Stories for January 2011


Monday, January 31

Hinds Cornered on Inmate Medical Care


The Hinds County Board of Supervisors voted today to approve a contract with Reddix Medical Group for medical care at the county jail. The board met this morning to approve a replacement for the county's existing contract with Reddix, which expired today. After recessing to allow Sheriff Malcolm McMillin time to review Reddix's new, costlier proposal, the board approved the $330,000 agreement this afternoon.

AG Hood Promotes Mentor Program

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is looking for volunteers to mentor the children of incarcerated parents.

Marika Cackett

As the new Jackson and Convention & Visitors Bureau manger of communications and public relations, Marika Cackett says she has found her dream job promoting the city she loves.

Community Events and Public Meetings

Free Tax Counseling and Filing. Bring all necessary documents. Joint filers must come together. Free.

Bill to Reinstate Ole Miss Mascot, Fight Song Likely to Die

A House bill that proposes to reinstate former Ole Miss mascot Colonel Rebel and require the university to play the controversial "From Dixie With Love" fight song during football games will likely die in the House Universities and Colleges Committee.

Saturday, January 29

So…Am I Wrong For Pointing This Out?

Anyone else notice the extreme disparities in the comments on the Clarion Ledger sight re: The Ridgeland Shooting vs. The Terry Shooting? Both incidents. Tragic. Avoidable. Domestic disputes involving family members where tempers got out of hand. Yet, somehow, someway, the Terry suspects have managed to get called "thugs". Their lifestyles questioned, slick racial comments made. But in the case of the Ridgeland shooting...just a horrible tragedy and sympathy for the victim ad her family. Only 5 comments to 15. Am I wrong? Should I just assume that this will always be the norm? How two identical situations. Two identical crimes of passion could be reacted to SO differently. Mississippi, we HAVE to do better than this.

Friday, January 28

Showdown Ahead on Immigration Lawsuits

Mississippi lawmakers are headed for a standoff on two provisions of a proposed Arizona-style immigration bill. The House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 2179 yesterday but stripped a controversial section that would that would allow citizens to sue local law enforcement and public officials for not enforcing the restrictions. In its place, the House inserted a provision allowing citizens to take a business to court for hiring undocumented workers.

Christopher Paige

Christopher Paige's determination to make his South Jackson barber shop, Custom Cuts & Styles, a thriving business that serves the community is perhaps what earned him the title of Rising Entrepreneur and Best Barber Shop in the 2011 Jackson Free Press Best of Jackson awards.

Get Your Weekend Started

The weather isn't the only thing that is heating up this weekend. If you are in the mood for a night of Alfred Hitchcock and humor, check out "The 39 Steps," at New Stage Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and $22 for students and seniors. If you'd rather practice your paintbrush stroke, head to Easely Amused in Ridgeland and learn the art of painting the Fleur-de-lis at the "Fleur" Painting Class at 7 p.m. Don't see anything that catches your fancy? Then check out the JFP Events Calendar.

MIRA Speaks Out Against Anti-Immigration Bill

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

Mississippi Immigrations Rights Alliance, the leading advocacy organization for the rights of undocumented workers in Mississippi, alleges SB 2179, titled The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, would require law enforcement to racially profile Latino citizens.

Convention Center Attendance Up in 2010

Two years after opening its doors to great fanfare, the Jackson Convention Complex has brought in more than $49.7 million and spurred the city's economy by providing jobs, tax revenue, and thousands of visitors who spent money in the city, according to a report the Capital City Convention Center Commission issued this week.

Thursday, January 27

JRA Opposes Eminent Domain Initiative

Members of the Jackson Redevelopment Authority fear an upcoming November ballot initiative to restrict the government's use of eminent domain to public projects such as bridge and roadway construction will hamper private redevelopment in the city's blighted areas.

[Slate] The Best in Sports in 7 Days

Doctor S sez: Yes, it's almost college football signing day and no, I'm not going to talk about it.

Ice Enters Jackson's Ward 1 Race

At 4 p.m. yesterday, an hour before the city's deadline for Ward 1 city council candidates to file for the Feb. 15 special election, Attorney L. Patricia Ice submitted her paperwork to run for the seat vacated by Jeff Weill.

Kenneth Braswell

Kenneth Braswell wants fathers to step up. The keynote speaker at Jackson Public Schools' Dads of Destiny Conference this evening, Braswell advocates for responsible fatherhood through his organization, Fathers Incorporated, and the New York State Fatherhood Initiative.

Wednesday, January 26

Grill Away Winter's Chill

When it's cold outside, I crave comfort food: macaroni and cheese, pot roast, soups and stews that warm you from the inside out. But it's inevitable, after two months of overindulging and several weeks of chili, soups and stews, I start fantasizing about summer food.

Partial Smoking Ban Sets Stage for Confusion

A confusing Jackson ordinance could prove to be a case study on the frustration of a statewide partial smoking ban before the Mississippi Legislature.

IHL and Other Kicked Puppies

Last week marked the final week for general bill submissions in this session of the Mississippi Legislature, and much legislation is already clearing the House and Senate. Committees in both chambers are also up against a Feb. 1 deadline to pass or dump bills in their own chamber.

Cutting Out The Pigs

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is one of only seven medical schools in the United States that still uses live animals to teach medical students basic physiology, pharmacology or surgery.

State Needs Real Transparency

Mississippi, we have a problem. Governmental bodies and agencies from right here in Jackson (city, JPS and JPD) all the way up through state (secretary of state's office) have a really bad habit of trying to hide public information from you the taxpayer, or at least delaying it.

[Stiggers] Hustle and Barter

"Thank you for keeping hope and my business alive in 2011."

[Letter to the Editor] Vol. 9, No. 20

Dear Sirs (really just Todd Stauffer),

Dear Sirs (really just Todd Stauffer), I should have written this letter while the last issue was still on the newsstands, but I had to summon the courage. As a frequent reader and left-of-left liberal, I was appalled to read in your Dec. 29 Publisher's Note "Common Sense in 2011" (Volume 9, Issue 16) the line in which you say President Obama's tax compromise is "probably good economic policy in the short term." I think my jaw actually dropped.

[Rhodes] Jackson: A Beloved Community

"The end is reconciliation, the end is redemption, the end is the creation of the beloved community." —Martin Luther King Jr.

JPS Board Won't Renew Edwards' Contract

The Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees voted during its Dec. 7 meeting not to renew Superintendent Lonnie Edwards' contract for the upcoming school year, Board Attorney Dorian Turner told the Jackson Free Press today. The 3-1 vote came during executive session, and the board informed Edwards of its decision at a meeting this afternoon, Turner said.

Jackson Schools Show Decline

See the MDE report.

The Secret is ... People

I thought about going back into the JFP archives to check and see how many of these publisher's notes in previous Best of Jackson issues I've started with, "You hold in your hands the largest-ever issue of the Jackson Free Press."

Compromise Ahead on Payday Lending?

The Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate likely will have to work out a compromise on a bill that allows payday lenders to exceed a statewide cap on annual percentage rates.

Ellen Douglas

The literary world knows her as Ellen Douglas, critically acclaimed writer. Many Mississippians fondly recognize her as Josephine Haxton, mother of three accomplished sons, a Democrat, an Ole Miss graduate. To her friends, she's just Jo, full of life and camaraderie and fun, someone you want to hang out with. By whatever name, this Jacksonian is her own woman.

Airing Abuse

When does sunshine become an invasion of privacy? Television station WDAM, an NBC affiliate in Hattiesburg, has what it says is video evidence of abuse at the Forrest County Juvenile Detention Center--a physical altercation between staff and six youth detainees. A Youth Court judge has blocked the station from broadcasting the videotape, however, on the grounds that the footage isn't essential to the station's reporting and that airing it would endanger the juveniles' right to privacy.

Tease photo


When the Jackson Free Press published our first issue nine years ago this fall, the issue included a Best of Jackson ballot. We were shocked that the city didn't have a readers' choice contest for locals to nominate and vote for the best local personalities, businesses and organizations, so we didn't waste any time making it happen.

2011: Community

<b>Best Public Figure: 
Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr.</b>

Jackson's first African American mayor has been through it. Since he was first elected to the seat in 1997, he has weathered belittlement, racism, jealousy, direct attacks, vicious media coverage, being labeled "Election Man," being compared to a slow turtle--all while trying to govern a city decimated by its history and white--hen-economic--flight.

2011: Urban Living

Best Annual Event, Best Outdoor Event: Mal's St. Paddy's Parade Downtown Jackson, 601-948-0888 If you want to be part of a party—a colorful crowd that carpets downtown Jackson's streets with revelers on the sidewalks and in the streets, walking or riding floats for a good cause—then Mal's St. Paddy's Parade, which benefits the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital, is just what you're looking for. Every year there's a parade theme, a creative play on words with a visual twist to inspire float-makers and parade-goers from all over. I talked with Hal White and asked about this year's theme. "Haven't come up with it, yet," he said. Like all parade veterans, though, he did know that it takes place the third Saturday in March. So on March 19, 2011, go be part of the crowd. —Lynette Hanson

2011: Food & Drink

Best New Restaurant, Most Innovative Menu, Best New Bar, Best Cocktails: Parlor Market 115 W. Capitol St., 601-373-9841 Craig Noone and his crew hit Jackson like a madhouse toque-wearing, knife-wielding, sauce-reducing wrecking crew. They have shaken up the restaurant scene and put everyone on notice that Jackson can become the next food Mecca in the Deep South. I never thought I would see the day when a downtown Jackson restaurant had the stones and dedication to do a seasonal menu that featured bold flavors and techniques unheard-of in a town known for fried food and lump crabmeat swimming in heavy cream.

2011: Nightlife

<b>Best Live Music: Hal & Mal's</b>

Best Live Music: Hal & Mal's 200 S. Commerce St., 601-948-0888 Whether you are getting off work and just need to unwind, or you're going out with some friends, Hal & Mal's is a great place to have a drink and catch some of the best live music in the area—from great local acts like Horse Trailer and Los Papis, to regional and national bands such as the North Mississippi Allstars, Drive-By Truckers and Old Crow Medicine Show.

2011: Out Of Town

<b>Best Day Trip: NOLA (New Orleans)</b>

Best Day Trip: NOLA (New Orleans) New Orleans is known for Mardi Gras and Second Line parades, a million music festivals and bars out the wazoo. Hear great music at One Eyed Jacks, Tipitinas or Howlin' Wolf; admire street performances on Jackson Square. Pick up a mufaletta at Central Grocery, or Mid-Eastern fare at Mona's.

Tuesday, January 25

Jamie Scott Hospitalized

Less than three weeks after her release from prison, Jamie Scott has been hospitalized. Activist Nancy Lockhart, who worked for more than five years to free Jamie and her sister, Gladys, said in an e-mail press release that Jamie was admitted to the hospital in Pensacola, Fla., today for an "excessively high potassium level." Jamie Scott suffers from diabetes and has been diagnosed with renal failure. Her medical conditions, and the cost of caring for her, was one of Gov. Haley Barbour's justifications for ordering the suspension of her and Gladys' life sentences for a 1993 armed robbery.

Small Business Grants a Boon to City

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

In Jackson, Miss., like in cities across our nation, small businesses are at the very core of the local economy. Small businesses create jobs for Jackson's citizens. Local entrepreneurs invest in the community in which they live, making it all the more important that they succeed. It is for these very reasons that Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson, Jr. created three very successful grant programs to benefit small businesses in the City of Jackson.

Council Concerned over JPS Superintendent

Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes made a rare visit to the Monday work session yesterday to throw his support behind Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Lonnie Edwards, who is up for an evaluation from the school board tomorrow.

[Balko] Justice for Sal

Last week The Washington Post reported that Sal Culosi's parents have reached a $2 million settlement with Fairfax County, Va., police Detective Deval Bullock, who shot and killed the 38-year-old optometrist during a January 2006 SWAT raid on his home. The unusual settlement reflects the outrageous facts of this case, in which an unarmed man suspected of nothing more than betting on sports was recklessly gunned down during an unnecessarily violent operation.

Bernice Rayford

Bernice Rayford, 50, has more to offer the literary world than just "Collard Greens and Ham," the title of her debut self-published novel in 2005. She recently completed her seventh novel, "Betty Bushy: She Will Make You Laugh."

Ward Pulls Out of Ward 1 Council Race

Marcus Ward, who announced his candidacy for Ward 1 city councilman last month, has decided to pull out of the Feb. 15 special election leaving only Quentin Whitwell in the running for the seat.

Baptist's Belhaven Shakeup; New Pizza Shack Opening

Baptist Health Systems will break ground this year on a five-story, mixed-use building in Belhaven. The 130,000-square-foot facility will house four floors of medical offices and a ground floor of retail on the North State Street site currently occupied by KFC. Baptist spokesman Robby Channell said that a start date for construction will likely depend on the possible relocation of Keifer's Restaurant. Baptist is in final negotiations to purchase the Keifer's property, and the restaurant is considering a move nearby.

Monday, January 24

Americans Support Repealing HCR? Not If You Ask Them…

When the newly-minted GOP decided that its first order of business was a largely ceremonial "repeal" of the Affordable Care Act, they did two things that may not auger well for their party's continued success in elections.

Lunacy: Tea Party Wants to Scrub Slavery History from Textbooks

It was bad enough when Gov. Haley Barbour tried to pretend the Citizens Council were the good guys. It's bad enough when people go around saying that the Civil War and Confederacy had nothing to do with slavery. (Right: read this.) Now, we have the Tea Party up in Tennessee (and probably elsewhere) trying to rewrite the history books to take out the stuff that makes them really uncomfortable. Folks, read Orwell. We can't throw our history down the "memory hole"--if we do, we damn sure are doomed to repeat it.

Religious Leaders Oppose Payday Lending Laws

Stewpot Community Services Chief Executive Officer Rev. Frank Spencer said Stewpot Community Services would supply groceries to people whose choices are limited to paying off their loan or buying groceries.

UMMC Targeted for Use of Live Pigs

Read the complaint

Luisa Macedo

"It's bigger than my head," 9-year-old Luisa Macedo says as she describes her 21-pound cabbage that named her the Mississippi winner of the National Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program award. A Senatobia native, Macedo is now in the fourth grade at Senatobia Middle School, but won the award as a third grader.

Community Events and Public Meetings

2:30 p.m., Book Buddy Volunteer Training at Boyd Elementary School (4531 Broadmeadow St.). The program aims to help children progress in school. Rebecca Starling of Jackson Public Schools is the trainer. E-mail [e-mail missing].

TV Station Takes Detention Center Video to Supreme Court

WDAM's parent company, Raycom Media, and 30 additional media organizations including the Society for Professional Journalists, are petitioning the Mississippi Supreme Court to intervene in a lower court's decision that prevents the South Mississippi television station from airing videos showing abuse at the Forrest County Juvenile Detention Center in Hattiesburg. The video shows six juveniles in a "physical exchange" with detention center staff, the SPJ reports.

Friday, January 21

Bill Proposes to End MPB Funding

Mississippi Public Broadcasting Acting Executive Director Jay Woods said a proposed bill that would eventually end state funding for his agency due, in part, to its supposed "liberal" bias would hinder the state's educational and economic growth.

Shifting Demographics To Cause Worker Shortage

Georgia diversity trainer Al Vivian predicts a shortage of workers within the next 10 years, if economic and demographic trends continue at their current pace.

Plan Your Weekend

It might be abnormally cold this weekend, but brave the cracked cuticles and chapped lips to see what's going on in Mississippi. Head to the Millsaps Arts District at 9 p.m. to see Johnny Bertram and the Golden Bicycles and New York band Ladycop perform. If you're in the mood for a little bit of country, soul and rock, tonight then head to the MSU Riley Center (2200 5th St., Meridian) at 7:30 p.m. to see Shelby Lynne perform. Tickets are $36 to $42. If you don't want to travel out of the city limits, warm up and watch "Client 9" at 7 p.m. and "White Material" at 9 p.m. at the Art House Cinema inside the Davis Planetarium (201 E. Pascagoula St.). Tickets cost $9 for each screening. For more information, visit For more options, check out the JFP Events Calendar.

Shirley Brewer

Shirley Brewer has seen plenty of changes from her perch at the Fondren McDade's Market. Brewer has worked at the grocery store for the past 27 years, seeing the business change names and owners from Jitney Jungle to Winn-Dixie to, in 2004, McDade's.

Public Involvement is Necessary for Fairly Redrawing District Lines

There was some good news at the state Capitol in January. The Joint Legislative Redistricting Committee met to announce their plans for passage of a redistricting plan this legislative session. It's good to see that they are listening to Mississippians and are committed to adopting a timely and fair plan.

Thursday, January 20

Statewide Smoking Ban In the Works

A joint House and Senate Public Health Committee heard opinions yesterday from health advocates and business representatives about the potential consequences of a statewide smoking ban, as proposed by Senate Bill 2726.

Beer Legislation Dead on Arrival?

Despite a grassroots effort to modernize state laws on beer and beer brewing, the Mississippi Legislature is unlikely to pass any bills this session to change the status quo.

Chandler Griffin

For years, Chandler Griffin has observed the tough work of international development. As a documentary filmmaker for nonprofit organizations working in Rwanda and Uganda, among other countries, the Jackson native has seen the challenges of trying to build sustainable programs. But he never imagined tackling those challenges himself.

State of the State: A Fact-Check

Gov. Haley Barbour used his final State of the State address, on Jan. 11, to tout his resume of accomplishments over two terms. Ever the savvy political communicator, the governor stretched the truth and papered over the more complicated reality. In other instances, his claims were outright wrong. Here's a selection of Barbour's claims and that truth behind them.

Wednesday, January 19

[Kamikaze] Taking a Stand

I've always said if change were going to come in Jackson, it wouldn't come easy. I've known for years that some folks would have be dragged kicking and screaming into the new millennium. A "rebirth" isn't going to be pleasant. In fact, it's going to be painful for some.

Life Goes On

Two nights before Halloween, on Oct. 29, 1995, Robert Estes' life changed forever. As a boy, Canton native Estes loved to travel to see his family in St. Paul, Minn., and when he graduated from high school he moved there.

Letting a Little Luck In

What do good-looking men, lentils, no housework and kissing all have in common? According to superstition, they all bring good luck in the new year.

Soda for Tea

As 2011 marches on, our well-intended New Year's Resolutions can gradually fall by the wayside. I have found that when my New Year's goals are broad and vague— "Be healthier! Lose weight!—I quickly give them up. When my goals are small, specific and attainable, I'm more likely to keep going.

Bringing the Outside In

"A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books." —Walt Whitman

The New American Myth

When I was 6 years old, the concept of zero made my brain hurt. "How can there be nothing?" I wailed in utter frustration. "Even when you take away all the apples and all the oranges, you still have the basket; you still have the air!"

History's Return

Gov. Haley Barbour is a sucker for anniversaries, apparently. In his final State of the State address last week, the governor said that 2011—the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides and the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War—was the year to make a proposed Mississippi Civil Rights Museum a reality.

Latinos and Loans

Mississippi could be headed for a courtroom showdown if the full state Legislature passes an anti-immigrant bill mirroring an Arizona law that forces law-enforcement to profile people they suspect to be undocumented residents.

Stand Up to Senate Scheme for Votes

The Mississippi Senate shamed our state Tuesday when it approved an Arizona-style anti-immigrant law that will require law enforcement to profile anyone they think could be an "illegal" immigrant and demand their papers.

[Stiggers] Le Swanky Steak Shack

"It's funny how a lot of people perpetrating disrespect toward ethnic minorities expect them to smile and be pleasant always. Those smiling and shuffling days are gone. Today, ethnic minorities are serious and intelligent enough to recognize the undertones of hatred and disrespect."

[Dennis] Defensive Reflex

Are we ready, yet, to have a serious and civil conversation about guns, violence, and hate?

Tease photo

Reading the Tea Leaves: The Tea Party in Mississippi

Tea Party member Donald Wiggans was different. A small, wiry man, he stood quietly during an August 2009 town-hall meeting on health-care reform featuring U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson.

Jackson Jewish Film Festival: A Multicultural Celebration

Like most art forms, there's something about a film that brings people together. Lessons about love, life and relationship always strike a chord, no matter your religious, familial or ethnic background. Some things are just universal.

Art Disguised as Memoir

Tom Sancton has had an interesting career as a journalist. He is a former Time magazine reporter and editor, contributor to Vanity Fair, Fortune, and Newsweek, and author of a bestselling book about the investigation of Princess Diana's death.

21st Century Spirit

"All Day" by Girl Talk is the latest entry in what is rapidly becoming "the" sound of the 21st century. The mash-up fits perfectly in a society where everything competes for attention in a machine-gun blast of information and advertising.

Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?

When ever I'm driving down to Hattiesburg for gigs, I always enjoy listening to the local radio stations. My favorite on the FM dial is Super Country 99.1. They play all the classic country songs my daddy (pronounced "deddy") and I listened to while I was growing up in Bogue Chitto, Miss.

The Slippery Arena Study

The push for an entertainment arena in downtown Jackson, once a private endeavor, is now a matter for city government. Last month, the steering committee of business leaders that has been raising funds for an arena feasibility study handed control of the project to Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr.

Kimberly Jacobs

Kimberly Jacobs' 1,000-watt smile lights up the room as she hugs me during our first introduction. Without reservation, she begins to share her passion for promoting artists.

Combating Intellectual Property Theft

It began with one patient exhibiting unusual symptoms in 2006. Doctors were puzzled. When dozens of similar cases began to appear, they got worried. But it wasn't until they found the common factor that the mystery was resolved: counterfeit cough syrup containing diethylene glycol, a poisonous chemical used in antifreeze. This fake cough syrup was manufactured in China and sold, through international brokers, to the Government of Panama to be distributed to the poor. By the time it was discovered, more than 100 people had died.

Tuesday, January 18

Arizona-Style Immigration Bill Advances, In A Hurry

The Mississippi Senate passed a bill modeled after Arizona's anti-immigrant law SB 1070 today, despite protests by some Democrats that the measure was rife with errors carried over from the other state's law.

New Eats; Small Business Loans Available

Longtime Fondren lunch spot Brent's Drugs started serving breakfast Saturday. The soda fountain and lunch counter closed its pharmacy operation in 2009, and new owner Brad Reeves has had his sights on serving breakfast since purchasing the venerable eatery. The morning menu includes traditional Southern breakfast fare and lighter dishes.

Cynthia Newhall

Cynthia Newhall was just a teenager when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated April 4, 1968. On April 18, her 16th birthday, Newhall decided to dedicate her life to the struggle for equality.

[Balko] The Year in Clemency

It was a strange year for clemency, the often misunderstood and generally misused power that allows the president and governors to grant pardons (which overturn convictions) and commutations (which reduce sentences). The federal clemency power was meant to be a last check on injustices that might slip through the courts. But it is typically used for other purposes, mostly for political patronage or to confer a kind of government-sanctioned redemption on people who have atoned for their crimes.

Women and the U.S. Constitution: A Call to Action

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia just asserted for a second time that our Constitution does not protect women against discrimination. That was one of the arguments for passing the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and ironically, people of Scalia's "conservative" persuasion often countered that the ERA was not needed precisely because women are already protected by the 14th Amendment.

Monday, January 17

Civil Rights Museum Stirs Controversy, Again

State lawmakers will have a chance to act on Gov. Haley Barbour's recent call to move a proposed state civil-rights museum to downtown Jackson. Sen. John Horhn, D-Jackson, told the Jackson Free Press Friday that he will introduce bills today to restart the planning process for a civil-rights museum, which has stalled since a Barbour-appointed commission selected Tougaloo College for its location in 2008.

Community Events and Public Meetings

5:30 p.m., Blue Bird Bash Volunteer Roundup at Sal & Mookie's (565 Taylor St.). Get information on volunteering in the Fondren Zippity Doo Dah Parade in March. Light snacks provided. E-mail [e-mail missing].

Hezekiah Watkins

On a sunny day in the spring of 1961, Hezekiah Watkins was just another face in the crowd as he watched the Freedom Riders arrive at the Greyhound bus station on Lamar Street. Itching for a closer look, the 13-year-old sprinted across Lamar Street, but he accidentally ended up inside the station where police arrested the activists who rode interstate buses through the South to challenge Jim Crow laws.

McMillin to Run for Re-election

Long-time Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin announced last week that he will seek re-election in November. Currently, McMillin is the only candidate to announce a run for the position.

Brett Favre Says Goodbye To The NFL For A Third Time

Could it be that the old saying 'third time's a charm' holds some weight this time? Two sources have told that Brett Favre has filed his retirement papers with the league office today.

Tougaloo President Responds to Civil Rights Museum

<i>Verbatim Statement from Tougaloo President Beverly Wade Hogan</i>:

Tougaloo College has received a number of calls from the media regarding the proposed National Civil Rights Museum in Mississippi. The media seek our reaction to remarks made by Governor Barbour in his State of the State Address to locate the Museum in downtown Jackson, rather than the approved site at Tougaloo College. This announcement comes almost three years following the recommendation to locate the Museum on property owned by Tougaloo College which Governor Barbour accepted. Throughout the process, the Governor had taken the position that he would support the recommendation of the Commission he appointed to establish the National Civil Rights Museum in Mississippi. Tougaloo College had no prior knowledge other than the purported rumors that an actual decision to change the approved designated location to downtown Jackson had been made until Governor Barbour gave his State of the State Address earlier this week. Even today, there has been no formal or official discussion with Tougaloo College about the change in the location of the proposed Museum. Indeed, we were aware that the Downtown Jackson Partners wanted to change the location from the Tougaloo College property to downtown Jackson.

Friday, January 14

Opponents Vow to Fight Anti-Immigrant Bill

Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance Executive Director Bill Chandler said a Senate Committee's approval of an anti-immigrant bill yesterday will "put a target" on all Latinos in Mississippi, regardless of their resident status.

Midtown Center Promotes Prosperity

The effort to revitalize Jackson's Midtown neighborhood has a new arm. The Prosperity Center of Greater Jackson pairs traditional welfare services with counseling and wellness programs, Kristi Hendrix, executive director of Midtown Partners, told an audience at Koinonia Coffee House's Friday Forum today.

It's the Weekend: Celebrate in Style

Don't let winter's frigid air keep you trapped in your home. This weekend has plenty of entertainment options worth warring the weather. Tonight, Metropolitan Opera soprano Susanna Phillips performs at Wesley Biblical Seminary (787 E. Northside Drive) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40; call 601-278-3351 or 601-960-2300. For something a little different, head to Hal & Mal's Red Room, for Schroeder, A Bullet Well Spent and The Hot Pieces concert. Find the weekend's hot agenda in the Best Bets.

Tonja Murphy

Approximately 2 million children in the United States have a parent who is in prison, and with the national incarceration rate increasing 6 percent each year, Lutheran Episcopal Services Director of Mentoring Tonja Murphy understands importance of a mentor.

Thursday, January 13

Senate Committee Passes Anti-Immigrant Bill

This afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 2179, which is similar to a controversial Arizona law that forces local and state law enforcement to ask for proof of legal residency from individuals they suspect are undocumented residents during traffic stops.

Ruth's Chris Employee Fired Over E-Mail

The general manager of Ruth's Chris Steak House in Ridgeland has been fired, following an e-mail exchange in which he used the word "ghetto" to describe a reservation request by an African American woman. The manager, Andy Nesenson, forwarded LaTrenda Watson's Jan. 11 reservation request to Sales and Marketing Manager Wendy Partain with the comment, "Another ghetto Sat. Party. They really love us don't they. Especially on Sat."

Lawmakers Tackle Teen Pregnancy

A 13-year-old Jackson Public Schools student kisses her 30-year-old boyfriend as he drops her off at school one morning. When school officials call the teen's mother. She shows little concern saying, "He takes care of her, he helps her get the school supplies she needs."

House Approves Eminent Domain Limits

The Mississippi House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday restricting the use of eminent domain. The measure is similar to a voter initiative scheduled for the 2011 ballot and a 2009 bill that Gov. Haley Barbour vetoed, arguing that it would hurt job creation.

Manervia Cross Rayford

Manervia Cross Rayford has lived so long that sometimes her descendants have trouble keeping up with all the things she's done in her life.

House Passes ‘Nathan's Law'

The Mississippi House passed HB 551 yesterday that proposes to increase penalties for drivers who pass a school bus while it is loading or unloading passengers.

Wednesday, January 12

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Doctor S sez: If rematches spice up the NFL playoffs, this weekend's games are Thai-hot.

President Obama: ' I Believe That We Can Be Better'

Following is the verbatim text of President Obama's remarks at the Tucson memorial tonight:

To the families of those we've lost; to all who called them friends; to the students of this university, the public servants who are gathered here, the people of Tucson and the people of Arizona: I have come here tonight as an American who, like all Americans, kneels to pray with you today and will stand by you tomorrow. (Applause.) There is nothing I can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts. But know this: The hopes of a nation are here tonight. We mourn with you for the fallen. We join you in your grief. And we add our faith to yours that Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the other living victims of this tragedy will pull through. (Applause.)

[Collier] Single Black Female

For much of 2010, it seemed everyone from ABC to CNN to RT (formerly Russia Today, a worldwide English-speaking channel) were concerned about my single dating status. Well, not me, specifically, but black women in general.

Award-Winning Opera Singer to Visit Jackson

Reviews fill her website with applause and praise. Once you see her perform, you won't soon forget the experience. Who is she? Alabama native and operatic soprano, Susanna Phillips, recipient of the Metropolitan Opera's 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award, among other recognitions.

Lead 'Em to the Light

Over a perfectly sparse, yet somehow still-cinematic beat, David Banner leaves no doubt about where his mind is with his new collaboration record with producer 9th Wonder, "Death of a Pop Star."

Man of Steel

After running marathons for 30 years and competing in 13 Ironman triathlons in 10 years, for Brandon resident Darryl Lehtola, a trip to Kona, Hawaii would fulfill a dream that started in 1984: to compete in the Super Bowl of Ironman events, the Ford Ironman World Championship held every October in Kailua-Kona (or Kona for short), on the big island of Hawaii.

A Perfectly Charming Couple

"By all means, marry; if you get a good wife, you will be happy. If you get a bad one, you will become a philosopher." —Socrates

The Color of Love

"You don't know who you are, holding that cracker's hand!" I heard a woman say as my husband and I walked down the street in San Diego. At first I didn't register what she said, and I didn't know if the words were directed at us.

JATRAN's Convenience Factor

"Don't let it be gone already," I repeated to myself, like a mantra, whizzing down State Street to meet photographer Amile Wilson. I'd spent a little more time than I'm willing to admit trying to figure the schedule out. "This seemed a lot easier in Chicago," I mumbled.

Political Tweets

A good way to get information about what is going on at the state Legislature is to follow lawmakers who are using social media to reach their constituents and sending updates in real time.

Beating the Same Drums

The first week of the legislative session, which started Jan. 4, brought the beginning of bill submissions seeking to beat the Legislature's Jan. 17 deadline for general bills and constitutional amendments.

Teaching The Truth

Next year, for the first time, Mississippi will require all social-studies teachers to teach the history of civil rights in the state. The requirement will come more than five years after state lawmakers initially approved the curriculum change.

Politicians: Tone Down the Rhetoric

The United States changed Saturday morning, Jan. 8, when an apparently mentally disturbed man took out his anti-government venom by trying to assassinate a U.S. congresswoman, and killing a little girl, a judge and other people's loved ones in the process.

[Stiggers] Random Stuff Happens

My advice to my fellow constituents is to stay ready and be secure, because random stuff happens in desperate times.

Put Up or Shut Up, Progressives

2011 is already promising to be a tumultuous year, particularly in Mississippi. Legislators have numerous crises to confront in this year, most of them rising from not having enough revenue to keep up with the rising operating costs of effective government.

Bridal 2011: The Trends

Fashion is an organic entity that changes from season to season and, sometimes, moment to moment. Bridal trends for 2011 will see lots of interesting and unique features. Here are the top looks you'll see.

Fancy Feet

One of my personal style philosophies is "Let your shoes do the talking." When I go shoe shopping, it really doesn't matter much to me if I have anything to go with the shoe or not.

Tuxedo Man

Don Garforth is an expert when it comes to outfitting men for their weddings. The Pennsylvania native came to Jackson in 1978 and is the owner of two Tuxedo Junction stores in the Jackson area.

First Dance

What song played for the first dance at your weddng?

Shopkeep: The Art of Flowers

I'll admit I'm a bit of a girly girl, which means I love flowers. When I attend a wedding, they're one of the things I most look forward to—even more than the dress. Flowers bring life and color and texture to an event, and they're a great way to express a couple's personality. So choosing the right person to design the flowers for a wedding is important.

Naturally Glamorous

After her freshman year at Mississippi State University, self-made cosmetics guru Amy Head left school and worked odd jobs until starting her own business, Amy Head Studios, in September 1987.

Timothy and Cheryl Coker

Music is a powerful thing. It allows people to express their creativity, convey emotions, and it can foster community between like-minded fans. Music can also cause people to fall in love. Just ask Timothy and Cheryl Coker, who have shared a life working with music.

Wedding Poll

What was the most unique or most memorable part of your wedding or wedding reception?

DIY (WLOH*) Wedding Food

*With Lots of Help

Asking me about "do-it-yourself" wedding food is about the equivalent of asking Dr. Peter Casano about how to pull off a DIY removal of nasal polyps, but I'll give it my best shot.

Ruth Chris Steakhouse in Ridgeland Gets Foot-In-Mouth Disease

I received an e-mail from a colleague today–one that was most interesting to say the least. It's not often that you get folks to put IN WRITING what they're really thinking. Especially in management, you're free to "think" whatever you wish, but smart money says it's not good for business to openly make, ummm, "controversial" remarks.

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Chris and Shalon Wansley

Chris and Shalon Wansley love exchanging gifts. "We pride ourselves on being gift givers," Chris says. On the anniversary of their first date, Chris, 32, took Shalon, 28, to dinner and gifted her with an iPod. Later on that evening, he took the gift giving to another level.

Barbour Cheers Economy, Chides Obama

In his final State of the State address yesterday, Gov. Haley Barbour offered optimism about Mississippi's economic recovery, as well as criticism of President Barack Obama and the federal government. Citing a string of new manufacturing projects in the state, Barbour said the state is "well prepared to make a major leap forward."

Whitwell: A True Conservative

For one, Whitwell' lobbied for legislation allowing power companies to buck the state's years-old process for funding new energy development. For decades, power companies could only charge ratepayers for the cost of building new energy plants after the plants were up and running.

Beth Hamilton

Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr.'s vision for the capital city is what keeps Beth Hamilton in Jackson. "I am 100 percent in love with this city, even though I have only been a Jacksonian for about two years," she says.

Indie Films Headed Our Way

Every now and then, you'll still hear some misguided soul complain, "There's nothing to do in Jackson." While it's unclear what Jackson these people are talking about (Jackson, Tenn., perhaps), there's yet another thing to add to your to-do list of weekend events: Watch independent films on the big screen--a really big screen.

Banking Committee Passes Payday Lending Exemption Bill

The House Banking Committee passed an extension of a state law exempting short-term lenders from a 36 percent annual percentage rate cap yesterday.

Tuesday, January 11

Governor Haley Barbour's State of State Address

Thank you Speaker McCoy and Governor Bryant, and thanks to you in the Legislature for your warm welcome.

Immigrant Advocates Head to Capitol

The Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance will meet with lawmakers at the state Capitol tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. to discuss a proposed bill similar to a controversial Arizona law that a federal judge has blocked.

GOP Rep Calls for Gun Ban; Gun Control Discussion Starting?

According to, New York Republican Peter King plans to introduce a bill in the House that would make it illegal to carry a gun with 1,000 feet of high-ranking Federal officials, including members of Congress.

Former Inmate: Youth Prison Was Hell

The Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility is failing to rehabilitate and is actually endangering the lives of its juvenile inmates, advocates and former inmates told state lawmakers today. Members of the House Juvenile Justice Committee heard a litany of complaints against the state-funded, privately operated prison, ranging from inadequate educational services to misconduct and physical abuse by prison staff.

[Balko] The System's Epic Fail

When the SWAT team came for Richard Paey in 1997, it battered down the front door of the home in Pasco County, Fla., where he lived with his wife, Linda, an optometrist, and their two children. Paey is a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair after a car accident and botched back surgery. He also suffers from multiple sclerosis. The cops were there because Paey was accused of distributing the medication he used to treat his chronic pain, even though there was no evidence he had sold or given away a single pill. Thanks to Florida's draconian drug laws and mandatory minimum sentences, he was eventually convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

New Openings; Fondren Parade Planning

The Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership will celebrate the grand opening of Paco's Margaritas Mexican Grille at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 13. The restaurant is located at 6340 Ridgewood Court Drive in Jackson and is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday 11 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For more information, call 601-487-8388.

Lydia Quarles

If Lydia Quarles has her way, Mississippi will no longer rank as the 49th state in the nation for the number of females serving in elected office.

Reactions to Gov Barbour's Speech/Ariz Shootings Tonight 7pm on Direct Line

For those of you who dont know, Ive been named the new host of TV23's Direct Line. An hour-long Live News Talk show devoted to adressing the day's top issues. It airs every Tuesday at 7pm on Cable 14, Direct TV, or channel 23 in Jackson if you dont have cable. Tonight our roundtable will give reaction to the Gov's speech AND we'll talk about the Arizona shootings. You can call in 601 914 0064 or you can tweet in your questions by following and tweeting @directlinetv23.

Hey Jackson! Old School HipHop Icon Doug E. Fresh LIVE on Saturday

It isnt often that Jackson the kind of music events that will attract music lovers both young and old. Both Black and White. But I honestly believe if youre an old-school fan like I am, you dont want to miss Saturday night at Dreamz. The original "Human Beat Box" as he was coined back in the golden age of Hip Hop, DOUG. E. FRESHA will be appearing live and doing what he does best. He's recently experienced a revival of his career after the new dance craze "The Dougie" swept the nation and was the subject of several new songs. Doug E. made the dance famous years ago and will make his 2nd trip to Jackson. So who saying there isnt anything to do in downtown? If you can, grab some friends and come down Saturday Night. Doors open at 9pm.

Barbour to Give State of the State Address Tonight

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will give an overview of his legislative priorities and accomplishments during his State of the State address tonight.

Monday, January 10

Arizona Shootings Offer A Pivotal Moment

Since the horrifying assassination attempt on Saturday, which left a wonderful little girl, a judge and several other Americans dead, America has come face-to-face to the level of violence possible at the hands of people who claim to hate the U.S. government. It is giving us the opportunity to change the tone of politics—which has become more vicious and, disturbingly, violent in recent years, especially since Sarah Palin started scaring the dickens out of people at campaign rallies. And, yes, the man who acted out against the people in Arizona was mentally disturbed, but people who act out on violent rhetoric often are. That doesn't take the violent rhetoric off the hook.

Payday Lending Under Scrutiny Today

UPDATED: This story has been updated with additional information from this afternoon's hearing.

Pickering Seeks 2011 Re-election

State Auditor Stacey Pickering announced today that he will run for re-election in 2011. Pickering, who won the auditor's post in 2007, succeeding Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, was among a handful of politicians considered potential candidates for lieutenant governor.

James C. Martin

Millsaps College Professor James Martin is starting out the New Year in harmony. As the organizer of the weeklong "Extravoixganza," he is bringing several of the state's cultural institutions together to celebrate the art of singing.

Community Events and Public Meetings

4 p.m., Jackson City Council Work Session. The Jackson City Council holds its regular work session, open to the public. Free; call 601-960-1033.

Winter Storm Causes Delays, Closings

Last night's winter storm that brought freezing rain and sleet to central Mississippi has caused several closings and delays this morning.

Friday, January 7

Saints v. Seattle Preview: Run Reggie, Run!

The question on the mind of Saints fans everywhere is probably a pretty straightforward one if they've watched the injury reports over the past few days... with Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory both out for the season, can Reggie Bush, former Heisman trophy winner (and returner) and #2 pick in the 2006 draft truly the franchise back for the New Orleans Saints? Can he run north and south? Is he a threat if the Saints give him 20-25 touches? Is he fully healed from the broken leg he suffered early in the year?

‘It's Like A Dream': Scott Sisters Celebrate Freedom

Also see: Let My Daughters Go

Blues Marathon Growing Boon for City

When 2,000 people swarm Jackson streets tomorrow morning, they'll be bringing dollars and a growing sense of prestige to the city. Saturday's Mississippi Blues Marathon is only the fourth year for this event, but it represents a long evolution.

Bluntson Blames Media for Fueling Allegations

Jackson City Council President Frank Bluntson briefly accused the media for hyping allegations that he misused city employees to help his daughter-in-law's campaign during a community forum this morning.

Lampton Harry

Victims of the New Year's Eve tornadoes that hit Mississippi last week can find some relief knowing that American Red Cross volunteer Lampton Harry is on the scene.

It's the Weekend: Get your Blues On

The fifth annual Mississippi Blues Marathon features live entertainment and events for runners and non-runners alike this weekend. The marathon kicks off with a pre-race Blues Expo at the Jackson Convention Complex from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and continues with a special edition of "Downtown At Dusk" at the Old Capitol Green next to the War Memorial from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a performance by nationally acclaimed Elvis impersonator Brandon Bennett. If you'd like a break from the Blues, head to Thalia Mara Hall at 8 p.m. for Riverdance. Tickets are$27.50 to $57.50 and can be purchased by calling 1-800-745-3000. See the JFP's

State Economic Blueprint Launched

The Mississippi Economic Council announced plans yesterday to form a blueprint for the state's future economic development.

Thursday, January 6

Administration Reveals Deep Military Cuts; GOP Spends $1 Mil Reading Constitution

While the GOP spent its time today in the House reading a politically-corrected version of the Constitution for the cameras (at an estimated cost of $1.1 million) Raw Story reports that the Obama Administration has announced cuts to the military that nearly meet the GOP's first-year austerity pledge. Think they timed that one on purpose?

False equalization on domestic abuse only hurts the fight against it

It always make me cringe and fidget whenever someone answers a clear case of discrimination, or other un-nicety common among a certain group of people, with, "Well, so-and-so does it, too." We've always heard it here in Mississippi from apologists for white supremacy and racism, but I also hear it way too often when the subject of domestic abuse comes up. If you mention the epidemic of male violence against women, way too many people—men and women—will respond immediately that women do it to men, too, thus trying to negate that, overwhelmingly, women are the vast majority of domestic-abuse targets. It helps nothing, and actually hurts the cause, especially considering that one of the big challenges behind fighting domestic abuse is getting people of both genders to understand the roots of the problem and that "boys will be boys" attitude undergirds so much violence against women and girls. And the only purpose of this false equalization is to make some people more comfortable, not to solve the problem. Tackling these kinds of issues aren't supposed to be comfortable; in fact, just the opposite.

Scott Sisters To Be Released Today

Also see: Let My Daughters Go

City Sets Special Election

On Tuesday, Jackson City Council members scheduled a special election for Feb. 15 to fill the Ward 1 council seat. The deadline for candidates to qualify for the Ward 1 special election is Jan. 26. Former councilman Jeff Weill who resigned from his Ward 1 position to serve as Hinds County Circuit judge this month and is replacing judge Swan Yerger who retired this year.

Thomas Bobo

For Thomas Bobo, coaching soccer is more than just a hobby; it is an opportunity to be a community leader. Bobo believes that coaching allows him to stay connected with youth and teach life lessons on and off the field.

Facebook Modifies Service Agreement for Government Agencies

<i>Verbatim Statement from Attorney General Jim Hood</i>:

Facebook has agreed to modify its terms and conditions to allow state and local government agencies to use the social media Web site, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Wednesday, January 5

Is the Tea party the ‘last gasp of the 55-year-old generation'?

Well, duh. In Raw Story piece, Howard Dean states the obvious, but the not often said: The Tea Party is clearly an effort by people scared by the nation's growing diversity; thus, its hysteria over immigration, regardless of the real facts. I've believed this for a while now; younger generations welcome diversity and are more likely to notice the lack of it. Older generations are more likely to be scared by culture-mixing. Dean is more partisan than I am--not sure I agree with all his comments about Obama's liberal base--but I do like that he dares to speak up about Americans who fear, or have disdain for, diversity.

U.S. Chamber to GOP—Wait…But… We Like Roads!

Here's a fun one from the Careful What You Wish For Dept. (care of the Wall Street Journal) it turns that the U.S. Chamber is not 100% happy with all of the cutty-budgety talk they're hearing from the GOP:

Musical Field Trips

Happy New Year to you music lovers, you!

I Heart Lasagna

Good lasagna is meaty, drips with rich tomato sauce and oozes with gooey cheese. It's a meal where you can really stretch your dollar. I have yet to come across a lasagna recipe that doesn't make at least three or four meals for two people. Lasagna is filling and comforting at the same time.

Just the Flax, Ma'am

I have never been one for modern medicine. I do not enjoy doctor visits or prescription medication. When I get a cold, I eat chicken soup. When I have a cough, a tablespoon of honey cures it every time. When I burn myself, I always turn to my aloe vera plant.

Ring in the New Year!

Few things will make your heart flutter like the perfect cocktail ring. It will add a boost to any outfit, from jeans and a sweater to a little black dress adorned with sequins. If you want to attract attention to your perfectly manicured nails, put a piece of jewelry on your finger that demands it.

The Hard Stuff

Evelyn Rasco believed in the power of story when no one else did. After her daughters, Jamie and Gladys Scott, went to prison for life for a 1993 robbery with details so confusing that no one really knows how much money was taken, Ms. Rasco did not give up.

City to Spur Development at Metrocenter

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. says moving city facilities directly into the largely under-used Metrocenter Mall on Highway 80 will give the mall a much-needed economic boost.

Scott Sisters Story Goes Viral

After languishing in obscurity for 16 years, the story of imprisoned sisters Jamie and Gladys Scott received its 15 minutes on the national stage last week after Gov. Haley Barbour ordered their life sentences indefinitely suspended.

Building A Future that Works

Beginning a brand-new clean calendar at the turn of the year provides all of us the perfect opportunity to take stock of the past and make changes for a better future, especially those things we may have been procrastinating about.

[Stiggers] Funky Finances

Miss Doodle Mae: "2010 proved to be a stable year for the staff and management of Jojo's Discount Dollar Store. Despite the recessive economy, loyal customers continued to spend their hard earned dollars at Jojo's. Also, the Ghetto Science Community Financial Stimulus Grant helped Jojo retain his staff and expand consumer goods and services. And he didn't give himself a pay raise, either."

[Kamikaze] A Fresh Start

2010 could be described as "the best of times and the worst of times" for the Franklin family and me. We always have high hopes and expectations, but sometimes life throws you a few curve balls. It's those surprise occurrences that test your mettle.

[Head] And the Good News Is…

The 2011 legislative session begins Jan. 4, and it's likely to be exceptionally loud, complicated and messy. Mississippi faces an unusual alignment of unfavorable omens: a budget crisis, a national climate favoring anti-immigrant sentiment, a contentious statewide election year and an inexplicably influential tea-party movement with which conservative elements in both parties have fallen madly in love.

2011 Mississippi Legislative Preview

The Mississippi Legislature returned Jan. 4, and many legislators are not looking forward to the kind of cuts facing state departments. The Mississippi Department of Mental Health is looking at a shortfall of more than $30 million this year, which could easily mean the closing of some mental-health institutions in the state, delivering more mental-health patients into county jails and state prisons.

Tease photo

King Freak

On a Sunday evening in fall 2009, Patrick Grogan painted his face and arms black and walked into a service at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson wearing a black hoodie and blue jeans. Earlier that day, he had noticed that the congregation was mostly white, and wanted church members to think about why God's temple lacked people of various races and colors.

Affected by War

As he watches Confederate soldiers march into his war-torn town, quarry owner Michael Morkan turns to his son, Leighton, and says wearily "One doesn't have to fight in a war to be a part of it."

Coming Home

Before I read "Uptown" by Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant (Touchstone, 2010, $14.99), I assumed the book would be about the dramas that normally unfold in big cities and corporate America. I guessed an office affair gone wrong or perhaps a grand scheme gone sour. Fortunately, "Uptown" wasn't that predictable.

Treetops and Bluesman

Born and reared in Wisconsin, I grew up believing Chicago was the birthplace of the blues. Since then, I've lived all over--London, Edinburgh, Phoenix, Dallas, Boston, Roanoke and Lynchburg--and no one challenged my false precept. In 2008, I debated: Should I remain a regional health-care system's corporate architect or make a difference designing hospitals elsewhere? I opted for the latter, and in January 2009, my Mississippi adventure began.

Former Chief Questions Shooting

Former Jackson Police Chief Robert Johnson says two Jackson police officers should not have been in a position to shoot a Jackson resident on New Year's morning.

A More Collegial Council

At 33, Marcus Ward is already a veteran of Jackson city politics. From 2005 to 2009, he served as chief of staff and director of intergovernmental relations under former Mayor Frank Melton. Now he is considering a run for the Ward 1 City Council seat, which Jeff Weill is vacating to become a Hinds County Circuit judge.

Sarah Welker

Sarah Welker understands the importance of a strong social network and role models within a community. A well-founded support structure brought the enthusiastic 23-year-old to Mississippi in March 2010 to become a policy analyst for the Mississippi Economic Policy Center.

Education Advocates Host Training

The Mississippi Youth Justice Project will host "How to Advocate at the School Board" Saturday, Jan. 8, to help parents and students become more involved in their school districts.

Tuesday, January 4

Voter ID, Abortion, Eminent Domain, Oh My

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann will deliver three voter-referendum initiatives to the state Legislature this morning that could require voters to bring photo identification to polls, restrict the state's use of eminent domain and amend state law to define when life begins.

Solar Panel Plant To Open; New Downtown Cafe

A California solar panel company plans to build a new production facility in Hattiesburg, Gov. Haley Barbour announced today. The company, Stion, produces high-efficiency thin-film solar panels at its headquarters in San Diego. Barbour called on the Mississippi Legislature, which convenes today, to pass a $75 million loan, along with other tax and workforce-training incentives, to facilitate the project.

Amy Evans Streeter

As an oral historian for Southern Foodways Alliance, Amy Evans Streeter travels to pig lots in Cajun country, La., and oyster skiffs in Apalachicola, Fla., where she documents the culinary traditions of southerners.

Are The Saints The Best Team In The NFC Playoffs?

The NFL regular season is over and the playoffs are set to begin this week. Over in the AFC the New England Patriots look like heavy favorites.

House GOP Freshmen Throw Lavish Party

Story out of suggests that not everyone in the GOP is happy about the lavish fundraiser that's planned for GOP incoming freshmen this week. The $2,500-per-plate event features a show by country star LeAnn Rimes -- and an opportunity for top-shelf lobbyists to meet and greet the right-wing Congressional newbies. (Rimes recently admitted to an extramarital affair, writes Politico, giving rise to the argument that the entertainment choice isn't currently a "family values" paragon.)

Hinds Judges Sworn In Today

Three Hinds County judges officially took office today during a swearing-in ceremony at the Hinds County Courthouse.

Monday, January 3

Former Yazoo Resident Talks Back to Barbour about Real Race History

With long-time white journalists like Wyatt Emmerich (Northside Sun) and Sid Salter (Clarion-Ledger) carrying water for Gov. Haley Barbour by excusing away his reprehensible and revisionist remarks about racism in Yazoo City, it is refreshing to see another white male journalist take a different approach. Read Robbie Ward's amazing column in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal:

Legislature Returns; How to Track Bills

As state legislators return to the Capitol tomorrow for the 2011 Legislative session, lawmakers will spend the next 90 days approving diminished funding for state agencies and debating a host of bills.

Mississippi Art Funds Under Knife

State funding for the arts will likely drop next year, but grants to artists will remain largely the same, said Mississippi Arts Commission Executive Director Malcolm White today.

Community Events and Public Meetings

6 p.m., Jackson State of the Arts 2011 at North Midtown Arts Center (121 Millsaps Ave.). The open forum is for all greater Jackson arts scene participants: teachers, musicians, grant-organization members, gallery owners, etc. Free; call 601-497-7454.

Bob Herbert Blasts Barbour Again, Does Right by JFP Again

I was so busy Friday and through the weekend, tweeting about the storm and drinking champagne (not at the same time), that I didn't notice until today that New York Times columnist Bob Herbert had had written another column about the Scott Sisters and Haley Barbour. Herbert starts out by saying that he had gotten a call on New Year's Eve from one of the sisters, Gladys, "which was a terrific way for 2010 to end."

No Deaths from Mississippi Tornadoes

A total of six tornadoes hit Mississippi on New Year's Eve damaging homes and businesses, the National Weather Service reports.

Denise Halbach

Fondren Theater Workshop's upcoming production "Unshelved," has personal ties for director Denise Halbach who lost her mother to Alzheimer's disease a few years ago.