Stories for April 2012


Monday, April 30

Lawmakers Work Weekend to Craft Budget

The seersucker was on full display this weekend as state lawmakers completed most of the heavy lifting on a $5.6-billion state budget for the next fiscal year starting in July 2012.

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Rally Part of National Effort

People around the nation are watching Mississippi to see how its politicians and voting public treat reproductive issues, protesters said at the Capitol Saturday.

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Sister Dorothea Sondgeroth

In January, Sister Dorothea Sondgeroth stepped down as president of St. Dominic's Health Services, a post she held for 17 years. For her service there and throughout Jackson, Pope Benedict XVI awarded Sondgeroth with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross last week.

Community Events and Public Meetings

Eighth Annual JFP Chick Ball July 28, 6 p.m., at Hal & Mal's (200 S. Commerce St.). The fundraising event benefits the Center for Violence Prevention, and this year's goal is to start a rape crisis center. For ages 18 and up. Seeking sponsors, auction donations and volunteers now. More details: and follow on Twitter @jfpchickball. Get involved, volunteer, donate art, money and gifts at [e-mail missing]. $5; call 601-362-6121, ext. 16.

Friday, April 27

Kemper Plant Again Gets Approval

Plans for a multi-billion dollar coal-fired power plant are back on. This week, the Public Service Commission, which oversees electric utility companies in the state, voted 2-1 along party lines, to re-approve Mississippi Power Co.'s plant now under construction in Kemper County.

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Malcolm White

Mississippi Arts Commission Executive Director Malcolm White said today that it is key for citizens to help educate legislators on the importance of the arts in our communities by inviting congressmen, city council members and other officials to arts events.

It's the Weekend!

Today, Amazin' Lazy Boi performs during Live at Lunch at 11:30 a.m. at the Mississippi Museum of Art's Art Garden (380 S. Lamar St.). Bring or buy lunch; call 601-960-1515. Jackson Bike Advocates' monthly Community Bike Ride is at 6 p.m. and begins at Rainbow Whole Foods (2807 Old Canton Road). Find Jackson Bike Advocates on Facebook. The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life is at 6 p.m. at Millsaps College (1701 N. State St.). Registration fees vary; call 769-237-6011; visit for more locations. The Lynch Street Cultural Arts Festival kicks off with a banquet at 7 p.m. at Masonic Lodge (1072 John R. Lynch St.), and the outdoor festival is April 28 between Rose and Dalton streets at noon. Tickets are $50, $500 for a table of 10 for banquet; free outdoor activities; call 601-352-6993. Marlowe and the Sea performs at 7 p.m. at Cups in Fondren. The play "Animal Farm" is at 7:30 p.m. at Actor's Playhouse (121 Paul Truitt Lane, Pearl) and runs through May 6. Tickets are $15, $10 seniors and students; call 601-664-0930. The Colonels play at Ole Tavern. 2Xtreme performs at F. Jones Corner. Need more options? See our Best Bets.

Thursday, April 26

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Mayor Wants City More Involved with JRA

Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. wants the city to be more involved in the early planning stages of development projects that go before the Jackson Redevelopment Authority seeking public funding.

Casey Therriault

Thursday night in primetime, the NFL Draft kicks off with the first round. Over the next three days, college stars will wait by the phone hoping it rings, making their dreams of becoming an NFL player come true.

Wednesday, April 25

For The Children, Y'all

There was no starting gun, but there was a preacher, so i was obviously prepared to run. I surveyed the group that had assembled behind the starting line and noted that not everyone looked like a runner, so that helped calm my nerves. There were people of varying degrees of fitness, the young and the old. As I became more relaxed, it was easier to make polite conversation with those around me. Pretty soon, much to Terry's chagrin, I was telling everyone it was my first 5K.

Show Some Love

If you have been reading my column for a while, you know a few things about me: I like records, sneakers, hip-hop, funk, reading and the occasional dose of rock 'n' roll. You also probably know that going to see live music is a huge part of my life.

Pho Sure!

Two years ago while I was visiting Gulfport, a friend introduced me to a Vietnamese noodle dish I fell hopelessly in love with.

Our Over-Medicated Nation

On her first visit with me a few weeks ago, Mrs. Johnson, a 32-year-old schoolteacher, announced that she had a condition that "sounds like fibro-something."

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Michelle Obama Arms

At the first Downtown at Dusk of the season April 12, a friend introduced me to Teresa Love, the owner of Pilates for Life (2628 Courthouse Circle, Flowood, 601-936-9922).

[The Slate] The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Make sure the remote is working. This week holds the NFL Draft, NBA season end and playoffs start, plus MLB and NHL playoffs.

Family Affair

Football, football, football—Mississippi loves football. Maybe it's our "no-nonsense, don't mess with me; I'm southern and proud of it, gritty, get down and dirty" attitudes that make a good match for a "roughneck, take no prisoner, I will beat you down if you mess with me" game like football.

Hope and the Draft

Thursday night the NFL Draft begins the hopes for the 2012 NFL season. Teams drafting early are betting they will make the right choices to put them on the road to the playoffs.

[Editor's Note] Young, Impressive, Ours

When freelance writer Greg Pigott turned in his write-up of Mark Scott of Callaway High School for this "Amazing Teens" issue, he wrote: "I wish I had more words to use--this kid was really amazing!"

Young, Impressive, Ours

When freelance writer Greg Pigott turned in his write-up of Mark Scott of Callaway High School for this "Amazing Teens" issue, he wrote: "I wish I had more words to use--this kid was really amazing!"

A Second Chance

While the Jackson Police Department's tools for reducing crime include more officers patrolling the streets, restructuring beats and adding new technology, the city of Jackson is in the planning stages of a more complex weapon for fighting crime.

Under Pressure: Fighting to Keep ‘Choice' In State

Shelley Abrams is fighting the state of Virginia's attack on abortion rights. She oversees several clinics that provide legal abortion services, including one in Virginia and several other southern states. Abrams is also executive director of Jackson Women's Health Organization, the only abortion facility in the state.

House Unveils Voting Maps

The wait is over, kids. Mississippi House members finally have a new legislative district map to vote on. The maps, which add two districts in rapidly growing DeSoto County, were unveiled at the Capitol today. Under the plan, several Democrats could lose their seats either by hasquaring off with fellow Democrats or by having to compete in mostly GOP districts.

Progress, At a Snail's Pace

City government is rarely accused of acting quickly. The Jackson City Council is working hard to assure that remains true.

‘Father' Doesn't Always Know Best

At a recent event featuring Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Gunn told the audience that Reeves and his wife had recently celebrated the birth of their third daughter.

‘Father' Doesn't Always Know Best

At a recent event featuring Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Gunn told the audience that Reeves and his wife had recently celebrated the birth of their third daughter.

[Stiggers] Cool and Creamy

Children and adults of the Ghetto Science Community, the new, improved, environmentally friendly, solar powered Hybrid Electric and Petroleum Mister Ice Creamy Truck is coming to your neighborhood.

[Kamikaze] Enemies of Progress

When the check writers determine who the law writers are, the system never changes. When bureaucrats are allowed to govern with impunity, the system never changes. In or out of office, where we don't have natural leaders, citizens—and more importantly, children—are done a disservice.

[Walker] Politics Through My Eyes

I expected our senators to be similar to those in 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.'

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SWAG: Students with a Goal

Concern about apathy among their peers led several Northwest Rankin H.S. students to start Students With A Goal, or SWAG, to support each other as they serve the community.

Puppets on Parade

"Dum dum da dum dum dum," the strings sing in my mind as I stroll down a sunny sidewalk on Lamar Street to speak with Mississippi Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Michael Beattie.

Search for Child Stars

A massive group of children caught Elaina Jackson's attention at a hotel in Houston, Texas, last year. Jackson is the director of development and marketing at the Mississippi Children's Museum, and she and her coworkers were attending a museum conference.

Shaping Notions of Art

Whitney Grant looked down the narrow path between two long lines of people. Blocking her view were wide-open palms gently waving and waiting for her. She ran down the high-five gauntlet, slapping hands, getting and giving high-fives and connecting with other participants at last year's FIGMENT Jackson, an arts event heavy on participation. It was exhilarating. "I think I went through twice," Grant said.

Heroes and Sheroes

The concept of "big" stretches to "bigger" for the 2012 summer blockbusters, where budgets for comic-book fare exceed the $220-million mark.

Empowering and Strengthening Kids

Operation Shoestring provides a safe place for children and parents in its west Jackson neighborhood, empowering them and strengthening the bonds of family and community.

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Ballet's ‘Collage'

On Saturday, April 28, Ballet Mississippi presents "Collage" at the Jackson Academy Performing Arts Center. The performance is a compilation of ballet and music with works from eight composers and seven choreographers.

Financial Wellness

When I was in college, I met a young lady who was in debt to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. She was only a sophomore, about 20 years old, so why did she owe so much money?

JPS Under Fire for Special-Ed Violations

The Jackson Public Schools district may lose its accreditation due to how it has disciplined students with disabilities, tracking them into lower-quality education at alternative schools rather than helping them stay in their schools and improve.

At Capitol, Jackson a Winner and Loser

You know that old expression about the calm before the storm? Such has been the mood at the state Capitol for the past couple weeks. The relatively tranquil period follows a tumultuous period of fiery debates on abortion and immigration and hallway shoving matches over charter schools and workers' compensation. Expect the tide to turn when lawmakers hunker down to clear the calendar of thorny political issues before sine die (adjournment) the first week of May.

Mississippi Welcomes Janis Ian

When many people think of the 1960s, they think of it as a political time with movements for civil rights and women's rights in the forefront. Singer, songwriter and author Janis Ian grew up in the culturally turbulent 1960s, which has inspired her music, including her iconic "At Seventeen." She has spent most of her life writing and singing about the world around her.

Jordan Hunter

Nathan Hunter III always wanted his son to be a Morehouse man. This fall, he will see that dream come true when his oldest child, Jordan Hunter, attends the nation's only all-male historically black college.

Tuesday, April 24

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JPD Completes Redistricting

The Jackson Police Department has finished redistricting Precinct 4, which covers the area from Fortification Street to County Line Road and the West Street railroad tracks to the Pearl River.

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Biz Roundup: Go Green

Fondren will see the benefits of a $2-million grant to make the area friendlier for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as for landscape reforms. The city of Jackson recently received a transportation enhancement grant through the Mississippi Department of Transportation, and held a public meeting to ask Fondren residents and business owners how it should spend the money.

Herb Frierson

Herb Frierson doesn't draw large crowds. For example, the audience Frierson addressed at the John C. Stennis Institute's press luncheon yesterday was only about half its normal size. In introducing Frierson, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reporter Bobby Harrison recounted bumping into Frierson alone in downtown Jackson without a gaggle of lobbyists trailing behind.

Colonel Reb and His Cousin, R.I.P.

I spent two days on campus at Oxford last fall when some heated talk surfaced about bringing back Colonel Reb, the former Ole Miss mascot, through a petition to the Legislature. When PBS aired a program about the Confederate symbols and songs controversy, it seemed like time to tell my story.

Monday, April 23

Another Charter Schools Bill Killed

The latest attempt to pass legislation establishing charter schools met defeat in the Mississippi House moments ago. House members voted to send HB 1152, which had been modified to include language from a Senate charter school bill that didn't even make it out of the House Education Committee, to a conference committee where it will likely die. Lt. Gov. Reeves, who, along with the state's other top Republican leaders, has pushed for a charter bill all session called the House vote disappointing.

New Redistricting Map on the Way

New legislative district maps are coming, which means some Democratic lawmakers could be on their way out.

Farm-to-Fork Project Launched

A new program kicks off today in Jackson to get healthy, affordable produce to families in Mississippi.

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Olivia Perez-Breland

Thousands of military spouses across the country have felt the stab of multiple deployments that take their loved ones away. One soldier's wife found a way to express her pain while giving back to other military families.

Community Events and Public Meetings

6 p.m., Jackson Police Department Precinct 4 Restructuring Ceremony, at Fondren Hall (Northwood Shopping Center, 4436 N. State St.). Presenters include Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. and Precinct 4 Commander Wendell Watts. Call 601-960-0004.

Friday, April 20

Freedom Riders Tell Students: ‘Take the Lead'

Delores Williams remembers going to school as a child, seeing white children ride by in a bus while she and the other black students walked, carrying their books. She also remembers having to step off the sidewalk when a white person passed.

Monica Cannon

When Monica Cannon sees things in schools that could be better, she doesn't sit around and complain. Instead, she brainstorms solutions, speaks up and gets people to work together to make changes.

It's the Weekend!

Today, Arts on the Square kicks off at 4 p.m. at Historic Canton Square; the event runs through April 21. Free admission; call 601-859-5816. Lawyerpalooza is at 5 p.m. at Hal & Mal's and benefits the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project and the Mississippi Center for Justice. Admission is $5; call 601-969-9692, 769-257-5380 or 601-957-2600. ZooBrew is at 6 p.m. at the Jackson Zoo (2918 W. Capitol St.). The event is for ages 21 and up. Tickets are $25 and $20 for members, $10 shuttle from Fondren and Highland Village; call 601-352-2580. The Amnesty International DREAM Act Concert is at 6:30 p.m. at Sneaky Beans. Admission is $5; call 601-974-1338. Need more options? See our Best Bets.

Thursday, April 19

Some Coast Residents to Get More in Oil Spill Claims

A statement from the Attorney General's office says some Mississippians affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill could be getting more money to pay for damages. Here is the statement, verbatim:

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City Council Approves Fortification Project

The City Council approved a contract with Hemphill Construction Tuesday night for an $8.9 million Fortification Street makeover. The contract now goes to the Mississippi Department of Transportation for approval.

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LaSondra Barrett

LaSondra Barrett, born in Flowood in 1990, is one of the best women's basketball players from Mississippi.

Wednesday, April 18

Experimental Percussion

It will be a jam like no other when world-renowned percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani performs with a group of 10 musicians of different musical backgrounds at The Commons at Eudora Welty's Birthplace April 22.

Nobody to Blame

Music can transport the listener to a specific place and time. Musicians can give the vision of driving through the green fields of the Mississippi Delta or paint the scene of the bustling New Orleans French Quarter.

A Post-Parade-Easter-Crossroads Week

Jackson can take a collective sigh of relief. Two parades in one week, the holidays, the Crossroads Film Festival last weekend in addition to the tons of great happenings that always go on in Jackson have completely worn me out. Hopefully, we've all gotten much-needed rest and are ready for this week's lineup of fabulous music.

Soccer's Deadly Secret

What the heck is going on in European soccer leagues?

[The Slate] The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Have there been two bigger chokes in the Stanley Cup playoffs than the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver Canucks? Both favorites could be out before this is printed.

Nigerian with a Voodoo Flair

Monday "Monte" Agho never intended to open a restaurant when he arrived in America in 1975. At that time, the young Nigerian had his sights set on a finance degree from Jackson State University with the ultimate goal of a doctorate to enter the hallowed halls of academia.

The Shades of Spring

You guys already know my thoughts on accessories: More is more, and this includes sunglasses. We can never have too many pairs. We have multiple handbags and multiple cars, so it's only natural that we have a pair of sunglasses for each. After all, it is important to protect our eyes, and we must look great while doing so

The Wonder of it All

In the early 1960s, Mama and Papa leased an old, rundown gas station in Liberty, N.Y., in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, and spent every weekend of one winter and spring converting the property into our summer "retreat." We lived in Brooklyn at the time, but my parents were determined to get my sisters and me out of the city as much as possible, especially during the summer.

Anti-Abortion ‘TRAP' Law Part of Nationwide Trend

The governor signed the first major piece of anti-abortion legislation into law this year—a measure designed to close the state's only abortion clinic.

State No. 1 for Teen Pregnancy

The deadline for Mississippi's school districts to select a sex-education policy is this summer, and several groups are hoping to influence what Jackson Public Schools students learn next year.

No More Regs, Except ...

During his 2011 campaign for governor, Phil Bryant promised that, if elected, his administration would closely scrutinize state regulations on small companies.

Changing ‘The Perceivers' of Black Males

As a young student entering the University of Connecticut in the mid-1960s, James Lyons received all the parental advice one would expect about being respectful and not hanging around the crowd.

[Tech Tip] CRM Isn't Just for Sales Anymore

If you've ever worked in sales, there's a good chance you're familiar with some sort of Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, software. CRM software essentially enables you to enter contact information for people that you deal with and the businesses you attempt to sell to.

Police: First, Do No Harm

Controversy has surrounded police pursuits for decades. Since numerous studies on the subject began in the late 1980s and early '90s, law enforcement officials, legislators, citizens and the press have taken notice of the ever-rising death toll.

Police: First, Do No Harm

Controversy has surrounded police pursuits for decades. Since numerous studies on the subject began in the late 1980s and early '90s, law enforcement officials, legislators, citizens and the press have taken notice of the ever-rising death toll.

[Letter] Support for Charter Schools

I am a single parent of three school-age children, and I, like so many parents in DeSoto County support the Mississippi Charter School bill.

Support for Charter Schools

I am a single parent of three school-age children, and I, like so many parents in DeSoto County support the Mississippi Charter School bill.

[Veckhoven] Public School Warrior in Jackson

The gray, roiling clouds that hung over the westbound lane of Interstate 20 were nothing short of a premonition.

The Poets of Suite 106

Poetry is like oxygen to Urban Raw, The Ugly Poet and Merc B. Williams.

‘Waiting for This Moment'

It's Super Bowl weekend, and it is half empty at Suite 106 tonight. Usually, you have to really get here early because the small place packs up quickly. Today, people are probably cooking and shopping so, come Sunday, all they have to do is sit back and watch the Giants take on the Patriots.

Of Dogs and Tutus

It's not everyday that you can munch on grilled ribs next to European-inspired statues surrounded by dogs in tutus to the strains of a bagpipe. But you can in Starkville in April.

Slap Me Silly

"The Three Stooges" promises nothing and provides less, but it is slap-me-silly funny. Directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly from a script they wrote with Mike Cerrone, three knuckleheads try and raise $830,000 plus their "meels" to save the Sisters of Mercy orphanage.

Support Arts in School

Ask for More Arts brings artists into classrooms to integrate arts with other subjects. In four years, AFMA has exposed thousands of students to creative writing, theater, song writing and visual arts, expanding horizons and improving academics.

Two Faces of Opera

Jackson hosts diverse operas from two different continents Saturday, April 21.

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Code Blue: Police Pursuits Cost a Life a Day

"All units, Ridgeland PD in pursuit. Gray Crown Victoria on lower (Spillway) Road, request assistance," a voice said over the police scanner from Reservoir Control tower.

Family-Friendly Fest

Celebrate arts, music and community April 21, when St. Andrew's Episcopal School presents Arts on the Green.

Earth Day and the Organic Movement

Forty-two years ago, a new way of looking at our Earth arose in human consciousness.

My Urban Farming Experiment

I started my first urban garden many years ago when I lived in Austin, Texas. I was attending the Texas Culinary Academy and had just started learning about the farm-to-table and local-food movement.

Get Out of Town! Going Camping with Kids

In the midst of a seemingly endless swirl of meetings and errands and doctor's appointments and laundry to be put in drawers, there is nothing quite like a weekend escape into the woods with the family. Spring is the perfect season to get away from the television, the homework and the bills for a camping trip with your kids.

Jackson vs. Cooper-Stokes, Round 3

Since a special election in February, Joyce Jackson has claimed that widespread fraud marred her Ward 3 Jackson City Council election against LaRita Cooper-Stokes. Last week, Special Judge Richard W. McKenzie announced that Jackson will get to take her complaints to court.

GOP Touts Biz Moves

What essentially became a pep rally for Mississippi's economic future last Thursday began with a parade.

A Lesson, With Muscadines

One clear and sunny day in the little community of Browning, just outside Greenwood, Father sent my brothers and me to the fields with a wagon and mule to gather watermelons. It was 1959, and I was about 5 or 6 years old. My father was a figure of power and control and, normally, we didn't mess with him.

Nikisha Ware

There are cliches for a reason, and Dr. Nikisha G. Ware, the executive director of the Mississippi Learning Institute is an example of one: Dynamite comes in small packages.

Fortification Street to Get $9-million Makeover

From the city, verbatim:

Fortification Street Project Bid Approved

Tuesday, April 17

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Governor Signs Anti-Abortion ‘TRAP' Bill

A bill intended to close the state's only abortion clinic is now law and is set to go into effect in July.

AG Settles Meat Plant Beef

Mississippi taxpayers will receive the meaty sum of $4 million from a settlement in a case against the owners of a failed beef plant built with state-backed loans, Attorney General Jim Hood's office announced yesterday afternoon.

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Michael Byrd

Michael Byrd and his family moved to the Philippines after he became disabled and retired from his career as a nuclear engineer in 2008. Shortly after, Byrd and his wife were in a car wreck, and she needed surgery.

Monday, April 16

Parents to Ask JPS to Reconsider Supt. Picks

The Jackson Public Schools board has narrowed down its field of possible superintendents to two, but some parents say the district should search again for a candidate with more experience helping high-poverty, low-performing school districts become successful.

Hinds Co. to Jackson: Get Your Own Jail

Hinds County wants the city of Jackson to have its own detention center to house misdemeanor offenders.

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Brennan Stanford

Brennan Stanford was born with only one kidney. Before he was 2 years old, his father donated another. Now, at 15, the Pearl High School freshman's kidneys are failing, and he needs a transplant.

Community Events and Public Meetings

AARP Tax Aide Volunteer Service. The service is available to low- and moderate-income taxpayers with special attention to those ages 60 and older. Bring all necessary documents. No appointment required. Free.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My 5K

I woke up around five the morning of the big day. Maybe it was nerves, maybe it was what I'd had for dinner, but I had the worst case of indigestion that I can recall. Ever. Eventually, after flopping around in the bed, I ran to the bathroom to rid myself of the problem. I hate to throw up, but it was happening wether I wanted to or not.

Friday, April 13

Jackson Zoo in Full Swing

Juno and Rosie, the 31- and 39-year-old African elephants the Jackson Zoo gave up in 2010, are doing well in Nashville, the zoo's executive director Beth Poff reports.

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Tonea Stewart

A Mississippi-born film actress will be in Jackson this weekend promoting the creative arts. Dr. Tonea Stewart is the keynote speaker for this year's Creative Arts Festival at Jackson State University.

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It's the Weekend!

Today, the annual Spring Market kicks off at 9 a.m. at the Mississippi Trade Mart (1207 Mississippi St.) and runs through April 15. Admission is $8 or $15 for a three-day pass and children 12 and under get in free; call 662-890-3359 or visit Actor Tonea Stewart is the featured guest at the annual Creative Arts Festival April 13-14 at Jackson State University, College of Liberal Arts (1400 John R. Lynch St.). The event is free; call 979-3935. The American Cancer Society hosts the Relay for Life at 6 p.m. at the Richland Community Center's soccer fields (410 E. Harper St., Richland; call 769-237-6011) and Mississippi College's Robinson-Hale Stadium (200 Capitol St., Clinton; call 662-549-3729). Registration fees vary; for information visit The Crossroads Film Festival kicks off at 7 p.m. at Malco Grandview Theatre (221 Grandview Blvd., Madison) and runs through April 15. Tickets are $8 per film block, $20 for a one-day pass, or $59 for an all-access pass; call 601-345-5674; visit for the film lineup and after-party details. Need more options? See our Best Bets.

Thursday, April 12

New JPS Advocacy Group

A group of former school board members, community leaders and others have formed a new advocacy group for JPS. Here is their announcement, verbatim:

JPS Close to Picking New Superintendent

About 200 people gathered at Galloway Elementary School last night to hear from the two finalists for the Jackson Public Schools superintendent post: Dr. Dennis Carpenter and Dr. Cedric Gray.

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Team of the Day: Mississippi Brilla

Premier Development League soccer team Mississippi Brilla has introduced a group of local talent for the upcoming season. The Brilla have signed four standout local players from the metro area.

Wednesday, April 11

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Films and Fast Girls

I tend to adhere to the rule that if you're old enough to have experienced a trend the first time, you shouldn't wear it the second time around. Case in point: This season's colored denim trend sends me straight back memories of fifth grade and an awesome pair of salmon-colored Guess jeans that I loved.

Picture Perfect For Prom

I remember it like it was yesterday: The long, black gown with gold sequins, the shoes I just had to have (even though they were a half size too small), the tanning sessions, the manicure, the up-do—PROM! It's that time of year again, when all the gals are getting pretty for prom.

Tests and a Failure

Two things are on my mind worth writing about this week.

[The Slate] The Best In Sports In 7 Days

It somehow seemed fitting that a guy named Bubba won a golf tournament in Augusta, Ga. Do those green jackets come sleeveless?

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Say ‘No' to Slime

A few years back, I stopped eating ground beef. I did not like seeing the white fat and gristle, and the smell of the meat while cooking completely grossed me out.

Salad Days Are Here Again

Last summer I spent a week in Colorado. While the mountains were beautiful, I was more impressed with the restaurants and the food (except for my solar-oven baked cornbread, but that's another story). Friends introduced me to Ethiopian food. I ate some amazing Thai dumplings, and I discovered that I love beets. The dish that really stands out, however, was a simple Salad Nicoise.

Leave Your Troubles

Mississippi native Ferd Moyse returns home April 18 to perform at Hal & Mal's as part of the band the Hackensaw Boys. The singer-songwriter band packs a new-age bluegrass sound, combining fiddles, cellos and other string instruments.

The Beat of Crossroads

The annual Crossroads Film Festival focuses mainly—as it should—on film. But Mississippians can't live on movies alone. We have to have tunes, and Crossroads never fails to deliver on that score, if you'll pardon the pun.

The Art of the Mash-Up

Lemuria employee Simon Hamburg has been on a mission. During the first few months of his employment, he noticed that the music-book section in the store looked "untouched." He knew there were some good books, but they were all too high up on the shelf to reach. He moved them down and re-arranged titles to give the area a fresh look.

A Classy Barbecue Fare Sure to Please

As a food lover, I firmly believe one of the best pathways to pleasure is through our taste buds. Food is, after all, a backdrop for social interaction. For my friends and me, it is also something to be taken seriously.

My Secret Weapons

Parlor Market's Star Chef Tells All

I'm a foodie through and through. I eat, breath and sleep food. When I'm not cooking at Parlor Market, I'm usually cooking with friends or for friends; working in the garden; watching my favorite shows, "Iron Chef America" and "Top Chef;" or collecting and reading cookbooks. All these things fuel my passion for food.

The Pot

I still remember the January day more than a year ago when I walked out of the Goodwill store carrying a medium-sized stainless-steel pot. My mama waited in the car and gave me the look. You know the one. "What are you doin' with another pot? Where are we going to keep it?

Favorite Meals

Jackson has a diverse selection of restaurants to choose from. Try some of these meals at my favorite places.

My Little Green Friend

Limes may be small, but they pack a large, flavorful punch. Both tart and sweet, limes complement an assortment of dishes and beverages. Limes are in the citrus family (related to lemons, oranges and grapefruits) and a good source of vitamin C.

What is your favorite dish at a Jackson-area restaurant?

We ask you, JFP faithful, what sets your mouth drooling? And we received some (very) tasty replies.

From Facebook:

Unfurling Kale

A super food packed with antioxidants and vitamins that's low in calories can sound boring and pious. Kale, much like many super foods, is not so arrogant, though. Its deep green leaves just need washing before chopping up into a salad or a wrap.

Hold the Meat

I am 30 years old, and I am still searching for my perfect cookbook. Now, as a busy mom of a busy 2-year-old, most nights I cook easy, healthy foods off the top of my head—spaghetti with marinara sauce and a side of green peas, rice and stir-fry vegetables, sweet potato and kidney bean quesadillas with guacamole. But when I need a cookbook, these are the ones I reach for most often.

Must-Try Jackson Dishes

With as many restaurants in Jackson, there are tons of tasty bites here and there. Here are a few to whet your appetite.

Dinner and a Movie

Last Saturday night, Todd and I sat at a small table next to the open kitchen at Parlor Market and were dazzled by the chefs' performance.

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JPD Adds 24 New Officers

The 49th basic recruit class of the Jackson Police Department graduated Friday from the Jackson Police Training Academy. The class of 24 recruits moves the department closer to Chief Rebecca Coleman's goals for patrol size and overtime reduction.

CITYBEAT: On the Road Again

Citizens are complaining about recent bus-route changes, and a special committee for JATRAN is trying to respond.

Arts, IDs and ALEC

Malcom White, executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission, constantly battles the perception that his and the state's other "cultural agencies" are not core government functions.

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State May Shutter Abortion Clinic

The state's only abortion clinic may close soon under a bill poised to become law after both houses of the Legislature approved it last week.

Save ‘Violence Against Women Act'

Next on conservatives' list of things to drown in the bathtub of "big government extravagance" is the Violence Against Women Act. Bill Clinton signed VAWA into law in 1994, providing just over $1.5 billion to help investigate and prosecute perpetrators of violence against women, to provide grants for education about domestic violence and to help shelter women from abusers.

Home-Grown Talent

The Crossroads Film Festival, a four-day event beginning Thursday night, April 12, shines the spotlight on producers, screenwriters, directors, cinematographers, actors and musicians from Mississippi.

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An American Classic

Entering New Stage Theatre for its production of "All My Sons" by Arthur Miller, you are transported back to 1946 and the post-World War II Keller family homestead.

Coming Home

"Alligator Lake" is another in a string of roughly historic race novels by white people that claims to be another "The Help." I wasn't prepared to like Colorado nursing professor Lynne Bryant's novel about another white woman coming back home to Mississippi to confront our demons. But the book—about race conflicts in the 1980s—deals with mixed-race love and the response to it in a smart and revealing way.

[Stiggers] Love and Joblessness

Thanks to Mo'tel Williams' 'Unemployed Singles' dating service, I made a rebound after a working woman turned me down. Tomorrow, I have a date with Claire, an unemployed single woman, at Brother Hustle's Mobile Wi-Fi and Juicy Juice on Ice Café.

Arts, More Arts

This weekend, check out one or both of these arts-related activities.

This weekend, check out one or both of these arts-related activities.

[Kamikaze] Still Racial

So, you're tired of hearing folks talk about race, right? Tired of reading about it? Sick of seeing all the articles and all the pieces on CNN? You could do without another rally, without another Facebook or Twitter campaign, correct?

[Outlaw] Cooking Like Mother

I'd help tend to mother's beans, squash, tomatoes, peas.

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Optimist Foodie

Andrew Zimmern's Culinary Take on Jackson

The Friday before PM Soul, a pop-up food event last fall at Peaches Café on Farish Street, I got a call from a number I didn't recognize. I was in the middle of dinner service at Underground 119 and didn't have the time for a chat, so I ignored the call and kept at it on the hot line.

How the Charter School Bill Died

Rep. Chuck Espy's voice cracked as he jabbed his left index finger into the podium so forcefully that it's a miracle he didn't break the appendage. "I have watched this great body rise to some of its greatest points, and I've seen tensions flare and rise to levels I've never seen. But when a member is touched in any way, it is unacceptable," railed Espy, a Democrat from Clarksdale.

Workers' Rights Under Fire

Imagine you're a Sumerian servant in 2050 B.C., carving tiny jewels for King Ur-Nammu's scepter and--oops--you accidentally slice off your finger. Under the king's law, written on stone tablets, you would receive a monetary award depending on which body part you hurt. Ur's payment schedule for worker injuries is the earliest known workers' compensation system, which pays employees who get hurt while doing their jobs.

Fuel Your Day

When you are on the go, it can be difficult to find portable and healthy foods that still satisfy your hunger. Planning ahead and packing smart solve the dilemma.

Rochelle Culp

When Rochelle Culp couldn't walk a few miles in a walk for charity in her 20s, she felt it was time for a change. "I struggled to do the walk, but it should have been easy," she says. "I wanted to live a life of joy and be active. I knew if I didn't make a change, my health may affect that."

Tuesday, April 10

Developing the Best Jackson

In about two months of working the city beat for the Jackson Free Press, the thing I have run into and reported on more than any other is proposed development. And development is something Jackson needs, desperately.

After Fiery Debate, Voter ID Passes

Following one of the hottest Senate debates of recent weeks, Mississippi's constitutional amendment to require would-be voters to prove their identities at the polls, inched closer to realization this morning.

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Mayor: Cuts Could Hurt City

Federal cuts to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program could hurt several areas of Jackson, from small businesses to sewage lines to services for victims of domestic violence.

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Kristy Johnson

Kristy Johnson is one of the capital city's newest ambassadors. As Jackson's Miss Hospitality for 2012, she will greet conventions and participate in events throughout the year to promote tourism in Jackson.

Monday, April 9

Gov. Bryant Signs Craft Beer Bill

Beer lovers in Mississippi can finally raise their glasses and pour out some liquor for the state's antiquated beer laws. This morning, Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill that could significantly increase the state's beer variety.

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Districts Get More Sex-Ed Options

Mississippi school districts that want to adopt abstinence-plus sex-education programs now have more options--and the federal grant money that comes with them.

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Tonja Robinson-Murphy

While legislators were debating charter schools and school budget cuts, the Jackson Public Schools' Parent of the Year was working with the schools and providing for the children.

Community Events and Public Meetings

AARP Tax Aide Volunteer Service.  The service is available to low- and moderate-income taxpayers with special attention to those ages 60 and older. Bring all necessary documents. No appointment required. Free.

Friday, April 6

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Civil Rights Museum Planners Collecting Stories

It has been 50 years since James Meredith became the first African American student to attend the University of Mississippi. Until recently, Mississippi had no central location for celebrating this type of event, and so many others of its kind.

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Diane Ward

Diane Ward began writing in 2009, when she was just 15. Now, the home-schooled high-school senior from Brandon is an award-winning author.

It's the Weekend!

Today, KidFest! Kicks off at 9 a.m. at Freedom Ridge Park (235 W. School St., Ridgeland); continues through April 7 and April 14-15. $10, children under 2 free; call 601-853-2011. The nonviolence concert in honor of Nolan Ryan Henderson is at 5 p.m. at F. Jones Corner. Performers include Jesse Robinson, PyInfamous and the Bailey Brothers. Free. Luke Bryan and Jerrod Niemann perform at 7:30 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum. $29.50-$39.50; call 800-745-3000. Wine, Women and Wisdom kicks off at 8 p.m. at Yellow Scarf (741 Harris St., Suite E) with performances from Rhonda Richmond and Tawanna Shaunte. Cassandra Wilson and Mystic Warriors perform April 7 at 9 p.m. $25 April 6, $35 April 7, $50 both nights; call 866-308-9226. TTOCCS REKARP Productions hosts the Free Form Concert at 9 p.m. at The Commons. Performers include daniel johnson and Jonathan Sims. $5; call 601-352-3399 or 601-540-1267. Need more options? See our Best Bets.

Heartbeat Bill Not Quite Dead?

An anti-abortion "heartbeat bill" died in committee Tuesday, but this might not be the last we see of it.

Thursday, April 5

Workers' Rights Again in Focus

Mississippi workers got a mix of good and bad news in the past couple of days.

Rick Cleveland

The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum lost the only executive director in its history when Michael Rubenstein passed away in early December. Since the museum opened July 4, 1996, Rubenstein was the guiding hand and public face of the hall. Finding another person as passionate about Mississippi's sports history was the top priority in naming a new executive director.

Wednesday, April 4

Baseball's Loss, Music's Gain

Carl Jackson was just 14 years old when he got his big break in the music business. The Louisville, Miss., native was jamming backstage following a Virginia Boys concert in 1967 when he so impressed the musicians with his guitar and banjo playing that bluegrass legends Jim and Jesse McReynolds asked him to join the band.

Home Boy Brian Fuente Back in Jackson

Ridgeland native Brian Fuente moved to Nashville in 2007 to follow his dream of being a singer. Not long after his arrival, he started the rock band Newmatic and toured as the band's frontman for four years.

TTOCCS REKARP'S Top 10 Playlist

In no particular order, here is a list of some songs, albums and Internet radio stations that I've been listening to recently.

Get Your Free Form On

Six years ago, when W.C. Don's was still open on South State Street next door to Martin's Restaurant and Lounge, a few Jackson-area musicians got together for what they thought would be just a night of jamming with good friends. They dubbed the event Free Form, but had no setlist or any idea of what would take place—or even if anyone would show up.

Silky Soul Brotha

I was nearly 20 years old when I first heard a song by Eric Benét. I still remember singing to the tune of the popular duo song by Benét and Tamia—R&B beauty and superstar—titled "Spend My Life with You." It was No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard R&B charts for three weeks in 1999.

Trancefusion Jamtronica

DrFameus is a machine. DrFameus is a man who beats drums with sticks. DrFameus is a one-man jamtronica band.

[The Slate] The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Major League Baseball starts this week, but the sports world has its collective eyes on Augusta, Ga. Tiger Woods and The Masters should draw big ratings.

Getting What They Deserve

On March 21, the NFL laid the smack-down on the New Orleans Saints. After months of speculation, Commissioner Roger Goodell finally handed down his ruling, and it wasn't pretty.

B-Ball, Saints and Long Seasons

It's time, once again, for thoughts from around the sports world.

Hippity-Hop to Brunch

Easter Sunday is no time to be worrying about pots, pans and cleanup. This Easter, head to one of the Jackson area's many fine restaurants for an excellent brunch and terrific service. Here's a sampling of what you'll find.

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The Nontraditional Wedding

Why settle for a traditional wedding if you desire to go outside the box? If you're a minimalist, nature lover or just plain spunky, incorporate distinctive elements to personalize your special day.

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Exposed: Outdoor Nuptials

Do you want to be close to nature and incorporate trees, flowers, water or beautiful gazebos into your wedding ceremony or reception? Location, indoors or outdoors, makes all the difference. You may choose a particular venue based on a set theme, seasonal temperatures, the number of invited guests and venue availability.

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

Does one make a list for the Easter Bunny? Or is that just Santa? Regardless, the bunny is on his way, and this year I decided to put together a guide for him. I'd be happy if he blesses my basket with any of these great gifts that I've seen around town.

We the Job Creators

When I was asked to go to the White House in early March to talk about business in Jackson, I didn't know what to expect. I just said "yes!" and headed to Washington, D.C.

[Editor's Note] We the Job Creators

When I was asked to go to the White House in early March to talk about business in Jackson, I didn't know what to expect. I just said "yes!" and headed to Washington, D.C.

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Who Gets Hurt in Budget Cuts?

Poor children are much more likely to experience hunger than those who aren't poor (23 percent vs. 4 percent).

Lawmakers Laser in on Finances

Legislatively speaking, it was a bad week for Mississippi conservatives and the state's top Republican leadership, all of whom were ardent supporters of measures to toughen state immigration laws, limit abortions and establish charter schools.

CityBeat: From Docket Breakdown to State Champs

Some Jackson City Council members continue to miss work sessions. The Council holds the sessions the day before regular meetings to work out details and prepare for the agenda of the following day's meeting.

‘Internalized Racism'

Damien Henderson scrawled the words "Rest in Paradise" on a vent outside his brother Ryan's dorm room at Jackson State University last week before leading approximately 200 college students dressed in red in a peaceful march to the Palisades Apartments, where Ryan was shot and killed March 25.

JPS One Step Closer to New Superintendent

Jackson Public Schools has narrowed down the field of possible superintendents to two, and the public will get a chance to meet them next week. From 71 applicants, the board selected Dennis L. Carpenter and Cedrick Gray as finalists for the position.

[TechTip] In Search Of ... My Desk

Yes, it's the future; no, we don't yet have the paperless office.

Following Your Money

For many, tracking finances is more chore than enjoyment, whether you are dealing with a business or your personal funwds. And given how technology has made it easier to buy things, money can get tighter quicker.

[Tech Talk] Following Your Money

For many, tracking finances is more chore than enjoyment, whether you are dealing with a business or your personal funwds. And given how technology has made it easier to buy things, money can get tighter quicker.

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The Pejorative Report

When Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut, it was clear he was using a pejorative term. He meant to belittle Fluke, a law student at Georgetown University who spoke before U.S. House Democrats in support of birth control. Limbaugh is a showman, not a journalist, yet his language created a backlash for the outspoken conservative radio personality.

We Like ‘Obamacare'

With the U.S. Supreme Court considering health-care reform, we thought we'd mention that (a) our health-insurance rates are down, (b) we appreciate the tax credits for our small business, and (c) we've already seen cases where pre-existing conditions or gaps in coverage—which used to keep employees from getting insurance—are no longer barriers to coverage.

[Editorial] We Like ‘Obamacare'

With the U.S. Supreme Court considering health-care reform, we thought we'd mention that (a) our health-insurance rates are down, (b) we appreciate the tax credits for our small business, and (c) we've already seen cases where pre-existing conditions or gaps in coverage—which used to keep employees from getting insurance—are no longer barriers to coverage.

[Brown] Mississippi Students Deserve Better

As we approach the final weeks of the legislative session, House and Senate budget chairmen have begun to allocate funds among the various needs. The largest budget item is spending for K-12 public education. This budget, which was more than $2 billion last year, is funded through the Mississippi Adequate Education Program formula.

[First Person] March for Equality

Despite his young 18 years, Bob Gilchrist is not one to back down from a cause. The organizer of Fondren's March for Gay Equality scheduled the event for Thursday, March 1. However, when the group gathered to march from Fondren to the state Capitol, they were stopped by Jackson police, who cited a lack of liability insurance to march on Jackson city sidewalks.

[Halkias] Taking Jackson With Me

Though I am in love with Austin, I think about Jackson every day.

Why Local Matters

A 2010 report by Michigan State University assessed the economic advantages of shopping at locally owned businesses and, like researchers around the nation, found immense benefit to keeping as many dollars as possible in the local economy.

A Glimpse at History

Having just had to sell one of my children to pay for entry into the Insectarium in New Orleans, I'm all about a free museum, and we are blessed to have a good one right here in Jackson. The Old Capitol Museum, located at the intersection of Capitol and State streets downtown, is well worth visiting on a regular basis.

Come Together

Musician and Jackson State University student Andrew Dillon felt a hole in his heart growing during the induction ceremony for the university's new president, Carolyn Meyers, last Friday. That hole was because of Nolan Ryan Henderson III, who was murdered March 24 allegedly at the hands of his cousin.

JSU International Week

This is the 22nd year that Jackson State University will devote five days to celebrating cultural diversity and promoting education about other countries. From April 9 through April 13, the university's Division of International Studies presents International Week with events designed to promote cultural awareness.

A Darker Oz

"The Hunger Games" portrays a futuristic nightmare where indentured masses, working in 12 districts, feed and entertain a parasitic society. The powers-that-be leech anything of consumptive value from the districts and hover-craft it into the Capitol, the central city of Panem.

Running for Their Lives

With his first book, Mississippian Bobby Cole delivers a fast-paced thriller that pits a man and his daughter against a group of truly sadistic thugs in a night-long wilderness chase.

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A New Spin in Town

Drew McKercher has played music since high school with about four different bands including Roosevelt Noise and Spacewolf. Spacewolf is his main and most recent band; he has played with the group for two years.

What's on My Nightstand?

"11-22-63" by Stephen King (Scribner, 2011, $35). Stephen King is far more than a "horror writer." He's an excellent author who can tell a brilliant story. I loved "Under the Dome," and "11-22-63" has been just as captivating.

Making The Connection

In my 10 years of living in California, I never once heard anyone play the "Name Game" with another Californian. Yet, within my first day back in Mississippi, I was part of a conversation that takes place in thousands of variations on any given day around here.

Listening Differently

Cassandra Wilson and Rhonda Richmond want Jackson to listen to music differently. Wilson, a Grammy Award-winning vocalist, and Richmond, a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter, have opened Yellow Scarf, a new kind of music venue for the city.

City Awards $67,000 to Local Businesses

The Jackson City Council approved more than $60,000 in small-business grants to seven area business in March. Since 2009, Jackson has awarded $684,681.20 to local businesses through the grant programs.

Progress in South Jackson

When Jackson Square Shopping Center was built in 1968, it was the largest shopping center in the capital city. With 350,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space on 40 acres, it is still the city's largest outdoor center.

Home, Brain, Home

How Local Businesses Lure Best, Brightest

Strengthening the local business community is no small part of building a better Jackson.

State Segregating Mentally Ill

One night last fall, Watson Dollar became angry when his mother would not let him drink from her water bottle. At the time, Pam Dollar was fighting a cold and did not know how to explain to Watson why he couldn't drink after her. Watson has limited language capabilities due to the autism he developed at age 2.

JPS' Accreditation Woes

Jackson Public Schools is facing a hearing to determine whether it will lose its accreditation over failure to comply with changes to its special-education program recommended by the state, but district officials seem optimistic about the outcome.

Easter Feasts ‘Round the World

Most Easter suppers have three things in common: bringing forth thanksgiving, remembering the meaning of Easter and providing fellowship for family and friends.

Donna Barksdale

Donna Barksdale has been "everything from a Sweet Potato Queen to a clothing designer." These days, she puts her fashion expertise to work making sure that senior girls at Lanier High School have prom dresses.

Now I Know I Can

Terry set the pace, explaining that there was no need to "showboat" during the first mile. I was encouraged to pull back when I felt it was needed, to charge the inclines when the earth pushed against me and to ease off for recovery on the other side.

Tuesday, April 3

Abortion, Immigration Bills Die in Committee

Two of the most contentious bills of the current legislative session--an anti-abortion "heartbeat" bill and an anti-undocumented immigration measure--won't become law in Mississippi after all.

City Hires Overby to Sell Dillards

The Jackson City Council voted 7-0 this morning to hire the Overby Company to market and sell the former Dillard's store in Metrocenter Mall.

Persons of the Day: JPS Superintendent Candidates

Following a search that has lasted almost a year, Jackson Public Schools has narrowed down the field of possible superintendents to two men. From 71 applicants, the board selected Dennis L. Carpenter and Cedrick Gray as finalists for the position.

JPS Selects Superintendent Candidates

The Jackson Public Schools board has narrowed the field in its search for a new superintendent. Two finalists—Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter and Dr. Cedrick Gray—will be in Jackson April 11 for additional interviews and community meetings.

Monday, April 2

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City v. Cab Drivers: Stop Trash Talk

Two Jackson City Council members said they will not approve a $1 increase in taxi-cab fares unless mandatory training is implemented for drivers.

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Opponents Denounce ‘Greed Bill'

Anyone with a television has seen the ads common this time of year inviting people to apply their income-tax refunds toward everything from bedroom furniture to big-screen TVs. The businesses behind the ads are often consumer-finance companies that make small loans with higher-than-average interest rates to people who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford the purchases.

Meredith McGee

When Darlene Collier's memoir landed on Meredith McGee's desk, McGee knew she needed more than just a typing service.

McMillin to Chair Parole Board

Gov. Phil Bryant has appointed former Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin to be chairman of the state Parole Board. Among other duties, the parole board reads applications for gubernatorial pardons.

Community Events and Public Meetings

AARP Tax Aide Volunteer Service.  The service is available to low- and moderate-income taxpayers with special attention to those ages 60 and older. Bring all necessary documents. No appointment required. Free.

Reeves Gives Democrat Immigration, Abortion Bills

The fate of some of the most contentious bills this year rests with Sen. Hob Bryan, a Democrat from Amory.

Sunday, April 1

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