Stories for September 2014


Tuesday, September 30

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Bringing the Farm to Table 100

Many people don't know where their food comes from. They know how they get food—the supermarket, of course—and they know it has a source, but few people try to discover its origin.

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Shannon Lindsey

For Shannon Lindsey, bartending is about personal expression. "I love the freedom," she says.

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Trimming the Neo-South

We’re one of the unhealthiest states in the nation so something has to give.

California Becomes First State to Ban Plastic Bags

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed the nation's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at grocery and convenience stores, driven to action by pollution in streets and waterways.

Israel, Palestinians Part Ways in Dueling Speeches

In a pair of fiery speeches at the United Nations, the Israeli and Palestinian leaders appear to have abandoned any hope of reviving peace talks and instead seem intent on pressing forward with separate diplomatic initiatives that all but ignore each other.

Obama Goal of Gitmo Closure Stalled at Pentagon

The transfer of prisoners out of Guantanamo Bay has ground to a halt amid a slow Pentagon approval process, causing deep frustration within the administration and raising doubts that President Barack Obama will be able to fulfill his campaign promise to close the offshore prison for terrorism suspects.

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Jackson Crime Tip System to Roll Out Soon

The Jackson Police Department announced today that it will launch a new anonymous crime-tip system on Oct. 15.

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Curtis Wilkie

"Assassins, Eccentrics, Politicians and Other Persons of Interest" is a categorized anthology of sorts, collecting 50 articles from author Curtis Wilkie's younger self.

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Thimblepress, Community Playground and Mississippi Physicians

Local design and letterpress company Thimblepress is a finalist in the 2014 Martha Stewart Living American Made Awards.

EBay to Split Off Lucrative PayPal Business

EBay is splitting off its fastest growing segment, payment service PayPal, the e-commerce company said Tuesday.

Luck, Instinct Determined Fates of Volcano Hikers

Some survivors of the eruption of Mount Ontake made a split-second decision to hide behind big rocks or escaped into lodges that dot the mountain's slopes. Outdoors, other hikers fell, hit by rocks or possibly suffocated by gases, and quickly buried in ash. At least 36 people were killed in Saturday's surprise eruption.

Obama, Modi Say They Will Set New US-India Agenda

President Barack Obama and India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday that "it is time to set a new agenda" between their countries, addressing concerns that the world's two largest democracies have grown apart.

HK Leader Says China Adamant; Students Seek Talks

Pro-democracy protesters demanded that Hong Kong's top leader meet with them, threatening wider actions if he did not, after he said Tuesday that China would not budge in its decision to limit voting reforms in the Asian financial hub.

Afghanistan, US Sign Long-Awaited Security Pact

Afghanistan and the United States signed a security pact on Tuesday to allow U.S. forces to remain in the country past the end of year, ending a year of uncertainty over the fate of foreign troops supporting Afghans as they take over responsibility for the country's security.

Secret Service Head Takes Onus for White House Breach

Facing blistering criticism from Congress, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson said Tuesday she takes full responsibility for the breach of White House security in which a man with a knife entered the mansion and ran through half the ground floor before being subdued.

Monday, September 29

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Water Rates Likely to Rise Again

After shelving discussion last week to get more details, the Jackson City Council is scheduled to vote on a consulting contract today that is likely to result in higher water bills for ratepayers.

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Helena Brown

On Tuesday, Sept. 23, Helena Brown, a dear friend to many at the Jackson Free Press and elsewhere, passed away at age 33 due to kidney failure following years of heart complications.

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Defense Department Proposes Broad Ban on High-Cost Loans to Service Members

The Department of Defense released proposed rules today targeting the practices of a broad range of high-cost lenders and prohibiting them from charging service members interest rates over 36 percent.

Death Toll from GM Ignition Switches Now at 23

At least 23 people have died and 16 people have been seriously injured in crashes involving General Motors cars with defective ignition switches.

Marijuana Industry Makes Political Donations

The entrepreneurs of the young U.S. marijuana industry are taking another step into the mainstream, becoming political donors who use some of their profits to support cannabis-friendly candidates and ballot questions that could bring legal pot to more states.

Police Defend Handling of Protests in Hong Kong

Police defended their use of tear gas and other methods to control the pro-democracy protests that have paralyzed Hong Kong's financial district, and appealed Monday for an end to the unprecedented acts of civil disobedience.

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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, September 27

Lawyers Seek Class Status for Miss. Prison Lawsuit

Lawyers suing the state over conditions at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility near Meridian have asked a federal judge to certify them to represent all inmates there.

Friday, September 26

Palestinian Leader in New UN Bid to End Occupation

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel on Friday of conducting a "war of genocide" and a "series of absolute war crimes" during the 50-day summer conflict in Gaza, but stopped short of saying he will pursue war crime charges against the Jewish state at the International Criminal Court.

Syrian Refugees See Future in Continental Europe

Surrounded by compatriots among a row of white canvas tents and prefabricated homes, Bahjat Molla sings mournfully of missing his Latakia home, of the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, of sitting with his mother.

US-Led Strikes Hit IS Group as Coalition Grows

American warplanes and drones hit Islamic State group tanks, Humvees, checkpoints and bunkers in airstrikes Friday targeting the extremists in Syria and Iraq, as the U.S.-led coalition expanded to include Britain, Denmark and Belgium.

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Stewpot to Close Two Shelters

Stewpot Community Services may have to close two of its emergency shelters at the beginning of next year due to a decrease in funding in 2014.

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Rewind: T.I. Gets Key to Jackson, AG Holder Steps Aside and Life After Lumumba

T.I. could have had whatever he liked in Jackson this week. After traveling to several Jackson schools to talk to local students, the rapper was given the key to the city on Wednesday.

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Zero the Blue Heeler

Zero, Swell-O-Phonic owner Ron Chane's blue heeler best bud, has been a Jackson icon practically since birth.

Police, Protesters Scuffle After Ferguson Apology

Police and protesters clashed briefly in Ferguson just hours after the St. Louis suburb's police chief issued an apology to the family of Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a white police officer last month.

Rain Helps Reduce Threat from California Wildfire

Helpful rains and more than 8,000 firefighters brought solid advances against a huge wildfire in Northern California, leading evacuations to dwindle and the number of threatened homes to fall from thousands to just a few hundred.

European Flight Safety Regs: Electronics Allowed

Passengers on European airlines may soon be able to use portable electronics including cell phones and tablet computers any time during flights, under new safety guidelines issued Friday.

6 Charter School Applications to be Considered

Mississippi's Charter School Authorizer Board says groups have submitted six eligible applications to open schools in the current cycle.

Thursday, September 25

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Better Options for JPS’ Boys of Color?

Dr. Cedrick Gray, the eternally upbeat bowtie-wearing superintendent of the Jackson Public Schools, says there was a time when he was a hardheaded little boy coming up in Memphis.

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Resigning AG Eric Holder Was Key in Mississippi Cases

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation's first African American AG and one of the longest-tenured members of first-black-President Barack Obama's cabinet, is stepping down.

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Administration Says Hospitals Will Save $5.7B from Unpaid Bills Due to Health Law

Hospitals are projected to save $5.7 billion this year as previously uninsured patients gain coverage through the 2010 health care law, the Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday.

Sierra Leone Cordons Off 3 Areas to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone restricted travel Thursday in three more "hotspots" of Ebola where more than 1 million people live, meaning about a third of the country's population is now under quarantine.

Ukraine's Poroshenko Sure that Peace is on the Way

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he believes the conflict with Russia-backed separatists in the east is on the wane and that peace efforts will work.

US-Led Strikes Hit IS-Held Oil Sites in Syria

U.S.-led airstrikes targeted Syrian oil installations held by the extremist Islamic State group overnight and early Thursday, killing at least 19 people as the militants released dozens of detainees in one of their strongholds, fearing further raids, activists said.

Navajo to Get $554 Million in Settlement with U.S.

The Navajo Nation will receive more than $550 million as part of a settlement with the federal government that officials say is the largest of its kind.

Wednesday, September 24

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Tip in the Sip

T.I. could have whatever he liked in Jackson today.

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Westward Expansion

West Jackson is full of the kinds of challenges that social-science careers are built on, and the master plan takes all of it into account.

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Planting the Seeds of Big Ideas

TEDx Jackson's theme is "Fertile Ground," and includes a wide range of speakers including Joel Bomgar, the founder and CEO of Bomgar, one of the fastest-growing businesses in North America and headquartered in Ridgeland.

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#BTCJXN: Be the Change Grab Bag

We asked staffers, readers and known change agents in the community for their ideas on being the change we want to see in Jackson (a phrase we've borrowed from Gandhi).

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Learning Academies: Vital for Work Readiness

The Jackson Public Schools district is embracing a strategy that promises to make a huge difference in young people's lives, as well as improve their future success and earning potential with its new focus on freshman learning academies.

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Building Purpose in Jackson

Jackson has made positive strides over the last few years, and I believe our best years to be in front of it—but there is still a lot of work for all of us to do.

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The Curious Case of Costco, Stadium, Museum, Baseball and Parks

The Jackson Planning Board meeting on Aug. 27 was anything but drab. The widely reported issue of rezoning 50 acres of land that included Smith-Wills Stadium, Jamie Fowler Boyll Park and portions of ballparks south of Lakeland Drive brought out a large crowd of very interested parties.

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Needed: A Workforce Ready to Succeed

Jackson businessman and jazz patron Charles Hooker posted the following under Donna Ladd's editor's note last issue, "About Those Pesky Soft Skills," in which she discussed how too many Mississippians are not taught "soft skills" such as planning, time management, teamwork, positive attitudes, communication and work ethic before entering the workplace.

The Public Must Have Access to Public Info

Every citizen of Jackson contributes to the funding of city government. Each of us pays for some fractional part of employee and elected official salaries, for their cell phones, iPads and laptops, their Internet access, copy machines and their disk storage.

Jackson: At a Crossroads

The city of Jackson has an opportunity, but it lacks resources due to a lowered tax base. Even with revenue, you cannot spend your way to prosperity.

It’s Time to Truly Invest in Transparency

The City of Jackson recently completed a pretty grueling budget planning process, while the state will soon start a round of budget hearings in anticipation of the upcoming legislative session, which coincides with a statewide election cycle.

The Slate

If I was a college football coach, I would rather have 100 Dak Prescotts than one Jameis Winston. Prescott is everything you want in a college athlete.

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Childhood Obesity: Defying Easy Answers

Dr. Whitney Herring has been a pediatrician at the University of Mississippi Medical Center for about a year. With a master's degree in public health, in addition to being a doctor and an assistant professor, she sees many obese children in her practice.

Present Leaves

As we celebrate the paper's 12th birthday this week, we offer this as our gift to Jackson. Thank you for inspiring us all these years. And cheers to Trip and Anna for this amazing poem that reflects your talents and the staff's shared passion for our community.

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Winning the Wrong Way

Times are changing, and the NFL is learning that the hard way with public backlash to the recent family-violence cases.

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Carbon Leaf Revisits a Classic

Alternative-country-rock band Carbon Leaf has been pleasing crowds with its energetic and eclectic sound for 22 years, blowing the minds of audiences and critics alike.

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JRA Power Shift Could Affect Farish

The Farish Street project failed to hit its expected stride, and developer David Watkins eventually fell out of favor with JRA, which yanked the master lease from Watkins' control in fall 2013, touching off a chain reaction of lawsuits, countersuits and finger-pointing.

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Calling All Men of Character

To reverse the abuse cycle, it takes all of us, especially men.

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Public Education Lawsuit, Explained

While Attorney General Jim Hood prepares his defense against former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove's lawsuit against the state for failing to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, advocates and politicians on both sides of the adequate-funding debate are criticizing the lawsuit.

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The People Take on the Sales Tax

Six months after former Mayor Chokwe Lumumba's death and the unsuccessful campaign of his son, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, to succeed him as mayor, the organizers of the citywide People's Assembly say it's time to get down to business.

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Cedrick Gray

Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Cedrick Gray wants to create a better Jackson by creating better citizens. His plans to build a strong community and education system that thrive on one another.

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Dorsey Carson: Reconstructing Jackson

Dorsey Carson didn't think he'd ever run for Jackson City Council, but the resignation of Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell in August opened a door for the attorney and Jackson native who will be on the special-election ballot.

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Robert Henri: Journey into Spain

The American painter and teacher Robert Henri, who taught at New York School of Art, made frequent trips to Spain that resulted in his appropriately titled "Spanish Sojourns" collection of paintings that feature landscapes and numerous portraits.

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Made to Order at 2 for 7 Kitchen

Deandrea Moore and her husband, Omario, opened a food truck as a way to spend more time with their children. Currently, they serve breakfast at 4106 Medgar Evers Blvd. weekdays.

JRA Could Bail Out City on Farish Problems

City of Jackson and the Jackson Redevelopment Authority officials say the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development seems open to granting those bodies an extension to come up with a plan of action in response to a recent federal probe.

Obama Calls for Dismantling IS 'Network of Death' in U.N. Address

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Declaring the world at a crossroads between war and peace, President Barack Obama vowed at the U.N. on Wednesday to lead a coalition to dismantle an Islamic State "network of death" that has wreaked havoc in the Middle East and drawn the U.S. back into military action in the region.

Tuesday, September 23

Local Restaurant Offends Rabbi

Supporters and friends of Ted Riter, the interim rabbi at Beth Israel in Jackson, are spreading the word about an incident this afternoon at a local eatery

JFP College Football Top 25 Poll: Week Four

This is the first week of the season that a team has dropped out of the top 25 poll. It wasn't just one team falling out of the poll, though; it was three—Missouri, Clemson and Florida.

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Needed: The ‘Why’ Doctrine

Implementing the "Why" doctrine on simple and complex issues alike would conform our society to a more cynical and more-aware nation with a thirst for answers and knowledge that can't be quenched by "well, that's just the way it is."

3 Dead: Fired UPS Worker Kills Colleagues and Self at Alabama Facility

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A man wearing his work uniform started shooting at his former colleagues inside a UPS sorting facility in Alabama a day after he was fired from the company, killing a supervisor and another employee before committing suicide, police said Tuesday.

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Lucky Town, USM College of Nursing and Nissan/Habitat Collaboration

On Friday, Nov. 7, locally owned and operated craft microbrewery Lucky Town Brewing will open the doors to their new brewing facility in Jackson for a weekend-long grand-opening celebration.

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Lori Newcomb

In late 2012, Lori Newcomb, a mother of three, began showing symptoms common in many female reproductive issues, such as bloating, abdominal pain and difficulty urinating. In early 2013, her gynecologist diagnosed her with ovarian cancer.

Assad Backs Efforts to Fight Terrorism

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Tuesday he supports any international effort against terrorism, apparently trying to position his government on the side of the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State group. Damascus said the U.S. informed it beforehand that the strikes were coming.

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Challenge to Mississippi Tort Laws Settled

The parties in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a legislatively imposed cap on how much juries can award in non-economic damages say they have settled the case.

Government Hackers Try to Crack

The government's own watchdogs tried to hack into earlier this year and found what they termed a critical vulnerability—but also came away with respect for some of the health insurance site's security features.

UN to Leaders: Set 'New Course' on Climate Change

Challenged by the United Nations chief to set a new course for a warming globe and reverse the rise of heat-trapping gases, world leader after world leader Tuesday made promises of billions of dollars and better care of planet Earth.

Obama Admin Creates Korean Land Mine Exception

Three months after announcing its intention to ban land mines, the Obama administration is carving out an exception for its stockpile on the Korean Peninsula.

Legislative Group: Parole Board Faces Backlog

Mississippi prison officials say they're working to erase a backlog of parole cases that are up for consideration, as recommended by a legislative watchdog group.

Monday, September 22

Poll: Support for Gay Marriage May be Leveling Off

A survey released Monday from the Pew Research Center indicates American support for same-sex marriage could be leveling off after several years of dramatic growth in acceptance of equal rights for gays and lesbians.

Sierra Leone, Liberia Brace for New Ebola Cases

Two of the West African nations hardest hit by Ebola were bracing for new caseloads on Monday after trying to outflank the outbreak with a nationwide checkup and a large new clinic.

Syrian Opposition Chief Urges Airstrikes in Syria

The head of Syria's Western-backed opposition group is calling for immediate U.S. airstrikes targeting the Islamic State group in Syria.

Week of Diplomacy: Israel-Hamas Talks, Abbas at UN

It's a busy week in Mideast diplomacy, book-ended by the launch of Israel-Hamas talks about a border deal for blockaded Gaza and the Palestinian president's U.N. speech about a new strategy for dealing with Israel.

California Wildfire Crews Brace for Weather Shift

Officials say crews battling a massive wildfire in Northern California are facing the potential of strong, erratic winds similar to when the blaze doubled in size a week ago.

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David Watkins: HUD Sanctions 'Puzzling'

David Watkins, the developer of several high-profile projects in the capital city, says he is baffled about why he's being sanctioned as part of a probe into the use of federal funds on the Farish Street revitalization project.

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Backers Seek Expansion of Civil Rights Death Law

Civil rights proponents are laying the groundwork to extend and expand the Emmett Till Act, a law passed with the promise of $135 million for police work and an army of federal agents to investigate unsolved killings from the civil rights era.

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Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott's dynamism put a dent in the Death Valley mystique and helped Mississippi State end some long, frustrating streaks.

NASA's Maven Explorer Arrives at Mars After a Year

NASA's Maven spacecraft arrived at Mars late Sunday after a 442 million-mile journey that began nearly a year ago.

Accused White House Intruder to Appear in Court

Following an embarrassing security breach at the White House, one of the most closely protected buildings in the world, the Secret Service is said to be considering establishing new checkpoints to screen tourists in public areas near the presidential mansion.

Islamic State Group Calls for Attacking Civilians

Fighters of the Islamic State militant group are ready to battle a U.S.-led military coalition seeking to destroy it, the group's spokesman said in a new audio recording in which he called on Muslims worldwide to kill civilians of nations that join the fight.

Some 130,000 Syrians Reach Turkey, Fleeing IS

Some 130,000 Syrian refugees fleeing the advance of Islamic State militants have crossed the border into Turkey in the past four days, Turkey's deputy prime minister said Monday, warning that the number could rise further as the militants continue their onslaught.

Governor to Speak About Hunt for Ambush Suspect

Authorities have had no confirmed sightings of the survivalist charged in a deadly ambush at a police barracks 10 days ago, but they said they found an assault rifle he was carrying and believe they are hot on his trail in the dense northeastern Pennsylvania woods.

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10 Local Stories of the Week

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

Sunday, September 21

Grambling Holds Off Jackson State

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Arkez Cooper recovered a key fumble in the final seconds to cement Grambling State's first win of the season, 40-35, over Jackson State on Saturday night.

Space X Succeeds In Fifth Private Launch to International Space Station

The company launched its unmanned Dragon capsule from Cape Canaveral, Florida, early Sunday aboard a Falcon rocket. It's carrying more than 5,000 pounds of station supplies for NASA, including a 3-D printer, the first one bound for orbit.

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Prescott Leads State to Stunner Over LSU

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Dak Prescott's dynamism put a dent in the Death Valley mystique and helped Mississippi State end some long, frustrating streaks.

Saturday, September 20

Head of Miss. Community College Board to Retire

Mississippi Community College Board Executive Director Eric Clark announced Friday that he will retire at the end of June 2015.

Friday, September 19

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JoJo the Chimp

He's hairy, over the hill and still a hit with the ladies. No, I don't mean George Clooney. JoJo the chimpanzee, the Jackson Zoo's oldest primate resident, is turning 50 years old this Saturday, Sept. 20.

Experts: Science Class Can Dazzle with Less Danger

A dazzling show of fire and color can make science come alive for young students, but it can also inflict serious and painful injuries, as flash fires in Nevada and Colorado showed this month.

Search for Ambush Suspect Centers on Dense Woods

On the seventh day of a manhunt for a survivalist suspected of killing a state police trooper, scores of police were trying to flush him out of the dense, swampy northeastern Pennsylvania woodland.

NFL to Partner with Domestic Violence Hotline

Responding to increasing criticism that the league has not acted quickly or emphatically enough concerning domestic abuse cases involving players, the NFL is partnering with a domestic violence hotline and a sexual violence resource center.

UK Remains United After Scotland Referendum

The United Kingdom will stay united. Voters in Scotland resoundingly rejected independence in a historic referendum that shook the country to its core.

France Strikes Islamic State Group's Depot in Iraq

Joining U.S. forces acting in Iraqi skies, French fighter jets struck Friday against the militant Islamic State group, destroying a logistics depot, Iraqi and French officials said.

Man Faces Arson Charge in Huge California Wildfire

Thousands of firefighters kept a huge and still-growing wildfire from burning homes in Northern California while a man with a long criminal history faced charges of deliberately starting the blaze that drove some 2,800 people from their homes, authorities said.

Thursday, September 18

McDaniel Attorneys Prep to File Appeal Arguments

Attorneys for tea party-backed Chris McDaniel were facing a midnight Thursday deadline to file legal arguments with the Mississippi Supreme Court. They're trying to persuade justices to revive a lawsuit that seeks to overturn McDaniel's Republican primary loss to six-term U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran.

Sierra Leone to Shut Down for 3 Days to Slow Ebola

Shoppers in Sierra Leone rushed to stock up on food Thursday ahead of a three-day nationwide shutdown, during which the country's 6 million people will be confined to their homes while volunteers search house-to-house for Ebola victims in hiding and hand out soap in a desperate bid to slow the accelerating outbreak.

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Report: JRA, Goree and Watkins Suspended from HUD Programs; City Must Repay $1.5 Million for Farish

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has lost faith that any progress will be made with the Farish Street revitalization project that it wants the city of Jackson to repay $1.5 million used on the project.

Trooper Ambush Suspect Added to Most Wanted List

Cpl. Bryon Dickson was an impeccable officer who put his family first, friends and colleagues said Thursday at the slain state police trooper's funeral, just hours before his suspected killer was added to the FBI's most wanted list.

Final Tally: 143 Homes Burned in California Fire

The final count is in on homes and other buildings destroyed by a wildfire that tore through a small Northern California timber town.

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'Driving While Black'

Brandon resident Pam Johnson's historical nonfiction novel, "Justice for Ella" (iUniverse, 2014, $19.95), reveals Mississippi on a collision course with the Civil Rights Movement.

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Mark Ingram

The New Orleans Saints' task against the Minnesota Vikings this season got much harder with running back Mark Ingram suffering a fractured thumb that required surgery. Ingram had two screws placed in his left hand.

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Keep on Pushing: Fifty Years After Freedom Summer, Two Mississippi Sisters Press the Fight for Voting Rights

Dorie Ladner helped coordinate a great number of the civil rights sit-ins leading up to Freedom Summer, and she participated in every major civil rights march from 1963 to 1968.

IS Group Seizes 16 Villages in Northern Syria

Islamic State fighters backed by tanks have captured 16 Kurdish villages over the past 24 hours in northern Syria near the Turkish border, prompting civilians to flee their homes amid fears of retribution by the extremists sweeping through the area, activists said.

California Wildfire Shows Explosive Growth

An out-of-control wildfire that was threatening more than 2,000 homes in Northern California showed explosive growth, consuming tens of thousands of additional acres, fire officials said Thursday.

Scots Decide Whether to Declare Independence

Scots held the fate of the United Kingdom in their hands Thursday as they voted in a referendum on becoming an independent state, deciding whether to unravel a marriage with England that built an empire but has increasingly been felt by many Scots as stifling and one-sided.

Senate Next After House Backs Obama on Rebel Aid

President Barack Obama's request for congressional backing to train and arm Syrian rebels battling Islamic State group militants is halfway home, after approval by the GOP-controlled House sent the issue to the Senate, where leaders in both parties say it's expected to pass handily.

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Gov. Bryant Jumps in Same-Sex Divorce Case

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is intervening in a case involving a woman who wants the state to recognize her same-sex marriage in order to grant a divorce.

Wednesday, September 17

2014 JFP College Football Top 25 Poll: Week Three

The top five of the poll keeps on rolling, but the rest is in flux, since South Carolina upset Georgia. Boston College pulled the upset of the week after defeating USC at home.

The Slate

One of the biggest surprises of the early NFL season is the start of the New Orleans Saints. It is never a good way to begin the season to be in a must-win game in week three.

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Getting Tougher

By now everyone who has wanted to see it has seen the video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee in a casino elevator. The video, released by TMZ, brought major heat down on the NFL for the two-game ban Rice got to start this season.

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Furthering the Athens Four-Piece

Athens, Ga., has incubated plenty of important musical acts in the last 40 years. With Pylon and REM as vanguards, the city proved to be especially fertile ground for stripped-down four-piece bands.

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Wild and Original

New Orleans flavor is on its way to Jackson in more ways than one, as Bo Dollis Jr. and the Wild Magnolias bring Mardi Gras to the BankPlus International Gumbo Festival.

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Autumnal Ventures

While exploring another city is always a good time, this fall brought a number of new places to try in Jackson, and I was feeling the need to play catch-up and try out the ones that had opened while I was away.

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‘Laugh So You Don’t Cry’

Lewis, who lives in Jackson with his wife, Kimberly, has struggled with sickle cell disease his whole life. He works in artists and repertoire for NOW Entertainment, where he is also a producer and writer.

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Two Times the Honky-Tonk

Fondren's Duling Hall transforms into a honky-tonk club when country purists Dale Watson and Marty Stuart bring their authentic southern style to its stage.

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Backyard Bartender

In the fifth installment of his Bar Series classes, titled Home Bar 101, seasoned bartender Chris Robertson hopes to eliminate some of the guesswork—and all of the fear—from drink mixing.

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The Friendly, Film-School Slasher

"Director's Cut" (Dogwood Press, 2014; $22.95) is the fifth novel in the Oakdale series, suspense stories that share the same backdrop—a rural town in northeast Mississippi.

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Historical Oracles

If you want something that's both educational and entertaining this fall, the Old Capitol Museum's Mississippi Archaeology Expo offers edifying fun while celebrating our state's history.

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Photamerica Blowout

After 80 weeks of traveling, and a year compiling hundreds of thousands of photos and miles of (virtual) film, Josh Hailey's Photamerica is culminating with a seven-hour, family-friendly blowout Oct. 3.

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Films, Flying Cars and John Krasinski

Though he is best known for his role as Jim Halpert on the hit NBC television series "The Office," John Krasinski has been in films such as "Away We Go," "Leatherheads" and "Promised Land."

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Mississippi: The Next Stage for Progressivism?

A lot is changing in my home state, and the change here says much about the South today.

Yarber Needs New Attitude with Council

In the last two mayoral administrations, Jackson City Council members have griped about not receiving adequate or timely information from the administration. We have found merit in those complaints.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Skin'

Corporal punishment in parenting has entered into mainstream conversation among political pundits after the Minnesota Vikings deactivated and then reinstated running back Adrian Peterson amid child-abuse charges.

10 Years Ago: Debating the Convention Center

Convention business in the U.S. is indeed tough, most convention centers lose money, and the economic benefit of a convention center can vary dramatically.

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(Some) Drug Testing Kinks Fixed

On Sept. 10, Mississippi Department of Human Services started randomly administering Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory, or SASSI, assessment to first-time applicants to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a federal program administered by states that provides monthly assistance for low-income families.

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Faulty Senate Race Calls for Election Change

The 2014 U.S. Senate race pinned two sides of the Republican Party against each other in a heated primary that presented more possible problems with Mississippi's election law than it did focus on issues facing the state and solutions in either the Mississippi Legislature or the U.S. Congress.

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Domestic Violence: From #WhyIStayed to #HowILeft

After the video surfaced of Ray Rice's assault of his now-wife, Janay, and people on the Internet started asking questions that sounded an awful lot like victim-blaming, an author named Beverly Gooden took to Twitter to explain why she stayed with her abusive husband for more than a year.

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Historic County Records Damaged

After a visit to the file-storage area in the Hinds County Courthouse, it is clear that files housed there are not treated with care or as if they are important to the city.

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David Skato

By now, David Skato has completed two feature films and two short-subject films, in addition to varied commercial work that, for now, pays the bills.

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Inside the Lens

If you see something cool, take a photo. A friend once told me that she doesn't understand photographers who never seem to have their camera with them; who never see the perfect shots in front of them.

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Love and Equality in the 'South Pacific'

The Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musical "South Pacific" will take on new life this September, thanks to the music department at Mississippi College in Clinton.

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Don’t Give Up the Grill

When the air gets cooler, don't hang up your tongs and grill spatula. While it's not going to be exactly the same, you can still get that smoky flavor with a few indoor-grilling tricks.

Tuesday, September 16

Al-Qaida's Heirs Thrive in Mideast, Africa Chaos

The Islamic State group's rampage through Iraq and Syria has shocked the United States into launching expanded air strikes at a time when Americans were expecting to pull back from the Middle East after more than a decade of war.

Minneapolis-St. Paul 1 Site of Anti-Terror Program

The cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul will participate in a Department of Justice pilot program designed to detect American extremists who are looking to join terror organizations overseas.

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Costco Detractors Want Restraining Order on City

At the Jackson City Council zoning meeting Monday, the council tabled discussion of the rezoning of parcels on Lakeland Drive where the city wants to put Costco.

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Council Gives Yarber Salary Ultimatum

The Jackson City Council held its nose and passed Mayor Tony Yarber's $390 million budget proposal Monday night. But the vote comes with strings attached, council members warned and could be revised.

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The Feathered Cow, Ro'Chez and Fiber to the Home

Nathan Glenn, owner of Jackson restaurants Rooster's and Basil's, will bring a new establishment to the city in early October.

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Dale Watson

Dale Watson has always stayed true to his sound and promises to bring a good time to Jackson audiences on Sept. 17.

US to Assign 3,000 from US Military to Fight Ebola

The Obama administration is ramping up its response to West Africa's Ebola crisis, preparing to assign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the afflicted region to supply medical and logistical support to overwhelmed local health care systems and to boost the number of beds needed to isolate and treat victims of the epidemic.

House Panel: Safety Agency Mishandled GM Recall

The government's auto safety agency should have discovered General Motors' faulty ignition switches seven years before the company recalled 2.6 million cars to fix the deadly problem, a House committee majority charged Tuesday in a new report.

Hagel, Dempsey Defend US Plan to Target Extremists

The nation's top military leader told Congress on Tuesday that if President Barack Obama's expanded military campaign to destroy Islamic extremists fails, he would recommend that the United States consider deploying American ground forces to Iraq.

Ukraine Parliament Ratifies EU Pact

Ukraine's parliament ratified an agreement to deepen economic and political ties with the European Union on Tuesday, and passed legislation to grant autonomy to the rebellious east as part of a peace deal.

Scotland Took Long Road to Independence Vote

For many people south of the Scottish-English border, the idea that Scotland might leave the United Kingdom has come as a recent shock. But it has been decades, even centuries, in the making.

Nov. 4 Election Set to Fill Brown's Senate Seat

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has set a Nov. 4 special election to fill a legislative vacancy caused by the death of longtime state Sen. Terry Brown.

Monday, September 15

5 More Districts Join Miss. School Funding Lawsuit

Five more Mississippi school districts are joining a lawsuit against the state over shortfalls in education funding.

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Council Ponders Pay Raises, Budget Cuts

After several weeks of poorly attended budget hearings, the city will approve a budget for the coming fiscal year later today.

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Testy City Council OKs Budget with Caveats

The Jackson City Council had to pass a budget today. It met that legal requirement, but it wasn't pretty.

House GOP Moves Ahead on Syrian Rebel Training

Lawmakers raced Monday to authorize an expanded mission to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels before heading back to the campaign trail, with House Republicans preparing legislation backing a central plank of President Barack Obama's strategy against the Islamic State group.

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Wage Gap Dragging Down State Revenues

Mississippi is one of 10 states most reliant on sales taxes as a share of revenue, according to a new Standard & Poor's report that says that such states may be particularly susceptible to an ever-widening income gap dragging down state tax revenues.

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Bridgforth Rutledge

Bridgforth Rutledge, owner of seven Back Yard Burgers locations in the Jackson metro area, Meridian and Oxford, is one of thousands of restaurant owners taking part in the Share Our Strength organization's No Kid Hungry campaign throughout September.

Mideast Complexities Confound US Coalition Effort

The Middle East has confounded outsiders for years, so it is no surprise that another U.S.-led project with a straightforward goal—destroying a marauding organization of extremists—is bumping up against age-old rivalries and a nod-and-a-wink-style political culture.

Iran Rejects Global Strategy Against Extremists

Diplomats from around the world sought a global strategy to fight Islamic State extremists Monday, while Iran ruled out working with any international coalition and rejected American requests for cooperation against the militants.

Vietnam Soldiers to Receive Medal of Honor

President Barack Obama on Monday will bestow the Medal of Honor on a pair of soldiers for their acts of bravery in the Vietnam War.

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10 Local Stories of the Week

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

Friday, September 12

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Yarber Addresses Sales-Tax Strategy

In the long-running soap opera known as Jackson's 1-percent sales tax option, the wards are about to turn. That is, dirt could be moving in all seven of Jackson's wards on various infrastructure-improvement projects as soon as the first quarter of 2015, according to Mayor Tony Yarber.

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Kermit the Frog

Kermit the Frog is puppeteer and native Mississippian Jim Henson's most famous creation. Henson made the original Kermit out of one of his mother's old coats and gave him two ping-pong balls for eyes.

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Poll: Southerners Think Differently About Energy Impact

A University of Michigan survey released Tuesday found that Southerners are less likely than Americans elsewhere to believe that energy affects the environment.

Ukraine, Rebels Exchange Prisoners in Peace Deal

Government and rebel forces have exchanged dozens of prisoners captured during fighting in Ukraine as part of a cease-fire agreement sealed earlier this month.

Pistorius Could Get 15 Years for Culpable Homicide

A South African judge on Friday found Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp but declared him not guilty of murder. Prosecutors said they were disappointed by the ruling but would decide on whether to appeal only after sentencing.

Can Obama Wage War Without Consent of Congress?

As a U.S. senator from Illinois running for the White House in 2007, Barack Obama sponsored a resolution to prohibit President George W. Bush's administration from taking military action against Iran unless it was explicitly authorized by Congress. His idea died in committee.

Sponsors Keep Close Watch on NFL Investigation

Major brand sponsors are watching closely to make sure the National Football League doesn't fumble the investigation into how its executives handled evidence in the Ray Rice domestic violence case.

Miss. Governor Going to Japan for Trade Meeting

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is preparing to go overseas for a trade conference between officials from Japan and the southeastern United States.

Thursday, September 11

South Carolina Man Killed Children By 'Violent Means,' Police Say

Authorities say a South Carolina man killed his five children at home, "by violent means," about a week before his ex-wife reported them missing.

House, Senate Weigh Bills that are Going Nowhere

House and Senate leaders, usually proud sorts, staged showdown votes in their chambers Thursday on measures that are going nowhere. And in the logic that prevails during the weeks before crucial congressional elections, they want everyone to know about that futility.

Rights Group Accuses Israel of War Crimes in Gaza

A leading international rights group on Thursday alleged that Israel committed war crimes during this summer's Gaza war, saying it reached that conclusion after investigating three attacks on or near United Nations-run schools housing displaced Palestinians.

APNewsBreak: US Sharply Cutting Deportations

President Barack Obama is on pace this year to deport the fewest number of immigrants since at least 2007, even as he has postponed until after Election Day his promised unilateral action that could shield millions more from deportation.

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Hosemann Group Studies Election Fixes

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said he plans to push in the 2015 Legislature to remove voters' birth dates from poll books, saying they are sensitive information that's no longer needed now that Mississippi voters must show photo identification before voting.

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Devon Still

Devon Still wasn’t just focused on making a football team this preseason. He was focused on the health of his 4-year-old daughter Leah, who is battling cancer with a 50-percent chance of survival.

UN: Syrian Rebels Free 45 Fijian Peacekeepers

Al-Qaida-linked Syrian rebels on Thursday released all 45 Fijian peacekeepers they had held captive for two weeks, the United Nations said, bringing an end to a crisis that had pulled the U.N. monitoring force into the chaos of Syria's civil war.

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9/11 Commemoration Begins with Bell Toll

With the toll of a bell and a solemn moment of silence, the nation paused Thursday to mark the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack.

Hamas Says Ready to Talk to Israel Directly

A senior Hamas leader says the group is willing to talk directly to Israel, reversing a previous ban.

Judge: Pistorius Can't be Found Guilty of Murder

In a lengthy verdict phase climaxing Oscar Pistorius' trial, the judge said Thursday he can't be found guilty of murder but that he was negligent in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, raising the possibility he'll be convicted of culpable homicide.

Syria, Iran Slam US Strategy in Fighting Militants

Syrian and Iranian officials criticized the Obama administration on Thursday for excluding them from an international coalition coming together in the battle against the Islamic State group, while a state-run Syrian daily warned that unauthorized U.S. airstrikes on Syria may trigger the "first sparks of fire" in the region.

Miss. Universities Grow, Community Colleges Shrink

Enrollment rose slightly for the fall semester at Mississippi's eight public universities, but fell for the fourth straight year at the state's 15 community colleges.

Wednesday, September 10

Police: Father Confessed to Killing His 5 Children

The five children of Timothy Ray Jones Jr. had been dead for days by the time he led investigators to the spot where they had been dumped among dead trees and scrub brush.

2014 JFP College Football Poll: Week Two

Unless you've been under a rock, you know that the Big Ten stumbled this past weekend as Michigan State and Ohio State bombed on the big stage.

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Playoff Probs

Two weeks into the college football season, the Big Ten faces an uphill climb. This past Saturday was a disaster for the conference.

The Slate

By the end of this weekend, nearly every college football team in the country will have played at least two games, except for the University of Cincinnati who will play its first game of the season this week.

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Voyage into the Mind of Jenny Lewis

If you've ever heard Jenny Lewis sing, you may be surprised that her interest in music came after hearing The Beastie Boys.

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Lit Highlights September 2014

Fall might mean football season to a lot of people, but the conscientious bookworm knows changing leaves mean that your favorite bookstores are changing their shelves.

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The Fontourage

Susan Fontenot is half creative genius and half psychic, as all great interior designers are. She isn't loyal to a specific style, nor does she create carbon copies of her own eclectic home.

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Then and Now: Brent’s Renovation

After a few weeks of renovations, Brent’s Drugs reopened July 12.

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Bride On A Budget

The adage proved true for my wedding: If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. It wasn't necessarily that I thought no one else could do a better job. It was simply a matter of budget.

Prevent Summer Slide: Coach Kids Into 'Soft Skills'

If you're looking for ways to ensure that your kids and mentees don't fall backward next summer, start planning and thinking about "soft skills" training now. Better yet, become an "education coach" and treat learning like a fun game.

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Tips from Troop 5441

During the summer of 2014, we were joined by several young women from Girl Scout Troop 5441 nearly every morning of the summer. They participated in workshops, brainstormed ideas, and worked with older interns and staffers.

Operation Slide: What to Do

Robert Langford, the executive director of Operation Shoestring, and Amber May, the organization's programs director, are in the business of staving off "summer slide."

Reading Really Is Fundamental

We all know, or should know, that a lifetime reading habit is key to success, and we're not just talking about texts on a smartphone.

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Do Kids Pay for Lazy Summers? Why We Must Prep Now for Next Year

For far too many children in the United States, there is such a significant academic regression during the summer months that studies have shown it is responsible for most of the achievement gap between poor and middle-class students. 

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Hosemann Twists Voter ID Facts, Again

At last July's Neshoba County Fair, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann upped the ante on the usual GOP talking points of "business good, government bad"; state's rights; Obama's failures.

MPB: Don’t Treat Us Like Children

Once again, Mississippi Public Broadcasting—which receives public dollars—has initiated a form of censorship to keep certain controversial content away from a Mississippi audience.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Terminating'

Short of getting himself elected commander-in-chief or asking President Obama very nicely, Bryant is likely fighting a losing battle against these immigrant children.

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You Say ‘Riot,’ I Say ‘Uprising’

Mr. Announcer: "In the ghetto criminal-justice system, the people are represented by members of the newly established Ghetto Science Community Peace Keeping Unit: police officer and part-time security guard at the Funky Ghetto Mall Dudley 'Do-Right' McBride, attorney Cootie McBride of the law firm McBride, Myself and I, and guest rookie peace officer Brother Hustle. This is their story."

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The Dollars and Sense of the Costco Fight

In looking to relocate to the Jackson area, Costco is not making an altruistic overture, bestowing a gift on the people of the capital city and expecting nothing in return.

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Gov. Bryant’s Fear of Immigrants

Last week, Gov. Phil Bryant told federal officials that Mississippi would no longer accept children through the Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Program through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Inside MPB's Decision on Abortion Film

Mississippi Public Broadcasting Executive Director Ronnie Agnew decided to replace PBS' "POV" documentary series "After Tiller" with other programming due to its controversial nature.

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Hitting the ‘High Note’

The upcoming High Note Jam on Sept. 11 will combine the concert series with another recurring Mississippi Museum of Art event—Screen on the Green.

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Emersons’ New Groove

The Emersons are at it again. Walker's Drive-In and Local 463 owner and award-winning chef Derek Emerson recently opened a new business in Miso's former location at 3100 N. State St.

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Taggart’s Mission Commendable

Andy Taggart, an attorney from Madison who is the former chief of staff to Gov. Kirk Fordice and an author, recently spoke in the Delta to drug-court graduates about the tragic death of his son Brad who, at the age of 21, killed himself two years ago after privately struggling with drug addiction.

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About Those Pesky ‘Soft Skills’

I want young Mississippians to have a shot at their full potential—and not have to leave their own damn state to do it.

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Jane Ustinova

Jane Ustinova followed a different path than most into the world of banking and helping others become financially sound. She is a loan officer with Members Exchange Credit Union and became a certified financial counselor in May.

What Mideast States Could Offer a US Coalition

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry began a whirlwind Middle East tour on Wednesday, landing first in Iraq with stops in Saudi Arabia and Jordan planned for later, to try to line up support for a coalition to take on the extremist Islamic State group.

Dollar General Goes Hostile in Bid for Rival

Dollar General is going hostile with its $9.1 billion bid for Family Dollar after its rival repeatedly rejected previous offers.

Protests, Anger, Doubt Prevail at Ferguson Meeting

Elected leaders in the St. Louis suburb where an unarmed black 18-year-old was fatally shot by a white police officer hoped to use their first public meeting since Michael Brown's death as a chance to promote community healing.

Rule Delays Deposits for Domestic Violence Victims

Mississippi's utility regulators have approved a revised plan to let victims of domestic violence delay paying utility deposits for 60 days.

Tuesday, September 9

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Ferguson Plans Reform After Michael Brown Shooting

A 2013 report by the Missouri attorney general's office found that Ferguson police stopped and arrested black drivers nearly twice as often as white motorists, but were less likely to find contraband among the black drivers.

Domestic-Violence Victims Can Waive Utility Deposits

Mississippi domestic-violence victims can now overcome a major hurdle to starting a new life away from their abusers.

UN Says CO2 Pollution Levels at Annual Record High

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2013 as increasing levels of man-made pollution transform the planet, the U.N. weather agency said Tuesday.

Obama to Deliver Prime-Time Address on Militants

President Barack Obama will address the nation Wednesday night to outline plans for an expanded U.S. effort to confront violent Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

Palestinian: Donors Wary of Funding Hamas-Run Gaza

The deputy Palestinian prime minister said Tuesday that international donors are hesitant to fund the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip so long as Hamas remains in control there and the specter of future wars looms.

Veterans Watchdog: VA Managers Lied About Delays

Managers at more than a dozen Veterans Affairs medical facilities lied to federal investigators about scheduling practices and other issues, the department's inspector general said Tuesday.

Same-Sex Marriage Heading for Supreme Court Vote?

Both sides in the gay marriage debate agree on one thing: It's time for the Supreme Court to settle the matter.

Apple Announces New iPhones, Payment System and Apple Watch

CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — For the first time in years, Apple's iPhones weren't the star of the show. Apple unveiled a smartwatch on Tuesday, a wearable device that marks the company's first major entry in a new product category since the iPad's debut in 2010.

NYPD: Terror Threat More Complex than Ever

Air strikes in Iraq, ongoing unrest in Syria and the beheadings of two American journalists are casting a long shadow over the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Ferguson Plans Reforms After Fatal Police Shooting

City leaders in Ferguson, where the fatal shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old by a white police officer sparked days of sometimes violent protests last month, say they will establish a review board to help guide the police department and make other changes meant to fix the city's relationship with its residents.

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Stamps' Gun Ordinance Advances

Since late last year, Ward 4 Councilman De'Keither Stamps, who also presides over the city council, has been tossing the idea around of requiring gun-owners to report their firearms stolen within 48 hours of the discovery of the theft.

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CAET, Burgers and Blues, and Mocha Mugs

Derek Emerson, award-winning chef and owner of Walker's Drive-In and Local 463, has opened a new business in Miso's former location.

Analysis: Coalition Building Can be Tricky

The first President Bush had one, so did President Bill Clinton, and the second President Bush had two. Now, President Barack Obama wants to build a coalition of nations to join the U.S. to combat the threat posed by the Islamic State group in the Middle East and beyond.

AP Analysis: Putin Pins His Hopes to Ukraine Truce

Ukraine's last cease-fire collapsed quickly. This one may last—because it's in Russian President Vladimir Putin's interests.

Death Toll in India, Pakistan Floods Reaches 400

The death toll from floods in Pakistan and India reached 400 on Tuesday as armies in both countries scrambled to help the victims and authorities in Islamabad warned hundreds of thousands to be prepared to flee more flooding in the days ahead.

Guantanamo Prisoner in Standoff as Transfer Stalls

The hunger strike that 43-year-old Abu Wa'el Dhiab started 18 months ago to protest his indefinite confinement without charge was supposed to be over by now. He was told in the spring he would be resettled in Uruguay, along with five other Guantanamo prisoners.

Musgrove: More Districts Consider Funding Lawsuit

Former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove said Monday that about 30 more school districts are considering whether to join an education-funding lawsuit he filed against the state.

Monday, September 8

Serious Respiratory Illness Hits Hundreds of Kids

Hundreds of children in more than 10 states have been sickened by a severe respiratory illness that public health officials say may be caused by an uncommon virus similar to the germ that causes the common cold.

Hearing Over Gay Marriage Laws Underway

A federal court hearing over gay marriage bans in Idaho, Nevada and Hawaii began Monday with a lawyer defending the state of Idaho's ban facing tough questions from a judge on the panel.

EU Adopts New Russia Sanctions but Delays Action

The European Union on Monday shied away from slapping new economic sanctions on Russia right away over its actions in eastern Ukraine. Instead, the 28-nation bloc said the punitive measures will come into force "in the next few days" depending on how well the cease-fire agreement in eastern Ukraine will be upheld.

Indiana Couple Charged with Holding Woman Captive

An Indiana couple accused of holding a woman captive for two months, often locking her in a small wooden cage, was charged Monday with rape, criminal confinement, kidnapping and other felonies in a case one officer likened to "modernized slavery."

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GOP Power Player Could Beef Up City's Lobbying Firepower

A major Republican power player who helped Mayor Tony Yarber win his current position is in line to be the City of Jackson's next lobbyist.

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Dr. Michael Winniford

Dr. Michael Winniford is the medical director for UMMC's new heart care facility, University Heart.

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Former Voice of the Bulldogs, Jack Cristil Dies

Jack Cristil, an iconic radio announcer of Mississippi State University sports, died Sunday at 88 from complications of kidney disease and cancer.

Arab League Agrees to Combat Islamic State Group

The Arab League agreed Monday to take urgent measures to combat extremists like the Islamic State group as one of its suicide bombers killed 16 people at a meeting of Sunni tribal fighters and security troops in Iraq.

Ukraine's Leader Visits Embattled City of Mariupol

Ukraine's president made a surprise trip Monday to a government stronghold in the turbulent southeast, delivering a fiery speech to hundreds of workers in hard hats in a dramatic show of Kiev's strength in the region.

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Damage Limits in Miss. Tort Laws Challenged

The Mississippi Supreme Court is being asked to overturn a state judge's ruling that a legislatively imposed cap on how much juries can award in non-economic damages is unconstitutional.

Obama to Outline Strategy on Islamic State

President Barack Obama plans to begin laying out his strategy for defeating Islamic State militants expanding their grip in Iraq and Syria.

Summer Break Over, Must-Do Tasks Await Congress

Summer break over and elections ahead, Congress is beginning an abbreviated September session with must-do tasks of preventing a government shutdown and extending a freeze on taxing access to the Internet.

Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada Gay Marriage Laws in Court

For the first time since it declared California's gay marriage ban unconstitutional, the federal appeals court in San Francisco is readying to hear arguments over same-sex weddings in a political and legal climate that's vastly different than when it overturned Proposition 8 in 2012.

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, September 6

Bryant Unmoved on Child Refugees by Church Leaders

Gov. Phil Bryant's decision to block additional legal child refugees from being resettled in Mississippi hasn't changed following a Thursday meeting with Catholic, Methodist and Episcopal leaders.

Friday, September 5

Union Says NFL Wants DUI Policy Change

The players' union says the NFL has asked for the right to immediately suspend players who are arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

WHO: Use Ebola Survivors' Blood to Treat Patients

Desperate to restore hope amid the Ebola crisis, the World Health Organization said Friday it would accelerate the use of experimental treatments and vaccines to contain the expanding epidemic in West Africa.

Ukraine Cease-Fire Begins, but US Still Skeptical

Ukraine, Russia and the Kremlin-backed separatists signed a cease-fire deal Friday after five months of bloodshed, and Europe readied additional sanctions in case the truce fails. NATO leaders created a new force designed to prevent any aggression by Moscow against alliance members.

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Yarber Wants Council to Hear Costco Appeal

After losing a fight at the city planning board on Aug. 27 to rezone 50 acres of land near Lakeland Drive and Interstate 55, Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber plans to appeal the decision.

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McDaniel Challenge Officially Dismissed; Childers Wants Cochran Debate

A special circuit court judge officially ordered the dismissal of State Sen. Chris McDaniel's election challenge in Jones County Sept. 4.

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Sen. Terry Brown

Mississippi Senate President Pro Tempore Terry Brown, a longtime lawmaker known for his booming voice and skepticism about government programs, died Thursday after undergoing treatment for lung cancer. He was 64.

Hamas Leader: No to Israel's Disarmament Demand

A senior leader of Hamas on Friday rejected Israel's demand that the group be disarmed as a condition for ending the long-running blockade of the Gaza Strip and permitting the opening of an air and seaport there.

NATO Approves New Force Aimed at Deterring Russia

Seeking to counter Russian aggression, NATO leaders approved plans Friday to create a rapid response force with a headquarters in Eastern Europe that could quickly mobilize if an alliance country in the region were to come under attack.

Ukraine Signs Cease-Fire with Pro-Russian Rebels

Ukraine and the Russian-backed rebels have signed a cease-fire deal that starts in less than two hours, a European official at the talks said Friday.

Childers Wants Debates, Cochran Noncommittal

Mississippi voters deserve to hear U.S. Senate candidates debate issues such as the minimum wage and the availability of health care, the Democratic nominee said Thursday.

Miss. Charter School Board Votes on Director

An official with Louisiana's Recovery School District is likely to be the first executive director of Mississippi's Charter School Authorizer Board.

Thursday, September 4

US and UK Seek Partners to Go After Islamic State

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron pressed fellow NATO leaders Thursday to confront the "brutal and poisonous" Islamic State militant group that is wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria—and urged regional partners like Jordan and Turkey to join the effort as well.

Court Rules Against Gay Marriage Bans in 2 States

A U.S. appeals court ruled Thursday that same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana violate the U.S. Constitution, in another in a series of courtroom wins for gay-marriage advocates.

Ruling Against BP Could Mean $18 Billion in Fines

BP could be looking at close to $18 billion in additional fines over the nation's worst offshore oil spill after a federal judge ruled Thursday that the company acted with "gross negligence" in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster.

Comedian Joan Rivers Dead at 81

Joan Rivers, the raucous, acid-tongued comedian who crashed the male-dominated realm of late-night talk shows and turned Hollywood red carpets into danger zones for badly dressed celebrities, died Thursday. She was 81.

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Greg Livingston

Senior wide receiver Greg Livingston was the star of Belhaven University's offensive fireworks, scoring four touchdowns. The Houston native scored on three receptions and a punt return.

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Bryant Plans to Stop Accepting Legal Child Refugees

Catholic, Methodist and Episcopal leaders are scheduled to meet Thursday morning with Gov. Phil Bryant, asking Mississippi to keep sponsoring a 34-year-old program that resettles children with legal refugee status.

AP Source: US to Investigate Ferguson Police

The Justice Department plans to open a wide-ranging civil rights investigation into the practices of the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department following the shooting last month of an unarmed black 18-year-old by a white police officer in the St. Louis suburb, a person briefed on the matter said Wednesday night.

Cardinal to Lead St. Pat Parade with 1st Gay Group

Organizers of New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade said Wednesday they will allow the first gay group to march under its own banner.

Ukraine's Leader Talks with NATO About Closer Ties

Undeterred by threats from Russia that Ukraine's NATO ambitions would derail peace talks, Ukraine's leader discussed closer ties with NATO at a meeting Thursday with President Barack Obama and other NATO leaders in Wales.

More Violence at Troubled Nashville Juvenile Jail

At a Nashville detention center with a long history of violence, escape attempts and sexual-abuse allegations, more than two dozen teens broke out of a common area and created a large disturbance in the yard Wednesday night, roaming the area with sticks and spraying a fire extinguisher.

Leaders: US, UK Will 'Not be Cowed' by Militants

NATO leaders grappled Thursday with whether the alliance has a role in containing a mounting militant threat in the Middle East, as heads of state converged in Wales for a high-stakes summit also focused on the crisis in Ukraine and next steps in Afghanistan.

Miss. Could Stop Accepting Legal Child Refugees

Catholic and Methodist leaders are scheduled to meet Thursday with Gov. Phil Bryant, asking the state to keep sponsoring a program that resettles children with legal refugee status in Mississippi.

Wednesday, September 3

JFP Top 25 Week One

The first week of college football saw blowouts or escapes for most of the Top 25 teams. The Top 10 took care of business, except for South Carolina, who faced a surprising Texas A&M team.

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Recording Entrepreneur

Casey Combest is the owner of BlueSky Studios.

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Saints Preview

Unless an unlikely team comes out of nowhere, like the 1999 St. Louis Rams, the 2014 Super Bowl has only a handful of contenders.

The Slate

I'm starting to think the "challenge" part in the SWAC/MEAC Challenge is if SWAC teams can win. The MEAC is 8-2 in the series and has won the last four straight games.

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The Trouble with Treble

The first time I heard Meghan Trainor's song "All About That Bass," I let it play on the radio merely because I was driving and didn't want to mess with the dials.

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Mind Your Manners with Mrs. Mannerly

New Stage Theatre and Director John Maxwell will present "Mrs. Mannerly," a play inspired by Jeffrey Hatcher's memories of his childhood etiquette classes, as the fall season opener Sept. 9-21.

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Holy Ghost Electric Show Finds the American Sound

Oxford, Miss., band Holy Ghost Electric Show dove into the melting pot of music to create a whole new sound—something All-American.

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Wedding Gifts and Local Artists

My friend is originally from Jackson, and he and his now-husband collect art, so I decided that a piece by a Jackson artist might be just the ticket for something unique and special.

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Competitive Fitness

The problem with a regular gym is that, besides classes, it doesn't necessarily provide a fun, competitive way to exercise.

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Snack Clean

In my journey to health, I've discovered that the key to any diet change is snacking. It keeps you full so your mind doesn't wander to the cake, cookies and chips.

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Six Things About Yoga

In yoga, you'll do plenty of stretching, but that's not the whole story. The physical practice can improve flexibility, strength, breath and focus.

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Winter Skin

Winter is hard on your skin. Cold, dry wind and indoor heating strips the skin of all its natural oils, leaving it defenseless.

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How Not to Hibernate

Bears and snakes, they hibernate. Humans? Not so much. Eventually, Mississippi does get cold(ish), but just because you can't feel your face doesn't mean you have to stay inside and lay on the couch all winter.

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Fall Fitness

Just because summer is transitioning to fall doesn't mean you have to get ready for hibernation.

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Water: Nature’s Elixir

Your body is 60 percent water. When you're dehydrated, none of your systems functions properly. You've probably heard the rule: Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. If being healthy alone doesn't motivate you to hydrate adequately, maybe these added benefits will.

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Practicing Passions

Having given about 13,000 massages over his 16-year career, Eclecius Franklin has earned his reputation as one of the best and most experienced massage therapists in the Jackson area.

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Cool Fitness Gadgets

I recently purchased a Fitbit Flex. I snap it on my wrist, sync it to my smart phone, and it tells me how many steps I've walked, how many calories I've burned and even how well I slept.

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Track Your Journey

You can track your fitness journey in many ways, including journaling and cell-phone apps.

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To the Pole!

There are varying opinions about counting exercise usually associated with the sex industry as valid or appropriate.

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‘New Day, New Way’ at Lanier High School

As the first high school built for African American children in the city of Jackson, as well as the oldest high school still in operation, Lanier High School was designated as a Mississippi landmark in 2007.

Dialogue Around Costco Needs to Improve

The announcement that Costco wants to build in Jackson on Lakeland Drive has created a rift between those who are thrilled that Costco wants to bring 235 decent-paying jobs into the city of Jackson and residents and museum directors who are concerned about green space and traffic/commercial congestion.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Reasonable'

In responding to St. Lawrence University professor Alan Draper's critique of Mississippi's voter-identification requirement, Hosemann enumerates the steps his office followed and data it collected to implement the law to meet constitutional muster.

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State Sued for Underfundng Schools

Angered by the state's failure to fully fund the state's public schools, several Mississippi districts filed a lawsuit in Hinds County Chancery Court on Aug. 28.

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MDOC Wants New Private Prison Contracts

The Mississippi Department of Corrections is ending its contracts with a Utah-based private prison firm to operate four state penitentiaries and rebidding the work.

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Overhydrating Uncommon But Dangerous

A football freak accident puzzled Jackson's community when doctors attributed a Jackson Prep student's death to a sodium imbalance, one that can occur due to over-hydration.

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Felandus Thames: Creating Questions

Felandus Thames' work, which ranges from small to wall-sized paintings to dimensional installations, invites viewers to take a deeper, often jarring look at the easy, automatic views of African Americans.

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Lakeland Costco Site Non-Negotiable

Mayor Tony Yarber simultaneously caused excitement about jobs in Jackson and consternation from some who question its location when he made public plans for the big-box retailer to locate on Lakeland Avenue near Interstate 55.

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Will JRA Dump Farish Property?

As the Farish Street revitalization project remains stalled amid legal wrangling and in need of costly temporary repairs, some members of the Jackson Redevelopment Authority are tossing around a new approach to the problem.

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Michelle Alexander

Michelle Alexander is as versatile as the program she coaches. A fitness enthusiast, Alexander, 39, is a retired Marine Corps sergeant and a CrossFit coach.

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Bad Habits Start Young

Our junk-food habits contribute to the childhood obesity epidemic and the related illnesses later in life. In Mississippi, the state Department of Health reported in 2009 that 40 percent of the state's children are obese or overweight.

Mississippi Appeals Political Spending Law Ruling

The state of Mississippi is asking the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverse a lower court ruling found part of a campaign finance law unconstitutional.

Tuesday, September 2

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Brian Tolley Departing as Clarion-Ledger Editor

Brian Tolley, the executive editor of the Clarion-Ledger, announced his departure this afternoon on the newspaper's website.

A Look at Dangers Posed by the Islamic State Group

The Islamic State militant group that has taken over large parts of Syria and Iraq and declared a self-styled caliphate poses one of the most significant threats to stability in the Middle East in years. But what danger does it immediately pose?

Pakistan Lawmakers Back Premier Amid Mass Protests

Pakistan's lawmakers rallied behind the country's embattled prime minister Tuesday in an emergency session, even as thousands of protesters remained camped outside of parliament demanding his ouster.

32 Teens Escape from Nashville Detention Center

Thirty-two teens "overwhelmed" their minders and escaped from a juvenile detention center by crawling under a weak spot in a fence, a state government spokesman said. Hours later Tuesday, eight were still on the run.

Video Purports to Show Beheading of U.S. Journalist

Islamic State extremists released a video Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, and warning President Barack Obama that as long as U.S. airstrikes against the militant group continue, "our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people."

Ukraine Military Routed as Russia Talks Tough

In fields around the eastern Ukrainian village of Novokaterynivka, more than thirty army vehicles lay charred and pulverized into twisted piles of metal Tuesday—the result of a devastating weekend ambush by separatist forces.

Detroit's Historic Bankruptcy Trial Begins

Opening statements in Detroit's historic bankruptcy trial began Tuesday afternoon in federal court, where lawyers for the city will attempt to convince a judge that its plans to wipe out billions of dollars in debt should be approved.

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Reports: Body of Missing Teen Katelyn Beard Found

After a long search this morning, law enforcement officials discovered the body of 17-year-old Katelyn Beard, who went missing over the weekend.

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Fondren Boutique Hotel, Educare Senior Day Center, Millsaps Beer Garden and JSU Downtown

Plans call for a 100-room, four-story urban boutique-style Hampton Inn with an underground parking garage to be built at the corner of Duling Avenue and Old Canton Road, which is now a vacant grassy lot near Babalu Tacos & Tapas.

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Katy Simpson Smith

All her life, Katy Simpson Smith has been a storyteller. She recalls telling her parents—both Millsaps professors—imaginative and silly stories as a child, while they sat and listened attentively.

Monday, September 1

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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.