Stories for June 2016


Thursday, June 30

Life After Retirement

Take some time to evaluate your loved ones’ outlook on retirement, aside from the financial aspect.

Pentagon Ends Ban on Transgender Troops in Military

Saying it's the right thing to do, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Thursday that transgender people will be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military, ending one of the last bans on service in the armed forces.

Louisiana 1st State in Deep South to Expand Medicaid

Louisiana is becoming the first state in the Republican-dominated Deep South to expand its Medicaid program, with more than 233,000 people already enrolled in the government-financed insurance coverage that begins Friday.

Retirement? Never Mind; Holland Staying in Mississippi House

The ever-quotable Rep. Steve Holland says he will remain in the Mississippi House, despite announcing to colleagues that he was planning to retire.

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Court Upholds Developer David Watkins' Securities Violations

After years of appeals, the local developer tasked with renovating the Belk building in Metrocenter Mall must pay over $600,000 in restitution and fines.

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Feeding Jackson's Hungry Children: Summer Program Continues Until July 15

Hundreds of Jackson-area children gathered at McWillie Elementary School today to for the opportunity to eat lunch, learn healthy habits and, time permitting, hit the Quan.

Report: US Sailors Ill-Prepared for Iran Encounter in Gulf

Weak leadership, poor judgment, a lack of "warfighting toughness" and a litany of errors led to the embarrassing capture and detention by Iran of 10 U.S. sailors in the Persian Gulf in January, according to a Navy investigation released Thursday.

At 150, KKK Sees Opportunities in US Political Trends

Born in the ashes of the smoldering South after the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan died and was reborn before losing the fight against civil rights in the 1960s. Membership dwindled, a unified group fractured, and one-time members went to prison for a string of murderous attacks against blacks. Many assumed the group was dead, a white-robed ghost of hate and violence.

Judge Faces Deadline for Decision on Indiana Abortion Law

A federal judge is facing a deadline for deciding whether to block a new Indiana law banning abortions sought because of fetal genetic abnormalities.

Authorities: Explosion, Fire, Rock Plant; No One Injured

Two explosions and a fire rocked a natural gas plant in southern Mississippi, where flames shot out of the building for hours and one of the blasts could be felt up to 10 miles away, authorities said.

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Fourth of July Eats and Festivities

For the Fourth of July, Broad Street will have July 4-themed sugar cookies on a first-come-first-serve basis, though they can be special ordered as well. Customers must pick orders up by Sunday. Broad Street will be closed on July 4.

Wednesday, June 29

Regulators Fine BancorpSouth $10.6 Million for Redlining

The Department of Justice and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined Mississippi-based BancorpSouth $10.6 million, alleging the bank deliberately discriminated against minorities in its lending practices.

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Rep. Steve Holland

Rep. Steve Holland says he might be on the verge of retiring from the Mississippi House, after 33 years' service.

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Not an Average Fourth of July

There is no better time to indulge in color than the Fourth of July—specifically red, white and blue. While cookouts, games and fireworks are de rigueur, these colorful cocktails and beautiful cake will create a celebratory beginning and ending to the festivities.

Shop Local, Help Whole Community

With our hyper-local focus here at the Jackson Free Press (we're a locally owned business, too), we've emphasized the importance of shopping local since our very first issue.

For the Love of Women, Kids, Everyone Else

The Legislature is already in a financial bind—calling a special session with two days left in the fiscal year clearly means things are bad. So quit making them worse by wasting tax dollars on lawsuits that go nowhere except as a bullet point on your campaign flyers for 2019.

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Still Separate After Orlando Massacre

Where is our compassion, when because it happened at an LGBT nightclub and not a Presbyterian church, we choose whether to help or not? The idea is that although I am me and you are you, we share in each other's pain and glory as a people.

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Jasper Died, But We Can’t Give Up

I was ready to give up: the work, Mississippi, everything. Jasper had been killed in Parchman. They say suicide, but anyone who is familiar with death in prisons knows that even if he was killed with his own hands, it wasn't suicide.

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Continental Tire to Open with 100 Jobs by 2018

Continental Tire is set to begin work on its Mississippi tire plant, which will start with clearing the 900-acre site just outside Clinton. While it won't be hiring any actual employees until October 2018, contracting work is available in the coming months for Mississippi businesses.

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Dolla Black’s Biggest Days

While Jackson listeners have been jamming to verses from rapper Dolla Black for nearly a decade now, the genre wasn't his first introduction to making music.

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Portraits of an Artist Jump off the Page

Roger Leonard Long has a talent for making his subjects come to life. Some of his subjects such as Prince or even someone's pet look like they're about to jump off the page and into reality.

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Gregory McCarty

Gregory McCarty, 32, has had a lifelong fascination with numbers—something that has been both a blessing and a curse. Born in Jackson, he spent his childhood years moving.

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‘Shift Your Shopping’ During Independents Week

As we pause this week to consider what makes this country great, I'd like to suggest that you think about the small, local, independent businesses that make this region a unique place to live, while building wealth, independence and character in metro Jackson.

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City Leaders Ally Against Airport ‘Takeover’ Move

The saga of who controls the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers Airport moves into the federal courthouse, and complex legal mechanizations are now paramount to the question of who owns the land on which the airport sits.

Governor Could Dip Deeper into Mississippi Rainy Day Fund

Mississippi House members will return Wednesday to finish giving Gov. Phil Bryant permission to take as much as he needs from financial reserves to cover a deficit of up to $75 million for the budget year ending at midnight Thursday.

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Jones to Remain on JRA Board Despite Indictment

Jackson Redevelopment Authority Chairman McKinley Alexander said he would not pursue any action to replace or oust board member Andria Jones, amid questions about her pending legal charges.

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Establishment Clause Front, Center in HB 1523 Courtroom

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...." How those words affect the language in House Bill 1523 could lead to a historic Establishment Clause ruling this week when U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves decides whether or not to issue a preliminary injunction to keep HB 1523 from becoming law on July 1.

Tuesday, June 28

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Judge on HB 1523: Clerks Can’t Recuse Selves from Marriage Licenses

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves blocked the part of House Bill 1523 that says circuit clerks can recuse themselves from issuing same-sex marriage licenses due to a “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”

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Que Sera Sera Closes, Green Ghost Tacos Coming to Fondren and Final Friday

Boo Noble, owner of Cajun restaurant Que Sera Sera in Fondren, officially retired and closed his popular establishment after 27 years of operation on Thursday, June 23.

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Deuce McAllister

The New Orleans Saints have had several popular players through the years. You could name ones such as Drew Brees, Archie Manning, Rickey Jackson, Pat Swilling, Sam Mills and a few others.

Supreme Court Denies Mississippi, Wisconsin Abortion Appeals

The Supreme Court has rejected appeals from Mississippi and Wisconsin seeking to put in place restrictions on abortion clinics that were struck down by lower courts.

Appeals Court Opens Way for Mississippi to Resume Executions

Mississippi could be able to resume executions early next month after an appeals court denied to rehear a case challenging a drug the state plans to use in lethal injections.

Monday, June 27

Judge Blocks Part of Mississippi LGBT Marriage Law

A federal judge ruled Monday that Mississippi clerks cannot cite their own religious beliefs to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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JPS Dismisses Defamation Lawsuit Against BOTEC, Alleged 'Cruelly False Assertions'

Jackson Public Schools ended its legal wrangling with Los Angeles-based research firm BOTEC Analysis over results it published in a Mississippi attorney general-funded study about the relationship between school discipline and youth violence in the capital city.

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Violent 'March Against Fear,' Roots of 'Black Power' Honored at Tougaloo College

On Saturday, June 25, the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, Inc., Tougaloo College, The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute and Nissan hosted the 50-year commemoration of the March Against Fear at Tougaloo in a ceremony called, "The March Against Fear and Tougaloo College: A Safe Haven."

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Bobby Moak

The Mississippi Democratic Party elected new leaders to head the organization for the next four years, including former House minority leader Bobby Moak as party chair, the organization said in a statement Sunday.

Mississippi Gov Sets Special Session to Patch Current Budget

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is calling legislators into special session Tuesday to patch a hole in the budget before the fiscal year ends at midnight Thursday.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Abortion Clinic Regulations

The Supreme Court struck down Texas' widely replicated regulation of abortion clinics Monday in the court's biggest abortion case in nearly a quarter century.

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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, June 24

Bryant Could Call Tuesday Session to Deal with Budget Gap

Gov. Phil Bryant says he's considering calling a special legislative session Tuesday to deal with a shortfall as Mississippi's 2016 budget year comes to a close.

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Mississippi's Children Make Gains But Still Land in Last Place

Child well-being in Mississippi is improving, but largely due to poverty, the state finished 50th in the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2016 Kids Count data.

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Ernie Hudson

After a successful move to a two-day festival in 2015, Mississippi Comic Con (formerly known as the SOPOCU Con) is returning for its third year this Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26, with a bigger event and even bigger stars, including actor Ernie Hudson.

Sanders Says He'll Vote for Clinton, But No Endorsement Yet

Bernie Sanders said Friday he will vote for Hillary Clinton for president, stopping short of a full endorsement of his Democratic presidential rival more than a week after the final primary contests.

Britain Votes to Leave EU: Cameron to Resign; Markets Rocked

Britain voted to leave the European Union after a bitterly divisive referendum campaign, toppling the prime minister Friday, sending global markets plunging and shattering the stability of a project in continental unity designed half a century ago to prevent World War III.

US Judge Hears Arguments Over Mississippi LGBT Marriage Law

Mississippi is the only state to enact a law listing specific religious beliefs to be protected in reaction to the legalization of same-sex marriage, a professor testified Thursday in federal court.

Thursday, June 23

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Fight for Jackson Airport: City, JMAA Join Stallworth's Lawsuit Against State

The City of Jackson and the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority announced Thursday afternoon that they would be filing a joint motion to intervene in the ongoing lawsuit filed by former JMAA commissioner Jeffrey Stallworth in the latest stage of the fight over Jackson's airport.

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DOJ, Hinds County Reach Settlement on Criminal Justice System Reform

The Justice Department today reached a landmark settlement agreement to reform the criminal justice system in Hinds County, Mississippi, a press release states.

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Archie Manning

Former University of Mississippi quarterback Archie Manning hasn’t taken a snap on the field in 32 years, but he is still collecting accolades. This summer, Manning was awarded the Liberty Bowl’s Distinguished Citizen Award and named the 2016 National Football Foundation’s Gold Medal recipient.

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Walking from Memphis: James Meredith's Bloody 'March Against Fear' 50 Years Later

Sunday, June 26, 2016, marks 50 years since the March Against Fear concluded in Jackson. To commemorate the milestone, Pamela Junior and Cynthia Goodloe Palmer have organized a special series of events for Thursday, June 23, Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26.

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UPDATE: Bomb Threat Clears Hinds County Courthouse

Moments after the Hinds County Circuit Clerk explained that he could not produce documents supporting Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith's counter-accusations against Attorney General Jim Hood'ss office, deputies swarmed the bottom floor of the courthouse, ushering everyone out of the building.

Obama Immigration Plan Blocked by 4-4 Tie at Supreme Court

A tie vote by the Supreme Court is blocking President Barack Obama's immigration plan that sought to shield millions living in the U.S. illegally from deportation.

Police Driver Acquitted of All Charges in Freddie Gray Death

A judge acquitted a police driver of all charges on Thursday in the death of 25-year-old arrestee Freddie Gray, whose broken neck on the way to the station set off Baltimore's worst riots in decades.

Trump Has Trouble with Facts in Clinton-Bashing Speech

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a speech skewering Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump assigned her far more influence than she had as secretary of state as he blamed her directly for a host of foreign policy ills. He also peddled some suspect allegations that she used her time as the top diplomat to enrich herself.

Bryant Taps Deputy Treasurer to be State Finance Director

A deputy state treasurer will become the new director of the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration.

Dems Stage Election-Year Sit-in On Guns; GOP Refuse to Yield

A drained and dwindling group of Democrats carried their remarkable House floor sit-in into the morning Thursday, disrupting the business of Congress in the wake of the Orlando shooting rampage and making demands for gun-control votes in an extraordinary protest broadcast live to the world.

Wednesday, June 22

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Hinds District Attorney Arrested by AG, Sheriff

An arrest warrant was served and executed on Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith Wednesday morning for six counts of what court documents state was assisting criminal defendants during his term.

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To Fetch a Pail of Water

This summer marks 25 years since I came out of the closet. Today, coming out happens so often in the world of the Hollywood A-listers, athletes, journalists and elected officials that it hardly makes news. Harvey Milk said we must come out and, while not everyone can right now, plenty visible folks are twirling out of the closet, wire hangers and all.

It’s Time to Fight for Disability Rights

At its core, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act is about discrimination. The federal act was passed in 1990, and Title II "prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities."

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Equal-Opportunity Bullets

If one peeked through the veil of gun freedom rhetoric, he or she may take issue with our gun culture and discover it to be a bullet-riddled illness that has plagued this country for generations.

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For Student Achievement, Facilities Matter

This past February, the Yazoo County School District made a $4.2-million deal with Schneider Electric, a global company that specializes in automation and energy, to make its schools "greener" in savings and in energy consumption with an Energy Savings Performance Contract.

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The State of Mental Health in Mississippi

Mississippi's mental-health system is mainly run through the Mississippi Department of Health, which certifies private and public mental health-care providers, rapid-response teams of mental health-care professionals and public community mental-health centers around the state.

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Councilman Stokes: Ban Confederate Flags and Decrease the Reserve Fund

Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes proposed an order last week revising the required reserve fund in the budget from the ordinance-mandated 7 percent to a lower number that the City of Jackson can reach in its current budget crisis.

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Mississippi, Your ALEC is Showing

From laws that allow tax breaks for out-of-state businesses to the state's special-education voucher program, the Mississippi state Legislature has picked up and written into law model policy language from a national and controversial conservative organization, the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC for short.

Mississippi LGBT Law Withstands 1 Challenge; 3 Others Await

A federal judge has declined to block a Mississippi gay marriage law in one challenge filed against it. But it's still possible he will block the law after considering three other lawsuits.

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Uneasy Riders: People with Disabilities Face ‘Layers of Discrimination’

On Sundays, Dr. Scott Crawford rides his power wheelchair down Meadowbrook Road to church, usually in the road and against the flow of traffic. The city's public-transit service, JATRAN, does not run on Sundays, and, as of June 20, the service is running without six of its routes due to vehicle maintenance on 13 buses in the fleet.

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Jordan Jefferson

For Jordan Jefferson, who graduated as the valedictorian from Callaway High School in May, time management has been a critical skill in his daily life.

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Latin Flavors

Upbeat Latin music fills the dining area at El Sabor Latin Cuisine in Ridgeland. Once you open the restaurant's double-door entrance, you walk into a lofty, welcoming space adorned with pool tables, wooded dining furniture and bar, colorful Mexican fruit sodas and a checkered floor.

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Going with the Grey

Since April 2008, Shadz of Grey has taken the stage at countless restaurants, venues and private events, performing classic rock, pop and R&B for audiences in the Jackson metro area and beyond.

Tuesday, June 21

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Mayor Yarber on Crime: Saw ‘7 or 8 Dead Bodies’ Before Age 13, All Must 'Get Out of Our Bubble'

Mayor Tony Yarber sat down to discuss crime with Jackson Free Press Editor-in-chief Donna Ladd on June 20 at Millsaps, sharing stories that showed that for him that the consequences of crime were present from an early age.

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Of Love and Orlando

The day before a gunman massacred 49 mostly Latino men and women at the gay club, Pulse, in Orlando, I was wandering through the Brooklyn Pride festival in New York City. It was right around the corner from my rented apartment in Park Slope where I stayed to do more crime-solutions reporting.

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HB 1523 in the Courthouse: Roberta Kaplan Makes Her Case

House Bill 1523 was destined to go down Congress Street, a straight shot from the Capitol to the federal courthouse, where U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves heard the first arguments challenging the "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act" on Monday.

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The Pet Shop of Fondren, Orangetheory Fitness, and Taste of Detroit

Taste of Detroit, a family-owned and -operated restaurant with locations throughout Detroit, branched out of the city and opened a location in Brandon on Friday, June 18.

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Teresa Nicholas

About a year after Jackson-based author Teresa Nicholas released her first book, "Buryin' Daddy: Putting My Lebanese, Catholic, Southern Baptist Childhood to Rest," she decided to take on another challenge that was far removed from her debut memoir yet deeply personal in a new way.

Monday, June 20

'Mississippi Burning' Civil Rights Case Closed

The investigation into the infamous slayings of three civil rights workers in Mississippi is finally closed, the state's attorney general said Monday, 52 years almost to the day after the young men disappeared during "Freedom Summer."

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Jackson Police Purchase 39 Tasers: 'Intended to Save Lives'

The Jackson City Council gave the Jackson Police Department week the go-ahead last to purchase 39 "conducted electricity weapons," or Tasers.

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Mississippi Sees Growth in Early Childhood Literacy, Graduation Rates

Mississippi's public-school students are showing significant gains in graduation rates and kindergarten literary, the Mississippi Department of Education is reporting.

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Michael Oher

The Panthers are making sure Cam Newton's blind side is protected. Carolina signed left tackle Michael Oher to a three-year contract extension on Friday.

Trump Campaign Manager Forced Out

Republican presidential contender Donald Trump has forced out his hard-charging campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, in a dramatic shakeup designed to calm panicked Republican leaders and reverse one of the most tumultuous stretches of Trump's unconventional White House bid.

Supreme Court Leaves State Assault Weapons Bans in Place

The Supreme Court has rejected challenges to assault weapons bans in Connecticut and New York, in the aftermath of the shooting attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 50 people dead.

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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, June 17

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Koinonia Coffee House Closes But Will Return

Koinonia Coffee House closes at the end of the month, owner Lee Harper announced this morning during the weekly Friday Forum, promising that in its place a whole new stage of community development will take its place for west Jackson.

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School Choice Group Names Lt. Gov. Reeves 'Education Reformer of the Year'

Empower Mississippi, an education "choice" nonprofit organization, named Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves the "Education Reformer of the Year" for his work on several education bills in the past legislative session.

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the CUT: Creating New Energy

For Madison, Miss., alternative quartet the CUT, genre labels can get a bit tricky. Keyboardist Vincent McMurtery, his brother, drummer Vinson "Vic" McMurtery, saxophonist Judson Wright and guitarist Ben Atkinson bring elements of funk, soul, hip-hop, jazz-fusion, rock and R&B, and no two songs sound entirely alike.

Mississippi Community College Fees Rise 7 Percent on Average

Tuition will rise almost 7 percent on average this fall at Mississippi's 15 community and junior colleges.

Thursday, June 16

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WalletHub Study: Mississippi Has 'Worst State Economy,' ALEC Says Economic Outlook Hopeful

Few people are moving to Mississippi—at least not enough to make a significant dent in a bar graph. The latest issue of "Mississippi's Business" says that in 2015, the state's population increased at a significantly lower rate than neighboring states and the U.S. as a whole.

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When a Priest Files a Lawsuit Against HB 1523

Rev. Susan Hrostowski is familiar with fighting for her and her family's rights, even if that means going to court. She was one of the plaintiffs in the case that struck down Mississippi's ban on same-sex adoption on March 31.

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Fletcher Cox

After being one of the biggest snubs for last year's Pro Bowl, Fletcher Cox made sure the same wouldn't be said by the end of the 2016 season.

Wednesday, June 15

US judge to Hear Arguments Monday Over Mississippi LGBT Law

A federal judge will hear arguments Monday over challenges to a Mississippi law that could restrict access to same-sex marriage.

Planned Parenthood Sues Mississippi Over Defunding Law

Planned Parenthood is suing Mississippi over a new state law that will ban Medicaid from spending money with any abortion provider.

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Juneteenth: Celebrating the End of Slavery

Every year, cities around the country recognize Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

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2016 Summer Beer Tasting

We did it again. We tried six more beers in our annual beer tasting. Thanks for LD's BeerRun for supplying us with the drinks and to Craig Hendry and Raise Your Pints for organizing the tasting.

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The American Dream?

It is silly to walk around this planet consumed with the idea that you are the only one who matters, but it is equally foolish not to think about your own needs and desires.

Politicizing Tragedy

The nation woke up Sunday to a horrific shock—the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history—that at least for now appears to be part terror, part hate crime.

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I Come from Mississippi

I come from Mississippi, where the struggle for racial harmony has always been particularly tough and violent.

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‘Landmark’: ‘Coolest, Sexiest Building in Mississippi’?

Ben Allen, president of Downtown Jackson Partners, said that the development of the Landmark building was crucial to downtown, not just for residential space but for its financial independence from state and local assistance.

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Fondren’s TIGER Total Makeover

For Bill Wilson of Fondren, like many others, the memory of city infrastructure projects from years past haunts the current endeavor to rip up and reconstruct sections of North State Street from Hartfield Street in the south to where it crosses Sheppard Street.

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Jim Taylor

Growing up just near Memphis, Jim Taylor always went to church on Sundays but never truly got involved until he enrolled at the University of Mississippi and attended a campus ministry meeting.

Lt. Gov Sides with House Leader in Bill Reading Dispute

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is siding with a fellow Republican in a dispute over how the Mississippi Legislature conducts business.

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In Tough Times, Be Grateful

A few things have made me realize that it's important to give thanks every day—not just one day of the year.

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Reducing Rape, Violence with ‘Engaged Bystanders’

The Mississippi Department of Health is working to bring domestic violence numbers down by implementing Green Dot training across the state to get communities to reconsider their role in preventing violence.

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Guys We Love

Each Father's Day, we present the Guys We Love issue, which highlights men who are making a difference in the community. This year's batch is no exception.

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A June Celebration

While these crunchy, rich and sweet crabs are wonderful enough to serve with just a squeeze of fresh lemon, the white butter sauce creates another level of decadence and presentation.

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A New Beer Experience

On June 28, Saltine Oyster Bar is hosting its fourth guest-chef dinner since the restaurant's opening.

Tuesday, June 14

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Jackson Airport Fate Left to Courts After Feds Alter Policy

The Federal Aviation Administration, through policy changes, has side-stepped its role in the battle for the Jackson municipal airport, leaving the decision up to a federal court instead.

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Attorney: Walnut Grove Prison Invested in 'Wrong Things,' State Punishes 'Unjustly'

An attorney for the organization that helped get juveniles out of the Walnut Grove prison is happy that it is closing, and wants the State of Mississippi to invest in smarter and more equitable responses to crime.

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Foundry Mall, Sam's Southern Eatery and Superior Shine

Mike Peters, a Jackson-based realtor who owns Peters Real Estate and the Fondren Corner building, recently opened a new 15,000-square-foot vendor market in Ridgeland called The Foundry Mall, located in the former Shoe Gallery building next door to Shapley's.

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Tommie Mabry

Tommie Mabry lives by the words, “I cannot walk in my future with my foot in my past."

Man Held 11 Years Without Trial Will Go to Mental Facility

A Mississippi man who has been jailed nearly 11 years without going to trial will be transferred to a state mental health facility, attorneys said Monday.

Court Upholds 'Net Neutrality' Rules for Internet Access

A federal appeals court has upheld the government's "net neutrality" rules that require internet providers to treat all web traffic equally.

Mississippi Governor: Lower Flags to Honor Orlando Victims

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has ordered flags to fly at half-staff on state property to honor those killed or wounded in the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Monday, June 13

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Local LGBT Vigil In Orlando's Wake: 'We Shouldn't Have to Be Afraid'

A chorus of more than 100 voices rose outside JC's, one of Jackson's longest-standing gay bars, Sunday night in vigil for victims in the Orlando mass shooting that left 49 people dead early Sunday morning, when a man entered a gay club in Orlando with an assault rifle and started shooting.

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Actress Aunjanue Ellis: Mississippi Flag Damages African American Community

Actress and Mississippi native Aunjanue Ellis recently spoke to the Jackson Free Press by phone on heritage, hate and bringing down the flag.

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Sam Clark

For the June edition of Museum After Hours at the Mississippi Museum of Art, the theme, "Dreamscapes and Dragons," will focus on the surreal and fantastical forms of self-expression of ceramic artist Sam Clark and painter Kelly Walters.

Last of the 49 Bodies Removed from Orlando Nightclub

The last of the bodies were removed from an Orlando gay nightclub overnight as investigators dug into the background of the gunman, who called 911 to profess allegiance to the Islamic State during the attack that left 49 victims dead.

Heavily Armed Man Was Going to Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade

Authorities were trying to figure out why an Indiana man had three assault rifles and chemicals used to make explosives some 2,000 miles from home in Southern California, where he told the officers who arrested him that he was headed to a gay pride parade.

Jackson's LGBT Pride Parade: 'It Was Much Love'

The organizer of Jackson's first LGBT pride parade says authorities thought it might be rowdy, but it was, in her words, "much love."

Governor: County Attorney Job Unusual 'for a Young Lady'

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said Saturday he was expressing pride in his daughter when he said her job as a county board of supervisors' attorney is "usually not a position for a young lady."

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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, June 11

Ole Miss Adding Slavery Info to Plaque by Confederate Statue

The University of Mississippi will revise a plaque beside a Confederate monument on its Oxford campus to add more information about the Civil War and slavery.

Friday, June 10

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Film Star: Mississippi Flag an American, Not State, Problem

Local advocates, civil-rights activists and actress Aunjanue Ellis, a Mississippi native and critic of the state flag, held a community town-hall meeting at the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center on June 9.

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Working Together Jackson to Hold Monday Mayor Meeting

Working Together Jackson, a religious and community mega-group comprised of the heads of around 40 Jackson-area organizations, will sit down with Mayor Yarber on Monday to ask him about issues facing their constituents.

Belhaven Dancers Among Top Performers at National Festival

Belhaven University dancers will take the stage at the Kennedy Center on Saturday, in the National College Dance Festival — an achievement the dance department chair says is like making it to basketball's Final Four.

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Neddie Winters

Neddie Winters, a Tunica, Miss., native, was named the 100 Black Men of Jackson, Inc. 2016 Mentor of the Year for his dedication to mentoring young people in the Jackson area.

Democrats Searching for Unity as Clinton Locks Up Nomination

Nearing the end of a lengthy primary fight, Democrats are coalescing around Hillary Clinton's presidential bid and looking to reunite the party through a carefully orchestrated plan aimed at nudging rival Bernie Sanders to make his exit.

Republicans Defend Display of Confederate Imagery in Capitol

House Republican leaders have blocked a Democratic congressman from Mississippi from offering legislation to ban Confederate imagery from the House side of the Capitol complex.

Thursday, June 9

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Episcopal Bishop: Priests Can Wed Gay Couples Without My OK

Episcopal priests in Mississippi no longer need to seek the bishop's permission to perform weddings for same-sex couples.

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State Health Officer: Cuts Mean 'Sending People Home'

The Legislative Black Caucus policy committee held budget hearings on Wednesday to see how cuts to agencies' budgets will affect services and employment at the state's health and mental-health agencies.

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Lynch Street C.M.E. Church Hosts Summer Reading Program

For the fourth grade students at Lynch Street C.M.E. Church's "Teach, Read, Learn (TRL)—Summer Reading Program" this morning, synonyms were a breeze.

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Dakota Hudson

Mississippi State University pitcher Dakota Hudson will have a big hand in one of the three games against the University of Arizona. To be more accurate, it will be Hudson's right arm that will have an impact for the Bulldogs.

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Mississippi: America’s Third World?

I came to the U.S. in my early 20s for college from my village in Middle Belt, Nigeria. Prior to that, I was an international student in neighboring West African countries Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Official Seeks More Rights Work as Prosecutor Sets Up Unit

The head of the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division says there's more work to be done to guarantee the rights of citizens in Mississippi and nationwide.

Director: Mississippi Health Department Expects More Layoffs

The Mississippi State Department of Health has already laid off some workers in recent months because of state spending constraints and will cut more jobs after the new budget year begins July 1, the department's director told lawmakers Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 8

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Finding Her Calling

It's late in the afternoon, and Lashanda Brumfield is off work from her job as a recreational therapist at Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare. But instead of going home, Brumfield instead goes to her bridal store, Sassy Classy Curvy Bridal Outlet, in Pearl.

City Council and Mayor: Get on Same Page

We can see it from both sides—Mayor Tony Yarber, after running on a platform of transparency, has dipped deep in to the rainy day fund and then brought it up after the fact. And while the entire Siemens contract and water snafu isn't completely his fault, it hasn't exactly been managed with great alacrity.

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The Greatest of All Time

During my childhood, Muhammad Ali was the ultimate symbol of blackness, which was a combination of intelligence, socio-political activism and style.

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HB 1523: Bad for the Business Sector

Roy Decker felt the financial consequences of House Bill 1523. Decker, a Jackson developer and architect, says a potential investor pulled out of a project earlier this year, largely because of the new Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination law.

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Yarber Running into Council Wall on Contracts

During a June 3 gathering at Koinonia Coffee House, Mayor Tony Yarber lamented the lack of progress the City has made on infrastructure issues and blamed it on poor confidence based on past experiences with large companies, as well as political differences.

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'Artistic Depression’ Impresses

I don't often love albums that begin with movie quotes, and I really don't often love albums that begin with quotes from movies I dislike. But there's a first time for everything, and that's the case with Jackson hip-hop artist Ray Kincaid's album, "Artistic Depression," released in January 2016.

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Fondren Garage: A Little Bit of Everything

At Fondren Garage, some people play vintage video games. Some sit outside and watch a movie. Some watch live entertainment, and some eat at the business' two restaurants. Fondren Garage always has a lot going on.

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Junior Jail: Surviving Mississippi’s Juvenile Justice System

Many juvenile "offenders" are routinely sent into a separate labyrinth from adult offenders in the justice system, one with its own complex problems, remedies and slowly changing standards.

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How Deaf Kids Learn in Mississippi

The Mississippi School for the Deaf is the only school in the state that exists primarily to serve deaf children. To do it well isn't cheap.

Gunn Attorneys: No Need to Understand Speed-Reading of Bills

Attorneys for the Mississippi House speaker say it doesn't matter that bills were read aloud at a superfast pace during a legislative dispute.

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Stand With Victims of Sexual Violence

On the one day a week that I'm allowed to sleep past noon, I woke before dawn to a flurry of Facebook shares of one victim's soul-rattling letter to her attacker.

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Kelsey Kitch

Mississippi may be getting a bad rap right now, but that doesn't stop people like Kelsey Kitch from doing everything they can to promote the state.

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Henley-Young Must Release Kids After 21 Days; Some Disappearing?

Out of three children released under the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center's recent policy of not detaining young people after 21 days, one is missing, one is back in custody, and the third was released without treatment, Youth Court Judge William Skinner says.

Tuesday, June 7

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Council Deals Mayor a Blow, Rejects Proposals to Respond to EPA Mandates

Ward 6 Council Tyrone Hendrix helped block the mayor's effort to give a $2.5 million contract to a Los Angeles-based company yesterday, citing the budget's dire condition.

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Small Biz Big Deals, Static's Gadgets and Satchel Podcast Player

Jackson entrepreneur Beau York and business partner Briar Bowser first released the beta for the Satchel Podcast Player on Android in August 2015. They officially released the player on Monday, June 6.

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Zac Houston

Mississippi State beat Louisiana Tech 4-0 to win the NCAA Tournament's Starkville Regional title on Sunday night.

No Death Penalty for Ex-Miss. Inmate in 2013 Vegas Slayings

A 32-year-old former Mississippi jail inmate won't face the death penalty in Nevada in a 2013 double slaying case.

Monday, June 6

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Hillary Clinton Reaches Delegate Threshold for Democratic Nomination

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Striding into history, Hillary Clinton will become the first woman to top the presidential ticket of a major U.S. political party, capturing commitments Monday from the number of delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination.

Applications Submitted for 5 Charter Schools in Mississippi

Five applications for new charter schools are moving forward in Mississippi after operators initially expressed interest in opening 14 schools. The Charter School Authorizer Board will consider approving a K-8 school in Drew as well as three K-8 schools and a high school in Jackson.

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National Re-entry Month, Officer of the Month, Crime Down Across the City

Mayor Tony Yarber declared that the City of Jackson is participating in National Re-entry Month in support of citizens who have been incarcerated and are now returning to society.

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'1523 Demonizes People': Pastors, Community Leaders File Third Legal Challenge

Mississippi pastors, community leaders, activists and a Hattiesburg church have filed a federal lawsuit challenging House Bill 1523, the third legal challenge to the "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act."

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Seneca Wilson

For Pascagoula, Miss., native Seneca Wilson, the draw to poetry was gradual. It began in junior high school, when his friends formed a music group. While his voice wasn't his strongest feature, he offered to write lyrics for the project to avoid being left out.

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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, June 4

Mississippi District: Merge Schools in Deseg Case by 2017-18

A Mississippi school district proposes combining its nearly all-black high school with a racially mixed school by the fall of 2017 to follow a federal court order in a longstanding desegregation case.

Friday, June 3

Lawmakers Ban Cash for Superintendents' Group After Election

State lawmakers have made it illegal for school districts to spend any public money on the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents, saying leaders of local school districts personally attacked state officials while they were seeking votes for a school funding initiative last year.

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Yarber 'Running Hard' Again in 2017, Lee Says He Isn't Running

Mayor Tony Yarber announced his campaign for another term for the first time publicly at the weekly Friday Forum at Koinonia Coffee House, urged on to make the statement from former mayoral candidate, Jonathan Lee, an organizer of the group.

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Legislator: Mississippi Superintendents 'Crossed the Line' in Support of 42

Mississippi public-school districts can no longer use funds to pay their administrators' fees to the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents without forfeiting their state funds.

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James Banks

The first-ever World University Championship of American Football took place in Uppsala, Sweden, in 2014 and featured five teams, representing Sweden, China, Mexico, Japan and Finland.

Mississippi State Signee Simmons Allowed to Enroll While Facing Charges

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi State will allow highly touted signee Jeffery Simmons to enroll in school and join the football team while facing misdemeanor assault charges for striking a woman during a fight in March.

Thursday, June 2

State Tax Collections Lag in Final Budget Month

Mississippi tax collections picked up in May but are still lagging as the state enters the final month of its budget year.

No Warp-Speed Computer Voice as State Supreme Court Hears Capitol Dispute

The Mississippi Supreme Court says it doesn't want to hear recordings of a computer voice reading bills at warp speed.

Official Says Prince Died of Opioid Overdose

Tests show that Prince died of an opioid overdose, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday.

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Gov. Bryant Receives Religious Freedom Award After HB1523

Last week, the Family Research Council awarded Gov. Phil Bryant the first ever "Samuel Adams Religious Freedom Award."

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Mayor, Stamps At Odds Over Sludge Dumping

Disagreements about where to dump sludge byproduct from the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment plant ended in a stalemate between the two branches of the city government during Tuesday's meeting of the Jackson City Council.

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Los Angeles beat-music producer Eraserfase, born Tony Barkodarian, is on the road for his Dropping Gems Tour, which brings him to Offbeat on Thursday, June 2.

Part of Mississippi Prison Back on Lockdown Amid Problems

Part of the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman is back under lockdown only days after restrictions there had been lifted.

Wednesday, June 1

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‘Wired’ & Inspired

Mississippi is the birthplace of America's music—it says so often in our tourism marketing. But when Buffalo, N.Y., native Scott Bradfield came to Jackson for the first time to work for Mississippi Public Broadcasting in 1994, he didn't anticipate the amount of variety in the state's music scene.

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Little Blue Stems

Beth Foose, an Episcopal priest at Grace Episcopal Church in Canton by day, decided to turn her hobby of gardening into a family-run business.

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Actively Giving Back

In our summer issue of BOOM Jackson magazine (June, July and August 2016), we pulled together a listing of local 5Ks and races this summer that give back to the community. Here's a few for this summer.

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New Nutrition Labels: What You Need to Know

If you haven't heard yet, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is redesigning and modernizing nutrition labels. Most food manufacturers are required to use the new label by July 2018. Here's what you need to know.

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Get Outside

Many Mississippians may go outside quite often, but as a country, easy access to nature doesn't mean that we're actually experiencing the great outdoors as much as we should. And it's vital to get out there.

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Mindfulness Through Art

The idea for the watercolor and mindfulness workshop, Mindful Watercolor Workshop, came about when Dr. Megan Clapton started her solo therapy practice, Mindful Therapy, in October 2015 and felt a desire to "be a resource for the community, in addition to offering individual counseling," she says.

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Told You So About #MSLeg

In the poorest, most woe-begotten state in the United States, the Mississippi Troika and their loyal minions have managed to cut even deeper into woefully underfunded state education, health care, mental-health care, roads and highways maintenance.

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Art in the Flesh

Art in Flesh is the brainchild of artist Robeka Steam. The Boynton Beach, Fla., native says she started doing special-effects makeup after graduating from the Tom Savini's special-effects makeup program at the Douglas Education Center in Pennsylvania in 2004.

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No Sanctuary: A Rough, Undocumented Road

Melinda Medina was on a family road trip in summer 2014, returning from a Mobile, Ala., flea market near the Alabama and Mississippi state line when a patrol car suddenly sped up alongside her driver-side window. The cop then dropped back and started following her, his blue lights flashing.

Trafficking: An Ugly Reality in Mississippi

Human trafficking, a form of slavery, doesn't just happen overseas in prostitution rings or on television. It's a nasty, ugly reality—and it happens right here in Mississippi.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'At Risk'

Saying that women are "at risk" of sexual assault by allowing trans-inclusive bathroom policies is not only an argument for discrimination, but also untrue.

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The Hustlers’ Time of Year

Brother Hustle: "Welcome to another Compensatory Investment Request Support Group meeting. To paraphrase the words of my favorite funk group WAR: 'Summer time is here / Yes, it's summer, the hustlers' time of year.'"

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Human Trafficking: Unseen and Unaddressed

Victims of human trafficking need a place to go in Mississippi. The Center for Violence Prevention in Pearl has an emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence, and Executive Director Sandy Middleton has received several calls asking her to house rescued trafficking victims in her emergency shelter.

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JRA Selects EDT Proposal, Nixes Deal with Comer Capital

The Jackson Redevelopment Authority moved forward last Wednesday to develop a deal to build a new hotel downtown near the Jackson Convention Complex by notifying the City of Jackson of its intent, and criticizing recent articles in another newspaper about the companies involved in the deal.

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Trans Children in the Balance in Mississippi

On Tuesday, May 24, the nine-member Mississippi Board of Education decided unanimously to disregard the federal government's Title IX guidelines to protect transgender students from discrimination just days after the state superintendent had said the state would follow t hem.

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Hinds Youth Center Director: Major ‘Gaps’ in Juvenile Justice Feed Cycle of Crime

Johnnie McDaniels, the executive director of the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center, spoke softly to the assembled Justice Reform Task Force in Jackson's police headquarters about how in a decade as city prosecutor, he had known little about the realities of juvenile justice.

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Women Misrepresented in Media, Business

Recently, I watched the documentary "Miss Representation" by Jennifer Siebel Newsom. The 2011 film focuses on the misrepresentation of women in mainstream society and the pressures we face because of it. It framed the struggle of women in a way I've never seen or thought about before.

Mississippi Governor: 'Secular' World Angry Over LGBT Law

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says the "secular, progressive world" vented at him for signing a bill that would let clerks cite religious beliefs to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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Lending a Helping Hand

United Healthcare Community Plan of Mississippi and the Alcorn State University Extension Program collaborated once again this year to offer people in the community farm-fresh produce to show Mississippians the importance of making their health a priority.

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Mohammad Alefrai

Three years ago, Mohammad Alefrai sat alone on a plane, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, on a nearly 13-hour flight from Jordan, leaving everything and everyone he knew behind to pursue his dreams in a foreign country.