Stories for February 2013


Thursday, February 28

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Local Sales-Tax Option Still Alive for Jackson

Jackson's hopes for a local-option sales tax remain alive in the state Senate, while bills that would have extended that choice to voters across the state died in both the House and the Senate yesterday.

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Michelle Obama

First lady Michelle Obama made Clinton her first stop on a two-day tour promoting her signature Let's Move anti-obesity program.

Male Miss. Student to Finish Senior Year as a Girl

A male high school student in Mississippi is drawing attention after deciding to finish his senior year dressing as a girl.

Justices Voice Skepticism of Voting Rights Law

The Supreme Court's conservative justices voiced deep skepticism Wednesday about a section of a landmark civil rights law that has helped millions of Americans exercise their right to vote.

BP Exec Back on the Stand in Oil Spill Trial

Another BP executive was expected on the witness stand Thursday to face more questions from attorneys for the U.S. government, which is trying to prove the oil company is mostly to blame for a deadly explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that led to a massive oil spill.

No Ruckus About Medicare Cuts in Sequester

Hospitals, doctors and other Medicare providers are on the hook for a 2 percent cut under looming government spending reductions. But they're not raising a ruckus. Why?

DHS Official Retires After Immigrants Are Freed

The senior Homeland Security Department official in charge of arresting and deporting illegal immigrants announced his retirement the same day the agency said that hundreds of people facing deportation had been released from immigration jails due to looming budget cuts.

Small Businesses Trying to Limit Budget Cut Damage

Ryan Lemire's company isn't waiting to see if federal budget cuts are going to hurt the software and high-tech consulting business. It's finding new customers.

Pope Legacy: Teacher Who Returned to Church Roots

When Benedict flies off into retirement by helicopter on Thursday, he will leave behind a church in crisis — one beset by sex scandal, internal divisions and dwindling numbers.

Colleges, Theaters to Create New Civil War Plays

Four major universities are joining theater companies in Boston, Baltimore, Washington and Atlanta in a project to commission new plays, music and dance compositions about the Civil War and its lasting legacy 150 years later.

Senate Democrats, GOP to Stage Votes on Rival Cuts

Across-the-board spending cuts all but certain, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate are staging a politically charged showdown designed to avoid public blame for any resulting inconvenience or disruption in government services.

Congress Set to Renew Anti-Violence Law

Republicans appeared resigned to accept an expansion of the Violence Against Women Act.

Lone Miss. Abortion Clinic Set for License Hearing

Mississippi's only abortion clinic is scheduled for an April 18 license revocation hearing before the state Department of Health, and officials say a decision could come days or weeks later.

Wednesday, February 27

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Handmade Mail

Email is great for so many things, but nothing quite compares to the feeling of getting real mail—the kind of letter or card that someone took the time to pen by hand, find a stamp for and drop off at the post office.

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Eat, Drink, Delta

This tome is part cookbook, part travelogue, part bartender's guide and part restaurant review. But it's all Delta.

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My Neighborhood

I know there is more to the neighborhood in terms of people and places than my narrow experience. Recently, I had an opportunity to explore things that I had no idea existed, yet were right down the block from me.

The Slate

The NFL Scouting Combine has been called the "Underwear Olympics" by some of the media and former NFL players. It's a good place to see potential starts that could be drafted in April.

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Big Dance Hopes

College basketball has been filled with crazy upsets this February, but the real fun begins this Friday when the calendar turns to March. The NCAA Tournament will be the major focus for teams on the bubble across the nation.

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Spring in Jackson

To kick off March madness here in Jackson, check out Dimebros at Martin's this Friday night.

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Witch Girl and Home Boy

"Beautiful Creatures," the Richard LaGravenese film that sequesters acting giants Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson and Viola Davis into the shadows, is for audiences who can lose themselves in a southern Gothic romance between Happy Home Boy and Hormonal Witch Girl.

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Abstract Stories

See Tony Saladino and Stacey Johnson's works at Fischer Galleries (3100 N. State St., 601-366-8833) the month of March. An opening reception is March 7 at 5 p.m.

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The City Gets Proud

Jackson is set to have a day filled with gay Saturday, March 2, with two LGBT events taking place downtown.

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Literary Resonations

When English professor and poet Steve Kistulentz joined the Millsaps College faculty in 2009, he campaigned to formalize a visiting writers series.

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Rusted Tin to Cotton Gin: A Trip on the Mississippi Blues Trail

Geographic routes of discovery on the Mississippi Blues Trail are as varied and plentiful as the paths weaving through the history of the music itself—music that began as spirituals, work songs and simple narrative ballads in African American communities in the South.

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From Girl to Woman

We often find ourselves in situations that—if we had a choice in the matter—we'd certainly not choose for ourselves. It's during these times that we begin to question our value and wonder what we've done wrong.

Be Careful What You Give Away

Mississippi legislators are making shortsighted deals that will affect the state's citizens for a long time to come.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Free Phone'

While the federal government provides subsidized phone service for low-income people, some of the programs have been around since 1984—nearly a quarter century before Obama took office.

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The Cutback Blues

Mr. Announcement: "On this edition of 'All God's Churn Got Shoes,' two Y'all Mart employees stumble upon a secret supervisors' meeting in the second, alternate Y'all Mart employee break room."

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A Matter of Time

Jackson's efforts to pay for infrastructure improvements may be stalled in the Mississippi House of Representatives.

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Foster System Remains ‘Unacceptable’

Jamison J. had shuffled through 28 foster homes, mental institutions and temporary shelters, by the time he was 17 years old.

Question o' the Week: What Was Your Favorite Arts or Music Event Ever in Jackson, Miss.?

What was your favorite arts or music event ever in Jackson, Miss.?

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You & JFP

Favorite quote: "If practice makes perfect, and nobody's perfect, I wish people would make up their minds."—Jasmine

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Where’s the Celebration?

The city has contractors sitting on their hands as the Celebrate Jackson public-relations campaign continues to stagger down an unclear path.

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Lindsey: Man of Faith

Jerry Lindsey never thought about running for public office until, he said, God stepped in and changed his mind.

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Euvester Simpson

Originally from Itta Bena, Euvester Simpson returned to Mississippi after starting high school in Wisconsin, and graduated from Greenwood's Amanda Elzy High School.

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Making it Work

I love the Academy Awards—analyzing starlets' sartorial choices on the red-carpet pre-show (while trying to ignore the inane Ryan Seacrest-y questions, of course), attempting to predict the big winners and tearing up at the speeches.

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Playing Odds of Last Frost Planting

Just about every day, I hear of someone who just couldn't wait until planting time to start digging in the ground and planting a crop for summer.

First Lady's Anti-Obesity Campaign Prompts Change

Wal-Mart is putting special labels on some store-brand products to help shoppers quickly spot healthier items.

Norwood Wins Senate Election

Former Jackson Public Schools school board member Sollie B. Norwood has defeated former Jackson city councilman Marshand Crisler in a runoff to complete the term of the late state Sen. Sen. Alice Harden.

Miss. House OKs List of Tax Breaks for Businesses

The Mississippi House has approved tens of millions of dollars' worth of tax breaks for businesses, but it's unclear if the proposals will survive the Senate.

Obama Rejects Plan for More Say in Spending Cuts

President Barack Obama brushed off a Republican plan Tuesday to give him flexibility to allocate $85 billion in looming spending cuts, wanting no part of a deal that would force him to choose between the bad and the terrible.

Wireless Connections Creep Into Everyday Things

The first wave of wireless was all about getting people to talk to each other on cellphones. The second will be getting things to talk to each other, with no humans in between.

BP Executive Testifies at Gulf Oil Spill Trial

A ranking BP executive testified Tuesday that the London-based oil giant and its contractors share the responsibility for preventing blowouts like the one that killed 11 workers and spawned the nation's worst offshore oil spill in 2010.

Advanced Breast Cancer Edges Up in Younger Women

Advanced breast cancer has increased slightly among young women, a 34-year analysis suggests. The disease is still uncommon among women younger than 40, and the small change has experts scratching their heads about possible reasons.

Budget Battle Guide: This Time May Be for Real

America's leaders have threatened to shut the government down, drive it over a cliff and bounce it off the ceiling. Now they're ready to smack it with a "sequester." And it sounds like they mean it this time.

Hagel Takes Helm at Pentagon After Bitter Fight

Chuck Hagel took charge Wednesday of the Defense Department with deep budget cuts looming and Republican opponents still doubtful that he's up to the job.

Obama, Top Lawmakers to Meet Friday on Budget Cuts

The meeting will come after Congress has officially missed the deadline for averting the cuts.

Miss. Senate Passes Secretary of State Budget

The Mississippi Senate on Tuesday approved $695,000 for the secretary of state to defend a proposed voter identification law, and the budget bill moves on to the House for more work.

Tuesday, February 26

First Witness Testifies in Gulf Oil Spill Trial

BP failed to implement a new safety plan on the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon drilling rig even though the company realized a blowout in the Gulf of Mexico was its greatest danger, an expert witness for people and businesses suing the company testified Tuesday.

Court Appears Conflicted Over DNA Sampling Issue

The Supreme Court on Tuesday struggled with what one of the justices called its most important criminal procedure case in decades, whether to let police take DNA without a warrant from those arrested in hopes of using it to solve old cases.

Benedict to Be Called 'Emeritus Pope,' Wear White

Two pontiffs, both wearing white, both called "pope" and living a few yards from one another, with the same key aide serving them.

Bipartisan Agreement on Need for More Farm Workers

Republicans and Democrats said Tuesday that farmers should be allowed to hire foreign workers more easily as Congress reworks U.S. immigration laws. But there was some disagreement on how it should happen.

DHS Releasing Illegal Immigrants Before Sequester

A week before mandatory budget cuts go into effect across the government, the Department of Homeland Security has started releasing illegal immigrants being held in immigration jails across the country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday.

Senate Confirms Hagel for Defense Secretary

The Senate has voted to confirm Chuck Hagel to be the nation's next defense secretary.

Fiery Balloon Accident Kills 19 Tourists in Egypt

Nineteen people were killed Tuesday in what appeared to be the deadliest hot air ballooning accident on record. A British tourist and the Egyptian pilot, who was badly burned, were the sole survivors.

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Council Rejects Street-Repair Proposal

Mayor Harvey Johnson's biggest election-year project hit a dead end Monday when an overwhelming majority of the Jackson City Council's Budget Committee voted against a $10-million bond issue for street projects.

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Nissan, SBA Video Contest and New Legislation

Nissan and employees at the company's vehicle assembly plant in Canton pledged to contribute $354,400 to the United Way in 2013, beginning with a $25,000 donation to United Way of the Capitol Area.

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David Banner

Education holds importance to record producer and rapper David Banner. This week, he will be a keynote speaker at two separate events about education in Jackson.

Kerry Pushes Trans-Atlantic Free Trade in Germany

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pushed Tuesday for a free-trade agreement between the United States and Europe, saying it is a priority for President Barack Obama's second term that would help create jobs and growth on both sides of the Atlantic.

New Talks On Iran Nuclear Program Offer Slim Hope

World powers began a new round of high-level talks with Iranian officials Tuesday, trying to find a way out of a yearslong tussle over Tehran's nuclear program and its feared ability to make atomic weapons in the future.

Senate to Vote On Moving Ahead On Hagel Nod

A deeply divided Senate is moving toward a vote on President Barack Obama's contentious choice of Chuck Hagel to head the Defense Department, with the former Republican senator on track to win confirmation after a protracted political fight.

Email, Voicemail, Text, No Response. What Gives?

Technology is supposed to make us easier to reach, and often does. But the same modes of communication that have hooked us on the instant reply also can leave us feeling forgotten.

Koop, Who Transformed Surgeon General Post, Dies

With his striking beard and starched uniform, former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop became one of the most recognizable figures of the Reagan era—and one of the most unexpectedly enduring.

Jobless, Cities Could Be First to Feel Budget Pain

Jobless Americans who have been out of work for a long time and local governments that are paying off loans to fix roads and schools are in tough spots when it comes to the automatic federal budget cuts that are scheduled to kick in Friday.

House Approves $6.9M Factory and Farm Tax Break

Factory operators, farmers and fishermen could stop paying sales taxes on electricity and fuel, under a state House proposal.

A Guide to the Complex Gulf Oil Spill Case

Monday marked the start of a potentially monthslong trial to determine the cause of a well blowout that triggered a massive oil spill and killed 11 oil workers in the Gulf of Mexico nearly three years ago.

In Budget Fight, Sky is Falling Again

An occasional look behind the rhetoric of political figures.

High-Stakes Trial Begins Over 2010 Gulf Oil Spill

BP put profits ahead of safety and bears most of the blame for the disastrous 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a U.S. Justice Department attorney charged Monday at the opening of a trial that could result in the oil company and its partners being forced to pay tens of billions of dollars more in damages.

Monday, February 25

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Roy Coleman

In 1976, Roy Coleman became the first black high-school quarterback to receive a scholarship at the University of Mississippi.

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Crisler, Norwood Vie for Senate Tomorrow

Because of Sen. Alice Harden's untimely death in December, the people of Mississippi's Senate District 28 have been without representation for two-thirds of the legislative session.

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Mississippi Editor Defies Bigotry

A few weeks ago, Jim Cegelski, editor of the Laurel Leader-Call, made the decision to run a story covered by Kathy Bush, a University of Southern Mississippi student and an intern at the paper, about two women tying the knot in the conservative, small town of Laurel.

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Lecrae Moore

Gospel artist Lecrae Moore, known for the song "Background," is coming to Jackson Tuesday night to perform at Jackson State University's Rose E. McCoy Auditorium.

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Community Events and Public Meetings

The Jackson State University v. Alabama State University Basketball Games are Feb. 28, in the Lee E. Williams Athletics and Assembly Center.

Jackson State Wins Approval for Madison Courses

The state College Board has approved 42 courses for Jackson State University's planned campus in Madison.

Most Miss Higher Ed Has Graduation Rates Below 50%

At most Mississippi colleges and universities, fewer than half the first-time students graduate within six years.

GOP Governors Take a Pragmatic Turn

Many Republican governors who worked to thwart much of President Barack Obama's first-term agenda are shifting gears and softening their rhetoric now that his run was extended for four more years and they're facing their own re-election.

Johnson Wins 2nd Daytona 500; Patrick Finishes 8th

Patrick made history up front at the Daytona 500 Sunday, only to see Johnson make a late push ahead of her and reclaim his spot at the top of his sport.

'Argo' Wins Best Picture on Scattered Oscar Night

Just as Oscar host Seth MacFarlane set his sights on a variety of targets with a mixture of hits and misses, the motion picture academy spread the gold around to a varied slate of films.

White House Details Budget Fallout Amid Blame Game

The White House has detailed the potential fallout in each state from budget cuts set to take effect at week's end, while congressional Republicans and Democrats keep up the sniping over who's to blame.

Listen Up Ladies! Uncle Sam Might Want You Too

The Obama administration's recent decision to lift the ban on women in combat has opened the door for a change in the law that currently compels only men between age 18 and 25 to register for a military draft, according to legal experts and military historians.

High-Stakes Trial Begins About 2010 Gulf Oil Disaster

The trial will figure out exactly how much more BP and other companies should pay for the nation's worst offshore oil spill.

Sunday, February 24

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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, February 23

Another Med. Group Backs Miss. Medicaid Expansion

Another medical group is asking Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant to expand Medicaid.

Friday, February 22

More than 200 Kidnapped Syrian Villagers Released

Gunmen from rival Sunni and Shiite Muslim villages in northern Syria have freed more than 200 people snatched in tit-for-tat kidnappings this month, easing tensions that threatened to touch off more sectarian violence, activists said Friday.

FDA Approves New Targeted Breast Cancer Drug

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a first-of-a-kind breast cancer medication that targets tumor cells while sparing healthy ones.

Justice Dept Joins Suit Against Lance Armstrong

The Justice Department joined a lawsuit Friday against disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong that alleges the former seven-time Tour de France champion concealed his use of performance-enhancing drugs and defrauded his longtime sponsor, the U.S. Postal Service.

Up to 12,000 U.S., Allied Troops for Afghanistan

The U.S. and its NATO allies revealed Friday they may keep as many as 12,000 troops in Afghanistan after the combat mission ends next year, largely American forces tasked with hunting down remnants of al-Qaida and helping Afghan forces with their own security.

Obama, Japan's PM Signal Solidarity on N. Korea

Signaling solidarity, President Barack Obama and Japan's new prime minister said Friday that North Korea's recent nuclear provocations would not be tolerated and pledged to seek strong action against the isolated nation.

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JSU Announces $200 Million Dome

Jackson State University officials spoke publicly about a plan to build a state-of-the-art domed football stadium for the first time this morning.

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Scientists Clash Over BPA: Do Low Doses Really Harm People?

Are people exposed to doses of bisphenol A in their canned foods and other consumer products that can harm them? Or are the amounts too low to cause any harm?

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Dr. Edwin Dodd

Dr. Edwin Dodd, director of the Jackson Pain Center and medical director of Physician's Surgery Center, recently received accolades from his patients.

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It's the Weekend!

On Saturday, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra presents "Bravo IV: Beethoven's Sixth" at 7:30 p.m. at Thalia Mara Hall.

Vicksburg Mayor Faces Federal Bribery Charge

Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield was granted bond Thursday after being arraigned on a federal bribery charge that says he was caught in an FBI investigation while seeking a $10,000 bribe for a city contract.

Voter ID Dispute Snags Miss. Sec of State Budget

Mississippi senators rejected the secretary of state's budget Thursday over an argument about paying lawyers to defend a proposed voter identification law.

Blues Guitarist Magic Slim Dies in Pa. at Age 75

Magic Slim, a younger contemporary of blues greats Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf who helped shape the sound of Chicago's electric blues, died Thursday. He was 75.

Miss. Speaker Invites Gun Makers to Move to State

One top state official wants gun makers in seven states to flee critics and move to Mississippi.

Severstal to Invest Millions in Columbus Plant

Severstal has announced it will invest $1.3 billion in its steel and mining operations worldwide with $43 million set aside for its rolled steel mill in Columbus, Miss.

Hagel Has Enough Support for Defense Secretary

Barring any new, damaging information, Chuck Hagel has secured the necessary votes for the Senate to confirm him to be the nation's next defense secretary.

Claims for U.S. Jobless Aid Suggest Modest Hiring

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits jumped 20,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 362,000, though it remains at a level that suggests slow but steady improvement in the job market.

Gov't Downsizes Amid GOP Demands for More Cuts

Republicans and other fiscal conservatives keep insisting on more federal austerity and a smaller government. Without much fanfare or acknowledgement, they've already gotten much of both.

SD College Tests Fingerprint Purchasing Technology

Futurists have long proclaimed the coming of a cashless society, where dollar bills and plastic cards are replaced by fingerprint and retina scanners smart enough to distinguish a living, breathing account holder from an identity thief.

'I'm a Monster': Veterans 'Alone' in Their Guilt

A veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, former Marine Capt. Timothy Kudo thinks of himself as a killer—and he carries the guilt every day.

Pistorius Granted Bail

Oscar Pistorius was granted bail Friday, paving the way for him to be freed from custody pending his trial in the Valentine's Day shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Blues Man Rush Gets Lifetime Arts Award in Miss.

Blues musician Bobby Rush has received a lifetime achievement award from the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Thursday, February 21

Al-Qaida Tipsheet on Avoiding Drones Found in Mali

One of the last things the bearded fighters did before leaving this city was to drive to the market where traders lay their carpets out in the sand.

Flu Shot Doing a Poor Job of Protecting Elderly

It turns out this year's flu shot is doing a startlingly dismal job of protecting senior citizens, the most vulnerable age group.

South Africa Police Replace Top Pistorius Investigator

South African police appointed a new chief investigator Thursday in the Oscar Pistorius murder case, replacing a veteran detective after unsettling revelations that the officer was charged with seven counts of attempted murder.

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Jackson to Reward Citizens for Crime Tips

Jackson is using rewards to encourage citizens to report tips on crime, specifically focusing on convicted felons in possession of firearms.

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Big Corporations Put Up Seed Funding for Republican Dark Money Group

Some of the nation's biggest corporations donated more than a million dollars to launch a Republican nonprofit that went on to play a key role in recent political fights.

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JSU Indoor Track team

This past weekend at the 2013 SWAC indoor Track Championship in Birmingham, Ala., the Jackson State Tigers men's track team ended the meet in fourth place, but they managed to provide some fireworks along the way.

Miss. Lawmakers Turn Attention to FY14 Budget

Mississippi lawmakers are pushing forward with early proposals for the budget year that begins July 1, and many agencies are likely to receive less money than they're requesting.

Vicksburg Mayor Facing Federal Bribery Charges

Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield has been arrested on federal bribery charges.

BP Civil Settlement Remains Elusive as Trial Nears

The U.S. Justice Department and the five Gulf coast states affected by a massive oil spill nearly three years ago have indicated they would like to settle their environmental and economic claims with BP PLC ahead of a trial scheduled to start next week.

Obama Weighs Stepping in on Gay Marriage Case

Facing heightened expectations from gay rights supporters, the Obama administration is considering urging the Supreme Court to overturn California's ban on gay marriage—a move that could have a far-reaching impact on same-sex couples across the country.

No. 2 House Democrat: Bickering Must Come to End

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer says Congress must "put aside ideological constraints" and resolve differences over taxes, budget and spending.

Vatican Feuds, Fiefdoms, Betrayals Await Next Pope

If evidence was ever needed that the next pope must urgently overhaul the powerful Vatican bureaucracy called the Curia, the scandal over Pope Benedict XVI's private papers is Exhibit A.

U.S. Stocks Keep Sliding on Weak Data, Fed Qualms

U.S. stocks continued a two-day slide Thursday on weak economic data and concern about the Federal Reserve's resolve to keep juicing the market.

Florida to Expand Medicaid Under Health Overhaul

Gov. Rick Scott announced plans Wednesday to expand Medicaid coverage to roughly 900,000 more people under the federal health overhaul.

Wednesday, February 20

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Killer Camp

Flipping tires is just one part of a new Badass Bootcamp Terry Sullivan is offering through his fitness company, liveRIGHTnow.

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Feel the Pure Burn

If you haven't heard of Pure Barre, you must be living under an exercise rock.

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House Wears

Style shouldn’t stop at the front door. Luckily, Jackson’s list of local, eclectic home goods stores is growing longer and better every year.

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A Fresh Start in Mississippi

Looking at the history of this great country, it's no small secret that we are a nation of immigrants.

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Positive Discipline

It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that everyone is a better parent before they have kids.

The Slate

Danica Patrick will make more history this weekend, when she becomes the first woman to ever start from the pole position at the Super Bowl of NASCAR racing, the Dayton 500.

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Too Big, Too Strong, Too Fast?

Do fans and media really want to know how the players in American's favorite sport get bigger, stronger and faster at an advanced pace?

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A League of Their Own

Around the country, especially in California and Texas, flag football leagues have grown in popularity over the last few years. High-school and college programs travel the country playing seven-on-seven flag football.

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A Culmination

James Crow, who took the stage first, backed by DJ Young Venom, started off the evening on a deeper, more mature note than most of today's mainstream rappers, performing tracks from his album, "Religion Guns Money."

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Anita's Oscar Picks

If movies provide a lens into our cultural soul, what do this year's Academy Award nominees say about the past year?

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What the Pell?

With his high-energy shows, Starkville-based rapper and hip-hop artist Pell is trying to make a name for himself.

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Lady of the Pack: Quinn Joins Crowded Mayor's Race

In the crowded pack of no less than nine mayoral candidates in Jackson, most will have to work hard to stand out and get the majority of votes in May. In that otherwise all-boys club, Regina Quinn has no trouble standing out, regardless of her gender.

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The Things We Won't Do

Rituals and symbols tell us what we can and can’t get away with ... and what we stand for.

Let's Debate Expansion

Despite Gov. Phil Bryant's stubborn and vocal opposition to the plan, the question of Medicaid expansion seemed headed for a few rounds of spirited debate in the Mississippi Legislature.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Opportunity'

Why it stinks: Blackburn's $2.15 in the late 1960s or early '70s, when she probably had that retail job (she was born in 1952), is worth quite a bit more today.

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Classism in Madison

I could make the case that Mary Hawkins Butler's aggressive resistance to JSU's Madison campus is about race. There are definitely indications, over time, that people of color aren't exactly welcomed in her "queendom," such as men being pulled over for "driving while black" and the city's refusal to include apartment complexes.

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From Stadiums to Small Biz

Jackson State University will soon officially unveil plans for a new stadium. The university recently made a presentation to policy-makers about a new multi-purpose athletic facility.

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No Money, No Luck

A common refrain throughout Mississippi's legislative session so far has involved, for better or worse, the outsourcing of certain government functions to private entities.

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Blessings for All Unions

More than three years after the Episcopal Church provided for gay union blessings, Mississippi's Bishop Duncan Gray III announced Feb. 1 that he would allow congregations to bless same-sex unions in the Magnolia State under strict guidelines, despite his misgivings.


There are not many more important issues than our children's future and thus the future of our state and society at large.

Question o' the Week: What should be the top campaign issue in Jackson city elections?

What should be the top campaign issue in Jackson city elections?

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You & JFP

Favorite quote: "Don't do anything bad. Make your life better."

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The Nuclear Option

Mississippi wants to bring Iran to its knees.

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Sanders: Never Too Young to Lead

It didn't take long for Corinthian Sanders, 20, to face adversity in his bid for Jackson's Ward 5 City Council seat.

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Calden and Alden Hopkins

When Calden and Alden Hopkins talk about their lives, a picture of strong family devoted to service emerges.

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Don’t Look Away from Abuse

Violence isn't something that happens to other people. Every day, sexual violence happens in all neighborhoods, rich and poor.

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It’s About Us

February is Black History Month, and while some debate as to whether this is a necessary distinction from other months, it's a good time to focus on and remind others of the many contributions African Americans made to this country.

Miss. Panel Hears About Uninsured Working Poor

Expanding Medicaid would help thousands of "working poor" Mississippi residents who don't receive health insurance coverage through their jobs, a small-town family physician told lawmakers Tuesday.

U.S. Ready to Strike Back Against China Cyberattacks

As public evidence mounts that the Chinese military is responsible for stealing massive amounts of U.S. government data and corporate trade secrets, the Obama administration is eyeing fines and other trade actions it may take against Beijing or any other country guilty of cyberespionage.

Greece's Weakened Workforce Starts to Crack

Greece's President Karolos Papoulias gave a stark warning about the state of the country after three harsh years of government spending cuts, joblessness and tax hikes.

Future Science: Using 3D Worlds to Visualize Data

Take a walk through a human brain? Fly over the surface of Mars? Computer scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago are pushing science fiction closer to reality with a wraparound virtual world where a researcher wearing 3D glasses can do all that and more.

Teachers Ditch Student Desk Chairs for Yoga Balls

In 11 years of teaching, ditching students' desk chairs in favor of yoga balls is one of the best decisions Robbi Giuliano thinks she ever made.

Gingrich: GOP Failing to Grasp New Demographics

President Barack Obama's campaign was "eight, maybe 10 years, ahead" of the Republican Party last year.

House Panel Seeks More than $184 Million in Bonds

House members want the state to borrow more than $184 million, mainly for new buildings at Mississippi's community colleges and public universities.

Tuesday, February 19

Pistorius: Thought Lover an Intruder in Shooting

Oscar Pistorius wept Tuesday as his defense lawyer read the athlete's account of how he shot his girlfriend to death on Valentine's Day, claiming he had mistaken her for an intruder.

Microsoft's Outlook Takes Aim at Google's Gmail

Microsoft is so confident it has the Internet's best email service that it is about to spend at least $30 million to send its message across the U.S.

$50 Million in Diamonds Stolen at Brussels Airport

When the armored car set off for the Brussels airport carrying $50 million worth of precious stones from Antwerp's diamond district, eight gunmen knew all about it.

Shooting Spree Across Calif. County Leaves 4 Dead

In less than an hour, a 20-year-old student shot and killed a woman in her home and two commuters during carjackings early Tuesday, shot up vehicles on a Southern California freeway and committed suicide as police closed in on him, authorities said.

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Whole Foods, Historic Preservation, Small Business and Downtown Cafe

Whole Foods Market's South regional buyers visited the Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum in Jackson Monday, Feb. 18 to meet local farmers and producers.

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New JSU Stadium Coming

Jackson State University will soon officially unveil plans for a new stadium.

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McWillie Chess Champs

McWillie Elementary School, Mississippi's only public Montessori school, boasts of its unique curriculum and its Open Doors program run by Shelah Reeves and Margaret Snider.

Miss. Part of $29M Agreement with Toyota

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says Mississippi will receive about $561,288 in a multi-state settlement with Toyota Motor Corp. over problems with accelerator pedals.

Miss. Lawmakers OK tTx Rebates for Outlet Mall

The Mississippi House on Monday gave final approval to a bill that would provide sales tax rebates to the developer of an $80 million outlet mall scheduled to open in November in the Jackson suburb of Pearl.

Winter to be Feted on 90th Birthday

Former Gov. William Winter will be honored on his 90th birthday Tuesday and for his public service during a symposium at the old Capitol Museum in Jackson.

Obama Offering Immigration Plan as Backup

The White House is downplaying its draft immigration proposal as merely a backup plan if lawmakers don't come up with an overhaul of their own.

Fishing's Decline Looms; Will Fish Eaters Notice?

His city's best fishing days are long past it, but lifelong Gloucester resident Ron Gilson still sees what once was when he drives past what remains.

Climate Contradiction: Less Snow, More Blizzards

With scant snowfall and barren ski slopes in parts of the Midwest and Northeast the past couple of years, some scientists have pointed to global warming as the culprit.

Afghan Civilian Casualties Rose in 2nd Half 2012

The number of Afghan civilians killed and wounded in the last half of 2012 rose sharply compared with the same period in 2011 as insurgents took advantage of warmer weather to carry out more attacks, the U.N. said Tuesday.

Obama to Press GOP on Averting Sequester

Facing yet another fiscal deadline, President Barack Obama is urging congressional Republicans to accept more tax revenue in order to avert looming, across-the-board budget cuts due to take effect in less than two weeks.

High-stakes Fight Over Soybeans at High Court

The court case poses the question of whether Vernon Hugh Bowman's actions violated Monsanto's patent rights.

Monday, February 18

White House Downplays Immigration Proposal

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is downplaying its draft immigration proposal as merely a backup plan if lawmakers don't come up with an overhaul of their own. It won't be necessary, Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike are telling the Obama administration.

Sunday, February 17

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, February 16

Dispute Over Miss. Medicaid is Complex, Partisan

The Mississippi House voted Friday not to revive a Medicaid bill it killed in late January, leaving uncertainty about how lawmakers will debate the future of the program during the final half of their three-month session.

Friday, February 15

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Senate Rethinks School Board Elections

The state Senate changed its plans Thursday on a bill that would have created elections for all school board members.

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Scientists Investigate Possible Connection Between Autism and Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a pivotal role in a number of disorders. Now scientists are investigating whether the "sunshine vitamin" could be implicated in autism.

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Kiese Laymon

One night in 1994, Kiese Laymon was playing video games with a friend when they heard the desperate moans of a woman just outside Laymon's Capitol Street apartment.

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It's the Weekend!

On Saturday, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and Cirque de la Symphonie perform at 7:30 p.m. at Thalia Mara Hall.

Miss. Medicaid Expansion Effort Hobbled in House

Mississippi House Republicans are again trying to thwart long-shot efforts by Democrats to expand Medicaid, with each side accusing the other of endangering coverage for low-income people who are already on the program.

Docking a Behemoth: Triumph's Tow Delicate Mission

At nearly 900 feet long, the 14-story Carnival Triumph is the largest cruise ship that has ever docked at Alabama's only seaport of Mobile.

Gay Marriage Support Has Risks for GOP Lawmakers

According to roll call votes analyzed by The Associated Press, in the eight times nationwide that state legislatures voted for gay marriage, just 47 Republicans bucked the party line out of many hundreds who voted against it.

Asteroid Will Buzz Earth, Miss by 17,150 miles

A 150-foot asteroid hurtled toward Earth's backyard, destined Friday to make the closest known flyby for a rock of its size.

Pistorius Prosecutors Pursue Premeditated Murder

Oscar Pistorius held his head in his hands and wept openly in court Friday as prosecutors said they would pursue a charge of premeditated murder against the Paralympic superstar.

Unyielding GOP Politicians Doing What Voters Ask

In his State of the Union address this week, Obama laid out an ambitious agenda that includes gun control, raising the minimum wage, allowing most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country to become citizens and raising tax revenue to help cut the deficit.

Nearly 1,000 Injured by Meteor Explosion in Russia

A Russian health official says nearly 1,000 people have sought help for injuries caused by a meteor that exploded in the sky, blasting out countless windows.

Obama Attempting to Change Face of the Judiciary

The federal judiciary has a long tradition of white men passing judgment on parties from all walks of life.

Senate Sends Kemper Settlement Bills to Governor

The state Senate has approved two House-passed bills that codify a settlement between the Public Service Commission and Mississippi Power Co. over the company's Kemper County power plant.

Thursday, February 14

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A 'Drunkard' at Belhaven

Community members might be surprised that the conservative Belhaven University is putting on a play called "The Drunkard." But despite the provocative title, this family-friendly play fits in with the school's Christian background, with a plot exploring the hazards of alcohol.

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Abortion, Guns Spark Capitol Debate

The Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives put off debating many of the most controversial bills—about guns and abortion—until today's deadline to pass general bills.

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Obama Says We Need to Fix Voting Lines. But How?

At Tuesday's State of the Union address, Michelle Obama was joined by 102-year-old Desiline Victor, who, like many in Florida and elsewhere, waited hours to vote on Election Day.

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Donald Driver

The Green Bay Packers drafted 24 wide receivers before selecting Donald Driver with the 213th pick of the seventh round of the 1999 NFL Draft.

More Dead Baby Dolphins in South Miss. Waters

Officials with the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies say in the past month 13 dead dolphins have been found.

BBB Issues Warning on Tax Preparer

The Better Business Bureau of Mississippi is warning consumers that Instant Tax Service also known as ITS Financial LLC has an "F'' rating with the BBB.

Small Business State of the Union Scorecard

President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday covered a lot of issues that are important to small business including the tax code, minimum wage, immigration and the difficulty some owners have finding workers with the right skills.

Calls for Action at Senate Immigration Hearing

Lawmakers who are shaping the fate of the millions of people in the U.S. illegally were told by one Wednesday that it's time to rewrite immigration laws so that they, too, can live the American dream.

Boehner Taking a You-First Approach to Proposals

Upcoming across-the-board spending cuts set to slam the economy in two weeks? John Boehner says a solution is up to Obama and Senate Democrats.

AP Exclusive: Documents Detail Nixon, Clinton Ties

In the final months of his life, Richard Nixon quietly advised President Bill Clinton on navigating the post-Cold War world, even offering to serve as a conduit for messages to Russian President Boris Yeltsin and other government officials, newly declassified documents show.

U.S. Unemployment Aid Applications Fall to 341,000

The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell by 27,000 last week, an indication that hiring could improve.

Olympian Pistorius Charged with Murder

Paralympic superstar Oscar Pistorius was charged Thursday with the murder of his girlfriend.

Miss. Houses Passes Bill for Guns in Schools

The Mississippi House passed a bill Wednesday that would allow school boards to arm teachers with concealed weapons.

Wednesday, February 13

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Lifelong Learning

My friend Brooks and I have a bit of a running joke involving our alma mater, Millsaps College. I love Millsaps dearly and am grateful every day for the education it gave me. That education included making me and my friend--and no doubt countless other alumni—into lifelong learners. We tend to laugh about it: Will we ever figure out what we want to be when we grow up?

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A King Cake Quiz

It's time to say farewell to fresh king cakes once again.

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Great Gardens Start with a Plan

Organic gardeners may be eager to get out and garden, but it's still too early to plant summer crops. We can start planning, though, savoring the bounteous crop of garden seed catalogs arriving daily in the mail. Planning should include deciding on the plants we want to put out (and where), and preparing the soil to plant.

The Slate

If February is any indication, this will be a wild March when the madness begins. College basketball has no dominate teams and upsets seem to come nightly.

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Healthy Skepticism

We live in a world that is often cynical at worst and skeptical at best.

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Hello, Texas!

I've wanted to go to the SXSW (South by Southwest) Festival in Austin, Texas, for years. Some of my friends go annually and report daily how much fun they are having and about all the concerts they attended.

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The Session: Mad Skills, Chill Jazz

Percussionist and Jackson native Darrian Douglas is a brilliant example of arts education in action.

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Cinematic Wedgie

Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) searches for answers for his patient’s ailments with a controversial drug in “Side Effects.”

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Culture Convention

Mississippi Pulp Con is a place where steampunk zombies can rub elbows with Wookiees. Roller-derby girls can exchange numbers with comic fanboys. Vampirellas, paranormal investigators and pop artists can dance the night away. It's a melting pot of pop culture and nerd culture, inclusive of everyone.

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From Punishment to Healing: Moving Mental-Health Care Home

Jennifer Michaels traces her mental-health problems back to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, when she was 12 years old.

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Organizing in the South

I'm a Catholic now, but I grew up in the Pentecostal Holiness Church. My grandfather was a Holiness preacher. I know about revivals. Preachers exhort, and people respond. They sing, they shout, they come to the altar and they pray.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Political'

Hadiya Pendleton, 15, was fatally shot in the back in a Chicago playground Jan. 28 in a neighborhood close to where the president's family once lived.

If He Can't Serve, Anderson Should Go

On Monday, Pope Benedict XVI shocked Roman Catholics around the world by announcing his retirement at the end of February.

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Creamy Black History

"Greetings, black history enthusiasts. This is my favorite time of the year because I get to become a spokesperson for black history in America."

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Farish on Thin Ice, Fondren Getting Pub

The Jackson Redevelopment Authority had some big questions for the Farish Street Group at the monthly JRA meeting in January.

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The Wrong Roads

Contrary to the popular belief held in some corners of Mississippi, kids who say a prayer before class won't become the targets of Obama administration drone attacks.

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Women Still Under Assault

With Mississippi's only abortion facility facing permanent closure due to a law passed during the 2012 legislative session, other women's reproductive rights may be fairly safe during this year's session.

Your Turn: On Education

People have to make education a priority. Because it's not just money we need, it's political willpower and parental tolerance.

Question o' the Week: What needs to happen to improve education in Mississippi?

What needs to happen to improve education in Mississippi?

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You & JFP

Favorite quote: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

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Home Brewing Comes to a Head

If Kevin Kowalewski knew what he knows now about Mississippi's home-brewing laws, he might not have moved here from the St. Louis area in August 2012.

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A Political Family: Melvin Priester Jr.

Attorney Melvin Priester Jr. first dove into politics when he helped manage his father's campaign for Hinds County Court Judge in 2010.

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Finding Something to Do: "subSIPPI" Preview

See the trailer to the documentary about Mississippi culture.

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A. Shae Williams

At the restless age of 19, Adrenace "Shae" Williams enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, beginning a journey of service that led her across the country until family and career brought her back to serve the community where she grew up.

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Between Man and His God

Consider this: Why should a free government that we all pay into support the beliefs of some over others?

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Taking the State by Storm

Aspiring to make real music and a lasting impact in Jackson, indie-meets-alternative-rock band The Weekend Kids dares to be creative rather than conforming to mainstream standards.

Palazzo: Oil Rigs are 'Critical Habitat'

Congressmen from Mississippi and Alabama want the Department of Interior to stop demolishing inactive offshore oil rigs until more study details the dangers to Gulf of Mexico fish species.

Dow Closes at Highest Level of Year, Nears Record

The Dow rose to its highest close of the year, putting it within 1 percent of its record. Stocks gained after impressive results from two big consumer brands.

Signs of Unity in a Divided Congress

President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday night produced fleeting moments of bipartisanship in a divided Congress.

Coroner: Soft Drinks May Need Health Warnings

A New Zealand food industry association on Wednesday rejected a coroner's call to add health warnings to soft-drink labels following the 2010 death of a woman who drank about 2 gallons of Coca-Cola a day.

Comcast Doubles Down on TV in $16.7B Deal for NBCU

Comcast's $16.7 billion deal to buy the remaining half of NBCUniversal ahead of schedule represents a resounding vote of confidence in the future of TV, even as the growth of Internet video reshapes the entertainment landscape.

Obama Proposals Face Quick Opposition in Congress

President Barack Obama set up high-stakes clashes with Republicans over guns, immigration, taxes and climate change in his State of the Union address.

Senate Approves Bill to Appoint Superintendents

State senators are pushing again to end election of school superintendents in Mississippi.

Tuesday, February 12

Senate Panel Approves Hagel for Pentagon Chief

A bitterly divided Senate panel on Tuesday voted to approve President Barack Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the nation's defense secretary at a time of turmoil for the military with looming budget cuts, a fresh sign of North Korea's nuclear ambitions and drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Senate Dems, GOP Clash Over Need for New Gun Curbs

The toll of gun violence and the widespread disgust it has generated makes it time for new federal gun curbs that balance public safety with gun rights, Democrats said Tuesday at the Senate's latest hearing on restricting firearms.

Senate Approves Anti-Violence Against Women Act

By a robust bipartisan majority, the Senate voted Tuesday to renew the Violence Against Women Act with new assurances that gays and lesbians, immigrants and Native American women will have equal access to the act's anti-domestic violence programs.

Obama: Half of U.S. Combat Troops Home Within 1 year

President Barack Obama's decision to bring home within a year about half of the 66,000 U.S. troops now in Afghanistan will shrink the force to the size he found it when he entered the White House vowing to reinvigorate a stalemated war.

Del. Courthouse Gunman Was Ex-Father-in-Law

A 68-year-old man whose son was engaged in a bitter custody battle was identified Tuesday as the gunman who opened fire in a Delaware courthouse lobby, killing his former daughter-in-law and another woman. The gunman also died after exchanging fire with officers.

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Education Plans Could Prove Costly

Facing a Valentine's Day deadline to pass general legislation, Mississippi House and Senate legislators are zipping through more than 200 bills to clear their respective calendars.

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New Grocery Store, Employment Expo, Home Loans, and Surety Bonds

Mayor Harvey Johnson, Jr. attended the grand opening of LCD Foods' third Jackson Save-A-Lot Grocery Store Feb. 2.

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Margaret Wrinkle

Southern writers have a legacy quite unlike writers from the rest of the country.

Mardi Gras Winds Up on Miss. Coast

Organizers say Fat Tuesday parades on the Mississippi Gulf Coast will roll as scheduled Tuesday despite the chance of rain.

Mississippi Twister Carves Long Path of Wreckage

The powerful twister tore a path across at least three counties, injuring more than 80 people—but residents marveled that no one died.

Senate Panel to Vote on Defense Nominee Hagel

Chuck Hagel—Republican, twice-wounded Vietnam combat veteran and former Nebraska senator—faces his first major hurdle in his bid to become the nation's defense secretary as a bitterly divided Senate Armed Services Committee pushes toward a vote on his nomination.

North Korea Conducts Third Controversial Nuke Test

Defying U.N. warnings, North Korea on Tuesday conducted its third nuclear test in the remote, snowy northeast, taking a crucial step toward its goal of building a bomb small enough to be fitted on a missile capable of striking the United States.

Retiring Pope Benedict XVI in Uncharted Territory

For months, construction crews have been renovating a four-story building attached to a monastery on the northern edge of the Vatican gardens where nuns would live for a few years at a time in cloister.

Obama to Announce 34K Troops to be Home in a Year

President Barack Obama will announce in his State of the Union address that 34,000 U.S. troops will be home from Afghanistan within a year.

Bill to Make Unregistered Sex Offenders Wear GPS

The Mississippi Senate passed a bill Monday that would make unregistered sex offenders wear GPS tracking bracelets and require local governments to notify the public when offenders move to their neighborhood.

Monday, February 11

U.S. Ships Military Equipment Out of Afghanistan

The United States began its withdrawal from Afghanistan in earnest, officials said Monday, sending the first of what will be tens of thousands of containers home through a once-blocked land route through Pakistan.

Military Weighs Cutbacks, Shifts in Drone Programs

The Pentagon for the first time is considering scaling back the massive buildup of drones it has overseen in the past few years, both to save money and to adapt to changing security threats and an increased focus on Asia as the Afghanistan war winds down.

3 Dead in Courthouse Shooting in Delaware

Motivated by a yearslong custody dispute, a gunman opened fire Monday morning in a Delaware courthouse lobby just as the building was opening to the public for the day, exchanging shots with police and leaving three people—including the shooter—dead, authorities said.

2 U.S. Adoption Agencies Closing, Citing Woes Abroad

The lone U.S. adoption agency accredited in Kyrgyzstan is shutting down due to financial troubles, a sudden new setback for about 15 American families battling since 2008 to complete adoptions there. At the same time, another U.S. agency, which specializes in adoptions from Russia, also is closing.

Pope's Mission to Revive Faith Clouded by Scandal

Benedict XVI always cast himself as the reluctant pope, a shy bookworm who preferred solitary walks in the Alps to the public glare and the majesty of Vatican pageantry.

Contest Seeks Underworldly Names for 2 Pluto Moons

Astronomers announced a contest Monday to name the two itty-bitty moons of Pluto discovered over the past two years.

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GOP Spat Blamed for Exchange Failure

A day after informally notifying Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney of the federal government's rejection of the state's proposal to run a health-insurance exchange, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services outlined its reasons in a letter to Chaney.

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Health Law Bars Opting Out Of Maternity Coverage; Long Term Care Insurance Is Guaranteed If Company Goes Out Of Business

This week, I am answering readers' questions about maternity coverage requirements in the new health insurance exchanges, long-term-care insurance and switching employer health plans.

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Jonathan S. Jones

As the attending emergency physician at UMMC, Jonathan S. Jones’ expertise comes from the variety of patients that come to an emergency room.

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Community Events and Public Meetings

The Royal Bleau Semi-Annual Fashion Show is Feb. 15, 7 p.m. at Rose E. McCoy Auditorium.

Miss. Grammy Museum Signs Lease with Delta State

Delta State University will provide a location on its campus to the Cleveland Music Foundation for the Mississippi Grammy Museum.

Tax Break: Outlet Mall Would be 'Cultural Retail'

The state Senate has passed a bill to add "cultural retail" attractions to the definition of a tourism project so an outlet mall being built in Pearl will qualify for about $22 million in sales tax incentive funds.

A Texas-Sized Silence as Immigration Talks Ramp Up

With nearly 2 million illegal immigrants and a 1,200-mile border with Mexico, Texas has more at stake than most states in the renewed push to overhaul the nation's immigration system.

Cheney Criticizes Obama Nominees in Wyoming Speech

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Saturday night that President Barack Obama has jeopardized U.S. national security by nominating substandard candidates for key cabinet posts and by degrading the U.S. military.

Northeast Slowly Recovering from Blizzard

Travel eased and life slowly returned to normal for most New Englanders after a massive blizzard, but many remained without power in cold and darkened homes and a forecast of rain brought a new worry: Weight piling up dangerously on roofs already burdened by heavy snow.

What Heals Traumatized Kids? Answers Are Lacking

Shootings and other traumatic events involving children are not rare events, but there's a startling lack of scientific evidence on the best ways to help young survivors and witnesses heal, a government-funded analysis found.

Homes Wrecked, Dozen Hurt in Mississippi Tornado

Residents shaken by a tornado that mangled homes in Mississippi were waking up Monday to a day of removing trees, patching roofs and giving thanks for their survival.

Hospital Releases 3 New Orleans Shooting Victims

Gunshots erupted in a crowd of bead-wearing, drink-carrying late-night revelers on Bourbon Street during the countdown to Mardi Gras, wounding four people and sending bystanders running and screaming.

Varied Winners at Grammy Awards

The recording academy had a clear message at its 55th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night: There are a lot of top acts today with both mainstream appeal and an edge to their music, and the academy was happy to reward them all.

Analysis: Hundreds of Bill Die During Session

Hundreds of bills don't survive a session of the Mississippi Legislature.

Sunday, February 10

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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, February 9

Officials Say Black Mississippians Show Higher HIV Numbers

Mississippi health officials say new data shows African Americans remain most likely to be diagnosed with HIV infection.

Friday, February 8

Senators Seek Pact on Gun-Buy Background Checks

A cornerstone of President Barack Obama's drive to check gun violence is gathering bipartisan steam as four senators, including two of the National Rifle Association's congressional champions, privately seek compromise on requiring far more firearms purchasers to undergo background checks.

Syrian Rebels Preparing for Advance on Capital

Syrian rebels brought their fight within a mile of the heart of Damascus on Friday, seizing army checkpoints and cutting a key highway with a row of burning tires as they pressed their campaign for the heavily guarded capital, considered the likely endgame in the nearly 2-year-old civil war.

Hacker Gains Access to Bush Family Emails, Photos

A mysterious email hacker apparently accessed private photos and messages sent between members of the Bush family, including both retired commanders in chief.

Republicans Scramble for the Center on Immigration

Since the November elections, many other Republicans nationwide have tempered their tone on immigration—if not reversed course completely—after years of tacking right to appeal to grass-roots activists who dominate GOP primaries.

Is Blizzard Getting Too Much Hype? No, Experts Say

The new director of the National Weather Service says some may be getting carried away in describing the winter storm bearing down on the Northeast. But he says the science is simple and chilling.

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Under the Water

This weekend, the band Super Water Sympathy will bring the genre of water pop to Jackson.

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Romping Rom-Zom-Com

Nicholas Hoult’s dry delivery shines in the film “Warm Bodies.”

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Prison Pipeline: National Security Threat?

The United States is facing a national security crisis—but not from a foreign enemy.

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Chemicals Linked to Obesity in Black Children

Black children with high levels of hormone-altering chemicals used in some shampoos and lotions are more likely to be obese, according to research published today.

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Carol Moore

Jackson native and community activist Carol Moore passed away New Year's Day at age 63 after a 30-year battle with cancer.

Entergy 4Q Net Income Nearly Doubles

Electric power company Entergy Corp. said today that its fourth-quarter net income nearly doubled helped by lower income tax expenses.

Senate Poised to Renew Violence Against Women Act

Senators tussled Thursday over whether Indian authorities should be able to prosecute non-Indians in domestic abuse cases.

Brennan Defends Drone Strikes, Even on Americans

CIA Director-designate John Brennan strongly defended anti-terror attacks by unmanned drones Thursday under close questioning at a protest-disrupted confirmation hearing.

Chinese World Worries that Year of Snake May Bite

When the Chinese-speaking world ushers in its new year on Sunday, its 12-year zodiac will turn from the dragon to one of the world's most despised animals.

EU Leaders Inch Toward Budget Deal at Tough Summit

European Union leaders closed in on a deal that would cut the bloc's budget for the first time in history and deliver a strong message that years of expanding EU powers were on the wane.

Senators Seek Deal on Gun-Sale Background Checks

A bipartisan quartet of senators, including two National Rifle Association members and two with "F'' ratings from the potent firearms lobby, are quietly trying to find a compromise on expanding the requirement for gun-sale background checks.

Lawmakers Consider Regulating Drone Strikes

CIA Director-designate John Brennan's vigorous defense of drone strikes to kill terror suspects—even American citizens—overseas is causing key lawmakers to consider lifting secrecy from what has become an important weapon in the fight against al-Qaida.

NYC, New England Brace for Snowstorms

Snow begins to fall at the start of what's predicted to be a massive, possibly historic blizzard.

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It's the Weekend!

Tonight, Black Jacket Symphony performs at 8 p.m. at Thalia Mara Hall.

Bennett Chosen As First Black Chief of University

Rodney Bennett was named the first black president of a predominantly white university in Mississippi Thursday. But in taking the helm, Bennett's focus was less on his status as a racial pioneer and more on what he could do to bring financial solidity and renewed growth to the University of Southern Mississippi, which has been buffeted by instability.

Thursday, February 7

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HHS Denies Mississippi's Plan for Exchange

Commissioner Mike Chaney said he feels the Obama administration has betrayed him for denying the state's application.

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Jackson Eyes $300 Million for Water Needs

Jackson is facing about $300 million in needed improvements to the city's water system over the next 20 years, a new study shows.

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A Patient's Guide: How To Stay Safe In a Hospital

Propping up a patient's hospital bed at a 30-degree angle can help prevent hospital-acquired pneumonia. Using alcohol wipes kills staph bugs, but you need bleach wipes to kill C. diff germs. High-protein snacks can help prevent bed sores.

House Bill Would Move Revenue Dept. to Clinton

House members want to move the Department of Revenue to a new home in Speaker Philip Gunn's district.

Oil Spill Cleanup on Mississippi River Complete

The Coast Guard has completed cleanup of the oil spill near Vicksburg, Miss., that closed the major shipping channel for days in both directions.

AP Sources: House Dems Offer Own Gun Control Plan

House Democrats will unveil 15 proposals for curbing gun violence that resemble President Barack Obama's plan and will include a call for banning assault weapons, people familiar with the package said Wednesday.

White House Allies Produce Preschool-for-All Plan

Days before President Barack Obama outlines his agenda for the coming year, a think tank with close ties to the White House is outlining a plan that would provide preschool for all children within five years.

NM Abortion Complaint Highlights Privacy Concerns

A woman from New York came to New Mexico to terminate her pregnancy at one of the nation's four late-term abortion clinics after she found out the fetus she had been carrying for more than eight months had severe brain abnormalities.

Lawmakers to Get Drone Report Before CIA Hearing

President Barack Obama's choice to head the CIA faces a Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing just hours after lawmakers are expected to receive a classified report providing the rationale for drone strikes targeting Americans working with al-Qaida overseas.

EU Leaders Brace for Tough Fight at Budget Summit

European Union leaders drew hard lines Thursday ahead of a bracing fight over EU spending for the next seven years that reflects deep divisions over the role of their union.

U.S. Productivity Fell at 2 Percent Rate

U.S. worker productivity shrank in the final three months of 2012 although the decline was caused by temporary factors.

Confederate Past: Uproar Over Changing Park Names

The legacy of onetime Confederate fighter and slave trader Nathan Bedford Forrest has sparked new discord.

Expansion Not in Medicaid Bill, but Not Dead Issue

Mississippi lawmakers are holding onto a chance to debate Medicaid expansion in the next few weeks, even though the governor and other Republicans oppose growth in the program.

Wednesday, February 6

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Wrapping Up in Mississippi

It's that time again: "winter" in Mississippi, which means one day might be 35 degrees and the next, highs could hit 70 degrees--or perhaps we could see both in the same day.

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Hitting the Culinary Trail

I am a fan of food and historic restaurants, so when I heard about Mississippi's Culinary Trail, I had to read up. The trail is divided into five regions: the Delta, the Capital River, the Pines, the Hills and the Coast.

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Taking Back Valentine's Day

For many of us, a number of things can hinder us from engaging in these celebratory acts of love--distance, prior commitments or just the lack a person to share this special day with.

The Slate

Super Bowl XLVII was a tale of two halves. The Ravens dominated the first half but, thanks to a blackout, the 49ers made it a game worth watching in the second half.

World Cup Qualifiers Begin

The U.S. Men's Soccer Team begins the final round of World Cup Qualifying Wednesday at 3 p.m. against Honduras in the city of San Pedro Sula. Here's what to watch for in 2013 as the Yanks try to earn a spot in Brazil in 2014.

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Mr. and Mrs. Coach

Dressed simply in maroon polo shirts and khakis, the two coaches for the Germantown Lady Mavericks cross the basketball court side-by-side, laughing at some shared joke.

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An Introduction

If you've picked up one of the last few issues of the Jackson Free Press—and that's likely since you're reading this one—you might have seen one of my music reviews or articles.

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Giving Hearts

The creative spirit is a strong one; it comes from deep within. That's why so often art creates in the viewer an emotional reaction or impact.

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One evening, Christina Cannon talked to her friend Kirby Boteler about the things important to her in a partner. "He has to enjoy good food, good wine and have a passport," she told him.

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What is Love? You Decide

What is love? Depends on whom you ask. In search of an answer, I asked people in different relationship situations: a married couple, an engaged couple and a single person.

Sibling Shout-Outs

I polled a few of my favorite Jacksonians about their siblings. I asked: What do you cherish most about your relationship with your siblings?

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Arms of a Sister (or Brother)

I was an only child until age 10, at which time my parents sprang the news that I would soon have a new baby brother or sister.

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A Different Love

"Mama, don't you ever get lonely?" I asked my mother one day as I walked her from my car back to her room at the nursing home.

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Puppy Love

I've learned a lot about love from two of the unlikeliest of teachers: my dogs.

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A Crazy Kind of Life

Poets, writers, musicians and filmmakers have been trying to decipher the riddle that is love since the dawn of mankind.

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Digital Displays of Affection

In fall 2010, a New Jersey-based pastor by the name of Cedric Miller made national headlines after demanding that married church leaders in his congregation give up their Facebook accounts or resign.

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Created Equal

Watching the inauguration of President Barack H. Obama was bittersweet. I was proud to have advocated for my president, and I feel validated by his inclusion of the LGBT community and the diversity on display.

The Secrecy Must Stop

We heard a lot about sunshine during the 2011 legislative session. Mainly, it was in the context of a proposal Republicans were pushing to ostensibly to boost transparency in the Mississippi attorney general's office.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: "Letter C"

House Bill 490, which died in committee this week, proposes creating a government commission to examine federal laws and decide whether Mississippi and Mississippians should have to follow those laws.

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Why Not JSU?

Not many days ago, Jackson State University announced a plan to expand its campus beyond the city limits of Jackson into Madison.

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Belhaven Joins Register, Kellogg Opens

The State Department of Archives and History announced in January that the Belhaven neighborhood has become part of the National Register of Historic Places.

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Forget the Kumbaya

Some former mayors of Mississippi Delta towns would like to have a word with Gov. Phil Bryant.

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Nunnelee Reintroduces Akin's Bill

Mississippi's U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee is reviving the specter of former Rep. Todd Akin, a fellow Republican from Missouri.

Question o' the Week: What do you love?

What do you love?

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You & JFP

Favorite piece of wisdom:Some advice passed down to the Art Department at Belhaven: "Process. In art and in life, process."

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Madison Mayor Tries to Block JSU

Jackson State University President Carolyn Meyers didn't imagine she would face opposition when she announced in January the school's plans to open a satellite campus in Madison.

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Hometown Candidate

When Courtney Walker was 14, one of the local TV channels came to his central Jackson neighborhood and interviewed him. The focus of the story was crime, as it is with many stories on the tube about Jackson.

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Deloris Angrum

This has been a good decade for Deloris Angrum. Her daughter, April, returned safely from Iraq. She is a grandmother and will be again soon.

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Real Love

I may have a tough exterior, but I'm a romantic. And I love love.

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Fishbone: Still Evolving

Fishbone performs at Duling Hall Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. with cocktails at 6 p.m. The Scorseses also perform. Tickets for the 18 and older show are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Visit for more info.

Medicaid Expansion Chances Stay Alive in Senate

Some state senators aren't ready to expand Medicaid, but they are keeping the option alive for later in the session.

Abortion-Inducing Drugs Could Face Restrictions

Mississippi could restrict the use of abortion-inducing drugs and make women visit a physician an additional time after using them.

Senate Education Panel OKs School Prayer Bill

The Senate Education Committee has approved a measure meant to make it legal for students to pray before public school groups.

No. 1 Recruit Nkemdiche Picks Mississippi

The consensus top recruit in the nation Robert Nkemdiche will attend Mississippi.

Columbus Native, Civil Rights Icon Dies

Diane Hardy Thompson, one of three African-American women who integrated then-Mississippi College for Women in 1966, has died at an Augusta, Ga., burn center. She was 64.

Strange Bedfellows: Business, Labor on Immigration

Unlikely allies, business and labor leaders joined in support of the White House's immigration overhaul efforts Tuesday while also launching high-stakes negotiations to overcome an issue that has split them before — creating a guest-worker program to ensure future immigrants come to the U.S. legally.

Analysis: Obama, GOP Disagree, Again, on Spending

After two tumultuous years of budget brinkmanship, President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress finally agree on something — namely, that a previous 10-year pact to cut $1 trillion across the board was such a bad idea it must be stopped before it starts.

FBI: Ala. Captor Rigged Bunker, Waged 'Firefight'

As FBI and police negotiators sought for days to coax an Alabama man into freeing a kindergartner held hostage in an underground bunker, the captor was planning for violence, authorities say.

AP Source: Outdoor Retail Exec. Picked for Interior

President Barack Obama on Wednesday will nominate business executive and former engineer Sally Jewell to lead the Interior Department, an administration official said.

Tunisian Opposition Leader Killed Amid Tensions

A Tunisian opposition leader critical of both the Islamist-led government and of violence by radical Muslims was gunned down as he left home Wednesday—the first assassination in post-revolutionary Tunisia.

Crisler, Norwood Tops in Senate 28 Election

Not surprisingly, yesterday's Senate District 28 special election resulted in a runoff.

Postal Service Cutting Saturday Delivery

The Saturday mail cutback would begin in August and could save $2 billion annually.

Tuesday, February 5

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Tackling Human Trafficking in Mississippi

Trafficking of human beings--for sex or for labor--affects everyday people we all might encounter.

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At Capitol, Much at Stake for Jackson

With a renewed push underway for a local-option sales tax, Jackson could at last get some aid in paying for maintenance projects the city has in the works.

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Wendy Bradford

Up to 300,000 children are at risk for sexual exploitation each year in this country according to the Polaris Project, an organization located in Washington, D.C., that fights global trafficking.

Business, Unions Negotiating Guest Worker Program

Business leaders and labor union officials are delving into high-stakes negotiations over a particularly contentious element of immigration reform—a guest worker program to ensure future immigrants come here legally.

Small Ala. Town: Relief that Child Hostage is Safe

A 5-year-old boy was back with his ecstatic family and playing with his toy dinosaur after his nearly weeklong ordeal as a hostage in an underground bunker was ended by a sudden police raid and the death of his kidnapper.

Obama Seeks to Avoid Sequester with Short-Term Fix

President Barack Obama will ask Congress to come up with tens of billions of dollars in short-term spending cuts and tax revenue to put off the automatic across the board cuts that are scheduled to kick in March 1.

Dell in $24.4B Founder-Led Deal to Go Private

Slumping personal computer maker Dell is bowing out of the stock market in a $24.4 billion buyout that represents the largest deal of its kind since the Great Recession dried up the financing for such risky maneuvers.

Some Reproductive Health Bills Set to Die in Miss. House

At least two bills affecting reproductive health will die in the Mississippi House because a chairman says he won't bring them up for debate before a Tuesday deadline.

Monday, February 4

FBI: Officers Stormed Bunker When Child in Danger

Officials say they stormed a bunker in Alabama to rescue a 5-year-old child being held hostage there after his abductor was seen with a gun.

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Hinds E911 Fund Almost Empty

Hinds County's emergency-communications system is in a state of financial emergency.

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Fed Economist Steps Into Dispute On Geographic Differences in Health Spending

An economist at the Federal Reserve has re-stoked the debate over the causes of regional differences in Medicare spending, and her analysis disputes some of the thinking behind a number of policy changes in the 2010 health law.

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Adam Huttler

While completing his junior year, studying in London at the British American Drama Academy and finishing college at Sarah Lawrence College, Adam Huttler founded a company.

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Community Events and Public Meetings

The Women of Color Summit is Friday, Feb. 8 at Mississippi State University in the Colvard Student Union's Foster Ballroom.

Power Outage Stops Super Bowl for 34 Minutes

The Super Bowl turned into Blackout Sunday.

Plan July 6 to Outline Spending of BP Spill Fines

The committee set up to manage most environmental fines going to the states affected by the BP oil spill of 2010 says it will release its plan July 6.

Obama Says Boy Scouts Should Allow Gays as Members

President Barack Obama said Sunday that gays should be allowed in the Boy Scouts and women should be allowed in military combat roles, weighing in on two storied American institutions facing proposals to end long-held exclusions.

Taliban Peace Talks Flounder as Troops Draw Down

The Afghan peace effort is floundering, fraught with mistrust and confusion among key players even though the hard-line Taliban militants show signs of softening and their reclusive, one-eyed leader made a surprise offer to share power in a post-war Afghanistan.

Body Count Rises in Mexico Blast

Mexico's state-owned oil company says it has found two more bodies amid the rubble of a headquarters building damaged by a still-unexplained blast. The find raises the death toll of Thursday's explosion to 35 people.

Bullying Study: It Does Get Better for Gay Teens

It really does get better for gay and bisexual teens when it comes to being bullied, although young gay men have it worse than their lesbian peers, according to the first long-term scientific evidence on how the problem changes over time.

Ravens Edge 49ers 34-31 in Electric Super Bowl

For a Super Bowl with so many story lines, this game came up with quite a twist.

Obama to Campaign for Gun Proposals in Minnesota

Obama is seeking to rally support from the public and law enforcement community.

Sunday, February 3

Mar. 17, 2013 - Sunday


Hot Shots, Byram - <b>Mike and Marty's Jam Session</b> Sophia's, Fairview Inn - <b>Knight Bruce</b> 11 a.m. (brunch) Fitzgerald's - <b>Andy Hardwick</b> (brunch) 11 a.m. Table 100 - <b>Raphael Semmes (jazz brunch)</b> 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sombra Mexican Kitchen - <b>John Mora</b> 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Mar. 16, 2013 - Saturday


Click here for venue addresses and phone numbers. Hot Shots, Byram - Karaoke 8 p.m. Soul Wired Cafe - Strictly Soul Saturdays 9 p.m., $5, ladies free until 11:30 Bottoms Up – DJ & Show – 9 p.m.

Friday, February 1

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Leveling the Education Playing Field

Mississippi's legislative leaders promised a whirlwind session heavily focused on education issues. Based on the volume of education-related bills flying out of the Capitol, they appear to be achieving that goal.

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Do As We Say, Congress Says, Then Does What It Wants

Congress is still exempt from portions of a number of federal laws, including provisions that protect workers in the private sector but don't apply to the legislative branch's approximately 30,000 employees.

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Tracee Thompson

Tracee Thompson, 43, has taught 10th- and 11th-grade English at Jim Hill High School for 9 years.

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It's the Weekend!

On Saturday, the Art by Choice Sale is at 6 p.m. at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

Proud to be Mississippian, Evers-Williams says

Myrlie Evers-Williams says people praised her poise after her husband, Mississippi NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers, was assassinated 50 years ago in the state. But she says she struggled with wanting revenge.

Possible Debate Later on Miss. Medicaid Expansion

Democrats in the Mississippi Legislature say they're trying to preserve the option of expanding Medicaid in the state, even though Gov. Phil Bryant and other Republican leaders oppose adding hundreds of thousands more people to the government health insurance for the poor.

Congress Sends Bill to Obama Averting Govt. Default

Congress sent President Barack Obama drama-free legislation on Thursday raising the debt ceiling, averting a government default and putting off the next tax-and-spending clash between the White House and Republicans until later in the year.

Hillary Clinton Takes a Rest, How Weird is That?

Hillary Rodham Clinton's plan for 2013 was simple.

Hagel Emerges with Solid Dem Support for Pentagon

Bruised and battered, Chuck Hagel emerged from his grueling confirmation hearing with solid Democratic support for his nomination to be President Barack Obama's next defense secretary and relentless opposition from Republicans who repeatedly challenged their former GOP colleague.

Negotiators Talking to Ala. Captor Through Pipe

More than three days after he allegedly shot a school bus driver dead, grabbed a kindergartner and slipped into an underground bunker, Jimmy Lee Dykes was showing no signs Friday of turning himself over to police.

Freedom Returns to the Storied City of Timbuktu

On the morning French commandos parachuted onto the sand just north of this storied city and ended 10 months of Islamic rule, Hawi Traore folded up her veil. On the next day, she wore heels. On the day after, she put on her sparkly earrings, got her hair braided and tried her mother's perfume.

Ed Koch, Mayor Who Became a Symbol of NYC, Dies

Ed Koch's favorite moment as mayor of New York City, fittingly, involved yelling.

US Gains 157K Jobs; Jobless Rate Rises to 7.9 Pct.

Hiring was much stronger at the end of 2012 than previously thought.