Stories for December 2011


Friday, December 30

Council Approves Tax Abatements for Companies

It's no secret that Jackson needs businesses inside the city limits to pay taxes and provide jobs and services. But at a City Council meeting earlier this week, council members debated whether the city is reaping enough economic benefits to make some business tax exemptions worthwhile.

Car Crushers Concern Cops

Read the full report here. (pdf 762 KB)

Cyclists of the Day: Jackson Bike Advocates

Tonight's Jackson Bike Advocates ride leader is Anna Allred, 24. She is originally from Meridian, Miss. She graduated from Meridian High School in 2005. She has lived in Jackson just over six years.

Thursday, December 29

History Made in Hinds

Much like television news directors who intentionally place sports and weather coverage at the end of the news broadcast to keep audiences tuned, organizers of this morning's Hinds County swearing-in ceremony were acutely aware of what people really wanted to see.

Group Plans Westin Hotel Downtown

Joseph Simpson wants to build a luxury hotel in downtown Jackson near the federal courthouse and re-open the Iron Horse Grill a few blocks away. He briefly described his development projects to the Jackson Redevelopment Authority board yesterday during the group's regular meeting. His intention is to get $15 million in bonds from the JRA to help fund the projects.

Keeping it Fresh

Hip-hop and fashion have always been linked. Back when hip-hop was just developing, before it had a name even, the earliest practitioners of the emerging culture were already marking themselves as part of the movement by appropriating clothing styles and making them their own. What DJs did with their parents' turntables was the same thing that hip-hoppers did with Kangols and lace-less Adidas Superstars: create something unique out of what was already around.

Wednesday, December 28

Cocktail Parties Made Easy

The effort involved in planning a cocktail party is can be daunting. For a small, intimate—and even middle-of-the week—cocktail party for friends and family, consider a simple but impressive wine and cheese gathering.

Cooking 101: A Glossary

Maybe, like me, you're not that great of a cook, but you want to improve your skills. As you watch cooking shows and read cooking magazines, you may found that some words are unfamiliar. Below are a few cooking terms that might be new to any novice in the kitchen, or they may be a refresher course for the foodie pro.

Bridal Gown Silhouettes

Ball own: This one is for the princess at heart. These gowns normally have a fitted bodice and a large skirt normally made of tulle, taffeta or satin.Mermaid: A very sexy cut that highlights a woman's curves, it is fitted from the chest to the knee and flares at the hem.

The Perfect Fit

Congratulations. You are getting married!

Alternative Weddings

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue just might be out the door as brides and grooms want their special day infused with creativity and personality. Couples pull their cultural trends into their weddings these days, aiming to make their special day exactly how they want it to be.

Drink a Cup of Kindness

This time of year is full of tradition and opportunities to celebrate. Some of my favorite annual holiday parties include my downtown friends, who have become like a family. I am constantly grateful for their love and friendship, but this year more than ever, spending time and celebrating with them has been important.

Holiday Hands

I had a hard time getting in the holiday spirit this year, but that quickly changed once I got my spirit fingers. I recently made a visit to AQUA the Day Spa to let Keisha Alexander show me the hottest shades for the holidays, and let me tell you—sparkles get me every time.

Resolution Tango

When I was younger, I would annually trot out the usual suspects when it came time to make my new year's resolutions. You know the ones: lose weight; quit smoking; improve my relationships; get a boyfriend; re-connect with people I lost touch with.

Drill, Haley, Drill

With less than one month left in office, Gov. Haley Barbour primed the pump for oil and natural gas drilling to take place off the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Lies and Damned Lies, a non-profit, non-partisan project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, bills itself as the voters' consumer advocate. The organization checks TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases for factual accuracy and reports its results on its website.

Statewide Pre-K Faces Setback

The results are in, and Mississippi has lost out on its part of a $500 million pot to improve early-childhood education. Now, politicians and education advocates can't quite agree on who's to blame for the state's bad grades.

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Shields Up

Mississippi, like 10 other states in the union, doesn't have a shield law that protects journalists from revealing sources, turning over documents or answering subpoenas. In 40 states, reporters and editors have some protection in varying degrees.

Most Intriguing Jacksonians 2011

For better or worse, you talked about them. A lot. Some deserved it. Others? Well ...

For better or worse, you talked about them. A lot. Some deserved it. Others? Well ...

The ‘Smalls'

The Jackson area schools that aren't major contenders in Mississippi college basketball are known as the "small" schools. But they're only small in enrollment, not in talent, drive or determination.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Happy New Year. No matter how good 2011 was, here's to an even better 2012.

Game Changer

Women's college basketball is rightfully gaining attention these days. Last season, the women's national championship game between Texas A&M and Notre Dame was much more exciting than the men's title game.

JFP Bowl Schedule: Week 3

The third week of the bowl schedule features the majority of the games including Mississippi State. As always, my picks are included. By now, I am sure to have been completely wrong.

Worst and Best Films of 2011

2011 was an incredibly fascinating year in cinema. America's two finest directors, Martin Scorsese and Stephen Spielberg, elevated children's cinema with efforts that far outshone Hollywood's apparent monopoly ruled by Pixar and Disney.

Poignant, Comic Gift

"The Descendants" bubbles to the top of critic lists and Golden Globe nominations. The film goes against the current of behemoth blockbusters; it defies the prevailing philosophy of franchising prior successes, recycling and repackaging old stories under new names.

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JFP 2012 College Basketball Preview

The great thing about sports is that each season begins fresh and anew. Every new year, hopes begin high, and every fan dreams of dancing.

Making Music Relevant

Marlan "ML" Williams came close to a Grammy nomination this year. The R&B artist, who goes by ML "The Truth," had two songs make the last round of voting Nov. 30 to choose a list of nominees, but neither song found a place on the ballot.

[Queen] A Light Ahead

Having a friend with depth and the ability to shoot from the hip is always a plus. But having one who has those characteristics and a degree in social work equals a huge win for me.

Melissa DiFatta

After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, lawyer Melissa DiFatta wanted to revaluate her priorities. Her brother lost his home and, a month later, lost his son. "I decided to change jobs and really make a difference in Mississippi," DiFatta says.

Superintendent Search Update

Jackson Public Schools could have a new superintendent as early as the middle of 2012. Representatives from Ray and Associates, the consulting firm that will lead the search for the new superintendent, presented the board with a suggested timeline Wednesday, Dec. 14.

Domestic Violence: Health Crisis?

Twenty-four American women and men will become victims of intimate-partner violence in the minute it will take you to read this story. If it takes you two minutes, the number jumps to 48.

Tuesday, December 27

Decor and Donations

Red Square Clothing Co. (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 9004, Ridgeland, (601) 853-8960) used holiday decorations in the store to raise money for a good cause.

Steve Guyton

Steve Guyton, 63, has been involved in Mississippi politics for more than 40 years. He has worked on numerous campaigns and with countless public officials including Sen. Roger Wicker, former Rep. Chip Pickering and Rep. Gregg Harper. Guyton is currently the shared congressional staffer for congressmen Wicker and Pickering. His duty is helping students nominated by congressmen get into military academies such as the United States Military Academy at West Point or the United States Naval Academy.

In Race for Pre-K, Mississippi Falls to the Back of the Pack

The U.S. Department of Education announced last week that nine states will divvy up $500 million in federal funding for early childhood education. Politicians and education advocates can't quite agree on why Mississippi wasn't on the list.

Friday, December 23

The Week in Crime

Due to yesterday's police academy graduation, we got the weekly crime stats a little late.

Due to yesterday's police academy graduation, we got the weekly crime stats a little late. Here's an overview.

Council: Take Any, All Action Regarding TCI

The TCI-owned land across from the Jackson Convention Center may soon belong to the city, depending on what action officials take.

8 Toddler Pitfalls to Avoid Christmas Morning

Regardless of your nostalgic, Christmas-morning-frenzy memories, you'll quickly learn that a no-holds-barred approach doesn't go over well with your toddler--especially on the most anticipated morning of the year. Don't wing it Christmas morning. Get a game plan together now so that your entire family can enjoy the holidays without going into meltdown mode.

Thursday, December 22

City Council Votes to Dissolve Relationship with TCI

It's about time. Here at the JFP, we've been writing for years now about the potential minefield that is a relationship with Frank Melton's buddies at Trans Continental Realty (connected to controversial Texas businessman Gene Phillips). No time to rehash now (putting out the second of two issues right now so the staff can take some Christmas time off), but you can see the full archive of our convention-center hotel coverage here: Meantime, we're thrilled to hear that the city is doing what we've long wanted them to do: dissolve that relationship. We know it hasn't been easy since Melton and friends sold TCI the land, but it finally seems to be happening. Sigh of relief. And, yes, we told ya so. (Sorry, couldn't resist. But we did. Years ago.)

Dr. Aaron Shirley

Blackburn Middle School will have a ribbon cutting ceremony on Jan. 3, at 6 p.m. They were recently chosen to receive federal grant money from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resource Service Administration. With the help of Dr. Aaron Shirley, who cultivated the grant proposal, Blackburn will be able to open a new clinic, purchase equipment for the clinic and hire workers. In addition to providing health care, funds will help supply rewards for use at participating food markets to help children and families with healthy eating habits while at home. Other needs will be assessed for use of the grant money.

JPD Chief: New Cops Will Help Curb OT

In a packed and muggy auditorium and under the watchful eye of instructors who continued barking orders throughout the ceremony, 33 new recruits joined the Jackson Police Department this morning.

Barbour's 2013 Budget At a Glance

In his final budget recommendations before leaving office, Gov. Haley Barbour put everything from Mississippi Public Broadcasting to the Egg Marketing Board on the chopping block Tuesday.

Barbour Headed Back to ‘K Street'?

AP in Jackson has an unnamed source saying that Barbour plans to return to BGR Group (formerly Barbour, Griffith and Rogers), a lobbying firm that focuses primarily and Republican issues and candidates. (Their Washington DC office is actually near 13th Street NW and F Street NE, a few blocks from K Street.)

Wednesday, December 21

For the Little Angels and Demons

Sometimes shopping for the kids can be tough, especially when you don't know what the young ones are into these days. This year, it doesn't have to be hard, because we've found a few items around town that will make any kid light up with excitement.

Serve It Forth: Gifts for Your Kitchen

Are you struggling to find the gift for the cook who has everything? It's really not as hard as it seems, and it doesn't have to be pricey. I tend to give others either what I want for myself or what I find particularly useful. For me, these gifts seem to fall into three distinct groups: "tools you don't think you'll ever use," "kicked-up basics" and "splurges."

Don't Give a Dog a Bone

It is always tempting to throw the dog a bone off your plate, especially during the holidays, but some human foods are not safe for your pets.

[10 Things About] The Oxford American Southern Music Issue

The Oxford American is an American quarterly literary magazine "dedicated to featuring the very best in Southern writing while documenting the complexity and vitality of the American South. And here are 10 things about the magazine that makes it great.

Ring in the New Year

It's been a blast attending great parties and concerts, but I'm ready for the holiday hustle and bustle to be done and to get back to the normality of life. Between your own holiday parties and writing those New Year's resolutions, make plans to hear awesome music in the capital city.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

The Christmas holiday features bowl games, the NFL and the return of the NBA. Ho, ho, ho!

Mississippi Teams Go Bowling

Two Mississippi college football teams are going bowling this year: Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi. Both the Bulldogs and the Golden Eagles fell short of expectations, but they are getting an extra month of practice time.

JFP Bowl Schedule: Week 2

This week's college bowl games feature Southern Miss and North Carolina—that's Larry Fedora's "old" team and his new one.

Favre for JSU?

An interesting piece of news came out of the Mississippi State bowl practice the other day: Redshirt freshman quarterback Dylan Favre is leaving Starkville. Favre says his plan is to attend Pearl River Community College next semester. Nothing is wrong with playing at a junior college, but another option might help Favre and another team.

The Jobs Act: Help or Not?

It's no wonder that economics is called the "dismal science." Regardless of what motivated Thomas Carlyle to coin the term (some say it was a prediction that the world's resources could never keep up with population, while others say it was a negative reaction to ending slavery), no one can call economics an exact science.

Where The Jobs Are ... and Aren't

Where are the jobs? Everybody should move to North Dakota, where there are more jobs than people and more people than housing. But you don't have to go so far as Fargo to find work. While Mississippi has more folks out of work than a lot of other places, growth is happening here, too.

The Side Hustle

Thomas Davis is passionate about beef jerky. An aficionado of jerky himself, he invested in his own business. But this isn't your average filling station dried meat. "It is great beef jerky. It's tender, tasty, and it's good for you," said Davis, who pays about $12 a week for his own online portal through which he can sell jerky and about seven ounces of the product.

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Good Schools=Good Jobs

For a healthy economy that can compete on a national and international level, job training begins early—very early. Children are preparing to find jobs later in life even as they learn to stack blocks, count toys and read picture books.

A Great Ride

After nine years with one company, I got a pink slip. It was inevitable. The company had been sold several times, and with each takeover, my department's budget and staff shrank. Nonetheless, when the day arrived, it was a blow. With more than 25 years of experience in marketing and related fields, I knew finding a job to replace the one I lost would be difficult.

Searching, Searching

In November, 5.7 million people in America had been unemployed for at least 27 weeks, or about six months—the official, federal definition of long-term unemployment. The long-term unemployed accounted for 43 percent of all the people who were unemployed.

Ring in the New Year with Fun and Food

Don't have any plans for New Year's Eve? Start 2012 off with a bang by eating good food, sipping fancy drinks and enjoying local music. Here are some local restaurants and bars open for your New Year's Eve entertainment.

21st Century Job Hunting

For many fields, the 21st century job seeker benefits from having an online resume. First, get a blog. Blogger and WordPress are free online hosts for blogs where you can post your resume. Have pages that link to different projects or a page of great comments from your references. Focus the content toward your ideal job.

The Big 50: Tips for Work Success

Work is never easy, whether to find it or to keep it. You can't even get by with a simple resume any more, as you must have newer (and more in demand) skills that are necessary for employers to look your way. But if you follow these tips, not only will your success rate increase, but you will be able to network with people and organizations.

Diversity at Work: It Matters

In a piece called "Racism And Meritocracy" on, Eric Ries talks about research on musical orchestras in which musicians auditioned behind a screen. No surprise, sadly: The screen yielded a more diverse orchestra with skill the only factor; without the screen, the orchestras were whiter.

Finding Time

Humans are funny creatures when it comes to dealing with time. Most of us always want more of it while wasting much of what we have. Or we spend valuable time worrying about what we don't have time to do. It's silly, really. And frustrating.

Defining Sexual Harassment

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits harassing someone because of their sex, which includes making unwanted sexual advances, threatening to demote someone if they don't give sexual favors or making offensive comments about someone's sex.

Creative Work Options

Deirdre M. Danahar of Jackson-based InMotion Consulting and Coaching has operated her company from home successfully for eight years. She offers these tips for being productive while working from home.

Help Employees Shine

"High tech requires high touch." — John Naisbitt

Manage, Motivate, Inspire

Inspiring your fellow co-worker (whether boss or underling) shouldn't be a one-way affair. Each should motivate the other to accomplish more and to perform better. However now and again work becomes stale and boring, and focus can become lost. So here are some tips that can help to bring everyone back together.

Intern Your Way to The Top

Ask a professional with a great job if he or she ever interned. Chances are the answer will be yes. Internships (and externships, which often refer to shorter intern periods) are an invaluable way to bridge the experience gap between school and a job.

Preparing for Success

Though most women may have the desire to be successful, some need a hand—and a suit. Dress for Success prepares disadvantaged women to enter or re-enter the work force. The international non-profit organization provides women with clothing, training and helps them maintain a positive attitude.

Help When You Need It

Are you jobless, or do you feel limited in your current job? Several local organizations can help you get the skills and assistance you need to move up in the working world.

Local Fights Back

Stacy Mitchell, a senior researcher with The New Rules Project, an initiative of the Minneapolis-based Institute for Local Self-Reliance, examined how local businesses have fared compared to their national competitors in recent years.

The Holiday Playlist

Defining when the holiday season begins gets more complicated every year. A growing number of retailers pull out the Christmas garlands and ornamentation around Halloween. Black Friday and cyberspace Monday overshadow the annual homage to pilgrims and turkey feasts. Not wanting to be left behind, movie distributors have grabbed onto the premature rush of holiday consumerism.

Elephant in the Hotel Room

The Rev. Ronnie Crudup ended the Dec. 16 Jackson Redevelopment Authority's special meeting on a positive note. "We believe we are going to get a convention center hotel very shortly," he said, soon after the JRA board voted to decline all existing proposals on the table.

Are ‘Workers' All We Want?

As we move into the fourth or fifth year of the Great Recession (depending on whose measurement you use), it's more and more difficult to divorce anything from its ability to make money and create jobs. Education isn't exempt.

[Stiggers] The Dirty Lowdown

Congressman Smokey "Robinson" McBride: "Citizens of the Ghetto Science community: I am honored to host the premiere broadcast of 'Christmas at Clubb Chicken Wing Holiday Television Special.'

[Kamikaze] Parental Sanity

Our children are our greatest commodities. It is our responsibility as parents, as teachers and adults to protect and nurture them so they can grow to be productive citizens.

[Danahar] The Best Work

Are you ready to make your work be as good as it can be in 2012?

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Good Ideas Work

Work. We need it; we love it; we hate it; we dread it. Whatever the case, it dominates our lives by necessity. This GOOD Ideas issue is dedicated to the belief that work should make you happy, content, inspired and, with any luck, prosperous. At least eventually. Whether you've been in the same job for 10 years or you're just (re)entering the job or internship market, you'll find ideas here on how to make your life, well, more workable.

Online Tax Debate Looming

Sidewalks, busy sidewalks. In the air, there's a feeling that the economy might finally be picking up momentum if trends during the holiday shopping season are any indication.

Supremes Question Kemper

In all the pages of court records regarding a dispute between environmentalists and an electric utility company--pages that one Mississippi Supreme Court justice characterized as the most voluminous he has seen in his eight years on the court--one important piece of information eluded the justices.

Tatiana McDonald

Tatiana McDonald had modest beginnings when she arrived in the United States from Bogota, Colombia, eight years ago. "Before I entered the nonprofit world, I was always trying to make a living cleaning or babysitting, like most of us do when we come to the United States," McDonald says. "My first job in the nonprofit (as a legal assistant) was what made me want to do more. I was always trying to know more and more about the struggle immigrants face once they get here."

In the Flow of Good Work

My obsession with the spirituality and science behind "good work" started innocently enough. We were about five years into publishing this newspaper and were working so much that I didn't have time to think about, well, work.

Documenting Mississippi

Photographer Suzi Altman didn't glance back when she left New York City after years working for prestigious news outlets such as the Associated Press and Rolling Stone magazine. When she moved to Mississippi 12 years ago, the Delta made her heart sing, she said. She embraced a more casual lifestyle compared to the convention of East Coast living. The resettlement, Altman said, led her to produce more substantial work than she had ever created in New York City.

Tuesday, December 20

Barbour Budget: Slash Education, MPB, Combine HBCUs

Gov. Haley Barbour called for a 2.9 percent average funding reduction to various state agencies today including education and Mississippi Public Broadcasting. He also called for state universities, including HBCUs, and public school districts to be consolidated.

AT&T Admits Defeat, Newk's Expands

AT&T has agreed to end its bid to acquire T-Mobile after complaints that the merger would take AT&T from one of the largest wireless providers in the nation to a powerhouse that controlled 40 percent of the national market.

Ineva May-Pittman

One of Ineva May-Pittman's greatest current concerns is the process the Jackson school board uses to select a new superintendent. She feels the people who should be making the decision are left out of the process.

Monday, December 19

Barbour Touts Skills Training

Gov. Haley Barbour is singing the praises of skills training programs at community colleges and high schools while warning of future budget cuts to education. Barbour spoke during his conference on work-force development Dec. 8. The conference was the second in a series of "Keep Mississippi Moving" speeches that Barbour is giving during his last full month as governor.

Barbour Reacts to Race to the Top

The Obama administration announced the recipients of this year's Race to the Top grants, and Mississippi was not on the list.

Old Capitol Green Could Get $13 Million

The long-delayed Old Capitol Green downtown development project drew a little closer to fruition this morning.

Domestic Violence: Public Health Issue

Twenty-four American women and men will become victims of intimate-partner violence in the minute or so it will take you to read this story.

Elise Winter

Habitat for Humanity Metro Jackson dedicates its 500th house tomorrow at an event honoring Elise Varner Winter. The nonprofit group built the house in honor of Winter, a founding member of the organization's board of directors. She is also a lifetime member of the board.

Community Events and Public Meetings

6 p.m., Anime and Manga Night, at Pearl Public Library (2416 Old Brandon Road, Pearl). Share your love of the Japanese art forms with other teens. Free; call 601-932-2562.

Friday, December 16

JRA Rejects Two Bids for Convention Hotel

An Austin, Texas, developer publicly threw its hat into the convention-center hotel ring this morning with a presentation to the Jackson Development Authority. TCI, a Dallas-based company that currently owns the land across the street from the Convention Center, also gave a presentation as expected.

JPD Releases Crime Stats

Now in the homestretch of its effort to finish out 2011 with a reduction in overall crime, the Jackson Police Department released its crime report for the week of Dec. 5, 2011 through Dec. 11, 2011.

Nettie Stowers

CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this story, we spelled Nettie Stowers wrong. We apologize for the error.

Thursday, December 15

PERS Commission Recommends Cuts

After a four-month wait and much speculation, a commission studying the Public Employees Retirement System has recommended freezing the cost-of-living adjustment paid to retirees for three years.

Judges Want to See PSC's Rationale

What exactly happened for the Mississippi Public Service Commission to let a utility company jack up the price on a plant by nearly a half-billion dollars in less than a month's time?

Charley Jenkins

What do animals do for fun and entertainment when humans aren't around? That's what Charley Jenkins has been trying to answer with his art.

Wednesday, December 14

[Week In Jacktown] December 7 - 13, 2001

With what that goes on around Jackson, we indeed live in interesting times. Events come and go, weirdness happens, occasional gossip about someone, and of course the usual political muckraking. So take a peek and see what happened over the past week that you may, or may not have missed.

Cookin' Up Christmas

The holidays don't necessarily mean you're relegated to spending long hours in the kitchen. Instead, take the time to relax with your family and friends and let a local restaurant do all or some of the cooking—from a cozy get together to Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Many local restaurants offer delicious and festive menus and catering services.

Eat Your Medicine!

Nothing warms a sickly body wracked with a cold or the flu like homemade soup. After putting up a small fight, we'll agree that soup sounds good at a time when nothing else seems to taste right. Soup nourishes our body's natural disposition to heal itself, and may actually help our ailing bodies create an environment that aids in the process.

Crafts and Cupcakes

Lately it seems that the movement to "support local" is stronger than ever.From shops and restaurants, to local musicians and artists, to local farmers, the mantra is increasingly a part of our community's ethos. Along with this comes an elevation and celebration of craft and originality. We want things that have a story, whether it's a drink, a meal or a piece of art.

Sugar and Spice

Need a few gifts for the gals on your list? Maybe you're in search of something special for your leading lady. Our local shops have so many great gift items right now that you almost can't go wrong. But regardless, we've got you covered.

[What's On My Playlist?] Somethin' To Ride To

I may be a picky music lover, but I have a playlist to fi t any situation or mood. Sometimes the music has to resonate with the time of day and my surroundings.

Garrad's Holiday Music Shopping Guide

It's Christmas shopping season, so I have compiled my own music gift wish list. These are all things that I want (hint, hint), but you should be able to find something here for all the music lovers on your shopping list.

Esperanza Extravaganza

On Dec. 17, Jacksonians home for the holidays will have a chance to hear what they have been missing on the Jackson music scene, and newcomers can get a taste of Mississippi sounds. The 9th Annual Esperanza Plantation Holiday Showcase includes a diverse lineup of artists from the label and will also feature many bands with ties to Mississippi and the Jackson area.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

'Tis the season to be jolly, but football is nearing the end. Bah! Humbug!

Gifts for Your Sports Fanatic

A few years ago, my wife, Lacey, gave me one of my favorite books. "The Sports Book" (DK Publishing, 2007, $19.95) has an Astroturf cover and contains information about multiple sports. Not only has the book been great to read, but it has been a resource and help for articles I have written. It was one of the best gifts I've ever received.

JFP Bowl Schedule: Week 1

No JFP Top 25 football poll this week. Instead we are going to give you a weekly schedule of college bowl games coming up and Bryan Flynn's picks for the winners. Use this to plan your bowl-watching schedule beginning this Saturday until next Thursday.

Dome Sweet Dome

New Orleans Saints fans should send the Arizona Cardinals a gift this holiday season. At the very least they should send the team a Christmas card.

Angel of the Court

When it comes to domestic violence, the best defense is an orchestrated, integrated justice system. That's the kind of system that earned the Clinton Municipal Court this year's Angel Award from The Center for Violence Prevention on Tuesday. The CVP is a Pearl non-profit that provides shelter and advocacy for domestic-violence victims and an offender-intervention program.

Smokin' the Polls

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is smoking the polls. Well, one poll anyway. The Raleigh, N.C.-based firm Public Policy Polling, which Democratic pollster Dean Debnam founded, unveiled its findings Friday, Dec. 9. The poll shows Barbour's approval rating inside the state is 60 percent, the highest of any state governor; only 29 percent of Mississippians polled disapprove of Barbour.

How to Win (or Lose) an Election

Johnny DuPree faced an uphill battle in his race for governor this year. As a Democrat running in a state trending more Republican, an African American where people often vote along racial lines and a mayor without the state-level political experience of his opponent, his chances were slim.

Another Landfill?

R. L. Nave

All day long, hulking trucks rumble along North County Line Road to dump loads of rubbish at one of the area's two waste dumps. At the north end of the road sits Republic Services Inc.-operated Little Dixie Landfill; at the far south end is a rubbish landfill, which Madison South Rubbish Landfill Inc. owns. Between those facilities lies a 160 acre-parcel of land where Mike Bilberry wants to put a third landfill.

[Stiggers] Survive, Thrive, Stay Alive

Brother Hustle: "Newt the Ging-Grinch said this about poor people and children: 'Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of "I do this and you give me cash," unless it's illegal.'

[Hales] Death of the College Dream?

For the past two months, Americans have struggled to figure out what exactly the Occupy Wall Street movement is about. Who are the protesters? What do they stand for? What is their agenda? Many have asked these questions, but no one has seemed to produce a solid answer.

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The JFP Interview with Heather McTeer

Greenville Mayor Heather McTeer, 35, isn't afraid to challenge herself. She completed the St. Jude Marathon years after doctors said she'd never be able to run due to an old injury. Her motivation has inspired others in the Delta, identified as one of the unhealthiest places in the nation, to exercise.

PERS Commission Recommends Three-year Freeze on COLA

Verbatim from Gov. Haley Barbour's office:

Verbatim: PERS Study Commission Releases Recommendations for Strengthening Pension Fund

Stand Up Big

When I shook his hand, I knew instantly that Larry Jackson wasn't a full-time comedian. His enormous paw, covered with callouses and cuts, swallowed my hand. In fact, he's only a comedian on the side. He maintains bridges and drains for the city of Jackson at his day job.

Making a Place

Author Lalita Tademy describes Mississippian Lynne Bryant's debut novel "Catfish Alley" (New American Library, 2011, $14) as being "In the tradition of 'The Help,'" by Kathryn Stockett. True, both Mississippi authors have white women as central characters and black women struggling against racial hatred. Both novels have multiple perspectives. That's where they diverge.

With Friends Like This

When I read the subtitle of this book—"Blues Tourism and the Mississippi Delta"—I thought it looked to be a winner. A book that offers pointers on blues promotion is greatly needed.

JRA Faces More Hotel Hurdles

CORRECTION: This is an updated version of the story referencing the law firm of Balch and Bingham. In an earlier version, we had the firm's name incorrect. We apologize for the error.

Graham Defiant in Auditor Probe

More than five months since receiving a demand from Mississippi State Auditor Stacey Pickering, Hinds County District 1 Supervisor Robert Graham has not paid the $45,736 the auditor said Graham owes the state.

Gene Moore

Gene Moore is a chaser of dreams and determined to do what he can to leave the world a better place. In 2003, he left his position as the news director for WJTV-12 to start his own business, T-KAM Video Production.

Barbour: Don't Marginalize Women

I'm not sure what Gov. Haley Barbour is "running" for now--vice president? chief of staff?--but I was dismayed to read about his recent speech in which he focused on how churches and church leaders need to help stave off "illegitimacy" in Mississippi.

Can We Learn from the Hotel Morass?

As the city administration and the Jackson Development Authority scramble to close a convention-center hotel deal filled with "complexities" (as JRA member John Reeves put it), the situation should make the rest of us wonder: How can we avoid being in this place again?

Tuesday, December 13

Overtime Kerfluffle Causes Council Detour

City Council members took a detour from the agenda this morning to discuss the millions of dollars the city spends on overtime pay each year.

They're Crafty

They say that handmade gifts mean so much more to the recipient. They also mean a lot to the artists who craft the items as well as to the local economy, especially now. The Mississippi Craft Center Gallery in Ridgeland, and others like it around the country, is having a banner sales year.

Carl Jackson

On Dec. 8, recording artist Carl Jackson joined more than 30 other local performers featured on the Mississippi Country Music Trail. The trail, similar to the 140-member strong Mississippi Blues Trail, celebrates Mississippi's rich heritage of country music legends and chart toppers. Jackson's marker unveiling will take place during the annual "Home for Christmas Concert" at the Strand Theatre, 118 South Church St. in Louisville, Miss.

Monday, December 12

City Mulls Bond Deal

The City Council and city attorney have thick stacks of documents to review detailing the deal the Jackson Redevelopment Authority worked out to build a convention center hotel.

Clinton Municipal Court is an Angel

Victims of domestic violence have a strong resource in the Clinton Municipal Court.

Presidential Pardons Heavily Favor Whites

White criminals seeking presidential pardons over the past decade have been nearly four times as likely to succeed as minorities, a ProPublica examination has found.

Community Events and Public Meetings

7 p.m., "Taking Charge of Your Health and Wellness" Seminar, at New Destiny Christian Center Church (Wind River, 405 Briarwood Drive, Suite 301). Topics include the fundamentals of good nutrition and healthy weight loss methods. Chiropractor Dr. Billy King Shaw and nutrition counselor Pastor Joyce Handy are the speakers. Free; call 601-301-2046.

Friday, December 9

Creative ‘Coworking' Comes to Jackson

Creative Distillery hasn't quite finished setting up its new office on the third floor of Banner Hall. A few walls are still awaiting paint and an empty corner in the kitchen needs a refrigerator. But Melia Dicker points to high ceilings and big windows that will make the new space an environment to encourage creativity.

Can Sacred, Secular Coexist on Farish?

Despite popular beliefs, churches are not ivory towers. Or, as the Rev. Dr. Hickman Johnson put it: "The church should not be cloistered somewhere because it has to be holy. The dichotomy between the secular and the sacred is not real."

Malcolm White

Malcolm White just won a top honor from the Mississippi Art Education Association for promoting visual arts in the state. White, executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission, received the Prism Award for supporting arts education programs.

City Crime Rankings: ‘Invalid, Damaging and Irresponsible'

We've been warning Jackson for years about the "dangerous" city rankings scam designed to sell books. Leaders in most cities across American cringe and complain when the CQ Press (formerly known as Morgan-Quitno) "dangerous" rankings come out—but here in Jackson, corporate media and politicians from Haley Barbour to former DA candidate Wilson Carroll to supporters of Marshand Crisler tend to take a less-intelligent approach. It's as if they view the rankings as the perfect opportunity for sensationalism and cheap votes. We've written many pieces about this problem. (Also see: Barbour, Carroll Bash Jackson With Old Statistics). Meanwhile, the FBI has warned for years against taking these "rankings" seriously.

Rick Perry Wishes You Happy Holidays

Rick Perry, please shut up.

Thursday, December 8

Tougaloo a Challenge for JPD

Read the report here.

Reasons Behind Dropouts

Students drop out of school for many reasons, a panel of high-school students said, but the community can help them stay in school.

Jamie White

The Jackson Police Department recently recognized Officer Jamie White for apprehending a pair of armed-robbery suspects. JPD named White the Officer of the Month for October. He received his award alongside Officer Daniel Elam, who accompanied White during his investigation and received a certificate of commendation.

"Newt Gingrich is the Kim Kardashian of the GOP"

Evangelical explains why Gingrich doesn't deserve your vote via this YouTube clip.

Child Abuse, Bad Diets Lead to Brain Issues Lead to Crime?

It's kind of one of those scientific findings that ought to be obvious, but here it is: Children who are physically and emotionally abused often become violent criminals. In the exciting world today that is neuroscience—that has really taken off in the last 20 years with myriad discoveries about our brains—study after study is helping us look at the roots of criminality in our society, if we bother to pay attention and think about the different society we could have if we collectively ensure that children are adequately cared for. (Don't balk at "collectively"; plenty of mean people want us to collectively punish, imprison, disparage and neglect the same children. I argue at we do something else before it gets to that point, and science backs me up.)

LA Times: Cancer Victim Apologizes to Obama

Am I the biggest fan of Health Care Reform? No... I think a number of additional steps, like the public option, could have been taken to make this a more comprehensive solution. And I'm worried that it doesn't yet do enough to curb the costs of medicine in this country while making sure access (and cost sharing of the system) are universal.

Wednesday, December 7

[Kamikaze] The War Outside

"There's a war going on outside no man is safe from." —Prodigy of Mobb Deep

[Jones] A Lottery for 3-Year Olds

In 1962, 58 Michigan toddlers won a lottery. To pick up their prize, these 3-year-olds were dropped off at a row of buildings in Ypsilanti, a small town near Ann Arbor, on a September morning. All the children were from disadvantaged backgrounds, and expectations for them had not been particularly high.

The Art of Giving

Shopping for artists can be fun because it allows the shopper to tap into his or her creative juices to find the perfect gift. Plenty of local shops make it easy to find gifts for the artist or art aficionado in your life. Treat them to something unique or an everyday item made in a creative way. Any of these thoughtful gifts should make your artist very happy.

Hair for the Holidays

If you're like me, you're in the full swing of holiday season, and your weekends are booked solid with parties and gatherings. It's pretty much a given that your outfits will be on point, but what about your hair? I recently caught up with my girl Kate McNeely at La Cru Salon for a little lesson on how to do my hair for the holidays.

10 Things: Purpertrator

A lot of things can be said about Purpertrator. Because there are so many, we've managed to narrow them down to ten, just to give you a taste on how great these up and coming performers are.

Straight, Black Coffin

Coffin Breath's m.o. is not writing catchy tunes, and they are certainly not radio friendly.

A Life's Dream Realized

After years of opening locations for restaurant groups such as Copeland's, Ruby Tuesday and The Peasant Restaurant Group of Atlanta, Ga., Kevin Thompson realized his dream of opening his own restaurant in May 1999. "I wanted to have a family-style restaurant that catered to families; a place with a nice, clean, wholesome atmosphere, where you can get a good meal and it not be outrageous."

Eat Right

It's hard sticking to health goals when the winter months and holidays roll around. With family gatherings and parties where food, often the unhealthy kind, is everywhere, it's easy to slip up. Though pre-diabetics and diabetics are especially challenged during this time of year, they can still enjoy the festivities by continuing to eat right and exercising.

Old Fannin Road Market Open For Winter

Shop locally and fresh at the Old Fannin Road Farmer's Market (307 Old Fannin Road, Brandon) all winter long. The Farmer's Market is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 7 p.m. on Sundays. It is located between Lakeland Drive and Spillway Road.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

I am dreaming of a New Orleans Saints vs. Tim Tebow Super Bowl.

‘All About the Children'

Three months into Clinton Johnson Jr.'s new position as Jackson Public Schools executive director of athletics, he sees the challenges and is proud of the progress he has made.

Sustain This

I hate buzzwords. I hear them all the time when watching the news or political programs. If you work for a corporation, you are sure to hear buzzwords around the office. I listen for new buzzwords, almost like a hobby.

JFP Top 25: Week 15

It is sad to say, but this is the last JFP Top 25 college football poll; that is, the final poll until after the national championship.

Art for AIDS

Mississippi HeARTS Against AIDS hosts its 20th anniversary benefit Feb. 11. The benefit, Mississippi's largest fundraiser for HIV and AIDS-related issues, is a live and silent art auction. Over 300 art donations given by well-known Mississippi artists are in the auction. Musicians, including Scott Albert Johnson, perform before and after the auction, and local restaurants cater the event.

Creating Respect on the Road

They follow the rules of the road, they stop at all stoplights, and they do their best to create a respectful atmosphere between cyclists and motorists. The Jackson Bike Advocates are ready to take another community bike ride. "It is an opportunity for the two to see each other in a positive light, learn and interact." Melody Moody, president of Jackson Bike Advocates board, said.

Ignite the Night

Flappers might seen doing the Charleston at the Roaring '20s-themed gala at the Mississippi Children's Museum (2145 Highland Drive). The museum hosts the annual Ignite the Night Gala Saturday, Feb. 11. The event is for adults only and allows attendees to get in touch with their inner children and explore the museum and all its fun exhibits after normal hours.

‘We Eat Ham and Jam ... a Lot'

Fans of the comedy classic film, "Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail," will appreciate the humor and re-imagined history of the Broadway hit "Spamalot." Fans of Broadway shows will enjoy the inside jokes and pokes at the institution of the modern musical. Knights who say Ni will clomp along.

A Soulful Messiah

Legendary producer Quincy Jones took the classic Handel's "Messiah" and added some soul. Jackson school choirs and area dancers will add life when they perform the modern classic this holiday season.

Millsaps Brings in Literary Celebrities

Each semester, Millsaps College, with the help of assistant professor of English Steve Kistulentz, brings award-winning authors to campus for craft talks, lectures and public readings. Kistulentz curates the Millsaps Visiting Writers Series and is also an award-winning poet and fiction writer.

How to Cook Up Date Nights

Give your sweetheart an experience to remember and not just another food processor to store in the cabinet. Viking Cooking School (1107 Highland Colony Parkway, 601-898-8345) offers opportunities for the two of you to get out and try something different—learning to prepare new dishes—so that later, you can stay in and enjoy a special evening.

Nostalgia as Art

A maker of wooden toys and a children's book illustrator team up for a new exhibit at the Mississippi Library Commission (3881 Eastwood Drive, 601-432-4111).

Wearing Art You Love

Wearing art is becoming a mantra of sorts at circa. Urban Artisan Living (2771 Old Canton Road, 601-362-8484). The shop with the odd name often has trunk shows with designers, jewelers and craftsmen.

Blues Marathon Offers Multiple Categories

If you are going to run a marathon in January in Jackson, you better dress in layers and expect any type of weather. The 5th annual Mississippi Blues Marathon Saturday, Jan. 7, might be the brisk start to your new year.

Inflated Sense of Self

When I first saw Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell's "The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement", I think I actually groaned.

Giving Miss Eudora

If you're a Mississippian, and you love great literature, you love Eudora Welty. So why not spread some Miss Eudora love to those on your holiday list?

One Fork at a Time

About 30 students from Chastain Middle School filed into The Penguin Restaurant, dressed in collared shirts and ties or dresses and bows. They politely took their seats at tables arranged around the room, then fiddled with an unfamiliar number of forks and glasses.

Black Farmers: Getting Their Due?

Mississippi is likely to have the highest concentration of farmers who are entitled to a piece of two landmark decisions. In fact, more than one-fourth of the claims under the second decision originated in Mississippi, according to the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association.

Honey, I Shrunk My City!

Scott Crawford maneuvers his wheelchair from the front of his house through his living room to a dining room table set with LEGO replicas of Jackson landmarks.

Follow Lead of Powell, Barksdale

There are people who complain, seeing insurmountable problems everywhere, and there are people who take action infused by hope and informed by facts and evidence. We were thrilled to see people in the latter category, working for the future of the city's children, and thus all of us, honored this week by Colin and Alma Powell's America's Promise Alliance. The alliance named Jackson one of the country's 100 Best Communities for Young People.

[Stiggers] Stimulation to Occupation

Live from the Funky Ghetto Mall is the Ghetto Science Community Annual Holiday Parade, brought to you by Ghetto Science Team Public Television. With me is co-host, D.J. 'Loose Booty' McBride of the 'Loose Booty's Old School Funk Revue' on Ghetto Science Radio.

'We're A Miracle'

Ballet Magnificat! Marks 25 Years

As a professional ballerina, Kathy Thibodeaux began to pray about her career and her future when she became a Christian in 1979. "Should I keep dancing? Do I give up dancing?" She wondered. At that point, she says, no one in the country was really dancing for Jesus. Her Christian friends were skeptical that dancing was something a nice Christian girl should do.

Doomsday for Black Folks?

By all measures, the state of black Mississippi should be strong. Mississippi's concentration of African American residents, 37 percent, is the highest of any state. Mississippi also has the highest number of majority-black counties, 25, and black elected officials (900+). So why did the Mississippi Black Leadership Summit, which took place in downtown Jackson last week, strike such a somber tone?

Jackson Aces Elementary Math

Jackson is focusing more of its financial resources on schools with the neediest students, bucking a national trend, U.S. Department of Education data suggest.

Carol Clark Hammond

Michelangelo once said, "He who does not master the nude cannot understand the principles of architecture." It's just one of many quotes by which Carol Clark Hammond lives. As a freelance artist, she specializes in portrait drawing and courtroom sketching. Her work these days comes sporadically, however, because her specialties seem to be going out of style.

Finding Seagulls in the Grain

I crossed the street quickly and hurried under Interstate 55 to catch the bus. The gray, concrete columns stood silent, holding up tons of speeding commuters. The underpass space is pretty expansive. It is mostly clean and blank space with enough room for a parking lot. Right now, its only function is engineered bridge support.

Making Joyful Noises

Jackson comes alive when Christmas comes to town. With the Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree, Chimneyville Crafts Festival and several other local traditions, most people seem to get into the holiday spirit. This year's joyful noises not only help get everyone into Christmas mode, but also help those in need.

Tuesday, December 6

Not Giving Up on Jackson Kids

Jackson struggles with a graduation rate below the national average, but the community is not giving up on its students, an organization started by Colin Powell says.

Big Changes at Koinonia

If his ability to juggle a phone interview while whipping a breakfast bagel is any indication, Nate Coleman is going to make one heck of a restaurateur. Coleman, a Jackson native and trained culinary chef is bringing a new eatery to the capital city that will occupy Koinonia's space, according to a new release from the coffee shop.

Carol West

Carol C. West, a law professor at Mississippi College, died yesterday at age 67. An expert in domestic relations, women's issues and criminal law, West donated some of her academic papers from 1972-1993 to the American Association of Law Libraries.

Monday, December 5

Guns: A Public Health Issue?

It's difficult to have a serious conversation about the prevalence of guns in American society because it's one of those issues where so many people are strident one way or the other, and usually without the benefit of having done any actual research. We're working on a big project about guns for next year and are reading a variety of scholarship on the subject—much of which isn't particularly interested in the politics of guns, but in the public-health components. In recent weeks, I've read about the problems with gun control as well as about the realities of gun prevalence. One of the saddest parts is the number of accidental guns deaths, many to children. It is also a rather open secret how much more lethal suicide attempts can end up if someone tries with a gun.

Hinds Balks at Madison Landfill

A decade-long controversy over the placement of a landfill on North County Line Road could soon draw to a conclusion. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, which must grant NCL-Waste LLC a permit to move forward with plans for a 100-acre municipal solid-waste disposal site, will hold a public hearing Thursday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. at Tougaloo College's Holmes Hall.

Eastover Subdivisions Limited

Developers eyeing properties in the Eastover neighborhood will not be able to purchase land and divide it up into smaller parcels. City Council members voted this morning to extend a moratorium on new subdivision plats in the neighborhood. The council approved an overlay district, an additional zoning requirement over a specific area, in Eastover last month to preserve property sizes in the subdivision.

Rick Comegy

Coaching football is the one profession where the common question is "what have you done lately?" Jackson State University knows the answer to that question. Coach Rick Comegy led Jackson State to a 9-2 regular season record with a 7-2 SWAC record to earn a two-year extension.

Community Events and Public Meetings

<b>Monday, Dec. 5</b>

6 p.m., It's the Perfect Time: To Purchase a Home, at Jackson Medical Mall (350 W. Woodrow Wilson Ave.) in the Community Meeting Room. The workshop is part of the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation's "Getting On Easy Street" Personal Finance and Credit Program. Registration is at 5:30 p.m. and the first 20 people get their credit score for free. Light dinner included. Free; call 601-982-8467; visit

Archie Manning Talks Ole Miss: Nutt to Freeze

The University of Mississippi has released this video of Archie Manning, Ole Miss alum and former football great, who co-chaired their search committee for a head coach to replace Houston Nutt.

Friday, December 2

Old Capitol Green Progressing

An earlier version of this story had the wrong photograph. We apologize for the error.

Making Science and Math Exciting

William Johnson III, a third-grader at Casey Elementary School, looked skeptically at the rubbery, gray sheep's brain displayed on a Styrofoam plate. Tentatively, he poked at it, then turned around and shouted excitedly for his friend.

Michael Rubenstein

Mississippi has a long and rich sports history. The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame was created to protect and showcase the history of sports in our state. Michael Rubenstein was one of the driving forces behind the hall. The only executive director the Hall of Fame has ever had, Rubenstein passed away in his home yesterday.

Thursday, December 1

People Under 30 Face Greatest AIDS Risk

People who weren't yet born when AIDS first emerged are at the highest risk for becoming HIV positive today. It's an alarming development that underscores how essential awareness is, especially as we observe World AIDS Day Dec. 1.

No More Excuses for JPD

View the entire Major Crimes Report here.

Jim Borsig

Jim Borsig said the "tremendous opportunity" to lead the University of Women humbles him. When the State College Board announced it wanted him to be the school's next president last month. Now, they have made the offer official, and Borsig has accepted.

Repub Govs: Fear Occupy, Divert Attention from Middle Class to Win

At a Republican governors meeting this week, GOP partisans were warned to keep the subject away from the middle class in the upcoming presidential election—or President Obama will win.

Proms and Pork

Some truisms are absolute. Among them: Ladies my age love an 1980s party, and guys love fire and meat. But when undertaken properly, these different undertakings can appeal to both sexes.

Defensible Space Reduces Crime

"Defensible space is a model for residential environments which inhibits crime by creating the physical expression of a social fabric that defends itself." — Oscar Newman, 1972