine wire, since they lack the hollow centers of traditional medical needles) into specific spots on the body.

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Ring in 2014: Dinner, Parties and Dancing Around Town

New Year's Eve is a wonderful night to reflect on the last 365 days and to gear up for the 365 days ahead.

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The Sleep Diaries

Whether or not you let your littles crawl in bed with you at the end of the day, here are several ways to make bedtime smoother and get more sleep with kids of all ages.

The Slate

I'm not sure what it says about the Saints' playoff chances when they sign a new kicker and promote a new tackle with two weeks left in the season. I guess we'll find out quickly.

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Early Favorites for the Howell Trophy

Near the end of each basketball season for the past nine years, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum has honored the top men's basketball player with the Howell Award.

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Remembering M.K. Turk

Current Southern Miss head basketball coach Donnie Tyndall made a fitting tribute to former Golden Eagle head coach M.K. Turk at the end of USM's 75-65 overtime win against Georgia State.

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2013 Highlight Reel

This past year has given us some memorable up-and-down sports moments, both as a state and in the greater sports world.

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The Smalls

Alcorn State University returns just one starter, All-SWAC forward LeAntwan Luckett, from last year's 10-24 team.

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JFP 2014 College Basketball Preview

As the college game becomes more micromanaged, especially at the end of game, a good coach becomes even more important. Our state might be starting to amass a nice collection of coaches who fit these descriptions.

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Mandela and the South

When Nelson Mandela spoke to the U.S. Congress on June 26, 1990, the godfather of modern-day Republican obstructionism, the late U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, wasn't in the chamber.

Wish for Continued Downtown Growth in 2014

Downtown is leaving 2013 with a bang with a number of exciting new restaurants with opening of Tom Ramsey's La Finestra and the reopening of the Iron Horse Grill. Fischer Gallery moved into the Dickie's Building, and even the ACLU relocated to Capitol Street downtown.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Messed-up Situation'

A&E's decision to sanction Phil Robertson is not an example of government censorship of an individual's right to engage in constitutionally protected speech. Rather, it was a business decision made by executives of A&E.

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2014 Primary Will Debut Voter ID

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann recently began an advertising campaign to inform voters about the voter ID law that has now taken effect in Mississippi.

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Bonne Année!

In the style of an extravagant culture, France doesn't take New Year's Eve lightly.

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Be the Change

Start this new year off right by giving back to your community.

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Crime Alignment Hitting the Streets

Ward 6 City Councilman Tony Yarber said he wanted to put 1,000 people—and 2,000 boots—on the street to kick off his organization, Jackson's Crime Alignment, on Dec. 14 at New Horizon Church.

Question o' the Week: What is the most memorable sports moment from the past year?

What is the most memorable sports moment from the past year?

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Trustmark Settles Suit Over Fees

If you've banked with Trustmark National Bank in the past few years, you could soon collect a sort of New Year's bonus.

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NAACP Calls for ‘Energy Justice’

Across the South, state branches of the NAACP are urging policymakers to consider disparate effects on African Americans when it comes to crafting energy policy.

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Malik Newman

Jackson Public Schools have long been the heart of Mississippi prep basketball, and Malik Newman, 17, is the latest in a long line of star players the city has produced.

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The View From 2013

In cities around the country, the focus for downtowns is on small business—not big projects.

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Hellogoodbye Leaves No Doubt

Though Hellogoodbye opened for Metric and Paramore during their fall tour, you'd be hard-pressed to find similarities between the headliners and today's Hellogoodbye.

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A Lofty Move

When you walk into the new downtown location for Fischer Galleries at the old Dickie's building, you almost get a sense that you're walking into a scene taken from one of Woody Allen's films set in New York City.

China Marks Mao's Birthday with Controlled Tribute

China's leaders bowed three times before a statue of Mao Zedong on the 120th anniversary of his birth Thursday in carefully controlled celebrations that also sought to uphold the market-style reforms he would have opposed.

Japanese PM Visits War Shrine, Angering Neighbors

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid his respects at a shrine honoring Japan's war dead in an unexpected visit Thursday that drew sharp rebukes from China and South Korea, who warned that the move celebrates his country's militaristic past and could further sour relations.

Russia: Arafat's Death Not Caused by Radiation

A Russian probe into the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has found no trace of radioactive poisoning, the chief of the government agency that conducted the study said Thursday.

Tuesday, December 24

Former Sen. Nix Dies at 82

Funeral services for former state Sen. Charles Ray Nix of Batesville will be held Saturday.

MDES Releases November Jobless Figures

New figures on Mississippi's labor force show Clay County with the highest unemployment rate of 16.8 percent in November.

Monday, December 23

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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.

Sunday, December 22

Analysis: Bryant Education Order Eases Core Fight

When Gov. Phil Bryant issued his executive order inveighing against a possible federal takeover of education in Mississippi, he may have been doing supporters of the Common Core standards a favor.

Saturday, December 21

Miss. Jobs Picture Improves Slightly in November

Mississippi's unemployment rate ticked down to 8.3 percent in November, as the state's economy continued to progress slowly.

Friday, December 20

Obama: Give Current Iran Sanctions Time to Work

President Barack Obama is urging Congress to resist new sanctions against Iran because current agreements have a good chance to rein in that country's nuclear ambitions.

Obama Hints at Changing Phone Records Collection

President Barack Obama suggested Friday that he may be ready to make some changes in the bulk collection of Americans' phone records to allay the public's concern about privacy.

Judge Strikes Down Utah's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

A federal judge struck down Utah's same-sex marriage ban Friday in a decision that brings a nationwide shift toward allowing gay marriage to a conservative state where the Mormon church has long been against it.

Blue Cross and HMA Settle Hospital Payment Dispute

Mississippi's largest health insurer and its second-largest hospital operator have settled their dispute.

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Horhn Speaks on 'Tea Party Governor,' Sales Tax Vote

The 1-percent sales tax is an opportunity, and not a burden. That was the message state Sen. John Horhn delivered to a packed house at the weekly Friday Forum meeting at Koinonia Coffee House near Jackson State Friday morning.

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Council Mulls Residency Requirements

Since 2007, legislation has been on the books to ensure that money the City of Jackson pays out in wages stays close to city. Soon, it could be changed to ensure that money stays completely within the city.

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President Obama Tells Clarence Aaron He Can Finally Go Home

President Obama has ordered an early release from prison for Clarence Aaron, who has spent twenty years there, hoping for mercy.

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Remedy Krewe

In 2005, Dustan Chiasson founded Remedy Krewe, which he describes as "a funk band with blues influences, playing like a rock band."

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It's the Weekend!

Tonight, Remedy Krewe performs from 8-11:45 p.m. at Iron Horse Grill.

Obama Orders Military to Review Sexual Assault

President Barack Obama on Friday gave the military one year to make progress on an epidemic of sexual assault or face potential tougher reforms, hours after Congress sent a sweeping defense bill for his signature that cracks down on the crime in its ranks.

Russian Oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky a Free Man

After spending 10 years in Russian jails for what many in the West believe were trumped-up offenses, Mikhail Khodorkovsky left prison a free man Friday and immediately flew to Germany.

Spy Sanel Wants Duplicate Oversight Board Replaced

For months, two review panels given nearly identical assignments by President Barack Obama have been studying how the White House should change or limit the National Security Agency's surveillance programs.

Gay Marriage Supporters See Hope in Deep-Red Ind.

In one of the most conservative states in the nation, supporters of gay marriage are pondering the unthinkable: a victory, or at least not a loss.

Miss. Board of Education Approves Preschool Grants

Mississippi education officials have awarded $2 million to 11 groups to provide preschool for four-year-olds.

Thursday, December 19

Alcorn President Brown Resigns

Alcorn State University President M. Christopher Brown II has resigned amid an investigation into university purchasing practices.

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Mystery Shrouds JSU's Comegy Firing

There was nothing normal about Jackson State University's handling of its decision to fire Rick Comegy, announced Wednesday morning.

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How Long Will You Wait at the Emergency Room?

In less urgent cases, patients arriving at the emergency room can wait for hours before seeing a doctor, receiving pain medication, having tests, or being admitted to the hospital.

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Rick Comegy

What does winning two straight SWAC East titles and losing two straight SWAC championship games in overtime earn you? If you are Rick Comegy, Jackson State University head coach, it earns you a pink slip a week before Christmas.

Putin to Pardon Jailed Tycoon Khodorkovsky

President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he will pardon jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a surprise decision that will let his top foe and Russia's formerly richest man out of prison after more than a decade.

Ukrainian Leader Slams West, Tilts Toward Russia

Ukraine's embattled president slammed the West on Thursday for supporting the massive street protests calling for his ouster and announced plans to partially join a Moscow-led economic union—a move that was likely to deepen Ukraine's political crisis.

Target: 40M Card Accounts May be Breached

Target says that about 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been affected by a data breach that occurred just as the holiday shopping season shifted into high gear.

Amid Spasm of Violence, U.S. Diplomat in C. Africa

The American ambassador to the United Nations arrived Thursday in Central African Republic in the highest profile American effort to date to spotlight the violence in this impoverished nation, which has claimed hundreds of lives and displaced at least 10 percent of the population.

Ex-JPD Officer Pleads Guilty in Bribery Case

A former Jackson police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to trying to bribe another officer with $10,000 to drop drug charges against one of his friends.

Wednesday, December 18

Jackson State Fires Rick Comegy After 8 Seasons

Jackson State fired football coach Rick Comegy on Wednesday after eight seasons.

The Slate

'Twas the week before Christmas, and what should appear? The start of college football bowl season—the end of football is near.

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Not My Heisman Vote

I didn't watch this year's Heisman Trophy presentation Saturday night. I knew who was going to win the award. It was a foregone conclusion, and I disagreed with it.

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Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

As long as rock 'n' roll has been around, its practitioners have been trying to add their spin to season's greetings. Chuck Berry told Rudolph to run, and Brenda Lee went rockin' around the tree.

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'Madea': A Farcical, Seasonal Romp

Tyler Perry reprises his cross-dressing role of Madea for a silly seasonal romp in “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas.”

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The Truth About Today’s Youth

Today's generation of young people may be the safest, smartest and most resilient we've ever experienced. Yes, including here in Jackson and Mississippi.

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Pearl’s Joyful Tatter

Tatting is a lace-making technique from the era of Jane Austen, candlelight and wire spectacles.

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Season’s Eatings

While filling stockings and wrapping presents for your friends and family, don't forget to get a gift to yourself this holiday—a day off from cooking and cleaning. Plan to pick up a catered meal for Christmas Eve or Christmas day and cross another thing off your to-do list.

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Character: What Kids (Really) Need

The truth is that not all children have good parents, and giving birth or marrying a person of the opposite gender does not turn people into good parents. Not to mention, good parents don't guarantee perfect kids.

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Digging up the Roots

When discussing the very difficult issue of violence, we find there are two types of people: those who don't care why criminals resort to violence, and those who get that preventing it can only come from attacking it at the roots.

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Mentoring: A Friend for Life

The word "mentor" is incredibly common these days—a good sign that more and more people understand the need to help young people, especially those unfortunate enough not to have a strong family support bases.

Resolved: Help Young People in 2014

How do you resolve to make a difference in the lives of young people? Feel free to list them below and send to [email protected], post under this story at or just put on your fridge to remind yourself throughout the year.

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They Always Get Away

Darius Simmons was 13 years old when the old man next door killed him.

City Must Give More Notice to City Council

The Jackson City Council was frustrated last week when the Mayor Chokwe Lumumba introduced two emergency items at its special meeting Monday afternoon.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Outside Authority'

Gov. Bryant seems to be continuing a bizarre trend of going on record to say Mississippi would disobey federal laws it disagrees with.

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Getting Creative with Kwanzaa

Boneqweesha Jones: "Greeting, television viewers. I'm your back-on-the-scene reporter coming to you live from Jojo's Discount Dollar Store."

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Meet Me Under the Dung on a Twig

Did you know people used to believe that mistletoe grew from dung? The name itself is Anglo-Saxon for "dung-on-a-twig." So why do we kiss under it? Here are a few beliefs behind that silly custom.

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Be the Change

It's now just about that time of year. Everyone is getting busier and busier, but as you're going through your Christmas shopping list, don't forget less-fortunate community members.

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Expanding Medicaid: ‘Something Smart’

David Becker believes the 21st century will be the health-care era. Based on a report Becker co-authored, Mississippi will practically be stuck in medieval times if policymakers continue to fight Medicaid expansion.

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Federal Money Restarts Projects

The Jackson City Council recently approved a pair of emergency change orders to restart work on Capitol Street and Fortification Street.

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Latinos Say Task Force Profiled, Assaulted Them

Law enforcement raided the home of Rosi Lopez in early December looking for a homicide suspect.

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Lumumba Wants More Siemens Oversight

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba has taken a city-first approach to infrastructure—he wants to pave city streets and fix the water and sewer network by hiring local contractors instead of handing work, and money, to businesses located outside the city limits.

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Enyla Blackmon

The most incredible thing Enyla Blackmon has done in her short eight years of life is donate $5,000 to the American Cancer Society in early November. Not many children can say they've done that.

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Build an Army for Kids, Not Against Them

I was mortified, if not really surprised, to see some of the angry responses to R.L. Nave's excellent cover story last week about the killing of Quardious Thomas.

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Rocket 88's Musical Gumbo

Oxford-based band Rocket 88 prides itself on combining genres such as juke joint gospel, old-time country and Americana.

'Mary Poppins' Among 25 U.S. Films to be Preserved

Just in time for a new movie about the making of "Mary Poppins," the 1964 Disney classic starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke has been selected for preservation at the Library of Congress so future generations of Americans can see it.

Bipartisan Budget Agreement Nears Final Passage

A modest, bipartisan budget pact designed to keep Washington from lurching from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis and to ease the harshest effects of automatic budget cuts is on the brink of passing the Senate Wednesday.

US Sending $25M in New Typhoon Aid to Philippines

Overwhelmed by the massive damage wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in a central Philippine city, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced nearly $25 million in additional aid Wednesday to help the country deal with the devastation.

Ousted Egypt President to be Tried Over Conspiracy

Egypt's top prosecutor referred toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to trial Wednesday for conspiring with the Palestinian group Hamas, Lebanon's Hezbollah and others to carry out a campaign of violence in the Sinai Peninsula and beyond to destabilize the country following his ouster.

Education Dept Awards $120 Million to Districts

Students will earn an associate's degree and a high school diploma at the same time. Every student will have a laptop to take home at night. And teachers will be retrained to let students move at their own pace.

Tuesday, December 17

Sochi Olympic Critics Get Terrorist Treatment

They are fearless, stubborn and increasingly under siege. Environmentalists, activists and journalists in Sochi have spent years exposing the dark side of Vladimir Putin's showcase Winter Games—and now they're paying the price.

Putin: Russia to Buy $15 Billion in Ukraine Bonds

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday opened his wallet in the battle with the European Union over Ukraine's future, saying Moscow will buy $15 billion worth of Ukrainian government bonds and sharply cut the price of natural gas for its economically struggling neighbor.

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Bryant Wants to Retain State Control of Schools

Gov. Phil Bryant wants to ensure that the State of Mississippi is the only entity educating Mississippi kids.

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Whole Foods, Godwin and Amtrak

Whole Foods Market, an Austin, Texas-based grocery chain that features natural and organic foods, recently put out a call for applicants for the company's upcoming Jackson location, currently still under construction.

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Josh Paige

Josh Paige doesn't have to look far for inspiration for his poetry, or his lyrics.

EU Warns Israel Over Settlement Construction

The European Union said Tuesday it has warned Israel against any new West Bank settlement construction following an upcoming Palestinian prisoner release, saying it will be held responsible for any resulting failure of the ongoing peace talks.

N. Korea Tries to Project Unity on Death Anniversary

North Korea vowed to unite behind leader Kim Jong Un during carefully staged events Tuesday to mark the second anniversary of his father's death, in an attempt to show it has returned to business as usual after the purge and execution of his once-powerful uncle last week.

Snowden: NSA's Indiscriminate Spying 'Collapsing'

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden wrote in a lengthy "open letter to the people of Brazil" that he's been inspired by the global debate ignited by his release of thousands of National Security Agency documents, and that the NSA's culture of indiscriminate global espionage "is collapsing."

As NORAD Tracks Santa, Critics Track NORAD

The U.S. and Canadian military will entertain millions of kids again this Christmas Eve with second-by-second updates on Santa's global whereabouts. But there's something new this year: public criticism.

Budget Deal Splits GOP Leaders in House, Senate

Senate Republican leaders are criticizing a bipartisan budget deal, parting ways with their House counterparts who shepherded the measure through that chamber last week.

Lawsuit: Mental Health Facility Negligent

A woman has filed a federal lawsuit claiming a central Mississippi mental health facility failed to protect her 11-year-old son from being sexually abused by a nurse while he was a patient.

Monday, December 16

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Jackson Fills Recycling Need

Soon, people who don't have residential recycling pickup will have a new drop-off location in the city of Jackson.

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Rep. Jeramey Anderson

The recently elected Rep. Jeramey Anderson, D-Moss Point, was sworn in to the Mississippi House of Representatives Dec. 6, which happened to be his 22nd birthday.

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Community Meetings and Events

New Stage Theatre presents "A Christmas Carol" for 3 nights from Wednesday, Dec. 18 to Friday, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m.

Relative: Mandela Signer in Group that Burned Men

The bogus sign language interpreter at last week's Nelson Mandela memorial service was among a group of people who accosted two men found with a stolen television and burned them to death by setting fire to tires placed around their necks, one of the interpreter's cousins and three of his friends told The Associated Press Monday.

28-Year Sentence in Ohio in $100M Charity Scam

A judge handed down a 28-year prison sentence Monday to a man convicted of masterminding a $100 million, cross-country Navy veterans charity fraud.

UN: $12.9 Billion Aid Needed in 2014

The United Nations said Monday it will need nearly $13 billion in aid in 2014 to reach at least 52 million people in 17 countries, including the millions of Syrians who have been displaced by their civil war.

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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, December 14

Miss. Hospital Does Its 1st Pancreas Transplant

Doctors at the University of Mississippi Medical Center have performed the facility's first pancreas transplant in a 49-year-old diabetes patient who also received a kidney during the procedure.

Friday, December 13

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Gray to Bus Drivers: Wait 'Til Next Year

More than a hundred Jackson Public Schools bus drivers met with District Superintendent Cedrick Gray Friday morning at Powell Middle School.

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New Report: Unregulated Contaminants Common in Drinking Water

Traces of 18 unregulated chemicals were found in drinking water from more than one-third of U.S. water utilities in a nationwide sampling, according to new, unpublished research by federal scientists.

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Tonya Boyd-Cannon

What happens when silk meets sand? The answer may be found in the sultry singing voice of Tonya Boyd-Cannon.

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It's the Weekend!

On Sunday, Ballet Magnificat! presents "Snow Queen" at 2 p.m. at Thalia Mara Hall.

More Purges May Follow Execution of Kim's Uncle

The execution of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle brought a swift and violent end to a man long considered the country's second most powerful. But while Jang Song Thaek is now gone, the fallout from his purge is not over.

Huge Crowds Gather in Hopes of Seeing Mandela Body

It was easy to see the thousands of people who had been turned away Friday in their bid to say farewell to Nelson Mandela—they were the ones fighting back tears of disappointment.

S. Africa Investigates Sign Interpreter

The South African government says it is aware of reports that the bogus sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial once faced a murder charge, and says he's being investigated.

Ex-BP Engineer Isn't Expected to Testify at Trial

A former BP drilling engineer isn't expected to testify at his trial on charges he deleted text messages about the company's response to its massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Thursday, December 12

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Report: State Would Reap $14 Billion from Medicaid Expansion

Even with the intense debate that has taken place over the last year or so, the conversation over Medicaid expansion in Mississippi has remained somewhat abstract, focusing on the costs and benefits to the state and to the health-care industry in broad terms.

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Obesity Rate Flat, Mississippi Still Highest

An annual state-by-state survey says the country is making good progress in improving its overall health—including a flat obesity rate and a lower rate of smoking. But individual states, especially in the South, continue to lag.

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Millsaps and Mississippi College Football Honorees

As college football reaches its conclusion for the year, awards and honors are starting to pile up for both Mississippi College and Millsaps College football players.

Federal Data Show Health Disparities Among States

The slow rollout of a new federal health insurance marketplace may be deepening differences in health coverage among Americans, with residents in some states gaining insurance at a far greater rate than others.

Interpreter at Mandela Event: I Was Hallucinating

The man accused of faking sign interpretation while standing alongside world leaders like U.S. President Barack Obama at Nelson Mandela's memorial service said Thursday he hallucinated that angels were entering the stadium, suffers from schizophrenia and has been violent in the past.

Gridlock in the Senate, Progress in the House

A budget agreement between key Republicans and Democrats. Even President Barack Obama was on board. All without anyone threatening to repeal this or shut down that.

Bryant Announces New Tourism Project

Gov. Phil Bryant has announced a yearlong celebration in 2014 to showcase Mississippi people, communities and enterprises that are moving the state's economy forward.

Wednesday, December 11

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Faithful Fellow

Joseph Latino is the bishop of the Jackson Catholic Diocese.

JFP Top 25: Final Pre-Bowl Poll

This is the final JFP Top 25 College Football Poll until after the National Championship Game to be played on Jan. 6. The title game will be the Florida State Seminoles against the Auburn Tigers.

The Slate

SEC and Auburn fans, be sure to send Christmas cards to Michigan State for opening the door for the Auburn Tigers. Once, an eighth-straight SEC national title seemed dead, but the Spartans saved it for us.

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A Night of Awards

Last week, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame awarded the Conerly Trophy and the Kent Hull award. In case you missed it, Mississippi State guard Gabe Jackson got both awards.

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The Buddy System

Musicians have always formed connections with their contemporaries, whether it be bitter rivalry, close-knit brotherhood or something between the two.

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A Decade of Jazz Artistry

The Mississippi Jazz Foundation began with a well-attended concert at Belhaven University's Center for Performing Arts.

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Bayou Arts

This year’s final monthly installment of “Unburied Treasures: Cover to Cover” is Dec. 17 at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

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'Dallas Buyer's Club''s Emotional Rodeo

Jared Leto (left) and Matthew McConaughey deliver Oscar-worthy performances as people living with AIDS in the ’80s in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

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Kids and Parents Get FIT

A veteran gymnastics instructor and certified personal trainer, Lesley Dukes is one of several trainers involved in the FIT Program.

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The Big Apple Inn and the World’s Weirdest Sandwich

The pig-ear sandwich represents more than a sandwich. To some adolescents in the Jackson community, it means hope for their future.

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Remembering Nelson Mandela

By reading Nelson Mandela's story, I saw what the best of humanity looked like. I saw that no matter how much oppression and humiliation one group may inflict upon another, the human spirit is oak-tree strong, and we can rise above it.

DA Smith Should Recuse from Thomas Killing

Both the DA and Jackson police seem to be assuming that the killing would fall under the state's Castle Doctrine, but it is entirely unclear whether a grand jury would agree, considering that no evidence has emerged that Thomas intended violence against the people inside the house or had the means to commit it.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Committed'

Hosemann likes to play coy, saying that he is but a humble civil servant following the will of the Legislature and the people, who approved voter ID by referendum in 2011, but he's been driving the voter ID bus since he first ran for the office.

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Not Buying It This Year

As many people come off the high of the Thanksgiving holiday and the shopping experiences of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I am spending my time contemplating if all the holiday hustle and bustle is worth it.

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Be the Change This Holiday

As the holiday season progresses, more charities and fundraisers need your help. Here's a couple more ways to give back.

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Kwanzaa, Explained

Even though it's right smack in the middle of a thousand different religious celebrations, Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday.

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JSU Powers Up

Dr. Robert Blaine said Jackson State University’s iPad program helped closed the school’s internal achievement gap, and has put JSU on the cutting edge of digital learning.

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The Phantom Inspection

When the David Watkins camp responded to the Jackson Redevelopment Authority's decision to cancel Watkins lease on the Farish Street Entertainment District project, it sent JRA a 10-page letter that outlined the setbacks.

Question o' the Week: What is your favorite thing about the holiday season?

What is your favorite thing about the holiday season?

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Yvette Brown

Yvette Brown, a Jackson native, knew from age 5 that hair was her calling.

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Killing Quardious Thomas: A Castle Doctrine Case Study

The law providing immunity for Eric Williams is Mississippi's Castle Doctrine, which spells out a range of circumstances in which homicide may be justified.

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What's With the Boil-Water Notices?

If Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba is looking for a pitch to sell Jacksonians on the proposed 1-percent sales tax, he could simply forward everyone the press releases regarding boil water notices from the city's Department of Public Works.

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From Nelson to Quardious

Even freedom fighters need warmth.

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In the Land of Santa

Exercise your bitterness and laugh at the ridiculousness of the holidays at Michael Matthews Guidry's performance in "SantaLand Diaries."

Bipartisan Budget Deal Sets Off Some Grumbling

Backers of a narrowly drawn budget deal are selling it as a way to stabilize Congress' shaky fiscal practices and mute some of the partisan rancor that has helped send lawmakers' public approval ratings plummeting.

Health Care Signups Pick Up Pace in November

Playing catch-up with a long way to go, President Barack Obama's new health insurance markets last month picked up the dismal pace of signups, the administration reported Wednesday.

Mandela Ceremony Interpreter Called a 'Fake'

A man who appeared to provide sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela's memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a "fake," the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa said on Wednesday.

Miss. Starting to Plan 2017 Bicentennial Events

Mississippi on Tuesday marked its 196th anniversary of statehood, and officials said they're starting to plan a bicentennial celebration for 2017.

Tuesday, December 10

Obama Shakes Hands with Cuba's Raul Castro

resident Barack Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro Tuesday at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela, a simple gesture that, while promptly downplayed by the White House, created a furor in Washington among critics of the Cuban regime.

Bipartisan Negotiators Seek Modest Budget Pact

Republican and Democratic negotiators reached out for a budget agreement Tuesday to reduce automatic spending cuts aimed at programs ranging from parks to the Pentagon, risking a backlash from liberals and conservatives that highlighted the difficulty of compromise within divided government.

Bach: Russia to Set Up Protest Zones in Sochi

IOC President Thomas Bach said Russia will set up public protest zones in Sochi during the Winter Olympics, a move unlikely to defuse criticism of the country's human rights record and a recent law banning gay "propaganda."

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Voter ID First Tested in GOP Primary

Despite opposition from Democratic-leaning groups who say laws requiring voter ID could keep minorities, young people and college students away from polls, Mississippi's voter ID law will first be tested in a hot Republican primary for one of the state's U.S. Senate seats.

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Saltine, MDA Take Flight; Southwest Grounds Them

Former Parlor Market Chef de Cuisine Jesse Houston is preparing to make his return to the Jackson restaurant scene, this time as the owner and operator of his own establishment.

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Marek Dlouhy

Marek Dlouhy and his wife, Shelagh, opened DCZ Designs: "Nature's Jewelry" eight years ago.

Local Leaders Planning for Climate Effects

When it comes to climate change, local officials have a message for Washington: Lead or get out of the way.

'Sound of Music' Actress Eleanor Parker Dies at 91

Eleanor Parker, who was nominated for Academy Awards three times for her portrayals of strong-willed women and played a scheming baroness in "The Sound of Music," has died at 91.

World Leaders, South Africans Honor Mandela

U.S. President Barack Obama exhorted the world Tuesday to embrace Nelson Mandela's universal message of peace and justice, electrifying tens of thousands of rain-lashed spectators in a South African stadium.

Hood: Google Still Not Effectively Fighting Crime

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is again asking Google to do more to prevent people from using the search engine to find illegal drugs and pirated videos, music and games.

Miss. Trying to Educate People About Voter ID Law

Mississippi's top elections official is launching a publicity blitz to bring attention to the state's voter identification law that's scheduled to be used for the first time in June.

Monday, December 9

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JPS Bus Drivers Hint at Unionizing

This morning, Ward 6 Councilman Tony Yarber had to make a quick stop before attending a meeting of striking Jackson Public School bus drivers: He had to drop his kids off at school.

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HUD Finally Stirs on Housing Discrimination

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has accused Dallas, one of the nation's largest cities, of violating civil rights law through housing practices that discriminated against black, Latino and disabled residents.

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Dr. Srinivasan Vijayakumar

The University of Mississippi Medical Center's Cancer Institute has a new director, Dr. Srinivasan Vijayakumar, but you can just call him Dr. Vijay.

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Community Meetings & Events

A toy drive for pediatric patients at Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital will be held Friday, Dec. 13, at the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.

Angry Mobs Attack in C. African Republic Capital

The latest round of violence in the Central African Republic began Thursday, when armed Christian fighters who oppose Seleka attacked the capital and were later repelled by the ex-rebels. At least 400 people were killed in two days.

Hagel Warns Pakistan Leaders Over Border Protests

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Pakistani leaders Monday that if they don't resolve protests stalling some military shipments across the border with Afghanistan, it could be difficult to maintain political support in Washington for an aid program that has sent billions of dollars to Islamabad, defense officials said.

Purge Sends Chilling Message to N. Korea's Elite

By purging his own uncle, Kim has delivered a more chilling message: No one is beyond reach, not even family.

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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, December 7

Youngest Miss. Lawmaker Sworn in on 22nd Birthday

Democrat Jeramey Anderson of Moss Point has been sworn in as the youngest member of the Mississippi Legislature.

Friday, December 6

Summit Pushes Chemical Manufacturing in Miss.

Mississippi should seize an opportunity to compete for energy-thirsty economic development, economist David Dismukes suggested Thursday at the Governor's Energy Summit.

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Crime: A Faith-Based Solution?

Less than 24 hours after the shooting death of 15-year-old Wingfield High School student Destinee Ford, Ward 6 Councilman Tony Yarber got behind a podium at City Hall to announce his new faith-based initiative, Jackson's Faith-Based Alignment Against Crime.

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With Three Weeks Left, Consumers Fear They May End Up Without Health Coverage on New Year’s Day

The next three weeks are critical for consumers keen on getting health coverage as soon as the health law allows it on Jan. 1.

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Howard Barron

Jackson photographer Howard Barron died at age 79 from a heart attack on Thanksgiving morning. His work with film photography and philanthropy touched many lives here in Jackson, where he lived for more than 40 years.

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It's the Weekend!

On Saturday, Ballet Mississippi's "The Nutcracker" is at 7:30 p.m. at Thalia Mara Hall.

Six-Term Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran to Seek Re-Election

Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi will seek a seventh term in 2014, setting up a Republican primary that pits an established incumbent who has brought billions of dollars to his home state against a tea party-backed challenger who says federal spending is out of control.

Southwest to Drop Flights to 3 Smaller Cities

Southwest Airlines Co. said Thursday that it will end service in June to Key West, Fla.; Jackson, Miss.; and Branson, Mo., because it can't make money serving the smaller markets.

Obama's Fixer-Upper Website Races to Catch Up

It looks like President Barack Obama's fickle health insurance website is finally starting to put up some respectable sign-up numbers, but its job only seems to have gotten harder.

Germany to Take in 5,000 More Syrian Refugees

Germany says it will take in a further 5,000 refugees from Syria, doubling its current offer of shelter for people fleeing the Arab nation's civil war.

World Mourns Mandela, Struggles to Find the Words

For most of the world, his name is synonymous with courage and perseverance. Leaders and citizens, athletes and artists remembered Nelson Mandela on Friday—though many struggled to find words big enough to describe the man who changed the face of South Africa and inspired a continent and a world

World Cup Teams Hoping for Luck of the Draw

The eyes of soccer focused nervously Friday on the draw to determine where, when and, most important, who the 32 teams will play at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Ice Accumulation Expected in North Miss.

A cold front is expected to bring freezing rain to north Mississippi late Thursday and into Friday with accumulations of one quarter of an inch or more in places.

Thursday, December 5

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Nelson Mandela, 20th Century Colossus, Dies at 95

Nelson Mandela, who became one of the world's most beloved statesmen and a colossus of the 20th century when he emerged from 27 years in prison to negotiate an end to white minority rule in South Africa, has died. He was 95.

Clashes Sweep Central Africa Republic Capital

Wielding rifles and machetes, armed Christian fighters who support the Central African Republic's exiled president assaulted the capital at dawn on Thursday, leaving nearly 100 people dead. Shrouded bodies were lined up in a mosque as dozens of wounded lay on blood-stained hospital floors.

House Democrats Urge Obama to Suspend Deportations

Twenty-nine House Democrats are urging President Barack Obama to suspend deportations of immigrants living here illegally and extend relief to many of the estimated 11 million.

Fast-Food Protests Return Amid Push for Wage Hikes

Fast-food workers and labor organizers marched, waved signs and chanted in cities across the country on Thursday in a push for higher wages.

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Hood, Jackson at Odds Over Gun Laws

While the Jackson City Council Rules Committee is still mulling its revised concealed-carry gun ordinance, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood issued an opinion outlining places where Mississippi statutes authorize enhanced permit carry, regardless of signage that municipalities posts.

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After Years of Troubles, Largest Student-Loan Servicers Get Stepped-up Oversight

Sallie Mae and other large student-loan servicers—the companies that act as a go-between for borrowers and lenders—will soon be getting some regular oversight from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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MSU Stars

The last few weeks have been rewarding for Mississippi State University. Good news started coming the Bulldogs' way even before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Obama to Feds: Boost Renewable Power 20 Percent

Saying the government should lead by example, President Barack Obama is ordering the federal government to nearly triple its use of renewable sources for electricity by 2020.

Stolen Cobalt-60 Found Abandoned in Mexico

A missing shipment of radioactive cobalt-60 was found Wednesday near where the stolen truck transporting the material was abandoned in central Mexico, the country's nuclear safety director said.

Fighting in CAR Capital; UN to Step In

Fighting came to the capital of the Central African Republic on Thursday, leaving dozens of casualties and posing the biggest threat yet to the new government just as the U.N. Security Council is set to vote on deploying an intervention force to prevent a bloodbath.

U.S. Sends 2 Guantanamo Prisoners Back to Algeria

Two men who have been held without charge at the Guantanamo Bay for more than a decade have been sent back to their native Algeria as part of a renewed effort to gradually close the prison, U.S. officials said Thursday.

Officer: Not Clear Who Shot Agent During Search

It's not clear who shot and wounded a U.S. Marshals task force agent during the search for a murder suspect in Jackson on Tuesday or if the man charged in the case fired his weapon, a law enforcement official testified Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 4

Obama: Income Inequality a Defining Challenge

President Barack Obama prodded Congress to raise wages and secure the social safety net as he issued an overarching appeal Wednesday to correct inequalities that he said make it harder for a child to escape poverty. "That should offend all of us," he declared. "We are a better country than this."

Lawyer: Engineer in 'Daze' Before NYC Train Crash

An engineer whose speeding commuter train ran off the rails along a curve, killing four people, experienced a hypnotic-like daze and nodded at the controls before he suddenly realized something was wrong and hit the brakes, a lawyer said as a federal regulator called for the railroad to make immediate safety improvements.

LA Airport Shooting Suspect Appears in Court

The man charged with killing a Transportation Security Administration officer and wounding two other agents and a civilian during a shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport made his first court appearance Wednesday, still showing signs of the gunshot wounds suffered when he was arrested.

Hunt on in Mexico for Stolen Radioactive Load

A cargo truck hauling extremely dangerous radioactive material from used medical equipment was stolen from a gas station in Mexico, and authorities put out an alert in six central states and the capital to find it, Mexican officials said Wednesday.

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A Trophy Topper

Both practical and fun, these trophy-topper wine-bottle stoppers are conversation pieces and more personal than any other store-bought version.

JFP Top 25: Week 14

As thrilling as it was, Auburn's win over Alabama in the Iron Bowl put the SEC's hopes of winning an eighth-straight national title on life-support.

The Slate

Congratulations to Mississippi State and Southern Miss. Both schools came up with huge wins over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

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Insane Endings

In honor of "The Walking Dead" mid-season finale, I've found some parallels with this past college football weekend and the insanely popular AMC show. (Warning: Spoilers ahead.)

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Roll On, John

John Lennon still influences writers and musicians 33 years after his death.

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Six Guys, Four Guitars, Loud Madness

If you aren't going to see this band, I don't want to speak with you. This is the kind of music that moshpit-inducing, sweaty-energy recordings can only hint at.

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'The Book Thief': Powerful Stories

"The Book Thief" anchors itself in the reality of war, where true courage can mean ordinary people who keep promises to old friends.

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Where No Kerbal Has Gone Before

The concept of "Kerbal Space Program" is decidedly simple and open-ended like many of the best indie titles.

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Baking Club Rules

The best way to learn the rules of baking is to start simple—maybe with chocolate-chip cookies.

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Honoring Dr. King

Jackson State University will host the 45th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Convocation Jan. 17, 2014. The event is held every year on the Friday before the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

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Photos Across America

Josh Hailey's two years of documentary footage and photography from his coast-to-coast travels will be on display in Fondren Dec. 23 at his Photamerica release party.

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Stairway Back to Heaven

Some tribute bands are content with adequate recreations of legendary bands' original music. Not Zoso.

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Fun Run

Each marathon has its own spirit, from Boston's grueling heartbreak hill to the quirky costumes in New York City to the sunny California attitude in San Francisco.

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Jason Jenkins, Public Artist

Jason Jenkins moved back to Jackson during the summer of 2012—just in time to participate in the painting of area traffic boxes as part of the Public Art Initiative that former Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. created in conjunction with the Greater Jackson Arts Council.

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The Immorality of Incarceration

Mariachi guitarist Johnny Mora's bout with drugs was years in his past, but the legacy of jail time it led to is as much a companion as his guitar when he travels to perform in clubs around Mississippi.

Rethink ‘Family Values’

A Mississippi judge won't let Hernando resident Lauren Beth Czekala-Chatham get a divorce from the woman she married in San Francisco in 2008, nor is she getting any help from state officials.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Adequate'

Since capturing control of the Mississippi Legislature, and therefore the budgeting process, Republican lawmakers have boasted about putting aside about $100 million per year into reserves, or what is colloquially called the Rainy Day Fund.

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Introducing ‘Broke Friday’

Smokey "Robinson" McBride: "A lot of my working-poor constituents were too broke to shop on Black Friday. They spent most of their time negotiating past-due payments with bill collectors and credit-card companies."

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Planned Refuge Won’t Kill ‘One Lake’

Residents of the capital city may soon have another option for outdoor recreational activities, a 5,000-acre wildlife refuge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing.

Local Toy Drives

Give back this season by donating to local toy drives.

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Leaders Leave Jackson for Big Ideas

Sitting in his office on the second floor of City Hall Tuesday, Nov. 26, Ward 4 City Councilman De'Keither Stamps beamed as he went over a list of 12 new ordinances he plans to introduce in the coming weeks.

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No Fingerprinting for City Program?

The 4-2 vote the city took last week to enact fingerprint scanning for the city's child-care programs might have been a little premature, following revelations that a previously filed injunction could delay and ultimately kill the Mississippi Department of Human Services mandate.

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Bill Allain: A People’s Champ

The family of former Mississippi Gov. William "Bill" Allain, who died Dec. 2 at age 85, wants him to be remembered as someone who explicitly fought for Mississippians who historically haven't had many people fighting for them.

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Downtown Housing Development Moves Along

A housing development that had been planned for west Jackson before it met community opposition is moving ahead in a new location in downtown Jackson.

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Emily Simmons

At 21 years old, Emily Simmons is making waves with her art. Simmons, a junior at Millsaps College, double-majors in studio art and art history with a concentration in museum studies.

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Honoring the Greatest, Inspiring the Rest

Our goal remains the same: to highlight and acknowledge locals who are the best at what they do.

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The Vibe of Flow Tribe

Flow Tribe is a kaleidoscope of sounds inspired by the historic music culture of The Big Easy.

Argentina Grapples With Its Most Polluted River

The Riachuelo river flowing through Argentina's La Boca district has been named one of the planet's 10 dirtiest places.

Newtown to Release 911 Calls from School Shooting

Recordings of 911 calls from the Newtown school shooting are being released, days after a state prosecutor dropped his fight to continue withholding them despite an order to provide them to The Associated Press.

Strain Over Security Zone Evident in Biden Talks

In a sharp rebuff, China accused Washington on Wednesday of taking Japan's side in a tense clash over disputed islands in the East China Sea, underscoring rising regional friction as visiting Vice President Joe Biden met with Beijing's leaders.

Top Miss. Lawmakers Release FY15 Budget Proposal

Top Mississippi lawmakers are recommending a state budget that's different from Gov. Phil Bryant's on several points.

Tuesday, December 3

U.S.: Patience With Sri Lanka Could 'Wear Thin'

International patience could wear thin with Sri Lanka unless it takes action to address allegations of atrocities during the island nation's civil war, the top U.S. diplomat for South Asia said Tuesday.

A Look at the Next Steps in Detroit's Bankruptcy

A judge's decision to allow Detroit to fix its finances in bankruptcy court raises a flurry of questions about what happens next.

NATO Seeks Clarity on Troops in Afghanistan

The secretary general of NATO says he won't set a deadline for the Afghan government to commit to a security agreement that lets troops remain there when the combat mission ends in 2014.

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Renfroe: Utils Need Skin in the Game

Steve Renfroe, the newest member of the Mississippi Public Service Commission, is the man in the middle on the question of the controversial Kemper County power plant, now under construction.

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La Brioche, Nails Envy and Jackson Eye Associates

Originally from Rosario, Argentina, Sprouts and Lazzari have traveled across Europe and South America throughout their lives, inspiring them to fuse different cultures through pastries.

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Elizabeth Robinson

Elizabeth Robinson, owner of Spirit House Glass in Fondren Corner, is the only Mississippi artist represented by and

Updated Gets Mixed Reviews

Counselors helping people use the federal government's online health exchange are giving mixed reviews to the updated site, with some zipping through the application process while others are facing the same old sputters and even crashes.

U.S. Voices Solidarity with Japan on China Air Spat

Seeking to soothe an anxious ally, the U.S. voiced solidarity with Japan on Tuesday against China's claim to airspace over disputed islands, vowing not to tolerate the aggressive move as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden prepared to deliver that message personally to Beijing.

Thai Protests Ease as Police Lift Key Barricades

The political crisis that has engulfed Thailand's capital for more than a week eased suddenly Tuesday after the prime minister ordered police to stop battling anti-government protesters.

Federal Jury to Hear Case Against Ex-BP Engineer

Jury selection began Monday for the Justice Department's case against a former BP drilling engineer charged with deleting text messages and voicemails about the company's response to its massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Monday, December 2

Former Mississippi Gov. Bill Allain Dies at 85

Former Mississippi Gov. Bill Allain, a Democrat who appointed significant numbers of women and minorities to government jobs and strengthened the executive branch by removing legislators from state boards, died Monday. He was 85.

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Selling the Sales Tax

City officials took their message to the people Sunday evening in the first of several town-hall style events, kick-starting the massive task of selling Jacksonians on a proposed 1-percent sales-tax hike.

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Health Law May Offer Part-Time Workers Better Options

In January, part-time workers who have so-called "mini-med" health insurance plans with very limited benefits and annual caps on payments will begin to lose that coverage, which under the health care overhaul can't be renewed after the beginning of the year.

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Peggy Hobson-Calhoun

The most vocal champion of the Byram-Clinton Parkway, which has long been under development, announced what she called an exciting new phase for the project.

Thailand Braces for More Violence

The United Nations closed its main office in Bangkok, dozens of schools closed and many civil servants stayed away from work Monday as the Thai capital braced for more violence in a spiraling political crisis.

Gov't Diagnosis: on the Mend

Computer crashes should be giving way to insurance coverage — if the government's diagnosis of its health care website is correct.

Gay Weddings Become Reality in Hawaii with New Law

Six couples at a Waikiki resort tied the knot early Monday, exchanging vows side-by-side with one another in front of a few hundred guests shortly after midnight, while even more couples watched and waited their turn.

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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.

Sunday, December 1

Alabama Drops to 4 in AP Poll; SEC May Be Out of National Championship

Florida State and Ohio State are in position to play for the BCS national championship, though Auburn and Missouri are close enough behind in the BCS standings to put pressure on the Buckeyes.

Early November Deals May Have Slowed 'Black Friday' Spending

Target, Macy's and other retailers offered holiday discounts in early November and opened stores on Thanksgiving Day. It was an effort to attract shoppers before Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season.