Stories for May 2014


Saturday, May 31

Cochran Campaigns Calmly Amid Senate-Race Photo Scandal

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran is in the fight of his political life in a brutal, too-personal Republican primary that has drawn his bedridden wife into the melee and resulted in criminal charges against some of his opponent's supporters.

U.S. Trades Gitmo Detainees to Free American Solider from Taliban After Five Years of Captivity

WASHINGTON (AP) — The only American soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan has been freed by the Taliban in exchange for the release of five Afghan detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Obama administration officials said Saturday.

3 Indicted on Conspiracy Charges in Prison Riot

Three people have been indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to commit murder related to a deadly prison riot in Mississippi.

Friday, May 30

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5th Circuit Could Soon Ban Abortion in State

Any day now the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could decide the constitutionality of a law that would close the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, effectively banning abortion in the state.

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Mona Nicholas

Mona Nicholas, the newly appointed deputy director of the USA International Ballet Competition—one of the largest international ballet competitions in the world—,fell in love with dance the first time she saw a performance.

Medicare Coverage Ban on Sex-Change Surgery Lifted

Transgender people receiving Medicare may no longer be automatically denied coverage for sex reassignment surgeries, a U.S. Department of Health and Services review board ruled Friday in a groundbreaking decision that recognizes the procedures as a medically necessary and effective treatment for individuals who do not identify with their biological sex.

Shinseki Resigns Amid Veterans' Health Care Issues

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned Friday after publicly apologizing for systemic problems plaguing the agency's health care system.

Elon Musk Unveils Spacecraft to Ferry Astronauts

A company that has flown unmanned capsules to the Space Station unveiled a spacecraft Thursday designed to ferry up to seven astronauts to low-Earth orbit that SpaceX founder Elon Musk says will lower the cost of going to space.

Texas' Top Prosecutor: Drug Source Can Be Secret

Texas can keep secret the name of its supplier for its execution drugs, the state attorney general determined after law enforcement argued that suppliers face serious danger.

Obama Plans 'Serious Conversation' With Shinseki

President Barack Obama said Friday he plans to have a "serious conversation" with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki about whether he can stay in his job as the agency head apologized publicly for systemic problems plaguing the veterans' health care system.

Meal Programs Expand Summer Nutrition for Kids

A federal government-backed nutrition program seeks to provide two million meals to Mississippi schoolchildren this summer.

Thursday, May 29

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Archie Manning

If a Mississippian brings up "Archie," they are without a doubt talking about former Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints great Archie Manning, one of the most recognizable sports figures in Mississippi history.

White House Touts Energy Policies as Rules Loom

Setting the stage for upcoming restrictions on coal-fired power plants, the Obama administration is making a concerted effort to cast its energy policy as an economic success that is creating jobs, securing the nation against international upheavals and shifting energy use to cleaner sources.

House Democrats' Campaign Arm Reserves $44M in Ads

House Democrats are ready to empty their deep pockets for television ads in their uphill climb to overtake Republicans as the majority party.

Maya Angelou, the Nation's Wise Woman

Maya Angelou walked into a meeting of civil rights leaders discussing affirmative action back in the 1990s, looked around, and put them all in their place with a single, astute observation.

Head of Miss. Environmental Agency to Resign

Trudy Fisher, Mississippi's chief environmental regulator, will resign her post at the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality at the end of the summer.

Wednesday, May 28

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World Series Repeat?

Last year, we saw a great sports moment in our state: Mississippi State not only reached the College World Series but made it all the way to the championship.

The Slate

May comes to a close this week, and June is ready to bust out a ton of sports events. The Stanley Cup Finals, NBA Finals, World Cup and a shot at the Triple Crown highlight this packed sports month.

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‘Chef’ Serves Up Tasty Cinematic Cuisine

Jon Favreau, who launched his career with the smash-hit indie film "Swingers" in 1996, is back at his bread and butter with the soulful and delicious "Chef."

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Pam Kinsey’s Light

Pam Kinsey's art studio is on a small lake in Cleary, Miss., nestled between Byram and Florence. The building is quiet and serene, not unlike her vividly real and serene pastel works.

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The Power of Tiny Dancers

Being a grown-up, I do now have friends who have kids—and I find that they can be fun once they reach an age where they start to become little people.

The Summer Problem for Kids: In Mississippi, the Hottest Months Put Lower-Income Learners at Risk

Extensive research shows that all children are prone to learning losses when they do not have educational opportunities during the summer.

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Lifting Up Black Boys: What the Experts Say

When a critical mass of the nation's foremost experts on educating black boys gathered in Jackson in April to hobnob, commiserate and impart their latest findings on how to get positive outcomes with this much-maligned population, it had the breathtaking impact of the locusts.

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Investigate the Hayne Cases, Gen. Hood

Reading journalist Radley Balko's May 15 piece on Steven Hayne in The Washington Post reminded me, again, of our broken justice system.

Media: Stop Feeding Bloodthirst Toward Kids

No doubt, research shows that treating even guilty minor suspects as adults increases recidivism and their chances of committing more severe crimes later.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Blatant Disregard'

Mayor Yarber is right to be mad about the senseless loss of life in the capital city. Later, WLBT paraphrases Yarber saying the Jackson Police Department, which he oversees, would be making more traffic stops and, therefore, more arrests.

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Step Up on LGBT Rights, City of Jackson

I am wondering how it is that Waveland just became the seventh city in Mississippi to pass a diversity resolution acknowledging that LGBT citizens are a valued part of their community, yet Jackson has remained silent.

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Water Meters Still Worry Council Members

The Siemens deal has made council members and citizens wary since May 2012, when Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. presented a deal for council approval.

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Jatran Natural Gas Conversion May Cool ‘Heated’ Bus Riders

Due to ongoing issues with air-conditioning units on several JATRAN buses, passengers might have to find an alternative solution to their traveling needs this summer.

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Police, Experts Say Youth Programs Help Cut Crime

With Jackson Public Schools now out for the summer, many people are worried that the students' newly found freedom will lead to kids getting bored or giving in to peer pressure, which opens up the possibility for a summer season filled with mischief.

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Frank Spencer

It's lunchtime at Stewpot Community Services, and Frank Spencer, executive director, stands off to the side, watching as Stewpot does what it's meant to do—serve the people of Jackson.

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Silencing Our Fear of Youth

This issue is all about uplifting black boys, but it's hard to empower black boys when we are so invested in constantly tearing them down.

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Florida Georgia Line: Hip-Hop Goes Country

Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard fuse hip-hop into several songs on their debut full-length album, "Here's to the Good Times," and it isn't a gimmick.

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John Currence's Big Bad Cookbook

Chef John Currence spells out his cooking manifesto before we get to the first recipe. It includes advice such as make your own bread, buy quality ingredients, cut the "low-fat" crap and enjoy yourself.

Sender of Ricin Letters Sentenced on State Charges

A Mississippi man sentenced who sent letters dusted with the poison ricin to President Barack Obama and other officials has been sentenced to 20 years in prison on unrelated state charges of fondling three martial arts students.

Tuesday, May 27

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Madison Judge Racial-Abuse Case to go to Grand Jury

Madison County Justice Court Judge Bill Weisenberger is being accused of knocking down, slapping and kicking a mentally disabled young black man and yelling a racial slur: "Run, n*gger, run."

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Lost Pizza Co. and The Meridian at Fondren In, Nick's Restaurant Out

Brothers Will and Jones McPherson, owners of JJ Brothers LLC, are bringing the Lost Pizza Co. restaurant to Jackson's Maywood Mart, to the space that housed Bon Ami before it closed in October 2013.

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Ramona Spann

Ramona Spann, 55, is on a mission to break the cycle of poor food choices and obesity in Mississippi by working from the ground up, starting with kids.

Monday, May 26

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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, May 24

Miss. Death Row Inmate Challenges Rape Conviction

The Mississippi Supreme Court has given attorneys for a death row inmate more time to file briefs supporting Charles Ray Crawford's appeal of a 1994 rape conviction.

Friday, May 23

Obama Aides Tackle Hill Foreign Policy Concerns

White House officials have been holding private meetings this week aimed at soothing lawmakers' concerns over the U.S. posture in Syria, the future of the American military presence in Afghanistan and defense spending.

Visa, MasterCard Renew Push for Chip Cards

Visa and MasterCard are renewing a push to speed the adoption of microchips into U.S. credit and debit cards in the wake of recent high-profile data breaches, including this week's revelation that hackers stole consumer data from eBay's computer systems.

Putin Promises to Respect to Ukraine's Election

President Vladimir Putin pledged Friday that Russia will respect the results of Ukraine's presidential election, a strong indication the Kremlin wants to cool down the crisis.

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Freedom Summer to Empower Youth

Albert Sykes grew up in west Jackson the next block over from the street where Medgar and Myrlie Evers lived, but says he never had a real connection to the Civil Rights Movement until he was in the sixth grade and met Bob Moses.

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Gaps in Kids' Dental Coverage a Trouble Spot

No one wants to go to the dentist, but kids need to. A small cavity left to fester can grow into a big health problem. That's why the government made pediatric dental care one of the health law's "essential benefits."

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Lindsey Lemmons

When not delving into nature, Lindsey Lemmons, 33, serves as environmental management systems coordinator for the National Guard and advocates in Jackson for an end to manufactured foods and genetically modified organisms, among other activities.

Tennessee Brings Back the Electric Chair

As the rest of the nation debates the feasibility and humanity of lethal injections against a backdrop of scarce drugs and botched executions, Tennessee has come up with an alternative: the electric chair.

In Switch, Gay Rights Issue Now Favoring Democrats

It wasn't all that long ago that Republicans used gay marriage as a tool to drive Election Day turnout. But as public opinion on the issue has turned and courts strike down same-sex marriage bans, gay rights is evolving into a wedge issue for Democrats to wield.

Thai Coups Makers Hold Ex-PM After Coup

Ousted members of Thailand's former government turned themselves in to the country's new military junta Friday, as soldiers forcefully dispersed hundreds of anti-coup activists who defied a ban on large-scale gatherings to protest the army's seizure of power.

2 More Arrests in Cochran Photo Probe in Miss.

Authorities in Mississippi say they have arrested two more suspects, including a tea party official, in the investigation of photos taken of the ailing wife of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran.

Thursday, May 22

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Thalia Mara Work to Wrap Early

Soon, Thalia Mara Hall will be back, and officials overseeing its renovation say the opera house will be better than ever.

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Omar Johnson

Jackson State baseball coach Omar Johnson has been able to keep the defending SWAC Baseball Tournament Champions focused during a trying time.

Defense of Pennsylvania's Gay Marriage Ban Dropped

Hundreds, if not thousands, of same-sex couples who live in Pennsylvania are rushing to get marriage licenses or celebrate the sudden recognition of their out-of-state marriages in their home state.

11 Ukrainian Troops Dead, 33 Wounded by Rebels

Three days before Ukraine holds a presidential vote, pro-Russia insurgents attacked a military checkpoint Thursday in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 11 troops and wounding at least 33 others in the deadliest raid yet in weeks of fighting.

Koreas Exchange Fire Near Disputed Sea Boundary

North and South Korean warships exchanged artillery fire Thursday in disputed waters off the western coast, South Korean military officials said, in the latest sign of rising animosity between the bitter rivals in recent weeks.

Wednesday, May 21

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World Cup Dreams

In less than a month, 32 teams will descend on Brazil with hopes of winning the 2014 World Cup.

The Slate

Jackson State's baseball team went from seeing nearly all their equipment and luggage burn in a bus fire May 5 to winning the SWAC Baseball Championship May 18. That is overcoming some adversity.

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Pitbull Doesn’t Know What Love Means

I don't normally call out a particular song or performer. There are plenty of things that I don't like, but venting is best done with close friends or anonymously on the Internet.

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Dinner Like Grandma Made

Norma Ruth's is a small establishment tucked tight into a little plaza between a clothing store and a barbershop on Ellis Avenue.

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The Stigma of Mental Health

Laqwanda Roberts doesn't look like the type of person to suffer from mental-health issues. Bloggers and video bloggers often praise Roberts for her fashion sense and beautiful natural hair.

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Pop-Up Ballot: Nail Care

Melissa Harrison and Cathy Campbell opened The Nail Bar Oct. 8, 2013, and it is already setting a new standard for nail care.

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Lil Boosie’s Touchdown Tour

Lil Boosie returns to his southern stomping grounds during his "Touchdown 2 Cause Hell Tour." The rapper will appear at the Mississippi Coliseum Saturday, July 5.

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Active and Adventurous

Camp Tiger Tails on the Jackson State University campus is the just the right cure for summer time boredom.

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‘Ogres Are Like Onions’

Who could have predicted that when "Shrek" came out in 2001, the inverse fairy tale would captivate audiences so? The animated film spawned three more movies and, now, a theater spin-off is making its way around the country and to Jackson.

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Grr, Baby

In July 2012, higher-gravity beer hit Jackson refrigerators, and then, last summer, folks learned the ins and outs of home brewing.

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2014 JFP Chef Week Winners Announced

In the 2nd Annual JFP Chef Week charity event, participation was overwhelming with 25 restaurants and chefs competing for their favorite charities.

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Fight for the Right

If you're a student of civil-rights history, one of the best things about living in Jackson is the fact that your heroes walk among you.

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Bright Ideas

Are you feeling uninspired? No challenges left? Did you read another depressing statistic about Mississippi? I have a cure for that. Read Polly Dement's "Mississippi Entrepreneurs."

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JXN Scavenge

This summer, let's recreate that fun with a Jackson-centric scavenger hunt that you can do one weekend.

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What Chokwe Lumumba Taught Me

A good friend visited earlier this month. She used to live in Jackson, but moved away seven years ago to work as a community organizer in another city. And she, like so many people here, was a protege of Chokwe Lumumba.

Gov. Phil Bryant Must Explain 2681 Support

Either Gov. Phil Bryant has no idea what is happening in his own state—or he isn't being forthright about his motives for signing SB 2681, the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Timely and Orderly'

A number of recent planned executions have highlighted exactly why the public should know more about the deadly cocktail states use to put people to death.

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On Our Side of Town

"In the so-called real world, you will experience malicious attitudes from many corporations, business owners, and talk-radio hosts who believe people like you are just a bunch of inept savages with no culture."

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HRC: Why LGBT Moves Like Waveland's Are Vital

On a stop of his tour through the South, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin spoke at the Mississippi Capitol in Jackson on May 13 about the Human Rights Campaign's newest permanent campaign, Project One America.

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Casinos, LGBTs Still Allied in Face of SB 2681

To say that Mississippi, where citizens passed a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage in 2004, has been slow to cash in on the economic potential of embracing LGBT people and their money would be an understatement.

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Yarber’s Early Moves: Roads, Safety

The city's pothole problem has long been a source of stress for many Jackson motorists.

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Sue Lobrano

Without Sue Lobrano and her years of knowledge, the USA International Ballet Competition probably wouldn't be as big as it is today.

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Mrs. Truth, Mr. Humanity

I first visited Battle Creek's monument to Sojourner Truth, an illiterate woman who shed her slave name and chose "Truth," saying "... and truth shall be my abiding name."

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On the EastSide

After a wildly successful, yet nerve-wracking Kickstarter campaign to fund season two of his critically acclaimed web series "EastSiders," Kit Williamson wants to sleep.

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Norman Rockwell: Inside Iconic Art

"Norman Rockwell: Murder in Mississippi" opens June 14, and will hang through Aug. 31 at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

China Signs 30-Year Deal for Russian Natural Gas

China signed a landmark deal Wednesday to buy Russian natural gas worth about $400 billion, giving a boost to diplomatically isolated President Vladimir Putin and expanding Moscow's ties with Asia.

Putin Says Troops Withdraw to Help Ukraine Vote

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he ordered troops to pull out from the regions near Ukraine to help create a positive environment ahead of the nation's presidential vote, but added the continued fighting will make it hard for the Kremlin to deal with the winner.

Tissues, Counselors Help Ease Pain at 9/11 Museum

There are prominent videos of the twin towers collapsing and photos of people falling from them. Portraits of nearly 3,000 victims and voice mail messages from people in hijacked planes.

Course Aims to Increase Women in Miss. Politics

Organizers of a leadership course for college students say they're trying to increase the number of women in Mississippi politics.

Tuesday, May 20

Obama Hosts CEOs Whose Firms are Investing in U.S.

At the White House, President Barack Obama played the role of business pitchman Tuesday, saluting 11 executives whose companies have chosen to gain or expand a footprint in the United States.

Pennsylvania Gay Marriage Ban Overturned by Judge

Pennsylvania's ban on gay marriage was overturned by a federal judge Tuesday.

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Venom Strikes Midtown, Bomgar and Seafood Get Boosts

Phillip Rollins, better known around Jackson as DJ Young Venom, opened a new store called Offbeat Saturday, May 17.

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Pardoned Ex-Prisoner Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter

One of the ex-prisoners who received a pardon from then-Gov. Haley Barbour has pleaded guilty to manslaughter after he killed another man in an exchange of gunfire.

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Derrick Johnson

When two Tougaloo College alumni convinced Derrick Johnson, a Detroit, Mich., native, that he belonged at the college, Johnson ended up discovering a passion for civil-rights work.

Thailand's Army Declares Martial Law, Denies Coup

Thailand's powerful military chief intervened Tuesday for the first time in the country's latest political crisis, declaring martial law and dispatching gun-mounted jeeps into the heart of the capital with a vow to resolve the deepening conflict as quickly as possible.

UN Says Forced Labor $150 Billion-a-Year Business

Trafficking, forced labor and modern slavery are big business generating profits estimated at $150 billion a year, the U.N. labor agency said Tuesday.

25 Years for Miss. Man in Poisoned Letters Case

A Mississippi man who pleaded guilty to sending letters dusted with the poison ricin to President Barack Obama and other officials was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison.

Monday, May 19

Report: Rural Miss. Schools Poorer, More Diverse

Rural schools in Mississippi are growing in enrollment and serving more low-income and minority students than previous years, according to a report released Monday.

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Cochran, McDaniel Spar Over Wife Photo Scandal

A longtime incumbent and a firebrand startup vying for the Republican nomination to U.S. Senate continue sparring over a scandal that broke over the weekend and shows no sign of waning anytime soon.

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Analysis: LGBT Group Faces Miss. Political Hurdles

A national civil rights group called Human Rights Campaign faces significant challenges as it tries to make Mississippi's legal climate more open for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.

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Community Meetings and Events

A Memorial Day Parade will be held in downtown Vicksburg on Monday, May 26

Ruling Expected Monday on Oregon Gay-Marriage Ban

A federal judge was expected on Monday to knock down Oregon's same-sex marriage ban after the state refused to defend it in court, and gay couples were poised to tie the knot right after the ruling.

Putin Orders Troops Near Ukraine to Return Home

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered troops deployed near Ukraine to return to their home bases and praised the launch of a dialogue between the Ukrainian government and its opponents even as fighting continued in the eastern parts of the country.

US Government Cites China in Cyber-Spying Case

The United States has brought first-of-its kind cyber-espionage charges against five Chinese military officials accused of hacking into U.S. companies to gain trade secrets.

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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.

Friday, May 16

GM is Fined $35 Million Over Deadly Defect

Federal safety regulators slapped General Motors with a record $35 million fine Friday for taking more than a decade to disclose an ignition-switch defect in millions of cars that has been linked to at least 13 deaths.

Obama and Hollande Discuss Ukraine and Nigeria

President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande on Friday discussed developments in Ukraine and the terrorist threat posed by the group Boko Haram in Nigeria, two of the more prominent international crises facing them.

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Yarber Signals Shakeup with Crisler Pick

The appointment of former Ward 6 Councilman Marshand Crisler as public-safety commissioner marks the start of Mayor Tony Yarber's vow to overhaul the city's organizational chart.

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Building Bike Commuters One Bike Lane at a Time

It's that time of year: Bicyclists young and old are lubing chains and dusting off cheap supermarket bikes, top-of-the line Treks and everything in between.

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Ginger Williams-Cook

Ginger Williams-Cook, 33, was afraid, at first, to tell the story of her mother's death and her personal grieving process when Katie Green, a filmmaker from New York, approached her about a documentary.

Official Says Immigration Program Up for Review

President Barack Obama's new homeland security secretary is offering his first public hints at executive action the administration might take on immigration, suggesting changes to a much-criticized program that runs the names of people booked for local crimes through a federal immigration database.

Pro-Russian Insurgents Retreat in Ukraine's East

Local patrols by steelworkers have forced pro-Russia insurgents to retreat from the government buildings they had seized in a major city in eastern Ukraine, giving residents hope that a wave of anarchy was over.

Police Unions Push for Medical Coverage of PTSD

Police unions across the U.S. are pushing for officers to be able to collect workers' compensation benefits if they suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, whether they got it from the general stress of police work or from responding to a deadly shooting rampage.

Thursday, May 15

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JPD Holds Police Memorial

The Jackson Police Department held a memorial service this morning honoring the memory of fallen Jackson law enforcement officers.

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No Life-at-Conception Proposal on '15 Miss. Ballot

Mississippians will not vote on a new ballot initiative that would declare life begins at conception.

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Eddie Young

Eddie Young has been giving of himself since he first started volunteering 14 years ago at the YMCA on the corner of Farish Street, while he was attending college at Jackson State University.

No New Arkansas Gay Marriage Licenses, for Now

Gay couples in Arkansas will not be able to get wedding licenses, even though the state Supreme Court upheld a ruling that struck down the ban on same-sex marriage, because a separate law that prevents clerks issuing the licenses to same-sex couples is still on the books.

10,000 Gallons of Oil Spill on Los Angeles Streets

Crews sopped up the remains of about 10,000 gallons of crude oil that sprayed into Los Angeles streets and onto buildings early Thursday after a high-pressure pipe burst.

15 Crew Indicted Over S. Korean Ferry Disaster

Prosecutors indicted the captain of the sunken South Korean ferry and three crew members on homicide charges Thursday, alleging they were negligent and failed to protect more than 300 people missing or dead in the disaster.

Waveland Vietnam Vet Receives Purple Heart

A Waveland man has finally been presented the Purple Heart he was supposed to have received 46 years.

Wednesday, May 14

The Slate

The St. Louis Rams aren't afraid of making history as a franchise. In 1946 (a year before Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color-barrier), the Rams signed Kenny Washington the first black player in the modern era of the NFL.

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Another Draft in the Can

Finally, the NFL Draft has come and gone after moving from April to May. As usual, on paper, some teams had a great draft, but others appear to have bombed the draft.

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The Festival Game

Warm weather has finally arrived, and that means it's that time of year: music festivals.

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Shakey Graves' Found Songs

Singer, songwriter and actor Alejandro Rose-Garcia gives life to Shakey Graves, which walks the thin line between being a throwback in time and a pitch forward in the evolution of Americana folk and blues.

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Jesus in the La-Z-Boy

Grilled catfish, watermelon donkeys and Jesus in a La-Z-Boy might not be what you envision while reading the story of Martha and Mary, but it's exactly what you will find in "Martha," a one-act play by the Fish Tale Group Theatre.

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Chef Bhatt: Top of His Class

Vishwesh Bhatt, 48, is the chef at Oxford's Snackbar, part of the City Grocery family of restaurants that John Currence owns.

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Jailhouse Blues: Is Help on the Way for the Raymond Detention Center?

In 2006, the U.S. Justice Department estimated that more than 50 percent of all prisoners have some type of mental health issue. For incarcerated women, the percentage is closer to 75 percent.

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When You’re Down and Out

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, who rode into the Governor's Mansion decrying the evils of undocumented migrant workers, says he also doesn't want "unions involved in our businesses or our public sector."

Justice System Should Help, Not Just Punish

Last summer, a SWAT team descended on the home of a man named Cornealious "Mike" Anderson in a quiet suburb of St. Louis, Mo., and took him to jail. The crime the man was accused of had taken place 13 years earlier.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Representation'

As the county's top prosecutor and an elected official, Smith can do just as much as, if not more than, the public defender to see to it that mentally ill people don't rot in jail.

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Teen Pregnancy, Misunderstood

It takes a lot of courage for teens to go to a clinic. Shaming them when they get there doesn't encourage them to come back or tell their friends it's a safe place to go.

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Couple Donates 30,000 Books to Honor Late Mayor

Although Richard and Sandra Koritz are not originally from Mississippi, it's safe to say they have earned their place as honorary Jacksonians thanks to their recent donation of more than 34,000 books to the City of Jackson in memory of the late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, whom the couple greatly admired.

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SPLC Blasts Henley-Young Plan

After receiving a reprimand for its management of the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center, Hinds County officials have come up with a solution to the ongoing legal problems, one that has raised sharp criticism from youth advocates.

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Golden Key Apartments Unsuitable?

Residents at the Golden Key Apartments, located on Albermarle Road, have visited Jackson City Council meetings several times over the course of the last few months to make complaints about what they call the Jackson Housing Authority's neglect of residents.

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Jack Welch

Jack Welch is part of Community Animal Rescue and Adoption, a team of people who work both behind the scenes and on the front lines caring for about 300 dogs and 80 cats.

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AFA Bearing False Witness Against Businesses?

This past week, the American Family Association put out an "action item" that accuses the "We Don't Discriminate" campaign of being ... discriminatory.

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Hatching a New Art Movement

The area between Woodrow Wilson Avenue, and Fortification, West and Mill streets is full of what looks like abandoned buildings and warehouses, some laced with graffiti and others just plain brick buildings with small, unassuming black doors.

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Red Flags in Downtown Bars

While eating at the bar at a downtown restaurant or enjoying a beverage at the King Edward Hotel Bar on a weeknight, it's not at all unusual to strike up a conversation with someone who is quite obviously here from out of town.

A Look at Allegations of Cover-Ups at VA Hospitals

A team of federal investigators swept into Phoenix last month amid allegations of a disturbing cover-up at the veterans hospital.

Judge Strikes Down Idaho's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Amber Beierle and Rachael Robertson say they'll be the first in line if Idaho starts issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Friday.

Ukraine Agrees to Talks, But Its Foes Are Missing

The Ukrainian government reluctantly agreed to launch talks on decentralizing power Wednesday as part of a European-backed peace plan, but did not invite its main foes, the pro-Russia insurgents who have declared independence in the east.

Poison-Letters Defendant Wants to Withdraw Plea

The Mississippi man who pleaded guilty in January to sending poison-laced letters to President Barack Obama and others changed his mind Tuesday, asking a judge to withdraw his plea just before sentencing.

Tuesday, May 13

Judge: Try Marathon Suspect's 3 Friends Separately

Three college friends of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect will be tried separately, but those trials do not need to be moved out of Massachusetts, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

GM Recall Reveals Gaps in Air Bag Knowledge

General Motors is recalling 2.6 million small cars to fix the ignition switches in air bags.

A Look at the Proposed Peace Plan for Ukraine

A potential peace deal for Ukraine has emerged after months of political chaos, deadly violence, economic volatility and the worst crisis between Russia and the West in a generation.

15 Dead, Hundreds Trapped in Turkish Coal Mine

An explosion and a fire at a coal mine in western Turkey killed at least 15 workers Tuesday and trapped another 200 or more miners underground, the country's disaster agency said as it launched a massive rescue operation.

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State Reps Back Human Rights Campaign

Project One America, which HRC first announced last month, is the largest coordinated campaign for LGBTQ equality in the South's history, with a three-year budget of $8.5 million and a dedicated staff of 20.

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Rainbow's Troubles, Fondren Data and Metrocenter Revival

Fondren's Rainbow Co-op has been dealing with flooding issues ever since a pipe burst beneath the store's neighbor, Montgomery Hardware, in February.

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Lawayne Orlando Childrey

Award-winning and respected news journalist Lawayne Orlando Childrey is living a dream he's had since childhood. More admirable than his list of awards, however, is his ability to persevere during times of immense struggle and the faith that pulled him through it all.

Couples Challenging Alaska Gay-Marriage Ban

Five gay couples filed a lawsuit Monday challenging Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional.

German FM in Ukraine to Help Broker Dialogue

Germany's foreign minister on Tuesday tried to broker a quick launch of talks between Ukraine's central government in Kiev and the pro-Russia separatists who declared independence a day ago in two eastern regions.

European Court: Google Must Yield on Personal Info

People should have some say over the results that pop up when they conduct a search of their own name online, Europe's highest court said Tuesday.

Red Wolf Pups Named at Mississippi Zoo

Seven endangered red wolf pups now have Choctaw names to honor the state's only federally recognized Indian tribe.

Monday, May 12

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Precious Martin, Well-Known Attorney, Mourned

Precious Martin, a prominent Jackson-area attorney, died yesterday in an accident. His 10-year-old son remains hospitalized, according to media reports.

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Anti-Abortion Ballot Proposal Uncertain in Miss.

Organizers have little time left to push for a new Mississippi ballot initiative that would declare life begins at conception.

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Amanda Holder

When Amanda Holder speaks out to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorder, she does so from personal experience. The Brandon native's son was diagnosed in 2011, but not before Holder expended considerable effort.

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Community Meetings and Events

Made for a Runway II Fashion Weekend is Friday, May 16, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Jackson Convention Complex.

Extremist Video Shows Abducted Girls Praying

A new video from Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network purports to show dozens of abducted schoolgirls, covered in jihab and praying in Arabic.

Kremlin Seeks Talks for Ukraine, Not Annexation

The Kremlin made it clear Monday that Moscow has no intention of immediately annexing two regions in eastern Ukraine after a weekend referendum there showed most voters allegedly backing sovereignty.

High Cost, Corruption Claims Mar Brazil World Cup

The cost of building Brasilia's World Cup stadium has nearly tripled to $900 million in public funds, largely due to allegedly fraudulent billing, government auditors say.

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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.

Friday, May 9

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Ole Miss Students to Protest Gov. Phil Bryant's Signing of SB 2681 at Graduation

At a leafy college campus in north Mississippi and an upscale dinner club in New York, groups are protesting a Mississippi law that opponents say could sanction discrimination against gays and lesbians.

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Mother's Appreciation Day

Mommies and babies--they're everywhere I look these days. Magazines and the Internet track the growing baby bumps and pregnancy fashion of Mila Kunis, Scarlett Johansson, and Kerry Washington daily.

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Lumumba Ally Sweet in Ward 6 Race

In what could shape up to be a continuation of the recent Jackson mayor's race through proxies, a protege of late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba officially launched his candidacy for the open Ward 6 City Council seat this morning.

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Mother's Day: A Funny Thing Happened

I once read a quote that said, “You don’t need to take a big family outing to make a big family memory.” As a new mother again, I've been making big family memories with my husband, Daniel, and my second daughter, Skylre Peyton, who was born Jan. 10, 2013.

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Band of the Day: Lillian Axe

The 1980s were a golden time for hard-rock bands. If you turned on your radio or watched MTV, you probably saw bands such as Motley Crue, White Lion or Bon Jovi.

Miss. Legislature Approves Tornado Recovery Money

The Mississippi Legislature in a three-hour session Thursday approved $17 million to help pay for recovery from disasters, including tornadoes that recently pounded the state.

Thursday, May 8

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County Reviewing Emergency System Blackout

Officials in Hinds County are investigating the cause of a recent failure of its emergency-operations system.

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Atheist Group Renews Suit on Rankin School Prayer

A student supported by an atheist group says the Rankin County school district is still violating a ban on school prayer.

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Matt Hall

Belhaven University offensive tackle Matt Hall has all the physical skills to be drafted before Saturday, but he also has plenty of red flags against him.

Muslim World Scholars Condemn Nigeria Kidnapping

Top religious scholars working under the world's largest bloc of Islamic countries said Thursday they strongly condemn the kidnapping of more than 270 Nigerian schoolgirls, calling for their immediate release.

Pro-Russia Insurgents to Hold Vote in East Ukraine

The pro-Russia insurgency in eastern Ukraine decided Thursday to go ahead with Sunday's referendum on autonomy or even independence despite a call from Russian President Vladimir Putin to postpone it.

Obama Taps Tech World for Cash Amid Privacy Debate

They come from different worlds — the buttoned-down political culture of Washington and the entrepreneurial, socks-optional, let's-do-this-faster ethos of Silicon Valley.

Miss. Lawmakers to Consider Tornado Recovery Funds

Mississippi lawmakers are returning to Jackson on Thursday for a special session to consider up to $20 million in state funding for tornado recovery.

Wednesday, May 7

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Around the Sports World

It hasn't been a very good couple of weeks in the sports world. Donald Sterling got most of the press, but he was not the only sports figure exhibiting racist behavior.

The Slate

It feels like the Super Bowl was a year ago—that is how much I've missed football. Finally, the NFL Draft is here, and we football fanatics get a little hit of our favorite sport before the dog days of summer.

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The Music of Stray At Home

Arkansas traveler and troubadour Adam Faucett has an evocative, nearly operatic voice that is well-suited to the deep, passionate lyrics he pens.

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Straying at Home

When Mary Claire Primos, founder of Stray at Home Art and Music Festival, moved back home to Jackson after living in Nashville for seven years, she noticed that something was missing.

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This Actor’s Life

Watching Yohance Myles, 33, on stage in the recent Fish Tale Group Theatre production of "The Laramie Project," you witness a continual character transformation not typical of most plays.

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Summer Blockbuster Preview: Part One

The Hollywood cash cow known as the summer movie season is here, and the industry is preparing to unload mega-budget action adventures and gut-busting comedies.

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Fishes of Many Colors

Samuel Jalapeno-Pepperoni Finn is a fish—a beta, to be exact—and he's about to start his first day at the Crystal Coral Fins Academy. Sam is the star in Shaydrienne N. Calvin's book, "The Adventures of Samuel Finn: Fish School is Cool" (Trafford Publishing, 2013, $21.88).

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It’s Take-Mom-Out-to-Eat Day

Without mothers, where would we be? They raise us, feed us and teach us so many invaluable life lessons. This Mother's Day, let's say thanks by giving them what they deserve—a day to relax and not worry about anything.

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City Love

When she was a student at Mississippi College, Lindsey Brooks, now 30, attended a Blue and Gold social club party at Northpointe Barn and told a girlfriend, "I'm going to get married here." She forgot about that passing remark until 2014 when she wed Ryan Bell, 31—yes, at Northpointe Barn—and the friend reminded her.

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To Mommy With Love

I have always been a pretty artsy-craftsy person. It came from my mom, who created her own art in frames by using old fabric and leftover wallpaper from her DIY projects. I picked up on it at an early age.

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Proud Mama

My mom is a sigher. On any given day, she would walk in after work, sling her leather purse onto the kitchen counter and let out a heaving sigh that would shake the house.

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Meditations on Motherhood

When I try to clear my mind, an image that comes to mind is a dandelion in the middle of a rolling green meadow, downy white seeds blown hither and yon by the wind.

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My Stealthy Superhero

Plot twist: I have always been one person, slowly transforming into my mother while developing my own opinions and ideas along the way.

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An Apology from Mother to Son

Here are some tips from psychotherapist Anne Toles, who works at Watershed Counseling Associates in Jackson, about asking your child for forgiveness.

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My Persephone

As I scramble during spring to find natural remedies for my allergies, my mother, Carolyn Miller, is full of delight as her babies awaken to greet the new season.

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Dear Mom

No day goes by that I don't think of her. I sometimes wonder how she found and continues to find the willpower, and I have for many years.

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#Not1More Deported Mom

On an ordinary Monday, many mothers and fathers went to work at Howard Industries in Laurel, Miss. It was Aug. 26, 2008. The Howard Industries raid, in which a record-breaking 600 people were detained, was every undocumented immigrant's nightmare.

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What Mothers Do

At some point, parents have to recognize that they've given their children all the tools, and it's then up to the child.

Voter ID Is Here, Like It or Not

On June 4, for the first time in modern history, Mississippi voters will be required to show a government-issued photo-identification card before submitting a ballot. Registration for that election—the Republican and Democratic primaries—ended this past Saturday.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Appropriate'

As of October 2013, there were 3,088 people on death row in the United States (48 here in Mississippi, which has the second-highest incarceration rate in the nation). A significant number of them were not convicted of mass killings or of killing children.

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Talkin’ Softly to Each Other

"After hearing the news about a racist rant from Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, Jojo called for an emergency meeting with the Jojo Discount Dollar Store staff. He also addressed a recent racial conflict between two senior citizens in isle 5."

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Inside Charter School Funding

On May 8, Mississippi's Charter School Authorizer Board will play the role of a university dissertation committee as groups hoping to start the state's first charter schools "defend" their applications.

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Miss. Politics: Where the Sun Don’t Shine

Comparatively speaking, Mississippi does a poor job regulating political spending and granting access to government, national watchdog groups say.

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Who Will Take Ward 6?

Each of Jackson's seven wards is important, but there's something special about Ward 6. Located wholly on the city's gritty south side, the ward has had representation in each of the last three mayoral races.

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Parents Rally to Keep Swim Team Afloat

The story of the Briarwood Dolphins swim team is truly one of hope and diligence.

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Lumumba ‘Disappointed’ in Officials

Chokwe A. Lumumba, the son of Jackson's late mayor and the second-place finisher in the recent mayor's race, said he's disappointed the city pulled its support for the Jackson Rising conference, a key component of his father's economic agenda.

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Mia Whitehead

When, at about 3 years old, Mia Whitehead first began tagging along with her mother while she was teaching dance, she never imagined that she would one day share the same passion and fate.

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No Matter What Happens

Throughout my life, I've had my fair share of heartbreak and heartache. I've had best friends come and go over the years, some just because we got older and others because of some conflict or other.

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Silo on Reviving the Delta Spirit

What Tallulah has in abundance is history and nature, and that's the rich spring from which female folk duo Silo chose to drink with its first album, "Tall Tales."

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All Things in Moderation

"Hungry for Change" focuses on many of the things the diet, weight-loss, and food industries don't want us to know, and what keeps us from being healthy.

2 Ugandans Go on Trial Over Homosexual Offenses

A Ugandan court on Wednesday started hearing the case against two Ugandans accused of engaging in gay sex, the first trial of homosexuals here since a severe law was enacted in February.

House Democrats Protest Plan for Benghazi Panel

House Democrats insist that a special select committee on the deadly 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, be evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, raising doubts about their participation in the election-year investigation of the Obama administration.

Putin: Postpone East Ukraine Vote on Autonomy

Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged that a planned May 11 referendum on autonomy in southeast Ukraine be postponed.

2 Mississippi Students are Presidential Scholars

Two Mississippi students have been selected as 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholars.

Tuesday, May 6

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Mayor, JCVB Unveil LeFleur Museum District

Freedom 50 will celebrate the anniversary of Freedom Summer by recognizing those who combated segregation in 1964 as well as developing strategies to continually improve the lives of Mississippians and the rest of the country.

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Classic Movies and Fine Sicilian Dining

Vintage Movie and Entertainment Theater shows classic black and white, silent and other older films, featuring the likes of Bing Crosby, Mickey Rooney, Bela Lugosi and John Wayne.

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Service Dog of the Day

About 10 years ago, an assault and robbery left Mississippi Gulf Coast native Davis Hawn physically and mentally scarred.

Kemper Overruns Drag Down Southern Co. Stock

Troubles at the Kemper County power plant that Mississippi Power Co. is building are so great that they're dragging down the stock of parent Southern Co.

Monday, May 5

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SCOTUS: Prayer at Govt. Meetings OK

Outside the Bible Belt, it may seem odd for so much praying to take place at government meetings, considering the longstanding doctrine of separation of church and state. Is this even legal? According to a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court Monday, it is.

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Snapped Clamp Eyed in Circus Accident; 2 Critical

Investigators were looking at a snapped clamp on Monday as they try to figure out why eight circus acrobats plummeted to the ground during an aerial hair-hanging stunt, although the company that owns the circus cautioned it's too early in the investigation to blame the accident on the clamp.

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Excell Butler

The winds of change were blowing through most of Mississippi in 1967. At Jackson's mass-transit authority, JATRAN, things were no different. It was that year that then-30-year-old Excell Butler applied to be a JATRAN bus operator.

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Community Meetings and Events

The Canton Flea Market is Thursday, May 8 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Historic Canton Square.

At UN, Vatican Seeks Limit on Abuse Responsibility

In its second grilling at the United Nations this year, the Vatican on Monday sought to limit its responsibility for the global priest sex abuse scandal by undercutting arguments it has violated an international treaty against torture and inhuman treatment.

South Korea Changing Maritime Rules After Sinking

The South Korean government is scrambling to fix what the prime minister calls the "deep-rooted evils" that contributed to last month's ferry sinking, which left more than 300 people dead or missing.

Fighting in East Ukraine Kills 4 Troops, Wounds 30

Ukrainian troops fought pitched gunbattles Monday with a pro-Russia militia occupying an eastern city, and the government sent an elite national guard unit to re-establish control over the southern port city of Odessa.

Nigeria: Boko Haram Threatens to Sell Kidnapped Girls

Nigeria's Islamic extremist leader is threatening to sell the more than 300 teenage schoolgirls abducted from a school in the remote northeast three weeks ago, in a new videotape received Monday.

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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, May 3

Temporary Hospital Headed to Miss. After Tornado

A mobile disaster hospital is on its way from North Carolina to Louisville, Mississippi, to help fill the gap after Monday's tornado heavily damaged Winston County's only hospital, a nursing home and medical offices.

Friday, May 2

Jackson Men Rally in Response to Killings

Zachery Robinson was killed on Tuesday evening; Christopher Kyles the following morning.

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City Almost Grounds 'Jackson Rising' Conference

A keystone of late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba's economic agenda, the Jackson Rising: New Economies Conference, which starts today, was almost derailed this week when the city of Jackson pulled its support for key elements of the event, said one of the conference's organizers.

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Cities Waffle on Incinerator proposals

Short on landfill space and keen to find novel ways of generating electricity, cities nationwide have begun considering a new wave of incinerator plants designed to be cleaner and more efficient then their predecessors.

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Cheryl Pearson-McNeil

Cheryl Pearson-McNeil created Nielsen's African American consumer report, published for the first time in 2013, and served as Nielsen's senior vice president of communications prior to being vice president of public affairs and government relations.

55 Colleges Face Federal Sex Assault Investigation

Some of the 55 colleges and universities facing federal investigation for their handling of sexual abuse allegations say they're cooperating with the U.S. Education Department, though few are offering details about what information the agency is seeking.

Gunfire, Blasts in Insurgent-Held Ukraine City

Gunfire and blasts were heard early Friday around an eastern city in Ukraine that has become the focus of an armed pro-Russian insurgency, whose leaders claimed that government troops had assayed a military assault in an attempt to retake control.

Drugs in Botched Oklahoma Execution Leaked from IV

Some of the three drugs used in a botched Oklahoma execution this week didn't enter the inmate's system because the vein they were injected into collapsed, and that failure wasn't noticed for 21 minutes, the state's prison chief said, urging changes to the state's execution procedure.

Obama, Merkel to Display Unity Against Russia

President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are mounting a display of trans-Atlantic unity against an assertive Russia, even as sanctions imposed by Western allies seem to be doing little to change Vladimir Putin's reasoning on Ukraine.

Miss. Looks to Volunteers, Federal Aid to Recover

As Mississippi digs out from Monday's tornadoes, officials are trying to manage a blessing—volunteers.

Thursday, May 1

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Hendrix, Amos Among Ward 6 Possibles

With Tony Yarber becoming Jackson's fourth mayor in a year's time, a special election will be required to fill his old Ward 6 seat.

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Twister: Scores of Dead Chickens on One Miss. Farm

There's nothing left of the poultry farm owned by Charlie and Cindy Wilkes save for splintered wood, twisted metal and scores of dead chickens pungently rotting on the land.

Botched Execution Could Renew 'Cruel' Challenges

The botched execution of an Oklahoma inmate is certain to fire up the debate over what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment—the phrase written into the U.S. Constitution and defined by the courts, piece by piece, over two centuries.

North Korea: New Kind of Nuke Test Still an Option

North Korea says it may still go ahead and test a new kind of nuclear device following U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Seoul, but is keeping analysts guessing as to when that test might take place.

Israeli Leader Pushes for Jewish State Legislation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that he plans to promote legislation that will enshrine the country's status as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Miss. Leaders Seek Disaster Declaration

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and the state's congressional delegation are asking President Barack Obama for a federal disaster declaration for tornado-ravaged areas of the Magnolia State.