Stories for October 2016


Monday, October 31

Epps Sentencing Delayed in Mississippi Prison Bribery Case

A federal judge has again delayed sentencing in a bribery case for the former head of the Mississippi prison system.

Clinton Seeks to Use New FBI Inquiry as Galvanizing Force

Even before FBI Director James Comey jolted the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton and her advisers were on edge.

Oklahoma State Trooper Kills Fugitive After Weeklong Manhunt

A weeklong manhunt for a suspect in a string of violent crimes, including the killing of two relatives, the shooting of three law enforcement officers and multiple carjackings, has ended in a police chase and shootout that left the man dead in western Oklahoma.

NAACP: Stop Removing Voters from Rolls in North Carolina

Local elections boards in North Carolina are illegally removing thousands of voters from the rolls, and a disproportionate number of them are black, the NAACP said in a federal lawsuit filed Monday.

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JPS Supe Intends to Resign

Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Cedrick Gray gave the school board his verbal intent to resign on Friday at a special school-board meeting.

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Drought-like Conditions Lead to More Burn Bans, One Fatality

Droughts can lead to wildfires, which is why, in the midst of continuing drought in the South, Gov. Phil Bryant issued a burn ban for more than 50 counties on Oct. 11. Today, that number has grown to 69.

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Natalie Collier

At Conversation About Community, Natalie Collier plans to discuss the impact that living in fear has on life in the state and how Mississippians can work to move past it.

Friday, October 28

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Court: Judge Weill Can Continue Hiring Private Attorneys for Public Defense

Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill can continue hiring private attorneys instead of public defenders in criminal cases before him, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled this week.

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MAEP Co-author Calls Tinkering with Public-School Formula 'Terrifying'

"Like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic." That's the way Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, described the joint meeting between the House and Senate Education Committees yesterday.

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From the ample amounts of soul and rock-and-roll that Seratones of Shreveport, La., pours into its sound, some listeners may be surprised that punk music is the group's foundation.

Oregon Case Jury Delivers Blow to Government in Lands Fight

A jury delivered an extraordinary blow to the government in a long-running battle over the use of public lands when it acquitted all seven defendants involved in the armed occupation of a national wildlife refuge in rural southeastern Oregon.

Clinton Has Big Cash Lead; Pence says Message Matters More

Donald Trump's campaign said Friday the billionaire businessman may plunge more of his personal fortune into his presidential bid after new federal filings that show Hillary Clinton with an $85 million cash advantage in the final stretch.

Mississippi Seeing Low-Key Congressional Campaigns

Mississippi's U.S. House races are low-key, with all four incumbents enjoying comfortable fundraising leads over their Nov. 8 challengers.

Thursday, October 27

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House Speaker: MAEP Has ‘Failed’

"Antiquated, confusing, inefficient, unreliable, unpredictable. What do these words describe?" House Speaker Philip Gunn said at the annual Hob Nob on Oct. 27. "They describe the Mississippi Adequate Education Program funding formula."

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JSU President Resigns, New Dorms on Hold

Jackson State University President Carolyn Meyers has submitted her resignation just days after the state's college board put plans for new dorms at the historically black public university on hold in the wake of financial turmoil there.

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Chris Coghlan

Game one of the 2016 World Series wasn't kind to former University of Mississippi Rebel and current Chicago Cubs player Chris Coghlan. In fact, there wasn't much for any member of the Cubs to be excited about after the Cleveland Indians steamrolled them for 6-0 win.

Wednesday, October 26

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Electing Justice: The JFP Interview with Justice Jim Kitchens

Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Jim Kitchens will complete his first full eight-year term on the state's highest court this year. Before joining the court in 2008, Kitchens worked primarily as a civil and criminal trial lawyer in Copiah County, where he lives.

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Electing Justice: The JFP Interview with Judge Kenny Griffis

Judge Kenny Griffis is no stranger to the bench; he has been on the Court of Appeals for almost 14 years and has six years left of his term.

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How to Make Sugar Skulls

Sugar skulls, which can be made using ingredients such as clay, sugar or even chocolate, represent someone who has died. They often have departed soul's names on them and are placed on the ofrendas to honor the spirit.

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Treat Yo’ Self This Halloween

This year, Campbell's will have Halloween cookies and iced teacakes, and customers can also order pumpkin cheesecake for fall events and parties.

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Political War Stories

Many American voters are profoundly unhappy with the candidates from both major parties this election. Fifteen years of war are enough, you two! Americans are sick of war.

Do Not Appeal Frivolous Planned Parenthood Law

A federal judge struck down Mississippi's political Medicaid reimbursement law for "nontherapeutic abortion providers" last week in an attempt to block Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding.

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Gov. Bryant: Do the Right Thing

If the governor expects Mississippians to take his offer of reconciliation seriously, he has to apologize to our state—apologize for Confederate Heritage Month, apologize for fighting on the wrong side of the flag debate—and moving forward, support the removal of the Confederate emblem from our state flag.

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Changing the Form of City Government

On a vote of 4-1, the Jackson City Council last week shot down Ward 4 Councilman De'Keither Stamps' proposed resolution supporting a citizen-led initiative to change the form of government from a "strong mayor" to a council-manager form of government. However, it isn't just the council that stands in the way of a change.

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Secret Tapes Reveal DA’s Private Side

Former Assistant District Attorney Ivon Johnson taped conversations with Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith on May 9 and June 18, the last session only four days before sheriff's deputies arrested Smith on an affidavit from the attorney general's office.

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Leigh Laney

Leigh Laney, a Madison resident who has been cycling for 30 years, founded the NunChuck Bunnies cycling team with her friend Gigi Carter to promote women's cycling.

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JPS Board, Supe Under Fire Over Scores

When Cedrick Gray took the reins as superintendent of Jackson Public Schools in 2012, he had three preliminary goals attached to his three-year, $200,000 contract.

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Spooky Festivities

It's Halloween, and you know what that means: trick-or-treating and going to parties and celebrations, probably dressed either as Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump or Ken Bone. Here's what's happening in Jackson.

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What’s Next in Planned Parenthood Bill Fight?

Mississippi women who use Medicaid can legally continue to get family-planning services like birth control and cancer screenings at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Hattiesburg and at the state's only abortion clinic after a federal judge struck down the Mississippi Legislature's attempt to block Medicaid payments to the facilities.

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It Came from Planet Peelander

This year's Halloween Bash at Martin's Restaurant & Bar is bound to have its fair share of revelers in strange get-ups. However, one collective of costumed partiers will seem particularly out of place—almost as if they aren't from this world at all. They also happen to be the evening's entertainment, Japanese action-comic punk band Peelander-Z.

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A Nation of Immigrants

Though I don't know where I come from, one thing is clear: At some point in my ancestry, my family migrated to this country. Like many families that came to live in this state and in this country, they were immigrants. They came to America in search of a better life, as many families have and continue to do.

Tuesday, October 25

Jackson State President Quits Amid Financial Questions

Jackson State University's president is resigning after trustees intervened in the university's finances.

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Mani's and Pedi's, Pop Culture Closing, Innovate Mississippi Pitch Competition and Dog Park at the Rez

Pop Culture Pops, a gourmet ice-pop shop that Craig Kinsley and his wife, Lori Kinsley, opened in April 2015, will soon be closing.

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Francine Reynolds

New Stage Theatre may be closing in on the end of its 50th year in business, but Artistic Director Francine Reynolds says she has something special in store for Jackson with New Stage's production of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town."

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Hinds DA Can Keep His Counsel, Fails to Quash Indictment

Special Judge Larry Roberts ruled this morning that Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith can continue to retain Tupelo attorney Jim Waide, as long as he understands the potential consequences.

Obamacare Premiums to Rise by 25 Percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Premiums will go up sharply next year under President Barack Obama's health care law, and many consumers will be down to just one insurer, the administration confirmed Monday. That's sure to stoke another "Obamacare" controversy days before a presidential election.

Monday, October 24

Younger Voters, Women Breaking for Clinton

A new poll shows young voters turning to Clinton now that the race has settled down to two main candidates. Clinton now leads among likely voters 18 to 30 years in age by 60 percent to 19 percent, according to a new GenForward survey.

NAACP: Noose Put Around Neck of Black Student in Mississippi

White students at a south Mississippi high school put a noose around the neck of a black student and "yanked backward," the state NAACP said Monday.

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City's Parking Meters May Double Cost, Revenue Under New Partnership

The Jackson City Council wants to make sure it gets the best deal for the City's lucrative parking-meter contract, including a requirement doubling the current rates for the meters with no indication that fines would change.

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Mississippians Give $12.3 Million to GoFundMe Campaigns

Scrolling through Facebook, it's almost impossible not to see a GoFundMe campaign these days. The Internet age has made generosity simple: the click of a button and a few online forms later, you can help a family pay for a child's surgery, a friend go on a service trip or a teacher buy school supplies.

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Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson scored two rushing touchdowns and Jordan Johnson added a score and 78 yards on the ground to help lead Jackson State past Texas Southern 21-13 on Saturday. Jackson State entered the game with just three rushing touchdowns on the season.

Don't Believe the Polls, Trump Says, 'We Are Winning'

Election Day just 15 days off, Donald Trump fought to preserve his narrow path to the presidency in must-win Florida on Monday. Hillary Clinton worked to slam the door on her Republican opponent in New Hampshire.

Jackson State Responds to Cash Reserve Questions

Jackson State University released the following statement to the media on Oct. 21 following reports of the university's cash drain.

Friday, October 21

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Minor Sex Trafficking Sting Nets 28 Arrests, But No Children

In a national sting operation aimed at recovering children exploited into sex trafficking, the Jackson division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation made 28 arrests—but found no children.

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JPD Seeking Kidnapper; No Homicides; Low Crime for State Fair, JSU Game

The Jackson Police Department is on the lookout for a man accused of kidnapping and holding a 19-year-old woman hostage for two days.

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Benardrick McKinney

A native son of our state and a former Mississippi State University player, Houston Texans linebacker Benardrick McKinney is blossoming into a star on the defensive side of the ball.

Trial Delayed for Man Accused of Bribing Former Prison Chief

The trial of a physician accused of bribing Mississippi's former corrections commissioner has been delayed until February.

Thursday, October 20

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Judge Blocks Planned Parenthood Medicaid Reimbursements Law

A federal judge has enjoined a Mississippi state law that prevented the Division of Medicaid from reimbursing the state’s Planned Parenthood clinic and the only abortion clinic for offering birth control and cancer screenings for women in the state.

Trustees: Jackson State Must Act Now to Stanch Cash Drain

College Board officials are intervening in Jackson State University's finances, saying the 10,000-student university's cash reserves have been spent down to a dangerously low point.

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Frankye Adams-Johnson

As October marks the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, Jacksonians are celebrating one of their own, former Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement Chairperson Frankye "Malika" Adams-Johnson, who served with the party in New York City, helping to educate and feed young people, and make a difference in the areas of human and civil rights.

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State Accountability Ratings Gloomy for Jackson Schools

For the first time in several years, Jackson Public Schools has joined the Mississippi Department of Education's list of failing districts in the state, with 17 JPS elementary and middle schools drawing an F in numbers the State made public today.

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Fondren Residents Push Back on Neighborhood Gates, City Backtracks

Walter "Dick" Dickerson and his wife have lived on Ridge Drive the Woodland Hills subdivision in Fondren for the last 21 years. It's not a gated community, and he does not want to be excluded from any plans made by neighborhood organizations to build one on his street.

Trump on Clinton: 'Such a Nasty Woman'

Donald Trump asserted in the final presidential debate that no one respects women more than he does. Yet in its closing moments, standing onstage with the first major-party female presidential nominee in U.S. history, he called Hillary Clinton "such a nasty woman."

AP FACT CHECK: Trump, Clinton and Their Debate Claims

Donald Trump painted an inaccurately dark portrait of manufacturing in America while Hillary Clinton stretched credulity in boasting that her spending plans won't add to the country's debt. As well, both struggled in the presidential final debate to explain comments from their past.

Trump Refuses to Say if He'll Accept Election Results

Threatening to upend a fundamental pillar of American democracy, Donald Trump refused to say in the final debate that he will accept the results of next month's election if he loses to Hillary Clinton. The Democratic nominee declared Trump's resistance "horrifying."

Analysis: Trump Needed Debate Reset, Instead Riles GOP

Donald Trump needed a game changer. Instead, he landed a jaw dropper. When the Republican nominee for president refused to say he would accept the results of the election, he rattled American democracy and openly flirted with the notion of a contested transition of power.

Hood: Credit Reporting Agencies' Actions Hurt Consumers

Mississippi residents will receive three years of free access to their own credit reports under an agreement three credit reporting agencies have made with the state's top legal officer.

Trump May Not Accept Election Results, Republicans Disavows Statement

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Threatening to upend a fundamental pillar of American democracy, Donald Trump refused to say Wednesday night that he will accept the results of next month's election if he loses to Hillary Clinton. The Democratic nominee declared Trump's resistance "horrifying."

Wednesday, October 19

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Caller to Black JFP Writer: 'I want to offer her a plane ticket back to Africa' (LISTEN)

"I want to offer her a plane ticket back to Africa if she thinks America is so bad. Um, I would love to pay for her ticket. Also tell her she’s got to leave her iPhone here, her computer, her closet full of clothes, her high-heel shoes and her lovely, lovely hair."

The Slate

The next two weeks are going to be interesting in Dallas. There is going to be a ton of talk about who should be the starting quarterback for the Cowboys during the team's bye week.

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Healing and Finding Joy After Domestic Abuse

Many think overcoming abuse equals leaving the abuser. But leaving does not heal the anguish and pain automatically. Sure, removing yourself from an abusive situation is an important step; however, it's only the beginning. There are no set rules to re-finding the joys of life. But you have to take steps, in your own time, to recover.

Mississippi: Stop Disenfranchising Black Voters

Mississippi has the second highest rate of voter disenfranchisement in the country, largely due to post-sentence restrictions. The state is one of 12 where a person can serve his or her time, be released and not automatically be able to vote. Twenty-two convictions means no voting rights until the Legislature, governor or a judge says otherwise.

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Don’t Screw with MAEP

Since its original adoption in 1997, MAEP been funded only two times in accordance with the law. There are lots of reasons for the State's failure to fund, and no reason to point fingers. The issue is not what happened in the past. The issue now is how the Legislature will approach funding our public schools in the future.

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In Search of the Wheel’s Hub

What exactly was Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith looking for when he subpoenaed a circuit-court judge in January?

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How State Agencies Dance with Privatization

Mississippi children living in poverty may be among the neediest in America, but last year the State of Mississippi did not allocate $35 million earmarked to help poor families in the state. That money sat on the table even as many children are on a long waiting list for services.

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UPDATED: Would a New Formula Fund Public Schools Better?

After a litany of lawsuits, public outcry and legislative drama, Mississippi's GOP leaders have joined forces with a New Jersey-based nonprofit to see if the state's public-school funding formula should change.

Jailed 96 Days on Bogus Charge: It is No One's Fault?

Pulled over for traffic violations, Jessica Jauch was held for 96 days in a Mississippi jail without seeing a judge, getting a lawyer or having a chance to make bail. She was charged with a felony based on a secretly recorded video that prosecutors finally acknowledged showed her committing no crime.

Clinton, Trump Set for Last Debate as Ugly Race Nears Finish

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's ugly and acrimonious battle for the White House is barreling toward the end, with the candidates taking the debate stage Wednesday night for one final primetime showdown.

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Mississippi’s Silenced Voters

Thanks in part to Mississippi's antiquated and disenfranchising voting-rights laws, Robert Banks still cannot vote, even though he has been off probation for over a decade.

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devMaccc’s First Moves

By day, Devin Cousin is busy with his courses at Jackson State University, where he is studying mass communications. By night, he's hip-hop artist devMaccc, a relative newcomer who has been gaining attention in the local music scene with his debut EP, "Euphoria," which he released in February.

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Justin Bruce

Justin Bruce, 28, is passionate about helping the capital city succeed, and as director of innovation and performance for the City of Jackson, he gets to do just that.

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'One Lake’ Plan Moving Forward

Finding a way to prevent the kind of flooding that left downtown Jackson underwater in the Great Easter Flood of 1979—while still getting the most use out of the river with development and recreational use—is the stated goal of the Pearl River Vision Foundation.

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Donald and Melania, Stop Insulting Men

Wait, what? No, Melania, good men aren't "egged" into bragging that they can grab women's private parts any time they want. I get that you're trying to defend your husband, but that kind of national enabling will just continue the "boys will be boys" lie that sexual predators and perverts have long lurked behind.

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Showing Up: Mayoral Hopeful Graham Pledges to Manage Crisis

Robert Graham traces his 35 years with the Jackson Police Department with a sense of resolve. Starting at JPD as a civilian who mopped the floors, he says it was persistence, or "showing up," that led him to where he is today—behind his desk in the Hinds County Chancery Court building.

Tuesday, October 18

'Stop Whining,' Obama Tells Trump, Chiding for Fraud Talk

"Stop whining," President Barack Obama rebuked Donald Trump on Tuesday, speaking out as seldom before on next month's election and chiding the Republican for sowing suspicion about the integrity of America's presidential vote.

FBI, State Dept. Official Say No Talk of Email Quid Pro Quo

A now-retired FBI agent and a State Department official involved in a discussion over the classification of information in one of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails said Tuesday they had discussed mutual agency requests but had not linked the two as a bargain, as another FBI employee had reported.

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Derek Emerson at Boudin, Bourbon & Beer, Moe's Opening, The First Tee and Growing Black Businesses Forum

Chef Derek Emerson of Walker's Drive-In and Meredith Pittman of CAET Wine Bar will both participate in the Emeril Lagasse Foundation's sixth annual Boudin, Bourbon & Beer event at Champions Square in New Orleans on Friday, Nov. 4.

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New Washer and Dryer A Big Deal for Jackson Elementary School

Third-graders at Jackson Public Schools' North Jackson Elementary School received a lesson beyond reading, writing and arithmetic today: separating, loading and folding.

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Gwen Bouie-Haynes

Gwen Bouie-Haynes, the division director of adult services for Catholic Charities Diocese of Jackson's Domestic Violence Services Center, has spent nearly 30 years helping victims of domestic violence in Jackson.

Former Miss. State Senator Pleads Guilty to Bribery

A former state senator pleaded guilty in Mississippi's prison contract bribery scandal Tuesday, becoming the sixth person to admit to guilt in the investigation centering on former Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps.

Monday, October 17

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LaShonda Katrice Barnett

For her first historical-fiction novel, African American playwright, professor and author LaShonda Katrice Barnett decided to take a different path than many of her predecessors and tell a new story in the era of Jim Crow.

WWII Marine's Remains Return Home After More than 70 Years

The remains of a fallen World War II soldier have returned to Mississippi after more than 70 years.

High School Graduation Rate Reaches New High

High school graduation rates have reached a record high of 83.2 percent, continuing a steady increase that shows improvement across all ethnic groups, the White House said Monday.

Emails Show Clinton's Response to LGBT Backlash

Hacked emails released in daily dispatches over the weekend by the WikiLeaks group showed Hillary Clinton's campaign staff worried about a response to the gay community's backlash over a comment concerning former first lady Nancy Reagan and AIDS.

Clinton, Trump Condemn Republican Party Office Firebombing

Authorities are investigating after a local Republican Party office in North Carolina was vandalized and set on fire in what a state GOP official called an act of "political terrorism."

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Mississippi First Lady, Justice Launch Drug Abuse Program

Mississippi's first lady, Deborah Bryant, and Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Dawn Beam launched a program Friday to help parents struggling with drug addiction who have children in state custody.

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Hinds County Funds Girl's Home After State Money Dries Up

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors this morning allocated funding for the fifth year in a row to support an alternative to detention for young girls.

Saturday, October 15

Trump Complains Election is Rigged, Accuses Clinton of Drug Use

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — A beleaguered Donald Trump sought to undermine the legitimacy of the U.S. presidential election on Saturday, pressing unsubstantiated claims the contest is rigged against him, vowing anew to jail Hillary Clinton if he's elected and throwing in a baseless insinuation his rival was on drugs in the last debate.

Mississippi Bank to Pay $33M for Banks in Louisiana, Florida

A Mississippi bank is acquiring banks in Louisiana and Florida for $33 million, expanding its regional footprint.

Friday, October 14

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Marco Moran

Marco Moran has been an entrepreneur since childhood. He grew up in Columbia, La., a small town south of Monroe. As a child, his family was poor and on welfare, which he says was common in Columbia.

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Mississippi Democrats Clap Back on Tax Policy, Wage Gaps

The Mississippi Democratic Caucus held a meeting Wednesday to discuss key policy issues about the state's economy, tax structure, and how certain policies mostly impact women and African Americans in the state.

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Governor Owes Apology for 'Racial Reconciliation Month,' Protesters Say

Gov. Phil Bryant should apologize for declaring October "Racial Reconciliation Celebration Month" without acknowledging the dark past of racism in Mississippi or how the state flag plays into that history, protesters said at a press conference at the Capitol on Thursday.

Effort to Strip Confederate Emblem Off State Flag is Failing

An effort to erase the Confederate battle emblem from Mississippi's flag is failing because sponsors haven't collected enough signatures to put an initiative on the 2018 ballot.

Trump Says He Never Met Some Accusers; Pence Claims Evidence

Donald Trump contends he doesn't know and never even met some of the women accusing him of sexual assault, and his running mate said Friday the campaign is working on producing evidence that the claims are false.

US Removes Limits on Bringing in Cuban Rum, Cigars

The Obama administration announced Friday it is eliminating a $100 limit on the value of Cuban rum and cigars that American travelers can bring back from the island.

Lower Judge to Decide if Death Row Inmate Gets New Lawyer

The Mississippi Supreme Court says a circuit judge should decide whether a man facing the death penalty needs new lawyers in state court.

Thursday, October 13

Though Voters Dumped Him, Supreme Court Removes Judge Anyway

The Mississippi Supreme Court is ratifying the removal from office of a Madison County judge, even though voters already defeated him in 2015.

District Ready to Merge Schools, but Would Shut Black School

A Mississippi school district says it's ready to stop fighting a plan to merge historically black and white schools. But the district's willingness to act comes at a cost — closing historically black schools.

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'Atlanta': A Show With Perspective

"'Atlanta' doesn’t just like to make you feel; it also likes to make you think."

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MAEP's Future: Legislature Hires New Jersey Firm to Evaluate Education Law

Legislative leaders have hired New Jersey-based nonprofit EdBuild to evaluate the state's school-funding formula, the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. The State uses MAEP to appropriate tax dollars to school districts throughout the state.

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Colin Kaepernick

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been in the news a good bit for someone who hasn't played a down in this regular season yet. The former star made headlines in the preseason with several surgeries that put him behind physically.

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Shirt Company Surprises JPS Elementary Students with Donation

At Watkins Elementary School yesterday, students took saying "thank you" to a whole new level.

Police: Man with Assault Rifle, Body Armor Shot 2 Officers

A man wearing body armor and armed with an assault rifle shot two Boston police officers who were responding to a report of a domestic disturbance, before being shot and killed by other officers, police said.

2016 Race Devolves into Ugly Fight Over Treatment of Women

Already deeply divisive, America's campaign for president is quickly devolving into an ugly fight over who has treated women worse: Donald Trump, whose White House bid is floundering, or former President Bill Clinton, who isn't on the ballot.

Don't Think Twice, It's All Right: Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Lit

Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday, a stunning announcement that for the first time bestowed the prestigious award on a musician for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

Mississippi Center to Note Roosevelt's 1902 Teddy Bear Hunt

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is starting construction of a visitor's center for seven wildlife refuges in the Mississippi Delta.

Wednesday, October 12

The Slate

Dak Prescott is still interception-free after another week in the NFL. The Dallas QB has thrown 155 passes without being picked off.

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La Musique Française dans Mississippi

The Mississippi Chambre Music Guild is kicking off its new season with a tour of French music, cuisine and other cultural accoutrements. And good news—you won't even need a passport.

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Artists to Watch 2016

The tricky part of putting together the JFP Music Issue's annual "Artists to Watch" section is choosing from the multitude of acts that are worth watching.

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From Walls to Bad Cops: It’s Time We Awaken from Fear

I would like to apologize to the many people I have told "this is a free country" in order to justify any argument, because I was wrong and sadly mistaken. This is not a free country, at least not for black (or brown) people.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Locker Room Talk'

The fact that a presidential candidate excused away his past sexist, demeaning comments that suggested he could get away with sexual assault as mere "locker room talk" not once but four times in a presidential debate is not only reprehensible but unacceptable.

State Leaders: It’s Time to Dump Trump

If our state's political leaders were looking for an easy opt-out of supporting Donald Trump for president, they missed that precious 48-hour window of opportunity to speak out and say so.

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‘Save a Brother or Sister’

Mr. Announcer: "In the ghetto criminal-justice system, the people are represented by members of the newly established Ghetto Science Community Peace Keeping Unit: police officer and part-time security guard at the Funky Ghetto Mall Dudley 'Do-Right' McBride, attorney Cootie McBride of the law firm McBride, Myself and I, and guest rookie peace officers Deacons Jones and Richardson of Rev. Cletus Car Sales Church. This is their story."

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Arts Head Blasts City for Cuts, But Deep Everywhere

The Jackson City Council moved funding back to the Greater Jackson Arts Council on Oct. 4, but it was not up to the level of last year—nor did it come quickly enough to restore the organization's confidence in its relationship with the City administration.

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Continental: Conservation, Excavation and New Hires

Zach Morrow was born and raised in Ackerman, Miss., and has been doing construction work since he was 18 years old. He has worked in and out of the state since graduating in 2010 from Mississippi State University with a bachelor's degree in construction management—until now.

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Making Their Own Space

NunoErin, a design studio based in downtown Jackson, glows with color and light. With its pristine light-up furniture and colorful gaming tables illuminating restaurants, hospitals and hotels all over the world, the company meshes high technology with color and fun.

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UPDATED: City Agreement Outrages Abortion Clinic Owner, Staff

Pro-Life Mississippi protesters reached an agreement with the City of Jackson recently in federal court to limit what they say are breaches of their constitutional right to protest. But the two parties did not consult with the clinic's owner, manager or any of the women who visit for treatment.

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Lost Revenue: Closing the ‘Amazon Tax’ Loophole

In the state's never-ending search for revenue—and as corporate and individual income-tax cuts loom—lawmakers are looking to shift the state's tax code, all while not losing revenue in the process.

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Celebrating Cuban Culture

On Saturday, Oct. 15, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., the Latin-American Business Association, or LABA-Link, of Mississippi is hosting the state's fifth annual LatinFest at the Multipurpose Complex in Canton, and this year's event will celebrate Cuba.

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Blissful Brides

Stressed brides may find needed help on the third floor of Banner Hall. There they'll find Bliss Bride, the newest endeavor of Bliss Gift & Home.

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Our True Mental States

So 18.1 percent of the total U.S. population has a mental illness, and 50 percent of adults are likely to experience some type of mental illness in their lifetime. And yet we don't talk about it. Many of us see mental-health problems as a sign of weakness.

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Nathan Theisen

Nate Theisen, a professor of visual arts at Belhaven University for the last 15 years, started working there out of a desire to bring the arts into a religious climate.

Water Pollution Permit for Kemper Power Plant Reissued

State officials are affirming a permit that allows Mississippi Power Co.'s Kemper County power plant to discharge water into a creek during high rainfall.

Tuesday, October 11

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DA Could Face Fast Removal from Office If Judge Grants Bench Trial

The Mississippi attorney general’s office wants to move forward quickly on the single misdemeanor charge Hinds County Robert Shuler Smith faces, possibly removing him from office without a jury decision.

Court Seems Favorable to Defendant Claiming Jury Race Bias

The Supreme Court on Tuesday seemed likely to rule that racial bias in the jury room provides a limited basis for breaching the centuries-old legal principle of secrecy in jury deliberations.

Revamp of Mississippi Education Funding Formula Proposed

Mississippi's Republican legislative leaders say they want to rewrite the state's education funding formula to put more money into the classroom and less into administrative expenses.

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Lawsuit Targets Chris Butler, Connected to Mega Mattress Scam

Christopher Butler, one of the more prominent figures involved in the ongoing legal battle between Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith and the Mississippi attorney general's office, now faces a federal civil lawsuit in addition to his pending criminal charges.

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Mary Harrison Lee

Mary Harrison Lee, a civil-rights activist and participant in the famous Freedom Rides of 1961, died on Sept. 26 at age 77.

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Food Truck Friday Returns, Soft Surroundings, Altitude Trampoline Park and Rockstar Ink

Food Truck Friday, a weekly event series in which local food trucks gather to sell lunch items in downtown Jackson's Smith Park, returned on Oct. 7 for its first event since May. Another event is scheduled for Oct. 21.

Obama Says US Working with Companies to Send Humans to Mars

President Barack Obama says the United States is partnering with commercial companies to build "new habitats" to try to send humans safely to Mars within two decades.

Trump Assails Ryan for Ditching Him, Battles for GOP Support

Four weeks before Election Day, Donald Trump battled on Tuesday to keep the Republican Party in line, leveling fresh criticism at GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan for effectively abandoning hopes of Trump winning the White House.

Trump's 'Grab 'Em' Comment Unleashes National Conversation

On Facebook and Twitter, on the phone and on the job, from living rooms to hair salons, Donald Trump's "Grab 'em by the p(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)" comment has unleashed a tsunami of stories from women sharing painful memories of sexual assaults.

Over 1,000 Still Need Rescue in North Carolina After Floods

Volunteer firefighters drove their military-surplus truck with 4-foot tires into dark floodwaters, after torrents from Hurricane Matthew sent the Lumber River overflowing its banks on North Carolina's coastal plain.

Mississippi DPS Complex in Jackson Closed for Maintenance

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety headquarters complex in Jackson is closed until further notice for work on the air conditioning system.

Monday, October 10

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant Sticks with Trump After Remarks

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said Donald Trump's remarks about women are unacceptable but stopped short of withdrawing support for the GOP presidential nominee's White House bid.

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State's High Court May Change Criminal Procedures, Getting Public Comment

After 11 years of review, the Mississippi Supreme Court is seeking public comment on its proposed new rules for criminal-law procedures. The rules reflect changes in several parts of the state's criminal law, from charges and warrants to sentencing and probation.

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Teen, Expelled from School and the State, Back as Adult to Push Education

Summit Town Councilman Joe Lewis said that when Brenda Travis was expelled from Burglund High School on Oct. 4, 1961, it took his classmates minutes—"not days or weeks"—to decide they would protest.

Grand Jury Could Hear Case with Mississippi State Senator

A grand jury could decide whether to indict a Mississippi lawmaker and others in a shovel-swinging brawl in a DeSoto County subdivision.

Speaker Won't Defend Trump, Focuses on Saving GOP Majority

The nation's most powerful Republican told his party Monday that he now is focusing on ensuring Hillary Clinton doesn't get a blank check as president with a Democratic-controlled Congress, suggesting that he doesn't believe Donald Trump can win the election.

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Lenorris Footman

Lenorris Footman accounted for five touchdowns—three rushing and two passing—and Alcorn State broke open a close game late to beat Alabama A&M 42-19 on Saturday.

Trump Aide Dismisses as 'Quip' His Threat to Jail Clinton

Donald Trump's campaign manager is dismissing as "a quip" Trump's threat to jail Hillary Clinton if he wins the presidency.

In Debate, Trump Signals Aggressive Close to His Campaign

His presidential campaign in peril, Donald Trump left no doubt he'll spend the final weeks before the election dredging up decades-old sexual allegations against Hillary Clinton's husband, even if it turns off voters whose support he desperately needs.

Saturday, October 8

Republicans Tell Trump To Quit Presidential Race, Trump Responds 'Never'

NEW YORK (AP) — A defiant Donald Trump insisted Saturday he would "never" abandon his White House bid, rejecting a growing backlash from Republican leaders nationwide who disavowed the GOP's presidential nominee after he was caught on tape bragging about predatory advances on women.

Haiti Mourns More than 500 Dead After Hurricane

JEREMIE, Haiti (AP) — As a pale blue coffin came into view, grieving women flung themselves to the floor near a morgue overlooking the ravaged city of Jeremie, where a humanitarian crisis has emerged in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

NCAA Penalizes Ole Miss Women's Basketball, Track

The NCAA has penalized Mississippi for violations in its women's basketball and track programs and placed the athletic department on probation through 2019.

Friday, October 7

Mississippi Budget Request: Spend Money to Find Tax Cheaters

Mississippi agency directors are requesting more money to maintain public buildings, defend the state in lawsuits and hire investigators to find tax cheaters.

US Accuses Russia, Syria of War Crimes; France Seeks UN Vote

The United States called Friday for a war crimes investigation of Russia and Syria, ramping up the rhetoric against Moscow for its part in a deadly military offensive in Aleppo while potentially making it harder to restart diplomatic efforts to end the conflict.

US Blames Russia for Hacking Political Sites

The U.S. on Friday blamed the Russian government for the hacking of political sites and accused Moscow of trying to interfere with the upcoming presidential election.

Hurricane Threatens Some of South's Most Storied Cities

Hurricane Matthew spared Florida's most heavily populated stretch from a catastrophic blow Friday but threatened some of the South's most historic and picturesque cities with ruinous flooding and wind damage as it pushed its way up the coastline.

APNewsBreak: UN Criticism of Trump Draws Russian Complaint

Russia lodged a formal complaint last month with the United Nations over a top U.N. official's condemnations of Donald Trump and some European politicians, an intervention that underscores the unusual links between the Republican presidential nominee and the Kremlin.

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In DA Case, Former Mayor Danks Challenges AG's Right to Empanel Grand Jury

Former Jackson Mayor Dale Danks Jr., the attorney for Assistant District Attorney Jamie McBride, is challenging the attorney general's authority to ask a Hinds County grand jury to indict him and his boss, Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith.

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Murders Reach 54, Kidnapper Nabbed, City Joining Federal Anti-crime Network

As Jackson suffered its 54th violent death this year, Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance reminded his team that they would have to do more with less during this difficult budget climate.

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Gerard Howard

Jacksonian Gerard Howard is helping to bring Historically Black College and University marching bands into the national spotlight through a video exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's new National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24.

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McComb Events Honor 131 Expelled from HS for Civil Rights Walkout

A foundation created by a woman expelled from an all-black Mississippi high school in 1961 for participating in a vacation-time civil rights sit-in is holding events honoring 131 classmates expelled for walking out of school in protest.

7 Admit Sham Marriages and Crime Reports in Immigration Scam

Tarunkumar and Sachin Patel wanted to find a way so that more of their friends and business associates from India could get permanent legal status to remain in the United States. But they admitted Monday their plans were federal crimes.

Police Officer Named in Wrongful Death Lawsuit Gets New Job

The Starkville Police Department has hired a former Columbus officer who is a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Candidates Disagree About Need for Supreme Court Unity

The challenger in a Mississippi Supreme Court race says the current office-holder disagrees too often with other justices.

Thursday, October 6

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Fair Food: Inspected and Ready to Eat

The Mississippi State Department of Health wrapped up inspections of 130 food booths at the State Fair right before it opened on Wednesday night.

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Pop-Up Makerspace at FFT Showcasing JPS Elementary Students' Creations

One robot fires miniature red plastic cannons with fierce accuracy; others imitate dogs. With the tap of a keystroke, a 3-D printer develops families of little filament creatures. Student-designed computers with Wi-Fi access operate miniature Ferris wheels.

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Tim Brown

Mississippi is getting its second visit from a member of the 2002 AFC champion Oakland Raiders.

Taking Softer Tone, Pence Says Clinton is Admirable

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence on Thursday offered rare praise for Hillary Clinton, saying both the Democratic presidential nominee and Donald Trump have "many admirable qualities" for young people to look up to.

Ole Miss Student Apologizes for Lynching Remark

A white University of Mississippi student is withdrawing from school and publicly apologizing for his Facebook post about lynching people who were protesting the killing of a black man by North Carolina police officers.

Wednesday, October 5

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City Agrees to Stop Interfering with Anti-abortion Protesters in Fondren

The City of Jackson recently entered into its second consent decree with a group of these protesters over interactions with the Jackson Police Department, alleging that police officers have consistently infringed their First Amendment rights since 1996.

NSA Contractor Accused of Taking Classified Information

A contractor for the National Security Agency has been arrested on charges that he illegally removed highly classified information and stored the material in his home and car, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Mississippi Governor Declares Racial Reconciliation Month

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is declaring October to be racial reconciliation month.

Paris Climate Agreement to Take Effect Nov. 4

A landmark agreement on climate change will enter into force on Nov. 4, backed by a coalition of the world's largest polluters and small island nations threatened by rising seas.

LAPD Chief Hastens Video Release to Stem Tensions

Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck has become the latest to hasten the release of video of a deadly confrontation between police and a black man in order to ease public tension.

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State Cuts to Funding Reduce Jackson Libraries' Operating Hours

The Jackson Hinds Library System (JHLS) will reduce hours beginning October 10, 2016 at all 15 libraries due to a recent $50,000 cut to the library system's state-based Personnel Incentive Grant program.

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FBI Seeking Info on Child Sexual Assault Victim

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is seeking the public’s assistance with obtaining identifying information regarding an unknown male who may have critical information pertaining to the identity of a child victim in an ongoing sexual exploitation investigation. Photographs and an informational poster depicting the unknown individual, known only as John Doe 37, are being disseminated to the public and can be found online at the FBI website at

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Keep Calm, Gumbo On

Each year, Jackson area restaurants and foodies gather together for two reasons: to celebrate Hal White's legacy and to see who makes the best gumbo.

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STDs: What You Need to Know

As a primary-care physician, I am commissioned to give advice to adolescents and adults about sexual activity. My core advice is to wait until marriage.

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Unmet Needs: Children with Disabilities Caught in the Voucher Crossfire

Private School Review, a website that vets private schools, says that the state has 250 private schools. Out of these, the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools, or MAIS, reports that it lists just over 80 schools in its directory.

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Doing it for Black Culture

Believe it or not, some people still deny the undeniable influence of black culture. Unfortunately for those who still attempt to deny these influences, black culture is American culture, and it is here to stay. Without it, there would be no such thing as soul, rhythm and the immense creativity born from the hell of supremacy—or seasoning.

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Mental Care Needed for All, Including Inmates

Of the more than 19,000 men and women behind bars in Mississippi, about 3,000 inmates are receiving mental-health care.

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Is America Really the Land of the Free?

Growing up as an African American, I always heard, "They don't want us here." I never understood that saying, especially when you go to school with a diverse group of people, and you're taught that "America is a free country."

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City Police Overtime Balanced, Fair Security Set

In a climate of desperation, the Jackson City Council approved the final numbers for the 2016 budget last week, closing out a difficult financial year for the City while rolling over $5.9 million in reserve funds for the next year.

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The Murder Trial That Won’t Go Away

To understand the history of Curtis Flowers' case and the claims of racial discrimination in jury selection, it is vital to understand the history of landmark cases in the same vein.

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2016 Election: A Tough Time for Women

Women, we must no longer consent to walk on eggshells and allow ourselves to be interrupted and belittled by men, whether "below" or "above" us in a pecking order. And men, nothing about this cultural misogyny makes America a stronger nation or you a stronger male.

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Replacing Military-Style Detention

Mississippians who receive earned probation for crimes that do not carry a death sentence or involve deadly weapons will now have access to high-school equivalency education, alcohol and drug counseling, re-entry and employment services—and perhaps, most importantly, "Thinking for a Change," an evidence-based cognitive behavioral-therapy program.

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T.J. Legler: Painting With Light

T.J. Legler's life goal is to run a marathon in 50 states.When he first began running, Legler would take pictures in each state he visited (he has visited 19 so far). With encouragement from family and friends, he went further into the world of photography and later into the realm of mixed media. This use of photography still defines his work today.

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State Fair Superstars

Whether you're stoked about livestock or a carnival-ride enthusiast, the Mississippi State Fair brings plenty of entertainment to downtown Jackson each year.

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Angela Butler

Though Angela Butler is now a local entrepreneur and volunteer enthusiast, she says she had to "learn to fail forward toward success."

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FBI Agent Accuses Hinds District Attorney of Shielding Drug Traffickers

A judge unsealed documents last week as part of the ongoing case against Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith and Assistant District Attorney Jamie McBride that reveal more about the possible reasons for the circuitous legal quagmire that spans multiple cases and courts.

Tuesday, October 4

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Vulnerable Kids Get Child Care Subsidy Extension

Some of the state's most vulnerable children won't immediately lose their childcare, even if their guardian finds a job and loses support from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

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Stace & Cassie

It's been about three years since Brandon, Miss., residents Stace and Cassie Shook began performing as husband-and-wife singer-songwriter duo Stace & Cassie, performing original songs along with a healthy dose of material from popular artists.

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"Gilmoreversary" at Deep South Pops, Freshii Grand Opening, Innovate Mississippi and New Southern Airways Flights

On Oct. 5, in honor of "Gilmoreversary"—the anniversary of the first day that the television series "Gilmore Girls" aired on The WB—Deep South Pops will be one of 200 businesses across the country partnering with Netflix for Luke's Coffee Day.

WikiLeaks' Assange Promises Leaks on US Election, Google

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange promised "significant" disclosures on subjects including the U.S. election and Google in the coming weeks as the secret-spilling group marked its 10th anniversary on Tuesday.

Ayotte Says She 'Misspoke' When She Said Trump is Role Model

New Hampshire Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she "misspoke" when she said Donald Trump is a role model for children.

Los Angeles Chief Defends Latest Shootings by Officers

Police officers who shot and killed men in two separate weekend shootings were justified in their use of deadly force because they feared for their lives, the Los Angeles police chief said.

Mississippi Power Adds Month, $62 Million at Kemper Plant

Mississippi Power Co. is adding another month to the construction schedule and another $62 million to the cost of the power plant it's building in Kemper County.

Treasurer Running Unclaimed Property Booth at State Fair

Mississippi State Fair checklist: Ride the Ferris wheel, eat some greasy food, check for free money.

Monday, October 3

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County Renews Lapsed Ankle-Bracelet Contract DA Complained About

No contract existed between Hinds County and the company that provided pre-trial detainee supervision, Probation Services Company, LLC, for almost 8 years, until the Board of Supervisors ratified a motion this morning to accept all services for those intervening years and open the contract opportunity up to other companies that meet "county standards."

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Panel: Raising Sales Tax, Cutting Business Taxes Options for Increasing State Revenue

The State of Mississippi needs revenue, and lawmakers have three options: increasing the state's sales tax rate, apply sales tax to more items or sell more stuff.

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Eugene Brazley

Chad Kelly threw for 361 yards and Eugene Brazley ran for a career-high 124 yards and two touchdowns as No. 16 Mississippi pulled away late to beat Memphis 48-28 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

AP: 'Apprentice' Cast and Crew say Trump was Lewd and Sexist

In his years as a reality TV boss on "The Apprentice," Donald Trump repeatedly demeaned women with sexist language, according to show insiders who said he rated female contestants by the size of their breasts and talked about which ones he'd like to have sex with.

Unscripted Trump Overshadows His Own Economic Message

Donald Trump questioned Hillary Clinton's loyalty to her husband on Saturday night, adding an explosive personal charge against his Democratic opponent to a turbulent week when he repeatedly veered off script.

Trump Has a Challenging Week with a Tax Revelation

Ever defiant, Donald Trump and his Republican allies largely embraced a report that said the New York businessman may not have paid federal income taxes for nearly two decades after he and his companies lost nearly $916 million in a single year.

First Lady to Chat Via Skype with Girls Around the Globe

First lady Michelle Obama will mark International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11 by Skyping with girls around the world about education challenges in their lives.

Women in Poland Strike to Protest Proposal for Abortion Ban

Polish women donned black, waved black flags and took to Poland's streets on Monday, boycotting jobs and classes as part of a nationwide strike to protest a legislative proposal for a total ban on abortion.

Former State Senator to Plead Guilty in Prison Bribery Case

Former state senator Irb Benjamin of Madison is expected to become the sixth person to plead guilty in Mississippi's prison contract bribery scandal, court records show.

Saturday, October 1

Board Apologizes After Flap Over Separate Low-Income School

A Mississippi school board is apologizing after the superintendent was quoted saying the district might consider an optional separate school to try to boost low-income students' academic achievement.