Stories for May 2011


Tuesday, May 31

Yes on Budget Shift, Electric Cars

The Jackson City Council approved a $3.5 million budget revision this week, funneling budget savings into new shortfalls found halfway into the budget year.

Cellphones "Possibly Carcinogenic"

AP is reporting that the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classifieds cellphones as "possibly carcinogenic," a label that it also applies to DDT and coffee. The Agency is an off-shoot of the World Health Organization. According to the story:

Council Considers Gate Ordinance

Under a new city ordinance Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell proposed today, 75 percent of a Jackson neighborhood's residents could vote to gate their community even though the city would continue funding its infrastructure. "This is a traffic-calming measure," Whitwell said at the Jackson City Council meeting this morning.

Midtown Market Opens; Biz Support Group

A national nonprofit designed to educate entrepreneurs and support small businesses needs volunteers to help establish a chapter in Jackson.

Anna Kline

Within the past two weeks, Anna Kline saw the devastation of the Mississippi River flooding, wrote a song about it and played it during practice with her band. In the next few days, Anna Kline and the Grits & Soul Band sang the song on WLBT-TV, then recorded and produced the song, "Flood Waters."

Flood Recovery Volunteers Needed

Several community and faith-based organizations are seeking volunteers to help 14 counties in Mississippi recovered from flooding.

Monday, May 30

Quentin Whitwell, Nic Lott, Othor Cain, and Chris Bell on "Direct Line" Tuesday 7pm

Just FYI, We've got an action packed Direct Line on tap for Tues. Ward 1 City Councilman Quentin Whitwell will join us. Along with Mississippi Link Editor Othor Cain, Nic Lott, and Former State Represenative Candidate Chris Bell. We'll be waxing poetic about the proposed Tax commission, JPS Superintendent hearings, Billy McCoy stepping down, Obama vs. Cornell West and much MORE. the show is LIVE so you can call in and grill our guests 601 914 0064. 7pm on comcast channel 14. TUNE IN!

Friday, May 27

the Southern Ties Tour at Fenians

I didn't get a chance to highlight this event in the most recent edition of Eight Days a Week, so I thought I'd mention it here. Thanks to Amy Willis (no relation) of Amy Willis PR for providing the following description:

Biz District Plan Moves Forward

With little dissent, downtown Jackson property owners approved a plan last night that would expand the Downtown Jackson Partners' Business Improvement District and maintain assessment rates at 10 cents per square foot.

Sales Tax Commission Authority Still Unclear

The city of Jackson and one of its state senators still disagree over the mechanics behind a localized 1-percent sales tax increase.

Chicken of the Day: Jane Hen

The people at PETA are no chickens. Members of the Norfolk, Va.-based organization escorted their "crippled chicken"--another PETA member clad in a chicken suit and toting a cane--across the street to and from the McDonald's at 1010 N. State St. yesterday in a bold attempt to garner attention to the restaurant chain's alleged use of animal cruelty.

TGIF: The Weekend's Here!

Let's make this a Memorial Day weekend to remember, shall we? Start it off tonight with Latin flair. Eat, dance and try out your conversational Spanish at Fiesta Latina, the free party at Lingofest Language Center (7048 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland). It begins at 7 p.m. Later, head over to Afrika Book Cafe (404 Mitchell Ave.) to hear music from Tawanna Shaunte of Eclectik Soul, Kolectiv Rhythm and Lonne George beginning at 8:30 p.m. Don't stop there. What's the best place to begin looking for things to do in Jackson? The JFP Best Bets page, of course.

Thursday, May 26

Farish Street, Capitol Green Moving Forward

B.B. King Blues Club has signed a lease deal with Farish Street developer Watkins Development, LLC. John Reeves, a member of the Jackson Redevelopment Authority, confirmed the deal this morning that aims to put a Beale Street mainstay in Jackson.

Freedom Riders Call on Governor for Action

Several civil-rights activists and Freedom Riders gathered this morning, and called on Gov. Haley Barbour to put his apology into action and issue a full pardon for the Scott sisters.

Billy McCoy

Mississippi House Speaker Billy McCoy, 68, a Delta farmer from Rienzi, announced yesterday that he would not run again for his seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives.

Mayor Harvey Johnson on ‘JFP on WLEZ' Today

At noon today on WLEZ-FM 100.1, Mayor Harvey Johnson will join JFP editor Donna Ladd and publisher Todd Stauffer for a wide-ranging discussion covering issues currently facing Jackson and its citizens. Topics will likely include questions about "rebranding" Jackson, re-working the budget, issues facing JATRAN and other public services, and some of the development in Jackson that's pushing into the Hwy 80 corridor and midtown. You can listen over the air or live at, or watch for the podcast later in the day at

JFP Sports Coverage of Day One of the C-USA Baseball Tournament

The first major live event that JFP Sports is covering is the C-USA Baseball Tournament. Everyday after all the tournament action is done, JFP Sports will recap the day's action and do a detailed recap of the Southern Miss game.

Wednesday, May 25

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Doctor S sez: Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen has satisfied the Bulldog fans for now. Meanwhile, things are less settled at Ole Miss.

‘Old Southern' Cooking with Sara Foster

Sara Foster's career has come back home. After growing up in Tennessee in a family of cooks, Foster went to culinary school in New York. She worked with Martha Stewart and owned a catering business in Connecticut before relocating to North Carolina and opening Foster's Market.

Doctor Who

A few weeks ago, some of our Twitter friends suggested we dedicate a FLY page to Doctor Who. He's a cultural icon who has the ability to travel through space and time in his phone-booth time machine, the TARDIS. The Doctor's mission is to battle injustice and right wrongs. When near death he can regenerate his body thus explaining his many fashion trends throughout the history of the show. This doctor gets our FLY stamp of approval. Catch "Doctor Who" at 9 p.m. Saturdays on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

Take My Hand

I was not about to lie down in a body imprint left in the grass no matter how much the artist encouraged me. Looking at the impression of a fallen body in a bed of violets was enough for me to feel raw. I didn't want to feel more real than that. At least not on that Sunday afternoon.

Deficit Hawks Push Oil Tax Breaks

U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker both voted May 18 to maintain $2 billion in annual tax breaks to the world's five largest private oil companies.

Council Recalculating Budget

The Jackson City Council is willing to approve a budget revision next week filling a $4 million budget shortfall, Ward 2 Councilman Chokwe Lumumba believes.

Tax Commission Battles Continue

City and state leaders are debating whether a 10-member commission will have to oversee a proposed 1-cent sales-tax increase in Jackson. The city's roads, water, sewer and other infrastructure are in need of approximately $76 million in upgrades and major repairs, and the increase would fund that work.

Downtown Biz District May Expand; Disaster Jobs Available

The Downtown Business Improvement District may expand up to the second block of the Farish Street Entertainment District, which includes Peaches Restaurant and the Alamo Theater.

Chamber, Work With the Mayor

The Jackson Free Press has often agreed with Sen. John Horhn over the years, and we're finding that new Ward 1 City Councilman Quentin Whitwell can be a breath of fresh air out of north Jackson on many issues.

[Stiggers] Post-Judgment Refund

"Remember: In the ghetto everything is everything, and everything at Jojo's is still a dollar."

[Kamikaze] Trash Talking

Let's put some accurate information onto the turnpike, shall we? Crime in Jackson is down. Dropping. Heading south. It's a slow decline, yes, but a decline, nonetheless. For those of you who liken Jackson to the streets of Medellin, Colombia, during the Pablo Escobar era, I'm sorry to inform you that overall crime has dropped 5 percent since this time last year.

[Halkias] Love Lost and Gained

On a recent drive home, I started crying, in part because of an argument I had with my mom. I also had a mix of emotions after a weekend trip to New Orleans to visit a close friend and to see Arcade Fire perform at Jazz Fest.

Art Intensive

Tougaloo Art Colony returns for its 15th year this July. Accomplished artists and curious amateurs are all accepted for the intensive experience, space permitting. The object at this retreat is to create works depicting multiculturalism.

Free Mix

What's the best thing about the Mississippi Museum of Art's Art Remix this summer? It's free.

Sneaky Fest

If you are planning on driving around the Fondren area Aug. 27, you may want to think of an alternate route instead of North State Street. The street will be closed from Duling Avenue to Fondren Place to make room for two stages that will host live music during Sneaky Fest.

"Love, Sex and the IRS"

Think of a Neil Simon play's energy ("The Odd Couple"), the ribald French movie "Les Cage Aux Folles," and the eclectic characters from television's "Carol Burnett Show." Put them into a blender, place the lid on (making sure the rubber gasket seal is secured) and push "puree." Mix for a few seconds, remove the lid and pour out "Love, Sex and the IRS."

Fun on the Road

This past weekend, I traveled with my son's Cub Scout troop to Louisiana for a tour of the Honey Island Swamp. As cliché as the phrase is, it doesn't stop kids from asking it. The swamp is 250 square miles (with 70,000 acres of wildlife nature preserve) that got its name from the honeybees found in the area.

Institute Honors Mississippi Artists, Writers

In June, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters will award prizes for works first published, shown or performed in 2010. Categories include poetry, fiction, nonfiction, visual arts, photography and music composition.

Tease photo

Jackson's Creative Economy

Tracie James-Wade was tired of corporate America. After working in sales and marketing for various corporations in Nashville, Tenn., for nine years, she decided it was time to pursue a career that meant more than a paycheck.

How much radioactive tritium did Grand Gulf release?

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission still has not assessed how much radioactive tritium Entergy Mississippi employees accidentally released into the Mississippi River late last month.

Bye-Bye, Be-Bop

As Kathy Morrison surveys the crowds browsing CDs in the aisles at Be-Bop Record Shop May 19, she is reminded of a time before iPods, MP3 players and iTunes.

LaRita Smith

LaRita Smith is exhausted. Not only has she been painting until 3 a.m. and cutting countless strips of paper for collages with glue-covered hands, she's been doing it at age 87.

Musicians Unite for Skaters

One day, Jackson's (gently) aging skaters, scarred-knee veterans of a thousand plywood ramps and endless miles of dented handrails, came to a realization. Society now recognizes skateboarding as a sport, just like basketball or baseball. But while Jackson has its courts and soccer pitches and even competitive swimming pools, it doesn't have a free skate park for kids. And so, SkateMS was born.

For the State

As a former roller-derby queen, I admire those who've picked up the hobby and talent of skating, whether as an eight-wheeled mafia (aka roller-derby team), by inline skating or executing moves such as the kick flip on skateboards.

Coming Home

Medgar Evers' work has never been forgotten. To honor his memory, the Evers family has held a Medgar Evers Homecoming event each June. In 1973 Mayor Charles Evers and B.B. King collaborated to sponsor concerts in honor of the slain civil rights leader.

Court Stops Execution

Just hours before officials were scheduled to execute Mississippi death row inmate Robert Simon Jr. Tuesday, a federal appeals court blocked the execution.

Tuesday, May 24

Downtown Biz District May Expand; Disaster Jobs Available

Read a list of all properties and payments included in the BID here

Freedom Riders Recognized

Freedom Rider Jesse James Davis said his historic ride on a Greyhound bus to protest Jackson's segregated bus station was not a planned event.

Zandrea King

At 28, Zandrea King is a self-described up-and-coming professional who decided to take the path less traveled with her career choice.

Simon Asks Court to Block Execution

Death row inmate Robert Simon Jr., who is scheduled to die today, is asking a federal appeals court to block his execution in order for the court to thoroughly review his mental-health claims.

Monday, May 23

City Filling Budget Holes

Halfway into the budget year, the city of Jackson has to move money around thanks to overtime costs and JATRAN budget overruns, among other issues.

C-USA Tournament Begins

On Wednesday, Trustmark Park, home of the Mississippi Braves, becomes home to the Conference USA Baseball Tournament.

Gov. Haley Barbour

"To the Freedom Riders yourselves, our state does celebrate and thank you for your courage, your commitment, your suffering and your sacrifices of 50 years ago. We apologize to you for your mistreatment in 1961, and we appreciate this chance for atonement and reconciliation."

Community Events and Public Meetings

Return of the Freedom Riders: 50th Anniversary Reunion through May 26. More than 100 Freedom Riders and their families will reunite with their colleagues and tell stories about the struggle to end racial segregation in American interstate travel in 1961. Programs, ceremonies, visits, exhibits, oral histories, a film festival, and education and training forums will take place. Visit for a detailed schedule.

Friday, May 20

River to Flood into June

The Mississippi River flood crest that everybody's been waiting for is, unfortunately, not the final phase of the drama, Jeffrey Eckstein, Vicksburg District commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, told reporters this week.

Whitwell: Move Forward on Sales Tax

Referring to himself as a "tell-it-like-it-is politician," Ward 1 Jackson City Councilman Quentin Whitwell told community members this morning that the makeup of a commission to oversee Jackson's proposed 1-percent sales-tax increase should not stop Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. from moving forward.

Kayla Watkins

Kayla Watkins, Madison Central High School's head softball coach, is looking forward to her fast-pitch softball team winning the championship against Petal High School today and Saturday.

It's the Weekend

Art House Downtown Cinema brings Jackson independent and interesting films consistently. You have a chance to catch two films, "Blank City" at 7 p.m. and "Heartbeats" at 8:45 p.m. today at Russell C. Davis Planetarium (201 E. Pascagoula St.). It's $7 per film. Meet some new folks and talk about the films over coffee or drinks afterward. For live music options, check out Chimney Choir and Wooden Finger at Sneaky Beans or Velcro Pygmies at Fire. Lots of great options abound on the detailed JFP Best Bets page.

City Launches Summer Reading Program

The Jackson Public Schools District and city leaders announced an initiative yesterday to recruit 30,000 young readers across the city to read 100,000 books over the summer.

Thursday, May 19

Jackson Crime Rate Down Again

Read the report. 05022011-05082011.pdf

Bike to Work Week Kicks Into High Gear

Gas prices got you down? Thankfully, leg muscles don't cost $3.95 for every 20 miles you travel. Make it easy this week by celebrating National Bike Month along with a host of cities and biking associations.

Wendi Reed

Rick Fremin, who became coach of the Jackson State University women's softball team in January, does not hesitate naming the on-the-field leader for the Lady Tigers. "Without question, one player I feel does not get enough media hype or exposure is Wendi Reed," he said.

Circle of Us Meeting

Although I created an event listing for this, I wanted to highlight this event because I think this group serves an important purpose. More and more African Americans are deciding to wear their hair in its natural state, but challenges such as not knowing how to maintain natural hair, negative feedback from friends and family, finding a hairdresser, etc. can be discouraging. If you fall into any of those categories, I suggest that you come to the meeting and fellowship with others who have natural hair. The ones who have been natural for years or who specialize in styling natural hair may be able to help you. The meeting is May 25, 6 p.m. at Brice Media (6712 Old Canton Road, Suite 6, Ridgeland). You can send an email to {encode="" title=""} if you have any questions, and the group also has a Facebook page. Hope you can make it!

Wednesday, May 18

Un-gifting JPS

State budget cuts are forcing Jackson Public Schools to scale back its gifted-education classes to the bare minimum required by state law. With their emphasis on hands-on learning and critical thinking, classes for "gifted" students are among the highlights of any school district.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Doctor S sez: Mississippi State or Ole Miss could win the SEC West. Or they could miss the SEC Tournament completely. Tight race, huh?

Coping with Food Allergies

About four years ago, I finally realized that the health problems I had been having for years would recur every time I ate tomatoes or dishes in which tomatoes were prominent. Salsa, spaghetti and tomato-based soups all gave me terrible allergic reactions such as swollen eyelids and stomach aches.

Royal Cocktails

You may not be royalty, but that shouldn't stop you from adding a little pizzazz to your summer wedding. Consider adding these royal-themed drinks to your bar menu. They're provided by in honor of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.


When most couples talk about their honeymoon, it's usually stories of how wonderful the masseuse was at the hotel spa or how delectable the food. They might even mention the breathtaking view from their room. This is about the time we nod and smile, and act like it all sounds so exciting and interesting.

Wedding Dance Lessons

On your big day, don't step out on the dance floor with two left feet. Instead, invest a little money and time to make your first dance together as husband and wife a thing of grace and beauty.

Register Locally

For some couples, developing a bridal registry is one of the most exciting parts of getting married. It is their one opportunity to think about the special items they want to fill the home they will share.

Spring Renewal

Spring is a time of renewal. Flowers blooming, Easter, the birds and the bees doing their things—it all makes a girl want to shop for a new look and go dancing. At least that's what it makes this girl want to do. And so, this week I did.

Strenuous Liberty

I saw an earth-shattering tweet yesterday. The Fairview Inn in Belhaven was tweeting the link to their blog post heralding the Freedom Riders' anniversary. So what, you might respond. It's just a nice hotel doing good marketing.

Bracing for Destruction

Dave Collins of Collins Farms in Tallulah, La., sits in his office, staring across his desk at his older brother Curt Collins who sits in a broad blue sofa, holding a phone to his ear.

Out of Time

Once the drugs started to flow, it took only a minute for Benny Joe Stevens' lips to stop moving. He slipped out of consciousness, and soon his heart stopped.

A Newspaper Is Born

Never in the history of journalism, as we know it in the State of Mississippi, has any newspaper from its inception had such bold aims and purity of purpose as the MISSISSIPPI FREE PRESS.

[Stiggers] My Dog Bites Booty

"The Crime Watch Report News Brief is your source for information on suspicious individuals and activities in desirable suburban communities. Here's your Crime Watch News Brief reporter, I. M. Scared."

[Dickerson] Civil Rights Ain't Just History

Gov. Haley Barbour did the right thing by lobbying for a civil-rights museum.

Tease photo

Freedom Rides Again

Their Story, 50 Years Later

Hank Thomas walked up the steps of the Greyhound bus on a sunny day May 4, 1961. As he calmly surveyed its drab, blue-gray interior, the lanky 19-year-old black student from Howard University had no idea that in about two weeks he would come dangerously close to meeting his maker on its floor.

[Balko] How Bin Laden Won

In "The Looming Tower," the Pulitzer Prize-winning history of al-Qaeda and the road to Sept. 11, author Lawrence Wright lays out how Osama bin Laden's motivation for the attacks that he planned in the 1990s, and then the Sept. 11 attacks, was to draw the United States and the West into a prolonged war--an actual war in Afghanistan, and a broader global war with Islam.

Recreating the Rides

Forty college students got on the bus earlier this month and began tweeting and blogging about retracing the 1961 Freedom Rides from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans.

‘It Won't Be Long'

Before Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., telling the nation of his dream in 1963, Medgar Evers also had a dream. The civil-rights activist and NAACP field officer dreamt of a newspaper to reach the under-served black population of Mississippi as he tried tirelessly to recruit blacks to vote.

Common Struggle

The first time Lewis Zuchman saw Freedom Rider Hank Thomas was in 1961. Thomas was giving a television interview about the violence he had encountered in Anniston, Ala., while challenging Jim Crow laws. Thomas' conviction and perseverance inspired Zuchman.

Freedom's Main Line

When Robert Parker Adams was a teenager, he spent muggy Mississippi afternoons playing pinball at Jackson's Greyhound station at 219 N. Lamar St. It was just across the street from his school, Central High School.

‘Jail Not Bail'

Fred Clark always felt something was not right with how the South treated blacks.

Peter Zapletal, Puppeteer

The puppets Peter Zapletal makes are works of art, all unified by his craftsmanship. The sly smile on bunnies wearing striped suits in "Carnival of Animals" and the details in the construction of the robbers Fritz and Wolfgang that allows them to move in "The Breman Town Musicians" are just two examples of the way Zapletal uses art to bring stories to the stage.

Dancing with Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin has come a long way from choreographing Chiefs games in his hometown of Kansas City, Mo., at 16. What began as a dare to tell jokes at a local comedy club has led to dozens of film roles, including turns in "Undercover Brother" and the "Deuce Bigalow" franchise.

Bridging Sandridge's Divide

Malco Grandview Theatre may not be running Mark Sandridge's controversial campaign ad for Madison County Sheriff anymore, but his message has spurred debates about Jackson stereotypes and the responsibility of law enforcement officials to unite the metro area.

Echoes of Shoccoe

As the waters of the Mississippi River creep to a historic high, lapping at Vicksburg's ankles, some local residents are getting nervous about how long the city of Jackson has before it suffers the next round of its own flooding.

Jeanne Luckett

Jeanne Luckett has a contagious enthusiasm for studying and preserving Mississippi's civil-rights legacy. She put her passion and energy to use helping to plan the 50th anniversary Freedom Riders reunion in Jackson from May 22 through May 26.

Pot's Simmering, Gumbo's Ready

By day, the men are schoolteachers and repairmen. But by night, the gentlemen of Southern Komfort Brass Band bring New Orleans-style brass-band music to Jackson.

‘Grey Skies' Clearing

Brad "Kamikaze" Franklin, aka Kaz, is many things to many people: husband, father, advocate for Jackson, columnist for this paper, rapper, business owner, activist and a member of the Kiss Army. Wait, what?

Tuesday, May 17

The Conservative "War on Math," Part One


Look, I get it. People want someone to blame, and you've got Obama right there. But this exchange on Facebook (names changed) the other day was a bit too much for me:

Council Battles Over Zoning

Jackson City Council members agonized over how to classify newly annexed city property during a lengthy zoning meeting yesterday.

Restaurant Makeover

Belhaven mainstay Keifer's Restaurant is set to move to a new building in late September. Assistant general manager Jeff Stricklin told the Jackson Free Press today that the restaurant is aiming for a Sept. 24 opening at its new location in a new building being constructed on the opposite side of Poplar Boulevard.

Shaunti Dennis

With the help of the community, The Journey Ministries Coordinator Shaunti Dennis is raising money for church members to take a mission trip to Tanzania, Africa, this summer. The goal of the mission is to help young girls who are victims of human and sex trafficking.

Monday, May 16

Keep Current Maps, Says Court

Read the court's decision (PDF)

City Eyes $6M in Upgrades

City Eyes $6M in Upgrades

The city is moving ahead with funding $5.8 million in contracts with Johnson Controls Inc. and Siemens Building Technologies Inc. this week.

Witnesses Praise Edwards' Leadership

Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Lonnie Edwards has made major improvements to the school district but still needs more time, witnesses in the hearing on Edwards' contract said today. Vicki Davidson, the district's director of advanced academic programs, praised Edwards "hands-on" managerial style, which she said was responsible for the improved morale and greater collaboration she sees among district staff.

Ermea Russell

On May 23, Ermea Russell will begin her term as a Mississippi Appeals Court judge. Gov. Haley Barbour appointed her last week.

Community Events and Public Meetings

Introduction to SCORE. Learn more about a nonprofit that helps small businesses grow and succeed. Free; call 601-540-5415.

Friday, May 13

Burton: Schimmel Pushed Edwards' Ouster

George Schimmel, member of the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees, drove the board's consideration of whether to replace Superintendent Lonnie Edwards, said Otha Burton, his fellow board member, today. Testifying at an ongoing hearing on Edwards' contract, Burton said that he did not see adequate reasons for replacing the superintendent when his contract expires at the end of June.

In Jackson, ‘Always Something to Do'

Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center Manager Pam Junior dashed arguments that there is little to do in the city of Jackson.

Abigail Susik

With less than 24 hours before The Plant on Highway 80 is transformed into a participatory arts event with more than 40 projects, FIGMENT Jackson Lead Curator Abigail Susik is calm as she helps artists set up their projects.

It's the Weekend

Unleash the animal within this Friday at Zoo Brew, starting at 6 p.m. at the Jackson Zoo. Sample more than 40 specialty beers from Capital City Beverage, margaritas by Paco's Mexican Restaurant and chicken wings from participants in the Tyson's Wing Cook-off competition. The Sole Shakers will perform. Admission to the event is $20 for members, $25 for non-members. Park and ride from Coffee Bus at Highland Village (4500 Interstate 55 N.) or Barnes and Noble at Renaissance for $10. Show your ticket stub for free admission to the 9 p.m. after-party at Underground 119 (119 S. President St.). Or, film-enthusiasts and foodies alike can head to Rainbow Whole Foods Co-Operative Grocery (2807 Old Canton Rd.) for dinner and a movie. Enjoy the Oscar-winning film "Inside Job" and a vegetarian dinner from High Noon Cafe. Later in the evening, catch the funk group Good Enough for Good Times at Martin's at 10 p.m., or hurry your caboose over to a live performance by California pop-rock trio Train at 8 p.m. at the Jackson Convention Complex. Tickets for Train range from $30-50 and can be purchased by calling 800-745-3000. For more music listings, see the JFP Music Listings.

Thursday, May 12

$20 Million Hold-up on Capitol Green?

Old Capitol Green developers cannot take advantage of $20 million in state bonds for infrastructure work because the state and city have not committed to the bonds.

State's African Americans See Higher Unemployment

Like many things in Mississippi, the hardship of unemployment during the Great Recession has fallen unequally on the state's population. African American workers in Mississippi experienced an 18 percent unemployment rate over 2010, according to the national think tank Economic Policy Institute report issued April 28.

Michael Hrivnak

Michael Hrivnak has spent the past few days sending miniature rubber ducks on a test swim through Smith Park's fountain in downtown Jackson. This weekend, more than 300 ducks will race to raise money for Stewpot Community Services during the Arts Alive! festival.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Doctor S sez: Y'all quit playing Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks." Now is not the time.

Wednesday, May 11

10,000 Hours to Genius

They practiced their faces off to be great!

Parenting Styles

Your child may not have come with a handbook on how to be a good parent, but you can learn nevertheless. Many factors determine how you choose to parent. The best parenting, like everything else in life, is about balance.

Growing Great Writers

I firmly believe that anyone can be a good writer. Writing leads to clear thinking, and reading and writing feed each other. Don't give up on yourself or your child, or think that you don't have writing "talent." Just like anything else, writing is a craft that needs to be developed and practiced.

From At-Risk to OK

Constant, intense stimulation, pressure to do more and better, media and peer pressure, and life's everyday changes bombard kids from all directions. Living in atmospheres of poverty, crime and abuse puts additional enormous stress on families and children.

Steps to Adoption

Choosing to adopt is a major decision that can reap rewarding and unfathomable benefits of giving an orphaned child a place to call home.

Hard Decisions

If you are a child with aging parents, or a caring parent with foresight for your children, here are some of the documents that will help you deal with end of life decisions. As difficult as they may be to complete, they will be a comfort during times of high stress and crisis.

Co-housing Now

The decrease in the number of Americans participating in bowling leagues since 1950 is just one example of America's movement toward isolated communities. Robert Putnam uses this example in the book "Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community" (Simon and Schuster, 2001, $10.99) to demonstrate that American's decline in social activity is detrimental to a strong democratic society.

Growing Herbs: Kid-Friendly Gardening

A handful of culinary herbs are easy to grow and useful in the kitchen—even for new gardeners with little space and for those (including kids) who are too busy to learn about "real" gardening.

How to Live in a Multi-Generational Household

The number of people living in multi-generational households has steadily increased over the last three decades, according to the Pew Research Center. As of 2008, 49 million Americans lived in households consisting of adult children living with their parents, grandchildren living with their grandparents or all three generations living under the same roof, up from 28 million in 1980.

Family Communication

Families live farther apart than ever. Several tech tools can help you keep in touch from afar. Here are some tips for staying in touch.

Planning an Ideal Neighborhood for Kids

An ideal neighborhood for children begins with including children in the planning process. This doesn't mean families, developers or planners put in an amusement park with ice cream stands on every block. It means professionals and adults take children's ideas seriously and pay attention to common concerns that both children and adults have.

Groups That Support Families

Even families have hard times, and need some form of help. Thankfully, there are groups of people and organizations that are willing to help. If you don't need the help, why not help these folks out by either donating time or money (or both)?

Making An Urban Family

When Beth Kander moved to Jackson in 2003, she hardly knew anyone. Kander, an author and playwright who has also written for the Jackson Free Press, was far from her family in the Midwest and her college friends in the Northeast.

I-55, Revisited

Better Than Ezra burst onto the national rock scene in 1995 with the hit single, "Good." Formed while its members attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1988, Better Than Ezra has been a rock staple for more than 20 years. The band rolls into Jackson May 14 for a show at Fire.

Schoolhouse Rock

Many musicians here live an almost "Hannah Montana" lifestyle—going to school daily as a teacher, yet rocking the masses at night. I've been teaching 11 years in the Jackson metro area, and even my one-man band Clinton started out as a teacher.

Simple Suppers

I don't know if the sky has always been this blue, or if the long and unusually harsh winter this year has made me enjoy the sunshine that much more. But lately, I've felt very much like Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" when she wakes up after the twister and finds that her life has gone from shades of gray to Technicolor in the blink of an eye.

A Rez-olution.

Every year about this time I start thinking about vacation. The only hang up is that I'm a working girl with vacation days, and they're limited. So I've begun negotiations. What use am I really when I spend the days dreaming of the sun and sand? But until I get the boss man to see things my way, I will compromise and spend my weekends at The Rez. So why don't you bring your blanket and join me? I'll bring the fashion magazines!

Thanks for Brooklyn

It seemed everyone knew one another, and always, always someone was looking out and watching over the kids.

KiOR Heats Up

Biofuels company KiOR has yet to produce any of its vaunted crude oil substitute in Mississippi, but the startup is making big moves on financing.

McGowan Non-Profit Foots Study Bill

Flowood Mayor Gary Rhoads says the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District (aka the Levee Board) is working with a non-profit foundation backed by McGowan Working Partners for one reason: cash.

Political Ad Stirs Controversy

Many residents of both Hinds and Madison counties spoke out this week against a controversial political ad that played on fears of Jackson's "violent crime" showing prior to feature movies in Malco Grandview Theater in Madison. Malco pulled the ad from its theaters May 11.

Talking It Out

Hakeem and Matthew have been fighting. Seated in a classroom at Blackburn Middle School, the two eighth-grade boys explain the origins of their conflict, an ever-escalating series of slights.

Divisiveness Hurts Kids and Families

Cue the ominous voice: "Imagine for a moment this road is our county line. This side represents one of the most violent cities in the nation. Over here, on our side, one of the most desirable communities in America to raise a family." Thank you, Madison County sheriff candidate Mark Sandridge, for one of the most offensive campaign ads we've seen in recent memory.

[Stiggers] Cootie Creek County Sheriff

In the ghetto criminal justice system, the people are represented by members of the Ghetto Science Team: police officer and part-time security guard at the Funky Ghetto Mall; Dudley 'Do-Right' McBride, renegade documentary filmmaker; Kunta 'Rasheed X' Toby; and attorney Cootie McBride of the law firm McBride, Myself and I. This is their story.

[Kamikaze] Freedom and Responsibility

Ah, the First Amendment: freedom of speech—that little inalienable right that we all have and that we all have invoked. Clearly some of us don't really understand what it means. Nor do we understand the responsibility that comes with it.

[Moore] One Year Later

We understand that Jackson has its problems. Aren't there problems everywhere? Utopia doesn't exist.

Good Ideas

Families are at the heart of everything we do. They serve as a witness to our lives, support us when we fail and remind us of where we came from. Even if you have a nontraditional family, a strong family unit is essential to a vibrant community. In this Good Ideas issue, we focus on ways to build a family-friendly community, how to raise a genius child, alternatives to traditional families and styles of parenting.

Metro Facing Sewer Headache

Jackson's outdated sewage treatment plant is dumping too much sludge and waste back into the Pearl River, and the city is paying big bucks to get it into federal compliance.

A Helping Hand

A storage closet inside a homeless day shelter is an unlikely studio for well-known Mississippi folk artist McArthur Chism. But these days Chism is just glad to have a quiet space where he can thread the bottle caps he collects with wire hangers and make crosses, birdhouses and frames.

Marie Owens

Marie Owen wants to create a greater sense of community between her neighbors and the rest of the city through the concept of co-housing. Owen and her sister Hilda Owen attended the Cohousing Conference 2010 in Boulder, Colo., last June, and started laying the groundwork to form a co-housing community in Jackson. "(A co-housing neighborhood) is a neighborhood that's turned inside out. Our neighborhoods now are built for cars, not people," Owen says.

Art Revival

As he flipped through a slideshow of a "Wizard of Oz"-inspired golf course, an outdoor living room made of grass and children jumping in a bed of flower petals, David Koren emphasized that FIGMENT is not an art exhibit, but a participatory arts event that has the potential to change Jackson's landscape.

An Eye for an Eye

Set against the backdrop of Argentina's military regime in 1982, "Invisible Eye" tells the story of a young schoolteacher who falls prey to her supervisor's trap of sexual abuse.

Tuesday, May 10

Mississippi Executes Benny Joe Stevens

The state of Misssissippi has executed death-row inmate Benny Joe Stevens. Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton pronounced Stevens dead at 6:22 p.m. Stevens is the first person executed in Mississippi this year.

Malco Pulls Controversial Political Ad

UPDATED: Malco has issued a follow-up statement, ensuring that campaign ads on its screens will "not happen again." See full statement in comments below.

Arena Study Fundraising; Restaurant Makeover

Former Bombay Bistro owner Parveen Kapoor has partnered with former Jerusalem Cafe manager Victor Hugo to reopen his Indian bistro as a Mexican restaurant called Tres Amigos.

Giraffe of the Day: She-Who-Will-Be-Named

Spring, prime time for school field-trips, is a busy time for Jackson Zoo keepers and staff. On May 5, however, witnesses stood in awe as Diamond the giraffe gave birth to an 87-pound baby.

[Balko] The ‘War on Cops' That Isn't

Despite what you may have read, it's safer to be a police officer today than it has been in 35 years.

Mississippi Receives Federal Disaster Designation

<i>Verbatim statement from Gov. Haley Barbour</i>:

JACKSON - Gov. Haley Barbour announced today that residents in 18 counties affected by the severe storms, flooding and tornadoes April 15-April 28 are now eligible for federal disaster assistance.

Monday, May 9

Madison Sheriff Candidate Bashes Jackson in Disturbing Ad

This dude, Mark Sandridge, shouldn't be elected dog catcher after this expensively offensive–and inaccurate–campaign ad. Shame!

Tea Party Weighs in on Redistricting

The Mississippi Tea Party wants a federal three-judge panel to toss a redistricting map that favors Democrats.

Tougaloo Opens Civil-Rights Center

Tougaloo College leaders and elected officials gathered Saturday to celebrate the completion of Bennie G. Thompson Academic and Civil Rights Research Center, a project eight years in the making.

Julie Skipper

A four-year downtown resident and a thriving socialite who enjoys the nightlife and all things Jackson, Julie Skipper once vowed to never return to Mississippi upon leaving for scholarly pursuits.

Community Events and Public Meetings

Oral Cancer Screenings May 9, at Jackson Medical Mall (350 W. Woodrow Wilson Ave.). In the Oral Oncology Clinic, located inside the UMHC Cancer Institute at the Thad Cochran Center. Doctors perform full oral exams until 5 p.m. and may refer patients to head and neck specialists for follow-up. By appointment only. Free; call 601-815-1181.

Stevens Execution Set for Tuesday

The state is scheduled to execute death-row inmate Benny Joe Stevens at 6 p.m. tomorrow at the Mississippi State Penitentiary.

Friday, May 6

Mobile-Food Ordinance Finds Supporters

Jackson residents want mobile restaurants if yesterday's public hearing is any indicaiton.

Community Activist Promotes Dialogue

Brad "Kamikaze" Franklin--community activist, entrepreneur and Jackson Free Press columnist--called on the Jackson community this morning to engage in proactive dialogue and finding connections to move the city forward.

Justin Schultz

Justin Schultz believes that Jackson's arts scene is exceptionally supportive.

Thursday, May 5

State Announces Freedom Trail

The Mississippi Freedom Trail, an initiative of the Mississippi Development Authority, will create markers for tourists and Mississippians to explore the state's civil-rights heritage. This morning, state and city leaders gathered to announce the trail, which will honor civil-rights leaders and historical events.

Advocates Urge Canceling of Youth Prison Contract

Mississippi should cancel its contract with private prison company GEO Group, juvenile justice advocates said today. GEO Group, which operates the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility, is the subject of a lawsuit alleging widespread abuse and mistreatment of juvenile inmates. Friends and Family Members of Youth Incarcerated at Walnut Grove, a group dedicated to exposing conditions at the prison, delivered a petition with more than 1,600 signatures from Mississippians to state Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps today.

Juanita Ward

Former Callaway High School and Tulsa Shock women's basketball champ Juanita Ward, 23, is bringing the round ball to kids in Bolton this month with a two-part basketball camp.

City Tackles Blighted Property

<i>Verbatim statement from the City of Jackson:</i>

On May 3, the Jackson City Council adopted a resolution declaring twenty-eight parcels of property as a menace to public health and safety. As a result, city officials will be able to proceed with cleaning the properties. The City of Jackson recently revamped its procedures to deal with derelict properties and now includes an administrative hearing.

Wisdom of a Mom

Every year that I'm a mother I am amazed at how much wisdom my own mother has, and how little I actually know. The sacrifices she made overwhelm me, as does the energy she continues to have and the work she made look so effortless. My mother's wisdom has grown consistently as I have aged, but once I had children the growth was exponential.

Wednesday, May 4

Blondes vs. Brunettes

When I was young, I used to love to visit my grandparents who lived next door. Granddad loved to watch sports.

Momma's Kitchen Wisdom

Around sixth or seventh grade, a friend's mother decided that we needed to learn how to cook. I already could prepare basics such as scrambled eggs, chocolate chip cookies and egg-drop soup (my family was a little unconventional). I was excited at the prospect of being able to cook a whole meal for my momma on my own instead of just helping her. So, on the scheduled day, I went to my friend's house for our first cooking lesson. Her mother taught us how to make fried chicken and an asparagus casserole.

"Show Me Your Papers"

The whole thing about Obama's birth certificate got on my nerves because I was sick of hearing about it ad nauseum, but in the video below, the speaker discusses the issue with an angle I haven't considered. Was there more to the controversy than meets the eye? Does race play a role in the birth certificate issue coming up again, and Obama's college transcripts as well? I hope not.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Doctor S sez: This has been a spring of discontent for Ole Miss and Mississippi State fans. The Rebels and Bulldogs just aren't very good this season.

Take Mom Out to Eat

Make it a day to remember for mom. Treat her to a meal at one of the metro area's eateries.

New Moms' Care and Feeding

Mateo was about 4 when I reached a point of complete and utter despair. "Mom, I can't do this. I'm going to lose it. Can you please help me with Mateo?" I cried into the phone with tears running down my face.

The Bedazzler

Like many little girls, I acquired a deep love of sequins, costumes, and song and dance around the age of 3. This love never diminished as I grew older. Thus, while I'm an otherwise normally functioning adult, I don't think twice about wearing sequined shorts just because it's Friday night and coming up with theme-party ideas and costumes for any occasion (or none at all). In my head, my life is a musical that includes theme songs and choreography at pivotal moments—which brings me to my brush with Broadway and a bedazzled boot.

Chocolate Treats for Mom

All the women in my family share a love of all things chocolate. Mothers passed down several delicious family chocolate recipes through the generations. At my wedding shower six years ago, a cousin gave me a gift of a recipe book filled with treasured family recipes from the women who came before me.

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Do you adore your mom, but always struggle with what to get her for Mother's Day? Well, you're in luck, because this year I've done the hard part. All you have to do is make the reservations!

Best Gifts for New Moms

The best gifts for new moms are not necessarily cute little outfits or monogrammed bibs. Although most moms love opening tiny treasures at baby showers, the first few weeks of a baby's life is usually a blur of more practical concerns than coordinated socks and onesies.

Top 5 Best Books For New Moms

So many questions, so many worries. What to do when the baby is sick? Or when the baby chews on something? Fortunately, here are some solutions to help getting back your sanity.

Mother's Day Playlist

I was going through my mother's closet looking for old pictures, and I found a small dusty shoebox pushed way in the back. Curious to see what my mother stashed back there for so long (come on, kids can do that right?), I reached back and pulled the box from its seemingly eternal resting spot. I opened the lid to find it filled with all the Mother's Day cards and homemade gifts I had made for her until I was about 10 years old.

Ode to a Mother's Love

These days, everything reminds me of my mom. I was in a department store about two weeks ago and saw an adult daughter and her mom shopping for an Easter dress and thought of mom. My mom and I loved to shop together. We would spend endless hours walking around the mall; going from yard sale to yard sale. We'd talk the whole time about everything and nothing all in the same conversation.

Johnson Slams Commission

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. opposes part of a new state law allowing the city to levy a 1-percent sales tax increase on some businesses' sales. The tax, which would fund infrastructure repair, does not apply to retail sales of food at grocery stores and restaurants, or hotels or motels.

Capital City's Tough Year

The Jackson Police Department is no stranger to the Capital City Alternative School. The Jackson Public Schools' alternative school, whose students usually have referrals from other schools for discipline reasons, is the subject of allegations that staff have been handcuffing students as punishment for minor infractions.

Redevelopment Roadblocks

The Jackson Redevelopment Authority is looking to tear down two dilapidated apartment buildings on Jackson West Boulevard near the former Metro Manor apartments.

GOP May Oppose Court-ordered Maps

The Mississippi Republican Party likely will contest a three-judge panel's decision to impose the Mississippi House of Representatives' redistricting map as the official House election map for 2011.

Hands Off Jackson's ‘Local Control'

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. wants the city to have more input on a controversial commission that will decide the fate of potential new revenue generated by a 1 percent sales tax increase specific to the city.

[Stiggers] New Day, New Troubles

The Ghetto Science Community and friends are invited to attend the Mommas' Day Celebration Buffet and Disco at the Clubb Chicken Wing Multi-Purpose Center. If you cannot afford to take your momma, family and friends to an expensive, swanky restaurant, you're welcome to come and enjoy the free food and good fun at the Mommas' Day Celebration Buffet and Disco.

[Dennis] Love Your Moms

What kind of world would this be if none of us were brought up feeling loved?

Tease photo

MPB: Public Servant?

Max Breazeale checked his transmitters at station WMAH in McHenry Sunday night before Hurricane Katrina ripped the Gulf Coast asunder. From frequency control to power supply, he made sure everything worked and was dry, safe and secure.

Bring the Hidden to Light

It was dark and a cell-phone dead zone. James Edward Bates and a friend trudged through a few hundred yards of swampy woods in Vidor, Texas, to reach their car. Not far behind were three Klansmen, one quite agitated, who'd broken off from a group of about 80 in white robes, some wielding torches, or brandishing Bibles, at a Klan cross-lighting ceremony in 1998. For more than 12 years, Bates, 41, spent weekends driving into the night, sleeping upright in his Honda Accord, to document the truth of contemporary KKK activities in the American South.

A Good Shepherd

The Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi is the only diocese in the country to have a third-generation bishop. Bishop Duncan M. Gray presided over the diocese from 1943 to 1966; his son, Bishop Duncan Gray Jr. (to whom I will refer below as "Bishop Gray," for clarity's sake), served from 1974 to 1993; and his son, Bishop Duncan Gray III, was consecrated bishop in 2003 and still leads the diocese to this day.

Vicksburg Hip-Hop Show

A massive show is going down in Vicksburg, giving locals a rare chance to experience the best of Mississippi hip-hop. The show is the brainchild of Vicksburg MC Zalamar "ZeeDubb" Davis.

‘The Other Side of Jackson'

On April 3, DJ Young Venom and I were standing in the parking lot outside the North Midtown Arts Center watching Bob "Scrap Diggy" Nichols spin soulful house music on a pleasant Sunday evening to a sizeable gathering of many of Jackson's coolest folks.

An Unlikely Artifact

While walking in the woods along the Pearl River in Jackson last year, Millsaps College senior art student daniel johnson discovered a 1948 Westinghouse Refrigerator. Finding an appliance mysteriously placed in a natural setting was the catalyst for The Westinghouse Refrigerator Project.

Pops Perfection

An annual outdoor orchestra performance on a late-spring evening has become a staple for the Jackson metro over the past 30 years. Mississippi Symphony Orchestra Pepsi Pops at the Ross Barnett Reservoir is a family-friendly affair that welcomes picnic dinners by candlelight.

Barbour Veto Shortsighted?

A day after Gov. Haley Barbour announced that he would not make a bid for U.S. president in 2012, he used his veto power to kill a bill to develop a strategic plan to combat obesity in Mississippi. Barbour complained that the bill, which did not require any state funds, would duplicate existing programs and "add to the fat of state government."

Fair Funds for Kids?

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., increasingly seems like a holdover from another, kinder era of national politics. Cochran has largely removed himself from the hyper-partisanship of recent years.

Debra Wertz

After Debra Wertz's son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 15 years ago, she made it her mission to help other parents who were going through the same thing. Wertz has been working to help families for more than six years.

Tuesday, May 3

City Wants More Say in Tax Spending

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. wants the city to have more power to spend its own money.

New West Jxn Consignment Store; Biz Events

A new consignment store is slated to open this summer in West Jackson. Carmichael, Miss., native Thelma Hardiman said the store, which she is in the process of naming, will open at 531 W. Capitol St. next to Koinonia Coffee House.

Cynthia Stuart

Cynthia Stuart came to theater late in life. Winning her battle with cancer heightened her enthusiasm. Although she had worked in music education for years, Stuart did not consider herself an actress until she auditioned for and won the lead role in a Black Rose Theatre production of "Hello, Dolly!" at age 47.

Barbour Joins Offshore Drilling Coalition

Gov. Haley Barbour and three other governors have formed a coalition to advocate for offshore drilling permits, Dow Jones Newswire reported yesterday.

Monday, May 2

Court Prefers Democrat-endorsed House Redistricting

A U.S. Circuit Court three-judge panel declared Friday that the Mississippi House redistricting map--rejected three times by the state Senate--is the redistricting plan to beat for state's new House districts, to the likely consternation of Republicans. In its decision, the panel also approved a less controversial Senate district plan already approved by both chambers this year.

Byram Town Center Gets $5.5M TIF Boost

Construction workers have begun a commercial development that will bring new restaurants, shops and offices to the young city of Byram. The Hinds County Board of Supervisors voted today to approve a $5.5 million tax-increment financing, or TIF, plan for the Byram Town Center development.

Cindy Clegg

Even though Cindy Clegg is busy making last-minute preparations for tonight's "Take a Tasty Bite Out of Crime" fundraiser, she is eager to explain the importance of raising money for the public-safety initiatives in the metro area.

Community Events and Meetings

6 p.m., Jackson Arts Collective Monthly Meeting, at The Commons at Eudora Welty's Birthplace (719 N. Congress St.). Every first Monday, the Collective Steering Committee meets to discuss business of the previous month and listen to local artist proposals for the sponsorship of events that fall in line with their mission. Open to the public. Call 601-497-7454.

Obama: Justice Has Been Done

Read the transcript of Obama's national address:

Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.