Stories for June 2012


Friday, June 29

Just In: State Not Responding Well to Child Abuse, Neglect

A children's advocacy organization says state officials are not responding to reports of child abuse and neglect in a timely or effective fashion.

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Nissan Jobs Cost Millions

Central Mississippi is getting 1,000 badly needed jobs, but taxpayers are paying a hefty price for them.

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JPD Ups Non-English Skills

The Jackson Police Department is taking steps to improve communications and relationships with non-English-speaking residents in the city.

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Wolf of the Day: Sunset

Sunset, one of two red wolves at the Jackson Zoo, has died.

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It's the Weekend!

This Saturday the play "It's Time to Take Out the Trash" is at 8 p.m. at Thalia Mara Hall. 2010 "Sunday Best" winner Le'Andria Johnson performs.

Heat Risk to Seniors and Disabled: How to Help

The city is performing wellness checks on seniors and the disabled during the current heatwave.

Fireworks + Drought = Danger

Here are Insurance Commission Mike Chaney's tip avoiding fireworks disasters this year.

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The Charms of Akami Graham

Akami Graham is a princess of R&B. She performs tonight at Hal & Mal's.

State on Shaky Financial Footing

It's a good thing Mississippians owe less in student loan debt than the national average because ours is one of two states where personal income is shrinking.

Thursday, June 28

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Obamacare Ruling 'Imperfect'

Mississippians might not want to celebrate this morning's U.S. Supreme Court ruling affirming President Barack Obama's health-care law just yet.

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Madison Ark is Homeless

The city of Madison recently failed to renew the lease of the Madison Ark animal shelter.

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Mississippi Folks

This morning's historic decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the majority of President Barack Obama's 2010 Affordable Care Act means that millions of Mississippians will continue to enjoy the benefits of the law.

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Gospel and Good Feeling

For Hurstine Watts, gospel music is a narrative art.

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Court Upholds 'Obamacare'

In a 5-4 decision with Chief Justice John Roberts as the "swing" vote and author of the decision, the 2010 Affordable Care Act was upheld, including the controversial insurance "mandate," although as a tax.

Mississippi Reacts to 'Obamacare' Ruling

Mississippians reacted promptly to the Supreme Court's ruling on "Obamacare." Some weren't pleased.

'No Ill Will, But We're Suing'

Mississippi's sole abortion provider is taking its fight against a new state law that endangers its existence to court.

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Rebel Rap

With a total of 90 shows between March 24 and July 6, Aaron Yates, aka Tech N9ne, is embarking on the longest tour in rap history.

Wednesday, June 27

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[Natalie’s Notes] Happy Birthday, America

I love Independence Day. Usually, I spend it with my awesome family in McCall Creek, riding-four wheelers, swimming, grilling and catching up with cousins, aunts and uncles, as well as local residents who are like family to me.

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A Seductive Antidote

"There is nothing for you here, Mina. Come with me." The immortal count beckons the unhappily married Mina Murray Harker in "Dracula in Love" by Karen Essex.

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What's on My Nightstand?

I've always loved to read. Reading invites us into another world populated with alternate possibilities. Whether we read for recreation or to deepen our knowledge of a particular subject, we can count on reading to give us a new perspective.

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Don't Fool with Vampires

"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," a rare cinematic original based on the book of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith, exposes the eternal struggle between men and the living dead.

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Taboo No More

Homosexuality, abortion, rape, child abuse, teen pregnancy and suicide can all initiate a controversial conversation. In yesteryear, however, they were all topics so taboo they were suppressed, ignored and left to fester.

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Up Where the Air is Clear

Up early, the last thing the fisherman expected to see was a large balloon floating over the lake—just low enough for him to hold a conversation with the pilot.

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There Comes a Time

Sometimes, redemption involves clearing out the clutter in your life. "'It's Time to Take Out the Trash' is a play about a woman who is trying to redeem herself," says writer and director Felicia Tillman.

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Y'all Ever Heard of Space Country Music?

Zechariah Lloyd Tillotson likes to call his sound "space country." Somewhere in the genre of psychedelic soul, mixed with Delta blues, a little country undertone and a hint of humility, Tillotson's raw sound evokes pain and soulfulness, evident on songs like "Cheatin' Hands," "When It's Gone" and "Empty Regret."

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Sandusky Verdict: Nobody Won

Friday night produced no real winners.

[The Slate] The Best In Sports In 7 Days

LeBron James and the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 4-1 in the NBA finals. The king finally has a ring.

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Good Bugs, Bad Bugs

Now that summer is in full swing, gardeners have to deal with pests.

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Plant Now for Fall Harvest

One of the benefits of living in the South is that we can extend our growing period through at least three seasons just by timing our planting, and four seasons if we put a little work into it.

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There’s the Rub

As funny as it seems to advocate beer as a non-drinker, I often cook with wines and cooking sherry—why not beer?

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A Classic Combo

French fries and beer, what more could you want in the summer?

Hot-Weather Watering

The hottest part of summer may require us to use more treated water than we may prefer. Chemicals from city water-treatment plants can build up and can also stunt microbial life in the soil.

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Match Made in (Mouthwatering) Heaven

One great thing about high-gravity beer is that (much like its higher-alcohol cousin, wine) it pairs wonderfully with food. And as with pairing food and wine, there are some general rules of thumb.

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Let's Play House

I groaned as my wife asked, "Will you go to a wedding with me?" Usually, weddings are my favorite rite to attend. They bring out the best in people, and the air is magical with promise and beauty—the emotional lift from attending one can continue for many days.

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Is Mississippi in 'Play'?

In August 1987, Louisiana State University geologists reported that a rock formation called Tuscaloosa Marine Shale could contain as much as 7 billion barrels of oil.

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Managing Projects, Tasks and Info

The recent wholesale upgrade to the Jackson Free Press website was quite an undertaking. For the first time since 2002, we have completely changed not just to a new design, but to an entire new "backend" as well, switching to a different Content Management System, or CMS, for our stories, events, restaurant listings and so on.

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Taste-Off at the JFP

All summer long, beer geeks and hop-heads have been buzzing about craft beer. But for those who have never ventured outside the standard varietals, the pool of higher-alcohol beers can be an intimidating one to cannonball into.

Get Your Brew On

Gone are the days when choice in beer meant something "exotic" such as an Amstel Light.

[Letters] Congress, Support Mississippi Students

Under the budget approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Phil Bryant, Mississippi's Institutions of Higher Learning will receive $2,400 less per student for fiscal year 2013 than they received a decade ago.

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Beer Law Changes July 1

With the stroke of his pen on April 9, Gov. Phil Bryant approved one of the most popular measures in recent history—the craft-beer bill.

[My Turn] One Life-Changing Day

In Mississippi, the movement to organize undocumented immigrant youth is a fairly recent one. It formally began after five youth attended the national United We DREAM conference in Dallas, Texas, in November 2011. A month later, they decided to form Youth Organizers United in Jackson.

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Sweet, Sweet Beer

“I’d kill everyone in this room for one drop of sweet, sweet beer.” —Homer Simpson

[Letters] Circus Abuses Animals

In response to the article, "Under the Big Top" in (Vol. 10, Issue 40) June 13-19: The article was written with a magical and nostalgic feeling. But the reality of circus life for animals is filled with abuse.

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The Good Fight

A few months ago, after watching one of the Republican debates, I placed a call to my sweet little momma. She lives in what I call a FOX News bubble: She doesn't have access to the Internet or pay much attention to opposing views.

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JPS Asking for Tax Increase

The Jackson Public Schools board approved a $206 million JPS budget for the upcoming year at a meeting yesterday by a vote of six to one.

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A Mississippi Tea Party Chat

Janis Lane, president of the Central Mississippi Tea Party, said conservatives want America to return to its roots of "limited government, free markets and fiscal responsibility."

Lawsuit Aims to Keep Abortion Clinic Open

Pro-abortion rights groups filed an expected lawsuit today to block the closing of the state's only abortion clinic.

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For the Sheer Joy of It

Although fairly new on the scene, Neon Indian, fronted by Alan Palomo, is already a top-10 chillwave band.

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Beer Me, Mississippi

"Mississippi has the unhealthiest relationship with alcohol of any state I've encountered—and I lived in Utah for 14 years of my life," says Features Editor Kathleen Mitchell

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Graham Downey

Graham Downey came to Jackson with a mission: to make healthy options for kids in Mississippi more accessible.

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Appeals Court Tosses David Archie Conviction

The Mississippi Court of Appeals threw out the convictions of David Archie and a dozen other people who were arrested at a March 2008 protest in Canton.

Redevelopment Authority Packed Agenda Wednesday

Much development talk is afoot at the JRA meeting today.

Tuesday, June 26

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Jackson, Oxford, Tupelo Get High Econ Scores

Yes, Jackson, our economic strength is growing.

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SCOTUS Creates Buzz in Mississippi

As with many U.S. Supreme Court rulings, there was a little something for everyone in yesterday's ruling on Arizona's tough anti-immigration law.

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Biz Roundup: Supercell, Hair, Crafts

From iPods and laptops to Android phones and iPhones, Supercell buys, repairs, refurbishes and sells a wide range of electronics.

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Kevin J. Williams

Kevin Williams explores the relationship with the black community in the documentary "Fear of a Black Republican."

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Help Build the Capital City

Join up with the city and Americorps to help Jackson.

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Best Health-Care Reporting

As you wait for the Supreme Court's health-care decision, here's our roundup of standout reporting on health care in the U.S. and the struggle to fix it.

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JPS Meeting Tuesday to Adopt Budget

JPS will adopt its budget today amid financial woes.

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Life Without Parole for Kids Ruled Cruel and Unusual

Before a person under 18 can be given a life sentence with no hope of parole, judges must take the defendant's age and the nature of their crime into consideration.

Monday, June 25

JPD Arrests 10 in Prostitution Sting

JPD arrests 10 in "Vegas Night in Jackson"; declares "strong impact."

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PSC Could Delay Kemper

Friday's decision from the Mississippi Public Service Commission on Mississippi Power's request to raise electric rates could severely hamper the project.

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Hinds EDA Says No to Garage

Hinds County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Blake Wallace recommended that the Board of Supervisors not go forward with funding a parking garage that is part of the Old Capitol Green project.

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Dr. Thais Tonore

Ever since she was a young girl, Thais Tonore wanted to be a doctor.

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Community Events and Public Meetings

The Eighth Annual JFP Chick Ball is July 28, 6 p.m., at Hal & Mal's.

City Residents: Sign Up for CodeRED Weather Warnings

Jacksonians can get free op-in weather warnings from the National Weather Service.

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Lowest Gas Prices in Jackson

Summer driving vacations may be a little more affordable now than they were a couple of weeks ago.

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MEMA Keeping Close Eye On the Gulf

MEMA is concerned about a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico.

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SCOTUS Rules on Ariz. Immigration Law

The ongoing controversy around Arizona's controversial immigration law culminated today in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling handed down this morning.

Sunday, June 24

June 24, 2012 - Sunday


Hot Shots, Byram - Mike and Marty's Jam Session

Saturday, June 23

June 23, 2012 - Saturday


Martin's - Zoogma with Space Capone

Friday, June 22

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Riot Rocks Another CCA Prison

Widespread fighting has broken out at another Corrections Corporation of America-run private prison in south Mississippi, leaving 23 inmates injured.

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State Leads Nation in Executions

Mississippi holds a dubious first-place standing for executing more people than any other state in the union this year.

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Monica Gilmore-Love

Jackson Public School Board members selected former vice president Monica Gilmore-Love as the new board president this week.

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It's the Weekend!

This weekend, Breakfast with the Otters is at the Jackson Zoo, Juneteenth Celebration at Battlefield Park, GenerationNXT Indie Concert Series is at Dreamz JXN.

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JPS Board Selects New Officers

The JPS Board chose new leadership this week.

Legal Services Workshop Today

“The more educated the persons are, the better prepared they are to address or avoid legal issues that they may encounter."

Thursday, June 21

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Cooper-Stokes Wants New Hearing

LaRita Cooper-Stokes has asked a judge for a new hearing in the case of the Ward 3 Jackson City Council runoff election.

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‘I Didn't Have a Clue'

Desmeon Thomas lived a different life before 2002, one filled with the idolization of money, cars and jewelry. After he graduated from Murrah High School in 2001, he became involved in a gang and looked up to older gang members, intending to follow in their footsteps.

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Patsy Mink

This Saturday marks the 40th anniversary of one of the most important pieces of legislation ever passed by Congress when it comes to women's athletics. On June 23, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Title IX Amendment--the Equal Opportunity in Education Act--of the Higher Education Act.

Wednesday, June 20

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Your Stylist Knows

Those of you who are regular readers of this column may recall that some months ago, I acquired my Fantasy Hair—I got long hair thanks to extensions from Paul Prine at S'Moak Salon (622 Duling Ave., 601-982-5313).But as it turns out, that endeavor was only my first step down the path toward long, luscious and low-maintenance locks. And so, dear readers, I invite you to continue with me on my journey.

The Flaming Lips Light Up Jackson

The Flaming Lips have a challenge ahead of them: eight cities, eight concerts, nearly 700 miles on a bus, more than 10 supporting and collaborating artists, one awards show, 24 awards and one world record—all in 24 hours. And every second streamed live on the Internet.

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Flaming Lips Light Up City

The Flaming Lips have a challenge ahead of them: eight cities, eight concerts, nearly 700 miles on a bus, more than 10 supporting and collaborating artists, one awards show, 24 awards and one world record—all in 24 hours. And every second streamed live on the Internet.

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The Mysterious (and Noisy) New Duo

When the indie group Youth Lagoon performed at the Cats Purring Dude Ranch in Oxford, Miss., they needed an opening act. At the time, ILLLS was just a side project of 21-year-old Jim Barrett of Oxford, and 22-year-old Steven Ross of Jackson. Barrett was involved with the band Young Buffalo, and Ross had a solo project called Slow Talk.

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How Malaco Got Its Groove Back

You might remember a piece I wrote for Boom Jackson magazine a couple years ago about Jackson's Malaco Records, the world-famous and highly revered label known as a soul, blues and gospel powerhouse. My piece focused on the label's ability to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances in the music industry over the years. Transitioning from full-service record label to gospel compilation seller to distribution channel for independent artists, Malaco has never backed down from a challenge.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

I always have a beard, but I decided not to trim it for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Next year, I'll challenge the JFP guys to grow playoff beards with me and see which is best.

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This Foley Can Jump

I sat in the Mississippi Basketball and Athletics center watching Jackson's new American Basketball Association team hold its first tryouts with a nice turnout of about 18 to 20 players on March 24. All hoped to continue their basketball careers and become an inaugural member of the Jackson Showboats.

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Soccer's Inspirations

Watching Euro 2012 is interesting, and not just from a sports standpoint. The soccer has been great, of course, but the history and traditions of the teams in this tournament are captivating as well. Two examples stood out for me as I watched some of the best soccer teams in the world battle for bragging rights in Europe.

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Beyond ‘Things'

The emptiness and superficiality that many people feel in modern life is a reflection of our world's materialism. We covet things because we have no "thing" with which to measure—or register—"true" value.

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Life as Prayer and Dialogue

Much of the anger and dissension we see around us today is the result of the unpardonable practice of mixing politics and religion.

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Vampires: Change Agents?

Each generation likes to think of itself as completely new and different from those that went before, but a glance at popular media raises the question: Are our monsters predictors of change?

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No Cons in Cans

When Krueger Brewing Company released its cream ale in a can in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 24, 1935, its sales soared by 550 percent. That same year, 37 breweries followed suit. Beer became easier to transport, took up less space and got cold more quickly. It just made sense for breweries to put their beer in a can.

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Western Style Fiesta: Chili Pie

While experimenting in the kitchen over the years, I have created some tasty quick meals. This is perhaps one of my favorites, because you can vary the ingredients in this recipe to fit your taste.

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True Teacakes

In the story "Anna Franklin's Teacakes" (Vol. 10, No. 38), author Casey Purvis mistakenly identified Mrs. Franklin as a resident of Polkville, according to her granddaughter Debi Miller

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Religion Without Holes

In the center of a dimly lit room in the National Archives sits a small book that Thomas Jefferson made by meticulously cutting out sentences and gluing them onto pages. It's a Bible, but not the whole Bible. Only certain sentences were worthy, in Jefferson's eyes, to be included in his Bible. He included nothing about miracles or the resurrection of Jesus or the Old Testament, resulting in a book of nice, familiar, vaguely religious advice.

Abortion Clinic Stays Open, For Now

A law that some Mississippi lawmakers hope will close the state's only abortion clinic goes into effect in less than two weeks, but that doesn't mean the clinic will close its doors July 1.

JPS Cutting Costs to Pay Debt

The Jackson Public Schools are cutting operation costs so the district can put more money toward paying off debt, including $150 million in bond issue debt.

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Yarber: Neighborhood Man

Tony Yarber, 34, said his career in education chose him.

Berry's Produce; No Beer in Jackson County

The 1940s-and-'50s-style hand-painted boards that dress the outer walls of the new produce market, at 3139 N. State St., depict bright tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables. Located in a former gas station, the earmark of the art at Berry's Produce is the blown-up Wyatt Waters watercolor portrait of owner Doris Berry working in her stand at the old Farmer's Market in Jackson.

Believe Her

Words count. One thing has become clear in reading Managing Editor Ronni Mott's cover story about sexual assault and rape this week.

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Slave of Minimum Wage

Customers, get ready for a special 4th of July celebration at Jojo's Discount Dollar Store. Jogo wants to call this upcoming event 'What to the Slave of the Minimum Wage is the 4th of July?' Sale.

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Fashion Police in Politics

Lets just get to the bottom line. The "saggy pants" debate is perhaps the most ridiculous, over-talked issue of modern times. It's downright stupid. And might I add ... stupid.

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Turning Back the Clock

J. K. Morrison will turn over in his grave on July 1.

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Ending the Silence

Bringing Rape and Sexual Assault out of Shame's Closet

Anthony Sowell had been out of prison about three years after serving 15 for attempted rape when he ran into Gladys Wade outside a neighborhood store in Cleveland, Ohio, on Dec. 8, 2008. When she said she wouldn't go to his house to drink beer with him, Sowell became emphatic.

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Mystery and a Meal

"Hear ye, hear ye! Royal subjects of the kingdom of Paramore, tonight we celebrate Prince Phillips impending beheading ... I mean uh ... betroth..." So begins the comedic murder mystery "The Bachelor Prince" as the audience sips their soup or eats their spaghetti.

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Artful Music

On June 21, Lost in the Trees performs at Duling Hall alongside Daytona. The orchestral folk band features songwriter Ari Picker on guitar and vocals; Andrew Anagnost on cello; Jenavieve Varga on violin; Mark Daumen on bass and tuba; Kyle Keegan on drums; and Emma Nadeau on the French horn, keyboard and vocals.

Choctaw ‘Expressions'

The vibrancy of the Mississippi Choctaw's heritage is clearly expressed through the colorful, handmade Choctaw dresses with beautiful beadwork and full skirts trimmed with ruffles and hand-sewn appliques, handmade baskets and handmade musical instruments—all on display at the Mississippi Craft Center this month.

Intent to Ravish

Like so much of Mississippi culture, its laws concerning sex crimes harken back to a hypothetically more genteel time when ladies swooned and men did not use curse words in their presence. The states' rape statutes use vague, anachronistic words such as "ravish," "chaste" and "buggery" instead of rape, virgin and anal intercourse.

Does Jackson Need Another Rape-Crisis Center?

As the Jackson Free Press has done since 2004, on July 28, we will host our eighth annual Chick Ball to benefit the Center for Violence Prevention in Pearl.

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Cochran Bike Bill On the Ropes

Congressional House Republicans are trying to put the brakes on a provision in the federal transportation bill that could promote more biking and walking in America's cities and towns. But biking and walking advocates are looking to an unlikely ally for support: Mississippi's senior conservative Republican Sen. Thad Cochran.

Stern v. Killen: 40 Acres and a Duel

When James Stern arrived at Mississippi State Penitentiary's medical Unit 31, fellow black inmates debriefed him on one of the unit's infamous residents: Edgar Ray Killen.

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40 Acres and a Duel

When James Stern arrived at Mississippi State Penitentiary's medical Unit 31, fellow black inmates debriefed him on one of the unit's infamous residents: Edgar Ray Killen.

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WTF Is Zoogma?

Zoogma. It's a word that on the surface doesn't make a whole lot of sense. To some people, the word represents absolutely nothing. To others, it's a misspelling of the literary device Zeugma, a Greek word meaning "to bond." And to an increasing number of people, it's a guaranteed good time on a Saturday night.

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Felicia Tillman

"I have big, big, big faith," Felicia Tillman says. The 34-year-old Jackson native believes that becoming the author of two plays was a spiritual thing for her.

Tuesday, June 19

Free Voter ID Will Cost ... But What?

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann announced yesterday that his office will be "proactive" and distribute free voter ID cards to anyone who does not have the proper identification. But his office does not yet have a vendor in place to make the cards or know how much they're going to cost the taxpayers.

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Crooked Letter Brewery Blocked

Jackson County Board of Supervisors denied a Vancleave couple a special exemption Monday to build a brewery on their land along Antioch Road. The law requires an exemption for industrial businesses in an agricultural zone.

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Surina R. Dixon

After three months on the job, and before she coached a single basketball game, Texas State University fired head women's basketball coach Surina Dixon in 2008. Dixon charged that her termination was a result of her calling foul on the university over what she believed was gender bias.

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World Sickle Cell Day

On June 19 at noon, the Mississippi Sickle Cell Foundation will join millions around the world to commemorate World Sickle Cell Awareness Day. MSCF will pray for patients with sickle cell disease and for families who have lost loved ones due to the illness. It encourages all Mississippians to join in an effort to bring awareness to the disease.

Monday, June 18

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Stokes: Shut Down Jail, Pull Pants Up

District 5 Supervisor Kenneth Stokes wants to close the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond following a series of blunders at the jail.

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Stokes: Shut Jail Down

District 5 Supervisor Kenneth Stokes wants to close the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond following a series of blunders at the jail.

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Arden Barnett

Since the fall of 2011, Duling Hall has pushed its way to the forefront of the live music scene in Jackson. The man leading the charge is promoter Arden Barnett.

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, and donate art, money and gifts at [e-mail missing]. $5 cover; call 601-362-6121, ext. 16.

Saturday, June 16

MDOC Sticks with Private Prisons

Sometime between the 8:45 p.m. and the 9:15 p.m. staff shift change on July 30, 2010, Tracy Alan Province, John Charles McCluskey and Daniel Kelly Renwick escaped from Arizona State Prison-Kingman. Just after 10 p.m., perimeter-patrol officers discovered a 30-by-22-inch hole in the fence. Two hours after the prison determined the inmates had escaped, Arizona Department of Corrections assumed command and the U.S. Marshals Service launched a manhunt.

JFP Wins Awards for Feature Writing, Public Service, Commentary

The JFP got more great news Friday night when we learned that we are winning two first-place and one second-place award from the Society of Professional Journalists' southeastern division. Valerie Wells takes first place for feature writing, the Personhood team (this time, including R.L. Nave and Adam Lynch) takes second place for public service, and I won first place for serious commentary. Here is the full press release. Cheers to the team, congratulations to all the winners. We're honored to be in your company:

Friday, June 15

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Abortion Clinic's Fate Unknown

Betty Thompson doesn't know what will happen to her employer, the Jackson Women's Health Organization, on July 1.

Working Together: Jackson

On the night of June 14, hundreds of people flooded through the doors of New Horizon Church in south Jackson to collaborate on one of the biggest tasks the city has ever taken on. Working Together: Jackson is an organization two and one-half years in the making.

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Da Chief

At a crowded house party in 1994, full of teenagers and loud, blistering music, two things were happening: dancing and a rap battle. That was the first opportunity for Alex Guillermo Jr., aka Da Chief, to rap his original song "Ecclesiastes." He was surrounded by a small group of people. "I had butterflies for a couple of bars, then they went away," he said.

It's the Weekend!

Today, the Priced to Move Pop-Up Art Gallery opens at 5 p.m. at the former Eastland Federal Courthouse (245 E. Capitol St.) and runs through June 17. The even is free; find Priced to Move on Facebook. Fred Hammond, Byron Cage and Canton Jones perform at the Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour at 7 p.m. at the Jackson Convention Complex. Free tickets; for information visit The play "Behind the Pulpit" is at 8 p.m. at Thalia Mara Hall, and features Bernadette Stanis ("Good Times"), Keith "Wonderboy" Johnson and Calvin Richardson. There will be an encore show June 16. Tickets are $25-$32; call 800-745-3000. Passenger Jones performs at Ole Tavern. Renegade is at Olga's. Stevie J and the Blues Eruption play at F. Jones Corner. Larry Brewer is at Georgia Blue. Need more options? See our Best Bets.

Thursday, June 14

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Rally Protests Contraceptive Rule

American and Christian flags stood on equal footing in front of the U.S. Courthouse in Jackson Friday as about 60 people gathered to protest a rule that requires health-insurance plans to cover contraceptives.

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Jackson May Raise Taxes for City Schools

The Jackson Public Schools are asking the city for more money to pay off $150 million in bond issue debt.

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Taxes May Rise for City Schools

The Jackson Public Schools are asking the city for more money to pay off $150 million in bond issue debt.

Forum Focuses on Black Health

Just because Congressman Bennie Thompson is a member of the same party as Barack Obama, that doesn't mean he won't criticize the Democratic president's administration.

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Drew Brees

New Orleans and Drew Brees are playing chicken while driving at full speed. The New Orleans Saints are running out of time to get quarterback Drew Brees a long-term deal. Under the collective-bargaining agreement, teams have until July 16 to sign players to multi-year deals that were franchise-tagged. NFL teams can franchise a player to keep him from signing with another team, but the team must pay him an average of the top five salaries at the player's position.

Death Rower's Reprieve Plea Denied

The Mississippi Supreme Court has denied a stay of execution to a man set to become the third man in as many weeks the state puts to death. Gary Carl Simmons had asked the court for an additional 14 days to have a mental exam conducted, but justices rejected his request this morning. If his scheduled June 20 death by lethal injection is carried out, Simmons will be the third man Mississippi executes in June.

Wednesday, June 13

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The Layman's Guide to Craft Beer Styles

Beer drinkers get a bad rap. Winos might be stereotyped as the classier drinkers, but the world of well-made craft beers is as varied as that of fine wines––if not more so––and it behooves any beer drinker to learn about the myriad styles available.

Dear, Deserving Dad

June 17 is fast approaching, and there's no better time to make Dad feel special. Make your pop proud on Father's Day with any of these great gifts from local shops around town.

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The Band that Moves

When John Parker started a band in 2004, he had to think of a name. "It was one of those things where I asked myself what I want people to do when I play, and Time to Move Band was what I came up with," he says.

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The Future of Jackson's Music Scene

Just the other day, I couldn't help but brag about how musically awesome Jackson has been in the last year. From the Allman Brothers (Dusty and Buck) doing their part in getting national acts to the City with Soul, to the impressive bars, restaurants and venues we have here that support live, local music, to Ardenland bringing in a wide variety of musical acts, I'd say Jackson is looking up.

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Boxing's Final Hit?

It seemed unreal. Were we back in 1997, in Montreal?

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

The storybook journey for Stony Brook University's Seawolves continues. The little university from New York state upset LSU this weekend to reach the College World Series.

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How Many Green Beans for That?

Father's Day often presents a problem: What to get Dad? If he's into gardening, the answers are easy.

Don't Buy Dirty

People can't always buy organic for a variety of reasons: The local store may have limited supplies, they lack variety or cost is a consideration. But whatever the reason—or excuse—shoppers should be aware that some produce at the grocery store is more pesticide-laden than others.

Working in Groups

My problem is a simple one that may be familiar: In the nonprofit I'm part of, too much "group stuff" happens in long email exchanges. Like a lot of volunteer organizations, we get a bunch of work done in committee, department and board meetings, when everyone is on the same page and focused. But outside those meetings, real life often gets in the way. Things don't happen between meetings—or people just can't connect to get things done—with the result that some projects take longer than you'd hope.

Jury Orders New Ward 3 Election

The defense called it "the case of the sore loser." The plaintiff called it "the case of the stolen election." The jury agreed with the latter.

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JFP Wins Multiple Awards for 2011 Work

The Jackson Free Press got amazing news from Detroit Friday afternoon when we learned the Association of Alternative Newsmedia was presenting us a coveted first-place public-service award for our team coverage of the personhood effort last fall.

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Inherit the Flame

I haven't written much over the years about the man I like to think of as my "real father." Maybe it's too painful.

Employers Shouldn't Dictate Birth Control Choices

Dr. Beverly McMillan is against birth control. Or at least any kind of hormonal birth control, from the regular pill to the morning-after pill, all of which she considers to be a form of abortion. The head of Pro-Life Mississippi, McMillan wants your employer to be able to tell you what kind of birth control your health insurance can pay for. Never mind that you pay for your insurance with your own labor, and often partly with your money.

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Students Deserve Better Than a Quick Fix

In an election year where the question of our nation's fiscal future is front and center, we cannot forget that the educational progress of our nation's children is pivotal for renewing U.S. prosperity.

Fathers and Daughters

Fathers will show their daughters how to love and how to be loved in return. They are the first figure of strength daughters will ever know.

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Not So Young Guns

OLIVE BRANCH, Miss.—I'm staring into the face of Marshal Wyatt Earp. It's not exactly as I remember him back when I was a 10-year-old would-be cowboy and Wyatt was on television every Tuesday night. He's in a motorized wheelchair now, his once-jet black hair is gray, and he's sporting a beard.

Under the Big Top

It was a muggy July evening in Mississippi. I had packed a picnic for my 1-year-old son, my then-husband and myself in a cooler in the red wagon--watermelon cubes, egg-salad sandwiches on pumpernickel bread, cucumber slices, corn on the cob, Fig Newtons and lots of ice-cold lemonade.

Getting Messy at the Museum

The Setting: A bright, welcoming room with a colorful mosaic mural lining the wall The Players: Two adults sitting in child-sized chairs, a variety of hand-held dog puppets The Audience: A receptive, enthusiastic crew of 4- and 5-year-old children

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Ghostly Tales

"The Haunting of Mississippi" by Barbara Sillery sucked me right in to Mississippi's rich, haunted history. Sillery eloquently describes the settings of her stories, so I could easily visualize each of the places she writes about.

Engaging Dialogue

For more than 20 years, local nonprofit Jackson 2000 has worked to improve the social, political and economic climate of the city of Jackson through dialogue about race. A group of concerned citizens, including former Mayor Russell C. Davis and then-president of Alcorn State University, Dr. Walter Washington, founded Jackson 2000 in 1989.

Jazz of Juneteenth

If Belzoni native Dr. Ron Myers had his way, every state in the nation would celebrate Juneteenth this month.

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Guys We Love

Every year at this time, people reflect on their dads, their granddads, their uncles—all the men in their lives. We at the JFP want to shine a spotlight on a few men who make Jackson a little cleaner, brighter, smarter or a little more delicious.

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WJXN: Pirate Radio?

Jacksonians have been talking about the radio station with no DJs, no commercials and a music lineup like none they've ever heard.

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As If We Lost the Saints

A tornado touched down in the New Orleans suburb of Arabi the evening of May 23. It was a busy Wednesday night in The Times-Picayune newsroom. The paper's website,, posted reports of heavy wind damage in Arabi, then later the news of a possible tornado striking. Staffers were busy collecting the information and reporting it promptly. But the tornado is not the only thing that kept New Orleans' journalists up all that night.

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DeSean Dyson

DeSean Dyson planned on being a lawyer. Less than a year before he graduated from college, however, Hurricane Katrina struck. His TV screen filled with negative images of young black men in New Orleans.

Tuesday, June 12

A Condemned Man's Last Day…in a Press Release

June 12, 2012 Scheduled Execution of Jan Michael Brawner

In about two hours, Jan Michael Brawner will be executed for the murders of his 3-year-old daughter, ex-wife and former in-laws. The Mississippi Department of Corrections issued the following news release detailing Brawner's final day:

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Another Condemned Man Seeks Reprieve

Gary Carl Simmons Jr., scheduled to be the third person Mississippi puts to death this month, wants the State Supreme Court to grant him a stay of execution. Monday evening, Simmons' attorney filed a motion asking for 14 days to have a forensic psychologist perform a mental-health assessment, which Simmons never received in the course of his defense.

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Condemned Man Seeks Reprieve

Gary Carl Simmons Jr., scheduled to be the third person Mississippi puts to death this month, wants the State Supreme Court to grant him a stay of execution. Monday evening, Simmons' attorney filed a motion asking for 14 days to have a forensic psychologist perform a mental-health assessment, which Simmons never received in the course of his defense.

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Irby, Sameerah's, Mangia Bene

The Stuart C. Irby Company and Sonepar USA's new 8,500-square-foot Jackson facility is open for business. The retail space and distribution center, located at the corner of Silas Brown and President Street, represents $6 million in investment to the area. Irby bought international electrical equipment Sonepar USA in 2005.

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Amphibian of the Day: Endangered Mississippi Gopher Frog

The Mississippi gopher frog is an eccentric little creature. The nocturnal amphibian is secretive and quite particular about where it lives: It only breeds in one pond in the world.

Monday, June 11

Anti-Abortion Groups Protest Contraceptive Rule

About 60 people in Jackson took part in a rally Friday to protest a rule that requires health insurance for most employees to cover contraceptives.

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Legal Question Could Delay Execution

On Sunday, Jan Michael Brawner turned 35. Tomorrow, the state could put him to death if he doesn't receive a reprieve. Brawner has asked the Mississippi Supreme Court for a stay of execution on the grounds that a majority of the court doesn't support executing him for the 2002 slayings of his ex-wife, in-laws and 3-year-old daughter.

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Joyce Jackson

On Feb. 14, Joyce Jackson finished with enough votes in the Ward 3 special election to get her name on the ballot with frontrunner LaRita Cooper-Stokes for a Feb. 28 runoff election.

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, and donate art, money and gifts. $5 cover; call 601-362-6121, ext. 16.

Friday, June 8

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Utah Firm to Manage Three State Prisons

A Utah private-prison firm will take over running the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility and two other Mississippi prisons from The GEO Group. Management & Training Corporation, based in Ogden, Utah, will also assume management of East Mississippi Correctional Facility in Meridian and the Marshall County Correctional Facility in Holly Springs.

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CJ Rhodes

When the Rev. CJ Rhodes told his professor he wanted to study philosophy, he was met with surprise. His professor assumed that someone with Rhodes' Baptist and Pentecostal background wouldn't be interested in thinking deeply and philosophically about religion--that only aspiring Catholic or Anglican theologians did that.

It's the Weekend!

Today, the artist reception for Rod Moorhead and Betty Press is at 5 p.m. at Fischer Galleries (3100 N. State St.). Press also signs copies of "I Am Because We Are: African Wisdom in Images and Proverb." The event is free; $39.95 per book; call 601-291-9115. The Medgar Evers Homecoming continues with a banquet at 7 p.m. at Hilton Jackson (1001 E. County Line Road); actor Danny Glover is the guest speaker. Tickets are $50; call 601-948-5835. The Detectives Mystery Dinner Theatre presents the play "Marvelous Murder" at 6 p.m. at Parker House. RSVP. Tickets are $48; call 601-937-1752. Art Remix is at 7 p.m. at the Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.). Lisa Mills and Latinismo perform. Free admission, food $5 and up; call 601-960-1515. The play "Not As I Do" is at 7 p.m. at Belhaven University Center for the Arts. Encore show June 9 at 6 p.m. $15, $12 children under 12 in advance; $20, $15 at the door; call 601-506-7377. Yellow Scarf hosts "Honoring the Masters Series, Part 4" at 8 p.m. Joe Jennings, Alvin Fielder, Dr. London Branch and Charlie Robinson perform. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door; call 347-754-0668. Snazz is at Reed Pierce's. Need more options? See our Best Bets.

Thursday, June 7

Boil Water Notice

The city has issued a boil water notice affecting about 200 connections in Jackson.


City Calls on Companies to Offer ‘Fresh Start'

Jackson is making an effort to stop the revolving door in the state's prison system. One of the biggest keys, according to the Fresh Start Task Force, is helping formerly incarcerated people learn skills and find jobs.

BREAKING: New Election Ordered for Disputed Ward 3 Seat

Update: The jury just ordered a new election for the Ward 3 seat that LaRita Stokes currently holds. More details soon.

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City Begins Long-Awaited Fortification Street Improvements

After 10 years of waiting, planning and discussing, a Fortification Street redesign project has finally begun.

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Zachary Bird

The Los Angeles Dodgers selected Zachary Bird, a recent Murrah High School graduate, with the 296th pick in the ninth round of the Major League Baseball Draft.

Utah Private Prison Firm Picks Up Mississippi Contracts

Management & Training Corporation will take over management of the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility and two other Mississippi prisons, the Associated Press is reporting. MTC will also assume management of East Mississippi Correctional Facility in Meridian and the Marshall County Correctional Facility in Holly Springs.

Wednesday, June 6

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Lazy, Crazy, Hazy

I love summertime. Maybe it's because I'm ridiculously cold-natured, so it's the one time of the year I get to wear things not resembling a parka without freezing. But I think it's really that summer means sunshine, evenings spent sitting on patios with cold drinks, letting my hair air-dry and wearing two of my favorite fabrics—seersucker and linen.

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Kitchen Clash

Let the battle begin! After just one hour, a winner will emerge and be crowned Iron Chef when the Ferguson Kitchen brings the Iron Chef battle to Jackson.

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Abita Strawberry: More Soda than Beer

The appearance of Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager, commonly called just "Abita Strawberry," is a highpoint of spring for its fans. The beer is only brewed during strawberry harvest season, and hits shelves starting in early spring with sporadic shipments continuing until Abita runs out––usually just a few months.

From the Ukulele to ‘60s Pop

Completely recorded in his home in Oxford and in a cabin in Taylor, Miss., Dent May's "Do Things" is something of a fresh start. For his first album, "The Good Feeling of Dent May and His Magnificent Ukulele," which came out in February 2009, May only had about two weeks to record and felt like some ideas got lost in the shuffle.

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A Little Love Note to the City of Jackson

Fashionista, Screech-hater and, dare I say, philosopher Lisa Turtle once asked, "What is art? Are we art? Is art art?"

The Best In Sports in 7 Days

NBA Conference Finals are heating up with both series now best of three. Will either road team pull off an upset or will Miami and San Antonio hold strong?

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Brilla Scores for Jackson

The Mississippi Brilla has high hopes for the 2012 season. After posting a 12-2-2 record last year and winning its first playoff game, the soccer team is looking to accomplish even more this season.

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Tossing Around the Pigskin

Football is still approximately 90 days away, but it has not stopped the game from dominating the sporting news. Here is my take on a few stories making headlines this offseason.

An Elusive Beast

It was 1999. I was sitting on the edge of the exam table, staring at my feet dangling off the side and fiddling self-consciously with the white paper covering the table. Why was I so exhausted, yet having sleep disruptions? Why did seemingly every joint in my body ache almost constantly?

The Nature of the Beast: What You Should Know

First, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. Treatments exist, but every body is different, which means what works for me may not work for you.

An Ounce of Prevention

Last month, I received a health-scare email from my mother-in-law. In it, she explained that her doctor had removed a "spot" on her face, and a biopsy revealed that it was neither benign nor malignant, but pre-cancerous.

Dangers of Skin Bleaching

While tanning is unhealthy for some, skin bleaching is dangerous for others. Celebrities such as Beyoncé and the late Michael Jackson allegedly used skin bleaching, a practice to lighten skin pigment with chemicals.

Super Blue

Blueberries are an ideal food for people looking to improve their health this summer. This tiny "superfruit" is packed with vitamins A, C, E and K (all essential for skin health), as well as minerals that build strong bones, such as manganese. They also contain fiber, which promotes digestive health.

Oily Hair (is Good)

You can use olive oil as a salad dressing, an ingredient to cook a favorite dish or as a hair treatment. Yes, a hair treatment.

Garden to Table

During the summer months, it's tough to find ways to beat the sweltering heat while still enjoying the sunny days. Local Mississippi farmers markets can provide the perfect outdoor activity as well as healthy, fresh food choices.

Run and Sun

Besides getting out of bed in the morning, running in the blazing summer sun can prove to be one of the most difficult tasks for a runner—difficult and potentially dangerous.

Last-Minute Decisions on Sex Ed

School districts across the state have only a few weeks left to decide on sex-education policies and curricula for next year, but many have yet to make their decisions, including Jackson Public Schools.

Private Prisons Flourish on Desperation

If you drive around Natchez, a sleepy river town of 16,045 people, and talk to folks, everybody has an opinion on whether Adams County Correction Center and its parent company, Corrections Corporation of America, have had a positive impact on the area.

[Stiggers] Hard Times Made Tolerable

Clubb Chicken Wing's goal during the recession is to create jobs for the unemployed. Our daily 'Hot Wing Happy Hour' provides unemployed Djs, emcees, college graduates, teachers with Ph.D.s and other mid-level workers with part-time income. And we are not afraid to host job-search seminars and resume workshops either.

[Kamikaze] Hold the School Board Accountable

I'm a proud product of Jackson Public Schools. I attended Boyd Elementary and Chastain Middle schools up until the 9th grade. I then went to St. Joseph Catholic School because my mother wanted me to attend Murrah High School instead of my neighborhood school, Callaway.

[Strachan] In Praise of Public Servants

Glendora businessman Mike Sturdivant passed away at age 84 on May 1, at his home on his Due West Plantation. It brought to mind many things about one of the Magnolia State's best leaders.

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Private Prison, Public Problems

Gail Tyree exited U.S. Highway 84 onto Hobo Fork Road and drove through the rose-adorned entrance of the sprawling Adams County Correctional Center. A female correctional officer leaving the prison's main administration building scrutinized Tyree's car as she circled the parking lot.

A Journey to the Center of the Mind

Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer-Prize award-winning 1930s drama, "Our Town," is not just a play, but a spiritual voyage. The stage is barren, except for a row of chairs, and dialogue is often spoken atop ladders that represent houses.

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Fairy Tale Redux

"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the biggest bitch of them all?" That is the real question never posed by the Evil Stepmother Queen (Charlize Theron) in "Snow White and The Huntsman."

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Art Remix, ‘Latinized'

Lawn chairs? Check. Blankets? Check. Most importantly, your dancing shoes? Make sure you have these items when heading downtown to Art Remix at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

Evening in the Park

The turnout for Belhaven Park's outdoor movie for the month of May, a showing of 1961's "Blue Hawaii," was modest but spirited. In a soundscape of evening birdcalls and slow-passing traffic, locals converged on Belhaven Park just before dusk.

Melton Mentees Get Second Chance

The late Mayor Frank Melton may well be smiling from his grave over the good fortune bestowed by Gov. Haley Barbour and the city of Jackson to two of the troubled men he mentored over the years.

Whitwell: Getting Things Going

Quentin Whitwell, 39, was born in Memphis and grew up in Southaven and Oxford. His father, Robert Q. Whitwell, served as the U.S. Attorney for northern Mississippi from 1985 through 1993. After graduating from Oxford High School, Whitwell earned his bachelor's degree from Ole Miss in 1995 and his law degree from the school in 1998.

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Conducting a Festival

Four smiling mop-topped men with skinny ties strum guitars to a familiar backbeat. "She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah," they confirm in unison as if they really know something. Paul's big eyes and John's long chin move with the rhythm. It's the present, 2012, but the 1960s have returned. The four men in skinny suits not only sound like the Beatles, each member of this tribute performance resembles one of the Fab Four.

Hopes and Dreams

Last Friday was the first of the weekly Jackson Free Press summer intern workshops. With more than a dozen people stuffed into our classroom around the long stretch of tables, Editor-in-Chief Donna Ladd led a spirited discussion centered around the hopes and dreams of a talented group of young people.

Melissa Edwards

Melissa Edwards grew up surrounded by the influence of architecture through her two uncles who work in design. She did not know of any female architects who could serve as role models, however, but that didn't stop her from entering the field.

Portions of Gallatin Street Closed

A section of Gallatin Street between Hiawatha and Silas Brown streets is closed for repair work on a drainage line.

Tuesday, June 5

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Ward 3 Hearing Begins

The hearing to contest the February Ward 3 runoff election began Monday at the Hinds County Courthouse. The judge and lawyers spent the afternoon picking jurors from a pool of nearly 300.

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Nissan Workers Move to Unionize

The United Auto Workers and the Mississippi NAACP are supporting efforts by some workers at the Nissan automotive plant in Canton to form a labor union. A full-blown campaign is underway with workers planning to petition the National Labor Relations Board to set a date to put the question to a vote.

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Kristen Dupard

Years of learning how to bring poems to life for an audience paid off for Kristen Dupard this spring, as she took home a national trophy for her poetry-recitation skills.

School Board Meeting Tonight

The JPS school board meets tonight at 5:30. Although there isn't anything on the schedule about selecting a sex-related education policy, there are only two scheduled board meetings before the deadline to pick either an abstinence-only or abstinence-plus policy to teach next year. It looks like the board will vote on the matter June 19.

Monday, June 4

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Rep. John Lewis Rallies Dems

Sometimes, Democrats like to feast on red meat, too. At this year's Jefferson Jackson Hamer Dinner, held Friday at the Regency Hotel in Jackson, Georgia U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a civil-rights icon who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., played the role of zookeeper.

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Traffic Signal Boxes Become Artists' Canvases

Some of downtown Jackson's traffic signal boxes got a fresh coat of colorful paint recently thanks to a group of local artists.

Bryan Fedrick

Bryan Fedrick was not always fond of snakes. In fact, he was afraid of snakes until age 12 or 13. Now, however, the 34-year-old is a herpetologist who has been teaching snake safety since 2003.

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, and donate art, money and gifts. $5 cover; call 601-362-6121, ext. 16.

Friday, June 1

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City Leaders Prepare ‘Fresh Start'

A few dozen local leaders from a range of fields are working on a program to help keep people from returning to prison after leaving.

Hurricane Season is Here

Officials say Mississippi would be ready if a Category 3 hurricane was headed toward the Mississippi Gulf Coast and due to make landfall in 18 hours.

Eric Stringfellow

Eric Stringfellow has his work cut out for him. As a Jackson Public Schools public-affairs consultant, the district has given him the task of selling an unpopular rezoning plan that will close one school and require students at several other schools to transition to different locations next year.

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It's the Weekend!

Today, Elizabeth Johnson and Susie Ranager's art exhibit opens at Brown's Fine Art (630 Fondren Place) and hangs through June 30. Free; call 601-982-4844. Civil-rights leader and U.S. Congressman John Lewis speaks at the Jefferson-Jackson-Hamer Dinner at 7 p.m. at Regency Hotel (400 Greymont Ave.). Admission is $120, $60 for members and $1,000 for tables; call 601-969-2913. Submerged 5.0: The Burner Brothers Bayou Tour is at 9 p.m. at Club Friction at the Joint. Admission is $10 for ages 21 and up, $15 under 21; for information email [e-mail missing]. Big Earl from Pearl and Cool Papa Bell play at Martin's. Need more options? See our Best Bets.