Stories for July 2016


Saturday, July 30

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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.

Justices Reinstate Suit Over Leake County School Bus Beating

The Mississippi Supreme Court says the Leake County school district can be sued after a special education student was beaten unconscious with a belt on a school bus in 2013.

Friday, July 29

New Sandy Hook School Reopens Nearly 4 Years After Massacre

The new Sandy Hook Elementary School, built to replace the one demolished after a massacre that took the lives of 20 children and six educators, features three courtyards, study spaces designed to look like treehouses and a moat-like raingarden.

Russian Weightlifters Banned from Rio Olympics for Doping

All of Russia's weightlifters were banned from the Rio Olympics on Friday for doping for what the international federation called "extremely shocking" results that brought the sport into "disrepute."

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Sen. Wicker at Neshoba: Trump Will De-fund Planned Parenthood, Repeal Obamacare

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., who spoke at the Neshoba County Fair on Thursday, called on fair-goers to elect Republicans back to the Senate, and to support Donald Trump in November.

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Mayoral Hopeful Graham: Continental Tire Plant Saving Grace of Jackson

Hinds County Supervisor Robert Graham holds up the Continental Tire plant as the saving grace of Jackson. "We are at the forefront of something very big," Graham said this morning.

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Joshua Mannery and Maisie Brown

Joshua Mannery, a 17-year-old Jackson resident and senior at Murrah High School, was attending a rally to change the state flag at the state capitol in March 2016 when he met Maisie Brown, a 14-year-old freshman at Jim Hill High School.

Mississippi Grand Jury Clears 3 Officers in Fatal Shooting

A grand jury has ruled three Mississippi police officers were justified in the fatal shooting of a 37-year-old man whose weapon turned out to be a BB gun.

Thursday, July 28

Texas' Revised Abortion Booklet Criticized as Inaccurate

The new version of a booklet that Texas produces for women considering an abortion is being criticized for suggesting that terminating pregnancies can lead to heightened risks for breast cancer and depression.

Hundreds Gather at Vigil for Slain Baton Rouge Officers

Hundreds of people gathered at a Baton Rouge church Thursday for a vigil honoring three law enforcement officers who were killed during a shootout with a lone gunman outside a convenience store.

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Bar Files Complaint Against DA, Includes Letter About His Mother

The air of secrecy continues around the case against Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith Wednesday, as Hinds County Judge Larita Cooper-Stokes recused herself during a closed meeting with attorneys, and the Mississippi Bar Association filed a complaint, including judicial complaints about "odd and improper" attempts by Smith and his mother to communicate with Judge Tomie Green.

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Neshoba Day 1: 'Social Issues' Front and Center as Reeves, Hood Square Off

The state of Mississippi's political climate and economy are either staggering under the weight of lawsuits or having a really positive year, depending on whom you ask. Attorney General Jim Hood and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves proved that Wednesday at the Neshoba County Fair.

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Trae Elston

Former University of Mississippi safety Trae Elston will try to make the New Orleans Saints' roster as an undrafted rookie free agent. He might have made a great decision by signing with the Saints, a team that needs all the defensive help it can get after having one of the worst defenses in the league last season.

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Back-to-School Supply Lists

See this list of school supplies for K-5 in JPS, and also where to get find what you need for school.

Bryant Sets Nov. 8 Elections for 2 Mississippi House Seats

Gov. Phil Bryant has set special elections to fill two vacant seats in the Mississippi House.

Wednesday, July 27

Judge: Reagan Shooter Can Leave Hospital to Live in Virginia

More than 35 years after he tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in an effort to impress actress Jodie Foster, John Hinckley Jr. will be allowed to leave a Washington mental hospital and live full time with his mother in Virginia, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Bill O'Reilly: Slaves That Built White House Were 'Well-Fed'

Bill O'Reilly says the slaves who helped build the White House "were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government."

Prosecutors Drop All Remaining Charges in Freddie Gray Case

Prosecutors on Wednesday dropped all remaining charges against the three Baltimore police officers who were still awaiting trial in Freddie Gray's death, blaming police for a biased investigation that failed to produce a single conviction.

Trump to Russia: Uncover, Release Deleted Clinton Emails

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump encouraged Russia to meddle in American politics Wednesday, with a stunning recommendation to uncover and make public hacked emails that might damage his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

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Bar Files Complaint Against DA, Includes Letter About His Mother

The air of secrecy continues around the case against Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith Wednesday, as Hinds County Judge Larita Cooper-Stokes recused herself during a closed meeting with attorneys, and the Mississippi Bar Association filed a complaint, including judicial complaints about "odd and improper" attempts by Smith and his mother to communicate with Judge Tomie Green.

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What the ‘Bryant Documents’ Say About HB 1523, Its Future

Despite U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves' 60-page preliminary injunction blocking House Bill 1523 from becoming law, the legal battles could just be heating up.

Mindsets Must Change to Stop Juvenile Crime

Assumptions that a citizen execution is appropriate for a property crime and that certain young people can't be helped and should be locked up are at the crux of our juvenile-crime crisis.

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Mississippi’s Relentless Pursuit of the LGBT Community

"It feels like the state will never stop pursuing us," said Joce Pritchett as she testified under oath in a federal courtroom in Jackson recently. She was describing what it felt like to be a LGBT person living in Mississippi when HB 1523 passed this spring.

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Help Students Lower Stress

The pressures of school and the associated social life can feel overwhelming to students. I advise parents to spend time with their children, and talk and listen to them.

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Chronically Absent: Is Quality Education in Juvenile Detention Possible in Mississippi?

Rankin County Youth Court Judge Thomas Broome told the Jackson Free Press with some pain that before 2006, juvenile-detention centers in the state didn't have to have school. With few organized efforts to educate detained children, they missed days or weeks of school at a time.

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Police Killings: Action, Reaction

I believe that everything doesn't happen for a reason. Sometimes, reason is thrown out the window, and one simply becomes afflicted with either fortunate or unfortunate luck.

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Dream Cult: Working on ‘Weekend’

What began as a group of Jackson friends jamming together as surf-rock band The Weekend Kids has turned into a music career for the members of '80s-inspired indie-pop act Dream Cult.

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Fighting the Lethal Injection

Immediately before a July 2015 hearing on the prisoners' challenge to Mississippi's use of pentobarbital, the Mississippi Department of Corrections changed its policy to include more drugs on its list of possible drug "#1s" (the sedatives) in its three-drug injection.

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Uber, ADA Accessibility and Jackson

In the wake of state legislation cementing transportation network companies like Uber into the market, the Jackson City Council is in the middle of an overhaul of the ordinances governing taxicabs, while members of the disabled community are expressing trepidation that they will be left out in the rain.

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Education and Lessons from the Game of ‘Life’

Ask just about anyone, and they'll agree: Education is in a bizarre place. In most cases, though, the person you ask will follow up their answer with something about the federal or state government, or they'll say something about Jackson Public Schools, even if they truthfully don't know much or don't have much skin in the game.

4 Qualify for Special Election to Jackson-Area House Seat

Four candidates have qualified for the Aug. 23 election to a vacant seat in the Mississippi House.

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In High (Summer) Spirits

In June, a group of people—some strangers, some not—gathered together at BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar for drinks and fellowship. For this summer tasting, Assistant Manager and Bar Master Chris Robertson wanted to feature something a little lighter, resulting in the Spirits of Summer tasting on Saturday, June 18.

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Edrick G. Franklin

Edrick G. Franklin was recently promoted from the eighth grade at Northwest Middle School, where he was an International Baccalaureate student. There, he also played French horn and alto saxophone.

Tuesday, July 26

Clinton, Dems Put Gun Control at Center of Convention Stage

With mothers of police violence victims on the stage and anti-gun protesters in the streets, Hillary Clinton and Democrats are giving gun control and efforts to curb police violence a starring role at their summer convention.

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HB 1523 in the 5th Circuit's Hands

Gov. Phil Bryant and John Davis, the executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, have asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the lower court's preliminary injunction that blocked House Bill 1523 from becoming law on June 30.

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Aaron Coker

Reaching the end of a long road tends to remind you of the journey as a whole. That's definitely been true for Pearl-native singer-songwriter Aaron Coker as he recorded his latest EP, "I'll Ride," which he released May 27.

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Skybox Daiquiri Bar and Bistro, Cakes by Crystal, My Kid's Cabby and Bumps and Beyond

Raymond T. Kersh, owner of Skybox Daiquiri Bar and Bistro (6392 Ridgewood Court Drive), said he hopes that his restaurant will serve as "a great place to take a break, listen to music, have some great food and a refreshing daiquiri," when it opens in September.

Anti-Abortion Duo Behind Planned Parenthood Videos Cleared

A Texas judge on Tuesday dismissed the last remaining charge against two California anti-abortion activists who made undercover videos of themselves trying to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood.

Letter Foretold Japan Rampage that Killed 19 Disabled People

A young Japanese man went on a stabbing rampage Tuesday at a facility for the mentally disabled where he had been fired, officials said, killing 19 people months after he gave a letter to Parliament outlining the bloody plan and saying all disabled people should be put to death.

German Officials Vow More Checking of Migrants After Attacks

Top security officials in Germany called Tuesday for tougher security screening of asylum-seekers and also announced that more police officers will be hired following four attacks in the country in the span of a week — two of them claimed by the extremist Islamic State group.

After Protest, Philadelphia, Pa., Takes Down Mississippi's Flag

About 50 Bernie Sanders supporters protesting before the Democratic National Convention on Monday sat down in a roadway until city officials agreed to remove Mississippi's state flag, which includes the Confederate battle emblem.

Monday, July 25

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MAC Construction Wants Siemens Lawsuit to Stay in Hinds County

MAC and Associates, LLC., wants a Jackson jury to decide whether Siemens Industry Inc. violated the terms of the contract to install new digital water meters as a part of the $90-million contract with the City of Jackson.

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'Young, Fun, Sexy and Hot': Education Leader Wants Passion in Teaching

Ron Clark, founder of the Ron Clark Academy, a private, nonprofit school in Atlanta, says he wants education to be "young, fun, sexy and hot."

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Justice Ann H. Lamar

Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Ann H. Lamar of Senatobia received the Chief Justice Award on July 16 during the Mississippi Bar Convention in Destin, Fla.

IOC Leaders Stop Short of Complete Ban on Russians from Rio

Rejecting calls by anti-doping officials for a complete ban on Russia, Olympic leaders on Sunday gave individual sports federations the task of deciding which athletes should be cleared to compete in next month's Rio de Janeiro Games.

DNC Steps Off in Philadelphia With Huge Protests, High Temps

The Democratic National Convention gets underway Monday in Philadelphia with much bigger demonstrations than the Republican convention and much higher temperatures as the region copes with an oppressive heat wave.

Gunfire at Teen Nightclub Party Leaves 2 Dead, 17 Wounded

Gunfire erupted at a nightclub hosting a swimsuit-themed party for teens in Florida, leaving two teens dead and at least 17 other people wounded, officials said Monday.

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10 Local Stories of the Week

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

Sunday, July 24

Wasserman Schultz Will Step Down From DNC After Convention

WASHINGTON (AP) — Five years ago, Debbie Wasserman Schultz was put in charge of the Democratic National Committee to usher in a new era for the party. Now, Wasserman Schultz is on the outs after an email scandal is rocking the party on the eve of its convention.

'March Against Fear' Participants Say There's Still a Ways to Go

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A half-century ago, thousands joined a march across Mississippi to challenge a system that condoned violence against black people and suppressed their rights — issues still reverberating in today's national debates about police violence.

Friday, July 22

Hillary Clinton Chooses Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as Running Mate

ORLANDO, Florida (AP) — Hillary Clinton named Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate Friday, adding a centrist former governor of a crucial battleground state to the Democratic ticket.

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Expert on Death of 17-Year-Old: 'Castle Doctrine' Needs Danger Threat

Yesterday, outside a business near the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center, a white employee shot a young black man who was allegedly breaking into a vehicle in the parking lot.

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Frustration Continues over City Furloughs

Standing in the sweltering July heat, city workers, union organizers and their interns gathered this morning on the steps of Jackson City Hall to speak out once again about the city-mandated furlough Fridays that have been in effect since last October.

Ex-KKK Leader David Duke Says He Plans to Run for US Senate

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke announced Friday on his website that he plans to run for U.S. Senate in Louisiana.

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Crystal James

Jackson native Crystal James is the winner of the 2016 Miss Black Mississippi Scholarship Pageant. James, 22, was crowned Miss Black Mississippi in Tupelo on September 2015.

2nd Former Ole Miss Student Sentenced in Statue Vandalism

A former University of Mississippi student has been sentenced to a year's probation plus 50 hours community service for placing a noose on the statue of the school's first black student.

Thursday, July 21

Group Lodges New Complaints Against DeSoto County Schools

A group that filed a civil-rights complaint against DeSoto County Schools last year says the school district is continuing to be discriminatory in its practices.

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White Male Shoots Black Minor for Breaking into Car Near Juvenile Detention Center

A white employee of Performance Oil Equipment shot and killed a black minor during an attempted car theft around noon Thursday, police say.

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UPDATED: ADF to Defend Bryant in HB 1523 Appeal, Emails Reveal Outside Groups' Influence

In a court filing Wednesday, Roberta Kaplan, one of the lawyers representing plaintiffs in the case that made the "Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act" unconstitutional, revealed numerous emails that show the Alliance Defending Freedom's influence on House Bill 1523.

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Attorney: Reddix Alleged Bribery a 'Shakedown'

On July 19, Dr. Carl Reddix pleaded not guilty to seven counts of bribery, appearing in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Ball for the first time in the latest chapter of the bribery scandal that continues to unfold around former Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps.

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'Demon Chipmunk' Case Goes Before Mississippi High Court

The Mississippi Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on a petition Rep. Jay Hughes, D-Oxford, filed during the 2016 legislative session, alleging that speed-reading bills in the House of Representatives violates the state's constitutional provision that allows bills to be read.

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The Jackson Free Press recently spoke with lead vocalist Kevin Martin about Candlebox's sixth studio album, "Disappearing in Airports," which hit stores April 22, and what's kept the group from pulling its own disappearing act.

Russia Loses Appeal Against Olympic Track and Field Ban

Russia lost its appeal Thursday against the Olympic ban on its track and field athletes, a decision which could add pressure on the IOC to exclude the country entirely from next month's games in Rio de Janeiro.

Police Shoot Autistic Man's Caretaker as He Lies in Street

A Florida police officer shot and wounded an autistic man's black caretaker, authorities said, in an incident purportedly captured on cellphone video that shows the caretaker lying down with his arms raised before being shot.

Attorney: NCAA Missed Deadline to Respond in Tyndall Case

An attorney for former Southern Mississippi basketball coach Donnie Tyndall said the NCAA's Committee on Infractions missed its deadline to respond to the coach's appeal in the case.

Wednesday, July 20

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Jackson Doctor Indicted in Epps-Related Bribery Case

Dr. Carl Reddix, 57, of Jackson, was charged today with paying bribes and kickbacks to former Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) Commissioner Christopher B. Epps in exchange for receiving contracts involving the MDOC and its operations, announced Acting United States Attorney Harold Brittain and FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Donald Alway.

Trump Speechwriter Apologizes for Melania Trump's Speech

A speechwriter for Donald Trump's company said Wednesday she made a mistake and apologized for using passages from a 2008 Michelle Obama speech in the Republican party convention speech delivered by Melania Trump.

Defense, Foreign Ministers to Plan Next Steps Against IS

Defense and foreign ministers from more than 30 nations gathered Wednesday to plan the next steps in the fight against the Islamic State group and to determine what more they can do as the fights for key cities in Iraq and Syria move forward.

Liar. Lucifer. Lock Her Up. GOP Denounces Clinton

Republicans may have mixed feelings about nominating Donald Trump for president, but one thing they can all rally around is a deep dislike for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

UK PM May to Visit Germany for Brexit Talks with Merkel

Prime Minister Theresa May is making her first overseas trip as Britain's leader on Wednesday to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a key figure in negotiating Britain's exit from the European Union.

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K. Gautier: Passion Prevails

While singer-songwriter Kody Gautier is somewhat new to the metro-area music scene as a solo artist, he'll undoubtedly be a familiar face for fans of Jackson-based Christian act Seeker & Servant.

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City Prodding State on ‘Bandos’

The City of Jackson took steps last week to prod Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann's office to include some of the more than 3,000 properties under its control to the list of qualified lots under the Neighbor's First program, the City-run effort to sell surplus property to qualified residents for as low as $10.

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‘Avenue Q’: Puppets with Purpose

A puzzled puppet bounces down a New York City street—one that isn't quite up to the "Sesame" code. His name is Princeton, and he's looking for his purpose, though a job would be a good start.

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City May Lease More Buses

The Jackson City Council deliberated handing the mayor the authority to terminate the contract with the company that maintains the JATRAN fleet during its last regular meeting on July 12, while moving toward leasing more buses in August.

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State Leaders Promise Budget, Tax Reform

State leaders made good on their promise to form working groups to study not only the state's tax structure but also investigate state-agency spending last week.

Education Agency Returning to Jackson After Office Repairs

Mississippi's Department of Education is returning to its downtown Jackson headquarters, after fire and water damage led the agency to spend nearly a year in temporary quarters in Clinton.

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Chicks We Love

This year's Chicks We Love help our communities in many ways, from giving a smile to every patient at a local women's clinic, to making people laugh with comedy, to playing music and advocating for the metro area's LGBT community, to helping women who are victims of domestic violence. We salute all women who are working to make Jackson, and Mississippi stronger.

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In the Red Zone

Michael Mosley describes the menu at 1693 Red Zone Grill as multicultural.

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Fighting the System

When America continuously witnesses the murder and harassment of black folks by those who are assigned to "protect and serve," one question pops up in my mind: Do they think we make this sh*t up?

Wasting Resources on Lies

The state's leaders prioritize their conservative politicking above all else despite costs to the taxpayer that a federal lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood after Senate Bill 2238 took effect July 1 will inevitably have.

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I Have No Words

I was only 19 years old, headed to the mall with my girlfriend, and excited about attending a sorority party that night when police pulled me over for a traffic violation. Surrounded by two cops, I remember the moment he pulled out his gun and pointed it at me.

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Synarus Green: I’m ‘Ready to Serve’ District 72

Synarus Green is no stranger to politics. He has worked government jobs in Jackson, Hattiesburg and Washington, D.C., and has decided to run for the now-vacant District 72 seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives.

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In ‘Trying Times,’ Demand Safer Policing

The understanding that black (and brown) lives do matter even when it's someone doing something unpredictable in a poor neighborhood must break through all the noise.

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Erin Shirley Orey

Erin Shirley Orey serves others not for monetary gain or personal accolades, but because she recognizes a need.

Tuesday, July 19

Son of Trump to Stump at Mississippi's Neshoba County Fair

Neshoba County Fair officials say one of Donald Trump's sons is planning to appear at the fair next week.

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Court May Decide if Judge Can Bar District Attorney from Duties

It is up to the highest court in Mississippi to decide whether Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith will be able to continue the duties of his position while the county circuit court deliberates his alleged acts of assisting defendants.

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Smokey Blues Bar-B-Q, Fischer Galleries and Earth Walk Shoes

Charles Mosley, owner of Smokey Blues Bar-B-Q (2603 Highway 80 W.), opened his restaurant inside the former location of Sonny's Barbecue on June 27.

Mississippi High Court Hears Legislative Speed-Reading Fight

The Mississippi Supreme Court is hearing arguments Tuesday in a legislative dispute that started this spring when Democrats tried to filibuster and the Republican House speaker used a superfast computer voice to read bills out loud.

Black Funeral Directors Sue Harrison County Coroner

The owners of six black-owned funeral homes have filed a lawsuit claiming Harrison County, the Board of Supervisors and Coroner Gary Hargrove discriminate by consistently sending bodies to two white-owned competitors.

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Lil Lonnie

Jackson-native hip-hop artist Lil Lonnie was surprised when his song "Colors" received national attention after it went viral in the summer of 2015.

IS Group Claims Responsibility for Train Attack in Germany

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Tuesday for an ax-and-knife attack on a German train that left at least five people wounded, but authorities said the 17-year-old Afghan asylum-seeker who was shot and killed by police as he fled the scene appears to have self-radicalized and had no direct link to the extremists.

Turkey Fires 24,000 Teachers, Police in Coup Plotters Hunt

The Turkish government on Tuesday escalated its wide-ranging crackdown against people it claims have ties to the alleged coup plotters, firing nearly 24,000 teachers and Interior Ministry employees across the country and demanding the resignations of another 1,577 university deans.

New York, Massachusetts Sue Volkswagen Over Emissions Cheating

New York state and Massachusetts are suing Volkswagen and its affiliates Audi and Porsche over diesel emissions cheating, alleging that the German automakers defrauded customers by selling diesel vehicles equipped with software allowing them to cheat emissions testing.

Judge Delays Sentencing in Prison Contracts Bribery Case

Former Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps and Brandon businessman Cecil McCrory will wait a little longer to find out their sentence after pleading guilty in connection to a prison contracts bribery case.

Monday, July 18

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DA Smith Asks High Court for Reinstatement

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shueler Smith filed a motion for the Mississippi Supreme Court to overturn an order barring him from participating in any of the duties of his office.

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GOP Convention Features Haley Barbour, Roger Wicker Speeches Today

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour are set to speak today at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Resident, City Celebrate Rehabbed 'Gateway' Home in West Jackson

Mayor Tony Yarber explained that the Gateway project, with a $4.1-million total budget, was an effort between the City of Jackson Department of Housing and Community Development, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the local nonprofit Green and Healthier Homes Initiative, and the Mississippi Housing Partnership. Yarber is joined by Chief Administrative Officer for the City Gus McCoy, Bobbie Clay, Ward 5 Councilman Charles Tillman, and Catherine Lee from Green and Healthy Homes Initiative.

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Jackie Sherrill

In the history of Mississippi State University football, one coach has coached, won and lost the most games: Jackie Sherrill, who led the Bulldogs from 1991 to 2003.

Uncle Says Nice Attacker Recruited by Algerian IS Member

The uncle of the truck driver who killed 84 people on the French Riviera says his nephew was indoctrinated about two weeks ago by an Algerian member of the Islamic State group in Nice.

Gunman 'Was Seeking Out,' Ambushed 6 Baton Rouge Officers

A former Marine dressed in black and carrying extra ammunition ambushed police in Baton Rouge, shooting and killing three law enforcement officers less than two weeks after a black man was fatally shot by police there in a confrontation that sparked nightly protests that reverberated nationwide.

Russian Inquiry Finds Cheating Went Beyond Sochi Olympics

An investigator looking into Russian doping found the country's state-directed cheating program resulted in at least 312 falsified results and lasted from 2011 through at least last year's world swimming championships.

Sunday, July 17

Obama Condemns Attacks on Police in Baton Rouge

WASHINGTON (AP) — The attacks on public servants and the rule of law "have to stop," President Barack Obama said Sunday after another shooting spree targeting police killed three officers in Baton Rouge and wounded three others.

Saturday, July 16

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Chris Smith, Former Mississippi State Football Player, Shot and Killed

MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) — A spokesman for Mississippi State University is confirming the death of the school's former wide receiver Chris Smith.

Mississippi Power: Syngas Production Starts at Kemper Plant

Mississippi Power says it has started producing "syngas" using lignite at the Kemper County power plant being built in Mississippi.

Friday, July 15

Local Gulen-Inspired 'Dialogue Institute' Addresses 'Ongoing Situation in Turkey,' Denounces Coup

The Dialogue Institute SW is a part of a larger network of organizations inspired by the teachings of Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of being connected to the attempted coup today in Turkey. Mississippi Representative Fatih Ozcan released a statement condemning the coup tonight.

Brady to Drop Appeal, Serve 4-Game 'Deflategate' Suspension

Tom Brady said Friday he will not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block his four-game "Deflategate" suspension, ending his fight in a scandal that tested the power of the NFL commissioner and tarnished the reputation of one of the sport's greatest players.

Man Dead After Firing at Plainclothes Baltimore Officers

Baltimore police officers responding to the sound of gunshots fatally shot a man who fired at them with an AR-15 style rifle, authorities said Friday.

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Town Hall: Reduce Youth Crime with Less Incarceration, More Engagement

The room was nearly packed on July 14 at Millsaps College as concerned members of the community gathered for a town-hall meeting on preventing violence, gang interruption, and alternatives to juvenile detention and juvenile justice presented by the Jackson Free Press and the Solutions Journalism Network.

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Trump Supporter Announces Republican Jackson Mayoral Candidacy

Jason Wells has a history of running for office, and now sets his sights on the Jackson mayoral office as a staunch Republican in a field dominated by Democrats.

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Merrill McKewen

Merrill McKewen, the newly appointed executive director of Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area, finds a special joy in being able to help people build and enhance their lives.

Mourners Stream Past Casket of Black Man Killed by Police

A steady stream of mourners filed past the casket of Alton Sterling, the 37-year-old black man who was shot to death by two white police officers as he was pinned to the pavement outside a convenience store.

Senator's Speech on Race Stirs Recollections of Police Stops

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the lone black Republican in the Senate, candidly described being stopped by police, even Capitol Hill cops, because of the color of his skin. It's an experience all too familiar to many of his African-American colleagues in Congress.

Man Charged in Burning Death of Woman Pleads Not Guilty

A 27-year-old man, who also faces a murder indictment in Louisiana, has pleaded not guilty in the 2014 burning death of a Mississippi woman.

France Reels as Bastille Day Truck Attack Kills 84 in Nice

A Tunisian living in France drove a large truck through crowds celebrating Bastille Day along Nice's beachfront, killing at least 84 people, many of them children, according to police and hospital officials. The slaughter ended only after police killed the armed attacker in a hail of bullets.

AP Source: Trump Offered Pence Vice President Job Thursday

Donald Trump has offered Mike Pence the job of vice president, and Trump aides have told the Indiana governor the formal announcement could be made on Saturday.

East Mississippi Community College Starts Smoke-Free Policy

East Mississippi Community College is joining several other college campuses that have implemented a tobacco-free policy.

Thursday, July 14

Congress Leaves Washington, Its Dysfunction on Display

Congress exited a sweltering Washington on Thursday, its dysfunction on full display as it left behind must-do legislation to combat the mosquito-borne Zika virus and a stalemate over lawmakers' basic job of fulfilling agency budgets.

Unable to Stop Syria's War, US Offers Russia New Partnership

The United States on Thursday offered Russia a broad new military partnership in Syria, hoping the attraction of a unified campaign against the Islamic State group and al-Qaida — and a Russian commitment to ground Syria's bombers — could end five years of civil war. The deal, if finalized, could dramatically alter America's role in the conflict.

Mississippi Lawmakers to Examine Taxes and Spending

Mississippi legislative leaders are appointing groups to study tax policies and examine state spending.

Civil War Governor's Mansion Burns Down in Louisiana

Fire has destroyed an antebellum plantation house that served as the governor's mansion for nine months during the Civil War.

LGBT Rights Trial Could Take Place Close to Election Day

Dueling lawsuits over a North Carolina law limiting protections for LGBT people will likely go to trial just as voters are gearing up to cast ballots for governor.

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No 'Failing' Districts, but Two Jackson Middle Schools Get 'F' in State Scoring

Just over a third of Mississippi's public-school districts scored a "C" than any other grade on the Mississippi Department of Education district accountability scores released this week.

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Civil Rights, History Museums Worth $17 Million to Capital City's Economy

The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum could bring $17 million a year into the city and state's economy, a spokeswoman for the museums said Wednesday.

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Joseph "Piko" Ewoodzie

As a professor of sociology and Africana studies at Davidson College in North Carolina, Joseph "Piko" Ewoodzie wants to uncover what's under the hood of society and discover how the world works.

France's Hollande Says State of Emergency Will be Lifted

French President Francois Hollande says that the state of emergency, in place since attacks in January claimed by the Islamic State group, will be lifted July 26, but he stressed that the threat continues.

Mississippi-Based Check Casher Closing Stores in 2 States

A Mississippi-based check cashing company fighting legal battles against state and federal regulators said Wednesday that it is closing stores in Alabama and in Louisiana.

Wednesday, July 13

ACLU, Other Groups Sue Police Over Baton Rouge Protests

Civil rights groups and activists sued Baton Rouge law enforcement agencies over their treatment of protesters rallying against the police shooting death of a black man, saying officers used excessive force and physically and verbally abused peaceful demonstrators.

Mississippi Leaders Divided on Religious-Beliefs Law Appeal

Mississippi's Democratic attorney general said Wednesday that he won't join the Republican governor in appealing a federal judge's ruling that blocked a state law on religious objections to gay marriage.

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Susan McGee’s Funky Muses

Susan McGee wets a sheet of watercolor paper and drops paint on the surface, the color spreading and creating marks on the wet canvas.

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UPDATED: City of Jackson Seeks to Close Doors on Fondren Garage

The City of Jackson has issued a warrant for the arrest of the owner of Fondren Garage, and more likely than not, the establishment will soon be shut down.

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Highway 80 Fest Stops In Jackson

Richelle Putnam works to promote the power of words in her home state, whether it's as the founder of the Mississippi Writers Guild or as the arts project director for The Montgomery Institute, a Meridian-based nonprofit that works to enhance education and development from western Alabama to eastern Mississippi.

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Biking a Different Path

Riders line up at the top of the Magnolia Ridge BMX course and wait for the gate to drop. As soon as the gate drops, the riders fly down the track, making jumps off hills and taking hard turns. Cheers come from the crowd until the race is finished, and the riders congratulate each other on a great run.

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The American Child’s Reality Of Violence

To be raised in America, no matter your ethnicity, is to be subjected to countless images of violence that our society presents to us as justifiable acts. Violence and force is what we know.

What the End of Bonding Really Means

With the end of bonding for misdemeanor offenses in the Jackson Municipal Court, the cost of freedom for indigent offenders prior to their trial seems to be the death of the local bonding industry.

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Freedom in Its Truest Form

Freedom is an understanding that love is its counterpart. Therefore, any act of hatred is a controlled act. The homosexual attacked by the homophobe isn't the one who is without freedom. The homophobe is the one who is a slave to his own evil.

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The Mystery of a $56-million Mistake

Mississippi's fiscal-year 2017 budget could be $120 million short if Attorney General Jim Hood's calculations are correct, and that budget just took effect on July 1.

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Working to ‘Do Something Different’

Mississippi was ranked 50th in overall child welfare this year, and while that rank could be linked to several systemic issues, poverty is an underlying factor, state experts say.

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‘Pay or Stay’: Bonding Agents v. Poor Defendants

The settlement between the City of Jackson and a number of poor citizens recently dismantled not just the "pay or stay" policy of the Municipal Court but also the practice of requiring bail bonding for misdemeanor offenses.

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Kids, Cops and Community Policing

In a nation that is noticing the high incidents of police killing, particularly of black men, public outcry from groups like #BlackLivesMatter and others insist upon police transparency and accountability due to generations of shattered trust between law enforcement and minority communities.

Moody's: Mississippi Has Negative Credit Outlook

The bond credit rating agency Moody's Investor Service has given Mississippi a negative credit outlook because the state dipped into its rainy day fund to cover budget shortfalls, but the state's bond rating remains unchanged.

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Stressed Out

Whether from relationships or other sources, stress can cause physical and mental complications that become medically significant.

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Hidden Super Foods

We've been hearing a lot about the wonders of coconut oil, but there's a truckload of other great foods right under our noses that deliver just as much—or more—nutrition as their well-known superstar brethren.

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Recognizing Privilege, Taking Responsibility

In this day and age, in this country, the color of your skin may very well determine how a police officer treats you, and what assumptions are made about your intentions, about your movements and even about whether you are properly exercising your Second Amendment rights. Fact.

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Weston Lindemann

Weston Lindemann, a 19-year-old Jackson resident and a sophomore at Millsaps College, is one of the youngest delegates who will attend the Democratic National Convention this year. He is a delegate for Bernie Sanders.

Tuesday, July 12

Mississippi District Appeals Order in Desegregation Case

A Mississippi school board has voted along racial lines to appeal a federal judge's order in a long-running desegregation case.

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Travis Creel

Louisiana Tech head baseball coach Lane Burroughs has added former Jones County Junior College assistant Travis Creel as an assistant coach to the Bulldogs staff.

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Lawsuit: Charter School Law 'Heralds a Financial Cataclysm' in Mississippi

On July 11, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of some Jackson parents against Gov. Phil Bryant, the Mississippi Department of Education and Jackson Public Schools, challenging a funding provision of the Mississippi Charter Schools Act.

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Wiseacre Brewery, Lake Harbour Massage Therapy, Dog Days of Summer and Penguin Renovations

The Penguin Restaurant & Bar closed Friday, July 8, at 3 p.m. for the start of summer renovations.

Clinton Receives Long-Awaited Endorsement from Sanders

Bernie Sanders, whose calls for a "political revolution" energized millions of voters across the nation, offered a long-awaited endorsement of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton Tuesday, calling for unity just two weeks shy of the Democratic National Convention.

Lawsuit Seeks to Block Charter Schools in Mississippi

A new lawsuit seeks to block charter schools in Mississippi, arguing that they violate the state constitution by making school districts share property tax collections with schools they don't control.

Obama to Honor 5 Dallas Officers Shot by Man Out for Revenge

President Barack Obama will be in a different city but still in an all-too-familiar place when he leads the nation in honoring more lives cut short by gun violence, this time five white police officers slain by a black man who said he wanted revenge for the killings of blacks by police.

AG Lynch on Capitol Hill as GOP Presses Clinton Inquiry

Attorney General Loretta Lynch is testifying before Congress amid a roiling national debate over police violence and as House Republicans seek a Justice Department perjury investigation of Hillary Clinton.

B.B. King Estate, Universal Sued Over Blues Legend's Photos

A New York photographer is suing B.B. King's estate and Universal Music Group for copyright infringement, saying his pictures of the blues legend have been used on King's albums for more than 40 years without his permission.

Monday, July 11

Sanders to Back Clinton. Will Supporters Follow?

It looks as if Bernie Sanders is ready to back Hillary Clinton. But not all his supporters are prepared to give up revolution for realism.

Sheriff: 2 Bailiffs, Suspect Dead in Michigan Courthouse

Two bailiffs were shot and killed Monday inside a southwestern Michigan courthouse before officers killed the gunman, a sheriff said.

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Michael Farris Smith Talks at Coalesce in Jackson Tonight

Both growing up in rural Mississippi and living abroad among whimsical Paris cafes and witnessing classic Spaniard bull fights made novelist Michael Farris Smith a literary character within his own world.

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Gov. Bryant Claims Immunity to Dodge Testifying in Airport 'Takeover' Case

Gov. Phil Bryant has filed a motion to quash a subpoena for his appearance in the airport takeover lawsuit, claiming "legislative immunity."

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Guilty Pleas, and a Hunt for Prostitutes, Johns and Child Predators

It's been a relatively steady summer of lower crime across the city, with major crimes coming in 17.6 percent lower than 2015 with violent crimes 15.4 percent lower than 2015 and property crime 18.2 percent lower than 2015, year-to-date.

Aerojet Rocketdyne to Expand at NASA's Stennis Space Center

Officials with Aerojet Rocketdyne say assembly and testing of its AR1 advanced liquid rocket engine will take place at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

Protesters Cleared from I-40 Bridge Over Mississippi

Hundreds of protesters angry over police killings of black people occupied a key bridge over the Mississippi River Sunday night, blocking an interstate highway for hours before officers moved them off.

Protests Over Police Killings Aim at Occupying Interstates

Police made dozens of arrests in Louisiana's capital city during weekend protests around the country in which people angry over police killings of young black men sought to block some major interstates.

Friday, July 8

10 States Sue Over Restrooms Transgender Students Can Use

Ten states sued the federal government Friday over rules requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms conforming to their gender identity, joining a dozen other states in the latest fight over LGBT rights.

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Gov. Bryant Alone Appeals HB 1523, Wants 'Special Protections and Accommodations'

Gov. Phil Bryant has appealed to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, asking them to reverse U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves' decision to block House Bill 1523 from becoming law last week.

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Furloughs for City Employees Here to Stay

The City of Jackson must cut all across the board to balance the budget for the next fiscal year, which means that the furloughs for City employees are here to stay.

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Antwone Perkins

Even within a specific genre, music listeners and critics often try to categorize the style of a given artist. Jackson-native producer and musician Antwone Perkins says he doesn't place himself into any of these defined categories, often combining elements of soul, R&B, hip-hop and pop in different doses, and he wants people to know that being different doesn't make you an outcast.

Police: 5 Officers dead, 7 Hurt in Dallas Protest Shooting

Gunmen shot and killed five police officers and wounded seven others during a protest over fatal police shootings of black men in other states, authorities said. It appeared to be the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Mississippi Sen. Massey Charged After Fight in Olive Branch

Mississippi state Sen. Chris Massey was arrested Thursday and charged with aggravated assault after a fight in a subdivision, police said.

Thursday, July 7

State Department to Reopen Probe into Clinton's Handling of Classified Info

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department is reopening an internal investigation of possible mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton and top aides.

Video Shows Gruesome Aftermath of Minnesota Police Shooting

A woman who watched as a police officer fatally shot her boyfriend during a traffic stop streamed the gruesome aftermath of the slaying live on Facebook, telling a worldwide audience that her companion had been shot "for no apparent reason" while reaching for his wallet.

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Water Main Replacement Project on Eastover Begins

Over the last year, the Eastover Drive water main has busted more than 20 times, leading to water loss, boil-water notices and repeated trips by city crews to mend the 60-year-old pipe.

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Mississippi to Receive 'Help Me Grow' Hotline

Mississippi Families for Kids, a community service organization that works with adoptive and foster-care families as well as children with mental-health challenges, received an $850,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to start a Help Me Grow program in Mississippi, a hotline to help connect families to services in their area for children.

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Bob Braddy

One JSU celebrity worth noting is Robert "Bob" Braddy, who came from humble roots in Florence, Miss., and built the Tigers' baseball program into a SWAC powerhouse.

Trial Begins for Baltimore Officer Charged in Arrestee Death

Prosecutors dropped a misconduct charge Thursday against the highest-ranking Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

FBI Head Faces Congress Over Clinton Email Investigation

FBI Director James Comey made his first appearance Thursday before Congress since announcing the agency's recommendation to not prosecute Hillary Clinton over her private email setup.

2 States Join Suit Against Obama Transgender Bathroom Plan

Two states have joined the 11-state coalition Texas is leading in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the Obama administration's recent directive about transgender students in public schools.

Wednesday, July 6

Trump: Saddam Killed Terrorists 'So Good'

Donald Trump, who frequently criticizes U.S. foreign policy under President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is praising Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's ruthlessness.

Conservative Opposition Endangers House Republican Gun Bill

Conservative opposition put a House Republican gun and anti-terrorism bill in jeopardy Wednesday, even as Democrats pressed for election-year votes on their proposals to stiffen firearm curbs.

GOP to Examine FBI Decision on Clinton Emails

Irate that Hillary Clinton will not face criminal charges over her emails, House Republicans are summoning FBI Director James Comey to Capitol Hill to answer their questions.

Feds Open Investigation Into Deadly Police Shooting

The U.S. Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation Wednesday into the videotaped police killing of a black man who authorities say had a gun as he wrestled with officers on the pavement outside a convenience store.

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To See the Face of God

"She's going down," whispered my wife, and I glanced in alarm at the bride. Chaos reigns when a member of the wedding party faints; we have seen it.

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Hispanic Influx: One School Struggles to Meet Children’s Needs

It's Cinco de Mayo in Christy Crotwell's class, and Luis Antonio Hernandez is reading the first-graders a story about the holiday's origins. He reads each page twice—once in English, once in Spanish—and the students give him their full attention. One kid wears a large sombrero in honor of the occasion.

To Prevent Violent Crime, Engage with Experts Like Harlem’s Kai Smith for Ideas

In Jackson, and Mississippi in general, it is a sport to complain about crime, not to mention to sensationalize it. The TV stations love to milk crime, especially in the capital city, for viewers and ratings, often leading the evening news with it, as if nothing could be more important.

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Rebelling Against the Rebellion

Newt Knight is described as a "deserter, renegade and assassin" on the website of the local Sons of the Confederate Veterans chapter in Jones County, but Lew Smith in nearby Sumrall has a different view.

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Mississippi Pride

It saddens me that so much hate has taken root in the state where I grew up, but I am also proud to have overcome it. I am proud of the brave LGBT people and allies in Mississippi who are standing up against it.

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Simons Says: HB 1523 ‘Is About Bigotry’

Rabbi Jeremy Simons knows his Bible too well to lend credence to people who cherry-pick verses to use it to support House Bill 1523, a law that many criticize as discriminatory against the LGBT community.

Study: Residents May Ignore Emergency Alerts

A study by two University of Southern Mississippi researchers on the effectiveness of emergency alerts has revealed some surprising results.

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Danger Is Their Last Name

From its fruit-emoji cover to its tongue-in-cheek song titles, including "George Bush Controls the Weather," it is obvious that the latest album from Oxford, Miss., prog-rock trio Carlos Danger, "Now That's What I Call Carlos Danger, Volume Two!", which the band released May 13, isn't exactly serious.

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Defending Our Blackness, Unapologetically

I didn't watch the 2016 BET awards last Sunday, but I did partake in the Black Twitter awards watch party where I retweet, lurk from afar and pop some tweets off for the sake of humor. It's probably one of the rare things that brings us together on social media. Well, that and exposing racists.

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Arianna Marcell

For Arianna Marcell, dance was something that was easy to love and have fun with. At the age of 8, Arianna Marcell's mother, Charmione, enrolled her in local dance studios in their hometown, McKinney, Texas.

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‘Tough Love’: Harlem Gang Expert Visiting Jackson

Dr. Kai Smith, a native of Harlem, runs GRAAFICS, Gang Diversion, Reentry And Absent Fathers Intervention Centers, a program he founded to give young men and women an outlet to avoid criminal behavior.

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For the Love of Hot Dogs

When Gary Howard Jr. moved from New Orleans to Winona, Miss., he decided to bring a little bit of the culture of his home city back with him.

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Abortion in Mississippi: ‘The Fight’s Not Over’

Derenda Hancock and two other Pink House Defenders were sitting anxiously outside the Jackson Women's Health Organization with donuts and coffee the morning of June 27, all checking their phones for the news. Hancock saw it first on SCOTUS Blog.

Tuesday, July 5

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Freeze & Thank You, Jack's Construction Site, Just Plain Good and Morrison Brothers Music

Last month, Jonas and Eboni Adams found a location at 5780 Highway 80 on the border of Clinton and Jackson where they could finally set up a brick-and-mortar location for their shaved ice business, Freeze & Thank You.

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A Million for JATRAN, Fireworks, and 'Capacity' at City Council

Even as fireworks are banned in many cities across the country, the Jackson City Council could not pass an ordinance to ban fireworks in the city before the July 4 holiday, amid concerns by members about the noise and its similarity to gunfire.

Saturday, July 2

Election Set for Mississippi House Seat Vacated by Campbell

Gov. Phil Bryant has set special election to a vacant seat in the Mississippi House.

Friday, July 1

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Special Session: Gov. Phil Bryant Asked for 'Unlimited Spending Authority'

For as long as some experienced lawmakers can remember, this week's special session was momentous.

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UPDATED: 'Still in Legal Limbo': HB 1523 Down in Mississippi, But Not Out

Late last night, U.S. District Court for Southern Mississippi Judge Carlton Reeves stopped Mississippi's controversial HB 1523, the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Religious Discrimination Act, in its tracks.

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Blaise Vera

When former stars lose the race with Father Time, it opens the door to youth. That could help Blaise Vera rise in the Olympic 50-meter freestyle.

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Hood on HB 1523 Appeal: 'I Will Have to Think Long and Hard'

“The federal court's ruling was straightforward and clear. On page 9, the court quotes statements made by legislators, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. The court found that those statements, along with the inclusion of the term "sincerely held religious beliefs" and the definition thereof in HB 1523, were strong evidence that the law was unconstitutional."

Official: AG Will Accept Prosecutors' Call on Clinton Case

President Barack Obama's top lawyer won't overrule the findings of an FBI-led investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server, a Justice Department official said Friday.

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U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves Blocks HB 1523

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A federal judge blocked a Mississippi law on religious objections to same-sex marriage moments before it was set to take effect Friday, ruling it unconstitutionally establishes preferred beliefs and creates unequal treatment for gay people.

Officials Tell Bryant to Withdraw $63.1M to Cover Budget Gap

Budget officials are recommending that Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant withdraw $63.1 million from state savings to cover the 2016 deficit.