Stories for February 2011


Monday, February 28

Protesters Clash at Capitol

Opposing rallies connected at the state Capitol Saturday as members of fair taxation group US Uncut and, who were showing solidarity with Wisconsin union workers, faced members of the Mississippi Tea Party.

Scott Sisters Face Health Barrier to Transplant

Also see: The Tragic Case of the Scott Sisters

Community Events and Public Meetings

Free Tax Counseling and Filing. IRS/AIM or AARP volunteers will do electronic filing. Bring all necessary documents. Joint filers must come together. Free.

Kristin Dupard

Using a slow and measured voice, Ridgeland High School junior Kristen Dupard confidently recites "The Mother," a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks during the state Poetry Out Loud Recitation contest last year.

Barbour Signs Open Meetings Law

Taxpayers will no longer pay the fines public officials incur when they violate the state's open meetings law. Gov. Haley Barbour signed the revised law on Feb. 24.

Friday, February 25

U.S. House Cuts Could Hurt Development; Women's Health

Critics say $61 billion in cuts the U.S. House of Representatives passed Feb.19 would increase teen pregnancies and hurt neighborhood restoration initiatives.

Barbour's Ed. Numbers Off-Mark

Mississippi public-education advocates fear that the state Senate may short-change school districts next year by $65 million. On the Senate agenda is a House education-funding bill approved last week; however . Gov. Haley Barbour has urged legislators to adopt the lower funding amount, describing it as "level funding." Data from the Mississippi Department of Education show that Barbour's claim is inaccurate, however.

George Winston

When Grammy-award winning pianist George Winston returns to Jackson tonight, he'll be using his talent to combat juvenile delinquency.

Weekend Events: Is it Spring, Yet?

Start the weekend after work today with a trip to the Arts Center of Mississippi Arts Center (201 E. Pascagoula St.) and take in "Lena Horne: Her Influences, Her Life & Her Legacy" before it comes down next week. If museums aren't your thing, check out an indie movie at the Russell C. Davis Planetarium (201 E. Pascagoula St.) in the same complex, or take in a performance by Grammy-winner Pinetop Perkins at Underground 119 a few blocks away on President Street. Not sure where to start your weekend plans? Head straight to the JFP Best Bets page for ideas.

Howard Industries to Pay $2.5 Million

Howard Industries faces a $2.5 million fine after pleading guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to violate immigration laws in connection with the country's largest workplace raid on undocumented immigrants.

High School Basketball Championships Begin Today at the Coliseum

The Mississippi Coliseum once again hosts the Mississippi High Basketball Championships beginning today (February 25) until March 5. Both the boys and girls championships in each classification will be decided over the next week.

Thursday, February 24

Did ICE Eschew Search Warrants in Weekend Raid?

Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance officials said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials were entering homes without search warrants and arresting undocumented immigrants during a four-day crackdown in and around the city of Jackson this past weekend.

Barbour Taps Leslie King for Supreme Court

Leslie King, a veteran state Court of Appeals judge, will take departing Justice James Graves' place on the Mississippi Supreme Court. Gov. Haley Barbour announced yesterday that he would appoint King to serve the remainder of Graves' term, which expires in 2013. The U.S. Senate recently confirmed Graves' appointment to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Michael Barranco

Michael Barranco visited with his friend Sergio Fernandez at River Hills Club last Sunday after a weekend camping trip with his family. Fernandez says Barranco enthusiastically described his recent musical performance at Underground 119, and that people will remember him for his passion--for architecture, for music and for his family.

City of Jackson Approves Belhaven Historical Grant

The Jackson City Council voted to approve a grant application Tuesday for federal funds to put Belhaven on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wednesday, February 23

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Doctor S sez: The MHSAA Boys and Girls State Basketball Tournament returns to the Big Barn. Even that funky smell can't ruin this tourney.

Pianos and Philanthropy

Guess who: The unassuming-looking gentleman mostly grew up in Montana but is a Chastain Warrior, because he spent his junior high days in Jackson. After he heard The Doors when he was 18, he started playing organ. But then he heard a little Fats Waller music from the 1920s, and everything changed.

harbingers of spring (fever)

I know, we all know, it is February 23. But who cares! It feels like April! Its so warm! And sunny!

Check out these harbingers of spring and the fever they presage!

Yoga: What It Is; What It Isn't

My personal yoga journey started at a studio in Clinton. I discovered feeling and looking healthy didn't have to involve pain or teeth-gritting abstinence from anything that tasted good. Yoga has added to my life in intangible ways. I lost weight, looked better and ate better almost unconsciously. I developed friendships with people I might have never otherwise met. It was a great experience for me—one that has helped me live more intentionally.

Creature Comforts

As I walked out of the office, a coworker said, "It's Monday, so you're going to Babalu, right?"

Come Together

I once had a client who considered himself completely uncreative. An entrepreneur with a thriving small business, Mr. Jones (not his real name) had a peculiar stance about artists: He couldn't understand why they were necessary, couldn't see why anyone would give them the time of day and considered their "sensitive" natures a bunch of malarkey. It is merely social habit, he said, that allows artists to get away with being thin-skinned and quirky.

To Stop Flight, Be Consistent

There is a serious disconnect right now in Jackson. Since hysterical media reports of recent weeks about continuing "white flight" out of Jackson caused, well, a degree of hysteria among some city residents, it's been interesting, and encouraging, to watch many scramble to action to try to counter the loss of residents to the suburbs and beyond.

MAEP and Museums

A showdown may be gearing up between the Mississippi House of Representatives and Gov. Haley Barbour on the use of $65 million in federal funds for public education this year.

School Board Grows

The Jackson City Council voted Friday to confirm Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr.'s two additional nominees to the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees.

[Stiggers] ‘My People, My People'

"Remember, Momma Church Hat: Those who endure to the end shall be saved. At least folk can ride off with a blessing by purchasing a reliable and inexpensive hybrid hoopty from Rev. Cletus Car Sales Church."

[West] More Than A Figment

Communities that don't have vibrant arts scenes aren't healthy communities. Arts are essential.

On the Record

In this new world of instant, digital and more-often-than-should-be free music, there's a group of music lovers who continue to cling to their vinyl records. These types spend hours getting their fingers dusty in thrift stores, used record shops, garage sales and wherever else their search leads them.

Nails Through the Hands of God

The problem with believing in a loving God is that the world doesn't function as if such a God exists. That problem is only made worse when we inherit a difficult theological tradition.

Words Not Required

If a picture is worth 1000 words, portraits lining the walls of the Mississippi Museum of Art tell story after story after story. For many of them, the Freedom Riders, Jackson was the final stop. Once they arrived in Jackson, police officers arrested and jailed them. Their offense: breach of peace.

Power APAC Student Exhibit

Public-school systems across the nation are making budget cuts that, in some cases, completely eliminate arts programs, be they large or small. Fortunately, Jackson Public Schools and its Academic and Performing Arts Complex share a unique vision.

Dancing Feet

Ballet Mississippi hosts its annual spring performance of "Sleeping Beauty, Act III" on May 1. Ballerinas Margaret Severin-Hansen, principal dancer with Carolina Ballet, and Nicole Graneiro of the American Ballet Theater and February's Dance Magazine cover girl, will undoubtedly awe the crowd with their powerful performances.

Shine a Light

What if you could actually see your own pain and that of everyone around you? That is the question at the heart of "The Illumination" , best-selling author Kevin Brockmeier's latest work of fiction.

Waiting for the Humanities

Humanities Festival Week 2011 at Tougaloo College is a week-long cultural awareness event celebrates all things ethnic with its "The Power of the Arts and Letters" theme.

Camp Kandu, Can Do!

Since the fall of 2002, Mississippi children living with diabetes have joined together to create arts and crafts, run relay races, sing campfire songs and participate in other fun activities at Camp Kandu.

Watch and Learn

It's more than just films, says Film Threat critic Chris Gore about the annual Crossroads Film Festival.

Tease photo

Taking The Stage

Katrina Byrd makes it a point to get to the JATRAN bus stop early. The bus is supposed to come by at 3:30 p.m, so she gets there at 3:15 p.m. When the bus shows up late, at 3:40 p.m, it whizzes right by her without slowing down.

Watching a Revolution

Hussein Sadek has had the bittersweet experience of watching a revolution in his homeland happen while he's away. Sadek, 23, is a junior at Jackson State University, studying for a degree in telecommunications engineering. He grew up in Giza, Egypt, near Cairo--the nation's capital and the recent revolution's epicenter.

Farish Street Too Pricey for Some

Development of the Farish Street Entertainment District may have hit a wall of high prices, says Big Apple Inn restaurant owner Geno Lee.

Tuesday, February 22

Nola Gibson

As the director of continuing education of Millsaps College, Gibson has not only made lifelong learning an important part of her life, but she is constantly working to provide quality educational opportunities to the residents of Jackson and beyond.

[Balko] Sticklers for Procedure

It would be difficult to cite a more shameful episode in the history of America's criminal justice system than the pedophilia panic of the 1980s and '90s. Hysteria overcame police, prosecutors and social workers all over the country who were concerned about the supposed proliferation of ritual sex abuse, a fear fed by a new movement of Christian fundamentalist quack psychologists.

Belhaven Seeks National Historic Status

Belhaven community leaders are asking the city of Jackson to apply for grant money to help the neighborhood earn a designation on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sushi, Tattoos and Redevelopment

The Fondren neighborhood will get a long-awaited sushi restaurant in April, developer Mike Peters says. Peters told the Jackson Free Press that Fatsumo Sushi, an American-style sushi restaurant in Gulfport, will open a location on Duling Avenue April 1. The Fondren location, between Fischer Galleries and the redeveloped Duling School, was originally set to house a different franchise, Fuze Sushi. A number of hiccups, including the death of the restaurant's original chef, delayed the opening indefinitely, however.

Melvin Johnson

If you have seen an exhibit at the Mississippi Museum of Art over the last two decades, you've witnessed the hard work of assistant preparator Melvin Johnson.

Senate Passes Open Meetings Act

The Mississippi Senate passed a bill yesterday that would increase fines to public officials who violate the state's open meetings law.

Friday, February 18

Council Confirms 2 More JPS Board Members

The City Council voted today to confirm Mayor Harvey Johnson's two additional nominees to the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees. After delaying the vote for weeks due to in-fighting, council members voted 5-0 to add Linda Rush and 4-1 to appoint Timothy Collins to the seven-member board.

And the Oscar Goes To ...

Hollywood rolls out the red carpet Sunday, Feb. 27, to celebrate the achievements of the motion picture industry during the past year. Despite promises of something new and better, devoted Oscar fans know and expect a rather dull, drawn-out ceremony. We have lowered our expectations and fortified ourselves for a long night, as we patiently wait for the unscripted moments that make the show worthwhile. Cue Sally Fields and her misremembered "You like me" speech." Her unrestrained happiness made that year's show.

Animal Cruelty Bill Clears Major Hurdle

Cruelty to cats and dogs would become a felony in Mississippi under Senate Bill 2821, which the House Agriculture Committee voted unanimously today to approve. The bill to make "aggravated cruelty to a dog or cat" a felony on the second offense now goes to the House Judiciary B Committee for consideration.

Funk Philosophy

If you didn't know better, you might have thought you'd stepped into evening service at an annual church convention rather than a program to hear an American theorist speak at Jackson State University. The designated seating areas were packed last night, and some people stood in the Lee E. Williams Athletic and Assembly Center to hear acclaimed professor and author Cornel West speak. Speak he did.

It's The Weekend: Celebrate Spring

Ditch the office this afternoon and enjoy the early spring-like weather. Then, at 5 p.m., head to Lemuria (4465 Interstate 55 N.) at 5 p.m. where Joseph O'Conner signs copies of his book "Ghost Light" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011, $25) with a reading at 5:30 p.m., or grab the kids when John Bemelmans Marciano signs copies of "Madeline at the Whitehouse" (Viking Juvenile, 2011, $17.99) at what time?. If you need to let go and laugh after a long week, see The Cowboy Comedian, where Skip Guidry and Dane Faucheux perform at the Black Rose Community Theater (101 Black Street, Brandon). Show times are 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. and tickets are $20. To purchase tickets, call 601-825-1293. Check out the JFP's Best Bets page to begin your search of things to do.

Charles Barbour

Mississippi Public Service Commission candidate Charles Barbour said his run against the Republican incumbent in the August primary isn't any of his uncle's business.

Vera Johnson

"I'm pretty much a glorified driver," Vera Johnson says, referring to the time she spends chauffeuring her two children, Elisabeth, 9, and William, 5, to activities like dance classes or basketball practices.

Barbour Proposes to End MPB Funding

Gov. Haley Barbour has proposed to end all state funding for Mississippi Public Broadcasting by 2016.

Thursday, February 17

Lawmakers Battle Barbour Over K-12 Budget

Mississippi Parent's Campaign Executive Director Nancy Loome praised a school funding bill the House passed yesterday, which she says adequately funds the state's K-12 education system.

Civil Rights Museum Funding Advances In House

A proposed national civil-rights museum in downtown Jackson could receive $30 million in state funds, under a bill up for consideration by the state House of Representatives. The House Ways & Means Committee voted today to approve HB 1463, which allots $55 million total to the civil-rights museum and a museum of Mississippi history, both to be located near the William Winter state archives building. The bill now goes to the House floor for a vote by the full chamber.

Cornel West

If you ever need pointers on being a rock star academian, Cornel West is the only man you want to ask. He is Lauded in academic circles as one of the foremost authorities on race, class and gender in this post-1960s Civil Rights Movement. The professor, who earned his doctorate from Princeton University, now teaches at his alma mater in the departments of African American studies and religious studies.

Hood Warns of Netflix Scam

[verbatim from the attorney general's office]

Attorney General Jim Hood is warning consumers today of a recent e-mail scam targeting Netflix subscribers.

Wednesday, February 16

You Never Forget

Until he was old enough to drive, a bicycle was practically Todd Hall's only mode of transportation, but he stopped riding as he got older.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

<b>Thursday, Feb. 17</b>

Doctor S sez: Are we seeing Rick Stansbury's final days as Mississippi State basketball coach?

Nurturing Your Little Chef

Last night my kitchen exploded. My 3-year-old daughter helped me cook dinner. She doesn't quite have all of the techniques down yet, particularly the mixing and pouring parts, which at the moment are her only jobs.

Sweet, Salty, Spicy!

The best flavors are complex and surprising. It's the salty/sweet combination that has fast-food lovers nationwide dipping their French fries into their milk shakes, dunking their pretzels in chocolate and munching on kettle corn.

Celebrating the Motherland

From Morocco to Egypt, and from Ethiopia to Angola, Africa has long been a source of beauty, artistic creativity, and fashion. Whether it's a mud cloth shirt with a swirling pattern or intricately carved jewelry , the style is bold and beautiful. Do yourself a favor and check it out. You'll be glad you did.

Lest Ye Be Judged

I ran into a woman Sunday at Broadmeadow United Methodist Church who remembered that my mother used to sell Avon. Apparently, Mama had gone to her family's house in Neshoba County and took me along. Somehow, she remembered.

Schools and Cigs

Charters-school advocates are looking to change the state's current law to allow charter schools to use lottery enrollment. The Mississippi Legislature passed SB 2293 last year, creating a process for transforming some failing public schools into "New Start Schools" and "Conversion Charter Schools."

Health for All

Alvin Poussaint's career reads like a hopscotch game across the touchstones of post-World War II African American history. Born in 1934, Poussaint earned a medical degree at Cornell University and studied psychiatry at UCLA before joining the Civil Rights Movement.

Of Contracts, Broken

Over the past few weeks, the Mississippi Legislature has bandied about a few anemic attempts at strengthening laws protecting victims of domestic violence. Among them is an addition to the state's divorce laws that would allow judges to grant a divorce if a couple has not been cohabiting for at least five years.

[Stiggers] It's Electric!

Mo'tel Williams: "Greetings, peace-loving people. It's your non-black ambassador here to promote a special peace tour by the Sausage Sandwich Sisters: electric-slide line-dance ambassadors for world peace and rent money."

[Kamikaze] A Jackson Reality Check

It's time for some hard truth. Some Jackson detractors may have taken my ProJack stance as blind love for our fair city. Some have accused me of selling hype over substance. I've refuted crime stats, championed development and screamed "Buy Jackson" at the top of my lungs.

[Head] Smaller, Blacker, Stronger

We all have the opportunity to stand together as a multicultural Jackson that represents everything that is good.

Tease photo

No Small Feat

The students in John Bennetts' second-grade class are being perfect sponges. Bennetts, a teacher at KIPP Delta Elementary Literacy Academy, a charter school in Helena, Ark., is drilling the class on the difference between "explicit information" and "implicit information."

Rip the Cypher: Phase One

Before stepping foot inside the North Midtown Arts Center on Millsaps Avenue, it was obvious that something was going on. More than the cars parked along the sides of the street gave it away. The energy was palpable; the music was loud; and the building's usually dim lights were bright this Jan. 15 night.

Bridging the Gaps

Book selling was a profitable enterprise in the oft-mythicized but very real city of Timbuktu. In the late 15th century, after the emperor Aska Mohammed's reign, the city was at its most prosperous, its scholars widely celebrated.

Torn by Time

It's one of the hallmarks of humanity: being torn between hope for the future and the familiarity of the past. The Prozorof family in Anton Chekhov's "The Three Sisters" is especially human.

Maintaining Focus

When I first saw the cover of "Ghost Light: A Novel" by Joseph O'Connor (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011, $25), I didn't know quite what to expect from the woman dressed in early 1900s garb. Would I be bored or enthralled with the reminiscences of a broken relationship and a love that survived years later?

‘Bodies, Bodies'

"The Swimming Pool" by Holly LeCraw (Doubleday, 2010, $25.95) starts with this uninviting, ethereal opening line: "Bodies, bodies."

[Natalie's Note] Come Aboard the Mothership

Some radio stations only play what the big corporations want them to play, but that won't last much longer. With Pandora, Sirius and a number of other musical resources popping up, folks are finally getting what they've been begging for: radio stations that play exactly what listeners want to hear. It would behoove mainstream stations to pay attention.

Civil Rights Museum Funding Advances In House

A proposed national civil-rights museum in downtown Jackson could receive $30 million in state funds, under a bill up for consideration by the state House of Representatives. The House Ways & Means Committee voted today to approve HB 1463, which allots $55 million total to the civil-rights museum and a museum of Mississippi history, both to be located near the William Winter state archives building. The bill now goes to the House floor for a vote by the full chamber.

Health Reform Moves Ahead

The Mississippi Legislature is debating laws that conform to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, even as legal challenges to the act continue.

Bills to Protect Domestic Abuse Victims

After her husband physically and mentally abused her for nearly a decade, Joy Jones* realized her situation was only going to get worse. She gathered up enough courage to seek a divorce and secretly obtained a lawyer, who encouraged her to close her and her spouse's joint checking account. Jones says earning the majority of the family's income gave her a financial advantage in being able to afford the proceedings.

Paul DeBoy

Paul DeBoy's first stage was the backyard of his Baltimore, Md., home. His older brother wrote plays that DeBoy would star in, and the two would charge admission when DeBoy was just 5 years old.

Whitwell Wins Ward 1 Council Seat

Quentin Whitwell will take his seat as Ward 1 Jackson city councilman after winning the majority of votes in yesterday's special election.

Tuesday, February 15

NAACP Asks Barbour to Condemn Klan Plate

Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson is asking Gov. Haley Barbour to condemn the Mississippi Sons of Confederate Veterans' push to create a commemorative license plate for Confederate General and the Ku Klux Klan's first Grand Wizard, Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Stadiums, Hackers and Oil

A bill the Mississippi Senate is considering could transfer control of Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium to Jackson State University. House Bill 1158, which the House of Representatives passed Feb. 10, would give JSU control of the stadium itself while transferring the property surrounding the stadium to the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Carla Palmer-Allen

Carla Palmer-Allen knows that perseverance eventually pays off. Last month, the Jackson native became the first African American to serve as president of the Jackson Association of Realtors, a 1,500–member organization that advocates and provides information for area realtors.

Ward 1 Special Election Today

Ward 1 voters will decide today whether L. Patricia Ice or Quentin Whitwell will fill the Ward 1 City Council seat, which has been empty since Jeff Weill left in January to serve as a Hinds Circuit Court judge.

Monday, February 14

Cost of Flood Study Could Jump

A study examining flood control along the Pearl River could cost taxpayers twice as much, due to post- Katrina requirements, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the Levee Board today.

Barbour Repeats Budget, Medicaid Myths at CPAC

Continuing his hints at a 2012 presidential run, Gov. Haley Barbour addressed the Conservative Political Action Committee's annual conference Saturday in Washington, D.C., with his argument for electing a Republican president. Barbour touted his own record in Mississippi, trotting out a list of accomplishments that requires some closer scrutiny. Here's a partial list of some of Barbour's statements and the facts behind them.

Russ Markle

Even though Russ Markle joked about growing a mustache, he knew it would involve a few challenges. His wife wasn't a fan of facial hair, and he felt he would risk his professional look at work. But when friends offered to pay him to grow a mustache if he donated the money to charity, it was an offer he couldn't refuse.

Community Events and Public Meetings

Free Tax Counseling and Filing. IRS/AIM or AARP volunteers will do electronic filing. Bring all necessary documents. Joint filers must come together. Free.

City Issues Boil Water Notice for Some Areas

The City of Jackson issued a precautionary boil-water advisory yesterday after a loss in water pressure for the following areas:

Friday, February 11

Edwards to Argue for Job In March

Next month, Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Lonnie Edwards will have a chance to win his job back. Edwards has appealed the JPS Board of Trustees Dec. 7 decision not to renew his contract beyond the end of this school year. Yesterday, the board set Mar. 4 as the tentative date for a hearing, subject to Edwards' approval.

Former JSU President Reflects on Shootings

Former Jackson State University President John Peoples, Jr. described with painful detail the 1970 shootings he witnessed at Jackson State University that resulted in the deaths of two students during Koinonia Coffee House's Friday Forum this morning.

Jim Wilkirson

Jim Wilkirson has gone to extreme lengths to ensure that adults stop acting their age. As the special events coordinator for the Mississippi Children's Museum's "Ignite the Night" gala, Wilkirson is helping bring magicians, jugglers, an Elvis impersonator, party favors and 17 door prizes to Saturday's event.

It's The Weekend: Show Some Love

With Valentine's Day approaching and the weather warming up a little, this weekend is perfect for getting out and spending time with that special someone. Tonight, head to Salsa Mississippi's Valentine's Dinner and Dance at Crossroads of Life Church (6775 S. Siwell Road, Byram) and learn how to fox trot. Dinner is served at 6 p.m. Lessons begin at 7:30 p.m. and open dancing is 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is $15 for singles; $25 for couples in advance and $30 for couples at the door. To purchase tickets, call 601-213-6355 If you want to cozy up with the one you love, head to the Russell C. Davis Planetarium (201 E. Pascagoula St.) for a screening of Oscar-nominated short films at 7 p.m. and animated films at 9 p.m. Tickets are $7. For more information, visit To find more events, check out the JFP Best Bets page or the JFP Events Calendar.

Funds Available For Community-Based Lenders

The U.S. Small Business Administration will accept applications starting Feb. 15 for lenders through its Small Loan Advantage program. The agency is also launching its Community Advantage program to increase the number of low-dollar loans for businesses and entrepreneurs in under-served communities.

Thursday, February 10

On Feb. 15, Vote Ice for Ward 1

The Jackson Free Press' readership is diverse in many ways, and we get criticized from the left and right for editorial stances and endorsements. Our editorial board believes in groups of people with varying opinions getting together to debate and discuss and, thus, find a better solution due to diversity of opinion.

Mississippi Lawmakers on Smoking, Sex-Ed and Kicked Cats

Today is the deadline for Mississippi legislators to take floor action on all bills originating in their respective chambers, and the House and Senate passed several bills yesterday and this morning.

JPD Addresses Wingfield Shooting; New Officers

During this morning's Comstat meeting, Jackson Police Department officers were still gathering information about a 16-year-old Wingfield High School student who police took into custody after he allegedly discharged his in the school bathroom this morning.

Ken South

Ken South takes pleasure in seeing the annual Mississippi HeARTS Against AIDS benefit grow. The benefit, which takes place Saturday at Hal & Mal's, features a silent art auction, live entertainment and food. Since 2007, the auction has taken place in an outdoor tent to accommodate the event's rising attendance.

U.S. Jobless Claims Drop Again

Claims for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped to its lowest level since 2008 last week, the U.S. Labor Department reported yesterday.

Wednesday, February 9

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Doctor S sez: That was an awesome weekend of English Premier League games, huh? That Super Bowl was pretty good, too, I guess.

From the Heart

Some men are wonderful gift-givers, while others need a little help. Women are complicated creatures and finding the right Valentine's gift for us can be challenging. We'll let you in on a little secret: The thought really does count. Some of the best gifts are not been expensive, but show that you really pay attention. Whether your sweetie is a lover of jewelry, flowers or chocolate, or could use a little pampering; you're sure to find the perfect something in the Jackson metro area to express your love and appreciation.

Hungry for Love

If your family is like mine, the economy has caused you to tighten your purse strings. Add a new baby to the mix, and well, going out on Valentine's Day just isn't in the cards. That doesn't mean you are doomed to spend an unromantic evening with your significant other eating frozen pizza and watching reality TV. An elegant, restaurant-quality meal prepared at home doesn't have to break the bank.

Love Drinks

This Valentine's, people will be celebrating feelings of joy and happiness, as well as little ways just to say "I Love You". If you followed the recipes in Hungry For Love, then no doubt you want something to refresh the palette. Fortunately, here are some drink ideas to awaken your soul and light your passions for romance.

Love Thyself

Valentine's Day was originally conceived as a way to express gratitude for our beloved companions with small tokens of affection—so it's also completely appropriate to reserve the day to take care of, and show love for, the most important person in your life: you. What better way to honor thy self than with a DIY at-home spa retreat filled with rest, contemplation, indulgent spa treatments and heart-centered activities?

Facing the Truth

On Friday night, I made the road trip to my aunt and uncle's Flowood home to finally see "Mississippi ReMixed," a documentary by Jackson native Myra Ottewell who examines her personal beliefs about relationships between blacks and whites in Mississippi. Ottewell, who is a teacher in British Columbia, had set out to show how far the state has come in race relations since the 1960s. Her quest, however, revealed aspects of history of which she was unaware.


My entire life is pretty much a "staycation." I live downtown, where there's always something happening nearby. I know a lot of really interesting people, and Jackson has a lot going on these days. I take full advantage of that. Add to that, I love clothes and use any excuse to dress up and go out. So I'm out and about a lot. That's what leads me here, typing.

Not Without A Fight

Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Lonnie Edwards won't go quietly. Edwards announced Feb. 5 that he would appeal the JPS Board of Trustees' decision to let his three-year contract expire with the current school year.

Immigrants, Lawsuits and Juvenile Justice

Three bills targeting the state's immigrant population survived the Senate Judiciary A Committee last week.

Nathan's Law Struggling

On a cold afternoon two weeks before Christmas in 2009, Laurel resident Lori Key stood outside her home like she did every day and waited for her son, Nathan, to get off his school bus. As the bus pulled up in front of her house, several cars came to a stop behind it, as is required by state law.

[Stiggers] ‘There is a Season'

Brother Hustle: "Another season is here, and it makes me reflect on the words wise ol' King Solomon wrote thousands of years ago: ‘To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose, under heaven: A time to gain, a time to lose; a time to rend, a time to sew.'

The Secession Bandwagon

It seems Mississippi Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, is out to prove an election-year point by appealing to the most extreme fringe of the far right.

[Head] Hazardous Civility

In 2009, I spent 48 minutes on Paul Gallo's SuperTalk radio show. I wanted to persuade Gallo to help me expose the mainstream resurgence of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a segregationist group patterned after the 1960s-era white Citizen's Councils that had recently received public support from a state senator.

Tease photo

Live, Work, Love

Some relationships work because both individuals have the freedom to attend to their own agendas throughout each day. What happens, though, when couples live and work together? More so than ever before, many now spend close to 24 hours, 7 days a week together. To some, such a schedule is overwhelming to even think about. For others, that's the only way they can imagine living their lives.

Keep The Fires Burning

Being romantic once you have children can be nearly impossible. Going on a date with your spouse can require so much preparation that it may seem easier to stay at home in your sweatpants and eat frozen pizza. But if you like your spouse (and I realize you might not), you need time away from the kids to unwind and reconnect.

Local Love

My favorite love song is Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life." The song is a constant reminder of how lucky I am to have a wife who loves and needs me as much as I love and need her. But the great thing about love songs is that there are so many, and each can mean different things to different folks.

The Candy Heart: A History

"Be Mine," "Kiss Me," "Sweet Pea," ... "Tweet Me." Sweethearts Conversation Hearts have been one of the most popular American ways to say "I Love You," on Valentine's Day since Abe Lincoln was in office. Brainchild of Daniel Chase—brother of NECCO (New England Confectionery Company) founder, Oliver Chase—the offbeat, yet ever-charming (and oddly chalky) candies stamped with heartfelt sayings have become almost synonymous with Feb. 14.

‘Will You Marry Me?'

When it comes to marriage proposals that are pure genius, I have just one word for you: speakerphone. That's right ladies and gents, Mr. Romantic here proposed to his lovely wife, Kitty, on a speakerphone.

Single and 30

Four years ago, while casually walking in the mall, a familiar voice yelled my name. I turned and saw a high-school friend. We said our hellos and, in a surprised tone, he said: "You're not married? I figured someone would've snatched you up by now!"

To Die or Not To Die (for Love)

I have a problem with Bruno Mars. More specifically, I have a problem with the music producers and executives who heard his lyrics and instantly thought, "hit record," and with the listening public for so eagerly agreeing with them. The cynical side of me hears him sing, "her hair, her hair, falls perfectly without her trying," and wants to scream: "Are you blind? Don't you see the hair products on your bathroom counter?"

Off Kilter Love

The best part about the Valentine's Day season is the music. Popular culture has provided us with an endless number of songs that deal with love, given the fact that love is excruciatingly indefinable, yet always tantalizingly within our reach.

Local Art, Open HEARTS

Where can a potential art buyer find pieces from Bewey Bowden, Jason Anderson, Tony Davenport and Stephanie Marie Robertson, to name a few, under one roof? A pop-up art gallery, of course: the 19th annual MS HeARTS Against AIDS.

The Reel Oxford

Every year, Oxford, Miss., holds a festival that reels filmmakers and movie buffs into a uniquely authentic southern experience. One can see firsthand William Faulkner's and other extraordinary Mississippi artists' inspirations. Faulkner and those Mississippi creative whizzes found their voices in the tranquil setting of one of the most picturesque parts of the Deep South.

For the Love of Reading

Sometimes, it is relaxing to be caught up in the thrill of someone else's love story rather than the drama of your own. Love stories are not only written for individuals who find themselves in the adrenaline-rushing realms of attraction or for singles who seek a special relationship that leaves them speechless. Ironically, even those completely content in singleness can have a joyful encounter in the passion of others.

Tugging the Harp Strings

Music is an undeniable part of Mississippi's culture, so much so that the state brands itself the "Birthplace of America's Music." Mississippi transplant Kristi Flake wants to add another element to the Magnolia State's rich musical heritage: the harp.

Films of Love

Ah movies. The perfect snuggle-up time on the couch (or just to please your significant other). Dripping full of drama, heart-breaking (and love-making) tear-jerkers that can make even the most hardened heart pump full of love (and blood). Veg out on the couch with these passion-filled movies.

Sales-Tax Commission Needed for Jackson?

City leaders have only one major request this legislative session, but that doesn't mean they'll get it. Jackson lawmakers are pushing to revise a 2009 sales-tax bill that offered a stream of funding for public safety and improvements to the city's flagging road, water and sewer infrastructure. The bill came with a requirement that the city establish a commission--stocked with non-city appointees--to oversee spending of the money, a mandate that Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. rejected as too onerous.

Mississippi a CO2 Dump?

Mississippi would become a reservoir for carbon-dioxide storage under Senate Bill 2723 and House Bill 1098--both of which survived their respective Oil, Gas and Other Minerals committees this month.

Parveen Kapoor

An Indian man with a medium build, dressed in a mauve polo shirt, khaki pants and a black apron, carries white napkins and silverware while he serves five customers in his restaurant. His soft brown eyes wear a warm smile. Parveen Kapoor, a native of Delhi, India, owns Bombay Bistro, which opened in December in Jackson.

House Stalls on Domestic Violence GPS

Monitoring domestic violence suspects out on bond is apparently a controversial issue in the Mississippi House of Representatives. The House spent most of yesterday tackling an unofficial list of non-controversial legislation. Left off that list was a bill sponsored by Rep. Brandon Jones, D-Pascagoula, that would give judges the option of requiring a defendant accused of domestic violence to wear a GPS-equipped tracking device.

Tuesday, February 8

Wyatt Emmerich's ‘Welfare' Chart Dissected by The New Republic

With a hat-tip to Jay, we bring your attention to the story From Mississippi to ‘The Corner': A Tale of Right-Wing Wrongness, where our star is none other than Northside Sun publisher Wyatt Emmerich.

Council: Metrocenter or Bust; Only Residents Allowed

Only Jackson residents will be able to serve on the city's boards, commissions and authorities, the Jackson City Council voted 4-to-0 today.Currently, the mayor appoints potential board members, and the council confirms appointments. However, the new ordinance restricts the mayor from appointing people who live outside the city limits. Furthermore, each board, commission or authority member must continue to live inside city limits during their term. If the board member moves outside city limits at any given time during the term, the city must immediately consider the appointment terminated and deem the board position vacant.

More Art, Crafts, Cannoli, Retail

A children's fountain, outdoor dining, garden rooms, performance stage and expansive art installations are just a few of the design elements The Art Garden at the Mississippi Museum of Art will feature when it opens in August.

[Balko] The Anti-Cop Trend That Isn't

Between Jan. 20 and Jan. 25, 13 police officers were shot in the U.S., five of them fatally. Two officers in St. Petersburg, Fla., were killed while trying to arrest a suspect accused of aggravated battery. Two more were killed in Miami while trying to arrest a suspected murderer. An officer in Oregon was seriously wounded, and another in Indiana was killed after they were shot during routine traffic stops. The Indiana assailant had a long and violent criminal record. The suspect in Oregon is still at large. In another incident, four officers were injured in Detroit when a man about to be charged in a murder investigation walked into a police station and opened fire.

Dowell Taylor

Jackson State University Director of Music Technology Dowell Taylor faces a hefty challenge: He has 48 hours to pull together Jackson Public Schools' annual All-City High School Band Festival.

Everybody Deserves Smoke-Free Air

Everybody deserves smoke-free air. Pediatricians have first-hand experience about what happens when children and babies breathe second-hand smoke.

Monday, February 7

Barstool Quarterbacking

A weekend of cocktails, friends...oh, and I think there was a football game.

Investigation: Medical Examiners Put Living at Risk

In detective novels and television crime dramas like "CSI," highly trained medical professionals equipped with the most sophisticated tools of 21st-century science staff the nation's morgues. Operating at the nexus of medicine and criminal justice, these death detectives thoroughly investigate each and every suspicious fatality.

Supes Scrutinize Elections Employee

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors voted today to extend the contract of a county Elections Commission worker whose employment has stirred controversy. Supervisors voted 3-0 to extend voting-machine technician Pat Wilson's contract through the November general election, despite opposition from Election Commissioner Bobbie Graves.

A.M.E. Logan

Remaining fearless and determined even into her late 90s, civil rights activist A.M.E. Logan would frequently attend community meetings and drive herself around Jackson delivering Avon products to her clients.

Community Events and Public Meetings

Community Blood Drives. The Mississippi Blood Services Donor Coach will be in the parking lot. Donors must be at least 17 (16 with signed parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and have valid ID. All donors will receive a T-shirt and be registered for a chance to win a 2011 Ford Fiesta. Donations welcome; call 800-817-7449.

Supreme Court Grants Death Row Inmate Reprieve

Read the court's decision (PDF)

Friday, February 4

Ice Leads To Five-Hour Gridlock on the ‘Stack'

On a day that many Jacksonians suffered long commutes, Rodney Cuevas still had an exceptional evening. Cuevas left his job at the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality for his home in Brandon a little before 4 p.m. on Thursday.

Senate Passes Total Texting While Driving Ban

The Mississippi Senate wants to expand a ban on texting while driving to include everyone in the state.

Edward Dacus

Although Edward Dacus has only had his new title of Mississippi Opera Chorus Master since Jan. 26, he has not wasted any time starting new opera projects. Dacus, who is currently preparing the all-men chorus spring show, "The Barber of Seville" for April 9 at Thalia Mara Hall, values the importance of male and female vocals and is also working to establish an additional performance that will showcase the ladies chorus.

Mississippi Players in the Super Bowl

Mississippi has provided the NFL with its fair share of players. In Super Bowl XLV, the Magnolia State is represented by Mike Wallace of the Steelers and Donald Lee and Donald Driver of the Packers. Wallace played for Ole Miss, Lee played for Mississippi State, and Driver played for Alcorn State.

It's The Weekend!

With Valentine's Day rapidly approaching, brave the weather and head to circa (2771 Old Canton Road) for Valentine's Date Night tonight at 5 p.m. for inspiration and gifts. The Jackson Free Press is the sponsor of the event which includes catering from Bon Ami, wine, champagne, artwork by Christy Henderson and music by Pam Confer and Jazz Beautiful; free. Complete your date night with a trip to the Russell C. Davis Planetarium (201 E. Pascagoula St.) to see "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" at 8:50 p.m.; $9. If you're' in the mood for some late-night entertainment, head to Martin's (241 S. State St.) afterward to see Frank and the Meltones with Danny Choctaw and the Death March. For a list of the area's hottest weekend events and entertainment, check out the JFP Music Listings and theBest Bets pages.

Bill Targets Barbour's Jet Use

The Mississippi House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that would limit the use of state-owned aircraft to official business only. The bill comes after concerns from lawmakers that Gov. Haley Barbour may have misused the state's aircraft, The Associated Press reported today.

Mark Kelly at National Prayer Breakfast - Good Can Come From Tragedy

Here's the whole thing... around 1:36:50 is when Kelly talks about being an astronaut:

Caught in traffic yesterday (I was out trying to find salt for our steps in the ice) I heard Mark Kelly's speech at the National Prayer breakfast. (Obama also gave a great turn.) I think the speech is worth listening to, although I'm sure much of it will fall on deaf ears. The thing that hit me the hardest was when Kelly talked about how, as an astronaut, he'd learned that team-work is how you get things done in the face of problems or challenges.

Thursday, February 3

A Mixed Bag for Mississippi Children

By many measures, children in Mississippi are worse off than kids in most other states, but Mississippi shows some bright spots. The Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual "Kids Count" report ranks Mississippi 50th overall for its children's educational, economic and physical well-being. At today's Mississippi Kids Count annual summit, advocates and educators shared challenges and success stories in the effort to improve the state's standing.

Sweet Potato Queen's Fondren Parade Set

Standing next to a pink port-a-potty decorated with a sequin-clad Sweet Potato Queen, author and boss queen Jill Conner Browne officially announced Fondren's Zippity Doo Dah Parade this morning.

Christy Henderson

Artist Christy Henderson has been busy creating artwork and jewelry that explores the theme of love for Valentine's Day.

MEMA Urges Residents to Prepare for Winter Weather

<i>Verbatim statement from MEMA:</i>

PEARL--The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency wants residents to prepare for the possibility of winter weather Thursday and Friday.  The National Weather Service predicts rain, sleet, freezing rain and snow are all possible as temperatures throughout much of the state hover near or just below freezing.

Wednesday, February 2

Jackson State Gets 16 commitments On National Signing Day

National signing day for high school football arrived with all the excitement of Christmas for college football coaches. Starting early this morning recruits could make a decision on where to continue their football careers.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Doctor S sez: It's Super Sunday, y'all. I'm super, thanks for asking.

The Duel in Dallas

After months of hot practices, two-a-days, preseason games, 16 regular-season games and battles against injuries, only two teams are left standing on the verge of immortality.

The Super Bowl Menu

Recipes by Tom Ramsey

I admit it: For me, the Super Bowl is all about the commercials and the food. Last year's singing E*Trade babies had me laughing for days.

Football Cocktails

No matter which side you cheer, these recipes will score the winning touchdown with your crew.

New Year's All Over Again

The Chinese New Year is Feb. 3, and it's the Year of the Rabbit. What does that mean? It's a welcome year, according to Chinese astrology, after the tumultuous Year of the Tiger. With the rabbit comes calm and tranquility. For others, though, it's an excuse to explore other cultures, and buy Asian-inspired goods.

Of Truth and the Shortest Month

I admit it: I've never been Black History Month's biggest fan. Let me put that another way: I don't like how media tend to treat Black History Month. Too often, it is a vehicle for selling ads on a special page to commemorate black history, usually with predictable images or talk of little-lady Rosa Parks suddenly getting tired and refusing to get up out of her seat. (No. She was a trained activist; the historic moment was planned.)

BP Claims Process Compromised?

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood asked a federal judge last week to oversee Gulf Coast Claims Facility pay-outs to individuals the 2010 BP oil spill disaster injured.

Immigrants, Medicaid and Abortion

The House took up a controversial bill demanding that state and local law-enforcement officials request proof of residency status from civilians they suspect are undocumented immigrants. The version of Senate Bill 2179 that left the Senate two weeks ago also allowed citizens to sue local members of law enforcement for not enforcing the language of the bill—an issue that municipal and law enforcement advocates warned would cut into cities' funds and tie up vital law-enforcement personnel in court.

Caring for Criminals

Inmate medical care is an unpopular business, at least in Hinds County. The Hinds County Board of Supervisors learned that lesson the hard way in January, when it found itself scrambling for a medical provider before its existing contract, with Jackson-based Reddix Medical Group, expired Jan. 31.

Turn Down the Politics

With nearly two weeks before the Jackson City Council special election to replace former Ward 1 Councilman Jeff Weill (who left to serve as a Hinds County judge), candidate Quentin Whitwell was just as surprised as we were to find out attorney and activist L. Patricia Ice had jumped into the race.

[Stiggers] Thriving in the Ghetto

Welcome to the Ghetto Science Team's Super Bowl XLV Tailgate Viewing Party and Disco Business Strategy meeting. I hope my fellow business associates are ready to provide lots of entertainment, fun, food and souvenir products for residents of the Ghetto Science community.

[Kamikaze] Jackson Schools in Crisis

I am a proud product of Jackson Public Schools. I spent nine years in that system. My mother was a long-time educator in JPS. My brother currently teaches in JPS. And I count several friends, classmates and colleagues who are either in the classroom or in administrative roles in Jackson Public Schools.

[Parshall] Firestorm Misses the Point

The blood libel remains a potent bogeyman in anti-Semitic rhetoric around the world.

Mississippi Gal, Louisiana Bluesman

The neon signs from the neighboring buildings reflected a soft pink glow on the concrete and illuminated Guitar Lightnin' Lee's face, as he stood in front of the Hi Ho Lounge. With his signature western shirt, black with white ruffles and white hat, he leaned back with one leg propped against the rusty brick wall, cigarette in one hand and lighter in the other.

Melding Realty with Fiction

As you know, it's cold outside. So why not stay inside (where it's warm) with a few good books?

39 Steps to Mystery

I didn't see any birds, and a psycho didn't attack me, but I did look through a rear window to see the footprints of 39 steps at New Stage Theatre in Jackson. Well, maybe not exactly, but I did see the theater company's final dress rehearsal for the stage version of one of Alfred Hitchcock's classic suspense thrillers, which is just a tad different from the original film adaptation.

Baring it All

Tony B gazes at the viewer with intent and mystery. His bare body is turned at a sideways stance as if he is trying to conceal a secret. Mary B poises her arms in a ballerina pose over her head, gracefully revealing her bare chest with her head held high.

Delta Music

This past weekend, I attended Delta Night at Hal & Mal's, sponsored by Delta State University's Delta Music Institute. There is so much to know about the DMI. Open since 2003, it provides students with an opportunity to become educated in the technological, creative and business aspects of the music and entertainment industries.

Timothy Fizer

The front door of F. Jones Corner bursts open around 4 a.m. on a Friday, and Timothy Fizer emerges, holding a drunken man's arms behind his back as the man bucks and jerks under the 6-foot-tall, 330-pound bouncer's half-nelson. Instead of fighting the troublemaker, Fizer simply takes the man across the street away from the commotion of the bar and sits on his back until he stops resisting. Fizer leans over to address the subdued partier.

Lawmakers Tackle Critter Cruelty

For proponents of a felony animal-cruelty law in Mississippi, state Rep. Greg Ward, D-Ripley, seems like the biggest obstacle to success. Last year, when a Senate-approved bill to make the malicious torture or killing of a dog or cat a felony died in the House Agriculture Committee, many animal-welfare advocates blamed Ward, the committee chairman. This year, that same bill appears headed for Ward's committee again. Rep. Linda Whittington, D-Schlater, says, however, that Ward doesn't deserve a bad rap.

Ward 1 on Ice

Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance Legal Project Director L. Patricia Ice waited until the last minute to enter the race for the vacant Ward 1 council seat. Ice barely managed to gather the 50-signature minimum on her petition to run against Jackson lobbyist Quentin Whitwell in the Feb. 15 special election to replace departing Ward 1 Councilman Jeff Weill. Weill took office as a Hinds County Circuit Court judge in January after a successful November election.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

The Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence is honoring National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month by promoting healthy youth relationships to prevent teen dating violence.

Tuesday, February 1

Tease photo

War On The Poor

Congress Embraces a New Southern Strategy

It was 7:30 in the morning, and the smallest beneficiaries of the Richard Brandon Head Start Center at 5920 N. State St. followed their young parents into the mass of little portable units. One hobbit-sized girl lifted her legs awkwardly up each of the wooden steps to the main building, keeping her eyes focused on her toes.

Group Forms to Save Fondren Strip

An online petition asking developer David Watkins to preserve a 1938 strip of Fondren businesses on North State Street has gained the support of 189 people. Watkins proposes to tear down the strip and replace it with the Whitney Place Development.

[Balko] Cops Beat Unarmed Future Cop

A year ago this month, Jordan Miles, an 18-year-old music student at Pittsburgh's Creative and Performing Arts High School, was walking to his grandmother's home in the city's Homewood neighborhood when three undercover police officers in an unmarked white car decided he looked "suspicious." Officers Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak, all white, would later say in police reports that Miles, who is black, seemed to be "sneaking around" and had a bulky object protruding from his coat that appeared to be a gun. It turned out to be a bottle of Mountain Dew--which, curiously, was never taken into evidence.

Fondren Business Shuffle, Nightclub Reopens

The Orange Peel is moving. Owner Kristin Tubb says the Fondren consignment shop will open in its new location, at 422 Mitchell Ave., on March 10. As Fondren's retail and restaurant community has grown, the demand for parking has put the squeeze on The Orange Peel's current location at the corner of North State and Duling streets, Tubb said.

Peppy Biddy

When actors auditioned for a role in New Stage Theatre's "39 Steps," director Peppy Biddy warned them that the play would be like running on a treadmill at its highest speed for two hours.

Barbour Praises Health-Care Ruling

Read the ruling