Thursday, December 31
Meadow George Lemon III—better known as Meadowlark Lemon after legally changing his name—was a member of the Harlem Globetrotters during the team's heyday and height of popularity.
A DeSoto County woman's push for a ballot initiative legalizing marijuana in Mississippi has fallen far short of the required number of petition signatures.
Gov. Phil Bryant has declared a state of emergency ahead of expected flooding along the Mississippi River.
Wednesday, December 30
The JFP presents the most intriguing people of 2015.
Seeing voters in Louisiana and workers in Mississippi and Tennessee finally stand up to the political and corporate fog machine and assert their rights gives me hope for 2016.
Every session, it seems, something President Barack Obama has said or didn't say whips Republicans under our dome into a froth.
When the news broke of no indictment against the officer in the Tamir Rice case on Dec. 28, I wasn't shocked or surprised. I was disappointed, I ached for Tamir's family, but mostly, I was afraid for my own.
If you haven't already made plans for the final countdown to 2016, here are some local New Year's Eve events to celebrate in style.
In the cover package of this issue, you'll find a number of the "most intriguing" individuals who've made big waves in Jackson over the past year. Since those were taken, here are some less noteworthy topics.
For close to eight hours every day, a tower crane soaring above Jackson swivels and pivots like the minute hand of a clock gone a little haywire.
Before 2016 is finished, every major instrument of the Mississippi Democratic establishment will have new leadership.
Currently proposed budget cuts are even greater than those that Rep. Herb Frierson, a key Republican budget writer from Poplarville, warned would be necessary if the school-funding amendment Initiative 42 passed.
Nowadays, everyone is an amateur videographer, and police actions are under more scrutiny than ever. It doesn't mean, though, that there are more incidents of police brutality or over-policing; it means that more people can see the evidence of it now.
When the Recording Academy announced the Grammy nominees on Dec. 7, 2015, Cedric Burnside's seventh album, "Descendants of Hill Country," made the short list.
The history of the Mississippi State University women's basketball team is light on success, to say the least.
Jackson-based clinical psychologist Dr. Jim Herzog's work is about understanding people's behavior so he can help make their lives better.
Demand so far has been low for $6,500 scholarships that Mississippi is awarding to parents of special education students to use in private or home schooling.
Barring no one else falling out of a window and being suspended for the Sugar Bowl, the UM Rebels should be in good shape to beat Oklahoma State. Rebel fans, keep your fingers crossed.
The ninth annual Mississippi Blues Marathon is Saturday, Jan. 9. The event showcases the city of Jackson and Mississippi's blues history.
Tuesday, December 29
Whitney Place, a long-dormant and previously controversial development project slated for Fondren, is back in the spotlight.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has appointed Chancery Judge Dawn Beam of Sumrall to become a state Supreme Court justice.
Underground 119 temporarily closed Dec. 26 as owner Mike McRee began preparations to revamp his venue with a whole new concept.
Gov. Phil Bryant said Monday that Mississippi is seeking a federal disaster declaration for some or all of the seven counties hit by a tornado last week.
Monday, December 28
Education policy groups backed up the Mississippi Department of Education and its state superintendent by lambasting a recent report on the state's new pre-kindergarten pilot program.
In early December, the local music scene lost beloved blues musician Howard Spencer Jones, a longtime Jackson resident and supporter of all art forms, from theater to sculpture and painting.
In a few weeks, the Mississippi Legislature will work itself into a lather about something.
Sunday, December 27
Debate over the Confederate battle emblem in the Mississippi state's flag is the top state news story of 2015.
Thursday, December 24
The National Endowment for the Humanities has announced $3.6 million in grants for 21 community-based projects, including one at the University of Mississippi that will bring together scholars, students and others to discuss civil rights.
Wednesday, December 23
Storms packing strong winds and heavy rain slammed the nation's mid-section on Wednesday, and officials worried about Christmas yard decorations becoming projectiles in what forecasters called a threat of "multiple tornadic supercells."
Derrick "Duke" Arnold Jr. hopes to lead his team to a national championship in January.
The number of people who have enrolled for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act stands at 90,358 in Mississippi.
Tuesday, December 22
The Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance wants the state supreme court to remove from office and fine a white judge for physically assaulting and using a racial slur against an African American man.
Will Werner didn't want to wake up one morning and wonder what would have happened if he kept pursuing the game he loves: basketball.
Each season, I try to pinpoint the players who might be candidates for the Howell Trophy, which is the award that goes to the best men's basketball player at a four-year college or university in the state of Mississippi.
Last season was a tough and strange one for Alcorn State University. Head coach Luther Riley took a personal leave of absence, leaving assistant coach Shawn Pepp to lead the team.
Both Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi play their bowl games in this week's Slate. This will be the first appearance in both bowl games for both teams.
Right now, it looks like a postseason NIT berth might be the best any team does this season. This could be one of the biggest down years in college basketball for our state.
Pilgrimage, from the Tibetan Buddhist point of view, is supposed to be challenging. Enduring physical pain during it is considered a form of purification.
I see no reason to relegate Champagne to special occasions. Bubbles make everything better, I say, and can turn any time into an occasion.
Be careful that you are ready to receive what you are asking, whether for a new job or a new mate. Sometimes we don't need what we want, and often we don't know what we need.
While crime, potholes and boiled-water notices get all the headlines and make for easy punchlines, one of the biggest problems facing the capital city is rarely discussed outside of City Hall—Jackson's bond rating.
As citizens of Jackson, reading the Senate Appropriations Committee chairman's press release about all the goodies he's bringing back to Mississippi is like reading your parents' will and finding out you got their 1994 Ford Taurus.
Miss Doodle Mae: "Jojo, our fearless leader, continues his 'You Know the Routine' approach to the holidays."
Mississippi's second round of testing for third through eighth graders left room for improvement and growth, top state education officials said.
The brass at the Jackson Police Department are crowing about ending 2015 with crime in a continued free fall and some new technology helping officers solving crime.
Yes, I'm a serious person, and I care deeply about injustice and hatred. But the reason that I do is because I love so many things and people and cultures and experiences so deeply.
Almost two years after voters in Jackson decided to tax themselves an extra 1-percent worth of sales tax on certain goods, heavy machinery will soon be turning dirt and the City will start spending from the tax fund.
Most of Justin Ransburg's artwork combines illustrations and painting, as well as graphic design and photography.
Desiree Henley knew Mississippi's guardianship and conservatorship laws were outdated, ineffective and likely stripping elderly and disabled citizens of their basic human rights.
Long before the start of Rick Springfield's sold-out "Stripped Down Tour" show at the Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg, excited guests formed a line from the entrance of the Bottleneck Blues Bar back toward the slot machines.
Flowood resident Eddie Young, the co-director of the Reservoir Youth Basketball and Cheerleading League, has a vision. He wants his league to not only be the best youth basketball league in the metro area but also the most inclusive one.
Local election officials consulted with the Mississippi secretary of state's office before deciding to count nine votes at the center of a disputed House race, an attorney for five-term Democratic Rep. Bo Eaton said in papers filed Friday.
Monday, December 21
Today, Mayor Tony Yarber laid out another program designed to improve the City's housing stock and revitalize west Jackson neighborhoods.
Geoffrey Mo, together with his parents, Kathy and David Mo, held a grand opening for their new family-owned Chinese restaurant—Hong Kong Tea House—Saturday, Dec. 5.
Maybe this bodes well for Mississippi State, with Southeastern Conference play starting next month.
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.
Mississippi could get smoother roads, lower taxes and a tax system more tilted to favor the rich than it does today.
Saturday, December 19
Mississippi's unemployment rate ticked up in November as the economy didn't generate enough jobs to absorb more people looking for work.
Friday, December 18
Jackson police expect no more than one to two arrests to follow the firing of what City officials have said could be up to seven public-works department employees later today, Dec. 18.
After more than 30 years as an assistant coach at Mississippi State University, Tony Hughes is finally a head coach at Jackson State University.
All-ages venue Big Sleepy's will host its inaugural Christmas party on Saturday, Dec. 19, to ring out the year and celebrate some of the bands that made the venue's first year a success.
Mississippi's state chamber of commerce said Friday that the state needs to spend another $375 million a year to fix decaying bridges and roads, pledging to throw its political support behind a campaign to boost funding.
Thursday, December 17
Mississippi's second round of testing for third through eighth graders left room for improvement and growth, top state education officials said.
Even after the prequels somewhat defanged the infamous Sith lord, Darth Vader is still a driving force for the "Star Wars" franchise's newest addition, "The Force Awakens," which premiers Friday, Dec. 18.
This year, the Mississippi Opera will stage a production of the "Amahl and the Night Visitors" at the Madison Square Center for the Arts in Madison.
New Orleans is poised to make a sweeping break with its Confederate past as city leaders decide whether to remove prominent monuments from some of its busiest streets.
Wednesday, December 16
It is a long shot, but at 5-8, the New Orleans Saints are still alive in the playoff race. They will need to win out and get help to get into the postseason.
Fifty years later, the idealistic Pell Grant system has dissipated with rising tuition costs and higher-ed institutions hiking prices on virtually everything.
Mississippi celebrates the bicentennial of its statehood in 2017, marking the anniversary of its admission to the Union as the 20th state on Dec. 10, 1817.
There's a fine line between Gov. Phil Bryant's tacit assent of Donald Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric and Mississippi's complete abdication of its responsibility to educate its children.
Transparency is a priority of this administration. We felt it necessary to respond to the Jackson Free Press editorial to ensure the public was aware of the city's process when it comes to contractual projects.
All fourth graders at Eastside Elementary in Clinton got their first introduction to coding as a part of Computer Science Education Week from Dec. 7 through 13.
In honor of "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens" premiering this week, we here at the Jackson Free Press have taken it upon ourselves to figure out how members of the Galactic Empire pay off or avoid student debt.
The first-ever Celebration Bowl will feature this year's SWAC champion, the Alcorn State University Braves, against this year's MEAC champion, the North Carolina A&T University Aggies.
I've never understood people who are incapable of seeing that, to paraphrase President Obama, they—even with their skills, intelligence and persistence—aren't wholly responsible for their destinies.
As general manager of CAET in Fondren, Elise Grenley's job description includes busy evenings, large private parties and sometimes, if necessary, kicking out disturbing customers.
The holidays are officially here, so it's time to start thinking about how to feed many people. This Christmas, let local restaurants help you out.
Recent active-shooter events have prompted the Jackson Police Department to seek training on how to respond to a gunman on the loose.
A modern food hub for farmers and consumers will start its trial run in the coming weeks, and is scheduled to open this spring.
Bilal Qizilbash has been bringing dinner to homeless people in Smith Park every Friday for almost nine months, but he and his fellow volunteers never ask anyone about their housing status before offering them sustenance.
Growing up in the small town of Greenville, Miss., Tre Pepper played guitar and bass in various garage bands with friends, booking as many local music gigs as he possibly could.
Tuesday, December 15
Two men have been charged with embezzlement for water theft.
A legislative budget committee recommends slashing the state's budget by nearly $40 million.
Northpark Mall recently added three new stores to its tenant lineup: Comfort Zone, Korset and SubZero Cream.
Ericka M. Wheeler, a Millsaps College student from Carrollton, Miss., was recently named a Rhodes Scholar and is one of 32 selected this year.
Former Mississippi state Sen. Tommy Roberston pleaded guilty Monday to one count of embezzling more than $379,000 from a $484,000 construction loan he handled for a couple in 2013, when he was the board attorney for Singing River Federal Credit Union.
Monday, December 14
Justice Randy Pierce says he will resign from the Mississippi Supreme Court on Feb. 1 to take another job in the legal field.
The losing bidder for a multimillion-dollar sludge-hauling contract may get an up or down vote at Tuesday's city council meeting.
When James Meredith challenged Mississippi's entrenched system of white supremacy in 1962, Gov. Ross Barnett had a plan to stop the black military veteran from integrating the state's flagship university.
Mississippi State's Victoria Vivians sprinted down the court with the basketball and surveyed her options, glancing at the other maroon and white jerseys working to get in position for a shot.
Saturday, December 12
Dr. David Walker will be the new director of the veterans' hospital in Jackson.
Friday, December 11
Soon, Jackson homeowners who have been keeping overgrown lots near their homes neat and trimmed might be able to reap some reward from all that hard work.
A teenager's mother clapped her hands and screamed with joy, and a former police officer hung his head and sobbed, as a jury convicted him of raping her daughter and sexually assaulting seven other women.
Gov. Phil Bryant has hosted a menorah lighting ceremony at the Mississippi Governor's Mansion.
Thursday, December 10
Four-year-olds enrolled in the state's special pilot programs for early-learning collaboratives scored no better on kindergarten readiness tests than their peers in other public pre-K programs, a new state report shows.
Until last Saturday's SWAC Football Championship Game, Alcorn State University running back Darryan Ragsdale might have been the best under-the-radar football player at a Mississippi college or university.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is proposing $54.1 million of economic development projects using recovery money the state is receiving because of the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Wednesday, December 9
All three Mississippi schools are back in bowls this season, and Alcorn State University is in the mix this year, which means four state teams will play.
Alcorn State blew out Grambling State 49-21 to win back-to-back SWAC football championships. The Braves set championship game records in total offense (613), rushing yards (411) and points (49).
On the night after Christmas when all the kids are happy and playing with their new toys, adults can have a fun night out in the form of Soulabration 2015, which Xperience Jxn Entertainment hosts.
"Priced to Move" is from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, Dec. 11, and from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Russell C. Davis Planetarium.
As conversations around gun control heat up in Washington, D.C., social media and perhaps around our kitchen tables, I hope that we can all have the courage to take a brief stop in each other's worlds and explore things that we might not otherwise consider.
The Iron Horse Grill's "Mississippi Music Experience" museum features life-size representations of Mississippi's music legends, in every genre from blues to rock 'n' roll.
For Mayor Tony Yarber and the city council, we suggest having a pen and notebook handy to jot some things on their to-do lists and get important deadlines up on the calendar for 2016.
"Was moechten Sie?" the server asked. I stared at him rather stupidly; I knew that he was asking what kind of turkey I wanted, but he said it in German, and I was expecting English or French.
Post-election campaign filings are revealing that opponents of Initiative 42, mostly from outside the state, spent much more money to defeat it than they were required to report before the polls closed.
After being open for six months, John Tierre says his Johnny T's Bistro & Blues and the adjoining lounge called 540 are holding their own in spite of, literally, being the new kids on the block—without the same rights.
The news of Malcolm White's resignation as director of the state's tourism division was almost as puzzling as the news three years ago that Gov. Phil Bryant was hiring him.
Jackson has a lot of creativity to go around. How do we apply that to making the city better, or at least more interesting? Here are some ways to do that.
Imam Ameen Abdur Rashied, who leads the Masjid Muhammad in Jackson, said that the spirit and faith within believers, regardless of what faith tradition they come from, unites them all against those in the world who would have people turn against one another and hate each other.
The promise of never-ending paperwork didn't scare off Caitlin Podas, the registrar for the Mississippi Museum of Art. The Orange, Calif., native has pursued a career in museum registration for most of her adult life, though her attraction to the field isn't about administration.
Nearly seven months after blues legend B.B. King died, his Mississippi gravesite is being turned into a serene spot where blues fans can pay their respects.
Shortly after the recent changes to the city's food-truck ordinance, which made it easier for mobile food vendors to move around town, Capitol Coney Island owners Rob Lehman and Al Brown opened the business in June 2015.
While it may seem like Mississippi is backwards in many areas, I believe it excels in creative spirit.
Uber has been operating in Jackson for a just under a year, but the company said the prospects of continuing to do business in the capital city are bleak if the Jackson City Council passes regulations on transportation network companies like Uber.
Mississippi hip-hop fans may be familiar with the wistful flow of rapper Justin Johnson, a Jackson native who performs under the moniker LV Baby, but his latest release, "Blu Moon," begins a new phase of his career—one that he says is all about imparting truth in the present.
Tuesday, December 8
Lee Vance, the chief of the Jackson Police Department, is getting creative to keep his officers from jumping ship and going to other law-enforcement agencies where they can make more money.
Three months ago, Ryan Cassell—a Madison native who had been living in Charlotte, N.C., for the last 10 years—returned to his home state to take on the position of head chef and general manager at Fenian's Pub.
Ole Miss has received $5 million from two sources to benefit its athletics program.
The Supreme Court appears ready to impose limits on lawsuits in a Native American court against people who are not members of the Indian tribe.
Monday, December 7
The State of Mississippi took the first step toward following a set of recommendations for complying with the long-running court case over the state's foster-care system known as Olivia Y.
Right now, in a store not too far away, there is a galaxy of new merchandise connected to "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
Saturday, December 5
Bond has been set at $2 million for a central Mississippi man charged in a 2013 hit-and-run death.
Friday, December 4
Only one day after a mass shooting in California left 14 people dead and 21 more injured, the U.S. Senate rejected a bill that would require background checks for people purchasing firearms.
The sun will rise on residential solar panels in Mississippi, but it's unclear how bright their future will be.
The Jackson Zoo recently welcomed a new addition to its orangutan exhibit. Sabah and Pumpkin, the zoo's Bornean orangutans gave birth to a baby male on Nov. 22.
Republican state Sen. Melanie Sojourner is seeking to overturn her loss in the Mississippi election.
Thursday, December 3
It is safe to say that after a 9-3 regular season that includes a Conference USA West Division, Nick Mullens finally blossomed.
The Kemper County power plant was supposed to be up and running by now, showing the world how to burn coal without spewing climate-warming carbon pollution into the air.
NASA is looking to get back on track with the first U.S. delivery to the International Space Station in nearly eight months.
Republicans pushed legislation toward Senate approval Thursday that would demolish President Barack Obama's signature health care law and halt Planned Parenthood's federal money, setting up a veto fight the GOP knows it will lose but thinks will delight conservative voters in next year's elections.
We're in the century-old Confiteria Ideal listening to the mother of all tangos, "La Cumparsita," and I'm thinking about the somewhat different world into which the tango was born.
Owners of five mobile home parks are challenging the city of Pearl's regulations in federal court, saying the rules are ultimately designed to force them to close.
Wednesday, December 2
Malcolm White, a cofounder and owner of Hal & Mal's, is threatening to move his iconic downtown restaurant and concert venue if it remains excluded from receiving so-called resort status.
No matter what happens this Saturday, Dec. 5, in the Conference USA Football Championship, where the University of Southern Mississippi will take on the University of Western Kentucky, USM has completed one of the biggest turnarounds in college football this season.
The Mississippi high-school football championships are in Oxford Dec. 4-5. You can catch all six games on TV with channel 35 (WLOO) or on radio with 87.7 FM.
The Nov. 27 shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood is a case study in the anatomy of political rhetoric and the real-life danger of spreading inciteful rhetoric.
For Sen. Ted Cruz to deny that the anti-abortion rhetoric is spurred on by the right wing and members of his own party is not only disingenuous; it is extremely dangerous.
Brother Hustle: "Welcome to another Compensatory Investment Request Holiday Season Special Meeting. This time of the year is very crucial for independent vendors."
One or more gunmen opened fire Wednesday at a Southern California social services center, shooting multiple people, authorities said.
Coaches at Warren Central High School told Dan Jones he couldn't play football past ninth grade—he was too small and slow, but he was welcome to be a trainer instead. Thus began Jones' interest in medicine.
Since the members of psychedelic-indie-rock quartet Fides first met as students at Clinton High School in 2009, they have made it their mission to create music that is serious and thoughtful while maintaining a not-so-serious attitude about life.
Since 1976, the Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi has kept many Jacksonians out of the outlet stores and away from the clearance racks while also supporting local arts with the Chimneyville Crafts Festival.
For children not at regular daycare centers, options like "ABC, Come Play with Me" give parents a break from teaching their children at home and provide new ideas for preparing children for kindergarten.
Embroiled in a two-front battle with the City of Jackson over the wastewater-treatment issues, the West Rankin Utility Authority hopes to fight it out on its home turf—in Rankin County.
Mississippi is on top of many bad lists in areas such as obesity and diabetes, but here are a few lists we should top, with some of our more random accomplishments thrown in.
It's a tough contest, but Donald Trump just spread his most poisonous lie yet in his race to become the fuehrer of the 21st century.
Parking in downtown Jackson is like a perverse kind of casino. Instead of the odds being in favor of the house—in this case, the City—the players are more likely to get lucky in finding a broken meter or getting away unscathed by the ticket books of meter readers.
On a day in the middle of November, a lot of commotion is happening in a warehouse space off South Farish Street behind the Jackson Convention Complex and Mississippi Museum of Art.
When Nick Chamberlain was assigned to a JROTC course as a freshman at Jim Hill High School, he saw it as a sign that the school faculty felt he could make something of himself through the program.
Two Mississippi organizations focused on keeping women safe are opposing the Safe Campus Act, a bill currently working its way through the U.S. House of Representatives, because it would make it harder to remove rape suspects from campus and limit the investigative avenues a student victim can pursue after an assault.
Eddie Izzard considers himself a "British European." Like many of his countrymen, the internationally known comedian, actor and writer is embroiled in a deep sense of history—not all of it good.
Tuesday, December 1
City officials have modified a plan to give so-called resort status to parts of downtown Jackson.
A Mississippi House committee met today to start discussing a contested race that went to a drawing of straws for a tiebreaker.
On the 60th anniversary of Rosa Parks' arrest, the AP is making available its initial story on the Montgomery bus boycott.
Only months after Entergy Mississippi customers got a break on electricity bills because of falling natural gas prices, they're likely to get another.