Monday, December 25, 2017
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:
- Mississippi Sens. Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran both voted in favor of the massive Republican tax reform legislation, which President Donald Trump signed into law Friday.
- The Jackson City Council voted against Mayor Chokwe Lumumba's request to double the local tourist tax Thursday morning from 1 percent to 2 percent on purchases at restaurants, hotels and motels.
- Jackson Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Sharolyn Miller addressed the Board of Trustees about forcing teachers and students to go to school Friday, Dec. 22, after the district closed two weeks ago for a snow day.
- Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance announced Wednesday that he is retiring at the end of the year after 30 years of service in the Jackson Police Department.
- Mississippi Delta counties—places where African Americans were first enslaved, then became poorly paid workers and sharecroppers—average a poverty level of 30 percent, and services and opportunities are even farther apart than in a city like Jackson—and food and shopping desserts can span the width of entire counties.
- David Dzielak told the House Medicaid Committee that food security, housing and safety are all social determinants that could help improve conditions of Mississippians last week. Soon after, he submitted his resignation after serving as the executive director of the Division of Medicaid under Gov. Phil Bryant.
- Civil-rights veteran John Perkins and his wife, Vera Mae, founded Voice of Calvary Ministries in 1975. The mission-driven Christian organization renovates homes and helps low-income families purchase them through financial literacy courses.
- State Auditor Stacey Pickering said six of the 19 public rural hospitals in Mississippi are in poor financial condition and could be at risk of closure or a takeover by a management company in the future.
- The City of Jackson's Winter Wonderland ice-skating rink began Dec. 22, 2017, and will run through Jan. 4, 2018, in the parking lot of Smith-Wills Stadium.
- The Region 8 mental-health facility that serves Rankin, Madison and other counties must pay almost $7 million to the U.S. government, a whistleblower and the state's Division of Medicaid after U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst announced the False Claims Act settlement on Dec. 14.