Tuesday, December 31
Days after U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst chided Jackson public officials for being too soft on crime, Jackson Police Department Chief James Davis held a press conference to highlight 82 arrests in the city.
After working and living in Jackson for 52 years, Executive Director of Growing Up Knowing Dana Larkin has stepped down from her position and moved to the Washington D.C. area to be closer to her family and grandchildren.
The ground and water in some northern Mississippi communities could become polluted if nearby Memphis pulls out of a decadeslong agreement to treat the area's sewage, the suburban water officials say in a federal lawsuit.
As a congressman today at 79, John Lewis is facing a foe like none before: advanced pancreatic cancer.
Nearly three years after taking office, Americans still are waiting for Trump’s big health insurance reveal. Prescription drug prices have edged lower, but with major legislation stuck in Congress it's unclear if that relief is the start of a trend or merely a blip.
Before rushing to volunteer to be Jackson's political classes' attack dog against racist insult, we should be mindful of Zora Neale Hurston's oft reminder: "all my skin folks ain't my kinfolk."
Monday, December 30
Mississippi wants a redo after a federal appeals court struck down its 2018 law that bans women from having abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood filed a motion asking the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to reconsider the law's constitutionality on Dec. 27.
Just days before we close out another decade in American history, civil-rights icon Congressman John Lewis announced on Sunday, Dec. 29, that he has been diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer and will be undergoing treatment.
Devontae Shuler, despite scoring 20 points and adding five rebounds and five assists, was pleased but not satisfied with his performance Sunday as Mississippi defeated Tennessee Tech 80-63. “My foot is not 100 percent yet and that's held me back," said Shuler, who has played with nagging heel injuries for two seasons. “I'm probably 80 percent and it hurts, but I had time to rest it over the break and that helped."
Like every year, 2019 has certainly been a ride full of ups and downs. The Capital City has much to offer if you are looking for a place to unwind and count down until midnight. Several venues offer Jacksonians with ways to bring in the new year with both our loved ones and with new faces.
Friday, December 27
If you were caught up in the spirit of the holiday, as I was on Christmas Eve, you might have missed one of the most disturbing interviews ever with a national journalist that Rolling Stone posted around midnight. In the interview with NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd, also the host of "Meet the Press," the beleaguered and supposedly expert journalist revealed that he has recently figured out that Donald Trump and his supporters are intentionally using his program to spread disinformation (which he inaccurately called "misinformation," but we'll come back to that.)
Good tidings fellow Jacksonians! I cannot believe this is the very last Friday of the decade. Christmas 2019 has been archived for the books and New Year’s Day 2020 is looming on the horizon. I sincerely hope you all thoroughly enjoyed your holidays and that positive energy continues to carry you through the rest of this season.
Guatemalan Cardinal Alvaro Ramazzini called for a renewed humanity in the nation’s treatment of immigrants in Jackson last week before going to Carthage to meet people affected by massive, statewide Immigrations and Customs Enforcement raids in August. Ramazzini issued the call alongside Father Roberto Mena, pastor of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Forest, and Jackson’s bishop, Reverend Joseph Kopacz.
The Mississippi Jazz Foundation named Jeffrey Cornelius, a senior at Murrah High School, as the up-and-coming artist of the year during its 16th annual Night of Musical Artistry at Duling Hall on Nov. 29. During the event, the foundation honors Jackson artists who have made exceptional contributions to music scene.
Mississippi State graduate transfer Tommy Stevens now will start at quarterback in the Music City Bowl after freshman Garrett Shrader suffered what coach Joe Moorhead said is only an “upper body injury.”
The Vicksburg Post reports that Warren County supervisors voted to delay a decision on debris hauling, which could cost the county more than $100,000. A total of 24 homes at Eagle Lake have been demolished by volunteers following flooding.
Thursday, December 26
U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, one of the top federal prosecutors in Mississippi, had tough words for officials in Jackson over violent crime in the city.
U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is joining other anti-abortion politicians who are increasingly prioritizing legislative efforts designed to restrict access to federally approved abortion medication.
The national office of the Society of Physics Students, a professional association for students interested in physics and related fields, recently awarded the University of Southern Mississippi its Outstanding Chapter Award for 2019.
MSU safety Brian Cole II has an extra game on film to show off his abilities to scouts. After Cole finishes the Music City Bowl, he will start preparing for the 2020 Reese's Senior Bowl.
Tuesday, December 24
Few novels have stood the test of time like "1984" by George Orwell. Since its publication in 1949, many of the ideas and terms in the novel have come into common use, including Big Brother, Thought Police, thoughtcrime, doublethink and memory hole.
The District at Eastover recently announced the opening of two new stores, as well as the launch of a pop-up shop at District Drugs & Mercantile.
In the summer of 1964, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner spent their last day on Earth at the Neshoba County Jail. The brick building on East Myrtle Street still stands, and thanks to a local couple who wanted to preserve the historic structure it has a new life as two small apartments.
President Donald Trump lashed out Tuesday as his Senate impeachment trial remains at an impasse, with Republican and Democratic leaders at odds over its format and whether witnesses should be called.
President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia has got a strong edge in designing new weapons and that it has become the only country in the world to deploy hypersonic weapons.
Tate Reeves, Mississippi's incoming governor, is keeping Greg Michel as the state's emergency director.
Monday, December 23
Angelique Rawls, assistant vice president of communications and development for the Hinds County Resource Agency, grew up thinking she would move to a bigger city and have an office in a high-rise building with a large window where she would develop amazing ad campaigns.
As the end of the year, and the end of the decade, draws nearer, lovers of soul music enthusiastically mark their calendars as they count down the days until the 2019 Soulabration, which will be held on Dec. 28 starting at 7 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum.
Mary Miller's masterful hold on her protagonist, Louis, perfectly demonstrates helplessness in the wake of detachment while grappling with one's notions of happiness.
The lone bright spot for JSU has been senior forward Marneisha Hamer as the Preseason First-Team All-SWAC selection is second in the conference in scoring with 14.8 points per game.
Greater Jackson offers a variety of places to celebrate the New Year.
There might not have been a better turnaround job in college basketball last year than what Kirmitt Davis did in his first season with the Rebels. Davis went 20-13 as he led Mississippi to its first NCAA appearance since 2015.
People make promises to themselves that they won't keep. "Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right," Oprah Winfrey said once. This year, choose you.
These are not necessarily people who did positive things, although many did. They are Mississippians who emerged as the most interesting and who caused a lot of conversation in the capital city and beyond.
Earlier this year, Mississippi House Rep. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, told the Jackson Free Press that part of the goal of bills like the heartbeat bill and the 15-week ban is to get a case to the Supreme Court.
Paul Houser is one of 2,635 Mississippians currently serving lengthy prison terms under Mississippi's so-called "habitual laws," the state's version of "three strikes laws." Mississippi's habitual laws drive the state's high incarceration rate, the third highest in the country.
"Impeachment is hell for a the country—but the reasons impeachment proceedings begin are very serious. They are the kinds of violations of public trust than set dangerous precedents for the future."
Serving as the executive director of Young Business Leaders Jackson since 2016, Jay Fletcher works to help young businessmen grow in their faith and leadership.
Friday, December 20
Let's try to prepare for the upcoming inclement weather and see if we can stay dry while indulging in some much-deserved merriment. Check out my event lineup to get you started!
Several local nonprofits will unite this holiday season to provide 500 free meals to young people in Jackson as part of ongoing efforts to fight food insecurity in the city and state, which currently ranks first nationwide in food insecurity.
Flowood resident and professional photographer Whitney VanGorder uses her past to motivate herself to be a positive influence for those around her.
Thursday, December 19
President Donald Trump's "overt gangsterism" made his impeachment necessary, Mississippi Democrat Jacqueline Amos said in a statement the day after only one member of Mississippi's delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve articles of impeachment.
Teacher pay raises could be one of the first big achievements of the 2020 legislative session, multiple lawmakers say.
Mississippi government retirees can continue collecting pension benefits while also being paid to serve in the Legislature, under a rule finalized this week.
Average wait times have tripled at Mississippi's driver's license stations over the past two years, according to a report by a Mississippi's legislative watchdog agency.
The Mississippi Humanities Council gave Kristen K. White, chair and assistant professor of Belhaven University's Intercultural Studies Department, its 2020 MHC Teacher Award on Monday, Dec. 16.
Senior defensive tackle Benito Jones will represent the University of Mississippi in the 2020 Reese's Senior Bowl. He is the fifth Rebel in the last four years to be invited to play in the game.
President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming only the third American chief executive to be formally charged under the Constitution’s ultimate remedy for high crimes and misdemeanors.
Wednesday, December 18
A three-judge panel in New Orleans wants a lower court to decide whether or not the entire Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama's signature achievement, should be struck down.
"Most people in Mississippi who do not agree with the radical-conservative, racist status quo have always been afraid to speak publicly about it—certainly at least the white ones."
The Mississippi Senate could still expand Medicaid access to as many as 300,000 residents who currently have no health-care access, Delbert Hosemann, the State's incoming lieutenant governor, told members of the press Tuesday.
Don't be surprised if you step into a Waffle House and find Elvis Mujic, 30, telling jokes and interacting with everybody like he would in any comedy club.
Tuesday, December 17
A diverse group of young men have spent months preparing to bring holiday comfort and joy to the Jackson area, and it comes to fruition the afternoon of Dec. 14 at St. Philip's Episcopal Church.
The Hinds County Board of Supervisors dodged a bullet Monday, narrowly avoiding a federal contempt trial for ongoing conditions at the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond.
A small group of President Donald Trump's fiercest conservative critics, including the husband of the president's own chief adviser, is launching a super PAC designed to fight Trump's reelection and punish congressional Republicans deemed his “enablers."
Jackson native and author Angie Thomas is on a roll as her second novel "On The Come Up" is set to be adapted to film. She announced last week that "This Is Us" producer and writer Kay Oyegun will write the screenplay.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is rejecting the Democrats' push for fresh impeachment testimony against President Donald Trump and making a last-ditch plea for them to “turn back from the cliff" of Wednesday's expected vote to send the case to the Senate for trial.
Jackson resident Girmay Berhie became Jackson State University's new dean of the School of Public Health and Social Work in August 2019.
Monday, December 16
Curits Flowers will leave Mississippi's Parchman prison and return home for the first time in more than two decades after Montgomery County Circuit Judge Joseph Loper granted him a $250,000 bail on Monday morning.
Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is failing to uphold her "sacred oath to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law in this country" with her vow to protect President Donald Trump from impeachment, potential Democratic opponent Mike Espy claimed in an email missive to supporters on Dec. 12.
The Pepper Palace, a store that specializes in hand-crafted small batches of hot sauce, salsa, dips, seasonings, barbeque sauce, marinades, pepper jellies, rubs and more, opened at The Outlets of Mississippi on Saturday, Dec. 7.
A month ago, Breein Tyree’s play in Ole Miss’s season-opener was sluggish and scattered. Despite being a first-team SEC selection last year, Tyree scored only six points against Arkansas State, was 1 for 7 from behind the arc, and played only 25 minutes.
Phil Bryant, Mississippi's outgoing Republican governor, vowed Saturday to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Mississippi's ban on abortion at 15 weeks a day after a federal appeals court ruled the ban was unconstitutional.
Friday, December 13
Three charter schools in Jackson raised their grades over the past year, a new legislative PEER committee report found. Still, the report recommended changes by the board that oversees charter schools in Mississippi.
Mississippi's Small Business Administration is now offering low-interest loans to homeowners, businesses and nonprofit organizations who suffered losses when torrential rain caused widespread flooding last spring.
Sometimes someone from the home team can make it to the big fields. Zach Bridges, born and raised in Pearl, Miss., had the chance to compete in this year's season of "The Voice," an American singing competition television series broadcast on NBC.
Today is the last Friday the 13th of the decade, Jackson! We are settling in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season as procrastinating shoppers liven the city, myself included.
Mississippi residents are hanging Christmas tree ornaments to remember loved ones who died from violent crimes.
Thursday, December 12
Verizon Wireless is suing the City of Jackson over what it claims is an unlawful and discriminatory denial of its application to build a cellphone tower in the city.
"Racists, segregationists and anti-miscegenists can now back up their mere (and at least occasionally unstudied) religious opinion with the word of the law: they've got a right, so long as a religion (of whatever kind) is involved."
Amid lagging teacher salaries and unsafe bridges, Mississippi legislative leaders are recommending that the state spend slightly less money on state government services during the coming fiscal year.
Mississippi State University Libraries recently partnered with the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries to launch a shared online exhibit titled "Enslaved People in the Southeast."
Hours after Florida Atlantic University won the Conference USA Football Championship, the worst-kept secret in college football became official when the University of Mississippi named FAU head coach Lane Kiffin as its head coach.
Wednesday, December 11
"As we go into 2020, I think two things could help downtown Jackson become more vibrant. First, interest and awareness in downtown need to be curated. Second, we as citizens and patrons need to participate in those events and make a point of heading downtown."
The holiday season is more than upon us, so if you are looking for some items to pick up for friends or family—or even to decorate your home or office—this holiday gift guide may serve you well.
Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, four-time Grammy winner Matthew West, 42, grew up playing baseball but possessing a talent for music that those around him encouraged him to pursue.
The opening nights of the Hearth & Mantel Theatre Company's production of "The Lady With Bruce Willis Eyes" brought in a larger crowd than the troupe anticipated.
The crowd inside Offbeat in midtown formed a stage around Rapper Unknwn at the 4th Quarter Exchange, a musical event bringing artists and consumers face-to-face through performances and networking.
These homemade caramels may take a little extra time and concentration, but by the time you sample the end result, you know that your attention and vigilance throughout the process was worthwhile.
Pauline Rogers works as the president and CEO of the Reaching and Educating for Community Hope Foundation, a nonprofit that provides transitional housing and support services to those affected by crime and incarceration.
While some businesses are busy introducing themselves to the Jackson metropolitan community, others who have already established their presence are finding innovative ways push forward even further.
"I've done everything from teaching Dalits how to tell stories to running a workshop in Malaysia with kids who are deaf but want to tell their stories," filmmaker Chandler Griffin says about his career to date.
The people of Jackson are an entrepreneurial sort, as evidenced by the multiple businesses that have held grand openings throughout this last quarter.
The Sun-N-Sand, located on Lamar Street and steps away from the Mississippi Capitol, has sat vacant and fenced in since 2002, but its place in Jackson's collective memory remains vivid for Rudolph "Cotton" Baronich and others.
Business is Tasha Bibb's pleasure. Starting as an intern for Innovate Mississippi, she quickly moved into a plethora of roles within the organization from state director for the United States Academic Decathlon in Mississippi to her current position as entrepreneurial development director.
Tuesday, December 10
Neglect, not abuse, causes 75% of family separations in the nation's child-welfare system, and that neglect is often tied to poverty, Jerry Milner, acting commissioner of the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, said this week in Jackson.
A judge has set a new site for next week's bail hearing for a Mississippi man who has been tried six times for murder in the 1996 shooting deaths of four people in a furniture store.
Benchmark Litigation, a publication established in 2009 that covers the top law firms and attorneys in the United States, recently named Orlando Richmond Sr., a partner in the Butler Snow law firm, as one of its top 100 trial lawyers for 2019.
Mississippi's new governor was elected to serve everyone, but not just anyone will be allowed into some of the events celebrating his inauguration.
House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment Tuesday against President Donald Trump—abuse of power and obstruction of Congress—pushing toward historic votes over charges he corrupted the U.S. election process and endangered national security in his dealings with Ukraine.
Monday, December 9
A white woman who lost her Mississippi House of Representatives seat to a black woman challenger is asking the Republican-dominated body to overturn the election results.
T-Mobile, in its attempt to buy Sprint for $26.5 billion, has already notched approvals from key federal regulators. Now it must convince a federal judge that the 14 state attorneys general suing to stop the deal are wrong.
A Confederate statue would be moved from a central spot on the University of Mississippi's campus to a less prominent Confederate cemetery, under a proposal approved Friday by a state board.
Friday, December 6
When he resumes his leadership at the Legislature in 2020, Mississippi Speaker of the House Philip Gunn will also serve as the new national chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization that pushes corporate-friendly and anti-public-education legislation in state houses across the nation. The right-wing billionaire Koch family, an assortment of lobbyists, corporations and wealthy donors fund ALEC.
We just had Thanksgiving break, so this week after returning to work, time seemed to drag slowly at first, but hey, now it's Friday again! Gratefulness is the word for this time of year, and I hope you are just as thankful as I am to see another weekend in the Capital City. I start to feel like a child again as I drive around the city and see the Christmas lights glittering in the still night, framing the winter scene as the past slowly wilts away and the transition into newness begins.
Not just anyone can strap into a 12-foot-tall, 12,000-pound, 1,500 horsepower vehicle and drive it with the speed and precision it takes to compete in Monster Jam. Tristan England, a 23-year-old professional monster truck driver, puts his truck EarthShaker to the test with each event that he enters, and he brings his skills to the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson this weekend as part of this year's Monster Jam season.
The University of Mississippi will host "Fashion Expo: Schoolin' Life," a student-organized fashion show, on Friday, Dec. 6. Proceeds from the event will go to the local chapter of Toys for Tots, a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program that benefits underprivileged children at Christmas.
Thursday, December 5
PEER, a legislative committee intended to improve the "economy, efficiency, effectiveness and accountability" of state agencies, found in its annual review of MDCPS that the turnover rate rose from 21% to 30%, according to PEER's findings from the previous year. PEER acknowledges that the higher percentage is in line with national averages for child welfare workers, while saying that it is roughly three times higher than is ideal for such an organization.
The opportunity to study at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar is a great accomplishment; however, December brings a much bigger opportunity for our beloved university and our great state of Mississippi. If we take advantage of it, all students and faculty, especially African Americans, will feel more welcomed and supported as pertinent members of the UM family and as citizens of Mississippi.
PJ Morton is a New Orleans-native musician, songwriter, vocalist and record producer. He was formerly a keyboardist and vocalist for Maroon 5 from 2012 to 2014 and was nominated for 2 Grammy Awards for his solo album "Gumbo" in 2017. For his latest album, "PAUL," Morton wanted to delve deeper into his essence and create music that showcases his artistry and personality.
This season, the Braves stormed through the SWAC once again. McNair led his squad to a 8-3 overall record and 6-1 record in SWAC play and an amazing sixth straight East title. This Saturday, Dec. 7, the Braves face Southern in the championship game for the second year in a row.
Wednesday, December 4
Following the private meeting, the former New York City mayor revealed to members of the press that he is running on a criminal-justice reform platform. He promised to cut the United States prison population in half by 2024, eliminate juvenile incarceration for non-violent offenses, invest in alternatives to incarceration initiatives, and fund local violence-interruption efforts across the country.
The future of Mississippi's Democratic Party depends upon its willingness to embrace a platform that premises its politics upon shared economic and racial injustice, rather than trying to thread a needle through imagined racial differences.
Last year, her now 8-year-old daughter, Leah, came to her with the idea of collecting 700 food items to feed hungry people in the community. Jones thought, "That's a lot," but instead of trying to convince her daughter that 700 items might be an impossible task to accomplish, she encouraged her to work on reaching her goal, no matter how "outrageous" it may have seemed. Before long, Leah met and exceeded her goal and subsequently donated the items to the Salvation Army.
Tuesday, December 3
An embattled Mississippi judge's nomination to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans faces opposition from civil rights groups that claim he has a poor record on issues involving race and sexual assault—and from conservatives who claim he is not conservative enough.
The need for a new moral and cultural compass is why I and my co-founder Kimberly Griffin are announcing a new media project today called the Mississippi Free Press, which, like my newspaper, is named in homage to a Civil Rights Movement newspaper in Jackson.
A federal appeals court hears arguments Tuesday on the constitutionality of Mississippi laws that permanently bar certain felons from voting unless they can get their rights restored through what advocates say is a difficult process.
James Bell, a Rankin County resident and retired county and special circuit judge, published his second novel, "Maximilian's Treasure," through Brandon-based publisher Sartoris Literary Group on Nov. 15.
TeamJXN—along with Downtown Jackson Partners, Visit Jackson, the Mississippi Museum of Art, Thalia Mara Hall, the Greater Jackson Arts Council and The Westin Jackson—hosts Downtown Holiday Week from Dec. 3 to Dec. 8.
Monday, December 2
The Jackson City Council voted last week to approve demolition of outdated zoo buildings that city officials say they hope to transform into a contact area for animals.
Columnist Richard Coupe had a merry romp, and kind help from a connected Austrian, to get to Vienna on time.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres urged countries Monday not to lose hope in the fight against climate change, as representatives from nearly 200 countries gathered in Madrid for a two-week meeting on tackling global warming.
The House impeachment report on President Donald Trump will be unveiled Monday behind closed doors for key lawmakers as Democrats push ahead with the inquiry despite the White House’s declaration it will not participate in the first Judiciary Committee hearing.
The Supreme Court is turning to gun rights for the first time in nearly a decade, even though those who brought the case, New York City gun owners, already have won changes to the regulation they challenged.
Mississippi State's Kylin Hill, the SEC rushing leader and the 12th leading rusher in the nation in Division 1 college football, was the top vote getter and winner of the fan voting segment of the 2019 C Spire Conerly Trophy.