Stories for March 2016


Thursday, March 31

Judge Blocks Mississippi Ban on Adoption by Same-Sex Couples

A federal judge has overturned Mississippi's ban on allowing same-sex couples to adopt.

Mississippi House Leaders Mull Sales Tax Increase for Roads

Mississippi legislative leaders could propose raising most sales taxes from 7 percent to 9 percent in a plan to increase road and bridge funding.

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UPDATED: Anti-LGBT 'Conscience' Bill Includes Judges and Clerks, Makes It Harder to Seek Damages

The Senate passed House Bill 1523, the "Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination" bill," last night after over two hours of debate, including an amendment that makes it harder for individuals to sue and seek damages based upon their "sincerely held religious belief" that marriage is between a man and a woman.

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JPS Gifted Students Teach Classmates About Mardi Gras with a Parade

Decked out in feathers and beads and decorative umbrellas, the sixth-grade Northwest Jackson IB Middle School students hosted a lively parade celebrating the historical and cultural significance of Mardi Gras in the front hallway of the school to an enthusiastic audience of their peers.

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Carlos Diaz

If Jackson State wants to make a run at another SWAC title, it will need catcher Carlos Diaz to continue his stellar play.

Increases Proposed for Mississippi Hunting, Fishing Licenses

The cost of Mississippi residents' hunting and fishing licenses could increase for the first time in a generation to help pay for more state game wardens.

Wednesday, March 30

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JMAA Says Republicans Want to Control Contracts, Rallies Public Against ‘Takeover’ Bill

Warning that the airport “takeover” is about money and control of contracts, members of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority and its supporters gathered today in the echoing rotunda of the Mississippi Capitol to voice their opposition to the still-pending Senate Bill 2162.

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Anti-LGBT 'Religious Conscience' Bill Passes Senate with Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves' Blessing

The Mississippi Senate has passed a bill that says government employees and private business people could cite religious beliefs to refuse licenses or other services for same-sex couples who want to marry.

Trump Says Abortion Ban Should Yield 'Punishment' for Woman

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Wednesday that women who get abortions should receive "some form of punishment" if abortion is banned, once again sparking controversy with days to go before Wisconsin's primary.

No Charges for 2 Minneapolis Officers in Fatal Shooting

Two white police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a black man last fall will not face criminal charges, a prosecutor announced Wednesday in a decision that drew outrage from community members who said the move showed that the legal system is rigged against African-Americans.

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Teneia’s Leap of Faith

Pursuing music professionally is a daunting task, but for folk-soul duo Teneia, it's helped that both members are fully committed to the music—and to each other.

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Blind Dates With Books

Little Free Libraries are just what the name says—free book exchanges. Folks build a little house, essentially, in their yard. If you have a book to share, you leave one; if you want a book to read, you take one.

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2016 Crossroads Film Festival

Crossroads Film Festival celebrates 17 years this year. The 2016 festival features films from filmmakers right here at home and all the way to Japan and beyond.

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Breaking in With 'Blue Borsalino'

London-based filmmaker Mark Lobatto has made some impressive strides in his movie career thus far, and not only because he has worked as the personal assistant to major Hollywood directors, including Jonathan Liebesman on "Wrath of the Titans" and Lilly and Lana Wachowski on "Jupiter Ascending."

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Dems Promise Retribution, Evoke Slavery in ‘Hijacked Airport’ House Debate

The black and Democratic caucuses did not pull punches in testimony against the Jackson airport "takeover" bill that passed the Mississippi House March 24, including attempts to modify the legislation with eight amendments that all failed.

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Jackson Airport CEO Newman Outlines Plans for Hotel, Low-Cost Carrier

The airport's chief executive officer, during an interview at the airport on March 24 just as the Mississippi House was passing its controversial "takeover" bill of the facility, outlined a five-year plan that centered on several development and growth priorities.

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Parents’ Conundrum: Mississippi Charter Schools

Jackson mom and business owner Tracie James was dissatisfied with the lack of one-on-one opportunities at school for her youngest son, formerly a North Jackson Elementary School student in Jackson Public Schools.

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The Pain and Danger of Hot Pursuits

When Ward 4 Jackson City Councilman De'Keither Stamps stepped up to the microphone on March 25 at the corner of West Capitol Street and Galvez in west Jackson, he wanted to express the magnitude of the police-pursuit problem in the Jackson metro.

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Art and Film that Reach You

Even with the many methods we have for viewing films, being a modern moviegoer can be hard, and it's not because the price of popcorn operates on its own inflation scale.

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Wade Patterson

Growing up, Wade Patterson wanted to be a novelist. But after reading the book "Moviemakers' Master Class" by Laurent Tirard ($16, Faber & Faber, 2002) during high school, he decided he wanted to be a filmmaker.

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Much A’brew at the Zoo

Once a year, Jacksonians gather at the Jackson Zoo to socialize and eat—and drink beer—while looking at the animals.

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Trafficking, Anti-Terrorism Bills Still Alive; LGBT Rights Under Fire, Again

Mississippi has a human-trafficking problem that gets far too little law-enforcement and medical attention, but a bill is still alive in the Mississippi Legislature that would provide more resources to fight the problem.

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Mississippi: Amazing for Film

Mississippi and its local communities benefit when the cameras roll here, whether they're big studio Hollywood cameras or those of independent filmmakers.

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The Doo Dah Day Planner: Your Guide to the 2016 Zippity Doo Dah Weekend

With the sheer number of events set for Fondren's Zippity Doo Dah Weekend, which takes place Friday, April 1, and Saturday, April 2, this year, it's tough to commit it all to memory. Here's a forecast of upcoming ZDD activities to make sure you don't miss out on the fun.

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A Week Without Mirrors

When you pledge to not look at your reflection for a week, it feels good to see the things you love about yourself at first glance.

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Politicians for Sale? Mississippi Economic Council Knows How to Throw a Party

Funding for the state's crumbling infrastructure didn't exactly top priorities for legislators on their first round of revenue bill deadlines, and Senate Bill 2921 made it over to the House by four votes.

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Human Rights Work Through Film: Lessons from a German Filmmaker

Johanna Richter was not looking for awards with her documentary; she was looking to bring about actual, tangible change in a country she could not quite call her own.

Tuesday, March 29

Mississippi House Pushes for a State Lottery, Senate Passage Not Likely

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi House voted twice Tuesday to establish a state lottery, but the effort is likely to be squashed in the Senate.

Woman Pleads Guilty on Federal Charges in Medicaid Fraud

A woman has pleaded guilty to a mail fraud charge following accusations she stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from senior citizens seeking help to obtain Medicaid or veterans benefits.

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In Surprise Move, State's Abortion Clinic Added to Bill Restricting Planned Parenthood Funding

In a surprise move Tuesday, the Mississippi House targeted Medicaid funding for the state’s only abortion clinic in addition to the state’s sole Planned Parenthood clinic. The bill would prohibit the Mississippi Division of Medicaid from paying any entity that performs non-therapeutic abortions.

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Protesters Against Anti-LGBT Bill Shout Down Mississippi Legislators at Rally

Protesters gathered on the steps of the Capitol on March 29 to rally against the passage of HB 1523, which would make discriminating against the LGBT community legal.

Mississippi Bill Could Hamper Access to Same-Sex Marriage

Protesters say a bill in Mississippi would sanction discrimination by letting public employees cite their own religious beliefs to refuse to issue marriage licenses or perform weddings for same-sex couples.

Armed Security Teams OK in Mississippi Churches, Per Senate Bill

Asked to choose between a Christian spirit of peace and a God-given right of self-defense, Mississippi senators are overwhelming favoring the latter.

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Campaign-finance Reform Scaled Back, Will Be Studied Instead

The momentum to bring campaign-finance reform to Mississippi slowed this week, turning into a study to consider whether the reform is needed after the House of Representatives amended a bill to require candidates to itemize credit-card details.

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Historic Building for Sale, VF Outlet, Small Business Awards and East Metro Parkway

Sterling McCool with Jackon-based real estate company Marketplace Real Estate will conduct an auction for the historic Sgt. Prentiss Building (1010 Monroe St., Vicksburg) on April 9.

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Report: Roads Cost Each Jacksonian $1,879 Annually, Most Expensive Driving City

It is more expensive to drive in Jackson than anywhere else in the state, a study released from a national transportation research group found.

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Herb Frierson

Gov. Phil Bryant announced Thursday that he is nominating House Appropriations Committee Chairman Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville, to be commissioner of the Department of Revenue.

Police Charge Trump Campaign Manager With Battery

Florida police have charged Donald Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski with simple battery in connection with an incident earlier in the month involving a reporter.

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Some Charter-school Students Could Cross Districts Due to New Legislation

Students from Mississippi school districts with academic ratings of C, D or F could cross district lines to attend charter schools elsewhere under a measure moving forward in the state House.

Monday, March 28

Woman Will Join Boyfriend in Terrorism Charge Guilty Plea

A young Mississippi woman plans to plead guilty to a terrorism charge, months after authorities say she and her fiance tried to go to Syria to join the Islamic State group.

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'Save Our Children Act' Amendments Appear in More Bills

Sections of Rep. Omeria Scott's failed Mississippi Save Our Children Act have ended up into another education bill as an amendment weeks after it was added to the already-controversial Parent Involvement and Accountability Act.

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Secret Execution Team, Firing Squads, Restricted Media Included in House Bill

Death by firing squad could become an option for administering the death penalty if Senate Bill 2237, which passed by the Mississippi House of Representatives on Friday and held on a motion to reconsider, becomes law.

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Donald Brooks

Millsaps College's new athletic director, Donald Brooks, is used to working at small colleges and universities. His hiring seems to be the perfect fit for the Majors' athletic program.

Lawsuit Challenges North Carolina Anti-Discrimination Law

Two transgender people and a lesbian law school professor filed a federal lawsuit Monday to challenge a new North Carolina law that blocks local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules and requiring transgender students to use bathrooms assigned to their biological sex.

Georgia Governor Vetoes Religious Exemptions Bill

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Monday said he will veto legislation shielding opponents of same-sex marriage, after a groundswell of opposition from companies threatening to boycott the state if it became law.

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Analysis: New Laws Could Mean New Lawsuits in Mississippi

Mississippi legislators are on track to produce dozens of new state laws. And, as in years past, they're probably creating plenty of work for attorneys.

Saturday, March 26

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Mississippi House Proposes Firing Squad as Execution Method

The Mississippi House wants to allow the state prison system to execute prisoners using a firing squad if officials decide lethal injection is too expensive or unavailable.

Friday, March 25

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Capitol Street Coalition: Police Pursuits Endangering Jacksonians' Lives

West Jackson residents, Clinton residents and public officials met this morning at the intersection of Galvez Street and Capitol Street, near the site of the deadly crash that left Lonnie Blue Jr. dead earlier this week.

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Director: Airport in Talks with Low-cost Carrier, 91% Fly Out of Jackson

Minutes after the Mississippi House of Representatives passed the airport "takeover" bill after hours of debate and a Democratic filibuster attempt, Carl Newman traced his fingers across a wall-sized aerial photograph of the airport, speaking with calm confidence about his plans, including continuous, ongoing talks with a new low-cost carrier.

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Jim Dollarhide

On Thursday, March 16, Jim Dollarhide's home near Lake Cavalier in Madison went up in flames, and on Wednesday, March 23, Madison County Coroner Alex Breeland confirmed that they found the filmmaker's body in the wreckage.

Removal of Confederate Symbols Turns Nasty in New Orleans

Backlash against a plan to remove prominent Confederate monuments in New Orleans has been tinged by death threats, intimidation and even what may have been the torching of a contractor's Lamborghini.

2nd Case of Zika Virus Found in Mississippi, After Travel

A second case of Zika virus has been confirmed in Mississippi.

Appointed Superintendents Bill Going to Mississippi Governor

A bill headed to the Mississippi governor would eliminate the election of school superintendents after the current term.

Anti-Discrimination Law Elicits Rebukes from Businesses

Corporations expressed disappointment and the NCAA vowed to monitor what North Carolina does next now that the state has banned any local government measures protecting people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Mississippi Regulators Plan to Release More Kemper Documents

Mississippi utility regulators say they're going to make it easier for people to look at documents relating to Mississippi Power Co.'s $6.6 billion power plant in Kemper County.

Thursday, March 24

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Airport Bill Passes After Filibuster, Accusations Against House Speaker

Despite a massive filibuster, accusations of a deal gone awry and quoting of Bible verses, the Mississippi House of Representatives today passed the controversial airport “takeover” bill today to give more control of the Jackson airport’s commission to stakeholders outside the city.

Volkswagen Gets a Month for Plan on Diesel Emissions Fix

Volkswagen and government regulators must present a detailed plan within a month on getting nearly 600,000 diesel cars to comply with clean air laws or risk the possibility of a trial this summer over an emissions cheating scandal, a federal judge said Thursday.

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Capitol Improvement District Passes, Only 10% of Contractors Must Be Minority

A large chunk of Jackson would become an improvement district under a bill that passed the Mississippi House of Representatives yesterday.

Ole Miss Ex-Student Pleads Guilty to Tying Noose on Statue

A former University of Mississippi student pleaded guilty Thursday to placing a noose on the school's statue of its first black student.

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Big Freedia

Even though it's only March, New Orleans-based bounce artist Big Freedia has already had a demanding year.

North Korea Claims More Progress in Missile Development

North Korea said Thursday that it had successfully conducted a high-powered, solid-fuel rocket engine test, which if confirmed would be a major step forward in boosting its missile attack capability against South Korea and the United States.

Charlotte Transgender Rule Nixed; Other Cities Reined In

Sparked by backlash to Charlotte's ordinance allowing transgender people to use restrooms aligned with their gender identity, the North Carolina legislature reined in local governments with a broad bill that prevents cities and counties from passing their own anti-discrimination rules.

Men Indicted for Stealing Federal Redevelopment Money

Two men have been indicted on federal charges that they inflated bills for urban redevelopment work in Hattiesburg, pocketing $120,000.

Wednesday, March 23

Mississippi Legislative Work is Slowed by Delay Tactics

A handful of Democrats on Wednesday showed dissatisfaction with Mississippi's Republican-dominated legislative process by conducting filibusters with long-winded readings of bills.

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Needed: A More Open Mississippi

Legally, under federal and state law, taxpayers are entitled to full access to what governments employees are doing at pretty much all times, and with few and specific exceptions.

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Police Chief Denies JPD Involvement in Deadly Chase, Charges Driver with Second-Degree Murder

Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance is pushing back on the Clinton police’s version of a recent car chase that ended in tragedy.

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Eat, Do, Play This Easter

The City of Jackson is hosting an Easter egg hunt for children ages 4 to 8 on Saturday, March 26, at the V.A. Legion Softball Complex.

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Water Engineer Blues, An Orange Cone Op

The City of Jackson is still out of compliance with the Mississippi Department of Health requirements for a study of corrosion control as of the March 22 meeting of the City Council, as the Public Works Department explores introducing new chemicals to the water to control corrosion in the pipes.

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The Sum of Tiny Moving Parts

While listeners don't often find the term "family band" applied to heavier forms of music, Minnesota-based math-rock trio Tiny Moving Parts takes on the title with pride.

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Mississippi Consumer Finance Association Lobbyist’s Client Reports

In 2015, the association spent more than $13,000 to send nine lawmakers and the state's banking commissioner to the convention.

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‘Great State’ Campaign Finance

Rep. Karl Oliver, R-Winona, made waves last week when he told a Mississippi resident that he "could care less" about her concerns about budget cuts, suggesting she leave Mississippi, in a response to an email she sent to all representatives in the House.

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Politicians for Sale? State’s Consumer Finance Association PAC Spends Big on State Officials

Payday and small business lenders are not always welcome business development on the municipal level, in no small part because of the cycles of poverty easy-to-obtain, high-interest loans can feed.

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Transparency in the City

Several new technology additions to the City of Jackson will hopefully open up the records of a municipality that has of late been plagued by what some city leaders called "hiccups."

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The ‘Cloth on the Stick’ Represents Hatred Toward Me

The formation of the Confederacy was solely based on the protection of white Americans to keep my ancestors enslaved. The battle flag came to represent them as a people and what they stood for: the institution of slavery.

Collaborating for a Safer Mississippi

In our polarized state and nation, it is mighty refreshing to hear a conservative of faith stand up against truly odious criminal-justice policies that trap men of color, particularly, into cycles of generational poverty and mass incarceration.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Care Less'

Rep. Karl Oliver, R-Winona, responded to a Mississippi resident's email, saying "I appreciate you going to the trouble to share your (political views) with me, but quite frankly, and with all due respect, I could care less."

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Do What Is Right

Nurse Tootie McBride: "Good afternoon members of the media and concerned community citizens. Welcome to the McBride Family press conference announcing 'The Caravan of Love, Peace, Protection, Self-Defense, Voter Registration and Motivation Crusade.'

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Post-Uber, Jackson’s Taxicab Drivers Want Fewer Regs, More Freedom

Jackson City Council President Melvin Priester Jr., of Ward 2, wants to re-evaluate the taxi industry in light of policies Uber forced the city to address head-on.

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‘Faith-Based’ Economics vs. Actual Math

Cutting franchise taxes is a major priority of ALEC, the ultra-conservative anti-taxation group to which so many conservative legislators swear fealty.

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Gerold Smith

When Jackson native Gerold Smith, also known as Gerold Girbeau, launched classic hip-hop radio station BDay 99.1 FM, the idea was simple: Mississippians need to be schooled on the old school.

Mississippi Senators Seek to End Personal Campaign Cash Use

A Mississippi Senate committee is proposing to ban elected officials and candidates from converting campaign money to personal use, after Associated Press and Clarion-Ledger reports highlighted such practices.

Tuesday, March 22

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Amended Airport Bill Increases Jackson's Representation, Sort Of

The City of Jackson might get more representatives on its airport commission, and that board would not have the authority to sell airport property, but could still lease it, under an amended airport bill the Mississippi House committee passed this morning.

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Amanda's Pet Salon Comes to Fondren, Beagle Bagel Consolidates, Changes at The Outlets and The District

When the annual Zippity Doo Dah Parade comes to Jackson on Saturday, April 2, it will coincide with the opening of a new business in Fondren.

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Chief Phyliss Anderson

President Barack Obama has appointed Phyliss J. Anderson, the first-ever female tribal chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, to serve on the National Advisory Council on Indian Education.

FBI: Attacker's Phone Possibly Accessible Without Apple Help

The government has been adamant for weeks: FBI investigators need to unlock an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers, and Apple Inc. was the only one that could do it.

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Senate Passes Residency Requirement for Medicaid

The Mississippi Senate passed a narrower version of a bill Monday that would require an electronic records system for Medicaid and a regular audit of Medicaid recipients.

Michel Rejoins Mississippi Senate After Special Election Win

Walter Michel (mi-SHEL') has rejoined the Mississippi state Senate after winning a special election for a seat covering parts of Hinds and Madison counties.

At Least 31 Dead in Bombings of Brussels Airport, Metro

Bombs exploded at the Brussels airport and one of the city's metro stations Tuesday, killing at least 31 people and wounding dozens, as a European capital was again locked down amid heightened security threats.

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Mississippi Governor Signs Workforce Training Fund Into Law

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed into law a bill that establishes a state fund for workforce training programs.

Monday, March 21

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ACLU of MS: We Support Clergy for Prison Reform's Platform

Rather than measuring success by projecting reduced costs, CPR is speaking from a moral platform that demands immediacy.

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Rep. Moore: Plans to Cut Mississippi School Districts from 148 to Less Than 50

Mississippi would be on the road to 50 or fewer school districts, a new public-education funding formula and more charter schools under legislation the House Education Committee members approved Friday before heading home for the weekend.

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City to Release Data-Driven Website April 1, Many More Documents Online

The City of Jackson is planning to open the doors to its data vaults, promising a new and deep information-driven vehicle for citizens to explore the municipal records and resources that normally take weeks, or even months, to receive, if at all.

Judge Asks US to Defend Secrecy of Trump Associate's History

A federal judge has asked the Obama administration to shield from public disclosure court records related to the once-secret criminal history of a former Donald Trump business partner.

Obama, Castro Come Face to Face in Historic Meeting in Cuba

Brushing off decades of distrust, President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro shook hands Monday in Havana's Palace of the Revolution, opening a meeting aimed at advancing the diplomatic opening that both leaders have pursued.

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Breanna Richardson

Mississippi State's Breanna Richardson had made a grand total of two 3-pointers this season before catching a pass and launching a 20-footer in the most important minute of her team's most important game.

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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.

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In Mississippi, Retiring Officials Can Pocket Campaign Cash

When former Mississippi Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck shut down her campaign committee in the closing days of 2013, she took a parting gift — the $158,342 remaining in the account.

Saturday, March 19

Mississippi House Passes 2 School Consolidation Bills

The Mississippi House Education Committee has passed two bills to consolidate three school districts. The bills passed out of the committee Friday.

Friday, March 18

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Nabbing Carjackers, Property Crimes Up, Violent Crimes Steady

Jackson Police Officer Brandon Caston was off-duty and sitting at a red light when he saw the stolen 2003 maroon Chevy Tahoe pulling into Burger King in his rearview mirror.

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Legislator Funded by Koch Brothers, Big Money Tells Citizen to Leave State

A freshman legislator who won his seat with the help of the banking and real-estate industries, as well as Koch Industries and Empower Mississippi, this week told a concerned citizen that he "could care less" about her concerns about budget cuts and suggested that she should leave Mississippi.

Bill Would Allow School Boards to Appoint Superintendents

A bill that would change all public school district superintendents to appointees has passed the Mississippi House Education Committee. The bill passed out of committee on Friday.

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Council President: City 'Hiccups' With Public-Records Response Need to End

Council President Melvin Priester Jr. wants the whole of city government, including Mayor Tony Yarber's administration, to make public records a high priority.

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Politicians for Sale? Egg Bowl Rivals Take Care of Lawmakers, No Report from JSU

If the Ole Miss-Mississippi State rivalry extends to Capitol expenses, the University of Mississippi is winning in the department of free tickets for state lawmakers.

Loyola Report: Gulf South Lags on Poverty, Race Issues

The five states along the Gulf of Mexico lag behind much of the nation in measures of poverty, racial disparities and treatment of immigrants, a study released Thursday at Loyola University says.

Mississippi Senate Committee Passes Guns in Church Bill

A Mississippi Senate committee passed a bill Thursday that would allow guns in churches.

DHS Using Unpopular Raids to Curb Border Crossings

The Obama administration is openly stepping up efforts to find and deport immigrants who were part of the 2014 surge of illegal crossings by unaccompanied children and families.

Miss. Health Officials Urge Tetanus Shots in Flood Areas

Mississippi's health department says free vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis are being offered at county health offices in 29 counties affected by recent floods.

Garland Meets Democrats, Senate Recesses, Groups Up Pressure

Merrick Garland has met with two supportive Senate Democratic leaders and spoken by phone to more of his Republican opponents. But he's moved no closer to weakening the GOP barricade against changing his status from Supreme Court nominee to justice.

Officials: Threatening Letter Sent to Trump Son's NYC Home

Police and the FBI are investigating a threatening letter sent to the Manhattan apartment of Donald Trump's son Eric that contained a white powder, two law enforcement officials said Friday.

Body Found in Burned Home of Miss. Filmmaker

Authorities in Madison County say a body has been found in the fire-damaged home of a Mississippi filmmaker.

Thursday, March 17

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McDaniel: Highway Bill ‘Unfair Tax Policy,’ Would Hurt Poor, Middle Class

Three hours of heated debate, bi-partisan opposition and five failed amendments later, the last finance bill—to ostensibly fix crumbling highways, bridges and roads—passed the Mississippi Senate by four votes Wednesday.

Kerry Determines IS Group Committing Genocide in Iraq, Syria

The Obama administration on Thursday formally concluded the Islamic State group is committing genocide against Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria, a declaration long sought by Congress and human rights organizations but likely to change little in the conflict against the extremists.

Syria's Kurds Declare De-Facto Federal Region in North

Syria's Kurds on Thursday declared a de-facto federal region in Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Syria, drawing sharp condemnation from both the Damascus government and its opponents who decried the unilateral move as unconstitutional and setting a dangerous precedent.

Cranking Up Pressure, Garland Ready for First Senate Visits

President Barack Obama's choice for the Supreme Court commenced courtesy calls with senators Thursday as Democrats began the next phase of their drive to put unbearable election-year pressure on Republicans refusing to consider any Obama pick.

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New Madison Airport Push Potential 'Threat,' Jackson Airport Still in Committee

A new report from the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority reveals a years-long discussion about a Madison County commercial airport, as a bill focusing on the "takeover" of the Jackson Municipal Airport remains in House committee as of this morning.

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Clergy, Bomgar Call for End to Mass Incarceration, Private-Prison Reform

Rep. Joel Bomgar, R-Madison, stood with an interdenominational Christian group of clergy Wednesday at the Capitol, saying that mass incarceration serves none of his beliefs as either a Christian or as a Republican.

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Erick Dampier

Today marks the first day of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, but viewers won’t find any teams from our state in the Big Dance. That wasn’t the case 20 years ago.

St. Patrick's Parade Kicks Off in NYC, Gay Groups Included

The nation's largest St. Patrick's Day parade kicked off Thursday in New York City, and for the first time in decades, gay activists are not decrying it as an exercise in exclusion.

SeaWorld to Stop Breeding Orcas, Making Them Perform Tricks

Finally bowing to years of public pressure, SeaWorld announced Thursday that it will immediately stop breeding killer whales and making them perform crowd-pleasing tricks at its theme parks.

SUNSHINE WEEK: Amid Push for Transparency, Few Colleges Reveal Investments

Colleges and universities are under growing pressure from Congress and campus activists to reveal financial investments made through their endowments, but most institutions are standing firm against the idea.

Lawmaker: Michigan Governor Responsible for Flint Crisis

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is responsible for lead contamination in Flint, Michigan's water supply, and would likely face criminal charges if he were running a business, a Democratic lawmaker said Thursday.

Survey: More Acceptance of Social Changes, Except Divorce

Americans are more accepting of gay relationships and couples living together before marriage—but they've grown less comfortable with divorce, a new survey shows.

Mississippi Senators Preserve Chance for Road Funding

Opponents are still heaping scorn on an empty vessel of a transportation funding package, but the bill remained alive Wednesday after the Mississippi Senate passed it 34-13.

Senate Seeks to End Possible Subsidy for 3 Mississippi Malls, Including Costco Help in Ridgeland

Some lawmakers want to kill a Mississippi program that subsidizes shopping centers.

Wednesday, March 16

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City to Begin $9 Million Operation Orange Cone Street Repairs—But Which Roads?

The Operation Orange Cone committee has given the go-ahead to begin work on several of the city’s most worn-down streets. However, it is still unclear which streets the work is starting on,

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Making Sense in March Madness

While no college or university from the state of Mississippi made the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, it still could offer one of the craziest years for March Madness in recent memory.

The Slate

The University of Mississippi didn't get an invite to the NCAA or NIT Tournament this season.

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More Mississippi Sound

While our state's status as "the birthplace of American music" certainly sounds impressive, it doesn't say much about where Mississippi music is today.

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The Mind of David Liebe Hart

Los Angeles-based entertainer David Liebe Hart mesmerized thousands of viewers through his performances on Adult Swim's "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!"

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Doing Juvenile Detention Right ... Finally

After a long fight against oppressive juvenile-justice policies and negligent practices in Mississippi, 2012 was a watershed year for juvenile rights in Mississippi.

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City Roundup: Local Control for ’Hoods, Crime’s Root Causes, Taxi Wars

In its third annual attempt, the Jackson City Council worked to approve a resolution to support a private, local fund resource for neighborhood associations to address their local issues, like sidewalks, parks and other issues.

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Side-by-Side Donations: Key Players in Jackson Airport ‘Takeover’ Debate

Sen. Josh Harkins, R-Flowood, and Sen. John Horhn, D-Jackson—airport "takeover" adversaries—both received campaign donations from several of the same PACs and businesses.

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As the Water Turns, City Wrestles Over Corrosion Study

One question has haunted Jackson residents since January: Is the water safe to drink?

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Tackling ‘Corrupting Effects’ of Election Laws

The Mississippi Legislature, at least so far, is showing more willingness to regulate campaign and election practices than at anytime in its history.

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Politicians for Sale? Manufacturers Association Wines, Dines and Takes Lawmakers on Quail Hunts

As pure as the election process might be, democracy has the potential to break down with the influence of money.

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At What Cost? Legislative Majority Tries to Slash Size of State Government

Taxpayers could get a pay raise if the Taxpayer Pay Raise Act of 2016 becomes law, but after two hours of debate last week, several senators asked, "At what cost?"

Obama Nominates 'Serious' Candidate for SCOTUS, Challenges GOP to Put Aside Partisanship

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama nominated appeals court judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, challenging Republicans to drop their adamant refusal to even consider his choice in an election year.

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Trump’s Politically Correct Call for Bigotry, Hate

It's really hard to find a stronger sign that Donald Trump hopes to become a fascist dictator of people and thought in America, and he's playing to very ugly instincts of his followers to get there.

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Father Michael O’Brien

Father Michael O'Brien first met Hal White more than 10 years ago while O'Brien was serving as the priest at St. Richard Catholic Church in Jackson.

FIFA Acknowledges World Cup Hosting Bribes, Asks US for Cash

FIFA acknowledged Wednesday that past World Cups were awarded based on bribes, and the organization wants U.S. prosecutors to give it "tens of millions of dollars" seized from the former FIFA officials who took the cash.

North Korea Sentences US Tourist to 15 Years in Prison

North Korea's highest court sentenced an American tourist to 15 years in prison with hard labor for subversion on Wednesday, weeks after authorities presented him to media and he tearfully confessed that he had tried to steal a propaganda banner.

SUNSHINE WEEK: Obtaining Police Emails Can Take Months, Cost Thousands

As law enforcement agencies have come under increased scrutiny in recent years, media organizations, watchdog groups and others have become more vigilant about filing public-records requests for emails and documents, particularly after police shootings.

Congressional Sources: Obama to Nominate Merrick Garland

President Barack Obama will nominate federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, congressional sources said Wednesday.

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Working on a Different Canvas

While not altogether unfamiliar, Chuck Taylors are a unique medium to work with for many artists, despite being made from canvas. For Martha Ferris, the sneakers' material actually presented an interesting challenge.

Mississippi House Votes for Small Town Revitalization Fund

Small towns could borrow money from the state to revitalize historic downtown areas under a bill passed Tuesday by the House.

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SUNSHINE WEEK: Shine Light on Major Donors to Help Democracy

When the U.S. Supreme Court determined that buying political commercials is a form of First Amendment protected speech, it effectively erased a century of campaign-finance limits.

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Creating An Inclusive Jackson

Our city is not a unified community largely because we divide and differentiate our space by class and race.

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It's Easy Being Green

In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, here are some cocktails you and your friends can make this weekend.

Gov. Bryant, Don’t Perpetuate the Status Quo

To the honorable Gov. Phil Bryant ... I am writing you to express my concerns about your recent decision to declare April "Confederate Heritage Month."

Mississippi House Bill 4—The Irony of It All

Parents for Public Schools vehemently opposes House Bill 4 and its recent amendments.

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Long Live Hal

Malcolm White decided that because he sees his annual parade as a gift to the city, it could also be a way to continue to honor the gift of his late brother Hal's life by renaming it in his memory.

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A Tiki-tastic Good Time

Not too long ago, a friend shared an article with me that longed for the resurgence of the in-house cocktail party. Why, it asked, do we always seem to suggest meeting at a bar or restaurant, rather than inviting people over to our homes? I wondered, too.

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2016 Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade

The Mal's St. Paddy's Parade & Festival is now the Hal's St. Paddy's Parade & Festival in honor of the late Hal White. Though the parade has undergone a name change, it will be the same route as last year's parade.

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Play It Again, St. Paddy

With floats, beads and libations abounding, Jacksonians will have plenty of colorful sights and sounds to enjoy during Hal's St. Paddy's Parade, but the party won't end with the parade route.

Feedback: “DJ Young Venom: I Was Kicked Out of Trump Rally for Marvel’s Black Panther Shirt, X Cap” by Onelia Hawa

"... It doesn't matter what clothing he wore. There were students at their own university in another state at another rally who had shown up to listen to Trump speak, and they were not disruptive at all, but were asked to leave. Their crime: They were black."

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Celebrating St. Paddy’s Locally

On the day of the parade, March 19, Jaco's Tacos will host the Bluz Boys from 2 to 6 p.m., followed by a dueling piano bar in which two piano players will take requests and organize sing-a-longs from 6 to 9 p.m.

Tuesday, March 15

Trump, Clinton win Florida; Rubio Says He's Done

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the 2016 presidential campaign, with primaries in five states Tuesday and Republican front-runner Donald Trump trying to move closer to nailing down his party's nomination (all times Eastern Standard Time).

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SUNSHINE WEEK: Ten Commandments for Open Meetings

Too many elected boards seek every opportunity to meet out of sight of the public they serve.

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Sonya Williams-Barnes

Democratic Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes of Gulfport is stepping into a new leadership role as chairwoman of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus.

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Thalia Mara Hall, Innovate Jackson, MedeAnalytics and Ryan's Closes in Pearl

Business is booming at Thalia Mara Hall, with the venue selling out shows like never before.

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Airport's New Plan: Development, East Metro Corridor, Challenges Prominent

Development of the area around the airport is at the center of the recently released Jackson Municipal Airport Authority's "Strategic Plan 2021."

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Judge: Is Court Proper Place for Mississippi Flag Debate?

A federal judge is ordering attorneys to file arguments over whether courts have standing to decide if Mississippi should remove the Confederate battle emblem that has been on the state flag since 1894.

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SUNSHINE WEEK: Top Mississippi Lawmakers: Email, Schedule Not for Public

Republican leaders in the Mississippi House and Senate have denied a request for email correspondence and information about their schedules, saying the state Public Records Act does not apply to legislators.

New Figures Show Mississippi Has Nation's Worst Jobless Rate

Mississippi's jobless rate is worst among the 50 states, dragged down in part by a low-growth state economy, according to U.S. Labor Department figures released Monday.

Iran Foreign Minister Denies Missile Test Breached UN Rules

Iran's foreign minister said Tuesday that he had deliberately negotiated the wording of the latest United Nations resolution restraining his country's nuclear program to ensure that the test-firing of nuclear-capable Iranian missiles would be legal.

Obama Administration Loosens Rules on Cuba Travel, Dollar

The Obama administration on Tuesday loosened rules on travel to Cuba and the Cuban government's use of the dollar, removing obstacles to closer ties between the two countries five days before President Barack Obama makes a historic trip to Havana.

SUNSHINE WEEK: Even as Political Spending Explodes, Disclosure Remains Hazy

Politicians in Mississippi have used campaign money to pay for such things as a BMW, an RV and $800 cowboy boots.

Monday, March 14

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SUNSHINE WEEK: Public Needs Year-Round Access to Documents, Meetings, Donation Information

The JFP has long focused on the serious problem of campaign donation transparency in the state, especially that shielded by political action committees, and more recently the problem with city contractor transparency

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City Lifts Boil Notice, Some Streets Still Under Watch

The City of Jackson has lifted the boil notice for most of the city as they receive results from water tests, while one area still remains under watch.

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State Begins Lead Testing of Children, Awaits City's Corrosion Compliance Plan

The City of Jackson has extended a "precautionary boil notice" from last week's treatment-plant shutdown.

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Man Who Filed Flag Lawsuit Has Hired Full-Time Security, Amends Suit

The Mississippi attorney who filed a federal lawsuit against Gov. Phil Bryant has hired full-time security for his law firm staff and family due to death threats after news broke that he had sued the governor in order to change the state flag.

Ole Miss Adding Plaque with Context for Confederate Statue

A Confederate soldier statue that has stood for generations in a prominent spot on the University of Mississippi's Oxford campus will soon be accompanied by a plaque giving it historical context.

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SUNSHINE WEEK: Top Mississippi Leaders Fail to Disclose Schedules, Emails

Lawmakers in every state have adopted laws requiring most government meetings and records to be open to the public. But in some states, lawmakers have exempted themselves from complying.

Officer Dead in Shooting Near Police Station; Answers Sought

Police and the public were seeking answers Monday after a gunman opened fire outside a police station in a Maryland suburb of the nation's capital, killing an officer in what the police chief called an "unprovoked attack."

Water Ebbing in North Louisiana, Rising at Mississippi Line

floodwaters began receding Monday in northwest Louisiana, emergency officials along Louisiana's southeastern border with Mississippi were watching the rise of the Pearl River amid widespread flooding that has damaged thousands of homes.

House Benghazi Probe: Report by Summer, Factor for Clinton

Nearly two years after it was created, the House Benghazi Committee is plowing ahead, interviewing witnesses, reviewing documents and promising a final report "before summer" that is certain to have repercussions for Democrat Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency.

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John David Pennebaker

Former state Rep. John David Pennebaker, who helped create Mississippi's comprehensive four-lane highway construction program in 1987, has died at 72.

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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, March 13

Profiting From Probation: 'You Don't Criminalize Poverty'

MURFREESBORO, Tennessee (AP) — When Steven Gibbs couldn't afford the fees demanded by the company supervising his probation, he wound up in jail. When Gibbs — who had been arrested for driving on a suspended license — failed a drug test the company charged him to take, he was jailed again.

Saturday, March 12

9 Operators Propose 14 New Charter Schools in Mississippi

Nine charter school operators say they're interested in opening 14 new charter schools in Mississippi.

Friday, March 11

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Suspects Still At Large, Crimes Against Persons on the Rise, Seeking Solutions

After a relatively low crime season, this past weekend began a very tense week for the city of Jackson.

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Mayor Yarber Voices Frustration Over Potholes, Airport, Water, More on Facebook

Mayor Yarber on Facebook: "It took me at least 15 minutes to begin this post. It took so long because I actually didn't know where to start. In the City that we all love, it seems that everything that could go wrong is going wrong, fast."

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Ditto: Capitol District to Free Up Local Repair Funds, Get State to Pay Fair Share

The goal behind the proposed "Capitol Complex Improvement District" is to free up City of Jackson funds to work on more neglected neighborhoods, one of the original architects of the plan, former Mayor Kane Ditto, said this morning.

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Amendment Hijacks Parent Involvement Bill: 'Not About Teachers'

Rep. Gregory Holloway, Sr., D-Hazlehurst, helped mold the Parent Involvement and Accountability Act, which would "grade" parents in C, D or F districts on their involvement in their children's education.

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DJ Young Venom: I Was Kicked Out of Trump Rally for Marvel's Black Panther Shirt, X Cap

Phillip Rollins was sitting in the bleachers at Madison Central High School's auditorium, looking at his phone, when suddenly he noticed people pointing and shouting: "Get him out!"

Wounded Warrior Fires Execs Over Spending Accusations

The board of Wounded Warrior Project, one of the nation's largest veteran support groups, has fired two top officials amid news reports accusing the group of wasteful spending.

ACA Co-Ops Lose Millions in 2015; Some Expect 2016 Profits

The Affordable Care Act's health insurance co-ops absorbed deep financial losses last year, and 2016 is shaping up to be a make-or-break year for these nonprofit alternatives to traditional insurers.

Deluge Swamps Mississippi from Delta Region to Gulf Coast

Rain kept falling in Mississippi Friday as rescuers plucked people from flash flooding and residents along Delta rivers sandbagged against rising waters.

Trump Faces Questions About Rally Violence at GOP Debate

As Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump attempts to unify a fractured GOP around his candidacy, images of his supporters attacking protesters and allegations that he's inciting violence are casting new attention on the divisive nature of his candidacy.

Repairs to Water System Made, Boil Water In Effect

The City of Jackson reports that repairs have been made to the water system and water pressure is returning to normal.

100 Evacuated in Mississippi as Severe Weather Moves In

The director of the state emergency management agency in Mississippi says about 100 people have been evacuated in the Delta as a result of severe weather.

Thursday, March 10

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State Tax Cuts Would Divert $575 Million from State Fund

Taxpayers could get a pay raise if the Taxpayer Pay Raise Act of 2016 becomes law, but after two hours of debate today, several senators asked, “At what cost?”

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UPDATED: Mayor Fires Back at Council's Rejection of $400K Contract for Water Study, Says 'Political'

Several council members have spent the last hour and a half questioning the mayor's request to award a $400,000 corrosion study on the city's water to a Texas company run by a woman with a business degree from the University of Phoenix.

Man Gets Second Plea Hearing Over Noose on Ole Miss Statue

A judge has set a second guilty plea hearing for a man federal prosecutors say placed a noose on the University of Mississippi's statue of its first black student.

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After 'Heartbreaking' Violence, Mayor Creates Task Force to Examine Roots of Crime

After one of the most violent weekends in the city this year, Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber announced on Wednesday the formation of a Criminal Justice Reform Task Force.

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Paris Collins

If Jackson State University is going to make great strides in postseason play, the team is going to need big games from Paris Collins.

Reeves, Senators Renew Push for $575 Million in Tax Cuts

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Republican senators are renewing their effort to push through a $575 million package of tax cuts, even as Mississippi officials consider a revenue shortfall and the prospect of raising other taxes for transportation.

Governor Appoints Rep. Coleman as Circuit Judge in Delta

State Rep. Linda Coleman is becoming a circuit judge in the Mississippi Delta.

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City Faces Emergency and Puzzling Water Shutdown; Promises Answers in 48 Hours

The City of Jackson issued an emergency warning early today that citizens must preserve water due to an emergency shutdown. Here's what we know so far.

Sheriff Confirms Man Killed During Mississippi Home Invasion Was Escaped Murder Suspect

A sheriff is confirming that a man who broke into a Mississippi home and struggled for hours with the homeowners before he was shot to death was a murder suspect who escaped from jail a week ago.

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Indictment: Downtown Jackson Leader Stole and Misused Money

An indictment says the head of a downtown Jackson development group misused money in an investigation that has also led to two high-ranking employees of the Mississippi Audit Department being charged with hindering prosecution.

City of Jackson Issues Emergency Water Restriction Notice

Effective immediately, The City of Jackson has issued an emergency water use restriction for all customers served by the City’s Water System. The city’s Department of Public Works has determined that system-wide water conservation measures are needed at this time due to loss of power at the J.H. Fewell Water Treatment Facility.

Wednesday, March 9

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DJP President Ben Allen Indicted, State Auditor and DJP Slam Hinds County DA Investigation

Mississippi State Auditor Stacey Pickering says Hinds County District Attorney Robert S. Smith must drop indictments against two of his employees.

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Rep. Bell: Sanders Too Friendly with Gun Industry, Clinton Best Choice for People of Color

Hillary Clinton understands the complexities of race issues in this country and has a lifetime record of breaking down barriers that hold people back—especially people of color.

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The Heavy Journey of Brian Jones

When Jackson native Brian Jones first realized his passion for music as a child, it was something that he found came naturally to him.

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Evolving a Vocabulary

At Belhaven University's Bitsy Irby Gallery, Samara Thomas, who goes by Sam, seems at home among the photographs and objects on display.

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I Voted for Sanders Despite the ‘Bernie Bros’

With all of my trepidations, I voted for Bernie because I feel, of all the candidates, he is the one who legitimately has my back.

Fed Up with Underfunding Education

This week it appears that "level" funding for MAEP is here again for 2016, meaning an overall underfunding of the now essentially toothless formula somewhere on the order of $172 million.

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Disappointed in Rankin County

It seems odd that in a state like ours, instead of passing laws that help us get off the bottom of good lists and from the top of bad lists, some legislators create bills like this one, which are about power and control.

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Rep. Gipson: Guns in Courthouses Nothing New

Below is a verbatim statement from Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, in support of guns in courthouses and House Bill 571.

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Execution Teams, Uber Access and Planned Parenthood

The Mississippi Legislature is one step closer to defunding Planned Parenthood services for Medicaid recipients, allowing Uber free rein in the state and guarding the identities of the state's execution team and lethal drug supplier.

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Rep. Dortch: Confederate Heritage Month Not 'Worthy of Honor'

Below is a verbatim statement from Rep. Jarvis Dortch, D-Jackson, on Confederate Heritage Month.

Election Reform Still Possible

Mississippi's election law codes could be getting a makeover this legislative session.

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Foster Care Legislation: ‘The Beginning to an End of Madness’

The state's foster-care system, now housed under MDHS as the Division of Family and Children's Services, must comply with a court order in the Olivia Y lawsuit to avoid federal receivership this year.

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Helmick: ‘Private’ Charter Schools Drain Public Schools

When the Jackson Free Press sat down again with Joyce Helmick, president of the Mississippi Association of Educators, she repeatedly called charter schools "private charter schools."

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Jackson Police Officer Shot While Answering Robbery Call

Authorities in Mississippi say an armed robbery suspect shot a Jackson police officer.

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Changing Jackson One Dish at a Time

JXN Foodies founder Carlyn Hicks says one day in 2015, as she was walking through Metrocenter Mall, the fact that it looked like a ghost town struck a chord with her. But she saw some hope.

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Inside 'Mason's Inn': Life, Lockup and Learning Inside the Raymond Jail

The Hinds County Detention Facility is an all-male jail that houses about 430 inmates, fewer than 20 of them juveniles.

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Is the 'Airport Takeover' All About ... A Road?

As the airport "takeover" bill wends its way through the Mississippi Legislature, it's becoming a little more clear that the point of the bill is not to improve airport services as much as it might be designed to grease the wheels of Rankin County development.

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Lauren Lyles

A desire to achieve personal fame drives some people; others may find inspiration in getting wealthy. Jackson native Lauren Lyles' motivation stems from her desire to see and help people succeed.

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‘Capitol Complex’ District Would Fund (Parts of) Jackson

Several parts of Jackson will benefit financially if a pair of bills the Mississippi Senate passed last week survives and becomes law.

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What’s Behind the Airport ‘Takeover’?

Since the news broke in January that the Senate was about to wage a "hostile takeover" of Jackson's airport, many Jacksonians wonder if it's about more than who controls operations at the airport itself.

Tuesday, March 8

Trump, Clinton win Mississippi Primaries

Donald Trump has won the Republican presidential primary in Mississippi, edging out Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to post his 13th state victory of the 2016 White House race. Hillary Clinton is adding to her big delegate lead after a win in Mississippi. With 36 delegates at stake, she is assured of picking up at least 21.

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'Sanctuary Cities' for Immigrants May Soon Be Illegal in Mississippi

Mississippi municipalities would be banned from establishing "sanctuary cities" for illegal immigrants if a Senate bill, which passed to the House of Representatives yesterday, becomes law.

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New Downtown Restaurant, Arabella, Mercedes and BankPlus at The District

The District at Eastover, a mixed-use city center and combined commercial and residential space located between the Eastover and Fondren neighborhoods, is preparing to welcome BankPlus as its newest neighbor in the area.

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Trump Sparks Protests at Madison Central: 'Then It Turned Very Scary'

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump attracted large crowds at Madison Central High School—although far from the 10,000 he claimed.

Officer Must Testify Against Colleagues in Freddie Gray Case

A Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray must testify against his colleagues while he awaits a retrial, Maryland's highest court ruled Tuesday.

Health Law Fines Double for Many Uninsured at Tax Time

Many people who went without health insurance last year are now seeing fines more than double under President Barack Obama's health care law, tax preparation company H&R Block said Tuesday.

Mississippi House Lets 2 Contested Bills Die

The Mississippi House of Representatives has decided to kill two bills by not taking them up for debate.

Monday, March 7

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Donald Trump's Education Platform: Stop Common Core, Abolish U.S. Department of Education

This evening, Madison Central High School plans to open its doors to a rally for presidential candidate Donald Trump, which might be as much educational involvement the public has seen from Trump's campaign since it began.

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UPDATED: Surge in Jackson Homicide After Lull in Violent Crimes

This weekend, after two consecutively low weeks of crime in the city, five people were murdered in Jackson.

Mississippi Mostly Overlooked Before Presidential Primaries

Mississippi has received relatively little attention from presidential candidates ahead of its primaries, with campaigns focusing time and resources in several other states.

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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, March 6

Analysis: Halfway Through Session, Big Debates Yet to Begin

Mississippi's 2016 legislative session may be halfway over, but debate has yet to really begin on three of the biggest issues.

Saturday, March 5

Cruz, Clinton Pick Up the Most Delegates in Saturday's Contests

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — In a split decision, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump each captured two victories in Saturday's four-state round of voting, fresh evidence that there's no quick end in sight to the fractious GOP race for president. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders notched wins in Nebraska and Kansas, while front-runner Hillary Clinton snagged Louisiana, another divided verdict from the American people.

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Big Freedia Back on in Hattiesburg: Names Mississippi a 'Right to Twerk' State

Big Freedia has rescheduled a "Twerkloose" show at the Dollar Box Showroom in Hattiesburg on March 25 after the state pressured the owner last month to cancel the show due to supposedly illegal twerking.

Ole Miss Football Player Speaks Arrested, Charged with DUI

Mississippi defensive lineman Breeland Speaks was arrested early Friday morning and charged with driving under the influence.

Friday, March 4

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UPDATE: Airport 'Takeover' Stays Alive as Jackson Leaders Question Rankin Airport Motives

The Mississippi Senate’s so-far successful effort to wrest control of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority could be more about control of land than airport operations. The Senate takes up the bill today for the last time at 4 p.m.

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Long-time Republican Charles Evers Joins Madison Mayor, Others on Trump's Mississippi Team

Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler and civil-rights legend Charles Evers are members of Donald Trump's Mississippi Campaign Committee.

Updated Flag Lawsuit Says Rebel Emblem 'Vestige' of Slavery

An attorney is making additional arguments in a federal lawsuit that seeks to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the Mississippi flag.

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Mississippi Charter Law One Step Closer to Changing

Tuesday's Senate session rang with reprobation from Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, who spoke bitterly about Mississippi First, a group that he says acts as a front group for charter schools.

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Don Noblitt

Jackson native Don Noblitt recently joined the board of directors for the Parents Television Council, a non-partisan education organization advocating for protection of children from graphic violence, sex and profanity in media.

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Airport Control: 'Not Just a Jackson Fight,' 'Very Expensive Legal Battle' Ahead

One of the few faces in the Senate gallery during the hours-long discussion of the airport "takeover" bill Thursday was that of Jackson Municipal Airport Authority Board Chairman Dr. Rosie L.T. Pridgen.

Grammy Museum Opens in Mississippi Delta

The second and only official Grammy Museum outside of Los Angeles opens Saturday in the Mississippi Delta, cradle of the blues.

Former Police Officer Pleads Guilty in Civil Rights Case

A former Alcorn State University police officer has pleaded guilty in federal court to violating civil rights of someone under arrest.

N. Korea, on Defensive After Sanctions, Makes Nuclear Threat

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered his military to be ready to launch nuclear strikes at any time, state media reported Friday, an escalation in rhetoric targeting Seoul and Washington that may not reflect the country's actual nuclear capacity.

House Would Allow Online Voter Registration, Early Voting

Mississippi voters could register online and vote in person ahead of elections under a bill moving forward in the Legislature.

Thursday, March 3

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UPDATED: Airport Bill Passes Senate, Called ‘Hostile Eminent-Domain Takeover'

More than two hours of debate and six failed amendments later, the Jackson airport “takeover” bill passed the Senate by a vote of 29-18 today, leading critics to slam it as a "hostile eminent-domain taskeover.

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Bill Clinton Speaks at JSU, Visits Cups in Fondren

Former President Bill Clinton says that if his wife is elected president she wants to make student loans more affordable and reduce the number of nonviolent offenders in prisons. Bill Clinton spoke Thursday to about 800 people at Jackson State University. His appearance came five days before Mississippi's presidential primary.

Judge Rules Alabama Death Penalty Mechanism Unconstitutional

An Alabama judge has thrown out the state's system for imposing the death penalty the same day Florida lawmakers passed a bill to revamp a similar sentencing mechanism.

Florida Overhauls Death Penalty in Bid to Resume Executions

Florida is overhauling the death penalty in a bid to resume executions after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the state's current sentencing law was unconstitutional.

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Planned Parenthood Bill Would Limit Cancer and STI Screening, Birth Control

Medicaid recipients seeking birth control, STI testing or cancer screenings at the state's only Planned Parenthood clinic might get cut off if a Senate bill, which passed yesterday and then was held on a motion to reconsider, becomes law.

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Shandricka Sessom

Shandricka Sessom has been one of the bright spots for the Rebels this season as they have tried to rebuild their women's basketball program back to being a winner.

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Legislators May Override Local Regulation of Uber, Taxi Drivers

Two taxi drivers are suing the City of Jackson over regulations that they say restrict their business, just as city leaders and state legislators work to push through new rules to govern "transport network companies" like Uber to Mississippi.

Judge Would Be First Indian-American Named to Supreme Court

Sri Srinivasan, a federal appeals judge who was born in India and grew up in Kansas, would be the first foreign-born justice to serve on the Supreme Court in more than 50 years.

Appeals Court to Hear Arguments in Freddie Gray Case

Maryland's highest court will hear arguments Thursday on whether an officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray can be compelled to testify against his colleagues after his trial ended in a hung jury in November.

Capital Murder Suspect Escapes Mississippi Jail

Authorities in western Mississippi launched a massive search Wednesday for a capital murder suspect who escaped from a county jail.

Wednesday, March 2

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Jim Hood Says He'll Defend the State In Lawsuit Against State Flag, But Flag Should Change

Mississippi's attorney general said Wednesday that he will defend his state's flag against a lawsuit that seeks to remove its Confederate battle emblem, even though he thinks the flag hurts the state and should change.

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Pair of Taxi Drivers Sue Jackson, Say Regs Give Uber Unfair Advantage

Two taxicab drivers, one from Jackson and one from Star, filed suit against the City of Jackson for what they believe to be “anti-competitive, arbitrary and irrational regulations,” specifically accusing the city of playing favorites with companies like Uber.

Prominent Mississippi Civil Rights Activist James Figgs Dies

James Figgs, a longtime community organizer in the Mississippi Delta who was known for playing crucial supporting roles in the 1960s civil rights movement and beyond, has died. He was 72.

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A Window into Modern Art

In one of modern artist Leon Kroll's most famous works, "Terminal Yards," plumes of smoke travel up into the air from a train yard. Snow blankets the tracks and ground. A dark mountain accented with snow hovers above the moving locomotives.

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Nowhere to Go: LGBT Youth on the Move, Without a Home

A 2015 Williams Institute survey of homeless-youth service providers found that the most widely selected reason for homelessness among LGBT youth (as reported to service providers) was "forced out of their homes or running away from home because of their sexual orientation."

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Mississippi Racism Alive and Thriving

One could argue that racism is as bad today as it has ever been. In Mississippi, it is thriving.

Ben Carson Sees No Path To GOP Nomination

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is effectively ending his campaign after a poor finish across the Super Tuesday primaries.

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Chaining Mississippi to Its Despicable Past

I'll honor my Confederate heritage when we've done anything substantial to right hundreds of years of wrongs.

Mississippi’s ‘Frivolous’ Lawsuit Conundrum

In one of the poorest states in the nation, litigating cases in the name of religious freedom or conservative idealism is costly.

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Child Protection, Pro-Women Bills Pass Senate; House Roiled in Race Tension

Human trafficking, domestic-abuse and breastfeeding bills easily passed through the Mississippi Senate last week.

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Stayin’ Alive: House, Senate Education Bills to Watch

The webpages for Senate and House Education Committee legislation resemble a text-heavy graveyard of the bodies of bills snuffed out prematurely.

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Lead in Water Devastating to Children, Their Development, Their Futures

Concerns about lead poisoning in Jackson increased in recent weeks since the Mississippi Department of Health notified the city in January that it found lead in some of the city's households last summer.

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Dear Gov. Bryant: Stop Pandering to Racism

Leaders like Gov. Phil Bryant must stop holding white Mississippians down to the bigotry of low expectations for fellow white people.

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Krystal Jackson

Art and music flow through Krystal Jackson's veins.

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Lawsuit to Change Mississippi Flag An ‘Uphill Battle,’ But Could Work

A black Mississippi lawyer suing Gov. Phil Bryant for flying the state flag could be successful if he can prove that the state's original intent for putting the Confederate battle emblem on the flag's canton was racist and discriminatory back in 1894.

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CeeLo Green: Music for Humanity

Pop artist, TV persona, producer and entrepreneur CeeLo Green has no shortage of accolades behind him. The Atlanta native has garnered a new gaggle of fans at every stage in his career, from his time in hip-hop act Goodie Mob and soul duo Gnarls Barkley to his solo career and appearances on NBC singing competition “The Voice.”

Proposal: Use Part of Oil Spill Money for Transportation

Part of Mississippi's oil spill settlement money would be set aside to help pay for transportation improvements statewide, under a proposal that moved through the House but is likely to stall in the Senate.

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Love in Cyberspace

Falconh, the Holy Paladin, stood at rest amidst the bodies of the undead he had slain protecting Gallandriana. With his flaming sword by his side, his blue eyes scanned the horizon for her return.

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The Banner Studios: Setting up Stars

Sneakers squeak down the length of the basketball court at the Boys & Girls Club of Central Mississippi's Capitol Street unit.

Tuesday, March 1

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'Civil Emergency' Fails for Second Time

The second attempt at declaring a civil state of emergency failed at a special meeting of the city council Tuesday, March 1, with Ward 4 Councilman De'Keither Stamps as the only vote supporting it.

Mississippi Senate Passes Execution Secrecy Bill

The names of employees and family members at an execution, as well as the pharmacy providing lethal drugs, would be kept secret under a bill Mississippi lawmakers are considering.

Senate Passes Bill Merging Welfare, Medicaid, Rehab Agencies

Mississippi's departments of Human Services and Rehabilitation Services could be combined with its Medicaid agency under a legislative plan.

Mississippi House Back at Work After Partisan Rift

The Mississippi House worked several hours Monday after resolving a partisan fight that halted debate for two days late last week.

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City Works to Clarify Water Status: 'Not Deemed Unsafe,' But 'Flush the Tap'

Jackson Director of Public Works Kishia Powell spelled out precautionary measures people can and, in some cases, should take regarding the city's water.

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Two Men and a Truck, Bully's, Clubstore Outlet, Sassy Classy, BancorpSouth

Michael Sham, who has been with Two Men and a Truck since May 2013, won his own location and $10,000 to get it started in the Two Men and a Truck Moving People Forward Scholarship.

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Drew Young

Since becoming Visit Mississippi's music programs manager in September 2015, Drew Young has represented our state's musical contributions far and wide at events such as the annual Mississippi Night at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles and Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, Mo.

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Chrissy Walter's Funkadelic Family

Meet Chrissy Walter, Godfather of Funk George Clinton's daughter (and publicist).

Judge: Convicts Must Pay Hit-and-Run Victim's Heirs $840,000

Four white men convicted in the 2011 beating and rundown death of a black autoworker in Mississippi have been ordered to pay his heirs $840,000.