Stories for May 2016


Tuesday, May 31

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MAC Construction Files Lawsuit Against Siemens

MAC Construction LLC, one of the principal subcontractors for the City of Jackson’s notorious $90-million contract with Siemens, filed a suit against the large company for damages

Ole Miss' Freeze 'Owning Mistakes,' Denies Paying Players

Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze is "owning the mistakes" made during his tenure, which now includes NCAA violations, but said neither he nor his assistants knowingly did anything wrong.

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Capitol Nutrition, Jackson Culinary Concierge and LurnyD's Grille

Jackson couples Adam and Katherine Martin, and Matthew and Lacey Buck partnered together two weeks ago to open Capitol Nutrition in the Regions Plaza in downtown Jackson.

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UPDATED: Kishia Powell: Did Not Come to Jackson 'to Be a Figurehead,' New Atlanta Watershed Director

After almost two years on the job, Jackson's Director of Public Works Kishia Powell tendered her resignation to Mayor Tony Yarber's office this weekend, but the specific reasons are still unclear.

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Alex Eaton

Alex Eaton of Manship Wood Fired Kitchen will represent Mississippi and Blake Phillips of Sage will represent Louisiana in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off on Aug. 6 in New Orleans.

High Court Will Hear State Farm Appeal in Katrina Fraud Case

The Supreme Court will consider whether to overturn a jury verdict against State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. in a whistleblower case alleging fraud against the U.S. government after 2005's Hurricane Katrina.

Extra Mississippi Police Patrols, Road Blocks Through June 5

Wherever you travel in South Mississippi throughout this week, chances are you will see safety checkpoints or officers pulling over motorists.

Monday, May 30

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10 Local Stories of the Week

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

Saturday, May 28

Mississippi Attorney: Don't Block Religious Objections Law

Mississippi government attorneys are opposing two legal challenges to a new state law that will let circuit clerks cite religious objections to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Friday, May 27

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Governor Will Join Multi-State Transgender Bathroom Lawsuit Even If State Won't

Attorney General Jim Hood said he will not add the State of Mississippi to the Texas lawsuit against the federal government over President Barack Obama's directive to public schools, telling them to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identities.

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More City Transparency: Council Posts Agenda Packets Online, Finally

In a step toward compliance with state law, and the latest in a series of steps to generate transparency in local government, the Jackson City Council posted its agenda packet for next week's meeting online: a first for the Jackson municipal government. Those documents are the back-up materials that council members get for discussions during meetings.

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Willie Wazir Peacock

On Saturday, May 28, Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement will pay tribute to Willie Wazir Peacock, a civil-rights veteran who died at the Creekside Health Care Center in San Pablo, Calif., on April 17, 2016.

Sentencing Delayed in Bribery Case Tied to Ex-Prison Chief

Sentencing has been delayed for a consultant who pleaded guilty to bribing the former head of Mississippi's prison system.

Thursday, May 26

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AG Hood: Mississippi Will Not Join Transgender Bathrooms Lawsuit

Attorney General Jim Hood issued the following statement today regarding the lawsuit by Texas and 10 other states.

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Stokes to Circulate Police-chase Petition in Response to DOJ Letter

During a community meeting at Cornerstone Baptist Church Wednesday night, Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes and citizens decided to circulate a petition in response to a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division about suburban police departments' high-speed chases into the city.

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Democrats to State Leadership: 'Return to Fiscal Sanity'

Legislative Democratic leaders decried budget cuts to the state health department on Wednesday outside agency offices, calling on Gov. Phil Bryant to take action and call a special session to address cuts that will affect emergency response, health and safety inspections, and other services the health department provides across the state.

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'Love!' Against Legislation

For Cody Cox, owner of Jackson record label Elegant Trainwreck, it began with a feeling of helplessness and just a little bit of amazement.

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Jake Mangum

Athletic talent is nothing new in Jake Mangum’s family. The Mississippi State University freshman outfielder comes from a long line of athletes who have made their mark on sports in our state.

Mississippi Gov Intends to Join Transgender Bathroom Lawsuit

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says he intends to join 11 states in suing the Obama administration for telling U.S. public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.

Trump Reaches the Magic Number to Clinch Nomination

Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign.

Democrats Want Special Session to Change Mississippi Budget

Democrats are renewing their demand for Republican Gov. Phil Bryant to call a special session so lawmakers can change parts of Mississippi's $6.3 billion spending plan before the new budget year begins July 1.

Wednesday, May 25

11 States Sue Over Obama's School Transgender Directive

Texas and 10 other states are suing the Obama administration over its directive to U.S. public schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.

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A Very, Very Full Plate: An Interview with Department of Public Works Director Kishia Powell

Kishia Powell, director of the department of public works, sat down with the Jackson Free Press on May 4 to clear the air about her constant struggle against the problems she inherited as head of the fight against potholes, water leaks, and water bill difficulties.

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Do You Have a Seat at the Table?

Where Mississippians once led at the forefront of the movement for change, it looks as though we have become content and reliant upon others.

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JPD Targets ‘Bandos’: A Different Kind of ‘Broken Windows’ Policing

JPD Chief Lee Vance is frustrated at the State for owning so much crumbling housing in Jackson but is glad that his department is helping to bring it down.

Mississippi Man Released from Jail in Daughter's Death

A Mississippi man whose daughter died after he left her in a hot car was released from jail without bail Tuesday, with the possibility that the second-degree murder charge against him could be reduced.

Lawmakers: Stop Using Transgender Citizens as Political Pawns

In a state where lawmakers couldn't make domestic violence grounds for divorce, the same group of legislators claim that the protection of girls and women informs their decision to demand the state superintendent of education to resign from her job for "risking the safety" of girls in classrooms.

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‘Thank God for Alabama’ Now Has New Meaning

Growing up in Mississippi, it seemed we were always competing with Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana over which state could be the worst in education, health care, economic development and other vital issues. Most competitors try to be the best at their craft, but our competition was a race to the bottom.

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Juvenile Crime: Identify the Problem

It may not be your fault, but it is your problem. It's our problem. And so far, solving problems seems to be pretty much our saving grace as a species—which is a good thing considering how many problems we create. Let's get to work.

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Juvy Intervention Programs Losing Federal Funds

Pre-intervention programs are vital in the state's criminal-justice system and have the power to prevent young people from entering the criminal-justice system in the first place.

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Genesis Be: Striving for Change

Hip-hop artist Genesis Be, a Biloxi native, recently made national news for donning a rebel flag and noose in protest of Gov. Phil Bryant's proclamation of Confederate Heritage Month at a performance at New York nightclub SOB's on April 26.

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Resisting the Tide: Trans Mississippians Speak Out

Title IX is usually associated with sex-based equity in athletics, but advocates say it actually applies much more broadly.

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Katherine Day

Katherine Day came home to Jackson on a train last fall; it had been six years since she had last lived in the city. Day grew up in Jackson, but when she was 24 years old, she made a break for it and left in 2006.

Mississippi High Court is Asked to Toss 1990 Death Sentence

An attorney asked the Mississippi Supreme Court on Tuesday to toss out a death sentence for a man who has spent more than half his life on death row, saying he's mentally disabled and should not be executed for killing a family of four a quarter-century ago.

Tuesday, May 24

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Mississisippi Department of Education Sides with State Leaders on Trans Student Guidelines

Mississippi's Board of Education is voting to follow state political leaders' opposition to federal guidance on use of bathrooms and locker rooms by transgender students.

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National Airport Board Names Jackson's Carl Newman Chairman

The executive director of Jackson's airport now chairs the largest association of accredited airport professionals in the world.

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Haley's Comet, Fino Furniture, D's Cajun Spot and Hermes Creative Awards

Jackson resident Tony Fino, owner of Fino Furniture, opened a second store location at 1063 County Line Road on May 7 and will celebrate with a grand opening Wednesday, June 1.

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Nick Feild

Nick Feild, a resident of San Antonio who works in the finance industry, never expected to become involved in the world of film until he and a friend began working on a screenplay together more than three years ago.

Attorney: Charge to be Reduced in Mississippi Hot-Car Death

A defense attorney says he expects a Mississippi prosecutor to reduce the second-degree murder charge against a man arrested last week when his 8-month-old daughter died after being left in a hot car.

Monday, May 23

Officer Acquitted on All Charges in Freddie Gray Case

A Baltimore officer was acquitted of assault and other charges Monday in the arrest of Freddie Gray, dealing prosecutors a second straight blow in their bid to hold police accountable for the black man's death from spinal injuries suffered in the back of a police van.

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'Pay or Stay' Lawsuit Against City Part of Larger Trend of Challenges

Municipal-court systems that practice "pay or stay" policies, jailing people who cannot afford fines, are facing legal objections across the South from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union. In addition to Jackson, it includes the Municipal Court of Biloxi.

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Kevin Upchurch

One of the top financial managers in Mississippi government is stepping down at the end of this budget year.

Supreme Court Upends All-White Jury Verdict, Death Sentence

The Supreme Court upended the conviction and death sentence of a black Georgia man Monday because prosecutors violated the Constitution by excluding African-Americans from the all-white jury that determined his fate.

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Facility for Children with Special Needs Set to Open in Jackson Metro

Children with special needs in the Jackson metro area will have a new option for community-based care due to the coordination between state agencies, private care and state agencies.

Obama Lifts Decades-Old Arms Ban in His 1st Visit to Vietnam

U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday lifted a half-century-old ban on selling arms to Vietnam, looking to bolster a government seen as a crucial, though flawed partner in a region that he has tried to place at the center of his foreign policy legacy.

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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, May 21

Father Charged with Murder After 8-Month-Old Dies in Car

A father has been charged with second-degree murder after his 8-month-old daughter died in his overheated car in northern Mississippi, police said Friday.

Friday, May 20

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JPD Honors Fallen Officers with 'Honor and Respect'

Family members of fallen Jackson Police Department officers placed roses on the memorial site outside of JPD headquarters in downtown Jackson yesterday, and were presented with potted peace lilies, a flower that represents innocence, harmony and purity after death.

Maroon 5, Citing Morality, Cancels North Carolina Concerts

The pop group Maroon 5 has joined the list of entertainers canceling appearances in North Carolina because of the passage of legislation that denies anti-discrimination protections and dictates which restrooms transgender people can use.

For San Francisco Police Chief, Latest Shooting Spells End

The death of a young black woman in a stolen car proved to be the breaking point in a series of shootings and racially tinged scandals that led to the resignation of San Francisco's police chief.

Mississippi State Names Former Alabama President as Provost

Mississippi State University has named former University of Alabama President Judy Bonner as its provost and executive vice president.

Thursday, May 19

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Sens. Wicker, Cochran: Obama Transgender Directive Lacks the Force of Law

WASHINGTON D.C.– U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today signed a letter clarifying that federal law does not require states and schools to adhere to a new transgender directive issued by the Obama administration.

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Chokwe A. Lumumba Promises Mayoral Campaign Built on His Father’s Foundation

Promising to build on the work of his father, Chokwe A. Lumumba announced his second mayoral bid this afternoon to more than a hundred supporters gathered on the steps in green space by City Hall.

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Ride Against Fear: From Memphis to Jackson in Protest of HB 1523

Benjamin Morris is biking the length of the state of Mississippi in protest of House Bill 1523.

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Hailey Lunderman

This softball season has been one of the best, if not the best, for the University of Mississippi. The Rebels' latest historic moment happened last week when the team won its first SEC Softball Tournament Game in the school's history.

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Mississippi Education Award Not About Charter-School Legislation

Though Mississippi often ranks low among other states in education, the state got high marks recently from a national education group this month.

House Would Ban Confederate Flags on VA Cemetery Flagpoles

The House voted on Thursday to ban the display of the Confederate flag on flagpoles at federal veterans' cemeteries.

Judge in Freddie Gray-Officer Trial Grills Prosecutors

A judge aggressively questioned prosecutors Thursday about why they charged an officer with assault in the arrest of Freddie Gray, and asked whether every officer who makes an arrest without probable cause should be charged with a crime.

Oklahoma Lawmakers OK Bill Criminalizing Performing Abortion

The Oklahoma Legislature has passed a bill that would make performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to three years in prison.

Appeals Court Upholds Firing of Ex-Chief of Aberdeen Schools

The Mississippi Court of Appeals has upheld the firing of a former Aberdeen School District superintendent.

Wednesday, May 18

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Summer Guide 2016

Here are a few quick tips to enjoy your summer in Jackson, whether you want to head outside for some sunshine or stay indoors with great summer treats and cocktails.

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UPDATE: Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Robert Graham Running for Mayor

Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the son of the former mayor who died while in office, is offering his candidacy for mayor this week. He ran against now-Mayor Tony Yarber in the special election to replace his father

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The Lessons That Matter

Before the last chapter in your journey as a child is complete, let's review what you have learned as you matriculated through school. Not mathematical formulas, historical dates or scientific facts, but what will really matter as you continue through adulthood.

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2016 Legislative Session a Bust

The new Republican supermajority succeeded in making the 2016 Mississippi Legislative Session one of the least productive and most contentious on record. Aside from those accomplishments, the 2016 Session was a bust; as many reasonable Republicans agree.

Lawmakers: Stop the Shortsighted, Dangerous Budget Cuts

Several state agencies are looking at budget cuts for the coming fiscal year, and a reduction in services to Mississippians—from mental-health care to rehabilitation treatment—will inevitably put pressure on local communities and other support services to pick up the slack.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Disregard'

After President Obama issued a directive to school districts on curbing sex-based discrimination, specifically against students who do not identify with the gender commonly linked to their biological sex, Gov. Phil Bryant told the Mississippi Department of Education that it should disregard the president's calls.

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First Lady Sadie-Mae

Mr. Announcement: "Ghetto Science Public Affairs Network TV presents First Lady Sadie-Mae McBride's graduation commencement speech at Hair Did University School of Cosmetology and Vocational Education. We join the first ;ady's speech already in progress."

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Avoiding the School-to-Prison Pipeline

When the parents, students, faculty, and staff at Forest Hill met in the auditorium to discuss violence and fighting at the community chat the night of May 4, the room rang with frustration at the perceived chaos of the school environment and concerns about the safety of the students and teachers after a mom drew her gun during an afterschool fight on campus.

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UPDATED: Foster-Care System Avoids Receivership ... For Now

The state's foster-care system has avoided federal receivership—for now. On Friday, May 13, Gov. Phil Bryant signed a law to officially separate the state's foster-care system from the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

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Testing Solar in Mississippi

Last spring, Entergy announced it would invest $4.5 million into three solar plants in Mississippi. Entergy mainly serves the western half of the state.

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‘Debtor’s Prison’: City to Settle in ‘Pay or Stay’ Lawsuit

For more than 20 days in 2015, disabled 58-year-old Jerome Bell slept on the concrete floor of a cell with no cushion or mattress in a crowded Hinds County jail. He was in for a traffic violation.

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‘External Threats’: City Takeover Talk Complicates Budget Skirmish

The Jackson City Council and Mayor Tony Yarber sparred last week over the newest revelations about the small amount of reserve funds that remain in City coffers and the potential cuts that this could bring.

New Law Speeds Up Physician Licensing Across State Lines

Out-of-state physicians could get licensed to practice in Mississippi more quickly, under a new law.

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A Love of the Craft (Beer)

The Mississippi Craft Beer Festival gives locals a chance to celebrate the craft-beer culture and support the breweries right here in our state.

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The Lows of High Society

It's rare for a new author to make as big of waves as Auburn University professor Anton DiSclafani did with her debut novel, "The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls," published in 2013.

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Green Ghost Love

While Green Ghost is fairly new, its owners have lived in the Jackson area since coming here from Guanajuato, Mexico, in 1994.

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Nina Ghaffari

Nina Ghaffari, 34, is transcendent in the world of Iranian fashion. She blends what she has learned in the United States and the Middle East, creating clothes that combine elements from the styles of both cultures.

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A Weekend of Wildlife

August marks the 30th anniversary of the Mississippi Wildlife Foundation's largest annual fundraiser, the Mississippi Wildlife Extravaganza. The event began as a small outdoor event and is now a weekend-long festival filled with catfish, alligators, educational seminars and more.

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A Flower Child at Heart

There's something refreshing about the changing seasons, and I experience it more when the trees bloom and storefronts open their doors to greet those rising from their hibernation under long sleeves and knee high boots.

Tuesday, May 17

GOP Lawyer: Eaton Election Lawsuit Should Be Dismissed

Lawyers for Republican leaders of the Mississippi House of Representatives say a lawsuit seeking to reinstate a Democratic representative should be dismissed.

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Bliss Bride, Goodwill in Jackson and Coca-Cola Plant Auction

Bliss Gift and Home, a gift and home decor store located inside Banner Hall, is hosting a ribbon-cutting celebration tonight, May 17, to commemorate the opening of Bliss Bride, a new bridal concierge and gift-registry service that will be the only one of its kind based in Jackson.

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Protests at City Hall over 'Secrecy and Division' Amid Budget Deficits, Huge Water Bills

A small group of concerned citizens gathered in the light rain Tuesday morning on the steps of Jackson City Hall to protest the "secrecy and division" of the city government, even as Jackson City Council gathered for its regular meeting inside.

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Tom Benson

Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson won a key legal round Monday in his fight to leave ownership of his NFL and NBA team to his wife, rather than his estranged daughter and grandchildren.

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Mississippi GOP Reps: Superintendent Should Oppose Transgender Rules or Step Down

A group of Mississippi House Republicans emailed a letter today directly to state Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright, asking her to step down unless the Mississippi Department of Education swiftly reverses its decision to follow the president’s guidelines on protecting transgender students’ rights.

Bergdahl to be Court-Martialed Under New Commander-in-Chief

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who walked off his combat outpost in Afghanistan and spent five years in captivity, will be court-martialed under a new commander-in-chief.

IOC: 31 Caught in Retests of 2008 Beijing Olympic Samples

In a major doping crackdown stretching back eight years, 31 athletes in six sports were caught in retesting of samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and other positive cases could emerge from the 2012 London Games, the IOC said Tuesday.

GOP Blocks Provision to Require Women to Register for Draft

Buckling under conservative pressure, the Republican-led House Rules Committee pulled a legislative sleight of hand and stripped a provision from the annual defense policy bill that would have required women between the ages of 18 and 25 to sign up for a military draft.

Scientists Head Out to Study Shell Spill in the Gulf

Researchers are heading out to study the effects of a Shell leak of about 88,200 gallons of oil off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico, a scientist said on Monday.

Monday, May 16

Mississippi Senate Leader Burton Gets DUI Charge After Wreck

The second-ranking leader of the Mississippi Senate has been charged with DUI after a one-vehicle wreck.

Desegregation Ruling Says Cleveland, Miss., Must Merge Schools

A federal judge says Mississippi's Cleveland school district must merge its high schools and middle schools to achieve racial desegregation.

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JPD Demolishes 200th House, Inmate Dies, Property Crimes Down, Commander Awarded

The Jackson Police Department is celebrating its 200th demolition of abandoned homes this week, including some they say are "high profile."

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'We Are In Crisis': Mental Health Staff, Services Reducing Due to Budget Cuts

Overnight chemical-dependency services for men in Mississippi state hospitals will end as a result of budget cuts in fiscal-year 2017, the Mississippi Department of Mental Health said in a statement last week.

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The Bright Light Social Hour

While recent fans know The Bright Light Social Hour for the soulful, psychedelic sound of the band's well-received 2015 album, "Space Is Still the Place," the Austin, Texas-based four-piece is fairly new to the style.

Supreme Court Punts Decision in Birth Control Dispute

The Supreme Court rid itself Monday of a knotty dispute between faith-based groups and the Obama administration over birth control. The court asked lower courts to take another look at the issue in a search for a compromise.

Schools Offer Guidance on Transgender Issues

From locker rooms and sex education classes to dress codes and overnight field trips, many U.S. public schools already are balancing the civil rights of transgender students with any concerns that classmates, parents and community members might have.

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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, May 13

Bryant Signs Bill to Cut $415M in Business and Income Taxes

Gov. Phil Bryant has signed what may be the largest tax cut in Mississippi history.

Dems, Former Mental Health Director Call for Special Session to Find Mental-Health Funding

Legislative Democrats and the state's formal mental health director sent Gov. Bryant an open letter today calling for a special session of the Legislature to find funding for the state's mental health department to avoid a 'crisis.'

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UPDATED: Obama Tells Schools How to Protect Transgender Students' Civil Rights

Today the Obama administration issued a directive offering "significant guidance" to school districts on curbing sex-based discrimination in schools, specifically against students who do not identify with the gender commonly linked to their biological sex.

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UPDATED: City of Jackson's Fund Reserve Down to $1.3 Million, Core Services Under Knife

The Jackson City Council finally heard Thursday what some members had already surmised in earlier meetings: The City administration has pulled from the ordinance-mandated fund reserves, leaving a little more than a million dollars for use in case of an emergency or to meet unforeseen budget shortfalls.

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Chuck Odom

In a small building behind the Holy Trinity-St. John the Theologian Greek Orthodox Church in Jackson, Chuck Odom and John Tselepes stuffed raw lamb loins with a special seasoning and garlic, and rubbed them down with olive oil, lemon juice and more secret spices and ingredients.

Larger Share of Mississippi Third Graders Pass Reading Test

A larger share of Mississippi third graders passed the state's reading test on the first try this year.

Thursday, May 12

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Domestic Violence Coalition: State Needs to Support Victims

More than a dozen domestic violence activists gathered at the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence headquarters on May 11 in response to the failure of SB 2418, the 'divorce bill' that would have created legal provisions to make domestic violence grounds for divorce in the state.

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Governor Signs Bill Prohibiting Medicaid Reimbursements for Planned Parenthood

Gov. Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2238 on Tuesday, a law that blocks the state's Medicaid division from paying for "costs of care and services" at providers who also offer abortion services—anywhere in the country.

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Ashley "Paige" Breal

There are several reasons for Alcorn State's impressive jump in wins, but one of the main factors is the pitching of Ashley "Paige" Breal. She has been sensational on the mound despite this being her first season pitching for the Braves.

Miss. Bill Aims to Ban State Money to Planned Parenthood

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed a bill to ban Medicaid from spending money with any facility that performs elective abortions.

Wednesday, May 11

White Ex-Cop to Remain Free on Bail After Federal Indictment

A white former South Carolina police officer facing a state murder charge in the shooting death of unarmed black motorist Walter Scott will remain free on bail after his indictment on federal charges that include depriving the victim of his civil rights.

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‘The Right Leadership’: The JFP Interview with Dr. Carey Wright

Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education, recently sat down with the Jackson Free Press to talk about education legislation, school funding and charter schools.

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Having the Space to Try New Ways to Prevent Crime

It's critical for the City of Jackson to have solid coverage of our efforts to try new approaches at crime reduction. It is equally critical that the citizens of Jackson engage with such reporting.

Using Evidence to Bridge Partisan Gaps

Of all the things the Legislature did this year, a budgeting strategy that could potentially save the state wasted dollars in the long-term and ensure taxpayer dollars fund successful programs emerged as a priority, albeit a quiet one, of the legislative leadership.

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Powerful Enough to Tear Us Down

If words are powerful enough to build us up, then certainly one can see they'd be strong enough to tear us down.

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Kris Kelli’s Dutty Pop Prestige

It's been five years since Kris Kelli moved from her hometown—and her home country—to branch out in the American music scene with the goal of not returning until she had something to show for it.

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Kishia Powell: ‘I Don’t Steer’ Contracts; City Loan Debate; Guns, Payday Ordinances

Documents, including emails, released to the Jackson Free Press indicate that despite protestation from Mayor Tony Yarber and his administration, the City has been dipping into the ordinance-protected reserve fund to fill in shortfalls from last year's budget.

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Keeping Things Simple

When Sarah Gayden Hammond (then Harris), met Andy Hammond at Sneaky Fest at Sneaky Beans in Fondren in August 2011, she was wearing a Raggedy Ann and Andy shirt.

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Legislative Summer School: All About Performance

The Mississippi Department of Corrections is ending a paramilitary inmate program due to a state law and legislative efforts to enforce performance-based budgeting for all state agencies.

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Living the Dream in Post-1523 Mississippi

Progressive thinkers here are working to leave hate-drenched politics behind, to get enough people motivated to vote to use our purple demographics to send a strong message at the polls that we're not playing that old-time religion of hate any longer.

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Snacking Downtown

If people are at a show at downtown venues such as Big Sleepy's or headed to the King Edward Hotel, they may notice Downtown Snack Shop's blue neon sign glowing among the street lights.

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Infant Mortality Prevention, Social Service Jobs on Budget Chop Block

Efforts to reduce the state's infant mortality rate—the highest in the country—will go on the chopping block if Gov. Phil Bryant signs the Legislature's version of the state budget into law, the state's top health officer told the Jackson Free Press last week.

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Battle for the Airport: The Next Steps

Medgar Wiley Evers looked down from the wall of the memorial pavilion in the airport named after him upon the chairwoman of the soon-to-be-replaced governing commission as she lamented the governor's signing of SB 2162 into law.

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Robert Rushton

Experience and a passion for cooking has helped Robert Rushton get an executive position in his field. Beginning with a summer job, he ascended the restaurant kitchen ladder and is currently the executive chef at Local 463 Urban Kitchen.

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Videonauts Have Landed

Steven Pergande is the founder and CEO of Videonauts, a video projection-mapping company that transforms concert venue stages into 3-D psychedelic light shows.

Bill Aims to Bring Out-of-State Physicians to Mississippi

A bill on Gov. Phil Bryant's desk could shorten the time it takes physicians licensed in other states to get licensed in Mississippi.

Tuesday, May 10

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City Reserves Dip, Mayor Dodges Budget Inquiries

Documents, including emails, released to the Jackson Free Press indicate that despite protestation from Mayor Tony Yarber and his administration, the City has been dipping into the ordinance-protected reserve fund to fill in shortfalls from last year's budget.

Legislators Find $56.8M Mistake in FY17 Mississippi Budget

Mississippi legislative leaders say they overestimated how much money the state could collect during the coming budget year.

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Mississippi Spay and Neuter, Shayna's Boutique and Sweat Sauna Studio

The Big Fix Clinic, a high-volume pet sterilization program that Mississippi Spay and Neuter operates, is offering free spay-and-neuter surgeries to cats in zip code 39213, the northeast Jackson area, for as long as funding is available.

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Schools, Guns, Family, Bad Policing: Chief Vance Discusses Crime-Fighting with JFP Editor

In the wake of fears raised after a parent pulled a gun at Forest Hill High School last week, the capital city's top police officer said Monday night that Jackson Public Schools polices itself.

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Kathryn Merrell Simmons

Kathryn Merrell Simmons, vice president of wealth management for Trustmark Bank in Jackson, is the co-chairperson of Habitat for Humanity's 19th Women Build in Jackson, which will see woman volunteers construct a new home for mother of two Natasha Thomas on Greenview Drive.

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Due to HB 1523, Plaintiffs, Kaplan Seek to Reopen Same-Sex Marriage Lawsuit

The Campaign for Southern Equality and Roberta Kaplan, the New York-based attorney who won same-sex marriage and adoption cases in Mississippi, have filed a motion to reopen the Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant lawsuit, saying that House Bill 1523 violates the constitutional right that plaintiffs won in the case, allowing same-sex marriage couples the right to wed in the state.

Justices Mull if Judiciary Has Role in Legislative Dispute

The Mississippi Supreme Court said Monday that it wants to hear arguments about a lawsuit a Democratic lawmaker filed earlier this year against the Republican House speaker.

Monday, May 9

3 Contested Races Set for Supreme Court, 2 for Appeals Court

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi has three contested races for Supreme Court and two for the Court of Appeals this year.

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Needed: Public Engagement in Policing

It takes more than policing to "cut down on crime" and create safer neighborhoods. It takes a village, quite literally. Community engagement is crucial to keeping neighborhoods and cities safe.

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Genesis Be

A rapper draped herself in a Confederate battle flag and hung a noose around her neck during a performance to protest Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant's proclamation of April as Confederate Heritage Month.

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ACLU Files First Lawsuit Against HB 1523: 'Separate But Unequal'

The ACLU has filed the first federal lawsuit contesting House Bill 1523. The lawsuit names the Mississippi State Registrar of Vital Records as the defendant because that state office would have to collect a list of clerks who are recusing themselves from issuing same-sex marriage licenses as allowed in House Bill 1523.

North Carolina Governor Files Lawsuit Over LGBT Rights Law

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory's administration sued the federal government Monday in a fight for a state law that requires transgender people to use the public restroom matching the sex on their birth certificate.

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UPDATE: 'Very Serious': Council Accuses Mayor of Dodging Whether Budget Reserves Depleted

Jackson City Council members today accused Mayor Tony Yarber and his administration of concealing information that could show whether or not the City's budget reserves are depleted.

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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.

Burning Suspect Faces Louisiana Trial Linked to Second Death

He's known as a suspect in the burning death of northern Mississippi teenager Jessica Chambers but on Monday, Quinton Tellis goes on trial on charges connected to a woman's death in Louisiana.

Sunday, May 8

Captain America Dominates Weekend Box Office

What superhero fatigue? Disney and Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War," the 13th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has strong-armed its way to becoming the fifth-highest domestic opening ever according to comScore estimates Sunday.

Saturday, May 7

Tunsil Signs $12.45 Million, 4-Year Contract with Dolphins

Laremy Tunsil and the Miami Dolphins were quick to agree on his value in the wake of his NFL draft freefall.

Friday, May 6

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From Guns to HB 1523, The Unalienable Rights of Conviction, Conscience and Free Exercise

In 2016, I believe we are seeing the same thing happen with respect to our very First Freedoms—the freedoms of conscience and religious liberty.

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Operation Side-by-Side, Suspect Still at Large, Violent Crime Up, Robbery Down

On Thursday, April 15, Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance and Hinds County Sheriff Victor Mason launched Operation Side by Side, a joint operation created to marry up resources and tackle violent crimes in the city.

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Rumors of Secret Contract Deals for Tire Plant Prompt Preemptive Moves

Rumors swirling around the county about who would get lucrative contracts to help build and service the new Continental Tire plant prompted the Hinds County Board of Supervisors president to address the Hinds County Economic Development Board in a special meeting Thursday.

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Crystal R. Sanders

Author Crystal R. Sanders says she feels like Mississippi has become a second home for her, despite the fact that she was born and raised in North Carolina.

Same-Sex Couples Become Among First to Adopt in Mississippi

Same-sex couples across Mississippi are finalizing adoptions now that the state's ban on such adoptions has ended.

Ex-Mississippi Inmate to Stand Trial in Vegas Double Slaying

With several witnesses available to testify, a former Mississippi jail inmate decided to face trial in Nevada state court rather than a preliminary hearing on Thursday in a 2013 double slaying in Las Vegas, court officials said.

Thursday, May 5

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UPDATED: Frustration Over Violence, Chaos at Forest Hill Community Chat

The auditorium of Forest Hill High School was packed Wednesday night where parents, students and teachers sounded off to Jackson Public Schools' top administration, airing their frustrations about violence and instability at the JPS school.

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Canessa Swanson

Jackson State University's softball season has been mired in struggles. That doesn't mean the Tigers haven't had many bright spots this season, though, and one of those is senior infielder Canessa Swanson.

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State's Foster Care System Awarded Surplus Funding; May Court Date Pushed Back

With surplus funding to comply with a 12-year-old lawsuit, the state's foster care system is on track to avoid federal receivership, and the state will not have to go to court on May 15, as originally planned.

Gov. Bryant Signs Airport 'Takeover' into Law

Gov. Phil Bryant has signed into law a bill that gives control of Jackson's two airports to a state-appointed board.

Lott: Trump 'Sucked All the Oxygen' Out of GOP Opponents

Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said Wednesday that he will vote for Donald Trump for president, though he acknowledged he didn't expect the New York businessman to win the Republican nomination.

Wednesday, May 4

US Government: North Carolina LGBT Law Violates Civil Rights

The U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday that a North Carolina law limiting protections to LGBT people violates federal civil rights laws and can't be enforced.

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‘Police vs. Black’: Bridging the ‘Racialized Gulf’

Oressa Napper-Williams' son Andrell was a victim of gun violence twice. The first time was when he was 16 and a student at Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Harlem.

Let the Suffering End

Gov. Bryant, I beg you to get rid of this bill. I know many have gone through or are going through what I did. Let the suffering end. Bring hatred to a halt. Let's learn from our past. Enough is enough, Mississippi.

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A French Government Official Weighs in on Nissan

A top deputy in the French National Assembly is calling on the French government to weigh in on behalf of workers at the giant Nissan plant in Canton who want to have a union vote without management intimidation and threats.

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Drew Holcomb Gets Neighborly

Tennessee native, father, husband and Americana musician Drew Holcomb has become an established independent artist, selling more than 100,000 records and performing more than 1,500 lives shows since releasing his first album, 2005's "Washed in Blue."

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Celebrating Moms Locally

Mother's Day is May 8 this year. Here's what's going on in local restaurants.

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Ceasefire in the City? How Police Can (and Cannot) Deter Gunfire

In 2015, Precinct 2 Commander Jarratt Taylor helped execute a massive enforcement effort called Metro Area Crime Elimination, or MACE for short, promised to be a local version of the national Operation Ceasefire model.

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The Problems with a Supermajority

The 2016 session marked a turning point in the political landscape of the state. After a contested election resulted in the removal of former Rep. Bo Eaton, a Democrat from Smith County, the GOP gained a supermajority in the House of Representatives—and as a result the Legislature.

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City Leaders at a Loss over Water, Sewer Revenue Loss

The water- and sewer-revenue deficit has a few possible sources, but even Jackson City Council members are having a difficult time parsing out the how and why.

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Could an After-school Network Solve Mississippi’s Education ‘Crisis’?

Proponents say high-quality after-school programs are one solution to Mississippi's ongoing education problems, including some of the lowest scores on national tests, and Operation Shoestring's data seems to support their claims.

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Charlotte, Baton Rouge Airports Lessons for Jackson’s ‘Takeover’

The Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport is not the only municipal air-traffic hub looking down the barrel of a state-sanctioned reorganization of its governing board.

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Makaila Faith Nixon

Every morning, Makaila Faith Nixon and her mom, Dee Bookert Nixon, start with stating their daily affirmations while looking at their reflection in the mirror.

Budget Cuts Slow Handling of Mississippi Income Tax Returns

A second round of midyear budget cuts took place just as the Mississippi Department of Revenue was swamped with thousands of individual income tax filings.

Tuesday, May 3

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Women Doing Business, Bonfire Lodge, Fuse.Cloud, East Village Estates and Pro Bono Service Award

Connie Michael, the owner of Colorful Creations Printing, will host the third annual Power Conference: Women Doing Business, which takes place Saturday, May 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Thad Cochran Center at the Jackson Medical Mall.

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Melanie Addington

When Gov. Phil Bryant signed the controversial "Religious Freedom Bill," HB 1523, into law Tuesday, April 5, many individuals, organizations and businesses made their objections to the bill known. For Oxford, Miss., resident Melanie Addington, that meant fighting fire with film.

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Siemens Rep: Water Billing Glitches Result of Backed-up 'TO-DOs'

Siemens representative Frank D. Gagliardi spent most of his presentation to the Jackson City Council's Budget Committee Monday scribbling notes in the margins of the paper on the podium before him as council members and City employees let loose their frustrations with the water systems his company implemented.

Teacher Sick-Outs Close Most Detroit Schools for a 2nd Day

Nearly all of Detroit's public schools were closed for a second consecutive day Tuesday after hundreds of teachers called out sick over concerns that many may not get paid if the financially struggling district runs out of money.

Press Freedom Day: Journalists Keep Working Despite Threats

Somali journalists frequently receive threats, with many being killed. But police rarely investigate them or adequately protect reporters, according to Human Rights Watch, which on Tuesday marked World Press Freedom Day by issuing a report on the dangers faced by Somali journalists.

Mississippi Seeks More Computer Science Teaching in Schools

Greene County School Superintendent Charles Breland sees the need for more Mississippians trained in computer science.

Education Secretary Calls for Repeal of 2 Transgender Laws

Laws in North Carolina and Mississippi that restrict the rights of transgender Americans are hateful and should be repealed, Education Secretary John B. King Jr. said Monday.

Monday, May 2

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Does Your Child Have Health Insurance?

Insurance for our children is necessary.

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Stokes Wants Gun Discharges in City to Bring Increased Jail Time, Larger Fines

Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes will introduce an ordinance to make discharging a weapon within the city limits punishable by jail time and mandatory fines tomorrow during the regular meeting of the Jackson City Council.

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Hundreds Rally to Repeal HB 1523, State Faces Deadline Today Before Lawsuit

Hundreds of protesters, from around Mississippi and even out of the state, marched alongside several state lawmakers from the Capitol to the governor's mansion on Sunday afternoon, waving flags and signs and chanting "No hate in our state!"

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Laremy Tunsil

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross says his latest shake-up of the organization paid off in the draft, including unanimity about the risky decision to take Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil.

Virginia GOP Lawmakers to Sue Over Felons' Voting Rights

Republican lawmakers in Virginia will file a lawsuit challenging Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe's decision to allow more than 200,000 convicted felons to vote in November, GOP leaders said Monday.

Protests Disband After IS Group Carries Out 2nd Iraq Bombing

Anti-government protesters disbanded at least temporarily Sunday from the heavily fortified Green Zone they had stormed a day earlier after the Islamic State group carried out its second major attack in Iraq in as many days — a pair of car bombs that killed more than 30 people.

LGBT Rights Protesters Vow to Keep Fighting Mississippi Law

Hundreds of supporters of lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender rights protested Sunday against a new Mississippi law they call discriminatory, saying they're not giving up their fight.

Elephants Perform for Final Time at Ringling Bros.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus bid farewell to its performing elephants on Sunday, as the show closed its own chapter on a practice that has entertained audiences in America for two centuries but has come under fire by animal rights activists.

Mystery Solved? Australian Says He's Bitcoin Founder

An Australian man long rumored to be associated with the digital currency Bitcoin has publicly identified himself as its creator, apparently ending one of the biggest mysteries in the tech world.

First US Cruise in Decades Arrives in Havana

The first U.S. cruise ship in nearly 40 years crossed the Florida Straits from Miami and docked in Havana on Monday, restarting commercial travel on waters that served as a stage for a half-century of Cold War hostility.

AP Exclusive: Migrant Children Kept from Enrolling in School

The Associated Press has found that in at least 35 districts in 14 states, hundreds of unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have been discouraged from enrolling in schools or pressured into what advocates and attorneys argue are separate but unequal alternative programs.

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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.