Stories for August 2006


Thursday, August 31

Land Grant Universities Kick Off

Mississippi State will become the first of the Big 3 to open its college football season on Thursday when the Bulldogs host South Carolina (7 p.m., ESPN/105.9 FM). Alcorn State also gets in the act when it travels to Louisiana-Monroe (7 p.m., 90.1 FM). Support your favorite cow college.

Wednesday, August 30

Huh? Money to the Best Schools, Not the Worst

Can someone explain to me why we're giving extra money to the top-performing schools, and not to the lowest-performing that clearly need it the most???

The Coast's Forgotten Poor

"It was already hard to find an apartment even before the storm," Karen Peyton of Biloxi said. "Now it's almost impossible, and the rents are skyrocketing."

[Designer's Note] Joie de Ville Vivre

Five years ago, I left Jackson with all my belongings to attend university in New Orleans. While at Loyola, I had no intention of calling Jackson my home again.

Crime Summit Useful?

JSU criminology professor Jimmy Bell says the city's upcoming crime summit, planned for Aug. 31 will be different from crime summits hosted in other cities, while the ACLU is concerned that the summit will not tackle crime issues in a substantive way.

City Buzz

City Council President Ben Allen said last week that he wanted the city to crack down on soliciting, particularly in the downtown area. Allen said aggressive panhandling was helping drive businesses out of the city and discouraged new business and tourism in the area. He said that city attorneys were devising a proposal that limits panhandling to certain spots in the city.

[Hutchinson] Katrina Lessons, One Year Later

For one week last September, the unthinkable happened: America's poor suddenly became the rage. The shocking and tormenting sight of thousands of poor blacks fleeing in headlong panic for their lives from Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters jolted the nation and the world. President Bush, reeling from the battering he took in the media for his initial comatose response to the Katrina victims, scrambled fast and talked tough about assailing poverty. In a televised speech in New Orleans' famed Jackson Square, Bush told the nation, "All of us saw on television, there is also some deep, persistent poverty in this region as well."

[Stiggers] Broken, Busted, and Disgusted

Pookie Peterz: "Greetings members of the Ghetto Science Team Business and Economic Association! The lack of money has quenched the desires of broken, busted and disgusted individuals who sit and daydream on front porches. Fellow entrepreneurs, it's time to break the cycles of poverty and complacency.

Katrina Index

<b>Where's the Money Going?</b>

As of July, the amount of money FEMA reports it has spent in relief for hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma: $37 billion

The Next Flood

Hurricane Katrina devastated everything it touched, from Alabama to Mississippi to Louisiana, but it was New Orleans, which survived the storm only to flood over the following days, that jolted the national psyche. The flood turned the Big Easy into a disaster zone. TV pictures across the globe showed people trapped on rooftops, sloshing knee-high past bloated corpses and sunken cars, old folk in wheelchairs, looters with grocery carts. Most people fled to far-flung places, many to stay for weeks and months. With 80 percent of New Orleans under water, the country that put men on the moon took five days to evacuate hospitals.


Capt. Louis Skrmetta didn't know what hit him in late August 2005. That weekend, as he was running a boatload of about 600 people out to Ship Island, The Weather Channel showed footage of a Category 2 hurricane called Katrina hitting the Florida peninsula.

In From The Storm

Ondria Thompson, 38, and her daughter, Tia Johnson, were standing on the balcony of a looted hotel when the floodwaters came raging out of the levee and took St. Bernard Parish.

The Comfort of Coast Cuisine

Before I met my husband I had no idea about the simple pleasure that comes from eating an oyster po-boy and gulping down an ice-cold Barq's root beer from a bottle. I thought Mardi Gras parades were only in New Orleans, and what the heck were you supposed to do with a crawfish?

[Wine] What Do You Wanna Drink When You Grow Up?

You know how some of those interior-design magazines frequently feature "designer v. knock-off" stories, where one photo boasts a room full of original designs worth thousands of dollars, and another photo shows virtually the same room, but with copycat stuff from Target? Wines can be like that, too. There are very reasonably priced, delicious wines available that aren't much different from their high-priced competitors. (Not that I don't covet some of those pricey monsters, but Mama's palate can't always afford what it wants.) Here are some great examples:

Notes On Nature

I bumped into Katie Blount last week, and we started talking about a couple of previous outdoor columns, including a recent one on mountain biking. Katie doesn't mountain bike, or paddle whitewater rivers or thru-hike cross-continent trails. But she likes reading about it all.

[Music] Back To The Bar Room

Ken Edwards and Kenny Graeber, both Jackson boys, are two members of a band that has come onto the scene challenging contemporary country music. Ken Edwards and His Well Strung Band consider themselves progressive-country-rock. Graeber, the drummer, explains that the title of their latest album, "Nashvillywood," is tongue-in-cheek, that it means "Nashville has gone Hollywood. In our eyes it's become about the hair, the look and beautiful people. We aren't about that. We want to bring it back to the bar room; make it what it once was, pure and honest."

[Band In A Box] Jonezetta

Genre: Indie/Rock/Dance Principals: Mick Parsons - Drums, Kyle Howe - Guitar, Ty Garvey - Bass, Robert Chisolm - Vocals, Guitars

Humdinga! "Use What I Got"

Dressed in a design of bold, primary colors and amateur photos, Humdinga!'s album, "Use What I Got," seems unworthy at first glance. It is an obviously homemade project that has not seen the inside of a fancy production studio. This unorthodox production, however, proves to be one of the album's strengths. There is nothing slick or commercial about "Use What I Got."

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

College football, South Carolina at Mississippi State (7 p.m., Starkville, ESPN/105.9 FM): South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, the ol' Ball Coach, has never won a game in StarkVegas. … Pro baseball, Montgomery at Mississippi (7 p.m., Pearl, 930 AM): The M-Braves open their final home stand and series of the season.

Cindy Griffin

Cindy Griffin, executive director of Habitat for Humanity, has been a Jackson resident for more than 27 years. She came to the city looking for work after earning a marketing degree from Louisiana State University.

Anthony Difatta gives glimpse of new artwork for upcoming show

Want to see a preview? We have it right here!

If you haven't heard much from Anthony Difatta lately, it's because he has been working night and day to prepare for SERENDIPITY, an annual art show that is held at MS State Hospital.

Return of the Super-Predators

Aug. 30, 2006 It begins with such promise. "Criticism (of youth) without acts of love creates arrogance, not hope," Joe Maxwell says in his piece "Super-Predators, Frank Melton and Me" in the August issue of Metro Christian Living. Maxwell, journalist-in-residence at Belhaven College, expresses sympathy for children who were raised without a "moral compass, as if my own children or I might have turned out different than they under those conditions." So far, so good, but Maxwell quickly veers off course. The environment for "teens," it seems, is like Chernobyl. It has produced mutants. "The Super-Predators have arrived," Maxwell declares. "Yet are we surprised?"

Melton ‘Circus' Turns Violent

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Guests of Jackson Mayor Frank Melton allegedly beat and kicked a handcuffed man outside the Upper Level Bar and Grill early Sunday morning. The victim, Tonari Moore, is the son of club owner Sandra Moore Johnson who, last month, filed for a restraining order against Melton for his "police state tactics" against her and her business.

Monday, August 28

Melton Guests Assault Upper Level Manager

BREAKING: WLBT is reporting that guests of Melton onboard the Mobile Command Center assaulted an Upper Level manager while he was in handcuffs early Sunday morning. Police arrested Tonari Moore around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday morning on charges of disorderly conduct.

City of Jackson Prepares for the "YOUTH STATE OF EMERGENCY BASH 2006"


With the new school year now in full swing, the youth of the city of Jackson are preparing for yet another "state of emergency" that will take place on Saturday, September 16, 2006. No, this one is not being decreed by the Mayor but Mario Perdue (aka Bip Pap), one of the hiphop artist of DMH Entertainment.

Friday, August 25

Barbour Overblowing Katrina Progress Claims

Read JFP's KatrinaBlog

Bill Minor takes Gov. Haley Barbour to task this week over the myth that the Coast is in such better shape a year after Katrina:

Thursday, August 24

A Louisiania Journalist on Life After Katrina

Read a piece by our new friend, Scott Jordan, of the The Independent Weekly, the Lafayette, La., alternative newspaper and a new member of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. And as you read this piece, please recall that this is one of the small, locally owned publications that the Gannett Corp. (owns Clarion-Ledger here) is targeting with its new Goliath distribution scheme. Read about Lafayette's Gannett battle here (and the story talks about our response here in Jackson). So, in effect, in two states where the economy has been so rocked by hurricanes and with people needing their livelihoods, the Gannett Corp.'s response within months is to go after the distribution channels of local businesses and make us pay them for the privilege of putting our papers out. Great timing, Goliath.

Wednesday, August 23

[Annual Manual 2006] Bright Lights, Big City

By day, only a skillful parallel parker can wedge into a space on the streets of downtown Jackson. Men and women in business suits stride with purpose down West Street and Capitol. Hot dog kiosks and the occasional horn honk convince us that we live in a capital city.

[Annual Manual 2006] Quick Meals

When I left the comforts of my mom's kitchen for a dorm room equipped with a sink, micro-fridge and microwave, I knew it was time to look out for myself. I also discovered I had to defend myself from the evil eating habits of my roommate.

[Annual Manual 2006] My Fellow Graduates

It's 2:10 p.m. You're on the Internet with MySpace, Facebook, Gmail, IM and iTunes minimized on your toolbar. It's a normal day. You woke up late, took the dog out, ate some cereal, talked to Mom, thought about looking for a job and called a friend.

College Football Preview 2006

Will this be the fall of our discontent? Let's face facts, Mississippi college football fans, things don't look good for the home teams. None of the state teams are picked to finish higher than second in its conference or division. The best you can say about any state team is that its prospects are "uncertain."

30 Under 30

Mynelle Gardens, on Clinton Boulevard, is a botanical wonderland. There are seven acres of nooks and crannies—a perfect setting for romantic walks.

Protecting Yourself (Without A Gun)

Jason Griffin, 32, knows more than your average person about self-defense. As a student of Tae Kwon Do, which literally means a method of defending yourself with hands and feet, for 20 years, he teaches others to defend themselves at Jason Griffin's Tae Kwon Do Academy.

Madden, MS gets… Madden?

In other news, I'm going somewhere peaceful and uninhabited to found the city of Metal Gear.

In a heartwarming act of customer appreciation, the evil corporate suits over at Electronic Art$ (Look, I used a dollar sign instead of an S! I'm so risque.) decided to have a 'Maddenoliday', in which the adorably hick residents of the tiny town of Madden, Mississippi all recieved free XBOX 360's and a copy of EA's newest item in their eternal series, Madden Football '07. Let's hear it for the residents of Madden, who probably don't even have electricity.

Long Live The King

As attorney David Watkins stands beneath the 12-story façade of the dilapidated King Edward Hotel, he's got a glimmer on his face. He's exchanging pleasantries with James Guinn, general foreman for Clayco, the St. Louis contractor that's doing remediation work on the hotel, and there's no getting around the fact that this guy is seriously giddy.

F Is For Frank

An Ole Miss student and budding entrepreneur named Mac Wadlington, 22, has created what may prove to be the accessory of the season. Wadlington ("like a heavy duck," he says) has printed up hundreds of bright red stickers with a large "F" in the middle in white text. Beneath that are the words "The Mayor."

CityBuzz [08.23.06]

In a national survey of American cities with more than 100,000 people, Jackson ranked the 42nd most liberal out of 236. The survey, conducted by the Bay Area Center for Voting Research ( showed Jackson edging out liberal icons like Austin, Texas (92) and Athens, Ga. (97). Sadly, Jackson did not score higher than Memphis, Tenn. (38) or Seattle, Wash. (16), to say nothing of Berkeley, Calif. (3). The most liberal city was Detroit, Mich.

Firefighters Reinstated, Controversy Remains

A battle between Mayor Frank Melton and five members of the Jackson Fire Department ended in a handshake last Friday. Local 87 union President Brandon Falcon announced that he, along with Capts. Sidney Johnson, Patrick Armon, Reuben Ray and Lt. Vernon Gee could go back to work Sunday after being put on paid suspension for speaking to the media regarding staff shortages in the fire department.

[CollegeTalk] Tuition Up, Grants Down

There's no getting around it: Tuition costs keep climbing. The State College Board voted in May to raise tuition costs at state universities by 5.5 percent—the eighth tuition hike in 10 years. The increase will add an extra $250 or more to tuition fees at universities. Out-of-state students face an even bigger hit at universities, with $710 or more in higher tuition.

‘MySquare' & The Joys of QWERTY

Huge news for iTunes users—an executive at movie house Lion's Gate let slip during a quarterly conference call that they've made a deal with Apple to sell full-length films through the online iTunes Store. They're probably not the only ones—expect to be able to buy movies from iTunes for your iPod—or for playback on your Mac or PC—by the end of the year. One question remains … will those movies burn to DVD?

Gadgets of The Week [08.23.06]

I'm partial to mobile phones with QWERTY keyboards—and the fuller the keyboard the better. (That's why, although I've recently said I was switching from a Blackberry to a Treo, I've still got the Blackberry activated; I've got the Treo on my desk—I pick it up and fondle it occasionally—but I'm just not a fan of its keyboard.) The most important reason for having a full keyboard on your phone is because it makes you look more businesslike than typing using that look-ahead stuff on a typical numbered keypad. And looking busy can be extremely important for college students, dontcha know.

[ArtTalk] Great Expectations

Six Jackson State University graduates, who range in age from 24 to 35, share a connection: All six earned a degree in art and hope to inspire and provoke a larger audience with their show "The Antidote: A Remedy to the Problem."

Onward I Must Go

I don't recollect ever being one in my younger age who made notoriously teenage comments like, "I can't wait until I'm grown" or "Just as soon as I leave the house I'm gonna. ..." (My mother may beg to differ, but I'm relying strictly on memory here.) I'm definitely grown now, and I would give adulthood and the responsibilities I don't like back in a heartbeat, if I could. I can't, so onward I must go.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Pro baseball, Mobile at Mississippi (7 p.m., Pearl, 930 AM): The M-Braves conclude their series with the BayBears.

[Music] With Eyes Closed, Follow the Music

Before the father-and-son duo opened for BB King, Joe Messina leaned over to his son Dustin and whispered "just like Fenian's." For these musical partners, the phrase means staying true to their own style and connecting with the crowd regardless of the size or place. Dustin and Joe explain that it's never been about money or fame.

Into The Unknown

For me, high school was awful. I felt like I was trapped in useless classes surrounded by immature and idiotic people. Then comes senior year, when everyone pretends they have always loved each other. People who have hardly spoken a word to you in three years suddenly want to be your best friend. And in my opinion, everyone becomes entirely too emotional. To finally be free of it all is a dream come true. "College" says to me that I will be able to see who I choose, learn about what I choose and be free of all that high school drama.

[Stiggers] I Have A Weave

Boneqweesha Jones: "Welcome to Hair-Did University's School of Cosmetology fall semester orientation! I want to have an 'off the-cuff' chat with you.

[Kamikaze] Stop The Witch Hunt

Enough already! At this point we're beating the proverbial dead horse. It's one thing to do some good investigative journalism. It's another to question standing policy or programs. But it's another altogether to be obsessed with finding fault in some of those same policies or programs, even after no wrongdoing has been found.

Shawna Davie

Davie blew away the crowd at the Reproductive Freedom Project rally last month with her passionate defense of a woman's right to make decisions for her body. The Jackson State student works part time with the ACLU, organizing events like the Freedom Rally, but she also organized protests during the state Legislature's failed attempt to outlaw abortion earlier this year, as well as its botched attempt to limit a woman's ability to get braids by producing a bill requiring hair specialists to be licensed to twist hair.

Tuesday, August 22

Barbour Adds Gulf Coast to Special Session

Earlier this week, Gov. Barbour announced a special session to allot corporate welfare to a North Mississippi project. After criticism that his call was ignoring dire needs on the Coast, he expanding the call to include issues vital to the Gulf Coast, which is struggling a full year after Katrina. Following is a verbatim statement from the governor:

THE YO LA TENGO ‘Beat Your Ass Season Pass'

- A player streaming the full album

For those fans canny enough to preorder the new Yo La Tengo album, Matador Records is providing exclusive bonus material along with extra goodies from Yo La Tengo's upcoming 'I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass' (ole-692), out September 12. When you pre-order the album from a participating retailer's web site, you'll receive a follow up email with directions for accessing the Season Pass web site via a unique coupon code. Every few weeks, the site will be updated with exclusive bonus material including:

Monday, August 21

AIDS Action in MS take "AAIM" with Arts for AIDS


With six people dying every minute from HIV, advocacy communities all over the United States are stepping up and doing their part to educate the public about the need for responsible habits. In Mississippi, groups like AIDS action in MS (aka AAIM) are doing their part to not only spread the word but provide services to those who are infected and affected by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Sunday, August 20

Online Store Commemmorates JFD 5

Go here to see the merchandise. My inspiration came from this JFP article.

Melton Armed in Drug Havens; Violating AG Warning?

According to a WLBT report, Mayor Frank Melton was armed when he demolished a house Friday at 1616 Valley Street in Jackson. Melton told the station that he is demolishing places where "dope (is) being sold or consumed." If that is the case, Melton may well have violated a direct directive yesterday from Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood who told him in June in a strongly worded letter that he would be prosecuted if he continues violating state criminal statutes. One of those statutes prohibit the mayor, or anyone else other than a real law-enforcement officer, from carrying a weapon in one of 19 locations. Those locations include places where illegal drugs are sold or used. The list also includes churchs and public parks—both places Melton has been seen carrying weapons since the attorney general's letter warning him to not violate the law by carrying weapons into illegal places.

Sen. Hagel: GOP Has Lost Its Way

AP is reporting that Chuck Hagel is sounding the death knell on the Republican Party as its "evolved." Good. He's a good Republican, and should be ashamed of what his party has turned into. And, hopefully, he'll be able to lead it a new direction. I've always admired his unwillingness to be caught up in the party's corruption and demagoguery. We need more Repubs like Hagel—and will likely get them, now that this version is likely to get its a$$ handed to it by the American people.

Melton Hiring Felons to Work with Youth

Uh, no kidding. Did The Clarion-Ledger really just figure this out!?! The JFP has been reporting this for months now, in our Melton interviews and in other stories. Guess it's a slow news day at the Ledge:

Friday, August 18

BREAKING: Melton Reverses, Reinstates JFD 5

UPDATE: At a special City Council meeting this afternoon, Fireman Brandon Falcon informed City Council that he had just spoken to Mayor Melton, who asked Falcon and the other four suspended firefighters to return to work on Monday. They will not be disciplined for speaking to the media. Watch for further updates.

Special-Session Man Is Back!


(JACKSON, Mississippi) * Governor Haley Barbour announced today he will call a special session of the Mississippi Legislature to convene at 9 a.m. on Thursday, August 24, 2006, and deal primarily with a huge job-creating project in northwest Mississippi known as Riverbend Crossing.

[Lott] The Tools of Peace

Not long before the terrorist attacks of September 11, and well before Hurricane Katrina, some in the national media criticized me for helping fund the construction of a new helicopter carrier for the U.S. Marine Corps—one that would be built in Pascagoula by workers at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. I proudly helped christen that ship on August 19 because America needs this equipment now more than ever.

Thursday, August 17

TONIGHT: Martinis and Cigars during ‘Casablanca Nights' Ball

The Jackson Free Press is a "Humphrey Bogart" sponsor of the Jackson Arts Council's big fund-raising event, The First Annual Storytellers' Ball, at the Old Capitol Inn on Thursday, August 17, starting at 6:30 p.m. Join us for a gournet Moroccan Feast, Blues divas, the Capitol City Stage Band, lots of dancing, a silent auction to beat silent auctions, a pooside cigar bar and a martini-tasting station. Dress swanky; black tie optional, sparkles advised. $50 per person; reservations at 601.960.1557.

David Banner Responds to the MS' Best Awards 2006

What did he have to say?

After three days of media buzz from,, and the websites, David Banner is speaking out about the 1st Mississippi's Best Awards that will take place on Saturday, October 28, 2006.

Chief Anderson Gets Punk'd by Melton

The best quote in the story:

Here's an interesting story from the C-L today about Melton wanting to hire ex-Chief Jim Black to help at the police department.

Wednesday, August 16

Stripping Down and Dressing Up

Laura Hastings, 25, likes to have the best of both worlds—music and acting. Musical theater is her true home. "The combination of acting and singing is great," Hastings says.

So Long, Little Colorado

Riding through a 300-acre patch of hardwood wilderness in the metro area one recent Saturday morning, we could hear the buzz of insects, the rustle of a startled armadillo or squirrel, and the constant muted dribble of our knobby mountain bike tires rolling over the packed-dirt trails.

Cornbread Connection

When I first came to Mississippi, I faced college cafeteria lines of steaming fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, fried okra and grits, and I felt very lost. Then, at the very end of the line, on a tiny sliver of a tray, something familiar caught my eye: cornbread.

Chaos and Perseverance

It's the movie that we all knew was coming. From the day of the September 11th attacks there was talk that it would one day be the next disaster blockbuster, like "Pearl Harbor" or "Titanic." But I don't think any of us knew it would be this soon.

[Music] Pushing The Beat

At 8 years old, Rickie Adams fell in love while pecking on a keyboard. His love for music, particularly hip-hop, continued to grow while he shadowed an older cousin who worked as a deejay and performed with a rap group. Over the next several years, this love would flourish in many forms including singing, dancing, rapping and most importantly for him, producing. Nowadays, having created a reputation for himself as one of Jackson's best-known producers, 29-year-old Rickie Adams is known as Dat Boi Drumma, founder of Traxtar Records and Beat 2 Sleep Productions.

[Band In A Box] Hypnotic Chickens

Date Formed: 2001

Principals: Paul Tucker-vocals/guitar; Pat Cochran-guitar; Chet Hix-bass; Larry Morrisey-drums; with: Bobby Anderson-guitar/vocals; Brad Walker-bass.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Thursday, Aug. 17

Pro football, Kansas City at New York Giants (7 p.m., Ch. 40): Here's your chance to see ex-Rebel Eli Manning in action.

I Am Not Afraid

Hanging on a wall, in a studio in Flora, Miss., designed especially for her by the renowned architect Samuel "Sambo" Mockbee, is one of the most beautiful paintings in Lea Barton's studio. The gorgeous black woman featured has long hair that cascades gently over her shoulder. A close look at her hair reveals the sentence "I Am Not Afraid"—the title of the piece—over and over and over. Around her are pieces of old wallpaper that the artist stripped from plantation homes, intricate patterns that speak nothing of the horrible places from which they come. There are also baby-doll heads, gently held in delicate fingers, strategically placed on the canvas. One probably couldn't begin to fathom the number of things the woman in the picture—or the artist—does not fear.

U.S., and Flowood, Industry Fights for Fair Trade

America is a wasteful society. Think of the last time your coffee maker broke. Did you fix it, or toss it and get another one? Chances are, you set it on the side of the road and spent another $30 on a sparkly new brewer with a digital clock on it. It's the American way. We don't fix our toasters anymore. We chuck 'em and get another.

Barbour Flaunting Phantom Surplus

State legislators are accusing Gov. Haley Barbour of misrepresenting the condition of the state budget.

Rainbow Businesses Hopeful

Computer Co-op Office Manager Charlotte Lundemo said she was optimistic after a Monday Ward 7 meeting on flooding problems plaguing Rainbow Grocery and connected businesses in Fondren Plaza. Lundemo and her husband, Computer Co-op owner Luke Lundemo, said the city appeared ready to foot the bill for street repairs that would re-route drain waters that have been pouring into the back of businesses during downpours.

Clock Ticking On Commerce Street

John Lawrence, president of Downtown Jackson Partners, said developers have big plans for a section of Entergy-owned territory along Commerce Street, in downtown Jackson, and urged council members to work with them before time runs out.

Where The Streets Have No Name

I've flown to Chicago twice in a month to give writing workshops at Northwestern's journalism school, and each time I've been swept up in a wave of compassion and love. I like to think it's because so many Mississippians have made the city their home, but that may well be a bit egocentric of me.

[Greggs] As I Lay Tanning

Saturday afternoon I spent most of the day lying beside a pool, holding a pina colada and desperately wishing I was near a beach.

[Stiggers] Church Pianists Gone Bad

Boneqweesha Jones: "This is Boneqweesha on the scene for Ghetto Science News, bringing you live coverage of the seizure of Crunchie Burga World by disgruntled customer and retired jazz/funk pianist 'Coal Black' Walker.

No. 48 August 16 - 23

<b>An Open Letter to Mayor Melton and City Council</b>

It is 11:01 p.m., Aug. 4, 2006—that makes it about two hours ago that I was mugged on Morningside Drive in Belhaven Heights, about two blocks from my house on the way to get a pint at Fenian's Pub. It is a curious thing to have a gun put in your face—I imagine you know the feeling. I am now in the process of rearranging my affairs—canceling cards, changing locks and so forth. I am sure the two guys that put that gun in my face will go on to do so again as it seemed rather casual. They weren't afraid, and it seemed this wasn't their first "hustle."

Melissa Adkinson

Melissa Adkinson, 36, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, relates easily to the majority of clients she helps. She works as a case manager at the Good Samaritan Center, a non-profit organization. She has lived in Jackson for the past two and half years.

Goliath Blunders, Passes Buck

The city is headed to court with The Clarion-Ledger over public records, where the city faces likely defeat. The city's violations of the Public Records Act are numerous.

Meet George Allen, the Republican Party's Great White Hope

The leading conservative 2008 Republican presidential candidate is scarier than George W. Bush.

Tuesday, August 15

WLBT Consumer Report Snares JFP Classified

We were embarrassed to learn that one of the classified ads discussed in WLBT's 3 on Your Side story last night ran in the Jackson Free Press. WLBT didn't mention the JFP by name in the transcript, but after reading the report online, we determined that our paper had run one of the ads. It appears that WLBT did good consumer reporting, following complaints and leads regarding the ad and ads like it in other publications, and we applaud them for it.

Transcript of Melton Interview About Firefighters

Verbatim interview with Frank Melton conducted by JFP Managing Editor Brian Johnson on Tuesday, Aug. 15. Any use of of quotes from this interview without express attribution to the Jackson Free Press will be considered a copyright violation.

Monday, August 14

City Suspends Firemen Over JFP Reports

Both The Clarion-Ledger and the Associated Press have now reported on the Aug. 9 letter Assistant Fire Chief Charles Anthony Davis wrote Firefighter Sidney Johnson demanding documentation substatianting "allegations" Johnson made to the media regarding the city's ISO rating. What both stories omitted was that the "media" in question was the Jackson Free Press. In fact, Davis' letter mentions the Jackson Free Press in its very first sentence, and the entire matter refers to a JFP feature, "Melton Withdraws Chandler...Again" published on July 19, 2006.


Good news everyone, thanks to our friends at Tiny Evil, an imprint of Interscope Records, the Colour Revolt EP will be re-released in stores nationwide on Tuesday, September 12. Mark it down. Make plans to purchase it, if you haven't already. And, if you already own it, you can still help. Call up your local record shop and ask them to carry the Colour Revolt EP. You can tell them that the disc is distributed by Fontana Distribution, the independent distro arm of Interscope. Even just getting the record in one more store helps. We will of course have more news about this as the record release gets closer, but for now, spread the word.

Saturday, August 12

Medieval Music Ensemble presents The Medieval Tale of Tristan and Isolde

Mississippi Academy of Ancient Music presents Istampita Sat., Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m. This Texas ensemble performs the medieval tale of Tristan and Isolde as told by Marie of France, in song and dance. St. Philip's Episcopal Church, Old Canton Rd. $15, $5 students. 601-852-4848, 601-977-7782.

Friday, August 11

Supernatural Powers: Melton on the ‘State of the City'

*Web exclusive*

Mayor Frank Melton's State of the City address at the Alamo Theatre on Farish Street on Aug. 11, 2006, opened with great pomp as a Jackson Police Department color guard marched into the hall. The stage was set with plush leather chairs, and the audience stood as Dathan Thigpen sang the National Anthem while the color guard stood at attention.

Former JFP Intern Starts New Orleans Magazine

From Jessica Kinnison, one of our favorite former interns, and Jackson Prep graduate:

I am writing on behalf of Voix du Vieux / Voice of the Quarter, a New Orleans based monthly publication that serves as a forum for painters, photographers, poets, fiction writers and musicians. We started this project just over four months ago with the intention of doing our part

Bush Approval Drops; Hurting Republican Chances?

The Associated Press is reporting:

Melton Plans Quick ‘State of the City' at the Alamo

Mayor Frank Melton says he only plans to talk for 30 minutes Friday morning on the "state of the city." The Clarion-Ledger reports:

ALERT: Suicide Hotline May Go Out of Service

Thursday, August 10

Clueless in Condi-land? U.S. Endgame in Lebanon?

Here's more food for discussion on Lebanon, from Michael Young at Reason mag, who is also the opinion editor of the Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon:


THE DECEMBERISTS' "THE CRANE WIFE" OUT OCTOBER 3! NORTH AMERICAN TOUR KICKS OFF OCTOBER 17. — The Crane Wife, the Capitol Records debut from the Decemberists, will be released on October 3rd. A North American tour will kick off on October 17th with a two-night stand in their native Portland, Oregon. A full list of confirmed tour dates is below.

Gannett Distro Scheme Strikes in Montana

Chad Vader, Day Shift Manager

In the spirit of yesterday's YouTube video link (and in homage to an old alias of mine--Ironghost will remember), I bring you the saga of Chad Vader, Day Shift Manager. This is much funnier than it sounds...

Wednesday, August 9

Dead, Rising

Now go out and buy it.

You + Mall + Zombies. Chop till you drop, ya'll.

City's Murder Rate Soars

The latest ComStat reports (June and July) show 26 murders for this year versus 15 for the same period last year, an increase of 73.3 percent. In fact, murder now shows a greater increase over last year than any other category of crime. Carjackings and armed robberies have increased by around 50 percent, while aggravated assaults have increased by 23.7 percent. The only category that declined was rape, which has fallen 10.8 percent from last year.

Problems of The Spirit

You may have read all of William Faulkner's novels, or maybe his tangled, modernist prose was too much. No one ever said Faulkner was easy. But the truth is that Faulkner is one of our great Southern and American writers. In fact, his chronicles of life in Mississippi are so important it could be argued that you can't understand the Magnolia State unless you understand Faulkner. "Oh, Mr. Faulkner, Do You Write?" a one-man play at New Stage Theatre, offers a rare and thoroughly pleasurable means of getting to know the great writer.

Shaking The Image

Jackson Public Schools may have decaying buildings, overcrowding and infrastructure concerns, but architecture and aesthetics are nothing compared to the mental image the system has to battle daily.

$150 Million or Bust

Jackson voters will have the chance to approve a $150 million bond this November when they go to the polls. It's the first of this size ever in Mississippi, but one that is needed, according to Jackson Public School Board President H. Ann Jones.

Soft Drinks and Soft Bellies

Mississippi Department of Education board members last month voted to forgo a school vending policy banning all soft drinks—even diet versions—in favor of a national plan devised by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The Alliance plan, which includes input from groups from the American Heart Association to soft-drink vendors, allows soft-drink vending machines a presence on school property until 2009, with no cut-off point whatsoever for diet drinks.

Myth vs. Reality: Myths Plaguing Public Education In Mississippi and Why They Are Not True

Myth 1: More than 60 percent of the state budget is spent on public education.

Win2Mac Gaming and Open Source Kids

Only Apple can make something called the Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) the sexiest tech-marketing showcase of the summer, but it looks like it'll happen, with a keynote by Steve Jobs over by the time you read this.

Gadgets of The Week

There can't possibly be a better time than back-to-school week for students (of all ages) to hit up their parents or loved ones for a laptop. After all, they do want to see you succeed, right? Right?!

[Wine] Off The Beaten Path

In most aspects of our lives, we tend to stick to what we know. When shopping for wine, most of us would much rather buy what we're familiar with rather than run the risk of getting something we may end up hating and being out the money spent on it. There's no question that there are a lot of "weird" wines out there, but most of them are quite delightful and worth a trip out of the mainstream.

The Crunchy Whiskered Fish

When my brother and I were young, there was a period of about two years where he would eat nothing but Campbell's Tomato soup and crackers. There might have been an occasional hamburger or pizza, but on any given weeknight, it was the soup. This eating habit, of course, was a blessing for my dad when it was his night to feed the kids. I'll hand it to my parents, they tried to get my brother to eat something other than soup, but he was stubborn. There were times that he would go to his room and skip dinner altogether. Luckily for my parents, I would eat everything, except collard greens. I still won't eat them. I actually got my one and only spanking from refusing to eat collard greens.

[Music] Radio Rock Takes Center Stage

"I want 'Mississippi Happening' to facilitate the success of every rock musician in Mississippi," says Daniel Johnson. "That's its whole point."

Dr. Earl Watkins

During the first week of the school year, JPS sees more activity than a dog corpse lying on an anthill. Incredibly, though, JPS Superintendent Dr. Earl Watkins still managed to find time amid the furor to speak with the JFP about challenges facing JPS this year.

A Broken System Expands

Hinds County Supervisors surprised some onlookers at the Aug. 7 supervisors' meeting by producing more money for the Raymond Detention Center. Supervisors voted 4-to-1 to approve $481,000 to expand the recreation yards at Raymond, with only Doug Anderson voting no. Supervisors hope the expansion will meet national standards on recreational space and allow a higher inmate count, possibly bringing in 132 extra beds.

Jackson's PR Problem, Part Two

As I read Clarion-Ledger Executive Editor Ronnie Agnew's recent opinion piece, "Law Firm, CPA Move Just Plain Business," it occurred to me that his column seemed to be missing a word.

[Spirituality] Children of Abraham

This past May, along with 16 other Mississippians, I participated in a 10-day tour of Turkey at the invitation of the Institute for Interfaith Dialogue, an organization composed primarily of Muslims, Christians and Jews to foster reconciliation and peace throughout the world.

No. 47 August 9 - 16

<b>It Will Not Be Difficult, Mein Fuhrer</b>

I think we should pass a national law—or maybe this falls under states' rights—enforcing a uniform dress code. All citizens will only be allowed to wear khaki pants, a choice of certain colors of shirt; preferably red, white, navy, or royal blue, and closed toe shoes in black or brown. Additionally, belts must be worn for any clothing without elastic waistbands, shirts must be tucked in, and no logos on articles of clothing or shoes. Those in government positions, especially those of authority dealing with the general public on a regular basis, however, will be exempted from this dress code. Anyone breaking this dress law will be fined monetarily or prevented from participating in society. After the third offense, it will be up to the government to decide the punishment.

School Is Back, Parents Are Glad

The highlighted square of August 17 glows on my calendar, outshining all other dates like a beacon of light leading lost souls to their salvation. I'm not alone. The promise of school starting has most of my fellow mothers smiling in frenzied anticipation.

[Stiggers] Ball of Confusion!

Miss Doodle-Mae: "Greetings Jo-Jo's Discount Dollar Store customers! I'm your friendly cashier and security guard reminding financially challenged citizens about the Jo-Jo's Back-to-School Daze Sale Bonanza!

Jacob Roth and Dave Molina

Jacob Roth, 26, a graduate of the University of Michigan from Detroit, and Dave Molina, 23, a graduate of Amherst College who is from Ohio, came to Jackson in 2005. They arrived via the Teacher Corps Program at Ole Miss, which places non-education majors in critical areas while allowing them to earn a master's degree in education. Both landed at Jim Hill High School in South Jackson. They instantly bonded but realized something vital was missing for youth in Jackson.

Adventures in Plagiarism

Sheriff to Deputize Two of Jackson's ‘Finest'?

The Clarion-Ledger is reporting:

The Morning After…Once Again.

In this Reuters article, Barr Pharmaceuticals tries once again to make Plan B (or "The Morning After Pill) available over the counter...

Herman's Picks

The biggest news in local nightlife this week has to be the return of the super size club in the old Headliner's location on Ridgewood Road, just south of County Line Road. You may have heard radio advertisements for "Rain." Since that time it has been dubbed "The Spot." Inside "The Spot" in the old Headliner's location you'll find a hip-hop dance club (aka. The Hot Spot), The Sports Spot, the large live music concert hall, Miller's Pizzeria and Smokehouse BBQ. Now that they're open, ROCK 93.9 will be sponsoring some big shows there so it looks like we have another large concert room back to accommodate some bigger national acts. Can I have an Amen?

You're Going to Helena

I have some long-term ideas about a new direction for this blog. This isn't it, but some things are entirely too clever not to share.

Tuesday, August 8

Seen the Tesla Roadster, Yet?'ll only set you back about $85,000 when it's available in Fall 2007.

America's newest car company was founded in...Sillicon Valley. Tesla Motors is a new auto company founded by a group of dot-com millionaires who, well, basically wanted to build themselves an all-electric sportscar. So, they did. The Tesla Roadster claims to go 0-60 in 4 seconds, run 250 miles on a single charge and get the equivalent of 135mpg. It uses off-the-shelf (relatively speaking) battery technology that allows it to get 3-5 times the distance and extraordinary performance compared to any previous battery-powered car.

So, What Were They Expecting?

Brandon, Pearl schools off to smooth start

Am I the only one who thinks it's weird for The Clarion-Ledger to start off its back-to-school stories with proclamations such as the following, leading the front page today:

Fear of a Brown Planet?

Over at Reason mag, David Weigel is calling out immigration hawks ... for racism?

Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Raids

The Cato Institute—made up of pesky libertarians who take on both "sides"—has released a report by Radley Bilko on the rise in popularity of paramilitary drug raises—and their dangers and abuses. Here's the executive summary:

Congratulations to Kamikaze—-PATIENTLY WAITING: MS Winner!

Jackson's own Hiphop heavyweight Kamikaze took home the MISSISSIPPI award at the Ozone Magazine Awards over the weekend.


The comeback continues. Today, Cat Head Presents of Clarksdale, Mississippi releases Round Two -- the second comeback album by Mississippi-born bluesman Big George Brock. Round Two is the follow-up to last year's Blues Music Award-nominated Club Caravan CD and features special guest Hubert Sumlin -- Howlin' Wolf's legendary guitar player. It is available in music stores nationally via Burnside Distribution Corporation and on-line via CD Baby ( ) as well as , , etc.

Monday, August 7

[Lott] The Elephant in the Room

I'm among a growing number of Americans believing we must frankly acknowledge we're in a war with Muslim extremism. To deny that Muslim extremism is a worldwide problem, denies the so-called "elephant in the room." It invites division and defeat for the civilized world.

Clarion-Ledger on the 'Saddened But Perhaps Wiser' Melton

The Clarion-Ledger editorial boys weigh in today with another brillliant screed about crime. The guys–who are now into community-style policing now that the mayor/chief who were into it, too, are gone–say that because crime is up dramatically under Melton, the "saddened but perhaps wiser" Melton is doing the right thing by calling a crime summit to talk about various ways to fight crime (presumably beyond endorsing and electing a wild, west mayor who promised to cure it in 90 days). And, warns the Ledger dudes, be sure to note who is not there because THEY CLEARLY DO NOT CARE ABOUT CRIME, the way the Ledge and all the rest of us, and the Ledge's edit-men, do:

Christian Science Monitor on Melton and Race

The Christian Science Monitor just ran a piece about Frank Melton called Mayor's tough tack on crime stirs up racial sensitivities:

Saturday, August 5

What A Maroon

Stewart Mandel,'s college football columnist, cracked on Mississippi State's uniforms recently, calling them the ugliest unis east of Oregon. Texas A&M and Virginia Tech (which also has orange in the mix) wear the same colors. How did they get a pass? Doctor S believes Mandel is just piling on the beleaguered Bulldogs because they're in Mississippi. And Uniwatch (last item) says Mandel is an idiot.

Friday, August 4

Meeeeeeeetttt Mr. Deuce!

Here's our latest little rescue darling, Little Mister Deuce. He's staying in the office with us right now, home at night, and really needs a good home. He's loving, and playful and loves to cuddle! Get in touch with us, 601.362.6121 ext. 5 if you'd like to be considered as his new parent(s). You would be very lucky. He's wonderful!

ARTICLE: Gambling Hot Spot Found in the Brain

Imagine all the help that compulsive gamblers could receive with these findings. People with bipolar disorder could benefit as well. Awesome news!

Thursday, August 3

Like In Jackson, Goliath Strikes In Iowa

King Edward Hotel a Go

A memo released by David Watkins today says that construction on the King Edward Hotel has begun. Has the threat of implosion finally passed?

What Would Kafka Do?

Danks Letter Redux

At Least They Didn't Make Him Eat Yellow Snow

In case you ever wonder what happened to former Ole Miss running back John Avery, here's your answer: He's hazing public relations interns in Canada. Avery, who now plays for the CFL's Toronto Argonauts (he probably wasn't doing much until Ricky Williams got hurt), was seen in a photo in the Toronto Star pouring sugar on Intern Mark, who had been taped to a post. (Maybe Avery is just a big Def Leppard fan.)

Wednesday, August 2

My Malignant Neighbor

Connie Davis says a constant nosebleed has plagued her ever since she moved with her family to Columbus from Tupelo when she was 10. She also complains of skin infections and rashes. Her two sons, Delvin and Darrell, started suffering from asthma soon after they were born. Delvin has it, still. Darrell, however, died of circulatory complications at 19.

Road Strip

It was the first time I had ever seen an entire trunk full of beer. I take that back. It was the second time I'd ever seen a trunk full a beer. It was just the first time the beer was all mine and wasn't soon to be implanted into the belly of an undeserving frat boy with a bad haircut and an even worse attitude. The only other time I'd seen that much alcohol in one small space was attending a fraternity party at Ole Miss where the main form of courting behavior began with the sentence, "My daddy owns. …" God, how I used to love a self-centered frat boy.

A Mystery That Hits The Spot

"Well, every good road trip needs a little mystery," or so I reasoned with my traveling companion, unable to avert my gaze from the giant billboard looming ahead. The sign dwarfed the surrounding pines and marred the coastline, and we stared at it with eyes transfixed, blind to the surrounding scenery.

Picture Perfect

Thousands of picture postcards lie in a crate at the end of my bed. From California to New York, Texas to the Black Hills of South Dakota, I have thousands of mementos of summers spent with my Nanny. Down vacant country roads and busy city highways we went in her cream-colored Ford, which wouldn't go over 45 m.p.h. on steep hills. Granny, my 70-year-old great grandma, was relegated to the backseat after getting us lost one too many times in places that conjured images of men with chainsaws. I was 8, but I was in charge of the map.

Home Cookin'—Tuscan Style

Here's what you need to do, just as soon as you've read this interview with former Jacksonian Elaine Trigiani—call up The Everyday Gourmet at 601-977-9258 and Bravo! at 601-982-8111 to find out how to get yourself on their e-mail lists. That way, you'll be among the first in town to get the news of her next hands-on cooking class or olive oil seminar or Tuscan food feast.

[Music] From Greece to Ocean Springs

Dimitri, the bus driver, turned sharp curves dutifully without his pink tie or black gelled hair slipping out of place, and we safely traversed the abyss where ancient Spartans dropped babies who seemed too weak to be future soldiers.

[Music] Pink Cashmere and Go-Go Boots

You may have seen MeLinda Ledbetter performing at any of the various open-mic nights around town. Or you might have experienced her bluesy vocal stylings alongside Mike and Marty, at Fenian's, the Warehouse or Shucker's. She performed at the JFP Chick Ball back in May as well. Ledbetter sings familiar tunes that most of us can identify with, and she has a passion about her music. She says that she has never relied on music as a "money maker," but she chooses to "do it for the love of the game."

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Extreme Sports, X Games (8 p.m., ESPN): The Flying Tomato is among the stars competing in the world's gnarliest sporting event. X continues through Sunday on ESPN and Ch. 16.

Take the Alero and Run

Since Melton became mayor in 2005, he has placed several suspects or witnesses under what he calls "protective custody," including Vidal Sullivan and Christopher Walker. Now, Michael Chapman, of Newton, Miss., who was also in Melton's "protective custody," has turned up missing from a local hotel after he stole a neighbor's car.

Who Was That Badged Man?

Melton learned recently that people outside of Jackson get nervous when civilians pose as licensed law enforcement officers. Staff members at the office of U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson report that the congressman got a little shaky when Melton—who is not a licensed member of law enforcement—wore a badge claiming he was. Thompson's chief aide Lanier Avant said Thompson was more edgy knowing that the badge allowed Melton to carry a firearm into his congressional office.

Coming After Bad Numbers

Mayor Frank Melton threatened to "come after" the ACLU of Mississippi Tuesday and threw out vastly inflated crime numbers to justify his methods, after the group accused him of racially profiling African Americans. ACLU Executive Director Nsombi Lambright did not deny that the mayor's "police" actions inspired the town-hall meeting later that day.

[Editor's Note] On The Road Again

Cartoon: Brokaw Discovers Hip-Hop

Youth Curfew A Bad Idea

Mayor Melton's state of emergency is over, but a youth curfew ordinance still remains on the books in Jackson. If the City Council is serious about combating juvenile crime, it will get rid of the curfew and concentrate on creating crime-fighting programs proven to reduce crime in the capital city.

[Stiggers] Angry Young Men

Bubba Robinski: "I want to thank the Ghetto Science Television network for allowing me to have my first Bubba's Kids Back-to-School Breakfast Program Pre-Labor Day Telethon—sponsored by L.M.H.F.D. National Bank, Pork-N-Piggly Supermarket and Bubba Robinski's microwavable, soy protein sausage biscuits.

[Kamikaze] Don't Just Get Mad

Everybody's got an opinion. Some folks are mad. Some folks are indifferent. A lot of folks didn't even see it. I'm talking about Tom Brokaw's exposé on Jackson. Those damn Yankees have come down here again and stirred up trouble.

[Natchezinian] Regina Charboneau

Yes, they eat biscuits and listen to blues in San Francisco. Thanks to Regina Charboneau, that is. The Biscuits and Blues nightclub, started in 1995, is one of the several establishments this acclaimed chef has opened or helped put on the map. The Natchez native has certainly made her hometown proud.

No Name Calling At Neshoba

The Neshoba County Fair has been a hot spot for political unrest ever since Sen. James K. Vardaman compared blacks to "hogs." It's the only place in Mississippi where a politician can hurl insults at his political opposition with impunity. Unlike the nationally televised presidential debates, few listeners research the terse indictments hurled off the center stage in Founder's Square, so a candidate can say practically anything and have.

Tuesday, August 1

Did Clarion-Ledger Columnist Plagiarize?

Update, Aug. 2, 2006—Today, The Clarion-Ledger published a statement (see below in Comments) saying that Courtney Taylor's work will no longer appear in the newspaper. We guess that answers the question posed by an astute reader on the Ledge forums accusing Taylor of plagiarizing a Southern Living article. The post starts:

Ledge: Just Fill the Jails with Juveniles!

Anyone think The Clarion-Ledger has any friggin' clue about what causes crime? It's as if they refuse to read the vast piles of research about juvenile crime, instead focusing on needing more jail space. It's true idiocy from the boys on that paper's editorial board, per usual.

ACLU to Challenge Mayor's Tactics in Town Hall Meeting - Aug. 1

Please join the ACLU of Mississippi, the Jackson Free Press, the Magnolia Bar Association, the NAACP and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement in a special town hall meeting to address the rights of citizens. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 1, at 6 p.m. at Jasper and Associates Complex, located at 3365 Medgar Evers Blvd.